So you’re thinking of buying a bike?
Riding a bicycle can be one of life’s greatest joys. Gliding around on two wheels with the wind whipping past you on a warm, sunny day is a liberating feeling, but it cannot happen without the right setup. That is why choosing the right bike is so essential—to truly enjoy your riding experience, you must feel harmonious with your machine.
While you could go to your local bike shop and pick out the nicest looking one there on a whim, it’s a good idea to first understand what you need in a bicycle based on how you plan to use it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before buying your new set of wheels.
How do you want to ride? If you are buying a bike for the first time in a while, it’s essential that you have an idea of how you want to use your new bicycle. Are you looking to get involved in racing? Maybe you want to go off-road and navigate rocky trails. Or perhaps you just want an eco-friendly way to get around your neighborhood or city. Each of these situations requires different kinds of bikes, each with its own design and set of specifications. Take the time to establish what kind of riding you want to do, so that when you do go to shop for bicycles, you have already eliminated the bikes that will not work for you.
How much do you want to spend? You should proceed with this purchase with the understanding that a good bike is an investment. Bicycles from sports equipment and toy stores, while inexpensive, are not ideal choices if you want to have a high-quality product that will last for years to come. So set a reasonable budget based on your needs. If you aren’t planning on becoming a professional cyclist, you may not need a $1,000 bike, but definitely look into bikes that cost at least $250. Also budget out the cost of repairs and maintenance your prospective bike will need; this can be done with the help of your bike shop expert. Don’t neglect to buy the necessary accoutrements, like a helmet and lock.
Have you taken the time to shop around? This step is important. Even if you are set on buying from one bike shop in particular, it still helps to try a few bikes out within their selection. The people who work there are generally pretty knowledgeable when it comes to bikes, so make sure you use them to your advantage. If you are unsure of how many gears you need or which size is right for you, the staff can easily help you answer these questions. If you think you have found the right bicycle, take it out on a test run before you commit to a purchase. A bike that looks good in the shop doesn’t always translate to a smooth and easy ride. When testing, use as many of the features as you can, and address anything that doesn’t work afterwards with your bike expert.
If you feel that you have a good idea of what you need in a bicycle, and want to potentially save some money, try shopping online or in second-hand shops. Lower prices can be found in these places, but usually in exchange for the expertise you would normally find in a specialty bike store.
Your Guide to Buying a New Bike [Bicycling]
A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Bike [Active]
Beginners’ Guide to Buying a Bike [Bike Radar]