How To Buy Your First Bike – How’s it going guys, topic for today’s article how to buy your first bike. So this article, there’s going to be a lot of information covered. It might be a little bit longer than normal but I guarantee you that it’s all going to be good solid information and not very much fluff or kind of rambling or whatever. Lots of good information so I highly suggest you read all the way to the end.
How To Buy Your First Bike – what is this bike going to be used for
When you’re looking at what bike to buy for your very first bike you have to start thinking about what is this bike going to be used for. Are you going to be racing with the bike? Are you going to be riding off-road? Are you going to be commuting?
You’re just going you know to and from work, to and from school etcetera. What is the bike going to be used for primarily, right? So I know for the most part people who are reading our blog, typically you’re not going to be into racing, you’re probably not going to be doing too much off-road stuff, so primarily your bike is going to be used for commuting or to build your fitness.
So with that in mind when you are buying a bike that is going to be used for commuting. There’s different things that you want to look at in terms of what is actually on the bike itself, what type of mounts is has, what type of gearing it has as opposed to a road bike that you’re going to be used for racing or a mountain bike that you’re going to use for trail riding.
How To Buy Your First Bike – 3 main frame styles
So there’s 3 main frame styles of bikes out there that I would, that I would classify as the 3 main. So you have a road bike, a mountain bike, and then you have the hybrid bike.
How To Buy Your First Bike – Road bikes
So the road bike is going to be the fastest style of bike, it’s going to be the lightest, it usually has the thinnest tires. They also tend to be the more expensive style of bike just because they are faster and lighter. They usually have better quality components on it. That being said it, they can be for someone who’s new to cycling, they can be a little bit uncomfortable to ride because you’re in a more kind of like an aggressive riding position so for people who are really new they might be a little bit uncomfortable at first as compared to either a hybrid or a mountain bike.
How To Buy Your First Bike – Mountain bikes
So a mountain bike is typically used to be riding off trails. You shouldn’t if you’re going to be using a bike that you’re only going to be riding on the road typically there’s no point in getting a mountain bike. I know a lot of people love to buy these like cheap mountain bikes that have the shocks on the front and a shock through like the shock for the rear wheel. These bikes are typically extremely heavy and they’re very inefficient.
They have the big tires on them so you have a lot of rolling resistance and they’re really not efficient bikes at all for riding on the road.
How To Buy Your First Bike – Hybrid bikes
And then a hybrid bike is kind of like a mix between a road bike and a mountain bike. And so, I know a lot of people who are watching this either an entry level road bike so one of the cheaper road bikes is going to be the type of bike that’s going to be best for them or it’s going to be a hybrid bike. And we’re going to talk exactly why that these bikes are probably going to be the best bet for you.
How To Buy Your First Bike – gearing
So the first important point when you’re kind of looking at a bike to buy is what type of gearing is on this bike.
Now I’m assuming that you’re going to be using the bike for commuting and chances are if you’re reading this blog you’re very new to cycling and you’re not, you probably don’t have a lot of fitness on the bike.
So getting a bike with proper gearing is definitely going to be really important.
If there’s a lot of hills in your area and you’re going to be riding up and down hills quite a bit, if you don’t have the proper gearing on your bike it can make it almost impossible.
I know for example, if you have a lot of hills in your area a single speed bike is not something that you want as well as typically a lot of older kind of like road bikes and older cruiser bikes.
The range of gears that these bikes tend to have is really shitty and really shitty for climbing hills as well. So when you’re looking at a bike to buy typically if you’re buying either a lower-end road bike or you’re buying a hybrid bike what you want to look for is a bike that has a triple, triple ring crank set on the front.
Typically, what I mean by that is that there is going to be 3 chain rings on the front crank set and so like a standard crank set for a triple ring is going to be, is going to be probably a 48, 38 and a 28.
That means on the biggest ring there’s going to be 48 teeth, then 38 teeth, then 28 teeth. It’s going to be somewhere in that area, right. And so basically having that range on your front crank set is going to give you a much bigger range for climbing up hills.
This is important because if you’re climbing up a hill you want to be able to spin the pedals quite fast. It’s the most efficient way to get up, it’s the easiest on your knees. If you’re grinding, we call it grinding up a hill right. If you’re grinding up a hill where your pedals basically your cadence is like really slow like this then it’s very very difficult on your body and on your knees especially. It’s really important that if you’re going to be doing a lot of hill climbing and it could be even just short little climbs, short, steep climbs is to have a bike with proper gearing.
With an entry level road bike the very lower end ones and most hybrid bikes are going to have a triple crank set. Something else that you want to look at on a bike is the type of mounts that it has. So can the bike accept fenders and a rack? So for most people who are commuting having a bike that has fenders and a rack on it is going to be really nice.
