Part 1: Ask Me the Time and I Will Tell You How to Build a Watch
My SparkFriend Andy_54 related to me on a blog comment that at some point she wants to get a bike - “not a trail bike, though”. She asked if I have any good bike links she could look at.
Boy, do I ever! I am full of advice!
I started to leave the following hefty verbiage on Andy_54 SparkPage. I realized that I couldn’t make the links “live" or leave any photos on Andy_54's SparkPage. I decided to make my comments a blog entry.
I know it is the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere. Bike riding tends to be a warm weather activity. That is OK. This blog will still be here in the Spring!
Part 2: Bike Buying Advice
The first thing you have to do is decide how you intend to use the bike. Buying a bike should be simple. I think buying a bike is more complex than buying a car. The reason that selecting a bike is complex is because YOU ARE PART OF THE BIKE! You are the motor of the bike. Your body keeps the rubber side down!
You need a bike that is safe, comfortable, fun and appropriate for your use.
The most important advice I can offer is - buy from a good bike shop. Mass market bikes, like those sold at Walmart, come in one size and use very cheap components. All bikes are shipped from the factory unassembled. At your LBS "Local Bike Shop”, trained bike techs carefully and correctly assemble each bike. At mass market stores some teenage kid making minimum wage tosses the bikes together.
Your LBS will stand behind the product. A bike bought from an LBS will shift properly, brake properly and steer properly. The purchase price usually includes a tune-up within the first six months as items like cables and brake pads "wear-in".
Your LBS can sell you a good fitting bike that won't kill your knees. Your LBS will make sure your new bike is properly adjusted to fit your body and riding style.
Part 3: Some Good Bicycling Links
I think this is a very good introduction to buying a bike.
This REI link explains the different types of bikes that are commonly available:
This following link is maintained by bicycling magazine and presents how to deal with buying a bike:
One word of advice - If you feel that you are being pushed into a purchase by a sales person, or you are being treated like you are an idiot - go to another shop.
Here is a link to an OK bike glossary that explains the different parts of a bike.
Here is another glossary that has a lot of bike culture terms:
Here is a humorous introduction to bicycling culture. These are just known as "The Rules":
The most important rules are:
#10// It never gets easier, you just go faster.
#12// The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
#58// Support your local bike shop.
Part 4: Examples of Good Bikes
I recommend buying a good name-brand bike. There are lots of really good bike brands. I have had personal favorable experience with Giant, Specialized and Fuji. These are not the only good bike brands but these manufactures sell a lot of bikes.
Giant sells a lot of bikes. Giant provide excellent value for the money, particularly on lower-priced bikes.
The Giant Via 1 is a "step-through" bike. This bike features a chrome-moly alloy steel frame and a trouble-free three speed rear hub. Depending on features, the Giant Via costs $525 to $600. The Via is called a “Lifestyle” bike.
In urban areas, people use these type of bikes to run errands.
I have bought a lot of Specialized bikes. I like the looks, the feel and value of Specialized bikes.
The Specialized Expedition has an aluminum frame and a front fork with 60mm of travel. The Expedition is a “Hybrid Comfort Bike” that can easily handle smooth dirt bike paths and less-than-perfect pavement. This bike is designed for comfort and stability. The Expedition has 7-speeds and has an MSRP of $440.
The Specialized Vita Step-Through is a dual-purpose bike with 24-speeds and a light aluminum alloy frame. This bike is a bargain at $520. This bike can take on smooth dirt roads and less-than-perfect pavement.
If you are not a gonzo-crazy speed obsessed cycling nut, you can expect to pay between $400 and $600 for a good bike that is comfortable and long-lasting.
Part 5: Really Good Bikes
This bike is a Specialized Vita Elite Disc 2013 Women’s Bike for $1,050.
This bike is very light with nice components. The disc brakes give this bike some serious stopping power. This bike can handle dirt as well as all sorts of road conditions. The Vita Elite has a very efficient 18-speed drivetrain and is very fast. This bike can be used as an adventure touring bike.
Fuji makes some really nice bikes that are affordable. Fuji also makes some road rockets.
The 2013 Fuji Supreme 1.3 C is a women's pure road bike. This bike is made for smooth paved surfaces. This bike has excellent Shimano Ultegra components and a light carbon-fiber frame. Price is a reasonable $2,620. This bike can turn on a dime and give you 9 cents change. I just wanted to show you a higher-end bike.
This Fuji bike is a pretty big jump in price and sophistication. You can get a pretty nice road bike for a lot less.
Here is a nice woman's road bike that has an alloy frame and good components for $980.
This bike is a Specialized Dolce Sport Compact. My own road bike is very similar to this Dolce.
Part 6: Parting Shot
Buy the best bike you can afford. Sometimes a used brand-name bike is a lot better buy than a new mass-market special. If you are going to ride on the road, don’t buy a mountain/trail bike.
Thanks for reading my blog.