Tips to make sure you ride away with the perfect bike
BUYING a bicycle is an exciting decision, whether you're doing it for fitness or fun.
There are a variety of different options to suit your wants and needs, but there is a lot to think about, so make sure you have a basic idea of what you require when you start your search.
The three most prominent types of bikes are mountain bikes, road bikes and city bikes.
Mountain bikes are for off-road riding, road bikes are for speed and performance, and city bikes are for recreation, commuting and fitness.
First of all, don't shop for a certain size.
Most times a customer won't know their completely accurate bike size, so don't limit yourself to a specific number because that will limit the range of bikes you can search for.
Between different models and brands, sizes can be different even if they've detailed the same dimensions.
Secondly, get fitted for your bike.
Most shoppers don't realise how important it is to have a bike fitted.
When your measurements are correct, you will be provided with a balanced ride in four areas: efficiency, handling, aerodynamics and comfort.
There are ten measurements that you need fitted to achieve this. They are:
Crank length: It can't be too long or too short - you'll either lose leverage or your pedal stroke will be compromised.
The ball of your foot to the pedal axle: Too far forward and your quads will be uncomfortable.
Too far back and your Achilles tendon will be sore as well.
Knee to the pedal axle: This is extremely important to achieving balance.
If your weight is not well-adjusted, then safety can be compromised.
Seat height: Too high and your hips will be uncomfortable, too low and you could damage your knees.
Seat angle: This is all about comfort, linking with your gender.
Top tube length: This is another very important measurement for balance.
Steam length and height: This helps develop your comfort, handling and aerodynamics.
Handlebar width: Again, all about the comfort and aerodynamics.
Handlebar rise or drop: This helps with your efficiency when handling the bike.
Finally, there is a lot of importance in the frame.
Like all things, you get what you pay for, and if you buy a cheap bike then you will get a cheaply-made frame, which doesn't necessarily 'go the distance'.
Ask about the different materials in which the bike frames are made and find the frame that suits you.
Make sure that you really know what you need when searching for your perfect bike.