Buying a bike is rife with issues and questions, nerves and a subtle edge of uncertainty, as you struggle to make heads or tails of the rows of two-wheelers, accessories and dense jargon. You feel like you’ve walked into a bar where no one speaks your language. Break it down to needs, wants and curiosities, keeping your budget in mind as the sales rep attracts your eyes to the most suitable entries. How will they gauge suitability? Enter the fray forearmed with knowledge.
Do You Know Exactly What You’re After?
If you’re up for a long browse and a round-about, frustrating experience, enter a cycling store at your own risk; though sales staff do their best to extract salient pieces of information from your mind and settle on a few applicable options, knowing your own needs first will streamline proceedings considerably. What will you be using the bike for? Commuting to work? Competition? Triathlon? Down Hill Racing? BMX? All-terrain biking? Mountain biking? Each sport has different needs and demands more or less from frame and wheels. Slim, aluminium rims are perfect for racing; strong, bulky rims suit more extreme ventures like cyclocross and hybrids are a beautiful balance of both worlds, as long as you don’t go too far either side of the spectrum. Research and consider your options, read forums and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A bike should be the right fit, down to the pedal size.
How Often Are You Going To Ride?
Be honest with yourself, you might be seduced by the thought of putting in a few hours of hard pedalling a day to get in shape and avoid the morning/afternoon commute, but do you intend to keep this promise? Alternatively, are you a leisure rider, a family rider, a daily rider or an adventure rider? Will you only drag out the manual wheels every few weeks or even few months, dusting off the cobwebs to stir up the calf muscles? You need a bike that will suit your needs, accounting for the duration of the intended ride as well. Comfort, terrain and hilly regions will all influence your selection.
Road Vs Terrain
We mentioned this before, but a shred of extra though should be dedicated to understanding the differences between road bikes, hybrids, touring bikes, BMX, utility bikes, Cyclo-cross bikes, mountain bikes and those neat motorised scooters. Finding the answers may not be as simple as Googling (though you should never step over a little renaissance), popping onto a site like http://99bikes.com.au illustrates the basic differences and applications for each model. Friends are vital sources of information (only if they’re involved in the sport), passing on tid bits of barely spoken wisdom; if you’re keen to know if you can handle the bike commute, borrow somebody’s bike first and make the commute for a week. Still excited? Great. You’re ready to bite the bullet and buy a brand new bike.
Do you have any cycling tips to share with your fellow readers? Holding a few inside must-knows you’d like to get off your chest? Let us know in the comments below.