I get bike buying questions from customers every day. Well, that’s what I do… help my customers choose the best bicycle to meet their needs. To help them find the right bike, I have created a basic guide to help them make an informed decision when they ask me the following questions.
1. Which bike brands are best Felt, Litespeed, Orbea, Quintana Roo, or Torelli?
Each brand does have its diehard fans, but I cannot specifically answer the question. If the customer is shopping brand first, then they are making a style decision, not a performance one. When deciding which bike is better suited to them, it's the model that counts. To find the best bike, choosing a price range, identify the ride feel and features they are seeking firstly, then I recommend looking for models from the various brands that meet those criteria. From there, a winner will emerge.
2. When does May Street Bicycles have sales on bikes?
Bikes are like cars: New models arrive each year, typically in the fall as the riding season winds down (so October through February, or until I unload my older inventory). This is the best time to look for deals, because I don't want soon-to-be-year-old inventory lingering through the slower winter months. While hot models in popular sizes will sell out over the summer, the customer may get lucky and find last year's model at a discount.
3. Can I negotiate over your advertised price?
I am not very flexible on current-year model bicycles. My profit margins on bike sales are razor thin. However, I offer many incentives and discounts on accessories and maintenance packages.
4. What is the best type frame, carbon fiber or something else?
Carbon is generally lighter than other materials and is constructed to provide specific ride qualities in ways that metal tubes can't, and offers unlimited tube shapes. If they race and want a stiff frame, carbon offers a good mix of low weight, aerodynamics and drivetrain stiffness without a rough ride.
If the customer has a tight budget, there are many race quality bikes made of high-tech aluminum or a mix of alloy and carbon, which are stiff and light but will ride a bit more harshly. If the client wants a smooth, refined ride feel, steel and titanium framed bicycles are a great option.
5. Do I need a women's bike?
Standard bikes are built based on male physiology. Women's bikes are proportioned to suit the general female population, and most have components to suit women's anatomical needs, such as shorter-reach levers for smaller hands.
The longer frames of a standard bike often cause female riders to stretch their torsos and arms, as well as move forward on the saddle. This makes getting a secure grip on the levers more difficult, but it also moves a rider's center of gravity too far forward, compromising balance, mitigating power output and removing some rear-wheel traction. None of this is good.
I recommend to my female customers take a test ride on a women's bike, then on a comparable men's model. Chances are they will feel more in control on the women's bike.
5. Do I need standard, compact or triple gearing on my road bike?
Which is best depends on how the client will ride. If they ride only a few miles a week or live near steep hills, then a triple may be best. But if they ride regularly over varied terrain, I recommend a compact. The smaller gear ratios enable nearly the same climbing prowess as a triple, but without the weight and added mechanical complexity of the extra chainring.
6. Can't I save a bundle buying online?
Just as with books, cat litter and everything else, bikes are sold online at reduced prices. But the customer may not get a bargain. When the customer ventures online, they are on their own. If they know their preferred frame angles, top-tube length, and stem and handlebar sizes, they might find a barely used dream ride and save hundreds. I have seen this happen. But if those measurement terms mean nothing to them, I recommend they see me for help. Otherwise, they will get a bargain online but spend twice the savings trying to make the bike fit, and it may never feel right. I see this happen often.
7. Should I buy a full-suspension mountain bike or a hardtail?
If the customer is not sure then they have revealed themselves as a trail-riding newbie. Then I recommend going with the hardtail. Without a rear suspension the bike will be lighter and less forgiving, which will help them feel the bumps, pick lines and correct mistakes without the hand-holding of a shock. However, if the customer has lower back issues and lacks flexibility, I recommend going with dual suspension.
Yours in Cycling and Fitness,
President of Fun
May Street Bicycles is not your typical bike shop. Sure we sell awesome bicycles, provide bicycle repairs, and rental bikes all at great prices. But we do a great deal more such as dynamic bike fitting, metabolic testing, altitude training, and personal training.