There are many types of bikes to choose from, and even more brands and styles. For someone new to biking the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.
Ask yourself these 5 questions to make sure you choose the right bike:
1. What type of riding will you be doing?
Are you going to use the bicycle for your daily commute or is it purely for recreational riding? Will you be traveling across flat land or up and down many hills? Do you want a bike you can take off the regular paths?
Hybrid or road bikes tend to be best for commuting around the city, though mountain bikes are better in neighbourhoods with a lot of potholes or other rough ground. Mountain bikes or Cyclocross bikes are typically best for off road travel.
If you’re looking to do competitive cycling you’ll want either a road bike (for touring) or a Cyclocross bike (for off roading).
2. What is your budget?
A good bike can cost anywhere from $400 to tens of thousands of dollars, and every extra feature adds an extra expense. If you don’t set a strict budget in advance you could easily spend way more money than necessary.
If this is your first bike, remember to include extra money for gear like a helmet and gloves. Baskets and other attachments will also cost extra.
3. Where are you going to store it?
Is your bike going to be stored indoors or left outside? Does it need to fit comfortably on a small balcony? If you’re going to store your bike in a small space, measure the space first and choose a model that will actually fit.
If you’re going to be storing it outside you’ll definitely want to invest in a high quality bike lock. This can add anywhere from $20 to $100 to your overall cost.
4. Are you going to buy it online or from a local store?
Both options have their advantages. You can often save money by purchasing your bike online, but you have to watch out for shipping costs. Local stores usually charge more, but they often include your initial setup/fitting in the price, and may offer discount or free tune ups going forward. You’ll also need to visit a local store if you want to test drive the bike.
If you’re buying a city bike for off roading or competitions you may also want to consider a store that specializes in the type of bike you want. They’ll have the expertise to help you make the right decision.
No matter what option you choose, make sure the specific retailer is reputable. Look for reviews on third party websites (company websites always post only the best testimonials) and ask for recommendations from other cyclists. It always pays to be cautious.
5. How are you going to take care of it?
Bikes are durable machines, but they will break down eventually. When that happens, are you going to fix it yourself or are you going to hire someone to do it for you?
If you want to fix the bike yourself, consider investing in a bike repair 101 course. Invest some of your time and watch bike repair tutorials on YouTube. If you can do all the repairs yourself, you’ll save a lot of money over the long run.
If you don’t want to learn how to do the repairs yourself, set aside some money for maintenance. You’ll probably want to set aside $75-100 year (possibly more if your bike uses any unusual parts).