The best part of biking is the thrill of the wind blowing by your face as you cruise down your favorite trail or your favorite route. The second best part of biking is picking out a new bike. If you do it right, you don’t have to buy a new bike very often. Some bikes will last longer than most cars, and if you take good care of it there's no reason your bike shouldn’t last you a good ten years. That means when it's time to buy a new bike, you better know what to look for because you will be stuck with it for a while! We’ve laid out a few things to consider when buying your next bike, to make sure you find the bike that's perfect for you.
Type of Bike: The first, and most important thing to consider is what type of bike you want. There are several different types of bikes and they are all used for different things. If you are riding in the city you probably want a road bike. They are lightweight, fast, and great for smooth surfaces like pavement. If you are riding in the woods, in places with a lot of hills and maybe debris, then a mountain bike is your best bet. They are able to sustain more bumps and can handle more types of terrain. BMX bikes are less common, but if you are looking to do tricks then they are the way to go. They are considerably smaller than mountain bikes and road bikes which make using half pipes and hitting jumps much easier.
Frame Size: When you buy a new bike you need a bike that is going to fit you. If your frame is too big you will have too much difficulty staying on and you can be seriously injured. A frame that is too small will make for an uncomfortable ride. Not to mention the range of motion in your legs will be limited, slowing you down a good amount. To figure out what size you are, simply google “Bike size chart” and include whichever style of bike you are looking for.
Speeds: Bikes come with so many different speed options that it can be almost overwhelming. Some come with just one speed, others come with 21 speeds, and many of them come somewhere in the middle. You want to be able to change your speed depending on the type of elevation you are biking on. If you are going uphill, you want a low speed so it is easier to pedal. If you are going downhill, you want a high speed to maintain control. If the area you live in is pretty flat then the fewer speeds the better. You will likely only need a few different speeds, and if you have too many the gear will make your bike heavy, slowing you down. Now, if you ride somewhere that is very hilly you will want a lot of speed options, otherwise you might find yourself having to walk your bike up the hill.
Once you take those characteristics into consideration, the rest of the process is totally up to your preference. Color, style of seat, accessories, its all up to whatever you like most. The characteristics above are to make sure you maximize safety, comfortability, and ease of ride. Bikes are built to last you a while. Unless you are putting tons of miles onto your bike every week you should have no problem maintaining your bike for years to come.