Buying a bike can be a challenging experience given the wide range of new technology available to bicycle makers and the appealing advertising campaigns that seem to promote each one as being better than the next. Here is a look at what is important when buying a bike.

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want a road bike, a mountain bike, or a specialized or customised bike. Once you have set your mind on the type of bicycling you want to do, you can then go ahead and start your search. Buy a bike because it offers comfort and performance. When it comes to buying a brand, you might unknowingly be compromising these key factors for the brand name.

Then you need to decide if you want a carbon fibre bike frame or a metal bike frame made of tubes. Carbon fibre is lighter but more expensive, although the quality of the carbon fibre varies. Fibre frames are generally stiff, giving you a more dynamic ride, and they also offer better aerodynamics. Aluminium frames and alloy and carbon mix frames are, of course, cheaper but generally offer you a slightly less dynamic ride.

Now you need to consider the components, including the cassette and chain, the crankset, brakes, gear shift levers, derailleurs, and bottom bracket. Shimano is probably the best known brand, but today’s manufactures, including Campagnolo and SRAM, produce quality of equal standard.

While Shimano might be the most readily available in terms of spares, Campagnolo are probably the easiest to repair, while SRAM are ergonomically popular. It is a question of personal preference, so try them all out as all three operate on slightly different systems, offering slightly different ride feel.

Gearing is a critical element of your bike ride and can have a large effect on your ride pleasure. Typically, there are three options: standard, triple, and compact gearing. Each one suits a particular ride type, so if you are in hilly country then a triple gearing system will be better suited, while if you are riding on both smooth and rough terrain then a compact system will probably suit you better. If you are looking at doing street racing, the standard gearing is likely the better option.

Women’s bikes have adaptations such as shorter reach levers for smaller hands. A shorter frame will offer a better seat and more comfortable grip on the levers, resulting in a more balanced ride.

Finally, or maybe first on your list, is the budget you have set aside for your sporting hobby. If you are patient and on the lookout, you can find brand new bikes that are selling for a reduced price because a newer model is now on the floor. Sales are most prevalent in the autumn when the season slows down. You can find many bicycle options available on Gumtree.

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