The Beginner Cyclists’ Best Guide to Buying a Bike

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Bicycles come in a variety of styles and price points, and they have many different features. When choosing a bike, consider where you plan to bike, how often you will use it, features you want, consumer reviews, and your budget. Not only do you have a variety of different bikes to consider, you also have many options for where to make your purchase. Once you’ve bought a bicycle, follow cycling safety rules and maintain your bike carefully.

Choosing a Bike

You can buy a bike at a local shop, which enables you to see and test various bikes before you buy. Online retailers are another option for buying a bike, and pricing can often be appealing with online retailers. It’s also possible to buy a bike online directly from a dealer. Finding used bikes on eBay or Craigslist is another option, and it’s often possible to find attractive prices for these used bikes. The drawback of buying a bike from any type of online method is that you can’t see or test the bike before you buy. Spend time reading bike reviews before you move forward with any type of bike purchase.

The best bike for you depends on how and where you plan to ride. Road bikes are ideal for those who will be racing or touring on paved roads, and these bikes have lighter frames, skinny tires, and dropped handlebars. Mountain bikes have heavier frames, flat handlebars, and larger tires. These bikes are designed with heavy-duty suspension for biking on unpaved terrain. It’s also possible to buy a hybrid bike that combines features of both road bikes and mountain bikes. Recumbent bikes come in various styles, and these bikes are designed for riders to sit in a reclined position. Riders with health issues might prefer a recumbent bike. Cruiser bikes usually have balloon tires and simple construction. These bikes are designed to be easy to ride, and they are comfortable for those looking for a leisurely biking option. Electric bikes have an integrated electric motor that will assist the rider with enhanced pedal power. Electric bikes can work like a standard bicycle, but when the rider needs extra power, it’s possible to engage the motor for extra assistance. Electric bikes are powered by batteries that usually provide power for between 20 and 60 miles per charge. Bikes range in price points, depending on suspension components, frame materials, and the quality of the other components. It may be possible to buy a used bike of higher quality at a lower price.

How to Achieve the Proper Riding Position

Buying a bike that’s the correct size for you ensures that you are comfortable and safe while riding. To size the frame correctly for your height, stand over the center of the bike. For mountain bikes, you should have between two and four inches between you and the top tube of the bike. For road bikes, the clearance should be between one and two inches. If you’re buying a bike online, use your inseam measurement to determine your bike size. For example, someone with a 30 inch inseam needs a bike frame between 17 and 19 inches. The ideal saddle height will help you bike longer and more comfortably. Start by standing beside the bike and placing the saddle so it’s even with your hip. Next, sit on the saddle, place your heel on the pedal, and move the pedal so the crank arm is pointing down and aligned with the seat tube. When in this position, your saddle is the correct height if your leg is straight but not overextended at the knee.

Bike Maintenance Tips

Performing regular bike maintenance helps keep your bicycle safe, and it also helps you protect your investment. Keep your tires inflated properly, and inspect them regularly for wear. Test your brakes often, check quick releases to ensure they’re fastened properly, and make sure your bike headset is tight. About every two weeks during cycling season, lubricate and check your chain, inspect your brake pads, wipe down your bike frame, remove your wheels, and check for imperfections on the wheels.

Cycling Safety Rules to Follow

Wearing a properly adjusted and sized helmet is crucial for overall cycling safety, because helmets help protect your head in an accident. It’s also important to wear brightly colored clothing to ensure that you’re seen. Having lights and reflectors on your bicycle also helps motorists see bicyclists. Always ride with the flow of traffic, use extra caution at intersections, watch for road hazards, and keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. Never wear a headset that interferes with your ability to hear road noises around you.

Additional Bicycle Resources