Sam Edwards via Getty Images

Buying a Bike Online: What To Look For

Focus your bike search on these factors

Sam Edwards via Getty Images

Owning a bicycle makes it possible to go on all sorts of adventures, from cruising the trails and parks in your own city to exploring America’s famous national parks — all while practicing social distancing. But investing in a high-quality bike as an adult who hasn’t hopped on a bike saddle since they outgrew their childhood bicycle can be intimidating. 

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If you’re in the market for your first bicycle as an adult or you’re looking to purchase a different type of bike, like a mountain bike or fitness bike, for the first time, here’s how to narrow down your search while you're shopping online

The most important factor to figure out before you begin shopping is what purpose your bike will serve. Are you predominantly using it to commute to work or cruise around the neighborhood? Do you want to go off-roading? Do you need it to do more than one thing? There are plenty of versatile, hybrid types of bikes that can accommodate multiple uses, you just have to know what they are first. If you’re trying to efficiently get from one place to the next, you might also consider electric pedal-assist models as well. 

The next step is finding out what frame size fits you best. There are multiple styles of handlebars that allow several riding and hand positions as well as a variety of frame sizes. If you’re a woman or a shorter man, consider models specifically designed for women’s proportions. The distance from the seat to the handlebar is generally shorter, and the bike’s frame also sits closer to the ground. But depending on body proportions, a woman could also just as easily fit a unisex bike. Look through reviews to see what people who have similar builds or height to yours have to say.

Another big factor to consider is what style of brakes you prefer and how many gears, or “speeds,”  you need. Changing gears keeps pedaling comfortable regardless of terrain. If you’re scaling lots of hills and you find climbing challenging, then more gears will be helpful. More gears will also help your bike tackle a wider variety of situations. Some models, like kid’s bikes, commuter bikes and cruisers, are only single-speed. 

Related

When shopping for a bike, don’t be dazzled by accessories or paint jobs. After narrowing down your search by type and size, make sure you’re buying a bike from a company with a reputation for quality products that last, such as these top 25 bike brands