The Beginner’s Guide to Picking the Perfect Bicycle

Buying a bicycle can be a major investment in two separate ways. First, a high-end bicycle can cost hundreds of dollars. Second, it opens up a long list of possibilities and even makes an entire lifestyle available. Once you become a cyclist and start thinking like a cyclist, it might change your decision-making and impair the way you perceive commute as a whole.

However, whether things will take this ideal turn also depends on your ability to choose the right vehicle.

How hard is it to pick a great bicycle?

You would be shocked.

There are so many bike types and the price range within each of these groups varies greatly. With that in mind and without further ado, here’s a brief rundown on how you can pick the perfect bicycle.

1. Four major bike types

Before you make up your mind on which bicycle type you should choose, you need to do some research. This means that you should start by understanding the four major bicycle types and their most common uses. These are:

  • Mountain bikes
  • Road bikes
  • Hybrid bikes
  • Cruisers

If you need something for off-road use, it’s clear that you should go for the mountain bike. However, it’s not like the mountain bike can’t be used on the pavement, as well. The use of this bike type is far more versatile than it seems.

Road bikes, on the other hand, are meant for pavement use. In other words, they’re quick, mobile and developed for the urban commute. While we’ve mentioned that you can also use a mountain bike for urban commute, the end result will never be quite the same.

Then, there’s the question of hybrid bikes, which are a compromise between the two above-discussed bicycle models. These are great for those who can’t make up their mind, as well as for those who are constantly on the bike seat.

Lastly, cruisers are the so-called leisure bikes. These are designed for people who just want to drive around on their bikes, soaking in the sun. These aren’t made to be durable, quick or versatile. Their primary concern is the comfort of the cyclist.

2. Be honest about your intentions and habits

Start by being honest and forthcoming about what you intend to do with the bicycle, to begin with. Do you intend to use it primarily for an urban commute? If so, then getting a road bike is a preferable solution.

However, if you plan to turn cycling into a hobby and go on adventures every weekend, looking through quality mountain bicycles might be a safer choice.

While some would suggest getting a hybrid as a perfect compromise, this is not necessarily a good idea. Why? Well, mostly because trying too hard not to be bad at any aspect of cycling, always restricts you from unleashing your full potential.

In other words, in order to choose a perfect bicycle, you must first know yourself.

3. Set a budget

The next thing you need to do is choose how much money you’re ready to spend on your bicycle. First of all, the type of bicycle won’t be a significant factor here, seeing as how every single one of these has their low- and high-end alternatives. Second, remember that, in most scenarios, the higher cost comes with higher quality.

That being said, bicycles can be quite expensive but it’s important that you put this into perspective. Here, there are several things you need to consider:

  • You will save a lot of money on gas.
  • Bicycle repairs and maintenance are cheaper than motor vehicle equivalents.
  • A bicycle doesn’t need a garage but it does require a rack and additional equipment.
  • How often will you actually ride a bicycle?

So, while it seems intuitive for you to buy the most expensive bicycle that you can afford, it might be more logical to consider the concept of a starter bike first. If you haven’t cycled before, you have no idea if this form of transportation or lifestyle is for you, to begin with.

In order to put this into perspective, it’s important that you understand the average costs of common bicycles. You see:

  • $80-$300 is the low range.
  • $300-$1,000 is the mid-range
  • $1000+ is the cost of high-end bicycles.

Now, at least, you have the basic idea of what you’re up against.

4. Choose the right frame size

The next priority is for you to pick a bike that is of the right frame size. The problem is that this comparison can’t be made exclusively based on the height of your bicycle. Sure, the rule of thumb is that you should go with a bike that is approximately .65 times your inseam. The simplest way to make sure, however, is to just try using the seat.

For those who want to do all the preparatory work and ensure that it’s all mathematically calculated, there’s such a thing as a bicycle frame size calculator. Remember that the bicycle type also plays a role in this estimate. The size of a road bike, mountain bike and BMX bicycle are all vastly different. The same goes for those who want to buy a bicycle for their child.

5. A change in lifestyle

One thing you need to understand is that the choice of a bicycle tends to be more than just a choice of a personal vehicle. It’s also a change towards a healthier lifestyle. While it’s a generally good idea to combine it with your other fitness efforts, some may find this to be too much. So, in order to avoid overwhelming yourself, you might want to take smaller, gradual steps.

This is, again, a great reason why getting a starter bicycle is such a good idea. Also, avoid making yourself a cyclist on the same day you buy your first bicycle. Try cycling to work once every week. Then, increase this number if you feel like it’s something you feel comfortable doing.

The problem with the starter bike is that the experience just won’t be the same. In order to get exactly what you need; you might want to go with a premium bicycle. It’s a leap of faith and it might just be worth making it.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, there’s so much for you to consider. While being potentially expensive, however, a bicycle is not as pricy as a car. This means that even a bad decision isn’t catastrophic. If anything, it will provide you with some unique insight and teach you what you should be looking for the next time you decide to buy a bicycle. Still, with the right research, it shouldn’t be a problem to make the right call the first time around.

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Henry Marc

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