Riding your bike is a great way to exercise throughout the year, but just like buying a car, it can be tough to select the right one. Although it can be overwhelming at times with so many selections, we’ll help you think through the considerations. Remember these basic steps when searching for your new two-wheeled mode of transportation, and once you have your bike picked out, take it on a trail!
New or used
Deciding whether you want a new or used bike is the first choice you must make. Usually, it comes down to the cost factor since used should be cheaper. If you want to go with a used bike, make sure to find out how many miles the bike has been ridden and if it has gone through regular servicing. Don’t be alarmed if the bike has wear and tear on it; that is typical of a used bike.
A new bike will provide you peace of mind knowing it hasn’t been used, and the drivetrain, wheels, suspension and brakes should work as stated. The downfall to going with a new bike is that new bikes are usually more expensive.
The first thing to figure out when you’re wanting a new bike is where you plan to ride. Specific bikes are made for streets, bike paths, unpaved roads, trails and even a mix of those terrains. Road bikes are good for fitness, commuting, touring and racing, while mountain bikes can handle dirt trails. A hybrid model brings those two bikes together, so you’re able to ride on paved and unpaved surfaces.
You want to be comfortable while spending time on your bike, so it’s important to make sure you have one the right size. When deciding where a bike should fit well, check out the stand-over height (the distance between your body and the top tube when you straddle the bike) and reach (the distance from seat to handlebar). Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has a useful resource to help with this.
Performance and cost
If you plan to ride on paved pathways at a leisure pace, performance may not matter too much, but it can affect the bike’s cost. Bikes can come with a carbon or aluminum frame. Carbon allows for better performance and ride quality, but increases the price, while aluminum bikes can be found at every price point.
Different sizes of wheels will allow you to take your bike on a specific terrain. Larger bike tires are usually used for mountain bikes. Although the size of the tires doesn’t change the price too much, it’s important to note when it comes to performance.
When riding, remember to follow local traffic laws and wear a helmet!
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