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Whether you're buying a bicycle for your commute or fun there are many things to know and look into before you make that big purchase. Everything from the type of bicycle brakes you use to the seat and gears can change your cycling experience. There are many different types of bicycles, bicycle parts and bicycle brands out there, and we're here to help you sort them out. Read this bicycle buying guide, and learn how to choose a bicycle, how to buy a bicycle, and how to get the best deal. Knowledge is power!

Buying a Bicycle - How to Choose a Bicycle Manufacturer

You'll notice that for many cycling enthusiasts, buying a bike is really similar to buying a car.

People tend to stick to one brand they trust and stick up for that brand no matter what. There are good and bad points to all brands out there, though there are a number that consistently turn out high-quality bicycles.

Things have come a long way since the classic Schwinn. Schwinn still makes some great mid-level bikes, but companies like Trek, Raleigh and Mongoose offer better performance. Using modern and performance-optimized bike parts will make for a great, comfortable ride with fewer break downs. These parts are also easier to find and replace. There are tons of bicycle manufacturers out there, and what it really comes down to is your personal needs.

Check out this list of bicycle brands

Buying a Bicycle - Saving Money and Buying Secondhand

You have a lot of options when looking for a bike. We always recommend trying a few styles and makes before buying the best priced one from an online store. You want your bike to fit you like a glove and be suitable to whatever your needs are.

Did you know...?

Buying A Bicycle

Did you know that many bicycle sellers throw in freebies, especially when you buy your bikes online?

The bicycle industry is very competitive, so bike sellers try to attract customers by throwing in free bicycle cleaners, spare parts or accessories. Even if they don't list any freebies on their webpage, it won't hurt to ask.

You might be looking for something light or something sturdy and solid. Maybe you're looking for an electric-powered bicycle that needs to go uphill often, or a bike that will go fast and get you to work on time.

Buying a bicycle secondhand is a great idea if you don't want to shell out big bucks for something new. A secondhand bike is often just as good as a new one-at half the price. There are a lot of great web sites out there to help you find that perfect bike.

I recommend sites like Walmart, JensonUSA, eBay, Chain Reaction Cycles and Craigslist. eBay is great for simple purchasing. Most companies offer return policies and warranties, which are useful in case you don't get exactly what you want. The forums on Pinkbike are great for learning more about great bike brands, which helps you narrow your search to find bikes near you. Craigslist is similar, but make sure you test the bike and ask lots of questions before you decide to buy. If you're unsure, you can record the serial number to make sure it's not a stolen bike.

When you're buying a secondhand bike, there are some important things to keep in mind. Nothing beats a trial run. Test the responsiveness of the brakes and gears; listen for any unusual clicks, scratches or squeaks; check out the condition and tread on the tires and make sure the rims are unbent and all spokes are attached. Make sure that there is no rust and that the chain and other parts have been regularly tuned and maintained.

Check out your local bike shop and ask the staff there about used bicycles, too. Many bike shops sell used bikes or will know of good ones for sale. Some recondition used bikes themselves and offer a limited warranty. Watch for classified ads that meet your needs, or get in contact with your local cycling association or groups. A good deal is never very far away.

Check out this complete guide on buying used bicycles

Buying a Bicycle - Essential Accessories

If you're like us, going into a bike shop is a huge treat! You want to touch everything, stare at it, and try it out. The smell of a new bike is like potpourri as you wander somewhat aimlessly around the shop pressing bicycle wheels, thumbing gears and checking out all the handy gadgets and accessories. While I don't suggest building a bike from scratch unless you have someone with a lot of experience at your side, knowing what parts and accessories you'll need is essential to becoming a good all-round cyclist.

Check out this complete guide on cycling equipment

Buying a Bicycle - Pieces and Parts

There are a handful of manufacturers out there that make great bike parts, well worth your dollar.

Be mindful of the materials your parts are made of, what purpose they serve, and how much it will cost to fix or replace a part if something does go wrong.

From brakes to gears, saddles to pedals, there are a lot of things that will add value and performance to your bicycle. If you're not concerned about getting the most out of your bike, or if you don't use it often or competitively, then value and performance may not be important to you. A department store bike will probably be fine. Keep in mind, though, that you'll get your money's worth by choosing materials that are durable, weather proof and strong. Think titanium, or even bamboo as opposed to plastic.

Check out this complete list of bicycle parts

Buying a Bicycle - Tips for That Perfect Fit

  • Avoid buying a bicycle that's too big. Stand straddling the top tube of the bike with both feet flat on the ground. There should be one to three inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) of space between you and that bar. If you're a woman, you may want to consult somebody who knows about bikes that are made for women. That's because women's proportions are different from men's proportions, which greatly affects the feel of a bike.

  • When you ride the bike make sure the handlebars are at a comfortable angle. If you're bent over too much or reaching too far you'll get a sore back and arms from cycling.

  • Always, always test drive a bike before you buy. Even if you just try the model out at a store and buy a secondhand one online, make sure you'll be comfortable and happy with your purchase.

  • Learn all you can before you make your decision. Read online bicycle reviews and ask bike shop owners and other cyclists about bike brands and models. Insider tips can prove very valuable in learning about common product defects.

Check out this guide on bicycle sizing

Buying A Bicycle Online

The main question is: do I want new bicycles or used bicycles. Many online stores are offering both used and new bikes. Take a look at these trusted online stores:

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Last Word About Buying a Bicycle

If you've done everything suggested in this bicycle buying guide, you're all set to get that great bike you've been dreaming of. Using these tips and information and testing products yourself will help you find what you're looking for at exactly the right price. Good luck and we'll see you out on the trails!

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