Buy that Bike! was designed to help those venturing into cycling arm themselves with a bit of knowledge prior to walking into the bike shop. The choices, sizes and prices can seem daunting. I regularly talk to people who bought several bikes before they found the right bike for them. The fit, style or price point never seemed right until they had bought a few bikes. Some of that is unavoidable, becuase as our skills change, so do our bikes. It is my hope that your first bike will be more enjoyable, better fitting and ridden more regularly because you picked a better bike the first time due the information you learned here.

I hope that this site helps riders, no matter what type of riding you plan to do. If I can help someone find a great new cruiser to ride with their spuce then great. If I can also encourage someone who is diving into the sport of mountain biking with the purchase of a new full suspension mountain bike, amen.

This site will NOT be updated daily like a regular blog, although comments and tips are appreciated. I will update the articles seen here as technology, models and information changes.

As you will see in the Jump To: panel to the right, I have a series of articles to help with everything from bike type selection, to price point consideration, to the most important: bike fit. The site has information for the first-time buyer, as well as more advanced buying advice, for those choosing to make a larger committment to the sport or those buyign a second bike. Need more information? I have also pasted a few links to other sources to information to aid your bike buying. Or, if you want, feel free to read this blog from top to bottom.

I hope this site encourages you to ride and aids you in your selection. Good riding!

Bike Fit

Get a bike sized correctly for you. There is nothing more important.

Bike fit is the most important factor in choosing a bike. Bike fit is most important for road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids, but slightly less critical for comfort bikes, which may be available in fewer frame sizes.

Choose a shop that spends time fitting....on my most recent purchase, I drove over and hour to find a shop that would tak ethe time to fit me properly.....

Bikes sold at Wal-Mart, and other department stores are advertised by wheel size. Independent bike shops will have several frame sizes within a given wheel size, so a rider is assured a comfortable fit. (I often refer to department store bikes as “one size fits nobody”.)


comfort, etc.

maintain bike


basic fo a road bike...top tube, top tube sized by cm,

Peter White og Peter White Bicycles.

Bike Fit

Neuvation cycles video


If you are in theNllsboarough N.H. area area, consider shopping at Peter White Bicycles

If spending more, fit kit, pro-fit, etc.....

Women’s specific sizes are growing in availability. These aren’t necessarily the “step through” or “mixte” frame with the lowered top tube of old. Some bikes may still be step through, but often women’s bikes may look like a men’s style frame, but are proportioned to fit a woman’s body. This is a great advancement, especially on road bikes where fit is extremely critical. Previously women who wanted performance bikes had to make a men’s bike fit, often with inadequate results.

An improperly fitting bike can often lead to pain, discomfort and even injury so work with a bike shop to find the right fit for your riding style.

Choosing a Bike Shop

First of all, I always recommend buying from a Local Bike Shop. (LBS) Stay away from the big box stores, such as Walmart, Target, REI or Dick’s Sports. Buying from a local retailer will provide you the proper assembly, fit assistance, selection and service you won’t get at a department store. Not only are the bikes at an LBS superior, they are assembled by mechanics, not stock boys/girls. A properly assembled bike requires about an hour of work by a trained mechanic who will adjust the brakes, gears and bearings and make sure the bike is properly adjusted for your enjoyment, fit and safety. I often see bikes from department stores assembled so poorly they are too dangerous to ride.

fit, etc.

what to look for fit, wide selection, more

On your search for a new bike, you may happen across a salesperson or bike shop made up of bike snobs. Stereotypically, these guys would spend more on their bike than you, as a beginner, would ever dream of. They may direct you to the greatest bike in the world for its intended purpose, but if it doesn’t fit your intended purpose, there is no point in buying. Some bike snobs may not appreciate a bike made for the family rider because in their world, everything is about performance. If they sold cars, they would direct you to a Corvette, when you asked for a minivan.

Don’t confuse bike snobs with those who may recommend that you consider spending more than what you originally intended on spending. A shop may recommend a higher priced model not because they are trying to upsell you, but becuase, based on what you described you planned on doing with the bike, you require a higher quality model. Most shops do not pay on commission, so upselling you isn't likely the salesperson's priority. Use your judgement. If a bike shop isn’t listening to you, go elsewhere.

Types of Bikes

Choose the bike you will actually ride.

There is no point in buying a super-slick road bike if you never feel the desire to climb on it. At the end of the day, after doing your homework, you see a bike that seems to meet your needs and speaks to you, buy it! You likely won’t want to trade enjoyment for technology or efficiency if that is not important to you.

Types of Bikes
• Road Bikes
• Mountain Bikes
• Hybrid Bikes
• Cruisers
• Comfort Bikes
• Other

• Road Bikes
A road bike will typically look like the “ten speed” of old. It will likely be equipped with dropped bars and 18 to 33 gears. They will have thin tires, capable of great efficiency and speed. They have a large diameter referred to as 700c, which is similar to the 27 inch wheels of old ten-speed bikes. They are best for the recreational or sport rider who wants to ride on the road over a reasonably long distance or at speed or want to ride in a long-distance tour. Road bikes can be found in different styles, including racing bikes, touring bikes, and others. Road bikes can be bought from $500 to $10,000 and up. The multiple handlebar positons of the road bike offers a great deal of efficiency. Keep in mind that 80% of a riders effort goes into pushing the wind out of the way. Riding position can greatly influence that.

