Does anyone else remember the fun we always had riding our bikes everywhere as kids? We rode to school, the neighbor’s, the ball field, the store, friend’s homes, after-school activities, just about all over town, and having a blast the whole time. Today, there are so many added features available; it isn’t just about the size of the bike or men versus women’s. Let’s look at some of the ways you can ensure you buy the right bike to meet your unique needs.
Types of Bikes
- If you’re looking for something you can take off-road as well as paved road use, consider a mountain bike.
- A road bike is made for paved city or town streets and is mostly built for higher speeds.
- Hybrid bikes are great for commuters, and as the name indicates it’s a cross between a mountain bike (not as rugged) and a road bike (not as fast).
- Casual bikers can consider picking up a cruiser, and yes, you can cruise on them on the boardwalk. They are excellent for fun, beach areas.
Those are the basic four that we think may be best if you’re beginning cycling as an adult; however, if you are more experienced, you can also shop around for fixed gear bikes or BMX bikes. Tandem bikes are also great fun!
Bike prices start at less than $100 and can rocket up into the thousands. We’ve built the following chart we hope you find helpful. Of course, if you’re looking to save a buck or two, you can check Craigslist, eBay or area yard sales for second hand bikes. Before you make a purchase, please finish our article, so you can learn more about fitting your bike.
- Low range pricing runs from $80 up to around $300. And they are largely just the fundamental metal frames.
- The middle price range is from $301 up to $1,000, and this range includes the lighter metal or aluminum bikes. These bikes also have higher grades of chains, wheels, and pedals to increase durability.
- The higher priced bikes, which can run over $1,000 are designed for daily use, and light competitions. Most sophisticated riders opt to build their bikes themselves either online or in a store. This process allows for different wheels, colors, and frame sizes.
The Cool Factor
Besides making sure your new ride is cool, there are a few other things to consider like size and handlebars.
- As a guideline, the bike’s frame size should be around .65 times your inseam measurement. For example, a 25-inch inseam would dictate a 16-inch bike frame. A bike that doesn’t fit well, is more likely to be hard to control, and uncomfortable for the rider.
- If you get a road bike, the handlebars are likely to be drop bars. They are more aerodynamic, and light for achieving faster speeds. The potential drawback is your body’s hunched position, which can lead to back pain.
- Mountain bikes usually come with riser bars that lean slightly back, and up to allow you to sit back further on the seat, and provides better steering control for those bumpy hills, and cracks.
- Hybrid bikes most commonly come with flat bars, which permit you to sit more comfortably, and decrease any unnecessary pressure on your shoulders, wrists or hands.
- A mustache bar, which sounds very cool, is much like a drop bar, with a shorter drop.
Next, on the list, we have brakes, gears, and suspensions. Let’s hit the brake types first.
- Disc brakes grip on the hub of the wheel, and are attached to the wheel. These are good for riding in assorted weather conditions.
- Rim brakes are the most basic, easy to use, and maintain; however, they may not work well in muddy or wet weather.
- The brakes that many of us remember from our childhood days are coaster brakes that slow, and stop the bike when you pedal backward. These are great for the kids, but not so much on a big downhill run.
- Brakes that integrate with the wheel hub are easy to maintain, and work well in most any weather condition. When the drum wears down, you may need to replace both the hub, and the wheel. These are known as drum brakes.
Gears, and suspensions are a little bit easier, with fewer options. If you plan to ride rough, and hilly terrain, you might want to add more gears to help you get around. More gears are also helpful if you’re a beginner, and not used to climbing. If you’re a more seasoned rider, or you plan to roll on mostly flatlands, you can likely do fine with fewer gears. Fewer gears also help to keep your bike lighter.
Suspensions are intended to support riders on rugged, and rough terrains, and you may want to get a mountain bike, under those conditions. If not, then at least consider a front or full suspension. Full suspensions help improve traction, and control. A regular road bike may not come with any suspension.
Before you buy, we suggest a test drive, and check for the following areas:
- Are you comfortable?
- How does the bike manage on different terrains? On corners, and hills, do you feel in control?
- If you plan to carry extra “stuff” with you, be sure you’re comfortable carrying the load. If not, you can consider a tow trailer or some added accessories. You may also want to give thought to a sturdier bike, depending on the size of your load.
Who knew there were so many things to consider? What kind of bikes does your family use? How did you select them? Are you having fun riding? Share your stories, please!