Buying a new road bike or new to cycling? We look at the different ways to buy a bike and how to find the best bike for your needs.
Buying a shiny new bike is exciting but with so much to choose from it can also be daunting. Before you even start your search, it helps to spend a bit of time considering what you want to do on your bike and what your priorities are.
Choosing a road bike
Bikes are incredibly versatile but narrowing down your choices can help make the search for a new bike less over-whelming. In this article we are only looking at bikes designed to be ridden on the road, but even so there are lots of options! To help narrow things down further here is a check list of things to ask yourself
Do you need to carry anything on your bike?
If yes you might find a bike with a pannier rack a better option than carrying a rucksack as then the bike takes the load not your shoulders.
Can you keep your bike securely in doors?
Bike sales are up but, guess what, so are bike thefts! If you can’t keep your bike in a secure place, especially when cycling to work, a cheaper bike or one that doesn’t look too flashy is a good idea.
Do you want to go fast, or be comfortable?
If comfort rather than speed is your goal a more upright bike with flat handlebars will give you a good view of the road ahead and an easy riding position. A drop-handle bar traditional ‘race’ bike is the preferred choice of those wanting to go fast, but the low position can take some getting used to.
Do you think you are too unfit to ride to work?
If you think your commute is too far or too hilly or you don’t want to arrive at work sweaty an e-bike can solve a multitude of problems. You can ride further and faster, and with assistance of the motor, there is no need to break a sweat.
Where to buy a road bike?
There are several different ways to go about buying a bike, you can choose from second-hand, on-line or a visit to your local bike shop. Buying second-hand can offer great value, if you find a bike that has been well maintained and fits you, but your choice is more limited and you may be tempted to buy something that isn’t perfect for you because it looks like a great deal. Remember even if you buy second hand and you’re involved in an accident as a result of equipment failure, there may be something you can do. Find out more here.
Online bike retailers offer great discounts and a wide range of bikes and accessories, which is appealing, but being unable to test ride or even touch the bikes you are interested in is a major drawback. Buying from a bike shop is still often the best option because of the extra help and service they can deliver, not just when you buy the bike but as you continue cycling.
Your local bike shop needs you.
Buying a bike from a shop, instead of second hand or online, opens the door to ongoing service. Bike shops are generally staffed by passionate cyclists and it’s worth making friends with them. Whether it is helping you find a great Sunday ride, showing you how to fix your own punctures or making sure your bike is kept in tip-top mechanical condition, bike shop staff do so much more than just sell bikes.
However, bricks and mortar shops struggle to make the price reductions that are possible in online stores so you may pay a little extra for your bike, but we believe it is a price worth paying to keep these shops alive and for the ongoing support you will receive.
Why bike fit is important
For cycling to be enjoyable you need to feel comfortable and the first step to achieving that is buying the correct size of bike. A poorly fitting bike can lead to aches and pain whilst cycling, even injuries. Each bike brand will have its own sizing chart to help you make that decision, but the best way is to get a proper bike fit service from an expert. Some larger bike shops may offer a bike fit service or work in partnership with a bike fitter. If you are prone to injury this is a step in the process of buying a bike you shouldn’t miss out!
Get a test ride
Many bike brands and shops now offer demo-days, a chance to try a multitude of bike types and brands so you can compare the differences. This, along with a bike fit, will ensure you get a bike that meets your needs and feels good to ride.
Insuring your new bike
As soon as you have made your purchase make sure your bike is insured. Many home insurances do not cover bikes or only cover them up to £500, which isn’t enough for many models. Specialist bike insurers will cover you for everything, including your kit and clothing. They understand that bikes can be very expensive and that you might have more than one, something home insurance companies seldom cover. A specialist insurer will also cover you for damage, not just theft, if you have a crash or your bike falls over in the garage.
Take your time choosing your new bike to ensure the perfect partnership for many happy miles together.