The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Buy a Bicycle

Whether you browse your neighborhood bike store or shop online, there are more options than ever when it comes to purchasing a bike.

Because of this, selecting the perfect bike for your needs can be difficult. However, do not worry; My Bicycle Tips is here to help.

Let us assist you in every step of the bike-buying process, from determining the best bike for your needs, picking a shop, and setting a budget to choosing components, determining the proper size, and going for a test ride.

Discover the eight-step process for buying a bike

Set Your Goals

Where do I begin? So, we advise choosing your bike’s objectives. You’ll be able to quickly narrow down your alternatives if you can determine what you need to do with your new bike.

When choosing the ideal bike for your needs, you mostly have the following choices: a road bike, mountain bike, hybrid bike, gravel bike, folding bike, city bike, or singlespeed/fixie.

Form always comes after function, and bicycles are no exception. Different bikes are designed for various riding styles; some are extremely specialized for a given use. While most bikes are adaptable enough for you to ride to work, to the shops, and around hills on the same bike, focusing on your objectives will help you select a bike that is more appropriate for your riding intents.

One of the most popular goals is to start riding to work to avoid the traffic on public transportation or the high expense of driving.

Set Your Budget

So, you’ve determined the kind of bike you need. How much money do you have to spend?

Non-motorized bicycles typically start at about £200. Although cheaper bikes are also available, they are nearly always of low quality.

If you’re looking to purchase a budget-friendly road bike or budget-friendly mountain bike, £500 to £750 is a good place to start for a “serious” bike with excellent features and a frame. The same holds true for a high-quality hybrid or cheap gravel bike.

At this price range, you’ll see bicycles with branded components and a relatively light and well-designed frame. It should be strong beyond all else. Cheap bicycles’ biggest flaw is that they work well while they’re brand-new; they might not continue to do so.

However, if your budget allows for it and you intend to use your bike frequently, we advise investing about £1,000. The best mountain bikes under $1,000 and the best road bikes under $1,000 at this point start to feature high-quality components and a frame that can be upgraded as your riding skills improve.

You can obviously spend a lot more. The best road, mountain, or gravel bikes frequently command five-figure prices. It’s a matter of diminishing returns, as with any high-end buy, but for the majority of dedicated bikers, an expenditure of between £2,000 and £4,000 will get you a top-notch bike.

What about Second-hand bikes, direct-sales brands, and online shops?

Online retailers offer many of the greatest prices on bikes, both new and used.

Some companies (often referred to as direct-sales companies), like Canyon and YT Industries, are experts in online sales and only provide their bikes to purchase online. Online suppliers typically offer a greater specification for a given price because you avoid paying the bike shop’s part of the sale price.

However, there are disadvantages to buying a bike online. If you shop online, you lose out on the personal touch; therefore, if you don’t have a knowledgeable friend to ask for assistance or are unsure of what you want and need, you might be better off making your first bike purchase at a physical bike shop.

If you decide to purchase the bike online, it will probably come in a box and require simple assembly. Although putting together a bike is a fairly straightforward task, you may need to spend at least £30 to £50 to resolve the mechanical issues with a basic service during the first month, in case you require assistance from a shop.

Another great option is to buy a bike on Amazon. However, we’d only advise making a purchase here if you know what you want.

Find a Shop

Each bike shop has a unique personality. If you’re new to cycling, a shop that specializes in high-end road racing bikes may not be the greatest place to start unless you prefer being confused by technical terms or simply want to look at expensive bikes that are out of your price range.

Staff in a shop that welcomes new riders will walk you through a variety of possibilities without confusing you with technical terms. Instead of hearing you spout off a string of buzzwords, they will ask about your plans for the bike and pay attention to your requirements.

If you’re serious about getting the best deal, look around in a few bike stores before making a decision. Get a sense of the bicycles they sell by paying attention to how the staff interacts with other customers. Various stores will have cycles from various brands.

A bike shop should ensure the bike is assembled correctly in addition to offering experienced advice. Depending on the manufacturer, bikes come from the factory in varying degrees of disassembly, so it takes the correct equipment and knowledge to ensure the bike is completely safe and roadworthy.

After a month or two, a competent bike shop will often conduct a post-delivery check-up to ensure that everything has settled in well and is still functioning properly. Considering that bikes require maintenance and replacement parts like tires and inner tubes, purchasing a bike might mark the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.

Choose Your Gears

Modern bikes typically have many gears. It is common to see systems with 20, 22, 27, and even 30 gears. Let’s now examine some of the specific factors you must consider when purchasing a bike.

The gear range must fit the terrain you’ll be riding in rather than the number of gears because the goal is to give you a wide range of gears so you can ride comfortably up or down anything.

Most gear systems employ derailleurs, which are devices that move the chain between sprockets on the rear cassette or from one chain ring to another at the front of the bike (this is a front derailleur) (a rear derailleur).

The derailleurs, gear shifters, crankset, cassette, chain, bottom bracket, and brakes are all included in the group set, which also includes the gears.

The majority of bikes should be equipped with a group set that is appropriate for their intended purpose. Still, there can be substantial differences between models, so make sure your prospective purchase has the right gearing for the rides you expect to take.

