Friday, January 29, 2010

This Bike's for You!

The days are getting longer again which can only mean one thing: the Spring cycling season is almost here! If you’re in the market for a new bike, it’s a great time to start looking. Have you considered these brands?

Top Searched Bicycles on AOL Search:
1. Trek
2. Giant
3. KHS
4. Schwinn
5. Diamondback
6. Mongoose
7. Citizen Bike
8. Cannondale
9. Huffy
10. Raleigh

One of the most important considerations for your bike purchase is the kind of riding you’re planning to do. The good news is that there are now great options available across many styles and price points.

If you have desire to channel your inner Lance Armstrong, check out a road bike. These bikes are built for speed. They feature drop handlebars for an aggressive riding position and skinny, high-pressure tires to decrease rolling resistance. They perform best on smooth surfaces and can be well-suited to recreational riding and longer commutes as well as racing. Road bikes are available in a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. You’ll want to consider weight, ride feel and price when choosing between materials. Trek, #1 on our list, has made bikes for Lance (and many other professional racers) for year! s, but they also offer a number of great options for more casual riders, too. Both Trek and #8 Cannondale offer several road bikes for women.

Do you dream of peddling through the woods and jumping over rocks and streams? With their fat, grippy tires and small frames for easier control on rough terrain, mountain bikes are made for off-roading. Many also offer disc brakes for improved performance when it matters most. But keep in mind that not all mountain bikes are created equal. Nearly all modern mountain bikes offer front suspension to cushion a rough ride, but if you’re planning to do very technical riding, you may want to consider a full-suspension mountain bike. Giant, our #2 searched brand, offers an array of mountain bikes from hard-tail lifestyle bikes to pro-level free-ride bikes with up to 7 inches of rear travel.

Urban bikes are all about utility. If you’re planning a short commute to and from work or run errands on your new bike, this is probably the best choice for you. Most urban bikes are moderately priced, made from steel or aluminum and offer a relaxed riding position. Some even come outfitted with fenders and racks. Fixed-gear bikes also fall into this class. While they’ve been the go-to style for bike messengers for years, fixies have recently gained widespread popularity for their simplicity and responsiveness. Schwinn, #4 on our list, and #10 Raleigh are classic names in cycling that offer a number of retro-styled urban bikes in fixed-gear, single-speed and multiple speed models. If space or storage is an issue, a folding bike such as those made by #7 Citizen Bike may offer a great balance of form and function.

While you’re in the bike shop, don’t forget to pick up the things you need to protect yourself and your investment. A “brain bucket” might not be stylish, but a bicycle helmet can provide essential protection in a crash. Look for one that carries a seal of approval from ANSI, the CPSC or the Snell Memorial Foundation. You may also want to consider a pair of cycling gloves to pad your hands if you’ll be riding long distances. A good quality U-lock such as those offered by Kryptonite Locks is generally the best all-around option for theft deterrence. Choose one that allows you to secure both the front! wheel and the frame to a bike rack.

Happy riding!

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