Too Many Puzzle Pieces: How WE Navigate the Bike Buying Process
While the buying commitment for a bicycle isn’t quite like that of a car, it can still have its hiccups. Here at Ascent Cycling we try our best to put you into the right bike for your money, intended use and, yes, color! The bike buying process should be fun from start to finish!
Walking into any bike shop today is super overwhelming, and it’s easy to get lost. From all the types, styles, colors, materials, prices and much more, we feel your pain and have put together a little guide to help navigate the process.
We aim to take the confusion and turn it into confidence.
The Major Types of Bicycles
A simple breakdown of that bike you’re looking at
Road: In simple terms, even though the bike industry can be far from simple, here’s the scoop: a road bike has 700c size wheels, skinny tires and drop handlebars. If rolling down a nice, paved road wearing spandex and a sleek, smooth flow is what you are looking for, then the road bike is for you.
Mountain: Basic knowledge terms: a mountain bike has bold, knobby tires with lots of volume, flat handlebars, most likely front suspension, and quite possibly rear suspension to boot. They look like a motorcycle without the motor. Built to take you deep into the woods, canyon lands, or the open space down the road.
Cruiser: The groovy-ness: a cruiser is that bike you see on the boardwalk, balloon fat tires, big seat, swept-back bars and style.
Comfort: Easy speak: Picture a jolly holiday with Mary Poppins… a comfort bike is smooth, easy to get on and off, changes gears with little effort, maybe a rack or basket. A seat that gives the couch a run for its money. These bikes are a basic cross of the road bike and the mountain bike, and they are sometimes called “hybrids.”
BMX: A sport (bicycle motocross) which evolved from motocross racing (aka: dirt biking) which involves racing a bicycle on a dirt track with berms and jumps. Two major sanctioning bodies exist today. The ABA (American Bicycle Association) and the NBL (National Bicycle League). Usually a 20″ (can be 24″) wheeled bicycle designed to ride on dirt trails, jumps, street obstacles, or skateparks. Not just a kids’ bike or dirt bike.
Are these the questions I should ask?
these seem to be what I hear my friends ask
Who is Better?
We’re asked “Which brand is better?” daily. While each brand has its diehard fans, we really can’t answer the question. Not because of any real reason, but because it’s not the right question to ask… you’re buying a bicycle from a bike shop, not a brand. We feel here at Ascent Cycling you should be thinking of “Who are you buying the bike from, is this a shop I wish to support?”
When are the Sales?
Like cars, new bikes arrive on the bike-shop sales floor each year, typically as the leaves are changing and the riding season is turning into ski season. So this can be one of the best times to look for deals, because shops don’t want soon-to-be-year-old inventory lingering through the slower, winter months. While the hottest models in the most popular sizes will sell out over the summer, you can get lucky sometimes and find a unicorn. Do your homework before buying: bikes often get redesigns every few years, so new models with different paint jobs and parts tweaks can, at times, save you money. The philosophy here at Ascent Cycling is, we want you to be on the best bike for your budget, so we have the best trained staff to service just that.
Can the InterWebs save my hard-earned?
Just as with books, cat litter, food, cars, and everything else, bikes and accessories are sold online at reduced prices. That said, you might not get a real bargain. If you know 100% of all the things you need and want, you have a shot at a deal. More times than not we see this experiment go wrong. We are here to help you, not just during the sale, but for years after you buy your bike. Never seen the “InterWebs” do much in terms of customer support after the sale is done, have you? We work hard to stay competitive on price and set the standard on service and support.
The Real Questions!
these are the questions WE will be asking you
As a shop we really want to know you, not just the ‘customer’ you; we want to be able to understand you fully. Things you might hear us ask as a opening question:
Nice hat! Mind if I ask you where you got it?
Did you get out and enjoy the great weather we had this morning?
Nice Broncos shirt! How do you think they will do this year?
These are not fake “Hey I am trying to break the ice” questions. We want to make you comfortable when you’re in our store, and we feel that is the best way to meet our customers: Real Person to Real Person!
Who, What, Where, How much and a few Whys
For us to be effective in helping you find a killer bike we have a few easy questions we ask all of our awesome customers. These are a few examples:
Do you have a bike currently?
Who do you ride with?
Where do you love to ride?
What is your favorite day on a bike look like?
Why do you feel that way about _______?
Tell me how you see yourself out on the trail?
When we get you telling us about you and your riding, we can pull out the info we need to narrow down the overwhelming bike choices that the industry has. Plus, we understand you are busy and that time is important to you, so by asking these types of questions, we find it cuts the time in the shop down a ton. In the end it helps us focus on what you’re about. You deserve our respect and we want you to feel that.
We are a benefit focused shop, there are tons of features…what are the benefits?
By knowing you and your motivations for this bike now, we can show you the features of a bike. We explain how these features benefit your riding experience and avoid making the talk all about technology. That said, if you are a tech geek, never fear, because we’ve got you covered. We love tech talk as much as you do!
We are blown away at how many people have been into bike shops and were never offered a test ride! The test ride gives us more feedback and focused information gathering than any website, sales manual or questioning could ever hope. We are able to see if the bike is close in size, if the suspension is set well, if you know how to shift it for best performance, and a great many other things. If you are at a shop and have to ask to ride the bike before being offered a test ride, LEAVE!
Putting the personal bling on your new bike.
Accessorizing your new bike is at times more fun than the bike buying. We want to make sure you are fully covered on all things biking. So if we seem to ask even more questions after you have found the bike of your dreams, just know it comes from just that. We may ask:
Do you have a helmet?
Do you need a pump, patch kit or tubes?
How about a great pair of riding shorts?
I see you have that SUV outside, do you own a bicycle rack for it?
Feel free at anytime to tell us “no,” “yes,” “don’t need it,” or “can I just get the bike and go ride now?” We all know how it feels having that new shiny bike sitting there waiting to get ripping on a local trail or road.
I have a great bike and all that goes with it, now what?
Go ride, get it dirty! It’s seems to be the simplest things that can be the hardest. New bike and you feel like you are not sure where to go first. Your favorite trail is our #1 suggestion; you tend to know it well and can feel the benefit of that new bikes features without worrying about surprises in and around the trail.
We hope this guide helps you have a confident shopping experience with us or any bike shop nearby. We love to hear stories of trips, rides, and all things bikes. Really, we just hope you have a great ride and, perhaps most importantly, Whoop Whoop Ding Ding!