If you are a novice cyclist who is just taking up the sport or even if you are just looking for a bike to take spins around the neighborhood, walking into the bike shop for the first time can be a daunting experience, with so many bikes on offer it’s easy to get lost in all of the choices.
This isn’t anything new for bike shop owners, and they see this all the time. People wonder into the shop and have no clue how to choose a bike. To be honest, buying a bike should not be difficult and the final decision can rest on really only two factors; what kind of biking will you be doing the most? And how much do you want to spend?
Once you know the answers to those two questions buying the best cheap mountain bike or road bike will be a relatively easy process once you enter the bike shop.
How To Buy A Bike That Fits Your Needs?
Ok, so how do I choose a bike? Bicycles can be broken down into three main categories; Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, and Hybrid Bikes. There are more types such as Folding Bikes and Town Bikes but to keep things simple we will focus on the three most popular bike types.
Road bikes usually have thin tires and drop-handlebars which makes them look distinctively different to mountain bikes. The roads bikes are very light and usually just have the bare minimum on the bike such as brakes and gears.
Road bikes are (as you probably guessed) perfect for long rides on tarmac at high speeds. However they are not the best choice to be used on rugged terrain and in most cases cannot have after-market mudguards or racks fitted which limits their adaptability for more general use and commuting.
Mountain bikes are one of the most popular type of bike, this is mainly due to the fact that mountain bikes can go almost anywhere be-it the open road or a rugged off-road terrain, mountain bikes can tackle most surfaces with ease. They come equipped with a strong frame and wheels, combined with large tires and powerful brakes that can stop on a dime and a wide selection of gears, is one of the reasons why this bike is the best choice for many riders. The handle bars tend to be straight or slightly curved and are adorned with gear levers and other accessories.
When compared to roads bikes mountain bikes are slight slower on tarmac, however, mountain bikes can easily be adapted by changing the tires to more road suited tires and you can add mudguards and a rear rack making it a perfect urban commuter or a “touring bike”.
If you cannot decide on either a road bike or a mountain bike then the Hybrid bike might just be what you’re looking for. These bikes (as the name suggests) are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. The wheels tend to be large like roads bikes combined with tires that are somewhere in between a knobbly and smooth which means a fast and comfortable ride.
Typically you will find that Hybrid bikes come equipped with flat handle bars that resemble mountain bike handle bars along with gear levers and other accessories firmly attached that you would expect to find sitting on a mountain bike handle bar. Hybrid bikes are the perfect choice for using as a commuter bike either to pick up some groceries from your local shop or to get to and fro from work and many come already equipped with rear racks and mudguards.
Hybrid bikes come in all shapes and sizes and it is really down to the manufacturer how they interpret this type of bike, some look more like mountain bikes whilst other resemble more of a road bike. Shop around until you find one you like.
Buying A Bike You Can Afford, How Much Do You Want To Spend?
Before you go running out the door to the nearest bike shop sit down and work out how much you want to spend on your new bike. Once you get into the bike shop it’s very easy to spend more than you intended to if you haven’t got a budget in mind.
A good mountain bike or road bike can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 with some exceeding $2000 to $5000, whereas a good hybrid bike can be picked up relatively cheaply in your local discount store such as Wal-Mart or Target. However, biking experts warn that these cheap bikes tend to be heavier and come equipped with cheaper bikes parts that can brake leaving you without a bike after a couple of years of use.
If you are not wanting to spend a lot of money on a new bike but still want a good quality ride why not have a look in your local classifieds. More often than not you can pick up a good brand such as a Giant or a Trek for a fraction of the price that comes equipped with all of the best components. how to buy a bike shouldn’t be hard as long as you take some time to make sure you get the right bike for you.
Getting The Right Sized Bike and Getting it Set up Correctly
Choosing the right sized bike is going to be the most important factor when you decide on which type of bike you want to buy. Let’s take a closer look to make sure you get the right sized bike for you.
Stand Over The Frame
The first step to getting the right sized bike is to stand over the frame with both of your feet flat on the ground. A properly sized mountain bike should have about a space between your crotch and the frame of roughly the width of your hand across your fingers. The best road bike with have an inch or two clearance between the frame and your crotch.
Adjust The Bike Seat To The Proper Height
A common mistake is for people when adjusting their bike seat is thinking that they should be able to sit on their seat and still put their feet on the ground. The perfect bike seat height should let you extend your leg until it is almost completely straight when you are sitting on the bike seat, there should only be a slight bend in the knee when your foot in resting on the peddle in its bottom (lowest) position. Having the bike seat and the proper height will help to minimize fatigue and will maximize your power.
Adjust The Level Of The Bike Seat
There is more to the perfect bike seat that just to height, the level of the seat is also an important factor. In most cases you will want to have your bike seat pretty-much level. Too much forward tilt and you will feel like you are constantly sliding forward, whereas too much of a back tilt will leave you feeling like you are slipping off the seat. Having the perfect level of bike seat is more important if you are planning on riding for long distances (more so for the men).
Proper Handlebar Adjustment
When it comes to setting up the bike handlebars a lot of personal preference plays a role here. You will want to find a position where you can ride your bike comfortably without putting strain on your shoulders, back, or wrists. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the handle bar setting that is best for you.