“What bike should I buy?”
It’s a question we hear a lot about, so our 9-step guide on buying a bike is here to try and help. From what kind you need to where you can find it and what extras you will require – there is a lot to think about and consider when it comes to buying a bike. So, let’s go through this guide together!
01 – Decide what you will use it for
The more there are bicycle riders, the more ways there are to use a bike. It is possible to put people and the bikes they ride into general groups, but everyone is very person (stop screaming “I’m not” on the back).
You and your neighbor may want to ride a bike to work, for example, but if you’re a cycling beginner planning a steady pootle to the office and she’s already a severe competitor in another sport such as running who wants to cover the distance as quickly as possible, you’re not going to enjoy the same bike.
What matters is not only what you’re going to do with your new bike, then, but how and when. Think about all aspects of your requirements:
Will you want to get on the Tarmac quickly? Then you will enjoy a drop-handlebar road bike of some kind.
Do you prefer an upright riding stance? You probably want a bike, like a hybrid or even a mountain bike, with a flat handlebar.
Will you need to carry baggage? Typically, in the form of threaded fittings on the rear dropouts and seat stays, you want a bike with mounts for racks.
Moving into the rain for a ride? You want to fit mudguards unless you like being cold and muddy, so for them, you need fittings on the dropouts.
How hilly is the place where you ride? You’ll need a large selection of gear if you’re in Sheffield. Not so much in Cambridge.
Going off the highway? You want a mountain bike for steep, rugged trails, but a hybrid would do just as well for simple tracks and dirt roads and works better on the road if you want to change it up.
Planning on packing up and going for the hills? You may want a touring bike, or you might tour just as well on a hybrid with a rack or racks if you want a more leisurely speed and upright position.
Bike and train commuting? If the bike parking lot at the station is non-existent or insecure, a folding bike will come with you.
02 – Set your budget
A bike worth getting will cost up to £ 300 or so. The standard of frames and components increases rapidly between £ 300 and £ 1,000, bikes become lighter, more stable, and more enjoyable to ride.
However, don’t be afraid to invest more if you feel like it. It’s very unusual for someone to regret purchasing a bike that was too good for them.
03 – Check the Sales
If you really have to get the latest and greatest, by looking for a discount on last year’s edition, you get more bangs for your buck. They’re always 20% cheaper than the current-year model counterpart, often even more. Also features bikes at great prices and will lead you towards a wide range of bicycle bargains and more.
04 – Check out Cycle to Work
By paying for it from your pre-tax salary, the Ride to Work Scheme helps you to save at least 25 percent off the price of a new bike.
Recent improvements to the rules allow you to purchase accessories, so don’t think of it as a one-off bike.
By wage sacrifice, generally over 12 months, you pay for the bike or supplies, and you save on income tax and national insurance on the payments.
05 – Visit Bike Shop
The best place to purchase a decent bike for the first time is a bike store. You’ll get a broader range of bikes and salespeople to choose from that will help guide you towards the right bike for you.
In their focus and areas of specialization, bike shops differ. Some concentrate on mountain bikes, some on practical, around-town bikes, and some with eye-watering price tags on high-zoot road bikes.
There’s a contrast in culture between stores as well. I had tiny local shops dig for an obscure sub-part in the spares bin and then refusing to accept payment for it, but after ignoring a customer for 10 minutes, others utterly declined to explain the difference between the two versions. Hang out a little, talk to the staff and find a shop that’s comfortable with your vibe.
If you can, shop locally. If you get seriously into cycling at all, the employees of your bike shop will be individuals you will want to consult regularly, and if they’re 100 miles away, you can’t do that.
It’s time to make a purchase once you’ve found a simpatico store, and that means interacting with a salesperson from the bike shop. Cycle shops tend to be staffed by enthusiastic cyclists, who may know a lot about bikes but are also a little hopeless. They want to demonstrate their hard-accumulated information, but they forget that many of their clients are average, well-adjusted individuals, unable to declaim Shimano part codes. (When I worked in a store, this was one of my party pieces.)
The trick to dealing with people like this is to explicitly and simply state what you are going to use the bike for and how much you want to pay. Don’t expect salesman-type leading questions from bike shops; if it bit them on the leg, most bike shop workers will not know a formal selling strategy. However, this lack of sophistication can be an advantage; you are unlikely to get a hard sell and are more likely to be assisted by someone who is genuinely into bikes and wants to spread the excitement.
