Women's Wednesday - Bike Buying Advice 101


Author: Cheri Felix

Bike Buying Advice 101

With it being the end of school for my three kids I am the solo resident of crazy town. So, instead of my usual rant I am sharing an email I sent to a friend this week in response to her question; “What kind of bike should I buy?” Enjoy.

Dear Friend,
First of all, it's what you do on the bike that's important. If you are a great rider, the bike might make you a bit better. But for most of us, it's the pilot not the plane.

Second, unless you race or get paid I see no reason to spend the money on carbon UNLESS it's just important to you to get carbon and for some people it is.

Third, I'd suggest for you either hard tail or full suspension. A few years back I might have said otherwise but really I think you should look at the style of riding you do and buy according to that. Having said that, full suspension is nice.

Fourth, you will need to by pedals so don't forget to put that in your budget and if you want nice pedals that can mean anywhere from $75.00-$130.00. Or more.

Fifth, really only look at bikes in your price range. Otherwise it's like being on match.com but the only people's pictures you see are the hot guys who are already matched and married. And remember, you have to pay tax, buy pedals, pay someone to build it if it is shipped to you and in my opinion you should go tubeless before you even leave the shop but more on that later.

Sixth, the aluminum they are using today on nice bikes is totally sufficient. I ride aluminum and I could have bought carbon I just don't think I need it. And again I'm not being paid to ride and nor am I such a sophisticated rider that I could really see the difference in my technique or riding skills.

Seventh, nice components are nice. I like the idea of having a good bike with nice components. And nice pedals and tubeless and YES I LOVE my seat dropper post. I WORRY enough about the one I have. If I had a CARBON super expensive bike, I would be a TOTAL FREAK ABOUT MY BIKE.

Not quite done yet....
* Tubeless really is the future and it's really the past too cause all the cool kids got tubeless a long time ago. Mine cost a bit less than $100 to go tubeless.
* More expensive does not mean better especially to those of us who ride recreationally.
* Also please only consider a great deal (buying at cost) if you've ridden one of the bikes. You may need to find a dealer in town that sells the bike because no matter how great a deal if it doesn't feel good it's ultimately a shite deal.
* 29er is the way to go. That's a big statement. I only say this because "why not?" Most of us have been riding 26 inch tires for years. Why not change it up a bit? I LOVE mine and it works well on open trails, tight switch backs and technical riding like in Fruita.

Bottom line: Pick a budget and stick with it. Otherwise you'll be like well...for a few hundred more I could get that and this. Hey for a few hundred or thousand we could all change our bike and cars and our jeans but do we need to? Remember you will need to pay someone to build it (pick a shop that knows the bike/sells it because they will become your best friend).

Okay, I hope that's helpful and not too ridiculous.

P.S. You can spend left over money on cute clothes.

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1 Comment

Test ride

Great advice and thanks for taking the time to outline the process. I'm definitely forwarding this article to my girlfriends AND guy friends!

The one thing i would stress is it to TEST RIDE it. When you have narrowed down your search and figured out your budget, it's time to take the bikes for a spin. ideally, demo days that the manufactures put on is the best way, but not always possible. Be sure to have the shop properly adjust the seat, adjust the shocks based on your weight, and if they are a good shop, possibly swap out the stem. You want to check to make sure it fits you as well as deciding if you like how it handles.

Regardless of how nice the bike is, what components it has, what a great 'deal' the bike is, if it doesn't fit you, it's worthless.