Buying a bicycle for beginners can be really frustrating.Unlike recreational bikes its not a small amount invested when you buy a training bike or a first sport bike . So is going straight to a bicycle shop a good idea ? Or checking online reviews and forums ? Can friends be a useful source of information ?
Lets start assessing each of these options
- Bike shops tend to have a certain limited range, so they will be naturally directing you to a bike they carry in stock rather than the whole range they can source. This means in certain cases your needs can be compromised. It is advised that you go through as many shops as you can, and talk to as many sales people as you can. In most cases they will be happy to invest time with you.
Now remember, accountants, lawyers, doctors … do not and cannot memories all the regulations and rules that governs their practice. They will always refer to a sort of database to be able to accurately work. Bicycles salesman are the same. It is simply impossible to have a complete knowledge of all bikes, components and clothing especially that the market is changing and expanding in an unprecedented pace. That’s not to forget the high turnover rate in the industry. So what is the solution? Do your own search and put hours gathering info. Note that specialty shops selling a very limited range, for example BMX shops, Urban and Commuting Shops will tend to offer a better advice as they are in general small shops driven by passion.
- Online reviews by magazines are great. But let’s just remember, how accurate and objective can they go ? Well them self’s they want to keep the business going. The bikes and parts they review are given to them either by the company itself or by the distributor in certain country. Keeping a good relation with them is important to stay in the business. Online reviwes are very useful for the newest of products as there will be no other sources to read re views about them.
Online forums and members reviews become an option few months later when more and more people purchased the product and shared their opinion about it. But lets not forget this, the essence of a bike is its frame and lot s of the manufacturers keep the same frame in production for years before any update. This means there will be plenty of reviews about it. Members reviews are great, as they will offer the opinion of a cyclist who rode the bike, unlike a sales man who never did. However only rational reviews should be considered , as they will carry more accurate information’s. Participating in conversations and asking question will definitely offer you a very specific answer to your question
- In theory a friend would have no tangible benefits in such process, except having you on a ride with him. Asking fellow cyclist for their opinion and assistance is great, but make sure they have been riding for years s that their knowledge is broad.
Now that we explored these three options, non of them is perfect, but combining all three is in fact all you can do. This process should take at least weeks if not couple of months. It depends of how much resources at stake.