Remember, you’re buying a bike to
have fun, not to win a paycheck. While
professional racers and bike-shop guys
may be willing to forgo creature comforts in the name of speed, you may
not—even if you are fearlessly defending a Strava KOM time.
We’ve spent countless hours in bike
shops across the country, and no matter which shop you go to, there are a
few tips that will help you get the most
The last thing you want a bike-shop
expert to do is start showing you bikes
the minute you walk through the door.
The salesperson should begin by getting to know you and your riding style.
If he is not asking specific questions
about how often you ride, where you
ride and the type of riding you do, find
someone else to help you. A savvy
bike-shop guy should also ask which
bikes you have looked at so far, which
bikes you have owned in the past, and
what kind of bikes your friends are
riding. Your answers will give him a
feel for your experience level and riding style.
—AND THE RIGHT
Once you have determined the type
of bike you’re looking for, you need to
be honest with the salesperson about
your budget. It’s no fun to finally figure
The welcome: If your local shop doesn’t smell of grease and expertise, with
a friendly face to greet you, run the other way.
Into the jungle: Most bike shops offer a huge selection of products that can be intimidating even to seasoned riders.
out which bike is right for you, only to
realize that you can’t afford it. Don’t
focus so much on the brand name. It’s
much more important to get the right
kind of bike, one that fits you
and has the right features for
the type of riding you do.
As you begin to narrow
your choices, ask any
specific questions you
have, like: Why would I
buy a 4-inch-travel bike
instead of one with 5
inches? What are the
benefits of a 29er ver-
sus a 27.5-inch bike?
Do I need a dropper
Once you’ve found
your dream bike, don’t go home and
try to get it cheaper online. If you’re
buying a current-year bike, the price at
the shop will be identical to the price
from online sources. If you’re buying
a closeout bike, it’s probably on sale at
both your local bike shop and through
online retailers. Besides, there are
advantages to buying from a shop. A
reputable bike shop will be on a first-
name basis with key people at the bike
brands they carry. Things like warran-
ties will be taken care of much faster
through a bike shop that regularly
deals with the bike’s manufacturer.
Also, we strongly recommend that you
take advantage of any professional
bike-fitting or setup services the shop