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Bicycle frames are constructed from materials which place emphasis on being strong, lightweight and stiff to aid power transfer. Aluminium, titanium, steel and carbon are widely used in all levels of frame production.
Brake and gear cables are traditionally attached to bicycle frames with lugs on the outside of the tubing, this is known as external routing.
Recent advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to route the cables through the inside of the tubing, this is known as internal routing. Internal routing gives a very clean appearance, can increase the stiffness of the frame due to additional channels and in some cases may provide aerodynamic benefits too.
For certain applications, including full suspension bikes and cyclocross bikes, manufacturers use an outer cable along the full length of the cable to protect the inners from mud, water or accidental damage, this is known as full outer.
Major bike manufacturers produce a new range of bikes on an annual basis and this determines the model year of a particular bike. This annual turnover is fuelled by advancing technology, industry trends and customer demand for a particular feature or style of bicycle.
Bicycle wheels come in a wide range of sizes from 12" wheels found on smaller Kids Bikes to larger 29" Mountain Bike and 700c Road Bike wheels. Larger wheels are normally faster and more stable at speed and their larger contact patch improves grip too. Smaller wheels are normally lighter, more manoeuvrable and have quicker acceleration.
Wheel sizes are defined by the country that first popularised the style of bike that used them - so you'll see some imperial and some metric measurements listed. Wiggle includes the ISO standard in brackets after each for ease of comparison.
Urban and commuter bikes are covered in our Hybrid City bikes section too. Like Hybrid City bikes they are likely to be described in ways that differ between manufacturers: look for 'Fitness', 'Lifestyle', 'Town', 'Dual Sport' or 'Multi Use'. Wheel size will either be 26in mountain bike style or 700c road bike style.
Most urban and commuter type bikes will come with a flat or riser handlebar and a relatively sporty feel, but some will exhibit a distinctly laid back feel, an upright handlebar position and well padded saddles for short distance casual riding. A minority of urban bikes have dropped handlebars.
In theory almost any bike could be used for urban, commuting or utility riding, but a bike designed specifically for the purpose suits more rider types. Think carefully about your specific needs in terms of riding position and look for frames with bosses for a rack and mudguards. Please consult Wiggle’s bike buying guide to learn more about identifying the right commuter bike for you.