12 questions you should be asking when buying a new bike

12 questions you should be asking when buying a new bike

With Christmas been and gone you might be turning your thoughts to the new machine you've got your eye on. It can sometimes be slightly overwhelming walking into a bike shop and not knowing where to begin.

We thought we would make your life slightly easier by giving you 12 questions you should ask before getting the wallet out.

1. What are my goals?

Understand what it is exactly that you want to be getting out of your bike, be it casual riding, sportive use, heavy mountain biking etc. This will give you a better idea of where you need to start looking.

2. What is my budget?

Know how much you want to spend and always budget for more than just the bike. No doubt you will be looking to add a couple of extra bits in.

3. Should I prioritise fit?

Yes is the answer. Even if you can buy the best bike in the shop, if it doesn't fit right then you've wasted your money. Find a shop assistant who will measure you and advise you on the fit you should be looking for. Don't go for a bike that is too small or too large because it's a bargain.

4. Do I know my frame size?

Know your frame size and, if you're not sure, try a couple of different sizes to see what you feel comfortable riding. Too small and you'll feel like there is room to grow; too big ad you will over-stretch and increase the risk of injury. If in doubt about what makes up a good frame then click here.

5. What components?

This is one for the cycling aficionados. Manufacturers assemble their components into group sets with the three main manufactures being Shimano, SRAM and Campagnola. Each manufacturer controls gear shifting in a slightly different way so it is really down to personal preference as to what you go for.

6. Do I know the material I want?

The frame is the heart of the bike so make sure you have an idea of the material you want to be riding, eg. carbon, aluminium, steel etc. If you are unfamiliar with the pros and cons of each material, make sure you ask in the shop.

7. How important are the wheels?

It's easy to get caught up in the bike frame, weight and look of the bike. However a lot of people forget how important the wheels are. The wheels heavily influence how the bike feels, responds and also rides. If you are looking for  a good quality road bike then decent wheels should be high on your list of priorities.

8. Should I test the bike?

All bikes are going to feel slightly different when riding them for the first time. Make sure you test a handful of models before you purchase and never buy without sitting on the saddle first.

9. How does this bike compare to other similar bikes

It's always a good idea to ask in the shop how the bike compares to similar models. Small changes to the bike may suit you better and it's always good to have options.

10. Is this bike suited to my ability?

As said at the start, understanding your goals is key. However, it is easy to buy a bike that may be suited towards someone of a different ability. Always have an understanding of how the bike suits the riding you will be doing.

11. Can you fit the bike in store?

If you can get your bike fitted to you in store then go for it. Whether it's just the seat and handle bars that get adjusted it is something that will benefit you to insure you ride out the shop in the correct position.

12. What is the warranty for the bike and separate components?

This one is always important to ask before buying any bike. Make sure the warranty period is long enough for you to feel comfortable purchasing it.

More from The Cycling Bug


Decathlon allow a one year satisfaction guarantee on bikes and they actually stick to it. I bought a new bike and after riding it for a few weeks I realised it was too big and became uncomfortable after a few miles. I got in touch with them and they swapped it for a smaller model and helped me fit it in store three mobn ths after I'd bought the original one! A good argument for going with a reputable dealer with physical shops and possibly steering away from internet deals unless you really know what you are doing.  



Very true regarding the fit, I got carried away when I bought my first serious road bike and didn't look into it properly or get fitted up. The rides got more and more uncomfortable until I had to give in and go to a bike shop and pay to get a proper measure up and various part changes until we got the bike right, I partly blame the original bike shop I bought the bike from but the moral of the story is don't get to excited when purchasing your bike, have a good look around and get a feel for your local bike shop, are they just trying to offload a bike to you or are they genuinly interested in your needs and what is best for you


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