How to choose a bike

Berlin, Germany, custom bicycle store

Most of us probably learned how to ride a bike when we were young. Getting those training wheels removed was surely a memorable experience. More than a recreational activity or sport, bike riding poses many benefits that can boost overall health, and it also serves as a practical and enjoyable commute. It certainly is an exercise that gets your endorphins running, and it also encourages creative thinking and independence. Riding a bike comes naturally once you know how, but picking the right one may not be easy since there are countless options available. Before you get your head spinning, we’re here to back you up and give you quick notes on how to choose a bike.

Your bike should meet your needs

The best bike that’s worth your investment isn’t necessarily one with all the fancy features. It is simply the bike that matches your lifestyle and where you plan to ride. Knowing this will instantly narrow down your choices and help you decide on the kind of bike that’ll get you where you want to go. Below are the four main bicycle categories, along with their intended uses:

  • Road bikes: These are probably the most common ones you’ll see all over town. They’re ideal when riding for fitness, commuting, or training. Road bikes are traditionally lightweight, aerodynamic, and built for speed. Thanks to narrow wheels, performance is exceptionally great on the street.
  • Mountain bikes: Those who love exploring the road less taken should consider a mountain bike. They’re designed for (but not limited to) off-road use and trail riding, with wide, knobby tires for hilly terrains. These bikes are usually made to be rugged and sturdy, and they typically have shock-absorbing features and varying suspensions.
  • Hybrid bikes:  If you can’t quite decide between a road bike and a mountain bike, then a hybrid bike gives you a solid mix of both. Also known as fitness bikes, these stay in good contact with the pavement and are equipped for gravel. They may not be as fast as road bikes and may lack the suspension that mountain bikes generally have, but they win in terms of comfort.
  • Cruiser bikes: Anyone who just wants to go on a leisure ride will be satisfied with a cruiser bike. They’re meant for short trips around the neighborhood or on a boardwalk by the beach. They often have broad tires for traction and a well-cushioned seat that will set you up you for a laidback trip.

Strike a balance between price and quality

Bikes can be costly. They typically range from a minimum of $80 to a hefty price of $1,000 or more. This is the time to consider how often you’ll use the bike and its intended purpose. Budget options can be around $300 or below, and these bikes are normally made with basic metal frames that are good enough for casual riders. However, if you want your bike to survive your daily commute, it’s advisable to bank on a mid-range bike that will set you back by $300 to $500. This type of bike will likely be built with an aluminum frame and durable materials that are lightweight and sturdy. You’re bound to get higher-quality chains, wheels, and pedals than on an inexpensive bike. Some variants even come with front or rigid-fork suspensions.

Premium bikes that cost more than $1,000 are made with carbon or titanium metal frames that are geared toward rigorous everyday use. This is an optimal choice for those inclined to join cycling competitions. Getting a high-end bike will also give you more chances to stand out because you can customize your own model when it comes to the number of gears, type of brakes, suspension, and the size of the wheels.

Get a bike that fits you

Once you determine the kind of cyclist you are, as well as your budget, your next main focus is your bike’s frame size. Most shops will have size charts that are directly proportional to your height. On the off chance they don’t, or if you’re buying a secondhand bike, you can easily test it out yourself by getting on the bike with both your feet flat on the ground. There should be a 2- to 5-centimeter space between you and the top tube.

Also consider how far your seat is from the handlebars, as it will determine your riding posture. It’s up to you if you want to adopt an upright sitting position or if you prefer to hunch over for maximum speed. The shape, height, and length of the handlebars are also worth looking into when you’re after comfort.

You must also check the seat’s height. To do so, you’ll simply have to sit on the seat with one foot on the pedal and see if your knee slightly bends when the pedal is at its lowest position. Consequently, your knee should also align with the pedal.

Now that you know how to choose a bike, you’re ready to have fun and possibly reach some fitness goals. You might also want to protect your investment by getting yourself the best bike locks.

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