• Mountain Bikes
A mountain bike will likely be equipped with 21 to 30 gears. Typically a mountain bike is capable of rougher terrain than its multi-speed cousin, the road bike. By comparison, a mountain bike has lower gearing and fatter tires with heavier tread, which are often smaller in diameter than a road bike. Most mountain wheels are 26 inches, but some are now available in 29 inch varieties. They usually have flat handlebars offering more stability than a road bike, with a slightly more upright riding position. Mountain bikes come in a wide variety of styles and price points, not all of which are capable of rough riding. Mountain bikes come in suspended and non-suspended varieties. Mountain bikes can be found from $200 to $10,000 and up.

Mountain bikes can be found with or without front suspesnsion. Some are suspended in the rear.

A $200 mountain bike is not very capable of trail riding on very rough terrain, nor will it handle a great deal of punishment. Typically, cheap mountain bikes have been used for recreational riding before comfort bikes were available.

• Hybrid Bikes
A hybrid bike attempts to bridge the gap between road and mountain bikes. The wheels will often be the same diameter as a road bike, but have a medium width tire. They also have the flat handlebars of a mountain bikes. They will often have wide range gearing with 21 to 30 speeds. Hybrids can be found from $200 to $1,000 generally. Some peopel use them for recreational riding, but others choose to use hybrids in place of road bikes for longer tours.

• Cruisers
A cruiser may look a lot like the bikes a kid rode in the 1950’s or a modernized version of these retro bikes. Typically, they will be a single speed with a coaster brake, but may also have thee to eight speeds with coaster or hand brakes. They are also characterized by a very upright seating position and wide saddle. They are a heavier bike not capable of great efficiency, but can have an enjoyable ride allowing the rider to take in the scenery. Usually they are best suited for flat pavement and may come with fenders and racks. Cruisers can be found from $250 to $700 generally.

• Comfort Bikes
Comfort bikes are the newest and most diversified category of bikes. They are often like upright mountain bikes, with smoother tires. They may have many gears or may have three. Often they have gear systems built into the rear hub, which makes them simple to use and maintenance free. They have an upright riding position much like that of a cruiser and may have a wider saddle than a mountain bike. They are likely capable of higher performance and speed than a cruiser. They may have suspensions or other types of shock absorbing systems, which will add cost to the bike. They will be built in a wide-variety of price points and styles. Comfort bikes can be found from $300 to $1,000 generally, maybe less.

• Other
There are also other types of bikes, which are often variations on the hybrid and comfort bikes. They may go by urban bikes, bike path bikes and other names given them by their respective manufacturer.

• One of Each?

How much should I spend?

So you now know what type of bike you are going to buy. The next step is deciding how much you will spend. Obviously your budget will greatly influence what you purchase, but the reality is, at some levels, you will get what you pay for.

Choose your price point based on how often and how hard you will ride your new bike. If the bike is likely to collect dust in your basement after riding once, go cheap. If the bike will be ridden daily, then it will be worth it to invest in a bike with equipment made from solid materials that won’t wear out in a season. Likewise, if you will ride your bike in muddy conditions, for long distances, or over severely rough terrain, the price you pay now may prevent repairs later.

When I sold bikes, I often sold riders cheap bikes in their first year of riding and sold them a bike costing three times as much for their second season. I sold one guy a $400 bike in year one and a $2,400 bike in year two.

Below you will find some different guidlines to consider when buying a bike.

  • Road
  • Mountain
  • Hybrid
  • Others


Typically, a mountain bike capable of running on trails, or being ridden regularly will cost $500.

Common Questions and Misconceptions

• Yes, you may need that many gears.
If I had a dime for every time I heard “Why does anyone need that many gears?”

Bikes today aren’t equipped with as many as 30 gears for frivolous reasons. An automobile with 200+ horsepower is often equipped with a 5 or 6 speed transmission. By comparison, an elite athlete may only put out ¼ horsepower. Wouldn’t it be logical that the sub ¼ horsepower engine (you) on your bike be equipped with a proper transmission to make up for the lack of power?

A bicyclist riding over varying terrain or over great distances will be able to get the most from their limited power by riding efficient. The more gears, the more the rider will be able to keep their legs turning at an efficient pace, regardless of terrain or speed. The number of gears you need is dependent on your planned riding style.

I have a 20 speed road bike and a 24 speed mountain bike, but I also get great joy from single speed or three speed bikes. The key is picking the right gear for your type of riding.

• "Who would spend $500 on a bicycle?"
When I worked at a bike ship in college, I once sold a Schwinn AirDyne stationary bike to women looking to get into shape. It was a good purchase and wasn't cheap. As I recall, she didn't get the cheapest model, she dropped about $600 on it. No complaint from me, she bought a bullet-proof stationary bike. On her way out the door, she looked at the price a a mountain bike and exclaimed: "Who would pay $500 for a bicycle?!!!" The funny thing was, she dropped 600 bucks on a bike that didn't even go anywhere.

I didn't begrudge her her $600 stationary and I don't begrudge the person who drops $2,300 on a custom steel frameset. Its all good, its all in what we enjoy.

• I want a wide, comfortable saddle.
You do if your bike is made for it.

You sure about that?...