|Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels|
If you know you need to purchase a new bicycle, this guide (for example) provides a basic summary of all the types of modern bicycles available and their typical usage. A simple internet search will reveal a wealth of additional information, should you want to go down the proverbial rabbit hole.
"But" you remark, "I already have a bicycle! Do I still need to buy a new one?"
Not necessarily. Depending on what your goals are, the bike you already have is the best bike to use. The key: it is in good working condition. This means checking the bike over to make sure all the main components are functional.
- Tires can be properly inflated (and stay inflated for a reasonable amount of time)
- Tires have no bald sections or cords showing in the tread and no cracks in the sidewalls (dry rot)
- Rims are straight with no cracks or dents
- No loose or broken spokes
- Nuts or quick-releases can be tightened securely (wheels stay attached while riding!)
- Brake levers squeeze easily without binding or resistance in the cable
- Brake levers can be squeezed completely without contacting handlebar
- Pads apply even pressure to rims when brake lever is squeezed
- Pads align with the rim on contact and do not hang over
- Pads contact only the rim and not the tire when applied
- Pads have sufficient material left (usually there are wear indicators) and are not hardened or glazed over
- Cable is not rusted, ends are not frayed
- Functional coaster brake, for single speed bike that brakes by back-pedaling
3. Seat & Handlebar
- Seat can be securely positioned at the right height
- Handlebar & stem can be positioned securely for a comfortable reach while riding
4. Drivetrain (chain & gears)
- Chain turns freely throughout travel around front chainring(s) and rear sprocket(s)
- Chain is lubricated
- Ideally, chain is free from any rust. Sometimes a chain will move freely even if there is some minor surface corrosion, but it should be replaced once it starts showing signs of binding.
- Front and rear gear shifters move freely without binding, and chain moves through all available gears without binding, slipping, or falling off.
- Chainring & sprocket teeth are not worn down (resemble "shark fin" shape)
- No excessive grime, built-up dirt
|Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash|
Next up: Basic Tools for Home Bicycle Maintenance