06 – Stay Out of Supermarkets
Yeah, you can get a really inexpensive bike from a supermarket or other non-specialty store, but there’s a reason why it doesn’t cost much for those bikes. Super-cheap bikes almost always have hefty frames and wheels, and parts of such low quality don’t work very well or don’t remain that way if they can initially be convinced to work correctly. Combine all that with hard, sluggish tires and needless characteristics such as suspension that more than road bumps consumes your pedaling effort, and you end up with a slow and challenging bike to ride.
It’s not snobbery that leads to ‘bicycle-shaped objects’ being called these things; they really function very poorly. Charge less than about £ 150 for a new bike, and you might not bother, with very few exceptions. They’re garage wall ornaments intended to hang next to the mower and the strimmer. These bikes are not designed to be ridden.
Check out eBay and Gumtree for a second-hand bike if your budget is minimal.
07 – Determine Your Size
Your inside leg determines the size you need. From the saddle, you need to hit the pedals and stand comfortably on the bike while stationary. Checking bikes in a store is the only way to be sure of getting this right.
08 – Take a Test Ride
For a quick test ride, any shop worth its salt will let you take a bike you are considering purchasing. With bikes in the eyes of criminals as desirable objects, you can expect to leave the shop with cast-iron protection. Have a credit card and other evidence of identity with you, or, best of all, the bike’s value in cash or equivalent, if you would like to take a test trip.
In some quiet streets, take the bike for a ten-minute ride, where you can focus on how the bike feels rather than dodging traffic. Check that the bike suits and that the handlebars reach feels secure. Whether the handlebar stem is short or long, be sure to ask the shop to make changes
Is the saddle comfortable, and can the store exchange it for another one if not, or are you likely to get used to it? Different saddles for men and women are available – find out if you’re sitting on the right one.
Does the bike feel fine, most critically, and least tangible? Do the pedal and handlebar respond to your input, or does it think dead and sluggish? You can’t expect a simple bike to feel like the bike of a racer at the World Championship, but at least you can expect it to go where you point it quickly and pleasantly.
09 – Decide on Tweaks and Extras
It is doubtful that your new bike will come with all you want or that it will be set up correctly for you. Here are some items that you may wish your dealer to change or customize.
Saddle Height – When your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, your saddle should be at a height that creates a bend in your knee that is 25-30 ° straight. To calculate that an angle-measuring device called a goniometer that a good bike shop would have or have someone sufficiently experienced is needed accurately, they will help you set your saddle height. Although they help with saddle height, have them figure out the fore-aft position of your saddle as well.
Handlebar Position – You need to change the handlebar’s reach and height to get a convenient, sustainable, and prosperous back position. It is an excellent reason to purchase a bike from a bike shop rather than online to get assistance with these elements of fit.
Lights – If you are going to ride at night and just sensible too, a legal necessity. A blinking rear light is almost a symbol of a bike now; many riders want to add a flasher with an unceasing light because a steady light helps locate a place situated on dark roads. You have a wide range of options upfront, including small lights that will display you high-power systems that illuminate the road for several meters ahead.
Mudguards – Tire spray makes a significant contribution to winter soaking, but if you’re going to ride when there’s a risk of rain, mudguards can keep you much drier (all but a few days per year in the UK!). On-road bikes with tight clearances, clip-on mudguards can be mounted, although you can use full-coverage bolt-on guards if your bike has more space in the frame.
Rack & Luggage – You have two choices if you want to hold items while riding: panniers that clip onto a rack tied to the back of the bike; or a rucksack. Panniers are more relaxed and encourage you to hold more but are uncomfortable off the bike. A rucksack is comfortable to take off the bike, usually with loads of compartments to help keep you organized or lose your keys, but it will give you a sweaty back. You determine your goals and make a decision.
Pedals – Many bikes come without pedals, remarkably better quality road bikes, or very inexpensive plastic-bodied pedals that are only there to make up the numbers. The best choices are BMX-style, smooth pedals that you can use with double-sided ‘clipless’ pedals or any shoe. These use a device to keep a specific shoe on the pedal in place, but you can still walk in them.
Tires – Our advice these days is simple: unless you have a perfect reason to do otherwise, fit the fattest tires the frame can take. Fat tires smooth the ride, and you’re not slowed down by decent quality ones. Most road bikes would have 25mm or 26mm tires, but there is space for 28mm or even fatter tires in the new designs. The same is true of hybrids and even mountain bikes, although you’ll want to leave space for mudguards in certain instances.
We hope that you find this guide interesting and useful, and you will imply these tips to buy a bicycle.