Buying a Bicycle  -  A perfect fit

Buying a Bicycle - A perfect fit

Buying a Bicycle - Getting it Right

Buying a new or (new to you) bike - its exciting but potentially a minefield. 

I often get asked in my sister mobile cycle repairs business (boingbicycles) what the best bike is to buy and the truth is there's as many answers as there are cyclists/potential cyclists. 

If you're super handy on the tools and experienced in mechanics then you can buy a new or second hand frame or carcass of a bike and build it up yourself. 

However this little guide assumes that you're buying something new or second hand and you just want the bike to work from the off with miniimal to no initial mechanical remedial work needed.

1) Bring a cycling friend if you can -  they'll be handy to bounce your thoughts off and handy to help you remember the questions you might otherwise forget to ask. 

2) Don't worry so much if the contact points - the grips or tape, the saddle and pedals look and feel tired (if second hand) or don't appeal to you (if the bike is new) they are all easily replaceable its the rest of it you need to really pay attention to. 

3) Fundamentally does the bike feel like a nice fit - with your feet on the pedals and with the seat height and horizontal position adjusted does the bike feel comfy - take the time with the sellers help  to optimise the fit of the handlebars and the saddle before your test ride - is there a slight bend in your knees and arms - can you see all around you - if you don't feel relaxed sat on the bike due to being cramped or feeling too stretched out - walk away find something that fits better. 

4) Assuming you're good with 3) how smooth does the bike feel. Whether its new or second-hand it should feel smooth to ride. Good bearings throughout will show up in this way. The steering should be smooth not notchy, the wheels should spin smoothly, the bike should feel smooth to pedal if the chain (which is basically a big roller bearing) is in good shape. 

5) if the tyres are cracked or not to your liking you can change them that's simple enough with some help if needed 

6) How confidence inspiring are the brakes - on your test ride whichever brake type you have, mechanical or disc they should stop you fast with no jolting and with minimal noise - if not budget for new pads and/or new brake units - or again walk away if you're not happy.

7) If the gears on a new bike are out of line they will change really clunkily - some adjustment of the cables and mechanisms by the bike shop will straighten them out. Any hint of gears slipping on a second hand bike - again walk away unless you're mechanically inclined and prepared for some potentially significant cost to put it right.

8) Finally can you carry the bike if you need to?  If its so heavy that you can barely pick it up again walk away, you'll be glad to have a lighter machine in the long run - easier to move on and off trains for example and just easier to cycle.

To sum up - take your time, take an informed friend, make sure the machine is comfy and smooth to operate - make sure the gears go and the brakes stop and if you have doubts - walk away - your perfect bike is out there somewhere - we promise!

May 10, 2024 Jonny (Owner )

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