Buying a New Bike: 6 Things to Consider

Given the wide range of options available on the market and the constant development of materials, buying a new bike can be complex for both beginners and experienced cyclists. Here are 6 factors to carefully consider before making a decision.

1. Bike Model

First, decide which type of bike best suits your needs, goals, and the type of terrain you want to ride on. Each style has specific features designed for different riding styles:

  • Road Bike: Specially designed for speed on paved roads, with a lightweight frame, thin tires, and a posture that promotes aerodynamics.
  • Gravel Bike: More versatile than a pure road bike, designed for a mix of asphalt, gravel, and even light terrain.
  • Mountain Bike: Designed for off-road riding, with wide tires and strong suspensions.
  • Triathlon/Time Trial Bike: Specialized for triathlons and time trials, with an aerodynamic design and special handlebars.

2. Budget

After identifying the bike style that best suits your needs, it’s important to set a realistic budget for the purchase. Prices can vary significantly – from a few hundred euros to several thousand! Consider how you will use it and what sporting goals you have, and keep in mind that there may be additional maintenance costs or accessories in the future. Also, note that the bike doesn’t necessarily have to be new. Many high-quality bikes are also available second-hand (we provide some tips for buying a second-hand bike below).

3. Size and Fit

Another important factor to consider when purchasing is the size of the bike. For comfortable and efficient riding, it’s crucial that the bike fits your body properly. Using a bike of the wrong size can not only be uncomfortable but also cause long-term injuries. It’s important to choose a bike with a frame that is proportionate to your size and with adjustable moving parts to adapt to your posture.

Bike and frame sizes can be described using two approaches: the international system, measured in centimeters and preferred for road bikes, and the Anglo-Saxon system, measured in inches and more commonly used for mountain bikes. There are also standard sizes like S, M, L, XL. The frame size, whether expressed in centimeters, inches, or standard, refers to the length of the seat tube (AB). Don’t hesitate to ask the dealer for a test ride and assistance in adjusting the bike to your measurements. If you’re buying a bike online, consult the many size charts and calculators provided by the shop websites.

4. Frame Material

The frame material can influence the weight, durability, comfort, and cost of your bike. The most commonly used materials for frame construction include:

  • STEEL:
    • Weight: Steel frames are generally heavier than frames made from other materials, which can be a disadvantage for road cyclists who value lightness.
    • Comfort: Steel has a natural elasticity that absorbs vibrations well and provides a smooth ride, especially on long distances or uneven roads.
    • Durability and Repairability: Steel is extremely durable and relatively easy to repair in case of damage, which can extend the lifespan of a well-maintained steel frame.
    • Price: Costs can vary, from affordable options to very high-quality, handcrafted steel frames that are correspondingly more expensive.
    • Weight: Aluminum frames are lighter than steel frames and offer a good balance of stiffness and weight, making them a popular choice for road bikes.
    • Comfort: Aluminum can transmit more road vibrations than steel, resulting in a stiffer ride. However, modern aluminum frames often use technologies to improve comfort, such as special tube shapes or damping elements.
    • Durability: Aluminum frames are corrosion-resistant but can fatigue under continuous load.
    • Price: Aluminum frames are generally cheaper than carbon or titanium frames and offer good value for money.
    • Weight: Carbon frames are extremely light and allow the construction of road bikes with the least weight possible, making them very popular among professional road cyclists.
    • Comfort: Carbon can be designed to be stiff or flexible, depending on how and where the material is used. This allows for excellent vibration damping and comfort.
    • Durability: Carbon is sensitive to impacts and can be damaged by a strong blow, which is not always easy to detect.
    • Price: Carbon frames are usually the most expensive option but also reflect the cutting edge of bicycle technology.
    • Weight: Titanium frames offer similar weight savings to carbon and aluminium, but tend to be slightly heavier than the lightest carbon frames.
    • Comfort: Titanium offers excellent shock absorption and durability, similar to steel but with the advantage of lighter weight.
    • Durability: Titanium is extremely corrosion-resistant and durable, making it an excellent choice for a “lifetime” road bike.
    • Price: Titanium frames are expensive due to manufacturing difficulties and the cost of the material itself.

5. Components and Accessories

For cyclists, choosing the right components is not just a matter of style but essential for performance on the road or trail. Investing in high-quality drive systems, precise brakes, responsive wheels, and effective suspensions can dramatically upgrade your riding experience and extend the life of your bike.

Always consider your ambitions and the intended use of your bike: while disc brakes give you consistent braking performance in all conditions, ideal for fast descents and technical terrain, rim brakes are light and proven for road cycling. Your terrain also determines the choice of drivetrain: a compact crankset and a wide cassette will get you over steep mountain passes, while a close-ratio gear system is an advantage on flat stretches.

An informed look at the after-sales service and support that a specialist dealer can offer you will ensure your investment in the long term. A trusting relationship with your bike shop is invaluable, whether for regular maintenance, upgrades or simply good advice.

6. Practical Test

Never underestimate the importance of a practical test before buying a new bike. Nothing can replace the experience of riding on different models, evaluating the differences in technical features, and checking adaptability to your individual needs. Take advantage of the test opportunities offered by local bike shops and seek advice from industry professionals.

Before buying a used bike:

  • Check the condition of the frame.
  • Ensure there is no play in the headset.
  • Check if the wheel runs straight and the bike rolls smoothly.
  • Check the suspensions.
  • Check the wear condition of the drive and brakes.


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