Walking into a bike store can often be overwhelming at times with so many different brands and styles of bikes available. To the entry level rider, it may seem like a daunting task selecting the right bike and not winding up with an expensive dust collector.
The good news is, the task of buying a new bike doesn't need to be difficult at all. Bike stores really aren't that scary and the staff enjoy getting newcomers into the sport. After all the reason people work in bike shops is because of their passion for all things cycling, honestly, you didn't think it was for the money, did you?
In order to help you out, I have compiled a few tips to assist you in finding the ideal two-wheeled machine to suit your needs.
How are you going to use the bike?
Try to narrow down the specific reason you are making the purchase.
Many bike brands have considered the needs and requirements of customers and understand that they will often require the bike to serve more than one purpose.
For this reason, it's always a good idea to discuss your requirements with a sales person, as they can show you a bike you may never have considered. Perhaps you want a bike that's fast on road but prefer a little more comfort, or maybe you like the idea of going off road but also want to commute on sealed roads.
Usually there's a bike that will suit those types of dual purpose demands.
Ask lots of questions.
Bike store staff can get a bit carried away with jargon sometimes and forget not all customers live and breathe cycling the way they do.
Ask staff to explain in plain English, just nodding your head at everything that's say can end up leading to added confusion and may result in you buying something that could be more than what you need.
Set a realistic budget.
Think about how invested in the sport you will be and base your budget accordingly.
If you're only just kicking around the idea then you don't want to drop an entire months pay packet on a new bike that's only used once a month.
You also need to include a certain amount for accessories in your budget. Owning a bike requires that you have a few basics such as a Helmet, water bottles and cages, as well as pump and spare tube as a minimum.
Quite a few Bike stores will most likely work out a package for you so you can often get a great deal on everything you need to start riding straight away.
Get correctly sized to the bike.
There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable on a bike. Ensuring that you are correctly fitted to the bike no matter what level of riding you're doing is important to achieve optimum enjoyment from your ride.
Bike store staff are extremely knowledgeable in this area and will make a point of sizing you up correctly to your bike before you make your purchase.
It's always a great idea to test ride lots of different bikes. This is the only way you can gain an understanding of what you really want.
You may have an idea about something in your head but until you experience it there is little chance you will have a definitive answer.
Most bike stores will offer demo models, and occasionally have bikes you can spend a few hours on. This allows you to really get a solid feel for the bike and determine if it's right for your needs.
When you visit a bike store specifically to check out bikes, make sure you're dressed for success. This doesn't mean wearing a mini skirt and high heels (this goes for males and females)!
Comfortable pants, preferably shorts, (they help when checking size as staff can see your leg angles better while you're on the bike), a comfortable top and flat soled sports shoes, this will allow you to test ride the bikes without feeling uncomfortable or restricted.
Don't be tempted by online sales.
Bricks and mortar stores make cycling their business and will offer you far more than any online retailer ever can.
Yes, there are some great deals online but without the support and back up of good quality sales staff you are pretty much on your own.
Bicycle retailers love what they do and it's for this reason they will always be supportive of new people entering the sport.
Having a good relationship with your local bike shop also offers benefits such as a solid network of people to help you get more involved with the sport. Organised social rides, loyalty programs and having access to exceptional mechanical support will ensure your new ride is always performing as it should and you will get the best out of your cycling experience.
Cycling really is a fantastic sport to get involved in, It's a low-impact form of cardio, an enjoyable way to drop excess weight, and it helps reduce stress levels. Indeed it can be one of the best healthy lifestyle choices you can make today.
If you have any further questions about choosing the right bicycle, please feel free to ask it in the comments section below.