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Buy a Bike by alexey ,  Jun 1, 2013

Bike buying guide

Last updated: March 2013 Getting startedGetting started  |  TypesTypes  |  FeaturesFeatures  |  BrandsBrands

Getting started

The bikes we've tested have cost from about $300 to nearly $2,000.. We found that more money buys a lightweight frame made of carbon fiber, aluminum (or a combination of both materials), or high-strength steel and other high-quality components. But you can still buy a good bike for just a few hundred dollars.

Decide what kind of riding you'll do

That will narrow your choice to one of the four basic types. If you're an avid cyclist, you may prefer a conventional road bike. Looking for a leisurely ride on flat, paved roads? A comfort bike may be more your speed. If rugged trails are in your sights, than a mountain bike might be best.

Find a good bike shop

You'll pay more, but we think you're more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body. If you don't like the pedals or seat on a particular model, some bike shops will swap components at little or no cost.

Take a test ride

Before you buy any bike, ride it far enough to make sure that the brakes and shifters are easy to use, the fit is comfortable, the gears can go low enough for climbing hills, and the frame and suspension adequately smooth the bumps.

Avoid cheap bikes, except for very casual use

Inexpensive bikes--those selling for less than about $200, often in big-box stores-- may seem like good deals, but we advise spending $300 or more, if your budget allows. Why? Because you'll get a lot more bike for your buck.

Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh seven or eight pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.

Adults should consider inexpensive bikes from a department store only for the most casual use, and stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than an inexpensive full-suspension bike. You might want a mass-market bike for kids who will outgrow a bike quickly or handle it roughly.

Consider these extras

A good bike helmet is essential. Special cycling shoes and cleats can ease your pedaling. Gloves will absorb vibrations and help to protect your hands in a spill. Polycarbonate glasses can shield your eyes from bugs and errant pebbles. A water bottle is handy to have on long, hot-weather rides.

Types

While there are now many varieties of bicycles, including several hybrids, most fall under the four basic categories described below.

Comfort bikes

These are for leisurely, recreational riding on pavement and smooth dirt paths. They include high handlebars, shock absorbers in the seat or fork, and a soft, wide seat.

Pros:

Creature comforts include an upright riding position and a cushiony ride. Low gears allow easier uphill pedaling. As a group, comfort bikes cost less than other types.

Cons:

Comfort bikes might make for hard pedaling on hilly terrain. And for off-road use, they can't compete with a mountain bike's rigid construction and wide, knobby tires.

Mountain bikes

These are designed to stand up to rugged trails. You'll get a shock-absorbing front suspension fork and possibly rear suspension, which provide the best control and comfort on the roughest terrain. They have wide, knobby tires, a narrow or moderately width saddle, and flat or riser handlebars.

Pros:

More durable than other types. Absorb shock well. Excellent off-road handling.

Cons:

Heavier than road and fitness bikes. Not as well-suited for road riding.

Road bikes

These bikes are for riders who want to log fast or serious mileage, including multi-day touring. Conventional road bikes feature a lightweight frame, skinny tires, a narrow seat, and drop handlebars that make you bend low. Performance road bikes are similar except for their shorter top tube (the horizontal one) and longer head tube (the vertical one under the handlebars), which allow a slightly more upright riding position. Cross bikes, another subcategory, are essentially beefy road bikes with wide, knobby tires for off-road traction.

Pros:

Avid cyclists may prefer the aerodynamic bent-over position that the drop handlebars of a conventional road bike provide.

Cons:

Some riders may not feel comfortable bending that low, even with the somewhat higher handlebars of a performance road bike.

Fitness bikes

These bikes blend the slim tires, narrow seat, and lightweight frame of a road bike with the horizontal handlebars and more upright riding position of a mountain bike. Fitness bikes might be a good choice for those who simply want to burn calories or improve cardiovascular fitness, or for daily short-haul commuting.

Pros:

Fitness bikes are more comfortable than road bikes. They weigh only a couple of pounds more than road bikes and tend to cost much less. They might be good for commuting to work.

Cons:

Less aerodynamic than a road bike.

I'm not a bicycle person so I went to Bike Express on the recommendation of Yelp reviewers.  I was greeted by a woman who I assumed was the owner.  I've only owned a bicycle when I was a kid and maybe 20 years ago when I bought one from Costco.  The shop has the appearance of a family owned business and everyone was more than friendly.  I know nothing about bicycles and wanted just something I could ride around casually and comfortably.  I'm 56 and just just graduated from college again and not employed.  So I didn't have a lot of money to spend either but nobody knew that but me.  I got on a couple of bikes and chose one I liked without any pressure whatsoever.  They brought out a slightly larger bike because I'm over 6 ft tall though the smaller bike fit well too.  There was no pressure to buy extra stuff and I even had to ask to buy a lock and pump.  The owner told me they had others that were more expensive but these were higher quality and the manufacturer stood behind the warranty,  I never felt she was giving me a line of bs but was indeed telling the truth.  Later one of the employees noticed I was having some problems getting my new bike into my car.  Without asking he rode across and down the street to help me get the bike into my small car and showed me how to take the wheels off the bike.Overall it was an excellent experience I am happy with the bike and the staff at the store.

All Bikes

This review is from: Schwinn Miramar Women's Comfort Bike (26-Inch Wheels) (Sports) I own the Schwinn Miramar Women's Comfort Bike. I have never been a huge fan of riding bikes until this summer. My friend really got me into it, and it was not until after my purchase of this bike that I really began to appreciate how wonderful it really can be. I have never liked riding bike for the fact your seat is so uncomfortable. That is why I chose to go with something that was comfortable and still rid able for long distances. When I jump off my new bike I have no problems what so ever. I am so happy with my purchase that I have began to ride my bike at least three to four times a week. It goes to show that spending a little extra for comfort can really go a long ways.

While buying a bike is not on the same level of commitment as, say, getting married, it is still a decision that warrants some thought. And, especially if you are considering buying a bike for the first time, it can seem as if your options are nearly endless.

What is the Right Kind of Bike for Me?

Your first decision comes in determining what type of bike you are after. There are basically four main styles of bikes to choose from, and your selection should really depend on what you anticipate your main type of riding to be.

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