Buying a new bike can be a daunting experience for people who are not well versed in the cycling world. While the internet gives plenty of information about current bicycle models and how they stack up against each, this often leads to an overload of choices. People may find themselves less at ease after a round of research than before they started.
As the “bike guy”, in my sphere of friends and acquaintances, I often find myself fielding questions such as, “what is a good bike?”, or “where should I buy a bike?”. These questions lead to a string of my own questions in order to gauge what kind of riding experience someone is looking for. So before you head down to the local bike shop, or online marketplace, here are some fundamentals that can help in the decision making process.
What kind of riding will you be doing
Are you looking to start commuting to work and need a reliable and comfortable bike? That’s a great idea! Depending on how much you are going to be carrying each day, a nice touring bike will likely suit your needs. If comfort is you primary concern, perhaps a hybrid bike is a better option.
Does the idea of getting out of town on the weekends for a day on the trails entice you? I don’t blame you. Spending the day rolling around in nature is a fantastic way to unplug and unwind after a hectic week. Mountain bikes come in all shapes and sizes, but it sounds like a Cross Country bike is what you are looking for. If you are considering going off trail, perhaps an All Mountain bike would be a better choice.
Do you have a need for speed? I understand your plight. I too suffer from a need for speed. A road bike would be my recommendation. Unless you are looking to dedicate yourself to time trials and triathlons, I would avoid looking at any kind of time trial/triathlon specific rig.
What is your budget
Once the kind of bike you are in the market for is established, your budget will dictate how much bike you can buy. Like anything else, the law of diminishing returns applies to bicycles. The leap from a $500 bike to a $1000 bike is huge. Frame materials are more advanced. Components feature more gears and better wheels. Moving up to the $2000 range is another giant step forward in returns. Carbon fiber will enter the picture. Wheels will have fewer spokes and more technology integrated into their design. There will be more gears at the back than you can shake a stick at. Once you start heading above the $2000 price point though, the advancements are mostly just lower weights.
Where to buy
The online marketplace has opened a buyers options up tremendously. Having said that, I firmly believe in buying from a bike shop. Find a local shop you feel comfortable with. You now know what kind of riding you’ll be doing, and your budget. With this information, they can help you find the right bike for your needs.
When you buy from a shop, you have the benefit of service and warranty support. Most bike shops include basic service plans such as tune ups and flat repairs when you buy a new bike from them. Should you encounter any issues with the bike, they will take care of you and the bike.
The same cannot be said when you buy from an online source. If you encounter an issue, you will have to box the bike up and ship it back to wherever you bought it from, at your expense. This quickly negates any savings you may have benefited from on the front end of the purchase. Save now, pay later.
Buying a new bike doesn’t have to be a hassle. Understanding what you are looking for will go a long way when it comes to finding the right bike. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Bike shop employees are ready to answer those questions and to be sure you are happy with your next purchase. Nothing beats new bike day. Thanks for reading, and as always, keep the rubber side down!