Having never ridden nor owned a bike since I was 7 years old, I was lost as to where to start with bike purchasing. I had one very strong idea in my mind though. My bike had to be purple. Purple with glitter; I would name it Twilight and leave sparkles wherever I go. Besides that I wasnt really fussy. As long as I had everything I needed to get on and go.
So like any good modern girl, I headed straight for Google and looked for bike reviews and was astonished to find that there were rather more things to consider. I ended up with my sweet yet serious Female specific Boardman hybrid comp bike which whilst admittedly completely devoid of both purple and glitter, is absolutely perfect for me and I am in LOVE.
Here are eight of the things I considered when I chose my bike, but please let me know what was important for you too!
1. Weight? – I’ve put this at number one for me because I don’t have any access to ground floor storage and live in a first floor flat. If you’re like me and your bike will have to be hoisted up stairs, the weight is super important! Generally, you are sure to pay a little more for the lighter models. Also be mindful if you are using a child seat like me. The seat plus the adaptor are pretty weighty once attached to the frame!
2. Female Specific or not? – When I spoke to friends and staff at Halfords they all appeared to think that the idea of buying a bike only for women was very much outdated. However I sat on a few and I liked the women’s ones better. Seat wise they felt nicer and handle bars seemed easier to reach. That said, bikes are so customisable that it probably doesn’t matter. So I wouldn’t dismiss any bike for not being female specific or not. Try them out!
3. To fold or not to fold? – I did seriously consider a fold up bike. Seemed a perfect solution for me and no storage. However after checking them out in Halfords I had to say no. Firstly, they are a LOT heavier than they look. Secondly, they often have a lot less gears and fancy stuff – nice and simple for getting to work, but I wanted the adaptability of using it for leisure at other times and having full control! Thirdly – I’m not a fan of the way they look… I’m getting used to them now I see people on them a lot but I wanted a more bikey looking bike.
4. Hybrid or Road? – I haven’t touched mountain bikes here as I am primarily about cycling in the city. The Road bikes are lightest but the handlebars curve under and most hybrids have a flat bar which allow you to sit up and not be hunched over. I assumed road bikes are more for professionals… I was nervous of riding like that so flat bar was for me! Also the hybrid has slightly wider wheels than a road bike… So you can get away with a bit more!
5. Room for two? – Another issue I found with folding bikes, road bikes and smaller sized frames…. The design did not allow then to hold a bike seat. With my hybrid, I couldn’t go smaller than an 18″ or Lebs seat adapter would not fit.
6. Colour crush?– Okay it does come into it a little. I fell in love with my bike, colours and all BUT on the first ride the seat was totally smudged. If you go for a lighter coloured bike either be prepared to commit to cleaning it more or know that you will be rocking the ‘well loved’ look sooner rather than later.
7. Reviewer verdicts? – I always pay attention to anyone who has taken the time to return to a site and write a review about the product they have bought. Look out particularly for reviewers who have written after having owned the product a little while. I do this with all of my larger purchases. If a lot of people are giving between 1 and 3 stars, there is usually an issue. My lovely bike got mostly 5 out of 5 so I was happy!
8. Costly or Cheap? – This is entirely dependent on what you can afford and what you decide you really NEED. I chatted to cycling customers at work and the general consensus was that if I wanted a decent quality bike which would not be terribly heavy, could hold a seat for Lebs, but would have potential for really eating up the road, £500 was a solid entry-level figure.