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BUYING NEW BIKES

How to Make the Best of NZ Prices and Fitting guide

all seasons in one day

Don’t underestimate the impact that a wink or a smile and a wave can have on motorists’ attitudes to cyclists

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NZ is an expensive place to buy anything new and bikes are no exception. Two websites with reasonable prices are:

There are a whole bunch of cycle stores in Wellington with good sales on from time to time too. Supporting local business is always good so check out:
i]Local Shops[/i]

  • 246 Wakefield Street, Contact 64 4 384 7321 Bike Barn
  • 181 Vivian Street, Contact (04) 384 8480 On Yer Bike
  • 16 - 30 Coutts Street, Kilbirnie, Contact (04) 387-3036, ext 205 Burkes

Bamboo bike

Small Mercies

  • You can get an Active Travel Discount Card from Wellington Council that will give you access to discounts on bikes, service and gear at a range of Wellington bike shops. Go on Discount Card to see what your missing out on.
  • Look on Dahon Bike to find info on getting a discounted folding commuter bike made by Dahon for around $560.

Now, I wouldn't have bothered to write 'BUYING NEW BIKES' if I didn't want to draw your attention to a few points:

Sizing

Get the correct-sized bike and get the store to help 'fit' the 'bike' to 'you' rather than letting the 'bike' fit 'you' to 'it'. If you are reaching too much/too little or your legs are stretched or bunched up, you will make cycling much less enjoyable than it can be and develop injuries over time.

Check out:
Basic Size Guide
In More Depth

There are several ways you can buy a bike

  • Complete and ready to roll: Simple no-fuss solution especially if you are not too demanding and just need a bike.
  • A frame and components individually: An expensive but satisfying way to get your dream bike. This way you can pace out your expenditure so you can get the part you really want and just get another few parts next pay day. It may take time and a greater understanding of bikes is needed but you'll be proud and possibly madly in love with the end result.
  • A complete bike then upgrade parts: My favourite option. This way you can get a good deal on a complete bike and then spend time with it and over time get a few upgrades to make it truly the bike you want. If you replace parts immediately or soon after buying then you can sell them o to help fund the upgrades.

Research

Do your research before you go to a shop or hit 'buy it now'. You don't have to be a nerd to understand what you need from a bike and the more understanding you have of what you want to do on your bike and what kinds of brakes, wheels, gears will be better for you will help you avoid buyer's remorse.
Key parts to look out for (courtesy of www.mountain-bike-world.com) are:

Frame
Steel is heavy but strong and repairable, aluminium is light but stiff, chro-moly is a good allrounder, carbon is super light but expensive and extremely hard to repair.
Double butting is good and look out for the brands or manufacturers: Reynolds, Specialised, Raleigh, Giant, Thorn, Cannondale, Trek etc.
A hard-tail (no rear suspension) bike will be good for commuting because suspension adds weight and wastes effort in the form of bouncing.
Also look for how many bottle holder screws there are, how the cables are positioned, does it have mounts for carriers, a stand etc.

Brakes:
when it comes to looking at mountain bike components, brakes are secondary because whilst they are important, they are also easily upgraded. That said, if you can get a bike with hydraulic disc brakes then do it. If not, go for mechanical disc brakes. If you are on a really tight budget then you will have to settle for v-brakes and mechanical pull brakes.

Try to stick with the major players like Hayes, Avid, and Shimano (although there are a couple of other good manufacturers around).

Gears:
Shimano and sram are the big 2 and it is pretty easy to see what you are getting. Again the more you spend the better the quality.
For Wellington a good gear range will be handy. Don't look at how many gears though but the gear RANGE e.g. how big the biggest cog is (on the back wheel-bigger is better) and how small the smallest front cog is (on the pedals-smaller is better). This will determine how gruelling or comfortable that big hill ride home will be.

The rank of Shimano mountain bike components is (from best to worst):

XTR
Deore XT
Deore LX
Deore
Alivio
Altus

SRAM offer parts under several different brandnames:

Shifters, Chains, Cassettes - SRAM
Brake Callipers - Avid
Cranksets – Truvativ
The rank of SRAM mountain bike components is (from best to worst):

X-0
X-9
X-7
SX-5
SX 4
3.0

Forks
If the bike you are looking at does not have front suspension forks you are probably looking at a hybrid, a touring bike or a road bike.

Coil Sprung Forks: In general a coil fork is ideal if you have a tight budget or are after an allround bike. They are your most reliable choice and are more easily serviced. They are easily adjusted and tuned.
The main downside is the extra weight they have due to the steel spring inside the fork. However, this also means they are usually made tougher. If you want to do DH racing, lots of jumping or just like to throw your bike around then this is the fork for you.

Air Sprung Forks: Air sprung forks are lighter than coils but are also more expensive. These days they are getting more reliable and are a great choice for a XC rider or someone who wants LOTS of adjustability on their fork.
As long as you have a shock pump you can change your air sprung fork from 0psi to around 300psi in very little time.

Preload: A coil sprung fork will come with a minimum preload on it. If you turn the grooved cap at the top of the fork clockwise you can add preload to it. This means that the spring is being pressed down and makes your fork feel firmer.

Rebound: Rebound is the speed at which your fork springs back up when you push it down. It is good if your fork has a rebound adjuster but not essential. More advanced riders like to set their own rebound but if you are only an amateur rider you will be fine with the factory settings.
Many suspension forks these days can now be adjusted by changing the oil weight in the fork legs. A little dial on the fork is much easier but only more expensive forks will have this.

Compression: This is the opposite of rebound and is the speed at which the fork goes on the way down. You won’t find too many forks that let you adjust this so don’t worry about it too much. As long as your fork is set up for your weight you don’t need to worry about compression much more.

Brands: When looking at mountain bike components, and in particular forks, I would stick to the major brands like Rock Shox, Fox, Manitou and Marzocchi. They have more money and build better and more reliable forks.

Other Considerations: If your bike does not have disc brakes, keep in mind that you might want to upgrade to disc brakes in the future so look for disc brake mounts.

Seat:
The main point is to get a seat that is suited to your style of riding (commuting, MTBing, touring etc) and then getting one that sits your pelvis bones correctly not your bum.

Saddles are like shoes and take some wearing-in but you should know after a week or so if it's blunder buy or not.

Leather seats are very good for moulding to your sitting bones (like Brooks) and can be sprung for a more comfy ride. Otherwise a low budget will get you gel and a higher budget will get you memory foam which is great.

Other considerations are getting bike shorts with built-in gel or getting a gel cover for your existing seat. A gel cover may slide around which will be unwelcome so make sure it fits correctly and firmly.

Wheels
Your bikes wheels are important because the better quality wheels you get (this includes hubs, rims, spokes and tires) the better your ride will be. The more you spend the better your wheels will be, but look at these key areas:

Weight: Obviously the lighter the better. The weight in wheels is rotational mass so it counts double and lighter wheels will make a big difference out on the trail.

Tyre Quality: Again the more you spend the better the quality. Look for a reputable brand and a tyre that is durable and will last you a long time.

Tread Pattern: Depending on what surface you plan to ride will determine your tread pattern. Smooth semi-slicks for riding on paths and big knobbly tyres for gravel and rough terrain.

Posted by Follow Me 15:11 Archived in New Zealand Tagged bikes new zealand cycling wellington tips buying

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