So you’re ready to take the plunge; you’re going to get yourself a new bike. But there’s plenty to consider before you make the purchase…
No serious cyclist will need to be told just how big a decision choosing a new bike can be. Making the right call will set you up for years to come; get it wrong and, well…
A solid investment that you can treat with love and reverence isn’t something to be made impulsively, so we’ve got some helpful tips that can help you find your perfect match.
Do you really need a new bike?
OK, let’s start with the basics! A top-of-the-line racing bike can cost more than a secondhand car, so it’s not a purchase to be made on a whim. Has your old bike served its purpose? Will a new one actually improve you as a cyclist? Or should investing in your own performance, fitness and nutrition be the real priority? Be honest with yourself; it’s worth it in the long run…
Set a budget – and stick to it
We’ve all drooled over absurdly expensive luxuries before feeling crushing disappointment upon checking the price tag – and bikes are no different. There’s no use becoming obsessed with a bike that’s way out of your price range. Set your budget – really set it – and head out on your search with your price limit well defined.
Do your research
If you’re going to upgrade, then you’ll need to know just where you’re looking for improvements. Don’t go by trends; what the winner of the Tour De France is racing, or what your cycling partner has. There’s no need to overcomplicate things either; if you’ve previously had success with one particular brand then that might be a good place to start.
Narrow it down
Make a shortlist of the standout options – it will make that final call a whole lot easier! Comparing a hundred bikes is almost impossible, but comparing three is not; weigh up the pros and cons of each, and try to determine which best fits your needs.
Buy a bike – not the shop
As easy as it is to get carried away, and keep adding accessories until you’re the single most aerodynamic person who ever existed, try to just stick to getting exactly what you need. Just like food shopping, make a list and stick to it. And yes, that might mean a list that’s one item long – live with it!
If you need help, ask for it
It’s hard to believe how many people would skip this step – but it’s key. Bike stockists are experts, and have a wealth of information on every single type of bike they stock. Many will share your a passion for cycling, and all will want to send you home happy. Ask their opinion, and utilise their knowledge. And if you’re seeking a second opinion, ask someone in your local club who’s that little bit more seasoned and has upgraded a number of times.
Test it out
Your perfect bike should be like a tailored suit; from fit to feel, it’s got to be right for you. If at all possible, test out the ones that tickle your fancy before pulling the trigger. You’ll know which one feels right, and which one doesn’t – and to that end…
Go with your gut
While all the other steps are important, this might be the biggest of all. Nobody knows your body, your needs, your budget and your aspirations – and loads more besides – better than you do. So if your instincts are leading you towards one specific bike, which satisfies all the above criteria, then go for it – and happy trails!