Get On Your Bike - Bicycle Buying Guide
Author: Bob Shanty
Bicycles can be used for a number of purposes, including recreation, fitness,
transportation and sports. If you are planning on purchasing a new bike, consider
the terrain you will be riding on as well as your body weight. Are you finding
it difficult to choose a new cycle? Go through this buying guide for exhaustive
information on bicycles and make the right choice.
What types of bicycles are available?
Different types of bicycles, such as BMX, road, racing, touring, comfort, kids,
womens, tandem and more, are available for sale. Here is an in-depth look at
some popular models.
Road bikes are built for paved roads. They have thin tires, dropped handlebars
and lightweight frames made of aluminum or carbon. The majority of these cycles
have 21 speeds. Sport bikes, touring bikes, racing bikes, triathlon bikes, cruisers
and choppers also fall under this category.
Mountain bikes are durable enough to withstand serious off-road racing. Sturdy
frames, strong brakes, flat handlebars and 26-inch wheels make these bikes highly
popular. Their low gears assist you in off-road racing, especially when going
uphill and riding through mud. These cycles are heavy and can withstand rough
handling. In a few models, the front suspension and rear suspension offer comfort,
even while riding over uneven ground.
These bikes are good for beginners. Comfort bikes come with adjustable vertical
handlebars, comfy seats, 26 inch wide and low pressure tires and suspension
forks. They are made for short rides on well-maintained bike paths.
These all-purpose bicycles combine the features of road and mountain bikes.
They have a wide gear ratio, upright handlebars and narrow tires. Their frames
are lightweight, making these perfect for pavement riding and minor off-road
racing. Hybrid/cross bikes usually come with mudguards.
If you cannot handle the physical strain associated with traditional bicycles,
consider recumbent cycles. These bikes can go fast and provide comfortable seating.
However, they do have some pitfalls. They are expensive compared to most standard
bikes and their transportation by car may prove to be more difficult as well,
especially long wheelbase models.
BMX (Bicycle Motocross) bikes owe their invention to the popularity of motocross
dirt bike racing. These bikes can be ridden through woods or around dirt-tracks.
Though BMX cycles resemble mountain bikes, their wheels and frames are comparatively
smaller. These bikes are suitable for kids and young riders. BMX racing bikes
are built for racing on dirt tracks. BMX freestyle bikes are designed for doing
tricks whereas BMX dirt jumping bikes are made for getting airborne on dirt
These bikes are based on chopper motorcycles. Chopper bikes feature wide rear
tires, large cushioned seats and extended handlebars. These bikes are not recommended
for off-road racing.
Womens bicycles are smaller, designed to suit the build of the average woman.
They have narrow handlebars, short top tubes and wide saddles.
Is your child pining for a bicycle? Compact bikes with small frames are ideal
for children. These bikes are easy to ride and durable. Many kids bicycles come
with training wheels attached. Other cycles give you the option to attach separately
sold training wheels. Go for kids bikes with spoke guards and coaster brakes
that allow children to stop when pedaling backwards.
Do you want to make cycling more fun? Get a tandem bike that accommodates two
or more people at one time.
What are other factors to consider when purchasing a bike and getting into
the rewarding sport cycling
Frames are made of different materials depending on the type of bicycle.
The most commonly used frame material is steel. Chromoly (chromium-molybdenum
steel) is lighter than carbon steel, but both are strong and durable.
These strong and lightweight frames offer a good ride.
Titanium is one of the most rugged, durable and costliest frame materials you
Aluminum is a stiff and strong material. Aluminum frames are good for riders
looking for lightweight bikes.
Hybrid, comfort and mountain bikes feature suspension forks. Forks assist you
in riding over rough tracks more easily and comfortably.
Wheels play a vital role in bikes. Single-alloy hubs with rubber axle seals,
few spokes and sealed bearings are recommended. Stainless steel spokes and aluminum
rims are lightweight and rust free.
Gears are crucial to ride on uneven surfaces. On flat surfaces, only 3 or 4
gears are needed. When it comes to hills and challenging terrain, a bike with
a 21, 24 or 27 speed drivetrain is necessary. Go for bikes with gears that are
easy to shift.
Most bikes are equipped with either rim brakes (V-brakes), linear brakes or
hub brakes. Disc brakes, the latest brake type, provide brilliant braking and
low maintenance, but are expensive.
Look for anatomical shapes, flexible frames, gel padding and cushioning springs
in your seats.
What accessories are available for bicycles?
If you are getting a new bicycle, you should check out the following accessories.
Some accessories are absolutely necessary, while others are strictly for your
Helmets are vital accessories to avoid head injuries. They come in kid and
adult sizes as well as many colors.
Protect your bicycle from theft with a bike lock. Locks are highly recommended
if you plan on leaving your bicycle in any public area unattended.
For long rides, it is wise to carry a flat kit and a small frame-mounted pump
to fill your tires with air. The kit should include a new tube, basic patch
kit, tire iron, wrench, rag and small seat bag.
To fill your tires with air whenever you need, buy bicycle pumps.
Computers and Monitors:
A cyclocomputer is a digital speedometer that shows speed, distance and time
traveled during your bicycle ride. High-end models come with GPS functions and
can measure your heart rate and power output.
Keep yourself and your bike clean with mudguards.
Baskets and Panniers:
Attach baskets and panniers to your bike to carry heavier loads.
Protect your bicycles with cycle covers and storage solutions, such as lightweight
aluminum storage stands.
For small cars, carriers (also referred to as bike racks) that attach to the
roof are ideal. For big cars, like vans an SUVs, use carriers that attach to
the rear of your vehicle.