The reason for that is, fenders when it rains out makes riding in the rain much nicer so if you’re riding to and from work, to and from school and you’re riding through the rain and you don’t have like say a rear fender on your bike basically your whole backside is just going to be soaking wet. Getting a bike that has the proper mounts so that you can put a fender on the front and on the back I think is highly important and also having the ability to put a rack on the back as well. So a rack on the back of the bike is really beneficial if you’re going to be doing a lot of commuting and you’re going to be carrying some heavy items with you.
If you’re bringing your books to school or you’re going to work and you have, you know your laptop or you have some heavy items that you’re going to be carrying constantly while on a bike then having the ability to use saddle bags, so here I’m going to grab my saddle bags. So having the ability to put saddle bags so basically that you can clip onto a rack. This is basically the mount, these basically clip onto the rack. Having that ability to be able to carry heavy items and not have to wear a backpack is something that definitely, is definitely super important.
How To Buy Your First Bike – new or used bike
Third main factor I’d say that you want to look at is the bike going to fit me. I’m going to be basically going through the difference between buying a new bike or buying a used bike.
I highly suggest buying a new bike just for the fact that you can go to an actual bike shop. He’ll be able to look at you and basically determine what size is going to be best for you because the fit of the bike definitely does make a significant difference in terms of reducing your risk of injury as well as just overall comfort on the bike.
They can make certain adjustments to the bike to the seat height, to the frame size in order to basically give you the most efficient position as well as something that is going to be more enjoyable to ride just because it’s going to be more comfortable.
So when people are first getting into cycling they probably don’t want typically to spend a lot of money so they’re probably are thinking to themselves that they’re just going to buy a cheap used bike and I kind of see that if, if you want to make cycling a big part of your life I definitely would recommend to not do that.
For a main few reasons buying a used bike typically if you’re new to cycling you don’t necessarily know what to look for and that’s what I’m trying to go over in this article, things to look for in a bike. But at the same time if you’re still new to it you might overlook some important features that you might buy the bike and then realize afterwards it like, oh I can’t do this or I can’t have that on it or possibly the bike fits you absolutely horribly and also you have no idea what the history of the bike is when you’re buying used.
Somebody could have used it basically for a month and they rode it maybe 3 or 4 times. And then they’re selling it but then you could have somebody who might have crashed the bike multiple times, maybe it has hairline fractures through the frame like you just, I kind of get a little uneasy when I’m buying if I were to buy a used bike just because I don’t necessarily know what I’m buying.
I don’t what’s happened to the bike before. So some of the pros with buying a used bike would be that it’s typically cheaper and I say typically cheaper.
How To Buy Your First Bike – new bike
You can buy a new bike for pretty cheap so some of the cons would be that you don’t know the bike history.
You don’t know if the bike is going to fit you, there’s no free bike tuning. So when you buy a new bike, typically what happens is that they give you a year of free tune-ups. I just kind of get a little bit uneasy when people go about buying a used bike just because you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to be getting.
So in buying a new bike though what are the pros of buying a new bike? So basically you, typically what’s going to happen is you’re going to a bike shop, they’re going to look at you, they’re are going to ask you what is the bike going to be used for and so basically what they’re going to try and decide is what bike is going to be best for you and your needs.
You’re going to be able to work with someone directly and they’re going to be able to assist you in finding the best bike. Typically what happens after you buy your bike is that they’re going to fit you up on your bike. It usually takes 10 or 15 minutes after you buy it and then they fit you up so that the bike is obviously going to, it’s going to be comfortable for you and they’re going to sell you, they’re typically going to sell you a bike that is going to be the best size for you as well.
Another big pro is that you know that the bike is brand new so that there’s not going to be, you’re not going to run into probably any surprises with the bike down the road just because you know that basically, you’re the only one that has ridden this bike.
Something else that is nice when you’re buying from a local bike shop, most of them will typically offer at least 6 months to a year or free tune-ups. If you’re not very fluent with like adjusting the gears or adjusting the breaking up your wheel it’s kind of nice when you’re buying from a local bike shop because it will just be like, alright you can bring the bike back as many times as you want within a year and we’ll tune the bike up.
How To Buy Your First Bike – When you buy a new bike
And just kind of like make any little tweaks to the bike just to keep you going. When you buy a new bike basically over time as you start to use it the bike kind of gets adjusted to being ridden. So some of the cables will stretch, the wheel might come out of trew a little bit and if you don’t know how to fix these things yourself then it can and you have to pay somebody else to do it and it can be a little bit costly over time. So I highly recommend buying a new bike over a used bike especially if you’re new to cycling. Like I could go out and probably buy a used bike but I’d still don’t think I’d feel 100% comfortable doing it, I’d just rather buy a new bike personally. Yes, you might get a really good deal buying a used bike. If you are going to buy a used bike try to buy if off of a friend or a family member, someone that you know as opposed to maybe just buying it` completely blind off of the, off the internet.
