Getting Back Into Cycling? Here’s A Handy Buyer’s Guide


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Like a lot of people, you might have been crazy about your bike for a long time as a kid, and gradually let this fall by the wayside as you grew older. These days, you’ve probably got a car for getting from A to B, and the only bikes in the house may have characters from Frozen on them! If you know it’s time for an upgrade, but you’ve spent so long away from bikes that you have no idea what to look for, then this post is for you. Here’s a guide to picking out your perfect bike…

Think About your Needs

Obviously, you’re going to get some funny looks if you walk into your nearest bike store and say “one bicycle, please!” When picking out a bike, it helps to consider your needs beforehand, as there are many different types for different uses. Even then, you have a lot of other options, even if you’re just looking for something to ride around town with. The most common type you’ll come across are likely mountain bikes; tough, versatile, and designed for off-roading, these can prove a very flexible choice of bike, whether you want to go riding through the woods with your family or just nip out to a store. Then, you have road bikes, which are built for being quick and nimble in urban areas. This is usually the first choice for people who just want a healthier way of doing their daily commute. There are hybrids, which are faster than a mountain bike, but slower and tougher than a road bike. Then you have cruisers and adult tricycles, which are better suited to coasting along peacefully while you take in the scenery. Of course, you have other, more specialized options after that such as BMXs and tandem bikes. However, if you’re just coming back to cycling after a long break, it’s best to go with something more universal.

Consider your Budget

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The price of bikes can vary greatly, but whatever you go for, it’s not going to be exactly cheap. When you’re looking for a nice adult bicycle to get back into the swing of it, you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars. The “low” range in terms of price is around $80 to $300. These bikes are typically mountain models, and little more than a metal frame; functional but often stylish. What could be considered “mid” range bikes range from $300 to $1000. These are usually made of aluminum or a similar, lighter metal. If you’ve had a slightly shorter break from cycling, and now you know that you’re going to be riding every day, going for this price range is probably the best bet for you, on account of the higher-quality wheels, pedals and chains, which increase the bike’s overall longevity. Anything above $1000 is going to be of a higher build quality, made from the very lightest of metals like carbon and titanium. These bikes are designed for truly ardent cyclists, who ride at every opportunity they get and even enter in the odd light competition. These models are typically custom jobs. If this is going to be the first time you’ve cycled in a long while, we recommend going with something in the low-to-mid-range bracket. This will give you something versatile and functional enough for your needs, and will ensure you don’t end up wasting money on a bike you don’t end up having that much use for.

Gears, Suspension and Brake Types

If you’re a baby boomer, you might remember a time when ten-speeds were the fanciest model of push-bike you could ask for. These days, there are a wide range of different gear setups, enough to cover these in an entirely different post. However, if you’re coming back to cycling after some time, there are only a few basics you need to know. To keep your decision simple, the main things to think about are your level of fitness, and the kind of terrain you’ll be riding on most often. If you’re going to be going up a lot of hills, and you find this kind of riding challenging, it’s best to opt for a bike with a higher number of gears. On the other hand, if you’re confident in your ability, and you’re going to be riding mainly on flat, easily-manageable terrain, you won’t need nearly as many low gears to trundle your way up steep inclines.

Suspension is another important thing to consider when you’re in the market for a new bicycle, especially if you’re expecting to do a lot of riding over rough, rugged terrain. If you’ve decided to go with a mountain bike, it’s generally a good idea to go with full, or at least front, suspension. Full suspension, while costing more money, helps you maintain better control over your bike, and increases the traction on any terrain. This makes it ideal if you’re thinking of using your mountain bike for a lot of off-roading. In the majority of cases though, front suspension will be more than enough for a smooth, comfortable ride. When shopping around, bear in mind that road bikes often don’t have any suspension at all.

Finally, you need to think about your brakes. Like the other parts of the bike, there are several options, each with their different pros and cons. One of the most common are rim brakes, which grip the rims of the wheel. Their mechanism is very simple and easy to maintain. However, they can wear down the wheel rim over time, and these brakes may be less effective when the rim gets wet or muddy. Then, you have disc brakes. These are attached to, and grip onto, the wheel hub. In many cases, they can be more complicated to diagnose and inspect than rim brakes. Having said that, they tend to work better in wet or muddy conditions. Then there are drum brakes, which are integrated into the wheel hub. These are both low-maintenance and offer great weather resistance, so you could do far worse if you don’t want to worry about maintaining your bike too much.

Remember that if you’re restricting your search to road bikes and cruisers, you may not have that much choice over the brakes that come with it. However, when you’re buying, it still pays off to get familiar with the various option on the market.

Adjust, Fit, and Take It for a Spin

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Just like a car, you shouldn’t put any money down for a bike until you’ve taken it for a spin and gotten a feel for it. The first step, of course, is adjusting it to your body. You should have the seat high enough so that your feet just barely touch the ground, your knees should only be a tad bent when you’re pedaling, and when the pedal’s as low down as it will go, the leg you’re working it with should be almost completely straight. If your knee is too bent or too straight when the pedal’s all the way down, and you’re going to be using your bike for long sessions at a time, then it’s going to come to hurt your knees after a while. Furthermore, when your seat is set too low, it can really take the power out of your leg work and make the bike much harder to ride. When you come to take your bike for a test ride, you’ll naturally twig onto any big, glaring issues that may be affecting your comfort. However, there are certain factors that you should always pay attention to.

Most importantly, you should be making sure that the overall ride of the bike you’ve chosen is comfortable for you. If that happens to be a hybrid, are you okay sitting upright over long journeys? If you’re getting a road bike for your commute to work, do you think you could pedal comfortably over all that time? Obviously, you’re going to develop as a cyclist with time and get more used to the ride fairly quickly. Still, you’ll only make things tougher for yourself if you start on a model that doesn’t quite suit you. The way it handles certain terrain is also important. Ideally, you should try to go for a test ride somewhere where there’s many different surfaces, or a concentration of the kind of surface you know you’ll be using it for the most. In the case of mountain bikes, you might want to consider going to a route that rents out bikes. Many of these companies will also sell their models. Finally, you may want to think about the bike’s carrying capacity. If possible, take a backpack with you and see how the bike handles with the weight of a typical load you’ll be wanting to take around with you.

Who knew there could be so much to push-bikes, right? If you’re looking to get back into cycling, following this guide will help you get the best model for your needs!

Enjoy Your Ride
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2 Responses to “ Getting Back Into Cycling? Here’s A Handy Buyer’s Guide ”

  1. Trike on July 8, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Excellent post , I am looking to get back into cycling and this helped me narrow down some options I was debating. Thoughts on 2 vs 3 wheelers?

  2. @Howard Taylor on May 30, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    A totally clean and fresh helpful guide full of solid instruction for a handy buyer. Authentic guide can be the best confusion remover beside mental satisfaction. Thanks to Darryl for some extra-ordinary information.


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