Are you shopping for a new or used bike? Before you go out and purchase a bicycle there are a few considerations you should probably make. You need to know the type of riding you’ll be doing. How are you going to use the bike and how often do you see yourself using it? Also, make sure you consider the size and weight. Find a bike that’s comfortable and fits you well. When shopping for a bike you should also estimate your budget, know how much you’re willing to spend. It’s a good idea to give some thought before you go to your local bike shop or Department store. Do a little research. There are different types of bikes available each with their unique riding styles and features. Test ride a few bikes and figure out what style fits you best.
Here is a list of places you should check out. The following suggestions are not listed in order of importance.
1. Local Bike Shop
This is a great place to shop for quality bikes and service. You can’t beat the number of selections available. The people who work at your bike store have the experience and knowledge to answer your questions. Be sure to explain your needs and desires to help the salesperson narrow your selection. Granted, the bikes are more expansive but you won’t regret the quality of construction and material. Your local bike shop is the best place to start.
2. Department Store
Many people discourage stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Sport’s Authority or Toys R Us. However this might be a good place to look for a commuter bike, a BMX or a bike for children. Sometimes you can find a decent road bike or mountain bike for the casual commute or trails. Just keep in mind that you’re getting what you’re paying for. I know a several people who are very happy with their purchase.
3. Garage Sale
If you’re on a tight budget this might be an option. Take the time to check the bike for any damage or wear and tear. If you like what you see you can haggle for a decent price.
4. Thrift Store
You probably won’t find a high quality suspension bike here. Most bikes are old and require minor repairs. However, I know people who found great vintage bikes or beach cruisers. Just do a Google search of all thrift stores in your area. Call to see what they have available, it will save you valuable time and gas.
5. Online Bike Store
If you can’t find a particular bike at your LBS you might consider an online bike store. Obviously you can’t see the bike in person but most online stores have great customer service to answer your questions. If you wait for the right time you may be able to get a discount with your purchase. Just keep in mind to add shipping and handling charges as they will increase your overall cost. I’ve had great experience with online stores, I would definitely recommend it if you’re thinking about it.
Craigslist probably has the best selection of used bikes online. You can find various types for a low price. I’ve seen mountain bikes sell for as little as $30.00. If you decide to meet a seller in person, be sure to have your questions ready. You should inspect the bike and take it for a test ride. You won’t notice any flaws with the handling or brakes until you get a feel for it. It might be a good idea to take a friend with you who has more knowledge and experience.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different options available. Take your time and do your research. Don’t be tempted to purchase on impulse.