It’s no surprise that the past year has created a wave in the bike industry. People want to get out of their houses and be active. Some call it a "boom" for cycling in general, but the increased demand came with a supply shortage in return.
As the months passed, the general subject of "how to buy a bike" got increasingly complex. If anyone was starting on the biking journey and looking to purchase a new bike, it was immensely upsetting with all shops working under different conditions and bike scarcity.
Also, due to a lack of alternatives, many people began looking online for either second-hand bikes or new bikes to see if they could find anything that would work for them. Thankfully, as of early March 2021, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why we’ve prepared 5 tips to consider when buying a new bike in 2022. Start the year strong with a bike you’ll love.
Tip #1: Choose your type of riding and budget
Before settling on anything, be sure about what you’ll be using/needing your future bike for. Be honest about the riding you intend to undertake and then concentrate on your strengths.
There are three fundamental types of bicycles to think about:
- Mountain bikes are suitable for off-road riding because they have larger, knobby tires and shock-absorbing suspension. The rider is seated upright, and the handlebars are straight and horizontal in most cases. A good mountain bike will cost between $400 and $800.
- Road bikes are built for optimal speed and efficiency on pavement and are lightweight, have thinner tires, and have no suspension. Their handlebars are often bent (a drop bar), and the rider is pushed forward. Road bikes are available in a wide range of prices, with the majority ranging between $200 and $10,000 - a significant price gap.
- Mountain and road bikes are combined in hybrid bikes. They're primarily meant for use on pavement, but riders can also utilize them off-road in a pinch. If you're on a tight budget, a new hybrid bike shouldn't cost more than $500.
Many people, for example, are enticed to purchase mountain bikes. They're not a good choice if you want to ride largely around your neighborhood or town. When riding a mountain bike on pavement, you'll have to expend more total energy, which will cause you to tire out faster. Only get a mountain bike if you want to ride on dirt or grass on a regular basis.
Plus, you should avoid any bike that requires major modification to work for you - component exchanges are costly, and large fit alterations (such as adding a stack of headset spacers or a super-long stem) can radically transform the bike's character. A few modifications are OK, but if you have a lengthy list of things you'd like to change, browse around to see if another bike will better suit your needs.
Tip #2: Look at the bike frame
Choosing the right frame material for your bike can be a tricky task. Your choices include:
- Carbon fiber: Today's most preferred material because of its performance, weight, ride quality, and price, all of which are easily adjustable, it has the largest market share. Carbon frames start at a little less than $2000 and go up from there. If someone tells you that you should avoid carbon because of its fragility, they simply don’t know what they are talking about.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is the second-most prevalent frame material, having replaced steel as the go-to frame material following the early 1990s mountain bike boom. Aluminum frames range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
- Steel & titanium: Steel and titanium are both excellent choices, with steel being available at all price points from entry-level to premium. Because of its strength-to-weight and longevity, titanium is a popular choice for unique boutique brands. While titanium has retained a certain level of status in the industry, a solid steel frame's ride qualities should not be overlooked. Steel frames will always be heavier than carbon frames, but people often say that a well-made steel frame might have a better ride quality than a poorly designed carbon frame.
- Bamboo: Bamboo has a thick, hard shell that is strong and difficult to break because of the way it’s bundled together. This makes it one of the most durable materials on the planet. If you choose a bamboo bike, you won't have to worry about it wearing out quickly, picking up dings and scratches, or easily coming apart.
Each material needs its unique manufacturing method and yields a distinct riding feel. While the ride quality of frames constructed of the same material may be identical, the frame's construction will ultimately determine how it rides. Also, consider the size of the frame by using a bike size calculator before completely deciding on your future bike.
Tip #3: Pick your wheels wisely
The wheels on your bike have a big impact on how it feels to ride. The wheels are what will have the greatest impact on your bike's speed and efficiency, as well as how it feels. There are a variety of wheel options for road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes.
If you're an old-timer getting back into the sport, don't bother looking for tubular wheel/tire combinations.
Nowadays, clincher wheels with inner tubes or tubeless wheels are used on 99% of all bicycles. While tubeless wheels are the way of the future because of their ability to prevent flats, new bikes will always come with inner tubes, but check to see if the rims are tubeless-ready.
Tip #4: Know where you’ll be riding
Where are you going to use it? If you can answer this, you’ll have a good head start. Knowing where you’ll be riding can check off several boxes mentioned above. Here are some examples:
Mountain bikes are best for rough terrain.
Hybrid bikes are best for casual riders and short commutes.
Touring bikes are best for carrying luggage and traveling far.
Gravel/ adventure / all-road / backpacking bikes are best if you’re in a hurry on bad roads.
Cyclocross bikes are best for the racing discipline of cyclocross.
Fixed gear / single-speed bikes are best if you want a simple bike.
City bikes are best for hassle-free riding.
Electric bikes are best if you want a hand up the hills.
Folding bikes are best if you’re short on space / best for public transport.
Tip #5: Get the right accessories
Don’t forget about any accessories you might want to consider when buying a new bike in 2022. After budgeting a certain amount for a bike, many new riders forget about the possible accessories they’ll need. For example, a helmet, good quality shorts with chamois padding, a floor pump, bike lights, and even tire levers and spare tires. The list can go on depending on the needs of each ride, but it shouldn’t be a factor to overlook.
With all that said, you should now have enough information to at least get you started in the right direction. What are some factors you've noticed that should not be overlooked when buying a new bike?