How to Choose a New Bike

There are types of bikes for every need, so consider your options to find the best ride for your money.

| July 10, 2008

  • new bike
    You can find a reliable ride that will take you places, without any gasoline.
    ISTOCKPHOTO/TODD BATES

  • new bike

Maybe the gleam of aluminum and shiny rubber broke your “thriftbone.” Maybe that rusty old Western Flyer finally gave out on you. Maybe you'd just like to use a saddle that hasn't been broken in by someone else's butt. For whatever reason, you've decided to purchase a new bike.

Great idea! For about $450, you can snag yourself a reliable vehicle that can take you as far as your legs can manage. That may sound like a lot of money up front, especially when you can get a new bike from Wal-Mart for less than $200. The key term, though, is reliable. Bikes sold from discount stores are, by and large, poorly made and sloppily assembled; often they can’t even be repaired. Buying a new cheap bike every year or so (to replace a broke one) versus buying a solidly built bike that can last decades quickly becomes a losing proposition. 

And besides, that $450 is, for the most part, a one-time expense. That a new bike won’t require any $4 a gallon gas, ever. Beyond routine maintenance and the occasional repair job, you’ll have a fun, reliable ride for the long term. The more you ride it, the more you’ll save and the better shape you’ll be in. 

If new wheels aren’t in the cards for you right now, odds are you can find a quality used bike.

Answer Me These Questions Three

Before you slap down your hard-earned money for a bike, though, ponder why, where and how you're riding or want to ride. Answering those questions will help you figure out what bike will best fit your needs.



So, why do you want to ride — to exercise, commute to work, run errands or just for leisure? Where do you want to ride — potholed city streets, open roads, gravel bike trails, maybe a mix of environments? Finally, how do you like to ride — in an upright position, leisurely paced or always leaning forward, in race mode wherever you go?

Mountain Bikes

If your main terrain is pockmarked streets and/or bike trails, a mountain bike will probably be your best bet. Chances are you won't need a dual-suspension bike, but you would feel better on a hardtail with front shock absorbers if the streets are especially bad. My main commuting/errand running/around town bike is a hardtail mountain bike with a right (non-shock absorper) front fork and semi-slick tires. Semi-slick tires grab blacktop better than knobby mountain bike tires, so if you’ll be riding in town, get a pair of those. Kona, Specialized, Trek and many other manufacturers make excellent mountain bikes that sell for $500 or less. Check out Mountain Bike Review for ratings on the latest models.

FrancisChap
5/8/2018 10:26:50 AM

Things have changed since 2008. You can't get a bike for $450. Well, you could but only the thrifted ones. I even got my bike here: https://www.morpheusbikes.com/product-page/kopie-von-conspiracy-standard-build for about four thousand dollars. Even so, it's something I don't regret. It's a great investment, worth the price.


FrancisChap
5/8/2018 10:26:49 AM

Things have changed since 2008. You can't get a bike for $450. Well, you could but only the thrifted ones. I even got my bike here: https://www.morpheusbikes.com/product-page/kopie-von-conspiracy-standard-build for about four thousand dollars. Even so, it's something I don't regret. It's a great investment, worth the price.


smith
6/30/2017 5:37:28 AM







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