How to choose a Comfortable Bicycle

Bicycles built for comfort

Built for Comfort
March 2004

The bicycle season is starting back up and people are looking for bikes. If you, or a friend of yours is looking for a new bike, there is some important information to consider.

They other day, I was working with a customer who asked me "how much is a bike with Ultegra?" You see, the bike industry is often driven by ads in magazines advertising the newest and latest innovations in components. The customer, wisely seeking the best value, will then seek out these new innovations in the least expensive way possible. Unfortunately, many people who sell bicycles are also motivated by these same factors, and will immediately take a bicycle customer to a rack of bicycles and start talking about how they have a bike with "XX" components for just "XX" price, and that's less than anyone else in town can offer "XX" components for. etc......

Important note: Components have nothing to do with how comfortable you will be on your new bike.

Date the Parts, Marry the Frame
Well, at R+E Cycles, we do things a little differently (actually, a lot differently). Getting the best value means getting a bike that you will be comfortable riding. Think about it: the heart of a bicycle is the frame. The parts will all wear out and have to be replaced someday, but the frame is forever. Have you ever ridden a bike that wasn't comfortable? A bike that made your back or shoulders hurt (or worse)? Maybe you felt like the handlebars were too far away, or the frame was so stiff that you felt every bump in the road. Either way, what you were feeling was the fit and the frame, and no component choice can ever change that.

Beth loves her custom Rodriguez bicycle So, it's very important that you start with the right frame, and a good fit performed by someone who knows how to fit a bicycle properly. Standing over the top tube and lifting the bike up to see if you have any clearance between your crotch and the frame is not a thorough fitting process. Imagine this: you go to a clothing store to buy an outfit. You want a pair of pants, a shirt, a pair of gloves, shoes and a hat. The sales person just holds the pants up to your leg to see if the inseam is close, then grabs a shirt, hat, shoes and gloves off the rack and puts them all in a bag for you. You would be wondering "what about the waist, and how did she know my glove, shoe and hat size from just holding up the pants?" The answer is, she didn't. The same is true for a bicycle, but every day I do a fit on someone who's uncomfortable on their bike who purchased a bicycle that was fit to them in this way.

At R+E Cycles, fitting has been our specialty since 1973. No bike leaves here without being properly fit to its owner. If you are shopping for a new bicycle somewhere, and your sales person spends less than 15 minutes fitting you before recommending a bike for you to test ride, or starts talking about components instead of fitting and the comfort, give us a try before you buy. You'll be glad you did.

Remember: Don't buy a the whole shop!