More important than the snazziest parts or flashiest paint job, bike shopping is all about finding the right bike for you. You and the riding you want to do are the most important part of finding the right bike.
Step 1: Riding Style
We carry a wide range of bikes, suitable for a lot of styles of riding around the Island. You want a bike that will not just keep up with you, but help you go further, whether that means making you more comfortable on technical trails or faster to work.
Step 2: Fit
We have a whole FAQ on fit, but the basics are this: you want a bike that puts you in a comfortable riding position. It should have at least enough clearance to let you comfortably stand over the frame. Other than that, a lot of ideal fit varies by style. In BMX, reach is absolutely the most important thing; for a triathlete, you want to focus most on perfect leg extension when pedaling. For all styles, though, you want a bike that you’re going to be able to handle well.
If you have factors complicating your cycling experience, fit is where that comes into play.
Step 3: Parts
Are you looking for the lowest possible maintenance, the highest possible performance, or, like most of us, something in between? Brakes and shifting parts are the differences you’re most likely to notice. And – you guessed it – the options on offer also vary by style. But in general, a thick heavy chain on an internally geared hub or single speed bicycle is going to last a really long time, and a more delicate chain on a cassette with a lot of gears is going to require replacement a bit sooner. With that tradeoff, though, is lighter weight compared to an internally geared hub and more versatility compared to a single speed. A derailleur controls how smoothly you’ll be able to shift between those gears.
For brakes, it’s not just a matter of style but also what weather conditions you expect to ride in. You don’t want rim brakes if you’re going to be riding through four inches of mud!
Step 4: New or used?
A used bike can be a great way to save money and still get exactly what you want. New bikes, on the other hand, come with warranties. It’s also easier to shop around for the size – or color – you want. We take trade-ins of quality used bicycles, and then we fix them up and make sure they’re in great condition before making them available for sale. We will also check over any used bike you’re considering purchasing privately and tell you what kind of mechanical condition it’s in, to let you get the best idea of what the options on offer are.
Step 5: Test Ride
Test riding a bike is the best way to figure out if it’s the perfect bike for you. If you’re looking at mountain bikes, demo days held at Hartland or Whistler can let you really put a bike through its paces. For something you’re going to be riding on solid ground, we’ve got a stretch behind the shop that’s perfect for test rides.
Once you’ve test ridden some bikes, you should be done!
Congratulations on finding your (next) perfect bike!
All photos are from our Instagram.