Unless you plan on buying a cheap bike from Walmart or your local sporting goods store, buying a new bike can be a tedious process. If you are looking for a higher end road or mountain bike for serious recreational use, there are several things to consider before making the purchase: price, quality, components, weight, and warranty. There are tons of online resources, including the manufactures websites, where this information can be found. Another good way to get a grasp of this information is to visit your local bike shop and talk with an expert.
When it comes down to it, you first need to create a budget and a price range. When it comes to bikes, you typically get what you pay for. However, there are certain instances when you will pay a little more for certain brands, such as Trek or Specialized. For example, let’s say your budget is $2,000 and you are looking for a new road bike. You have been shopping around for weeks looking at every bike imaginable until you are blue in the face. Finally you find a Trek you really like and notice the quality level of components (aka: groupo set) it comes with. You recall a bike from a smaller company you were looking at last week equipped with top of the line components where the Trek in front of you has medium level. What throws you for a loop is they’re the same price. This is common when it comes to bike companies. After all, Trek is a well established company and people know the name, thus willing to pay more. You may get better quality and a better warranty going with the name brand, but may not get the higher end components on a bike in your price range. But in the end, does it really doesn’t matter? What I used to tell my customers is that whatever feels the best and is in your budget it is what you should get.
As I mentioned before, you get what you pay for. If you are looking to buy a nice bike that rides amazing, be ready to fork out some money. A decent bike can be between $900 to $1300 depending on whether it’s a mountain bike or road bike, full suspension or hard tail, or whether it is made of aluminum or carbon. The lighter the bike, the more expensive it is going to be. This is due to the materials the frame is made out of and the technology utilized to design the frame. Also, the quality of components and wheels the bike comes with plays a factor in the overall price.
Bikes falling in the $1500 to $2500 range are probably the most common among those who ride on a regular basis. Bikes in this range are great for those who are going to be riding a lot and looking for the durability, comfort, and efficiency in a bike that will be ridden multiple times a week. These bikes will typically have an aluminum frame with medium level components and should last a long time if maintained properly. The components can be easily upgraded when parts wear out or break and are a joy to ride.
Additionally, bikes costing $2500 and above will typically feel amazing… much like how a luxury car drives compared to a cheap compact car. These will probably be race ready machines with top of the line components and made of carbon. They will be very light and most efficient on climbs, descends, and riding fast on flat ground. The frames will feel stiff and there will be very little power loss when pedaling, especially uphill. Bikes in this range will probably come with a high end wheel set and drive train to give a nice smooth feeling. This is even more prevalent in bikes costing over $4500.
The most important thing when buying a good bike is to do your homework. Whether it is your first time buying a bike over $1000 or you are looking for your 5th top of the line bike, always be sure to test ride the bike and several others in your price range. Talk with the bike shop experts, read reviews online, and visit several company websites to see how they design and build their bikes. Also, compare the different warranty’s offered by bike manufactures. Some offer an additional warranty that you pay a little more for so be sure to look into that as well. Taking time to do your homework and research will ensure you are confident with your purchase. Bicycles can be a lot of money and your new bike should be something that feels great to you and are happy with, not what a salesman thinks you will be happy with.
After you buy the bike, be sure to get it fit properly for you. Most bike shops have expert bike fitters who will be more than willing to make sure your new bike fits you properly and is comfortable. If you buy the bike from a shop that does fits, they are usually more than happy to spend 30-60 minutes with making adjustments to ensure the proper fit. After all, if the bike is not comfortable, how motivated do you think you will be to ride it?