Choosing The Right Bike

What do I want? What do I need?

When trying to decide on the best type of bike, think about these questions:

What would you like to do with your new bike?

How much money are you comfortable spending for a new bicycle?

What bike do your friends ride?

What bike have you had in the past that you liked and why?

What bike have you had in the past that you disliked and why?

Examining The Questions:

If you are buying a bike to ride with a group of friends — buy something similar to what they ride. If you enjoyed a three speed Cruiser as a child, you may find this a fun bike again. If you disliked the road bike you bought a few years ago—perhaps a mountain bike, a hybrid or a city bike would be better.

You can always stop by Centre City Cycles to test ride several style bicycles.

Getting To Know The Types Of Bikes Available:

Road bikes are fast and easy to pedal on pavement. They are light weight and have a drop bar for a faster and more efficient riding position and come with fast 700c wheels. They are incapable of operating off the road. Many people find the less upright riding position difficult to maintain for a long time, but a lot of people love the speed and exercise you can get on a road bike.

Mountain bikes have wider rims and tires which is great for off road riding but it makes you a bit slower riding on pavement. Mountain bikes have a cushy ride, a much more upright riding position than road bikes, and you can travel easily on a wide variety of surfaces from fire roads to single tracks and go over boulders and rocks. Mountain bikes are the most versatile of all bike categories. There are hardtail mountain bikes with front suspension and full suspension mountain bikes with front and rear suspension. Many varieties for different disciplines and in many tire sizes to choose from.

Hybrid or cross bikes are almost as fast and easy to pedal as road bikes, while being also very versatile. Most hybrid bikes have 700c wheels – just like road bikes – but wider rims for better traction. Hybrid bikes have straight handlebars with a 2 – 4″ rise for a more comfortable riding position.

Comfort bikes are just that—comfortable. They focus less on speed but deliver a upright riding position and have a wide seat which makes it comfortable and easy to ride. They come in various different forms with front suspension, 3 speeds, 7 speeds or 21 speeds.

Beach Cruiser bikes deliver the widest variety of colors and forms and are fun to look at. When ridden at a relaxed pace, they are ideal for admiring the scenery, exploring the neighborhood or bike path. Beach Cruiser bikes have a wide handlebar, fat rims and tires and come in single speed, 3 speed and 7 speed versions.

Urban City bikes is a new bicycle category which usually includes all hybrid bikes, comfort bikes and most of all the trendy retro city bikes which are inspired by Midcentury European design. 

Fixed-gear bicycles are bikes that have a drive train with no freewheel mechanism. The “Fixie” is the standard of track racing. More recently it has become a popular alternative among urban cyclists, who are looking for simplicity and modern urban design. 

Electric bikes or E-Bikes is a relatively new bicycle category which includes an electric motor and a battery.  While riding an electric bike in pedal assist mode you can be fast and still get your exercise. In Europe almost every other household owns an electric bicycle. 

What factors should I consider when buying a bicycle?

First of all, if you come to the store at Bike Attack, I ask you, “What is the Purpose? What do you want to use the bicycle for? What do you want to do with the bike?” And from then on, the second questions are, “What type of initial investment?” or, “How much are you comfortable spending?” This way I can put you in a category, find out what kind of bike is suitable for your needs so you go home with your new bike and are a happy cyclist. The first thing I let you do is take a couple of different bikes out for a test ride. This way you get a good feel for the different bikes and have a better understanding of what you like.

Should I buy secondhand used bikes?

With secondhand or used bikes, you don’t know what the other individual did to that bicycle. My advice is that second hand bikes are a no-no unless you know the person who sells it very well. Bikes purchased on sites like Craigslist can appear to be in good condition, but upon further inspection might have bent forks, bent frames, and improper parts. We have seen countless used bikes with repair problems greater than the cost of the bike. My advice is buy once and buy right.