So, you’ve decided to buy a new bike? We love to hear it, but we understand how daunting it can be once you start that shopping journey—there are just so many bike options out there. Which is why we want to help you figure out how to choose the right bike. We’ve broken down this process into five easy steps, so you can find the two wheels that’ll work best for you. And yes, that includes which Bluejay e-bike will fit your life and the accessories you should think about before hitting that “add to cart” button.
How to Choose the Right Bike
1. Figure Out How & Where You’ll Be Riding
Most bike styles tend to fit into four broad categories, all of which pertain to the type of rider you are and where you’ll be riding your bike.
Mountain Bike: Ideal for off-roading, these bikes are built for rugged terrain and feature wider tires.
Cruiser: This bike is built for the casual cycler who wants a comfortable ride and isn’t too concerned with speed. Bluejay’s Premiere Edition is a cruiser, though it does go up to 20 MPH with pedal assist.
Road Bike: But if speed is what you’re after, a road bike will fit the bill (in fact, this name is often used interchangeably with racing bikes). Best suited for paved roads, these lightweight models often feature very skinny tires.
Hybrid Bike: Borrows features from both mountain bikes, road bikes and touring bikes, designed to handle almost any riding experience. The Bluejay Sport falls in this category.
On top of that, there are also traditional bikes and e-bikes. The former requires the rider to use their own power and energy to go, while the latter uses a battery pack to power a motor that propels the bike forward. There are three different classifications of e-bikes:
2. Do a Little Research Into the Technical Components
Would you prefer to have hydraulic disc brakes or are regular disc brakes good enough? Do you want a carbon or aluminum frame? How important is top speed (if you’re choosing an e-bike)?
All of these questions—and more—should be considered once you pick out which bike model suits you. These features will not only change the way you ride but will also be factored into the final cost…and may make or break your budget.
Other specs to consider while choosing your dream bike include the type of suspension, the number of gears and the gear ratio and the wheel size. For beginners, these details might feel a bit inconsequential, but it’s worth learning about your preferences before you invest, so you know what you’re getting into and exactly how your bike will perform in almost any situation. Plus, it’ll help you learn more about how your bicycle works, making you a more educated rider and also more aware when an issue arises.
3. Find the Bike That Fits You (As In, Your Height)
Bikes are not a one-size-fits-all type purchase. You want to find a bike with a frame that’s suited to your height, as this will make for a much comfier ride and will allow you to have more control over steering. Not to mention, maneuvering your two wheels when you’re not riding it (like finding parking or getting it onto your car’s bike rack).
Each of the Bluejay bike models are offered in two sizes. The Premiere Edition is offered in Small (5’5” and under) and Large (5’6” and over), while the Bluejay Sport comes in Medium (5’9” and under) and XL (5’10” and over).
However, if you do want to be totally certain that your cycle is the right size for you, simply measure your inseam—that is, the length from your crotch to the ground on the inside of your leg—and multiply that by 0.65. The result will be the height of the bike frame that’ll work for you.
If you’re test riding a bike and want to be sure it fits you, simply throw a leg over the frame and check how much room there is between your crotch and the bicycle while you’re standing. You’re looking for about an inch or so of space for a hybrid, racing or touring model; with a mountain bike you’ll want well over an inch or two.
4. Test Ride Your No. 1 Choice
This one’s not exactly a necessity, but it could be a really great way to make sure the bike you’ve chosen is, in fact, right for you. And that you feel comfortable riding on it.
Most bike shops will allow you to take a spin on any model you’d like, though they may require you to put down a credit card and/or ID before leaving the premises. They’ll often let you venture far enough from the shop to experience how braking feels, how fast the bike can go up an incline and generally anything else you’d usually experience while riding on a road. (Since they usually don’t want you taking bikes off-path!)
Bluejay e-bikes can be found at retailers across the country and there’s likely a bike shop nearby where you can demo our e-bikes. Click here to locate your nearest Bluejay bike to test IRL.
5. Pick the Add-Ons That You’ll Actually Use
Once you’ve found your dream bike, it’s time to accessorize—with the add-ons that you’ll actually use. The first and most important purchase should obviously be a helmet. Try to find one that suits your bike and your riding style, especially if you’re going with an e-bike. Here at Bluejay, we recommend going for a Thousand Heritage Helmet, as it combines a sleek retro design with really impressive safety features.
If the bike model you choose doesn’t come with lights or a bell, those accessories should be next (though all Bluejay e-bikes come with those important features). Then, move on to the necessary bike accessories that’ll make your life as a bike rider even easier. We’re talking about front basket racks for lugging all sorts of stuff to a chic bike basket that’ll really come in handy when running errands. If you plan on using your phone for directions while you ride, a phone holder will come in handy and if your chosen bike doesn’t come with a water bottle cage, you’ll also want to affix one (a handlebar beverage holder is a great idea, too).
If you plan to make your bike rides a family adventure, you’ll want to find the best child bike seat, bike trailer or retro bike sidecar for your kids. Just be sure to check that this chosen add-on works with your child’s size and age, for safety purposes. Finally, you’ll definitely want to invest in a trusty bike lock, so you can zip around town, commute into work or hit up the farmer’s market without worrying about your two wheels getting taken. You can’t go wrong with a standard U-Lock just about anywhere, but a cable bicycle lock is perfectly fine in low crime areas and if you’ll just be leaving your bike for five minutes (or within your eyesight), a simple café bike lock will do the trick.
Now, all that’s left to do is head out for your very first ride as a new bike owner!
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