Another thing to mention is that you can buy new bikes online just like from an online bike store. The problem with that is that you don’t necessarily know what bike is going to fit you, what’s the best size going to be. What’s nice is when you buy from a local shop you can see the bike, they can see you fit you up to the basically the right bike and you get to look at the bike and you get to touch it and you get to feel the gears. Buying a bike online unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, unless you know exactly what you’re size is I would highly suggest not doing that.
How To Buy Your First Bike – how much should I be spending on a bike?
Now a question that I get a lot of is how much should I be spending on a bike? So this is obviously going to be dependent on a lot of factors in your life like how much of a budget do you have. A lot of the reasons why people go for used bikes is because they can buy it for $100, $200 or something like that.
If I were to go back in time before I built my own bamboo frame and stuff and spent a shit ton of money into that is I would just buy a standard entry level road bike or an entry level, or just a hybrid bike.
For most people that is going to be basically the best option for them. And yes, an entry-level road bike can run you anywhere from typically $600 all the way up to $1300 or $1400.
Finding something from $800 to a $1000 is probably going to be the best bet for people.
Once you get over the $1000 and you start spending 2, 3, 4, $5000 on a bike the main difference between the $1000 bike and the $5000 bike is not necessarily the quality of the components it’s more so the actual weight of the bike.
So going from $1000 that might weigh 20lbs up to a $5000 bike, the main difference between the 2 is you might lose 4 to 5lbs on the bike. Probably typically about 4lbs.
You might be going from a 20lbs bike to a 16lb bike and that’s the major difference. Also when you’re buying like an entry-level bike most of them either have a compact crank set. They have a 50, 34 crank set on the front which is going to be better for most people in terms of being able to spin at a higher cadence going up hills as opposed to a standard crank set which is a 53, 39 as well as having easier gears a lot of the entry.
Level road bikes also have the mounts for a rack and fenders as well which is really good if you’re going to be using the bike for commuting.
How much should you spend? I would spend as much as you can without going over a $1000, $1500 too much. So say if you only have $300 right now and you can start saving some cash in order to buy a better bike I would start saving cash and just buy, make that initial purchase of your bike a better bike.
If you’re going, say you’re going from a $200 bike to a $1000 bike basically the bike is going to be considerably lighter but also the components on the bike are going to be of much higher quality.
Basically, the components are going be able to last a lot longer and you’re going to get a lot more kind of wear out of the buy as opposed to buying a $200 bike.
You might find that you have to repair components or replace components a lot more, a lot more often on that type of bike. That being said though, cheaper bikes typically have cheaper components so it’s actually to repair the bike.
But I would still personally go with something that is typically in the $800 to a $1000 range just because the bike is going to be much more efficient, it’s going to be lighter, the components are going to be of a higher quality.
Typically you’re going to be buying that bike new so you’re going to get a free bike fit and then you’re also going to get typically, free bike tuning for at least 6 months to a year on that bike. So you can buy a hybrid bike for that amount, so a really good hybrid bike. That’s going to be good for a lot of people especially if you’re new into cycling and your just basically going to be using the bike for commuting maybe you’re going to be doing a little bit of fitness training on it that’s going to be a good style of bike for you.
I rode a hybrid bike for like, I did the first 15 or 20,000km on a hybrid bike through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia and back through South East Asia a second time. I did it all on a hybrid bike and I think I spent $300 on that bike when I was in Vietnam and it did get me through a lot of places for sure. And so cheaper, kind of like a cheaper hybrid bike actually isn’t that bad of an option. I would definitely go for an alloy or aluminum bike so typically your entry-level road bikes are going be aluminum. A nicer hybrid bike is typically going to be aluminum as well. Steel bike you know they can rust, so if the paint scratches and stuff the bike can rust, aluminum is not going to rust.
How To Buy Your First Bike – what bike brand should you use?
So what bike brand should you use? I would use one of the 3 major brands, that’s Schwinn, Bavel and GMC. So the difference between the quality of those 4 is going to be, is going to be minimal. It’s not like one of these brands is far superior to the other ones, they’re very competitive and so with being competitive with each other the relative quality of the frame as well as the components that they use on the bike it’s going to be very similar so I wouldn’t.
I would just go for the one for the bike out of those 3 major brands that basically just fits into your budget. With going with those 3 major brands when of the big benefits is that they all offer pretty well. I think on every single one of their bike frames is that they offer a lifetime warranty on it.
That’s going to be, that’s going to be really nice. Because lets say 3 or 4 years down the line maybe for some reason your frame has some sort of catastrophic failure or something like that, doesn’t happen very often but say it does happen then you could possibly get a new entire bike because of that.
