What Do I Need To Know Before I Buy My First Bike?
What are the key questions you should ask yourself before buying a bike?
There are many types of bicycles available for many different purposes; it's essential to get advice from an expert. I would recommend visiting a local independent bicycle retailer for help and support so they can guide you on the correct bike suited for your individual needs.
How should this dictate what kind of bike you choose?
It's essential to be clear about the sort of riding and terrain you want to tackle on the bike, consider the amount of time you want to spend in the saddle. You need to think about the position that works best for you; comfort is critical to happy cycling experiences. I recommend visiting a bicycle retailer so you can see bikes, look at the differences between models and check out how comfortable each one is to find what works best for you. In the current climate with social distancing and personal safety being a priority, many brands have a great website that supports you through the shopping experience and have services like home delivery and click and collect. I ride for Giant; they make great bikes for all sorts of cycling and cyclists.
How do you know what size bike to go for – any top tips?
I can’t stress the importance of getting sized correctly by a retailer for a bicycle; a wrong fitting bike can result in a negative cycling experience and, potentially, injury. Giant has a helpful bike fit guide to support consumers on sizing for different models see more at giant-bicycles.co.uk or for women liv-cycling.co.uk.
What do the gears mean on a bike – how many gears should a decent bike have? Is this important?
The gears on the bike help to tackle varying terrain, shifting gears is a fundamental mechanical function of your bike. Learning how to shift may seem basic, but gearing practice and shifting efficiently is something that even veteran riders can work on. Proper gearing will not only improve your speed, but it will also make the ride more efficient and increase your endurance on longer rides.
Gearing is subjective to the rider, the bike and terrain. I'd recommend selecting a bike for your intended usage, bicycles today are advanced with many product styles for different purposes; usage should be a priority when shopping for a new bike.
How much should you look to spend on a decent bike? Should you buy the best you can afford or can you get away with buying something cheaper?
It's subjective and depends on the cycling you want to do, with many advanced materials in the market from aluminium to carbon frames and groupsets from entry-level to professional racing. If you can afford to spend a little more, you can often get much more for your money.
How much will a bike cost to maintain over the years – is this something you should think about too?
It is important to get a regular bike service; it can cost anywhere from £30 plus depending on the service selected, as well as what needs doing to the bike. Upkeep on your bicycle is an investment in your on-road and personal safety.
What are the brands you should look out for? Any right places to start?
I have ridden for Giant for over eight years and love their bicycles and can't recommend them enough. My wife and kids also have Giant and Liv bikes. (Liv is Giant's women's brand) As a coach and former champion, it's nice to enjoy some family leisure rides also. You can see what's available from Giant and Liv at giant-bicycles.co.uk and liv-cycling.co.uk.
In your opinion, what are some of the best city bikes, if you've decided you'd like a bike for commuting/leisure?
As an athlete and keen road cyclist, for commuting, I would recommend a Contend or Contend AR from Giant, or women's Avail or Avail AR form Liv. Riding an aluminium drop handlebar bike will allow you to speed up your commute and is also great for fitness, so ticks two boxes.
In your opinion, what are some of the best bikes for fitness, if you're going to use it for training/triathlons?
I ride a Giant Trinity; there are many Triathlon capable bikes from Giant including Propel, TCR and Defy and Contend. The budget might ultimately have an impact here but as previously mentioned getting advice from a retailer is important.
What about electric bikes – who are these good for and are there any brands you recommend? What are the pros and cons?
Electric bikes are suitable for everyone, no matter what your level of fitness. When looking for an electric bike, you should focus on the motor and the battery; these are the features that give you the benefit when riding. The great thing about electric bikes is that you still have to work, the support you get is pedal power assistance. There are so many electric bikes on the market from performance mountain bikes, road bikes, city commuters and so much more. Giant and Liv make a vast range of electric bikes, for all sorts of cycling disciplines. Electric bikes are all about getting places faster, and they're super fun to ride.
What's the biggest mistake you see people making when it comes to buying a bike for the first time?
Selecting the correct size bike is essential to your overall cycling experience. Fit is personal, but comfort and right position will result in better control, and overall ride experience, too big or too small can result in issues for the rider and possible injuries. If in doubt, get advice from a local independent cycling retailer. Simple adjustments can improve rider comfort; the saddle being in the correct position will impact on leg comfort and pedal strokes. Onboard, your bike you want to feel in complete control with comfortable hand position on the bars, and easy reach of the brakes, correct position will result in a better, happier cycling experience. Ill-fitting bikes result in reduced performance so seek the support of an expert; these guys and girls know what they are talking about when it comes to everything cycling, make use of their knowledge and expertise.
If you have any questions or want to know more about the bike fitting or coaching services we offer then get in touch at www.mattbottrillperformancecoaching.com