It’s that time of year when the weather gets better and I long to hit the road and feel the wind in my face. Since my bike was stolen I need to purchase new one and it is a process I’ve learned to get right.
I’ve found it costs more to buy a lightweight frame made of carbon fiber, aluminum (or a combination of both materials), or high-strength steel or other high-quality components. Quality is an investment, but you can still buy a good bike for just a few hundred dollars.
Decide what kind of riding you'll do
There are four basic categories of biking. If you're an avid cyclist, you may prefer a conventional road bike. Looking for a leisurely ride on flat, paved roads? A comfort bike may be more your speed. If rugged trails are in your sights, than a mountain bike might be best.
Find a good bike shop
You'll pay more, but you're more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body. If you don't like the pedals or seat on a particular model, some bike shops will swap components at little or no cost.
Take a test ride
Before you buy any bike, ride it far enough to make sure that the brakes and shifters are easy to use, the fit is comfortable, the gears can go low enough for climbing hills, and the frame and suspension adequately smooth the bumps.
Avoid cheap bikes, except for very casual use.
Inexpensive bikes - those selling for less than about $200, often in big-box stores - may seem like good deals, but I advise spending $300 or more, if your budget allows. Why? Because you'll get a lot more bike for your buck. Mass-market bikes are more cheaply constructed than higher-priced bikes and can weigh seven or eight pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.
Adults should consider inexpensive bikes from a department store only for the most casual use. And, if you must go the cheapest route, stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than an inexpensive full-suspension bike.
Based on these considerations, a Leisure Bike will be best for me. Perfect for simple bike rides to Chinatown, Toronto Island or just some city sight-seeing enjoying the weather.