Buying a Bike
Equipment & Gear

Buying the right bike

Many new and returning cyclists wonder what kind of bike to get. There are more styles of bicycles are available now than ever before, which makes choosing even more confusing. Here’s how to approach what will become one of the greatest purchases of your life.

Choosing a Bike

Shop at a Bike Shop

You will find more knowledgeable staff and better service at bike shops than you will at non-specialty retailers. A bike shop should be able to match your needs to the most appropriate bike and fit you to the right frame size. Even the least expensive bikes at bike shops will be reliable, with better quality parts, and will almost always be backed up by the shop’s policy of offering free adjustments for a period of time.

Decide How Much to Spend

Keep in mind that you should also include a helmet, lock, and a few health and safety accessories like blinky lights, a water bottle cage, and a bottle.

Figure Out What Makes Sense

Decide what factors are important to you. Consider different demands—cost, weight, speed, comfort, cargo-carrying capacity, and off-road capability—and realize that there are tradeoffs. Some bikes are inexpensive and very comfortable, but are not lightweight or meant to move very fast. Visiting the manufacturers’ websites will help acquaint you with the different styles of bikes and the features they offer.

Types of Bikes


If you are just getting into cycling, and you want to do longer rides like the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, consider choosing a hybrid. Hybrids are versatile bikes that perform well on pavement and smooth dirt trails. They are designed for a comfortable, upright ride. They have a very wide gear range, allowing you to conquer the steepest hills, and they have medium-sized tires making them more efficient on pavement than a mountain bike. The least expensive hybrids start around $250-$300.

Fitness bikes

Manufacturers call these bikes by different names: fitness bikes and road bikes, primarily. These bikes are lighter and very efficient on pavement because they eliminate some of the heavier features used on the other types of bikes, like suspension forks and seatposts. They have skinnier tires and a more aerodynamic riding position, which will make it easier to cover long distances but may also be less comfortable to you.

Mountain Bikes

These bikes make a good choice for beginners. They start at affordable prices ($200), are versatile both on and off road (though not as fast or efficient as hybrids or road bikes), give a stable, comfortable, upright ride, and can usually be fitted with a rack to carry anything you want to take with you. If you are riding on pavement, have your shop switch the knobby dirt tires for smooth pavement tires, which will make riding a lot easier.