On functional bikes, gears housed in the rear wheel—commonly referred to as hub gears—are making a comeback. They have a single straightforward control on the handlebar and can have 3 to 14 speeds.

Although hub gears are a bit heavier than derailleurs, many riders who value practicality find them to be appealing because of their simplicity, weatherproofing, and neatness.

Some riders ride singlespeed bikes or bikes with just one gear, completely forgoing gear devices. The flat terrain makes these bikes ideal for easy urban mobility, and off-road versions offer a challenge for seasoned mountain cyclists who prefer not to think about which gear to use.

If you decide on a geared bike, which is by far the most ideal option, and are not comfortable with the system, ask the bike shop if they can demonstrate how to use the gears. Then, give yourself plenty of time to become acquainted with them.

Click your way up and down the gear range on a flat, empty area, such as a peaceful parking lot. The lowest gears will undoubtedly feel way too easy on flat terrain. You’ll be grateful you have them when climbing a hill, so that’s how it should be.

Choose Your Brakes

Bicycle brakes used to come in a variety of styles, but many contemporary bikes now have disc brakes instead of the cantilever or rim brakes of the past.

With disc brakes, you have better control over how hard you brake and more reliable stopping, especially in the rain. However, they are a little bit heavier than rim brakes. While mechanical disc brakes are more common on less expensive bikes, hydraulic disc brakes are seen on more expensive bikes. If you have the money, hydraulic brakes offer better modulation and are a worthwhile improvement.

While cantilever brakes are typically found on budget-friendly hybrid bikes, cheaper road bikes will still come with rim brakes. Drum or back-pedal brakes are found on several Dutch bicycles.

Find the Right Size

One of the numerous benefits of purchasing a bike from a specialized retailer is that they’ll ensure you have a frame that fits properly.

Bicycle sizes are given in centimeters, inches, or T-shirt sizes (for example, from extra-small to extra-large). Unfortunately, there isn’t much uniformity between brands, but we have guides for road, mountain, and women’s bikes to help.

It’s critical to choose the proper size for comfort and security. A bike that is too big will be awkward and possibly dangerous, while a bike that is too small won’t allow you to raise the saddle high enough for comfortable pedaling and will make you feel cramped.

On their websites, bike manufacturers typically have a sizing chart that details the exact dimensions of each bike size. Although it can be difficult to understand the nuances of road or mountain bike geometry, there is typically a suggested rider height range listed for each size.

With your feet flat on the ground and a few centimeters of space between your body and the bike, you should be able to stand over the bike frame.

Your knee should be almost straight when the pedal is near the bottom of its rotation, and you should be able to adjust the saddle height to achieve this.

The seat post, a tube supporting the saddle, will be marked with maximum safe extension. Don’t bring it up beyond this. You need a larger frame if you have to lift the saddle this high.

The bike’s frame size tells you more than simply how tall it is. This is because as frames get bigger, they also become longer. When a bike is the wrong size for you, the reach to the handlebars will either be too short or too long, rapidly becoming unpleasant.

Choose the Right Suspension

Real off-road mountain bikes have shock-absorbing suspension systems. Hardtail mountain bikes are those that only have fork suspension up front, while full-suspension bikes have both front and rear suspension systems.

While some affordable mountain and hybrid bikes have suspension forks, it is recommended to avoid them unless you have a fixed budget (we’d suggest roughly £500 and above for a hardtail mountain bike) because they perform poorly and add weight and add weight and complexity.

It’s also important to consider whether suspension is necessary if you’re using a hybrid or mountain bike on the road and your off-road adventures are restricted to well-maintained trails and towpaths. Running wide tires at a low pressure frequently adds enough suspension to enhance comfort significantly.

However, mountain bike suspension makes sense if you intend to do any significant off-road riding. At the very least, spend between $1,500 and $2,000 for a full-suspension mountain bike.

The best hardtail mountain bikes typically offer greater value for money if you have a smaller budget because more of it is invested in the frame and components.

The suspension travel on different mountain bikes varies. What level of suspension is required for a mountain bike?

Again, it depends on where you plan to ride your bike. Still, as a general overview, a cross-country bike will have between 60 and 110 millimeters of travel, a down country bike between 110 and 130 millimeters, a trail bike between 130 and 160 millimeters, an enduro bike between 160 and 180 millimeters, and a downhill bike between 180 and 200 millimeters.

Although it may be alluring to choose a bike with the muscular appearance of an enduro or downhill bike, the extra weight and aggressive geometry will be ineffective if you’re merely riding lightly off-road.

Don’t Forget to Take a Test Ride

Even a quick lap around the block or around the parking lot can give you a sense of how well the bike fits and handles before you decide to buy it. Expect to leave the store with a credit card and identification, typically the best security form.

Longer test rides are available in some stores, and some bike manufacturers also host demo days when you can ride a variety of their models on a predetermined route.

If you want to know if a bike is your next true love, take it for a “real” ride on some nearby roads or trails.

Final Words

Are you looking to buy or upgrade a bike but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry; we are here to share the best tips and reviews with our readers. If you are new to bicycling and don’t know what to look for while buying a bike, this article will surely help you to make the right decision. Stay tuned for more great blogs about bicycle tips. If you want to know something about bikes, drop a comment below.

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