After I posted my wacky take on entry level bikes – Bicycling magazine had to answer. They felt the heat!
Good bikes there – a super quick review would have me picking the Cannondale – but there may be others that are better…
Recently my sister wanted to buy a bike. Of course – she came to me. I get the “What bike should I buy?” question a lot. My answer is almost always about the same so I thought I would take a few minutes and lay out my opinion on this – maybe I can forward people to this page? Maybe not – we will see!
What bike should I buy?
I can’t help you with mountain bikes. I can’t help you with cross bikes. I can help you with fixies, track bikes and road bikes. I can tell you probably more information than you would ever care to know – but for the sake of conversation – let’s assume you likely want a road bike. My basic answer is “one that fits”. I will always start there. You need to find a bike shop that will help you get sized properly. Much like shoes, my bike probably won’t fit you. Find a shop that will help. It’s important!
Now – how much is this going to cost me? I want you to buy a bike. It’s how I am! I want you to buy a nice bike. I want you to spend more than you probably want to 🙂 It’s just how I am! Don’t worry – you probalby don’t have to. First off – I’d avoid any department/super store type places – You need to go to a bike shop. Cannondale, Trek, Felt, Bianchi, Fuji… all good brands. I have NO loyalty! If it fits… good!
I recommend getting as many gears as you can. Bikes now days come in “8 speed”, “9 speed”, “10 speed” and if you spend a lot even “11 speed”. Most road bikes you find will be 9 or 10. This isn’t 10 total – this is 10 in the back. “Ten Speed” is the current industry standard. We’ve been here for a while, it’s plenty of gears and it’s refined a great deal. 9 speed – good stuff. The tech push has brought more quality farther down. A 9 speed road bike will get you years of fun and dependable riding.
Now the big question: How much? Realistically you can get a NICE 9 speed, entry level road bike for $900-1000. If you can find clearance models, you can save some off that. Often times, you can spend $100-200 more and get some really nice upgrades, like better wheels and/or even 10 speed shifting. (Wheels affect the ride of a bike more than just about anything). Give me 20 minutes and I can spec you a $20,000 road bike that won’t make you ANY faster – but will make your wallet quit a bit lighter.
Shop around, test ride a few bikes. Find a shop you like. Find a bike that is comfortable and that fits you. If you have specific questions – I can help. Remember – after you buy the bike there are a few accessories you should think about, so don’t spend all your money on your bike – you could end up with a flat tire and nobody to help you out. Not fun!
It’s a big descision – have fun with it! Don’t get stressed out and worry – as Lance said “It’s not about the bike!”