Whether you are riding your bike for exercise through your local state park or getting into BMXing with your friends, buying a bike for the first time is a momentous occasion. Before you make that big purchase, there are some factors you must decide to be sure you are getting the best buy for your wants and needs as a biker.
Here are five tips for a first-time buyer’s guide to buying a bike.
1. Determine the Type of Riding You Will Do
The type of riding you will be doing the most often with your new bike will determine which bike you purchase. Look below to find your best match!
- Touring and gravel bikes are best for traveling asphalt surfaces.
- Electric, hybrid, and road bikes work effectively for biking paved pathways and standard bike trails.
- Electric or mountain bikes travel best on dirt trails and roads.
- Hybrid and electric bikes travel best on paved surfaces, whether they are smooth or if they have potholes.
- E-Bikes are perfect for commuting in hilly areas.
If you want to BMX with your buddies, purchase a high-quality BMXing bike that will stand the test of all the tricks you will be doing at the local bike park.
If you want to bike down at the boardwalk in the summer, look into purchasing a trendy cruiser bike to help you enjoy the beach weather while riding in style and getting some much-needed exercise!
There’s a bike for every purpose. Find out more information on how to determine which bike to purchase based on the type of riding you will be doing by visiting REI’s Guide.
2. Decide Your Price Point
The price point of your desired bike will be based on the materials in which it is made.
Chromoly is the high-end steel material that makes for a high-quality steel bike frame. Steel bike frames can cost about $150 for customs. If you can spend more than $150 on a bike overall, you will have an aluminum steel frame that allows more flexibility as you ride your bike since this material is 33% the density of steel. This is why professional-looking BMXing bikes are more expensive than your standard road bike.
Higher-end bikes typically have air spring shocks and damped hydraulics rather than the brakes made of springs on lower quality models. Hence, suspension can be more so customized on a higher quality bike to fit the type of riding you want to do.
Disc brakes are now available on lower-cost models, too. The drivetrain system is relatively the same on both ends of the spectrum, but the derailleur is mainly plastic on lower-cost models and metal incorporated only where necessary.
Get the guidance you need to determine your price point by reading this Popsci (Popular Science) article.
3. Choose the Retailer
Choose a notable online or local retailer to get the most high-quality for your desired price point.
Try online bike retailers such as Bicycle Warehouse, ProBike Kit, or BikesDirect to access a variety of bike types and models! The only drawback is that you will not be able to test ride the different models to see which one you like best.
Visit the local bike shops in your area and build a relationship with the small business owners. You will help them to generate income through your continued business, and they can help you with finding your best first bike. Test riding the different bike types and models will be up to the discretion of the shop owner. As long as you are careful with the bikes while test riding and show a good rapport with the shop owner, you should not have any problem requesting a test ride.
Choosing a retailer is based on your knowledge of bike models. If you have already test-driven a lot of models, but you have not purchased your first bike yet, you can feel more at ease shopping at an online retailer. If you are a total newbie, go to your local bike shop. It’s hard to figure out what size bike you need, so you should have an idea of what size bicycle may be the best fit for you.
4. Test Ride Various Models
Speaking of all this talk about test riding, the next tip would be to test ride various types and models to see which one fits your riding style the best.
When test riding, be sure that you are traveling on the right terrain for that specific bike to see how it holds up in its natural habitat. Also, ask yourself these questions.
- How comfortable do you feel while riding the bike?
- How high is the carrying capacity if you will be transporting some luggage on your bike trips?
- How well does the bike handle turn?
- Is the bike you want the correct weight capacity for you personally?
- How well does the bike accelerate when riding?
- What are the aerodynamic features of the bike you are trying to purchase?
- How stable is the bike itself for the terrain in which it is made to ride?
Test riding bikes is the most crucial step when purchasing a bike for the first time. You do not want to just purchase a bike simply on aesthetics or high-quality bells and whistles. Get a bike that mechanically works for you and also serves the intended purpose during your use.
5. Choose the Style
Once you have gone on multiple test rides on bikes for your intended riding purpose, it’s time to choose a style. Some general bike styles are noted below.
- Lightweight bike models.
- Fast and aerodynamic for bike racing or just cross country leisure biking.
- Accommodates people who commute long distances.
- More laid-back seats for a more comfortable ride than other bike types.
- Handling is better on hybrid bikes due to the larger wheels.
- Inspired by road bikes, but they are more comfortable to ride from place to place.
- More durable and adaptable than other bike types.
- It can carry heavy capacity roads during long-distance travel.
- Heavier bike models made of steel hence the larger carrying capacity.
- Strong frames to withstand mountain trails and rigorous biking trails in the wild.
- Can be used for daily riding if necessary.
- Heavier and more bulky bike models than their counterparts.
Picking your first bike to buy can be a fun experience. Learn about the parts of the bike to get the best price point for quality, test rides different bikes until you have chosen your style, and purchase the model that’s best for you.