So you’re looking for a bike and feeling nervous about where to begin? Well, before you begin bicycle shopping, there is an array of questions to ask yourself. When making any decision that will have financial obligations, you should always think with a clear head. One way to do so is to jot down any questions that will help shape your decisions.
Nowadays, there are plenty of bicycles ranging in price, model, make and dimension. Who would have thought that walking into a bicycle shop would be this intimidating, and require such prior planning? You might not know where to begin with all the complexities involved; but nonetheless, we have simplified the process for you.
Follow our questions below to help you choose your new ride.
What will I use this bike for?
This is a question you should ask yourself before you reach out to the salesperson. Find out what you need versus what you want. For example, you might be looking for a carbon wheel bike. But if you are joining a cyclist group, a road bike will be more suitable.
The aim is to match your bike with the type of riding you will be doing. There are many bicycle types, and they are intended for their specific use.
So, know your type of riding before you can select the right bike for you.
Which bike style am I looking for?
This question ties in with the type of riding you will be doing, and possibly one of the most important questions. Here we have listed the different mountain bike categories:
Cross country: cross country is the most common mountain bike type. It is most suitable for riding for extended periods on trails, as these bikes are built for efficiency and speed. Choosing the perfect cross country mountain bike will depend on the types of trails you will be riding and how experienced you are. Most cross country trails involve ascending and descending, and for this reason, it requires you to have endurance as it will test your ability to handle the bike. Novice cyclists will opt for hardtail bikes that have a single suspension, as single suspension allows efficiency without exerting much energy when riding.
Downhill: downhill bikes are built for steep hills and terrain on high speed. They are not meant for paddling uphill, so try not to choose this type of bike if you are not experienced with downhill paddling. Riders usually climb up a steep mountain, and only when they have reached the top they ride down. Therefore, paddling downhill requires speed and control. This type of bike is specially designed at a 65-degree head angle for more stability.
Enduro: enduro is very similar to all-mountain biking. This type of bike requires more paddling as it is more downhill oriented and has more suspension. Enduro combines elements of cross country, downhill and all-mountain.
Trail or all-mountain: trail riders lean more on the adventurous side of riding, and they particularly look for big feature obstacles to overcome on a trail. The rear suspensions of a trail bicycle range between 120mm and 160mm of travel, and although they are available as hardtails, full suspension is the rule for trail bikes.
What am I prepared to spend?
Bicycles are costly; therefore, you should always budget according to what your affordability is. Many people save up before making a big purchase. Some, on the other hand, opt for bicycle finance.
When thinking of getting finance for a bicycle, consider getting leisure financing. Applying for finance for your next bicycle will lift the burden of having to pay for it upfront. Instead, you can pay for it over a series of months, for a duration period you are comfortable with. Sure, many people question the need for leisure financing, but if you want to buy a brand-new bike without the costs digging in your pockets, then financing is an option worth taking.
Do I want a women-specific bike?
Although gender-specific bicycles may be hard to find, they certainly do exist. Large cycling store chains are likely to stock them more than small neighbourhood bike stores. Most women-specific bikes are designed to have a shorter top tube and higher stack. This type of geometry is well-suited for someone with a small frame. Women generally have shorter torsos than men; however, professional cyclists will opt for a shorter bike with a long stem.
Where can I find a good deal?
It is beneficial to find out where you can potentially save costs on anything you buy. Bicycles are not cheap, and although there are cheaper options, you essentially want to buy a bike that is of high quality – a bike that will require fewer modifications and maintenance. Do not hesitate to ask your local salesperson about their current specials on offer.
Do I need a bike fit?
The way your bike fits will affect your performance when riding. Experienced cyclists have probably been fitted a few times, so they know their set up. If you are a beginner and you don’t know your perfect fit yet, make sure you discuss this before swiping your card.
Do I need a test ride?
The only way to know how the features of the bike work is to take it out for a ride. Most bike stores offer test rides but take caution on testing too many bikes. The ideal number of bikes you should test ride is between 2- 4 bikes. Test riding more than four bikes will confuse you.
The warranty and maintenance?
The relationship with your bike store doesn’t stop once you have made your purchase. It is just the start of a long and, hopefully, fruitful relationship. Many shops offer after service and repair warranty that lasts for the first year. Ask your salesperson about the bike policies they offer and their level of service.
Will I need accessories?
Apart from the bike price, you will need to set aside a separate budget for additional accessories. If you are a seasoned cyclist, you may have the basics such as a helmet, padded shorts, gloves and appropriate clothing gear. But adding a couple of accessories will make your experience more enjoyable.
Many bicycles come with entry-level wheels. Although these wheels may be perfect for training, they might not be fitting for your type of riding. If you wish to improve your performance, you may need to change the wheels to a more suitable pair for riding, and; therefore, you should factor this expense in.
Buying a new bike can be frustrating, and that’s why you should ask as many questions as you can. Start by asking yourself questions that will help you figure out what you want, and thereafter, proceed to your salesperson for more complex and technical inquiries. Much like getting a car, buying a bicycle is a big purchase and you should treat it as one.