About the Guide

The 2012 Bicycling Buyers Guide is straight – out loaded with bikes. However, before you launch headlong into this magazine, its best to kick off with a little background information to explain where the information came from and what you can expect to gain from it.

To begin with, this Buyers Guide is not going to tell you which bike you need or what is best for you. We are simply laying out the information in a condensed form that allows you to peruse the offerings from almost every bike brand on the Australian market. With over 2,300 complete bikes listed inside, its like having the catalogue from every manufacturer all rolled into one magazine.

The Buyers Guide tables only include models that are sold as complete bikes —that is a ready to ride package with wheels, cranks, handlebars etc. If you included the potential build options on models that are sold as a frame – only, you would be lucky to fit the information in a good sized phonebook!

We have also placed a price floor of $499 on the bikes, which cuts out the supermarket level bikes as well as the lower end of the mainstream bicycle market. The fact that you have spent $10.95 on this magazine suggests that you are a keen rider or an enthusiast who wont be interested in the bottom end of the market.

This price floor also helps to ensure that the bikes within the Buyers Guide

are models that you will only be able to buy through an Independent Bicycle Dealer or IBD. We recommend buying through a reputable bike store. Buying a bike is more involved than most purchases. You may need advice on frame sizing, bike set – up as well as general maintenance and after sales service. These really are safety issues as a poorly sized or badly maintained bike is dangerous. Spec and prices were correct at the the time of publication but may vary from those shown here.

Most stores will specialise in a small number of bike brands and will deal with them on a daily basis. As a result they will have intimate knowledge of these brands and their guidance can be extremely valuable in the long – term. Naturally you are free to shop for your store. If you feel pressured or uncomfortable, walk out and find a different retailer. When you find a store that you are happy with, stick by them. The consumer/retail relationship is a two – way street —you rely on them for sound advice and good service while they need your ongoing patronage.

The final limiting factor on the range of bikes listed is our reliance on the distributors to supply us with the information. When compiling the Buyers Guide, we contacted all of the major bike distributors within Australia and asked for their contribution. While we do have all of the major brands listed, there were some distributors who did not supply the information required to gain a listing.

If you cant find a particular brand within the bike tables, check the frames listing on pages 117 and 118. These tables list the contact information for brands that are sold as a frame set —the rest of the components are up to you. Its an expensive way to go, but it ensures that you get exactly what you want on your bike. While on the topic of tailoring a bike to suit your needs, the frames listings also include models that can be custom made to fit your body dimensions and riding requirements. Made to measure bikes are certainly worth considering if you have particular needs, atypical body dimensions or just desire a perfectly fitted bike.

Gear to Go

So, What is Tiagra and is it better than Sora? To assist with deciphering the specifications within the bike tables, you will find the main component groups from the major manufacturers listed in order of quality level and intended use on pages 14 to 22. We have also highlighted the major component group updates for 2012 within these pages.

Bike Categories

The bike listings have been collated into three major groups; road, mountain bike and city bikes. Within this youll find a number of sub – categories to make searching a little easier. The subcategories are:

Road Bikes This is the main road bike listing that includes models with drop handlebars and gears.

Road – Time Trial/Triathlon

Aerodynamically designed bikes that are made for going fast against the clock. Most will come already equipped with aero style time trial handlebars.

Road – Single Speed & Fixie

Road or track bikes with a single gear —either fixed gear or freewheel. This is a diverse category including everything from trendy courier – style bikes to track racing bikes.

Cyclocross Drop – handlebar road bikes with knobby tyres and plenty of mud clearance around the wheels. Cyclocross riding developed as a winter sport in Europe, and the bikes meld road bike speed with enough robustness for dirt road and off – pavement riding. These traits make them appealing for everything from commuting to touring and all – round riding. Interestingly, the sport of cyclocross is now gaining some popularity Down Under, with events popping up in cities around Australia. General defining features include drop handlebars, slightly lower than standard road bike gearing, cantilever or disc brakes, 700c wheels and wider 30 – 38c tyres.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes – Cross Country & Trail These bikes feature a rigid frame and 26 – inch wheels. While some models will have a rigid fork, most will come with a front suspension fork. Cross – country and trail oriented mountain bikes will range from super light cross – country race models through to recreational trail bikes for general off – road riding or MTB touring. There are also a large number of budget priced all – round models for general cycling and for those who are getting into the sport.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes – Heavy Duty/Freeride Again featuring a rigid frame and 26 – inch wheels, these bikes are built tough to handle very aggressive riding such as freeriding and dirt jumping. The dirt jump bikes typically have shorter travel suspension forks while the more freeride oriented models will have 120 – 160mm of suspension travel up front. It is worth noting that the distributors have selected the bike models that are included within the Heavy Duty/Freeride category. This doesnt mean that Bicycling Australia rates them as a freeride or dirt jump bike —we have simply listed them according to the distributors wishes. Some of the bikes listed may not handle heavy or

particularly aggressive riding.

