Tips for Buying a New Bike
Biking is a great way to entertain yourself at any time of year, as long as the roads and paths are dry. That said, buying a new bike may seem daunting, and you might be tempted to buy something low-quality from a department store. But worry not! Getting the right bike can make the difference between an expensive piece of rust in your shed or discovering a new, healthy and fun form of transportation. There are only a few key things to keep in mind, and bike shopping can quickly grow from a chore into an adventure.
First, you should know what you want from your bike. There are different types of frames that serve different purposes. In very broad strokes, road bikes are generally for racing, mountain bikes for rough terrain, and a range of options exist for commuters. When you have a general idea, check out the websites of the top bike brands. Their websites group their options into different categories based on your needs, which can give you a sense of what models to look for. Incidentally, they are also the best bikes to buy.
Next, talk to someone at a bike shop. They spend a lot of time getting to know these machines, and what works best for different people. They can help you figure out what is best for your needs. If they can’t, then find someone else. As you work with a mechanic, they become a tremendous resource for learning about your bike and cycling in general, helping you find tune your ride and your experience to get the most out of it. While you’re at it, take a test ride on a few different frame types. This way you can understand how different bikes feel, and what is most comfortable for you.
Finally, look around for personal sales on the internet. Websites like Craigslist have plenty of people trying to flip or get rid of excess bikes, and you can usually find a quality used bicycle for much less than the retail price. After browsing manufacturers’ sites and talking to a mechanic, you should have a good idea of what to look for, and might land a great deal on a wonderful bike. If you prefer new, though, purchase through an authorized dealer, since they are trained in properly building that brand.
An essential balance to keep in mind is price versus quality. Unless you have a very specific need, there’s no reason to spend more than $1000 on a bike. But you should not skimp and buy the $100 pre-built one, either, since its poor construction will quickly cost you more in parts and labor than what you’d pay once for something much better. While the sticker price of a good brand like Trek may seem high, a well made bike can last a lifetime. Investing wisely in a good bike can give you years of transportation at a minuscule cost if you are willing to put up $500-$800 at the beginning.
Some helpful brands to start your search are Trek, Giant, Fuji, and Raleigh. These are all good quality brands at good prices, and make a great introduction to the cycling world.