Follow these bike buying guidelines if you’re in the market
Buying a bike can be a massive undertaking. There are so many options, accessories, fits, shops, and questions. That’s where this bike buying advice can help! Follow these bike buying dos and don’ts to make sure you get the bike that’s just right for you. Our advice can simplify the process, whether this is your first bike or you’re upgrading. Pro tip: become familiar with the cycling rules of the road.
Many bike shops will allow you to take the bike out on an extended ride. So come prepared with clothes you can ride in.
Research bike types & have a clear goal for the bike
There are different types of bikes and bike frame materials. Bikes that are specifically made for mountain biking are very different from traditional bikes. Aluminum and carbon fiber are the two most popular bike frame materials. There is no bike that does it all. Prioritize what is most important to you.
Know what bike brands the store carries before you go
Bike shops carry different types of brands. The city in which you live and the number of bike shops can determine what brands you have access to. Popular brands include Felt, Giant, Scott, Specialized, Trek, and Cervelo. Pro tip: whatever brand you get, learn how to refuel at a gas station during your long rides.
Talk to the staff and ask questions
TALK TO THE STAFF! Don’t be scared to talk to the folks in the shop, they are there to help. If you find that they go off on a tangent that you don’t follow just ask them to clarify. Many times they are just excited to talk about the bikes and are happy to share all of their knowledge. Getting to know them is also good. Having a relationship with the shop will be great when you come in to shop later or get service on your bike.
Get the bike fitted to you
Bikes don’t come fit to you just off the rack. There are many things that can be adjusted to make the bike fit more comfortably and even optimize your performance on the bike. Things that can be adjusted include the stem of the bike, the seat post, the seat, crank arms, and more. While some shops include a basic fit with purchase, many times it costs extra since they bring in a professional to help. If the bike is something you are going to be putting a lot of hours on, it is totally worth the extra investment. Pro tip: learn how much of a difference an adjustment of a few millimeters can make with your saddle height.
Ask about any package deals or closeout specials
It’s not bad to ask if they offer any package deals on accessories. Many times they will give you a small discount on anything you buy at the time of the bike. Sometimes bike brands have closeout specials for last year’s bikes, as cars do. Pro tip: this blog breaks down the different hydration methods so you know what’s best for you.
Don’t test a bike at a shop, then buy online
Buying from a local shop is the start of a relationship. They are giving you their time and expertise, not just at the time of purchase but for years to come.
Don’t ride just one bike
Be the Goldilocks of bike testing. If this is your first “real bike” take the time to test out different bikes. Different bike brands have different geometries that may fit your body better.
Don’t settle for what’s in store
If all they have is the basic components model and you really wanted something nicer, don’t settle. See what they can do about getting the bike you want. If you don’t like the way a bike looks or it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it just because you’re getting a great deal. There is not too much you can do about the color of bikes. Each year the model might be a different color. You can always see if there is an option to buy a previous or next year’s model. You can also have the bike custom painted if that is something that is important to you.
Don’t skip on accessories
Get everything you need! Get lights, lock, bento box, water bottles, pedals, shoes, shorts, etc. Set yourself up for success so that you have everything you need to get out and ride. You don’t need the excuse of not having something to keep you from riding and enjoying your new bike. Plus, they may offer a discount on accessories at the time of purchase with your bike.
Don’t buy and never return
Try and come back to the same bike shop for your future needs. They may even have a system that keeps track of your purchases so they are familiar with your needs. The mechanics at that shop will be most familiar with the brand and type of bike you purchased. You might just make some friends and new riding buddies.