Dual Suspension Bikes, Crosscountry, Trail & All – Mountain This category contains 26 – inch wheeled bikes equipped with front and rear suspension. It includes all manner of mountain bikes from short travel cross – country racing models through to long travel bikes that are still light enough for general trail riding. This year there are bikes with up to 180mm of rear suspension travel within this trail riding category while the shortest travel offering was 80mm. Most XC race bikes now have around 100mm of suspension travel. It wasnt that long ago that 100mm was considered downhill only —it shows that suspension technology has come a long way in recent years!

Dual Suspension Bikes – Downhill/ Freeride With up to 266mm of rear wheel travel on some models, these bikes are built to go fast over the worst terrain —as long as gravity is on your side. Most will be on the heavy side but they are designed to handle plenty of air time and some sizable drops. Pure downhill bikes are likely to use a single front chainring with a chain device while the freeride models may offer a broader gear range, making them a little more versatile when out on the trail. As with the heavy duty/freeride category, the distributors have made the decision to list their bikes in this category and we dont endorse their ability to perform in this arena.

29er Hardtail Mountain Bikes This is undoubtedly the biggest growth area for 2012, with the total number of 29er mountain bikes more than doubling for the second year in a row. With such huge growth, we have split these big – wheeled bikes into hardtail and dual suspension categories. The hardtail listing is for bikes with a rigid frame, although most will run a suspension fork up front. The 29er listing also includes bikes that are equipped with 650B wheels; a size that sits halfway between the 26 – inch and 29er formats. Furthermore, youll also encounter a small number of bikes with a 29 – inch wheel up – front and a 26 – inch wheel on the back —these are referred to as 96ers.

29er Dual Suspension Bikes This category contains 29 – inch wheeled bikes equipped with front and rear suspension.

Why go with big wheels? The 29 – inch wheels roll over obstacles with greater ease than the common 26 – inch wheel size. They also provide a longer contact patch on the trail which leads to improved traction. The negative points relate to the additional rotating weight which affects both acceleration and manoeuvrability.

City Bikes An extremely diverse category, these bikes range from flat handlebar road bikes with narrow tyres and lightweight frames, through to single speed beach cruisers —a very broad spectrum of bikes to lump under the one listing! Unfortunately there are so many variations and sub – categories that it would be impractical to break them up; there is just too much overlap with many incremental changes between them. Within the city bike category you will see a growing number of internal hub gear equipped bikes. They are gaining a strong following due to their low maintenance and ease of use which appeals to regular commuters as well as first time cyclists.

General Points

The distributor listed with a bike brand or accessory is just the contact for the wholesale company. While they dont sell the product directly to you, they can point you towards your closest retail outlet.

The prices listed are only approximate and can vary depending on a number of factors.

The information within the tables was provided by the relevant distributors and was as accurate as possible at the time of publication.

Specifications can change, so always double check the details before parting with your cash.

Each bike was placed in its category by the distributor according to how they see its position in the market.

Even with the volume of information contained within the Buyers Guide, you will need to research further before you buy. The list of bikes may be extensive but the specifications are not complete —there simply isnt room to list every component on each bike.

The Buyers Guide offers a snapshot of each model and an approximate price. This can be used to direct your focus towards the models that demand further investigation —the rest is up to you. Aside from reading magazine reviews and drilling your local store for advice, the internet provides a wealth of information via websites and forums. Take what you read with a grain of salt but forums and web reviews can give you an overall feel on how a particular bike performs. Some handy links include www.roadbikereview.com and MTB Review. Both sites have a forum with brand specific pages —these are yet another handy source of information. You can also type the name of a bike into your favourite search engine and see what pops up.

With these formalities out of the way, its time to peruse the 2012 Buyers Guide and get up – close and personal with the new bike market —theres certainly no shortage of choice!