Bikes provide an incredible source of exercise, transportation, and an enriching hobby. Whether you want to get into the world of biking for intense sports (like triathlons), to have a healthy source of transportation, or to enjoy the great outdoors, finding the right model for your needs will make a difference in your enjoyment and comfort level. If you are planning to visit your local bike shop to invest in a good bicycle, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure you find a model you love:
- Consider your goals for your new bike.
Before shopping for a new bike, you should think of your physical condition and the type of cycling that you’re hoping to get out of your bike. Are you hoping to get into it for serious fitness purposes, or is it more for casual enjoyment? What type of roads or terrain do you plan on taking your bike on? How frequently and what distance are you going to be covering with your bike? By identifying your plans for your bike, the representative at your local bike store will have a easier time helping you find a model that suits your needs.
- Talk to a professional servicing bicycle dealer.
There are about one thousand different bike features that you can choose from. After you’ve determined what your goals are for a bike, work with bike shops that are a part of the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) to identify a set of wheels that matches your needs. Using a professional who is part of a national organization will ensure that you find the right bike, that it is assembled properly, and that you have access to ongoing service so that your bike riding experience a safe and comfortable.
- Determine what type of bike meets your needs best.
New bikes are like snowflakes, every model is different, but most of them are classified as follows:
- Road bikes have skinnier tires and curved handles that give you precision with steering, and a seat that is closer to the height of the handlebars which puts you in a bent (aerodynamic) position so that you travel fast. If you are shopping for a triathlon bike, this would be the type of model you’d probably get.
- Mountain bikes have wider tires that give them stability over a wide range of terrain, and a good shock system for absorbing the turbulence associated with riding over the bumps of a natural path.
- Hybrid bikes combine features of both types of bikes to give the rider the specific qualities that they are looking for in their bike. Hybrid bikes often have other accessories for utilitarian purposes: Perhaps a basket for holding belongings or wrack and fender mounts. This type of model is most commonly used for commuter bikes.
- Find a bicycle that fits your size.
Most nice bicycles come in a variety of sizes; some models have as many as eight different sizes to choose from. For the best comfort, you should find a bike frame that properly matches the length of your inseam, and a distance between the seat and handlebars that enables you to ride comfortably.
Your bike shop can help you determine the best size of bike for your comfort and safety. After you’ve identified the ideal size, you should take it for a spin around the block before you invest in it, to ensure it’s the right match for you. Finding the size you’re most comfortable riding is not an exact science.
- Make sure you love what you’re buying.
You should feel great about the bike your invest in. Do you love the way it feels riding it? Do you like how it looks? Try out a few different models, so you are confident that you love the one you take home.
- Ask for advice.
Another benefit of purchasing your bike through a certified dealer is the wealth of advice that you’ll get. Bike shop professionals can give you great advice on getting started, accessories that would be beneficial to you, and other tips, such as bike paths in your area, to make your experience really great.
Do you have any other tips on buying a great bike? Please share them in the comment section below!