Free Beginner's Guide to Buying a New Bike

Buying a bike can be even more complicated than buying a new car.  There are more bikes on the market than cars and, often, the customer in a bike shop is less familiar with the product than a customer in a car dealership.

“I have the perfect bike for you!”

Be careful when you hear this.  It is exactly what you will hear at bike shops, in bike magazines, and on bike blogs.  Everyone has a list of the “Best Bikes for _____.”  Unfortunately, that list of Best Bikes may not be applicable for you.  Your local bike shop will definitely be the best resource, but they are limited to the bike brands they stock.  At New Bike Finder, our goal is to empower you to be your own advocate.  We provide all the tools you need to figure out which bike will be best for you.  Here are the three basic steps, but if you would like more detail download our free eBook “Beginners Guide to Buying a Bike.” (sign up above)

Step 1: Set your goals

Surprisingly, this is the hardest step.  You need to think about why you want to ride a bike and where you want to ride it.  Road bikes are fun and fast, but are no good off the pavement.  Mountain bikes can take you on some amazing trails, but they are not very efficient on the roads.  All-Road bikes are extremely capable of quickly navigating any terrain, but they are not as fast as a road bike on the road or a mountain bike on the trails.  Once you figure out which discipline you want, you have to keep narrowing it down.  A cross country mountain bike is not the same as an enduro bike and a triathlon bike is very different than an endurance (or Sportive) bike.

In this section I will also include budget.  It is important to set a budget prior to looking at bikes, because most people have a tendency to desire what they can’t have (or afford).  Don’t forget to include any cycling kit you need into your budget.  This could include a helmet, gloves, eye protection, pump, water bottle and cage, etc.  A good rule-of-thumb is to plan on spending between 25% and 33% of your budget on gear and accessories if you are just starting out.  Finally, if you can spare a few bucks for a proper bike fitting, you will be very thankful you did.  Few things can stop a new rider faster than an uncomfortable, unstable bike setup.

For Step 1, determine what type of bike you want to buy and set your budget.

photo credit: confidence, comely. Bike Junkie. (Explore!) via photopin (license)

Step 2. Pick your bike

Like I said above, there is no shortage of advice on which bike you should buy.  Honestly, most bikes these days are quite good, but how do you find that one bike that stands out among the rest?

Once you determine what type of bike you want, you can easily go over to our Bike Finder page and narrow your search.  Here you will be able to look at the different bikes and see what you like about each.  Don’t forget to check the reviews!

Got it narrowed down to a few bikes?  Perfect!  Use our Dealer Locator to go find a local shop.  By now you should know enough to talk to the bike mechanic to see what he has to say about the bikes you’re considering.  Most importantly, go for a test ride.  This will give you a true sense of whether or not you like the bike.  Actually, go test ride a few to see which you like better.  Once you figure out which one you want, you’ve finished Step 2.

Step 3.  Buy your bike

For quite a while, bike manufacturers have sold exclusively through their dealers—local bike shops that carry a few different brands of bikes.  This model is quickly becoming outdated.  Small builders are selling their bikes themselves.  Online retailers can offer the same product, often times for a cheaper price.  There are even some major manufacturers that sell exclusively online, saving money by cutting out brick-and-mortar shops and passing that savings on to their customers.

At, we cannot recommend buying a bike online unless you know exactly what you want, regardless of the deal you may get.  Local bike shops are a cyclists’ best resource for buying a bike.  They will help set you up with a good fit and the right gear.  Additionally, they serve as a gateway into the local cycling community.

On our website, you will find:

  • Resources to help you figure out which bike would suit you best
  • An extensive database of bikes that can help you narrow your search
  • Links to online retailers and local bike shops that sell the bike(s) you are considering
  • A price comparison, so you know about how much you should expect to spend.

We wish you the best of luck on your cycling journey!

If you have read our free eBook and still don’t know what to do next, contact us and we would love to help.

-See you on the trails