3 steps to buying the right bike
1. Decide on the type of bike you need
There are three main types of bikes:
Road Bike – Designed for riding at speed on paved streets. Featuring skinny tires, a lightweight frame and a riding position that puts you bent over the handlebars, this is the bike for travelling long distances at higher speeds.
Hybrid Bike – A cross between a road and mountain bike with the best features of both. A good choice if most of your riding will be shorter trips on pavement. With skinnier, smooth tires, they typically can go faster than mountain bikes, yet feature the upright seat and handlebar position that many people find more comfortable.
Mountain Bike – A bike for the adventurous. Wide tires, usually with knobby treads and a stout frame, all designed to handle riding on grass, dirt and rugged trails without falling apart. They are not as fast as road or hybrid bikes and impractical for regular urban riding, but they are hardy and offer a comfortable riding position.
2. Get on a bike!
Before you buy anything, try borrowing your preferred style of bike from a friend or shop and taking it for a ride.
20 to 30 minutes should be enough to know if you are comfortable with the way you sit on a particular type of bike and if the speed and overall feel is right for you.
3. Talk to a local bike shop
Bikes are the same as any other goods: you get what you pay for.
Chances are, you won’t be happy over the long run with a budget bike from a department store. They are heavy and the components won’t last like they would in a quality model. You will probably end up spending money on the better bike you should have bought in the first place.
And with buying online, you need to have some experience with bikes to know exactly what you’re getting.
The staff at a good local bike shop have two things a department or internet store don’t have: knowledge and passion. They can can offer tips, advice and personal after-sales service.
Need to find your nearest bike shop? Visit our Find a bike shop page.
A final word
Go for the best bike you can afford. In the long run you’ll be glad you did!