Bicycling: The Basics
Cycling is a great hobby, a green form of transportation and a wonderful way to get fit. This activity can burn between 250-400 calories per hour on average and is an excellent way to tone your legs and glutes. Whether you choose to cycle as a hobby or competitively, it can be a bit daunting trying to find the perfect bike and bike accessories at a reasonable price, but be sure to check our website for bike deals that won’t break the bank.
Types of Bikes
There are many types of bikes to choose from. Your intended use of the bike will help you narrow down which bike is right for you. Some popular forms of bicycles include:
- Road Bikes: Easy to identify by the thin tires, road bikes are lightweight and have drop handlebars that make it easy to ride on smooth pavement.
- Mountain Bikes: Mountain bikes are made for rugged terrain with knobby tires, suspension systems, and low gear range (designed for uphill riding).
- Hybrid Bikes: Hybrid bikes combine the best of road bikes and mountain bikes to create a versatile bicycle that can be used on pavement or bike paths that aren’t too rugged. The tires are medium-width and semi-smooth, which makes riding on pavement smooth while providing traction on unpaved bike trails.
- Cruisers: Cruisers are considered a subcategory of hybrid bikes. These bikes are known for their wide seats and high handlebars, offering a smooth and comfortable ride.
- BMX Bike: BMX bikes have small frames that make stunt and trick riding easier.
- Electric Bike: Electric bikes have become more popular in recent years. Electric bikes, or “e-bikes” are just bicycles with an added motor for ease of riding — basically any bike style has an e-bike equivalent.
How to Pick the Right Bike
Now that you know some of the more popular styles of bikes, you may still be trying to decide which one suits your needs. Your answer to these three questions should help narrow your choices:
Where will you be riding?
This is one of the most important questions for helping you decide which bike is right for you. If you plan on using your bike for your commute, then a hybrid or road bike is the optimal choice. A casual rider who sticks to a paved path or something not too rugged may opt for a cruiser for the added comfort. Outdoors enthusiasts should consider a bike with more tread like a mountain bike.
What is your budget?
Obviously you can find some of the best bike deals here on DealNews, but it’s still important to know your budget when purchasing a bike. Bicycling.com notes that a quality adult bike typically runs between $300 and $400. As with many other things, price often determines the quality and longevity of your purchase. If you’re serious about your purchase, a couple hundred extra dollars could buy you a better ride for a few more years.
How often do you plan on riding?
A lot of features for high-budget bikes tend to go beyond just comfort and ease of ride to durable long-lasting parts. If you’re only going to be riding your bike on weekends, you may not need a bike that costs $800. On the other hand, if you plan to use your bike for a daily commute — or your weekend plans involve long, rigorous rides — that higher price may eventually pay for itself.
Ultimately, you should buy what feels right for you. New riders definitely benefit from going to a bike shop and speaking with professionals about features they should be considering. Once you’ve discovered what you want or need, check out our deals on bikes and maybe set an alert for your dream bike!
Check out these Blog articles about Bicycles!
Bicycle Terms to Know
Frame: This is the metal body of the bike. Frames come in different sizes to fit riders of different heights.
Wheels: Bike wheels include the tire, rim, and hub. There are a variety of tires and rims to choose from. Consult your bike manual or local shop for recommendations.
Suspension: Just like a car, the suspension system on a bike makes a ride smoother. If you’re likely going to encounter rough terrain (like mountain biking), a quality suspension system is worth reviewing.
Drivetrain: A bike’s drivetrain is the gear system — it ranges from 1 to 30 gears. This includes the chain, cassette, derailleur, and chain wheel.
Brakes: Bikes have many different styles of braking systems. Some of the more popular ones are coaster hub brakes, rim brakes, and disc brakes. You can read about the variety of braking systems here .
How to Do a Bike Tune-Up
Even after you’ve found the best deals on bikes here at DealNews, you can save more money by taking care of your own bicycle and performing regular maintenance. The average bike tune-up can cost around $75, and some of the services are easy to do for yourself.
Triathlete magazine breaks the one hour tune-up into five steps :
Clean the chain. Using a degreaser and a dry cloth or towel, rub the chain down and pedal backwards until the chain sparkles.
Clean the cassette. Remove the rear wheel from the bike and apply lube to the cassette. Clean the black grease by flossing between the cogs with a towel.
Center the brakes. First loosen the 5mm bolt that secures the brake caliper to the frame, and reposition the caliper so the brake pads are roughly evenly spaced on either side of the rim. Then retighten the bolt.
Adjust the rear derailleur cable tension. First, put the chain into the smallest cog and upshift once. Looking down from above the cassette, check the alignment of the upper derailleur pulley and the second cog. If the upper derailleur pulley is closer to the wheel, turn the barrel adjuster — the black plastic piece the housing inserts into — clockwise. If the pulley is further from the wheel, turn the barrel adjuster counter-clockwise.
Check the bolt torque. Use a torque wrench to check (and tighten, if necessary) every bolt on the bike. Be sure to pay extra attention to the stem bolts!
For some additional tune-up tips, check out our blog post .
Once you purchase your bike, be sure to buy these essential accessories:
- Helmet: Whether you’re riding on a road where helmets are required by law, or just casually riding on a bike path or trail, a helmet is a MUST. Protecting your health and safety is just as important as protecting your bike.
- Bike Bag: A bike bag that attaches to the seat will let you stow away house keys, wallets, and even snacks!
- Patch Kit and Spare Tube: Avoid emergency flats by keeping a patch kit and spare tube handy on your longer rides.
- Pump: Your tires will inevitably lose pressure, so a pump is an essential accessory to properly care for your bike and keep you safe.
- Tire Pressure Gauge: Working in tandem with your pump, a tire pressure gauge will keep you from overfilling your tire.
- Water Bottle and Cage: Hydration is key! Not all bikes come with a water bottle cage, so be sure to install one.
- Lubricant: Lubricant will keep your bike running smooth and like new longer.
- Lock: A quality bike lock is worth the investment if you plan to bike anywhere outside of your neighborhood.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my bike size?
The right bike size is important for both comfort and performance. If you’re shopping in-store, you can speak with a bike specialist who will help you find the appropriate size frame for you. However, if you’re shopping online (in which case, we highly recommend checking out our deals on bicycles), you can still take measurements to find the appropriate size.
Dick’s Sporting Goods notes that the most important measurement is your inseam (the length from the inside of your leg to your foot). Once you’ve completed your measurements, you can use this chart to select the appropriate size bike. If you’re between sizes, Dick’s recommends sizing up and adjusting your seat.
What is bicycle insurance?
Bicycle insurance can cover loss, liability, damage and sometimes even medical expenses. Some people are able to acquire insurance through their home insurance plan — but note that home insurance may not fully cover your bike, especially in terms of theft. Check out this article to learn more about bike insurance.
Where can I find the best deals on bikes?
Here at DealNews, we are always updating our deals on our website and app, so browsing our bicycle deals is a great way to find a low price! You can also search our various store pages, including Academy Sports and Outdoors , Amazon , Backcountry , Cabela’s , Dick’s Sporting Goods , REI , Target , Walmart , and more!
A Georgia girl with three years of experience in IP Law and grounded in understanding marketing and consumer motives. When she's not working with the fabulous staff of DealNews, you can find her whining at rowing practice and browsing the Hot Deals on the site.