How to select the right bike for you
Choosing a bike can be confusing for first-time buyers. How do you know how many gears there are, or what type of tires you need? Fortunately, bikes these days have become simpler and easier to understand. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best bike for your needs.
So you’ve decided to join the pack and get into cycling. The first thing you’ll need, of course, is a good bike. But if you think there’s just cheap and costly, good and bad to choose from, you may be in for a surprise. There are dozens of bicycle types in the market, and not all of them will work for you. the bike you choose can make all the difference between a fantastic fitness regimen and a complete disaster. Here are some things to consider when choosing your first bike.
Choosing a type
Besides the specialized types such as tandems and recumbents, most bikes fall under three main types: road, mountain, and hybrid.
Road bikes are probably the one you’re most familiar with. They’re the ones you see on the streets most of the time, with thinner tires and a lighter, handier frame. They are designed for smooth, paved roads and even trails. If you don’t plan on cycling anywhere beyond your city, a road bike should be enough for you.
Mountain bikes are the bulkier type with broad, patterned wheels. Although they’ll perform well on the road, they are built for the outdoors and will work their best on mountain trails and hikes. They also have more gears (18 on average), as well as wider seats for better comfort during long trips.
Hybrid bikes combine the features of both, although they won’t function as well as either type. As an in-between type, it’ll do moderately well on either road or wilderness. Use a hybrid bike if you regularly ride through bike trails but not for too long or on too-complicated terrains.
What’s the point of having 21 gears and a high-impact titanium frame if you can’t sit on it for more than ten minutes? Comfort should be on top of your list when shopping for a bike. Recumbent bikes are no doubt the most comfortable, but they’ll greatly affect your exercise intensity and heart rate. To be sure, try on several different brands at the store and see how each one feels. If you’re a beginner, or are coming back after a while, you may have to get used to the friction between your legs and the seat. Look for gel-padded covers and adjustable seats—this will alleviate the discomfort and minimize the hip problems that often happen with first-time cyclers.
Of course, you want a bike that can hold up against the elements. However, durability often comes at the expense of style and handling—either you get a plain but sturdy bike or a flashy one that bends at the slightest impact. Stainless steel is no doubt stronger than aluminum, but it’s also a lot heavier, not to mention more expensive. If you have money to spare, go for a titanium or carbon fiber frame—it’s lighter than aluminum and just as strong as steel, offering the best balance.
Once you’ve purchased your bike, the shop will usually make any adjustments you need for free. Try on the bike and see what changes you need done—a wider seat, larger pedals, new handlebars. Most bikes now have adjustable seats, so don’t settle for a fixed seat when you can get an adjustable one for just a few extra dollars.