WHICH BIKE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
|Road Bike||Flat Bar Road Bike||Hybrid
||All Terrain comfort
What kind of bike to get depends on what you're going to do with it. At first glance they all look pretty much alike, just as do cars and trucks, but their intended purpose and suitability for your needs varies wildly, based on design. Mountain bikes are just awful for road racing and most road bikes are pretty useless deep in the woods. If you ride a lot, you know that and choose your bike based on what you want it to do, it's appeal to you and cost. If you're just getting into riding, or maybe getting your first good bike since you were a kid, buying a bike can be pretty intimidating, especially given the endless number of choices to be made.
Before you go looking at new bikes ask yourself a few questions and be as honest as you can with the answers.
Where do you intend to ride?
Why do you want to ride?
How often do you expect to ride?
Where do you intend to ride? The answer to that not only makes all the difference in the world as to what type of bike to get, it also narrows your choices down to about 1/4. Most bikes come with either tall, skinny wheels (700c) or shorter, stouter wheels (26"). Bikes with 700c wheels are generally better suited for road riding and those with 26" wheels usually work best off road.
There's umpteen variations and degrees of overlap between the two, but the wheel size pretty much sets the tone.
If you can visualize the places you'll be riding you can almost tell just by looking closely at the bikes which ones will work and which ones won't.
Why do you want to ride?
Fun & fitness? Commute to work, school or shopping? Casual or all out competition? All of the above?
Speed, rough terrain handling and comfort don't exactly go hand in hand, favoring one compromises the other and it's up to you to decide how to balance the mix.
How often do you expect to ride?
A bike that you ride every day may require different components & characteristics than one you ride once a week. A bike that is comfortable for a short ride may get uncomfortable on a long ride and while it may seem strange, a bike that's comfortable for hours on end may not be comfortable at all for a short ride around the block. You can pound a relatively inexpensive mountain bike occaisionally and expect it to hold up well but if you're going to do it every weekend and expect it to last, you'll want a different bike.
A good dealer will listen to your answers to those questions, ask you a bunch more and give you knowledgeable and realistic advice about which bikes will do what you want, which ones won't and why, and what compromises you might want want to consider to meet your budget.
It's not so much a question of how much do you have to spend to get a good bike as it is one of how much does it take to get one that will do what you need it to do. Spending too much doesn't guarantee that you'll get what you're looking for, spending too little guarantees that you won't.
The best way to chose a bike is to test ride different bikes and ask enough questions to get a feel for the differences in function and fit.
We encourage you to test ride our bikes, on your turf, for as long as it takes for you to be sure it suits you.
Generally speaking, most bikes fall into a just a few basic categories-with endless variations in each. Choosing one becomes a whole lot easier once you've decided on a category and your choices are limited to function, features and price. Be realistic about how and where you intend to ride and ask enough questions to be sure you get the one that will do what you want it to.
Personally, I have one bike for prowling the woods and one for going fast on pavement but the big consideration in either case is comfort.
Are built mostly to ride fast and far on pavement. Some are built for short, fast races, some for cross country trips carrying a full load and some for quick rides around the neighborhood. The riding position is bent forward for less air resistance and maximum pedaling efficiency. Tires are basically hard and skinny for low rolling resistance, turning tends to be quick, precise and not too forgiving. While they make them as comfortable as they can, comfort isn't a primary design goal and you have to balance the two to suit you. Lighter weight makes them quicker but also a bit more delicate and fragile. Fatter tires soften the ride but slow you down a bit. Racing type frame geometrys maximize speed, power and precise steering but can be a little twitchy and fussy for leisurely rides around the lake.FLAT BAR ROAD BIKES
These are light, fast road bikes with flat handle bars and a slightly more casual geometry. They're built for about as much speed as you can get without totally giving up on comfort. If you like to be quick but not a road racer, this is a good way to go. Here's the current version-FUJI ABSOLUTE
There's also a bike that looks similar to this, built on a reinforced version of the same frame, with a suspension fork, stouter wheels and trail friendly gearing. FUJI SUNFIRE
Range from mild to wild. Some are good for casual cruises on all kinds of surfaces, some for jumping off 20 foot cliffs onto jumbled piles of rocks and barreling down the mountain at breakneck speeds. The more casual mountain bikes offer a more upright and comfortable seating position position and easier riding components and frame geometry, good for trails in the woods, leisurely rides around the lake, campus cruising and all around casual riding. The more hard core models sacrifice comfort and versatility in favor of performance, lighter weight and tolerance for abuse. If you're actually going to pound dirt and break rocks, there's a certain level of performance you just have to have and nothing else will do. But the bikes that do this the best usually aren't all that ideal for more leisurely pursuits. The trick is to find the balance of comfort and performance that works for the kind of rider you are or intend to be.
ALL TERRAIN COMFORT BIKES
These are the SUV's of bicycles, ideal for explorers. They have rugged frames built with geometry that enhances comfort and mountain bike size wheels that don't care if the road is paved or not. Tires are not as knobby as mountain bike tires giving a faster, smoother ride on pavement yet stout enough for the trail. Most have suspension forks that are plusher than mountain bike forks but rugged enough to survive a the bumpy spots. Most also have suspension seatposts, wider, softer seats and a way more comfortable riding position than mountain bikes. This is the bike to get if you travel off road as much as on. It will take you to many of the places a mountain bike will and is the ultimate comfort cruiser.
Examples are Fuji Sagres, Trek Navigator, Specialized Expedition, Marin Redwood
HYBRID ROAD BIKES
This is the ideal all around commuter bike. It's comfortable enough to ride all day, light enough to be quick & nimble on mean urban streets and rugged enough for gravel roads and walking paths. They have 700c road bike type wheels with bigger tires to give a smooth, stable ride. Most have suspension forks and seat posts. This is the bike to get if you ride mainly on pavement, walking paths or smooth dirt roads. A good example is CROSSTOWN.