How to buy the right bike for you….
Sounds a silly question, doesn’t it: ‘how do I buy a bike?’ but it’s slightly more complicated than people realise, and in the shop we get asked a lot. People often walk in with a preconceived idea of what they want based on what the internet has told them. Sadly, this information is often based on the misinformed opinions of others that either haven’t tested the very bike they have an opinion of or just think the most expensive bike is the right one for them.
So, what is the right bike and how do you choose?
- Think about the type of riding you are going to be doing; are you going on short rides with the family or long rides over the South Downs Way and how regularly.
- What type of terrain are you riding on these rides?
- What type of rider do you aspire to be?
- What is your budget?
All of the above will help steer you to the right bike and often will overlap with each other in some way. If you have a budget of £400 but want to be a downhill monster, then you are going to struggle unless you venture into the murky world of second hand bikes. However, if you have the same £400 and want to do the odd ride at Deers Leap Park with your family and also venture along the local Worth Way for example then, you could be looking at a good entry level bike which will happily get you out doing the aforementioned and will wait for you in the shed or garage until it is required again. If you are a weekend XC warrior and have a budget of £1000 upwards, then you would absolutely be looking at a lightweight hardtail with a small suspension travel. If you have a budget of £2500 and love annual trips to Wales and also around your local area you might look at a full suspension short to mid travel bike.
What are the differences between bike models at different price points?
Simply put, below £1000 it comes down to better forks, wheels and slight variations in groupset but weights don’t vary much. Between £1000 and £2500 is where you really start to notice the differences. In hardtails the weight drops significantly, and bikes become faster, more twitchy in the handling and much more efficient. Bikes at this level have lighter wheels and far superior groupsets, often being the latest 1×11/12 single ring up front affairs. On full suspensions you start to see better rear shocks too. Over £2500 and beyond you then start to see more expensive brake setups and far better tyres as well as things like carbon coming into the mix both on frames and parts.
Whatever bike you decide on, the number one factor over all is that you must have fun. For me personally cycling is pure escapism; whether I need to clear my head, or I just want to go and have some fun it takes me away to another place and I come back refreshed with a smile on my face and it can do the same for you too.
Now, go choose that bike……