With new bikes in the store windows all the time, you're bound to be tempted to buy one. But the road to reaching Nirvana is not without obstacles. Keep these ten points in mind when buying a new bike.
Do not buy a bike without a test ride
You don't know how a bike sits and feels until you've taken it for a test ride. Try going beyond a simple tour of the parking lot; some bike stores have test bikes that you can rent and borrow, and many bike manufacturers offer free test days at stores and parks all year round. Talk to a retailer to find out more about the possibilities.
Don't test a bike in a store and then buy it online. Be sure to try a bike in a bike store first and fire any questions you may have at the retailer, but don't use that knowledge to buy it online for a few cents less. That's not cool. Whatever you do, don't expect free advice when you bring the bike you bought online to the same store with problems.
Our time is worth money," says Adam, manager at Bikesmiths in Indiana. When I put my expertise to work for someone else's money, I'm doing bad business.
Don't keep it at one store or one bike
Brand loyalty can be a good thing, but since you've always had a Shimano, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't try Trek or Pinarello. That will either confirm your love of Shimano or result in a bike that suits you even better. Either way, you'll come out well.
Don't make a hasty decision
If the bike doesn't quite meet your requirements, don't buy it because you happen to get a good offer. Probably you will keep the bike for several years and spend hours on it, which means you have to be satisfied with it.
A friend bought his dream bike, a Pinarello Dogma, not too long ago," says John Gatch, mechanic for Lionheart's Developmental Team in Cincinnati. He could get an all-black model right away, but he could also wait a few months for the black and silver model he wanted so badly. He knew that the black model would bother him every time he stepped on it, so he decided to wait a few months'.
Do not underestimate the seller
The internet is full of information about all kinds of bicycles, so you might be tempted to think that you no longer need advice. Many bike stores offer their staff special training with the latest ins and outs on the different models, giving them the information you might have looked over.
Make sure the salesman asks you as many questions as you ask him," says Tim Mendoza, manager at Plano Cycles in Texas. A good store with a decent staff has to put helping the customer first, not the sales figures.
Don't buy a bike that doesn't match your goals
Determine what you want to use the bike for and focus on these important features when buying a bike,' says O'Donnel. Beware of bikes that require significant changes to work for you - replacing parts is expensive and major modifications (such as adding a stack of headset spacers or an extra-long stem) can completely change the character of the bike. A few minor adjustments are fine, but if you find yourself on a laundry list of things you want to change, look further down the road to a bike that better suits your needs.
Don't forget the accessories
Many novice cyclists have a certain budget that they want to spend on a bike but forget about the accessories they need. Colin Kuchy, manager at Trek, advises not to leave the store without a helmet, good cycling shorts, floor pump, bottle cage, and bike lights. A spare inner tube, tire levers, and small bike pump or CO2 cartridges are also indispensable. A bike wall mount for a home or a smaller apartment is also important.
Ask for discounts and special offers
Buying a bike is similar to buying a car: you can still be so charmed by that Subaru, you're not going to buy it without negotiating with the seller. Why would buying a Specialized be different? Who knows, you might be successful - profit margins on new bikes are usually quite small - but often you can make a good deal for the accessories, on which the profit margin is higher.
Make sure you get the right fit
Have the seller confirm that you are buying the right size and then make an appointment with the specialist in the store to adjust everything correctly. Most stores offer a service to fit a bike, whether it's done with an old fashioned plumb and tape measure, a high-tech Retul 3D system, or something in between.
Useful tips to determine the right size of bike
Cycling on a badly fitting bike is like a good sports car with four of those small spare tires," says Gatch. Not only do you lose power without a good fit, but you also run the risk of injury.
Don't walk out of the store forever after your purchase
When you buy a bike in a store, you are also entering into a relationship. Many local retailers offer a thirty-day probationary period and free adjustments during the first year, not to mention the advice and expertise you get. Don't know how to replace a flat tire or lubricate your chain? See if the store offers maintenance advice, or ask the store staff to show you how. Many bike repair stores, especially on quiet days, are happy to explain how to maintain and repair your bike.
Don't rule out a made-to-measure (custom) bike
If you're an experienced cyclist who can't find a bike to your liking anywhere, consider putting one together yourself. Several stores offer the possibility to design your dream bike - from the size and color of the frame to special wheel sets.