Finding the Right Schwinn

Bike Buyer's Guide

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How to Find the Right Bike

Choosing the right bike for your riding goals will make a big difference as you train for your event. Before heading down to your local bike shop, think about how you'll answer some of the questions they'll ask:

1. What type of rider will you be?

  • Casual - I want to enjoy cycling with my friends and/or family. Comfort is extremely important, but going fast isn't.
  • Fitness -I'm excited to go farther (and possibly faster) than I've gone before. I want a bike that can help me reach these goals.
  • Competitive - I'm going to see how fast I can go on race day.

In general, the more seriously you're taking your training , the more specialized your bike will be.

For most people, bikes designed for casual and fitness riding are the best choice, as these bikes are designed to have smoother, more predictable handling. These models are built with wide gear ranges to make climbing hills easier and are built to get you in a more comfortable, upright riding position. Casual and fitness bikes typically come with more comfort-oriented parts like extra padded saddles and cushioned grips.

2. How often do you plan to ride each week?

This question helps the bike shop decide how durable (and therefore expensive) the gears and other components on your bike should be to best fit your needs. In general, the more miles you plan to ride, the more durable you'll want your bike to be.

3. How much do you want to spend?

Every good bike shop will work hard to stay within your budget while helping you find the right bike for your riding. The price of a bike is generally determined by the type of frame material and the quality of the parts (brakes, shifters, derailleurs, etc.) hanging on it. Road bikes range for $500-$10,000, with most riders spending $1,000 -$2,500. If you can work it into your budget, it's better to spend a little more up front to buy a more expensive bike because the bike will last longer, be lighter weight and perform better. Higher quality parts (a.k.a. components or "gruppos") will last longer and work better. For example, you'll notice crisper shifting (i.e. - shifts more easily) and better braking power. Shimano and SRAM are the most popular road components. The chart shows how the different component groups measure up.

  Shimano SRAM
Good Tiagra/Sora Apex
Better 105 Rival
Best Ultegra Force
Ultimate, Pro-level Dura-Ace Red

The fit, finish and durability of the components get progressively better as the price increases. The quality is something you'll really appreciate when the miles start to pile up.