How To Buy A Bicycle Without Having a Breakdown

First, we want to stress that this post is MOSTLY for beginners. If you’ve been riding for a long time, know your bike’s abilities and your abilities and where those two things come together, this post probably isn’t for you. But if the last time you rode a bike was in a different decade (or century for many), then maybe start here.
 
Biking is a great way to get in shape, reduce stress and have a hell of a lot of fun along the way. But in any job you have to have the right tools for the job, and cycling is no different. You can’t hammer a nail with a wrench (well, I mean...you can in a pinch) and so we like to make sure that people are using whatever tool works best for them. So here’s how to buy a bicycle without having a breakdown.
Buying a bike can be a challenge. There are lots of choices. Where are you going to ride? What will you do?
Where Are You Going With That Bike?

It is impossible to answer the question, “what bike should I buy” without answering the questions, “where am I going to ride it”. It’s the hammer and the wrench all over again. So first, you need to think about where you’re going to ride your bike.

If you want a bike that you can commute to work on, riding almost entirely on city or highway streets, you’ll likely be eyeing a road or hybrid bike. If you don’t plan on ever seeing a trail or mountain, let alone riding one then you probably don’t need a hardcore mountain bike. If you lie somewhere in the middle and don't necessarily want to go in on two different bikes, then you might be looking for a hybrid as opposed to a straight-up road bike.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Well why wouldn’t I just buy a hybrid no matter what if you can ride it anywhere?” That’s a great question. A hybrid is designed to do a bunch of things pretty well. It is not designed for someone who’s going to crush a hundred km every single weekend. It will do it...pretty well. And if you’re planning on heading out into the wilds and beating the sweet love out of your bike (which I would really recommend...because it’s a hell of a lot of fun) then a hybrid just isn’t going to cut it. It will do it... pretty well. But if you’re really going to be a specialist, then you need to pick the bike that’s going to be the best tool for the job. Maybe more than one once you’re back in to the swing of things.

Bicycle fitment is a key element to enjoying your bicycle.
Does It Hurt When I Do This?

No one wants to be uncomfortable. Riding should be fun and while there will be times when it might be hard, it should be as comfortable as possible and your bike plays a huge part in that. Now we’ve already talked about how different types of bikes are for different styles of riding. A lot of that has to do with comfort. Not only does the bike not perform well on the wrong surface but it doesn’t feel good.

The important thing to realize here is that there is no perfect size and shape for a bike because everyone’s body is different. Several decades ago, the US military redesigned fighter pilot cockpits for the “average pilot”. The result? They didn’t fit anyone because no one was actually average, and neither are you.

Choosing a bike is a lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This seat is too soft. This seat is too hard. This seat is just right. This is frame is too tall. This frame is too short. This frame is just right.

If you’re going to shell out money on a bike, then it should be just right.

Ride It Like You Stole It...But Don’t Steal It

You should not take a bike home if you haven’t taken it for a real ride. Imagine someone sets you up on a blind date. Not the end of the world, right? But if one of your friends set you up on a blind marriage, then you’re going to have some words. This is going to be your bike. So ride it. Take it out. Show it a good time and then decide whether or not the two of you were meant to be together.

 

And remember we said to ride it “like” you stole it, but obviously you still need to pay for it. So how much should you pay for a bike? Much like the conversation around comfort, much of that depends on you. I’m sure we’ve all had friends who bought all of the top end gear for something that never actually did. And we probably have friends who keep replacing something because they bought the cheap version of something that they used constantly and should have probably invested more.

 

So the first question is, how do you intend to use it? If you’re planning on the occasional casual Saturday afternoon bike ride, then maybe you can go with a relatively introductory level. But if you’re going to beat the heck out of this bike everyday until it’s dead and buried, then you’re going to want to make the investment.

 

When it comes to how much you should spend on a bike, it’s not about the price tag. It’s about finding a bike with a good reputation that fits your needs and feels right.

And if this wasn’t enough info and you need a little more help selecting your new ride, then pop in. Test drive. Sit on bikes. Ask questions. Our favourite thing to do is helping people select a bike that works for THEM.

Colorful bikes lined up in front of the bike monkey store in truro, nova scotia

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