With Demo week happening now at Colorado Backcountry Biker, it is the perfect time to talk about what you should look for when choosing a new bike.
Type – you need to know what kind of biking you’ll be doing and choose an appropriate bike. If you choose a mountain bike to primarily road ride, you’re going to end up being frustrated when all of your friends effortlessly cruise past you. There are also subcategories for each type, i.e., road bike or gravel grinder and cross country bike vs. downhill bike. Each bike has a niche, so find yours and start the search there.
Price – you can easily get carried away with the cost of a bike if you don’t set a budget. Metal (aluminum, steel, or titanium) vs. carbon? Do you want to upgrade those wheels or any other components? If you don’t figure out what you can spend, you might end up with a customized $10,000 build that looks amazing but might hurt your bank account.
Handlebars – there are three most common handlebar types:
– Drop bars are found on most road bikes. They are lightweight and aerodynamic, which makes them ideal for racing or fast riding. These bars put your body position in a lower, hunched over position, which can be uncomfortable for your back.
– Flat bars are standard on hybrid bikes and are the preference for some mountain and road bikes. They allow you to sit upright in a more comfortable position, which reduces strain on your hands, wrists, and shoulders.
– Riser bars are standard on mountain bikes. They extend slightly upward and back, which allow you to sit farther back to see ahead to maintain steering control.
Features – this includes gears and suspension. Think about your current level of fitness and what type of terrain you’d like to ride. If you want to ride more hills, but they are challenging, opt for a bike with lots of gears. Are you a strong rider who wants to keep your bike light? You could save weight with fewer gears. Figure out what is best for the riding you’re hoping to do most.
Let’s move on to suspension options – if you’re a cross country rider, you probably don’t need a lot of suspension. Many cross country riders prefer hardtails or shorter travel suspension bikes, typically no more than 120mm of travel and usually less. However, if you want to hit big jumps and slay down some chunky downhill sections, you will typically want a full suspension bike; with a hardtail, you might rattle your teeth right out of your head. Trail bikes start at about 130mm of travel and can reach up to 180mm. 180mm and more moves into downhill bike territory.
Fit – you need to make sure that you’re comfortable riding your bike. Start with the frame size – finding the right one should depend on your height and inseam. Every manufacturer is a little different, so pay attention to their sizing charts, or you can ask our shop staff for help. We can learn about your riding style and suggest a size and model that will work best for your needs.
Once you’ve got the correct frame size, allow the bike to be adjusted precisely for you. Custom adjustment means seat height or maybe a shorter or longer stem, at the very least. Hopping on your buddy’s bike might give you a basic idea of how it fits you, but making those small adjustments will change the game for your riding style!
The best way to tell if a bike is for you is to get out and ride it, which makes demos the perfect opportunity to find a bike that you can’t wait to hop on and rip the trails. The rain today isn’t ideal to demo, so the 2019 Devinci fleet will be packing up early and heading to their next stop. Stop in March 16-17 to demo the new Orbeas. If you’re unable to make it to either of these events, you can always rent one from the shop. We’ve got the 24-hour rental, so you can be sure you know what the bike is about before you have to return it. If you have any questions, call us or stop by (970) 858-3917. We’re here to make your riding experience the best it can be.