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 roads. Featuring skinny tires, drop handlebars, a lightweight frame and an aerodynamically-efficient riding position, this is the bike for travelling long distances at higher speeds.
Hybrid Bike – A compromise between a road and mountain bike. A good choice if most of your riding will be shorter trips on paved roads or shared paths. 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 dirt and rugged trails without falling apart. They are not as efficient on pavement as road or hybrid bikes and therefore less suited to regular urban riding, but they are hardy and typically 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. If you are borrowing from a friend, they will need to be the same size as you, because riding a wrong-sized bicycle is certain to be disappointing and uncomfortable.
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.
You can also consider renting a bike, through peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Quipmo.
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. Most importantly, they will ensure that you buy a bike that fits you.
A final word
Go for the best bike you can afford. In the long run you’ll be glad you did!