Buying a bike can be difficult. There are countless bikes on the market, and everyone you speak to will give you different advice. So how do normal, average Joe cyclists figure out which one is best? In this guest post, Erik Carlson explains what you need to know, and describes how his resource, New Bike Finder, can help you choose the best new bike for you.
Over to Erik Carlson!
Last year I wanted a new bike, but once I started doing research I got lost down the rabbit hole. I found myself trying to explain to my friends my elaborate spreadsheets comparing geometries, groupsets, different types of carbon fiber, and all the other small details … yes, even color.
My friends thought I was about to sequester myself until my research was complete, and they asked if this was how other people bought bikes. Well, probably not most people, I conceded. But there are a whole lot of variables that most bike buyers have to consider. With so many bikes on the market, my friends encouraged me to create a resource to help other people find their next bike.
The Paralysis of Choice
The first problem with buying a new bike is understanding what type of bike you should buy. Everyone wants to tell you what to buy. Some of the advice you get is probably pretty good, while some can be downright wrong. How do you know what to trust? The confusion and choices can be so great that you feel paralyzed!
Here are some of the things I’ve heard in the last few months:
“It’s a Juliana Santa Cruz’s women’s bike, but it’ll work for you. All they did was change the colors.”
Nope, not true. They’ve made these bikes much better suited to female riders.
Customer goes into bike shop and asks for a city bike. “What you really need is a mountain bike…”
False. The mountain bike may be more capable, but the increased cost may not be necessary for the customer.
I could go on, but I’m sure you have your own examples. The bike industry is changing so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with all the changes. While bikes aren’t getting any cheaper, what you get for your money is much better than what you would’ve got ten years ago. The market is also a lot bigger than it has been in the past. With so many choices, many customers opt to trust the salesman.
But since you’re spending so much money, how can you make sure you don’t get sold on something you don’t need? How do you sort through all the nonsense?
Educate Yourself About Bikes
First, you need to understand the basics about what type of bike you want. The folks at your Local Bike Shop would prefer you to say, “I’m looking for an endurance road bike with an Ultegra groupset for under $2,000” or “I’d like to invest in a good 29er full suspension frame and I’ll upgrade the components later.” Instead of: “I just want a road bike that would be good for me.” If you’re dropping that much coin, why not learn a bit first?
There are plenty of resources out there, including our free eBook at New Bike Finder. Bicycling has a whole book on the subject, The Big Book of Bicycling, available via Amazon. And this blog has a whole lot of posts on the subject, including:
- How to Set up a Commuter Bike
- How to Choose the Right Type of Bike
- How to Choose a Mountain Bike
- How to Buy a Bike on Amazon
Choosing Your Bike
Once you know what you want (not what others have told you what you should get), it’s time to start looking for your bike. How are you going to do that?
You could Google “Best hardtail 29er mountain bike” or something similar. It’s a good place to start, but you’ll probably end up with a list of bikes that someone else is selling.
Bike magazines usually have great recommendations. We love bike mags, but they only feature a few of the bikes on the market. Arguably, these will be the best in their class, but a lot of perfectly good bikes won’t be mentioned.
You could go to your local bike shop, but you’ll only see the bikes they have in their showroom.
There are also all those online retailers you could check, but then you never get to see or touch the bike, much less ride it, before you purchase.
And don’t forget, every one of these outlets have an agenda.
At New Bike Finder, we pride ourselves on the fact that we put riders first. Yes, we think you need to support your local bike shops. Yes, we want you to get the best deal for your hard-earned money even if it is online. While these ideas may seem to conflict, we think there can be a balance between the two.
On our New Bike Finder, we feature over 3,200 models from 63 different brands and we still have a way to go to cover the whole market. This is more than any online retailer and certainly more choice than your local bike shop has on their sales floor. We want you to find the bike that suits you best. Even if that means your bike has to be purple.
We Will Help You to Find Your Bike
Once you decide which bike will work best for you, we’ll help you find it. This could mean that it’s at your local bike shop. However, it may only be available online, like Canyon or YT Industries. It is even possible to get a good bike from Amazon and have it put together by a professional. Either way, we’ll help you connect with the retailer that works best for you.
Why are We Doing This?
That’s a fair question. Most of us have bought a bike and probably felt a little overwhelmed by the process. All the information about these bikes is out there and we just want to put that information into the hands of the consumer – you. When the salesman has information the customer doesn’t, the salesman is at the advantage. We want to level the playing field.
We have faced friction because our site doesn’t favor individual bicycle dealers. Online retailers don’t like that we showcase other products. Our mission is simple: Riders first.
If you’re interested in helping our cause, let us know.
Thanks to Our Guest Poster
Erik Carlson is the founder of NewBikeFinder.com. He has never been a professional cyclist and is obviously no poet. However, he is an avid Weekend Warrior, a pilot, a husband, a father, and a veteran. On top of this, he is passionate about cycling and loves to share that passion with others. As Founder of New Bike Finder, he seeks to help bring new people into the sport and help riders find the perfect bike.
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