Buying a new bike can be difficult. These days, the market has become so diverse that one can quickly feel overwhelmed. Before rushing to purchase a new bike, you should stop and consider a few things. Running expert Sascha Wingenfeld tells you what to look out for – because cycling is a great addition to your run training!
WHICH BIKE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Before attempting to purchase a bicycle, you should know exactly what kind of bike you need and what you plan to use it for. The selection is great: road bikes, triathlon bikes, cyclo-cross bikes or mountain bikes – but which should you choose? The first thing you need to do is find out which type of bike is right for you. How? Just keep reading…
The road bike
Do you want to rack up kilometers on the road and cruise along almost silently? Would you like to compare average speeds, kilometres pedalled, heart rates, and perform your training sessions with laser-like precision? Then a good road bike is exactly the right training tool for you.
The triathlon bike
Do you love being fast on the road, need the best aerodynamics, and enjoy high-intensity training? “Then a triathlon bike offers you everything you need for your training. But be careful, because the extremely aerodynamic sitting position requires well-developed back and neck muscles. For flat terrain, such a time trial bike offers you maximum power, but for mountain climbs the geometry of the frame prevents you from effectively using your full strength,” states the expert.
The cyclo-cross bike
Would you like to enjoy the benefits of a road bike, but still be able to burn off some energy on light off-road terrain? If so, a cyclo-cross bike is a wonderful combination of racing bicycle and hard trail mountain bike. This bike turns every road and trail into a possible workout.
The mountain bike
Do you love nature, enjoy playing with the terrain, and are the kind of cyclist who can ride with a lot of explosive power? “Then a mountain bike is the right choice. This kind of bike is perfect for your off-road training sessions.
WHAT FRAME SIZE DO I NEED?
Getting the most out of your workout requires a bike that fits you to a tee. To find the right frame size for your body, you need to know your inseam:
- Take your shoes off and stand with your back to the wall.
- Hold a metre stick horizontally in your crotch and measure the distance from the top edge of the level to the floor.
- Multiply the result in centimeters by 0.226 to get your perfect frame size in inches.
But just to be safe you should always take your bike out first for a test ride.
WHERE SHOULD I BUY MY BIKE?
After making up your mind about what kind of bike to get, you should now start thinking about whether you want to buy your bicycle from the bike shop around the corner, or if you want to order it online. Especially for beginner cyclists, it’s a good idea to buy your new bicycle at a bike shop because online vendors often fail to provide important information about equipment and prices.
There are four main reasons to buy your bike from a retailer near you:
- The bike shop is available year round as your service partner for tips and repairs.
- You receive individual purchasing advice tailored to your price expectations, performance level, preferred training routes and much more.
- After buying a bike, the retailer provides additional maintenance and repairs.
- Most bike shops are members of a trade association and carry its quality seal.
PURCHASING A BICYCLE ONLINE
Experienced bikers can take the chance of purchasing a bicycle online, but they should keep the following facts in mind:
- Most retailers only offer advice by phone.
- You often receive top-quality bicycles for very reasonable prices.
- Normally, a test ride on your bike of choice is not possible.
- It may be that local bike shops do not provide service for bikes purchased online. In this case, the bicycle has to be sent back to the mail-order company for repair.
WHAT MATERIAL SHOULD MY BIKE BE MADE OF?
Aluminum or carbon? All cyclists agonize over this question when buying a bicycle.
Of course, a carbon bike is the high-end version. The material makes for a very light, yet sturdy bicycle frame. The manufacturing of carbon frames, however, is quite expensive and that is reflected in the overall price of the bike. If you want to spend less than € 2,000 on your new bike, aluminum is probably better for you. The only problem is that frequent use of your aluminum bike can cause the frame to wear out after just a few years.
ARE THERE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN’S AND WOMEN’S BICYCLES?
Many bicycle manufacturers offer two versions of their bike models: one for women and one for men. The geometry of the bike and the different components are tailored to the anatomy of the particular gender.
For instance, bikes for women start in smaller sizes and are a little shorter because women prefer to sit more upright in the saddle. The center of gravity of men’s bikes, on the other hand, is shifted slightly towards the front wheel to gain more momentum. To feel completely comfortable on your bike, it’s definitely worth getting a bicycle made specifically for your gender.
Regardless of your decision, buying a new training device is worth it. New equipment can motivate you to exercise more regularly and make your training easier. But remember – you aren’t going to get any fitter if you don’t use your new bike. Simply buying a bicycle won’t take you to the next fitness level. So don’t waste time looking for excuses – get pedalling.
Your body will thank you!