How to Pick the Best Bike for You
There are many types of bikes on the market today for many different types of people. Before you decide on what bike to bring home, go through this short article, that once read, will help you will make the right purchase.
The first big question to ask yourself is, will you be riding on pavement or off the road? The main way to identify the answer to this question is to ask yourself what you anticipate your main type of riding to be. Generally, there are five main categories to chose from:
1. Mountain bikes.
Mountain bikes have smaller wheels that limit their speed but make them proper vehicles for all of your adventures on dirt roads, over rocks and twigs, and through small streams in the wilderness. They will ride fine on concrete over short distances but should be mostly preserved for your non-paved surfaces.
2. Road bikes.
With narrower wheels than the mountain bike, road bikes are good if you intend to ride mostly on the roads. This bike is perfect if you make a daily city commute.
Unsure about what your main roads will be? Hybrids are best for beginning bikers because they are good for pavement but also good for off the road.
4. Recreational bikes.
Recreational bikes are for those looking for leisure and style. A good example of the recreational bike is the cruiser. Cruisers are bikes with wide tires, wide seats, upright handlebars and sometimes even just a single gear. Often seen at the beach, these bikes offer comfort over speed and often sport customized rims and tires that turn heads.
5. Racing bikes.
Lightweight and durable, racing bikes are for the serious biker. Sometimes capable of costing nearly $3,000, these bikes are made with the lightest, most high-tech materials on the market.
If none of these categories define what you are looking for, you may want to consider one of the four less common bike categories.
1. Recumbent bikes.
Lower to the ground and usually featuring a wide chair-type seat, recumbent bikes are perfect for the lounger or those bikers with spinal injuries. If you are thinking of ordering or test-driving a recumbent bike, call ahead to make sure this bike is in stock, as your local bike shop may not always carry them.
2. Tandem bikes.
Only interested in riding with a special someone? Tandems are two-seater bikes ideal for pairs that like to exercise together. These bikes are also perfect for ride sharing with individuals who enjoy biking but may not be able to do it on their own, such as those with vision impairments.
For a more stable ride, consider an tricycle. Also made in adult sizes, with three full-sized wheels, these bikes are perfect for the balanced impaired.
Unicycles are perfect for individuals with strong core muscles that love to balance. When riding a unicycle, it is necessary to always pedal, either backward or forward, and therefore they the ultimate workout machine, especially if ridden over long distances.
Once you have chosen what general category that you would like to make you bike purchase from, the next step is choosing a bike that is meant specifically for you. Here are some tips:
1. Test ride. Once you have decided what style of bike that you would like, find friends who own these bikes already and ask to borrow their ride for an afternoon so you can test it out. Otherwise, visit your local bike shop and ride the style that you have chosen. This way, you can be sure you like the style of bike that you have chosen.
2. Resist the temptation to go cheap. A bike is an investment in your traveling happiness. Often times, customers are tempted to buy the lowest priced bike that they can find. However, these bikes are often made out of cheap, heavy materials that will not last very long and will eventually have to be replaced. Skip the process of having your bike break down on your after a few months of riding and purchase a bike that is worth its value.
3. Talk to your local bike salesman (or woman). The people who work in bike shops are often the best resource for your specific biking questions and concerns. Ask them! Chances are, if they work in a bike shop they can talk to you all day about bikes and biking and would be happy to do so.
4. Consider buying used. Usually, your local bike shop (especially if they are a rental shop), will have gently used bikes for sale, which can be a good deal for the bargain shopper. Perhaps you are anticipating a move and will only need your bike for a short time. Or maybe you would like to own many different styles of bikes. In these cases buying used can significantly decrease your costs.
5. Find the proper fit. Not every bike on the market is suited for every person. A bike needs to be comfortable and fitted to your size in order to ensure you will continue to be a happy biker even after that 15th mile. Your bike seller should be perfectly fit to help you out with this, but just in case, here are some rules of thumb:
a. Adjust the seat so that when the pedal is at its lowest point, your leg is still slightly bent.
b. Proper distance from the handle bars means that you will have a slight bend in the elbow.
c. With mountain bikes and road bikes, men should make sure they have 1 or 2 inches of room between their crotch and the bar when straddling the bike while standing.
6. Outfit your bike properly. Helmets, a comfortable seat, gloves, cargo containers, and locks are necessary for every type of biker. Make sure that each time you decide on an accessory for your bike, you take the time to feel out what is absolutely comfortable for you because not paying attention to what accessories you purchase (especially the seat) can make the difference between a comfortable ride and a grueling one.
No matter what style you chose, by deciding to bike you are choosing an environmentally friendly, health inducing, fun method of transportation. Congratulations, you are awesome. So have fun getting out onto that open road and make sure to thank yourself for your purchase.