Zoomed in photo of a male cyclist sitting on his road bike

Things you should know when buying your first bicycle

November 13, 2023

Buying your first bike can be confusing, and stepping into a bike store can be intimidating when you don’t know where to start. There are mountain and road bikes, bikes with and without gears. Knowing what you want the bicycle to do, having a fixed budget and understanding some bike basics will ensure that you end up with the right bike.  

Price point

Having a realistic idea of your budget and what you can spend will help determine everything else about your bike. When setting your budget, remember that you’ll need some accessories for your bike, so be sure to build those in. Investing in a helmet, cycling shoes and other accessories needs to be included into your budget. Many bikes don’t come with pedals, and you’ll need to factor in that cost, too. Once you’ve purchased your bike, ensuring you’ve got bike insurance is a good idea. With Velosure, you can activate bicycle insurance quickly and easily online to cover your bike against theft, accidental damage and more.  

New or Second hand  

There are many options when buying a new or used bike. You can often pick up a secondhand bike for a fraction of the cost of a new one, and buying used can be the more budget-friendly option. Buying secondhand bikes can be a bit of a gamble, and we’d recommend having a friend who knows bikes look at the ad or go with you to view the bike before you purchase. Ask the seller when the bike was last serviced, how many km they’ve ridden it and why they’re selling it. Secondhand bikes can include hidden costs like tyre replacement, servicing and even drivetrain replacement if you’re not careful. Marketplaces like BikeExchange and Alchemy are specifically for buying and selling used bikes and accessories, whilst you can often find bikes on Gumtree and Ebay.

Many big retailers like Trek, Giant and Specialized are holding fantastic Black Friday deals during November as they try to clear stock, and you should find some great deals. Buying an older year model is another way to get value for money. Purchasing a new bike comes with various beneficial guarantees and warranties from the manufacturer. You also have the assurance that the bike is in perfect condition and won’t need any work on it anytime soon.  

Type of bike

You don’t just get one type of bike, and that’s that. Bicycles come in many shapes and forms, all designed for specific functions. Knowing what you’ll use the bike for will help you choose the correct bike to suit your needs.

Road bikes

These lightweight bikes are designed with thin wheels and drop handlebars for roads and smooth surfaces. The tyres tend to puncture easily, and whilst they’ll get you up the Gold Coast and back quickly, they’re limited to where you can ride them. If you’re looking for a bike to improve your fitness, joining a cycling group or training for your first triathlon, this bike is for you.

Mountain bikes

Like road bikes, their purpose is in their name, and they’re designed to go off-road. These bikes are tougher, have chunky, grippy tyres and usually a suspension system. You can choose between a “soft tail” bike featuring suspension at the front and back or a “hardtail” with only a front suspension. These are the perfect go-anywhere, do-everything bikes. If you’re looking for a bike you can ride on your morning commute or spend a Saturday exploring the MTB trails outside Adelaide, this bike is you.  

Hybrid bikes

The ideal commuter bikes. Hybrid bikes feature the best of road and mountain bikes.  They usually have tyres than road bikes and a straight handlebar, making them more comfortable. While not designed for off-road trails, a hybrid can tackle the cycleways along the Yarra, navigate a rougher tar road, or even a smooth fire road.

Cargo bikes

They have been popular in Europe for years now, and we are seeing more and more adoption in Australia, with companies like Dutch Cargo Bike making them more accessible. These are big bulky bikes that feature a storage space for cargo. They come in lots of different styles, shapes and forms. The most common cargo bikes have a large box in the front of the bike, big enough for a child, all your groceries or other things. Several models have additional seat space, allowing you to transport a passenger.

All of these bikes are available in electric and non-electric options. Which you select is up to you.  

Gears or no gears

Gears are a wonderful invention that increase or decrease the resistance of the pedal stroke, allowing you to ride faster or easier. Having gears makes riding up and down Sydney’s numerous hills so much more comfortable. Buying a bike without gears will require less maintenance. In contrast, a bicycle with gears may need to occasionally have the gears set and cables replaced. If you live in the hilly high country area around Bright and Manfield, you’ll want to opt for a bike with gears, but if your commute is flat, you’ll be fine without them.

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