And some of the lesser known bike brands, the ones that aren’t nearly as popular they might offer maybe a 5 year warranty on their frame. So after that 5 year period then maybe you have some type of failure on your frame and then you have to buy a new bike.
If you’ve bought your first bike or your in the process of buying your bike what I’d highly recommend is buying a pair of mountain bike cycling shoes and then the pedals that go along with it. You might think to yourself that it’s actually dangerous to clip your shoes into the pedals because it’s going to be harder to get your feet out.
Now as someone who has ridden through all types of countries, all types of terrains and stuff. I actually find it more dangerous if I were riding with my, just with my running shoes on standard pedals. And there’s a few reasons for that.
One of the main reasons is when you’re riding uphill and say you want to get out of the saddle and you’re riding basically standing up on the pedals and you’re just wearing running shoes it’s very easy for your feet to slip off of those pedals.
And if you’ve ever had that happen to yourself what can happen is especially for the guys is that you can drop on the top bar and drop on the top bar with your nether region is definitely, is definitely not very nice. It can also, you can cut up your shins quite a bit as well if you, if your feet drop off the pedals. I just think it’s a lot safer using cycling shoes, it’s also a lot more efficient as well.
Again, if it doesn’t fit into your budget right away I would, you don’t have to do it right away but you can get a pair of bike shoes for about $100 and you can get bike pedals, like clip-in pedals for about $50. So it’s about $150 investment. I think that it makes a big, big difference, I think it makes cycling much more efficient and actually more, I would actually say it’s more safe as well using bike shoes and bike pedals just mainly because your feet are clipped into those pedals, you got a lot more control over the bike that way and your feet aren’t going to like just fall off the pedals because that can put you into a situation that is dangerous as well.
Something else to consider, bikes that I probably wouldn’t buy are bikes that are definitely fixy bikes. So fixie bikes, you’ll see a lot of like hipsters riding them in like New York City. They look really cool because they’re simple and minimal. So a fixie bike is like where you’re pedaling and even if you want to coast your pedals are still going to be turning over and that’s because there is a direct connection between the front crank and the rear wheels, so there’s no freewheel on the back so you just can’t freewheel on the bike at all.
And I think those are very dangerous because they don’t have any brakes on them and it’s also not good for your knees because you’re basically trying to slow down the bike by pedaling in reverse almost. It’s not good for your legs, can be very dangerous to ride. If you do want to go with that style of bike definitely get one with a freewheel on it, freewheel on the back so that when you stop pedaling you know the bike is still going to be able to freewheel and you also have some actual real brakes on it as well. So I think that’s important.
Other bikes that I wouldn’t buy, would be, I know a lot of, I saw this a lot when I was Chicago. It’s like people riding these 70’s or 80’s style road bikes those old road bikes are typically, they have rally crappy gearing on it for one and then also the actual fit of the bike has changed so much in terms of like comfort just over the last couple decades so they’re just very kind of like reached over bike, it’s doesn’t look super comfortable but a lot of hipsters and stuff really enjoy those bikes because it’s like you know it’s like, the classic kind of like old style bike. If you’re new to cycling I just, I wouldn’t really recommend it at all.
How To Buy Your First Bike – Summary
So bring this all together how to buy your first bike I would highly recommend going to a new bike, investing in a good quality bike. So spending anywhere between $500 to a $1000 getting an entry-level road bike or a nice hybrid bike. Look at the gearing, look at the mounts on the bike and go to a local bike shop so that you can actual get fitted on the bike and you can get the right size as opposed to buying a used bike because you just might not know what type of bike, or what size of bike that you need. And I would definitely go that route it just, it makes a lot more sense. Invest in clip-in pedals and bike shoes, that’s going to make such a big difference in terms of the safety as well as the efficiency of the bike itself.
And yeah, that’s the route that I would go if I were to go back in time.
How To Buy Your First Bike – my first bike
My first bike that I did a lot of serious cycling on is I went to New York City, I bought a, I made a bamboo frame bike and tried to put the components on that. Turned into being into a complete disaster just because I wanted to be different and unique and stuff. I would just go with the standard bike that you get at your local bike shop. Stay away from bikes with like shocks and stuff on it if you’re just going to be riding on the road they’re totally unnecessary.
They usually have thicker tires, the bike is less efficient, it’s heavier and I would just stick with your standard road bike or your standard hybrid bike.
For most people that’s going to be best. If you’re very much overweight and you want to get into cycling and you’re really, really, really terrible fitness and you haven’t done anything your entire life then probably getting a 29er mountain bike is going to best. It’s going to be very comfortable, the gearing on it is going to be a lot easier so it has even easier gearing on it than a hybrid or an entry level road bike. And yeah, that’s about all I can say about how to buy your first bike. If you have more questions or comments definitely leave them in the box below.
Thanks for reading, have a great day ! Peace out!