I admit it, I was one of those guys who bought a department store bike. My friends who were avid mountain bikers had tried to talk me out of it, with all kinds of scare tactics like "Your handlebars would strip and you will go over the bars, your wheels will taco and you will wreck" blah blah blah, whatever guys. I thought they were nuts for spending more than a couple hundred dollars on a bike, I mean after all, they are just bikes.
Wow was I wrong.
First off I found out that the hard way that parts on department store bikes really are inferior, mainly after going over the handlebars when I tried to jump a curb and the handlebars stripped! Next I bent a couple axles in my rear wheel, and then the rear wheel, all the while just riding in town.
Now I thought this was normal, but upon taking it to the local bike shop he explained to me that well, my bike sucked. I could not afford a new one and still did not fully believe him, 65 dollar full tune up later my bike actually shifted, at least I thought it did. Gone was the "tat tat tat tat tat tat" ten second wait between gears, now I just had the two second tat tat as it shifted.
So I tooled around, thought this was normal until I finally rode a nice older mountain bike of a friends. Holy shit! Not only did it shift right away, but it peddled easier too!
So then I would ride another friends, same thing, almost effortless to peddle, that was it, I had to buy a real bike. Here is what you will find.
First off you get a bike made to fit you! YOu know that 26inch nonsense the promote in Walhell? Well in reality it means little, that is the wheel size, what you need is the proper frame size. Frame size is determined by your stand over and overall height as well as even preference. Quality bikes come in several different frame sizes, some are listed very simple, small, medium, large and extra large while others use inches.
Further your hopefully friendly and defiantly quirky bike shop owner will actually adjust the bike to fit you! From your seat height (very important) to the angle of your bars and shifter/brakes it will be properly adjusted just for you.
Weight, a quality bike weighs nearly half of your department store bikes, that alone allows easier peddling. Both my Mountain bikes weigh less than 28lbs.
Strength, from the wheels to the frame quality bikes take a beating and keep on going. Where before merely dropping off a curb resulted in stripped handlebars, bent rims or a bent axle, now I can ride down boulder strewn paths, off drops with little to worry about.
Ease of peddling, the more you can spend the better your crankshaft and other components which translates into less overall effort.
Snap shifting, the more you spend the quicker the shifting, however even with the lower end quality bikes your shifting will be miles better than anything from a department store.
Free adjustments for at least a year, and in some stores, a lifetime.
Quality tires, believe it or not tires on a good bike, depending on what brand, and type of tire will last most people their lifetime. For others every few hundred miles, depending on your riding skill, terrain etc.
I hope after reading this you will want to purchase a good bike, regardless of fitness level good times await. Well, that is if you have a bike that does not break in the middle of no where, or worse yet, on your first ride!
What are you waiting for?