Where Do I Begin?
The first thing that you need to decide is the purpose of your purchase, as in most cases when forking out cash for something that may never see daylight. No different with bikes, there is an intended purpose and application that designers and enthusiasts alike have created. Take a moment to consider how much money you want to invest and what you want to get out of your bicycling experience. Here are a few that I've encountered:
- I want to be Lance and conquer the French Alps
- I want to explore the back trails of my local park
- I want to ride leisurely with the Mrs. (or Mr.)
- I want to get rid of love handles, a soft backside, etc.
- I have no car, therefore I bike
- I saw a dude ride off a cliff and I want to do it too
The Next Step
Now that you've determined the extent of your cycling endeavor, it's time go buy out and buy that bike. There are many places to purchase a bicycle including department stores, warehouse outlets and local bike shops (LBS). While all three have their pros and cons, an actual bike shop cannot be rivaled in service, knowledge and selection. Shops will vary in brands of both bicycle lines and products and will almost always be able to suit your cycling needs whatever the level of expertise.
- Like cars, year end and previous year models can save you hundreds of dollars depending on the retail price and are often the same bike with a different paint scheme.
Do as much research to make yourself feel knowledgeable and comfortable with purchasing your bike.
Shops usually offer free maintenance for the first few months or longer, make sure this is included and is clearly explained.
Bike shops usually run on a 30% margin on bikes on average so consider this when trying to negotiate your price.
Ride your bike and wear a helmet.