How to Choose the Right Bike
Your chosen bike will either make or break your cycling experience. It can either put you off altogether or give you adventure and unforgettable moments – for all the wrong reasons. Once you find the perfect bike, however, you will have a long-lasting and healthy experience for many years to come.
However, with a wide range of bikes available in shops, it is easy to get overwhelmed. You may end up just buying a well-known brand without even considering the bike’s suitability for your needs, your body, or your lifestyle.
To help you through the forest of bicycle choice and onto the flat open road of bicycle enjoyment, the team at Stead Cycles in Beresfield (near Newcastle NSW) have drawn up this simple bike buying guide.
Choose a Bike That Suits Your Needs
Sporting a really cool bike will not do you any good if it does not fit your cycling needs. To consider what your cycling needs are, ask yourself a few questions:
- What do you plan to use your bike for?
- Will you be riding off-road or on pavements?
- Will you be cycling on mostly flat surfaces or up and down a lot of hills?
Choosing the right type of bike will maximise your enjoyment of your new ride. For instance, if you buy a city bike and use it off-road, then you’ll definitely have an uncomfortable experience!
Choose the Right Bike for The Right Environment
Here are just some of the types of bikes you can choose from, each work best in specific environments:
City or Commuter Bikes
If you intend to use your bike to run errands around the city or you need a more affordable, more environmentally friendly alternative to the public commute, then a city bike or commuter bike is your best bet.
With city or commuter bikes, you can choose from:
- Flat bar bikes
- Folding bikes
- Touring bikes
- Road bikes
- Cargo bikes
These bikes are mostly made for city use, but they have their own unique attributes. For instance, folding bikes are the perfect option for those who have to take the train or the bus.
Flat bar bikes have a flat handlebar instead of a drop bar. Its light weight allows for a fast ride in the city. Touring bikes have a retro look and are designed to carry your luggage at the back. Road bikes are for use on paved city roads. Finally, cargo bikes have a box in front, which can carry your kids, pets, and bags of groceries.
Mountain bikes are rugged, and tough machines are designed to handle bumps and rough roads. They are durable and made for dirt road trails. If you plan to take your bike through the popular mountain trails in NSW during weekends, then get a mountain bike that has full suspension and can handle rough downhill courses.
If you are looking for a versatile bike that you can take to the trails and use in the city as well, then you could consider a hybrid bike, which is a general-purpose bike that mixes the features of both a city bike and a mountain bike, but don’t expect it to be as fast as a city bike or as tough as a mountain bike.
A hybrid bike takes the following features from a mountain bike:
- An upright and stouter frame for a more comfortable ride.
- Wider tyres for better stability.
Like a city bike, hybrid bikes have lighter rims and components for a faster ride. The combination of these features effectively makes it a versatile and functional bike.
BMXs, short for ‘Bicycle Motor Cross’, are bikes that are made for fun. They have smaller wheels with a more compact frame. These bikes generally have no gears, so pedalling will be at a maximum on a long-distance journey. This is because BMXs are not made for distance; they are for jumping, racing, and freestyling.
· Triathlon Bike
A triathlon bike is designed for competitions and are built to be fast in a straight line. They are not designed primarily for comfort but to take advantage of aerodynamics.
Find Your Bike Size
Finding the right bike size is crucial for your cycling comfort and safety. A wrongly sized bike will not only be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to accidents and cause injuries.
Your trusted local bike shop can help find the right size for you by measuring your height and inseam length. They will also ensure fitting your bike properly, from the saddle height to the handlebars positioning.
How Do I Get the Right Sized Bike?
Getting a correctly sized bike will make you more confident and comfortable with your cycling. To make sure you get a bike with the right height, you can place your heel on the bike’s pedal. At the bottom stroke, your leg must be straight. In addition, to get the right stretch, your body should not be too stretched out or bunched up when you are on the bike.
Think of Your Budget
Before going on that exciting bike shopping spree, decide on how much you are willing to spend. Bikes are not cheap, especially the high-quality ones, because they are technical pieces of equipment. You can purchase a bike for as little as $150 for an entry level, basic model, up to $4500 for a professional one (not including bespoke or designer pieces which have been known to be hundreds of thousands of dollars).
Remember: You really do get what you pay for. Specialist bikes with more features will cost you more. Bikes that are cheaper will also have cheaper parts and components and are more likely to wear down sooner. If you want to score a high-end bike at a decent price, you may also get an affordable second-hand bike.
Consider the Bike’s Parts and Accessories
Once you have slimmed down your options, another thing to consider is the availability of its parts and accessories. For example, you may want to add to its original accessories, and you may want to get yourself a helmet, a different saddle, or a different set of pedals. Other must-have bike accessories include the bell, rack, reflectors, mudguards, pump, and a repair kit.
Take it for a Test Ride
As with cars, you should also take your potential bike for a test ride. What may look good on paper may not feel as good when you ride it. Most bike shops will let you take a short test ride. Ask yourself the following questions when you take your target bike for a spin:
- Are you comfortable with the bike’s posture?
- Does it handle corners and descents well?
- Is the bike carrying capacity sufficient?
Of course, do not limit yourself to one bike. Test ride 2 or 3 bikes if you can to get a feel for different brands and styles.
Visit Stead Cycles for Your Bikes and Parts Needs in New South Wales.
Stead Cycles is a passionate, informative and friendly one-stop bike shop in Beresfield, NSW. Whether you are looking for a new bike or planning to switch gears and accessories, we are here to help you.
If you are in the market for a new sweet ride, come into the shop. We are located at 29 Landor St, Beresfield, NSW, 2322. Alternatively, call us on 02 4966 2141 or email your enquiries to email@example.com, and we will be glad to help you.