Cycling is one of the best physical activities you can do on a daily basis, because it is so easy to incorporate into your daily life. It is a great way to get active, and is suitable for almost anyone, as it is a type of cardiovascular exercise that places a very small amount of stress on the joints.
To incorporate cycling into your life, you need to get yourself the right equipment: a bike. The variety of bikes available for different purposes is immense: road bikes, mountain bikes, recreational bikes, BMX bikes… and within those categories there are even more types and brands available to choose from. How do we not get lost in this universe of bikes? How do we find the correct one for us? If those are your questions, you are in the right place.
How will you be using your bike?
You should first of all think of the main reason you are buying a bike for. Is it travelling into and from work? Is it for casual family rides on the weekend? Or have you decided to get into more serious training? Or, maybe a combination of those? Understanding what terrain you will be using your bike on will help you get one that will not only make your rides comfortable, but also reduce wear and tear of the bike, so that it can serve you for longer.
How much are you willing to pay?
The budget you are willing to allocate to your new purchase will help you narrow down the range of brands and make the decision easier. Some features of the bike may not be that important for you, but cost a lot, and you should be willing to give those up to fit into your price range. Professional and good quality bikes can cost a lot of money, so be prepared to either spend some money or give up certain features or quality of your bike.
What are the essential features you want in your bike?
Depending on what you will be using your bike for, you may need certain parts that not every bike has. For example, a luggage carrier if you are planning to cycle to work, or a child seat if you want to go on family rides and have a small child. You may want to consider getting a mudguard clip-on, if you will be cycling in on muddy terrains or in wet conditions.
How long are you planning on using it?
It is important that you understand how long you want this bike to last. Will it be a few years, or do you want it to last as long as possible? You may want to upgrade to a different bike in a few years’ time, and it may not be worth putting a lot of money towards this bike now. Or, you might think that you want it for as long as it lasts, and then you may want to put a bit more money into a good quality bike with features that you do not need now, but may need a couple years later.
A bike is an investment, and it can be hard to make a decision. It is always a good idea to ask the salesmen in the bike stores about what they have with the features you need and for the reasons you are buying a bike for. This guide is to help you come into the store with structured questions and a set of criteria that you want your new bike to meet.