The Blueprint To Kickstart Your Decision On Which Bike To Purchase
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This feature is really going to make starting a new decision even easier! If you have someone you know who's already gone through a choice you're facing, ask them to use ODE, make a blueprint and share it with you; this gives you a launchpad and insight into their decision process. From there, tailor it to your 'wants' and 'needs'.
Our Creative Director has gone ahead and created a Blueprint for you all to try out. Bikes are extremely popular purchase at the moment, so it made sense to go ahead and help you out!
If you’re following one of the trends out there, that has to do with the gyms being closed, the virus being alive and vibrant, and a need to be outdoors while doing some sport, probably you’re thinking about getting a bike.
They are sustainable, a great means of transport, joy and solid fitness.
If you’re like me, probably you already did your research and you’re still not sure of what you need.
I’ve been there, and thanks to Jon Woodroof’s advice and Fish’s expertise, I ended up with a bike that actually taught me a lot about cycling, my needs, my desires, and my goals.
Now, I’d love to share some of that learning with you.
First of all: budget.
Yes, bikes are not cheap. For a reason. They are machines which mean pieces need to fit and perform perfectly, and as with any other mechanical device: perfection and performance comes at a price.
Then of course, comes coolness, which comes even at a higher dollar.
If it’s cool, perfect, and cheap, rather is the bargain or your life or not what it seems. But the most important part of which budget to allocate is what take us to the third question: goals.
Second: Goals & Commitment
This, as with many other decisions, is the most important part: to align desires and expectations with feasibility, transforming them into goals – that will require a commitment.
So here are few questions to ask yourself:
- Do you want to go off road?
- Do you want to go fast?
- How often do you want to go off road?
- You just want to do some exercise, or do you have long term goals?
- How are those goals? more like the Tour de France, or the Atlas Mountain Race?
- How many hours are you willing to commit to riding?
- Are you willing to clean the bike – specially the chain, often, or rather take it to the mechanic once every two months?
- If you’re looking for an allrounder, then it means that you are sacrificing performance everywhere – which might be a great start; if you know that tight lycra, smooth asphalt, and speed are your thing, then a road bike might be your choice.
Which also takes us to the following question.
Third: where do you live and how are the surroundings you’re gonna be riding on?
Are they full of hills, long bike roads, mountains, dusty roads, dessert?
In my case, I live in The Netherlands, so after asking for all-road wheels, I realized that here all roads are paved
More important, it’s flat, very flat country, so I basically don’t use most of my gears, and definitely I don’t need the same set-up that my friends at the foot of The Alps.
Which is also a good question to include here: how often are you planning to got to the mountains? Are you gonna be on dusty,rocky, very rocky roads, or trying to tackle big slopes a la Alp d’Huez?
But, my most important discovery: dusty roads mean a lot of dust. Yes. That’s it. Loads of dust that go into your chain.
Cleaning is not difficult, but definitely, a commitment to dusty roads will mean a commitment to cleaning the chain. You can do it yourself, or you can take it to the mechanic – which will give you a three weeks appointment nowadays, but you’ll have to do it anyway.
Forth: how’s your previous fitness?
No, I don’t mean you need to be an athlete, but I do mean: are you use to the pain and sweat for short times, medium, long or not at all? Cycling, if you’re a bit ambitious will take way more time than your regular fitness session – it’s about volume more than intensity, especially at the beginning.
In my case, I was only riding bikes for commuting, but I do have a long history of sports, so more than use to long training sessions, I was craving for them.
And talking about time, if you spend time on the bike, your ass spends time on the saddle, which will mean: get a good saddle, and get a good cycling bib – you can give it a go for the first weeks, but trust me, if you’re planning to ride longer than an hour (and/or 20k), several times a week, you need one of those. Answering all these questions, and the expertise of your local bike shop personnel, will make you decide better on the geometry of your frame – which affects your position and will take it from coach-kind-of-comfort to if-I-bend-slightly-more-I-fall-over-the-handlebar; on the size of your wheels, and the thickness and relief of your tyres. Be very careful here: not all the frames fit all the tyres, and that will be something very important for the future: if for now you’re fine with road wheels and tyres, but later on you’re planning to change them for a long trip to Morocco, they might not fit in your fork and frame – which is normally the case for the road bikes, not the other way around: you can always fit thinner tyres on a bigger fork. Now we go into the options, and I suggested three:
Touring bike: medium tyres, big wheels, dropped bar, but comfortable sitting. Don’t be fulled by the name: this bike would be perfect from fitness to long, sweaty distances. You will never beat a road bike on a straight road– or a big slope, but you can engage from things that go from pure fitness to picnic; you will rarely get a flat tired, and you’re not gonna end up wearing a tight lycra – unless you want to.
Road bike: I never consider it an option for myself, until I was confronted with the flat, all asphalted, surroundings of The Netherlands. That plus my crazy brain that always wants longer and faster. If you plan to track every single training session, you already know what Watts are for cyclist, and for every 500m of off road you’re willing to ride, you’d rather do 50k on asphalt, this might be a very good option for you. Please do learn to change flat tyres, and get ready to embrace the love of the polka-dotted lycra.
Gravel bike: you might not know what this is, but it’s basically a road bike with a more comfortable position, bigger tyres, and some off-road capabilities. It’s a relatively new concept in the biking scene, and the main idea was to go faster and longer that with the old mountain bikes, and dirtier and freer than with the road bikes. If you live close to loads of dusty roads that you might want to end up knowing how long they are, and how fast can you ride them, a gravel bike might be a very good option. Now, to go through all this amount of info in a more structured, user friendly way, and have a clear, quantified result at the end, you can use our new feature: the Blueprint.
Answer your questions, set your goals, decide, and have loads of fun! See you on the road!
Creative Director at ODE