You’re looking for a new bike. Your budget is minimal. What do you do?
You could go to a Target or a Wal-Mart department store and pick up a brand new bike for $200 or less. But beware: the cost of that bike could exceed what you might pay for a new (or used) name-brand bike from an actual bike shop.
I am an advocate for bikes and bike riders. I think that everyone should be able to ride a bike and be able to find it pleasurable and enjoyable. What’s not pleasurable or enjoyable are repeated trips to the bike shop for repairs, unsafe assembly of a bike, or a bike that doesn’t fit in the first place.
I read an anecdote once about buying lawn furniture. You can’t afford the $20 metal lawn chair, so you buy the $5 plastic one. The $5 one breaks easily, and so you wind up buying 3 more $5 chairs – bringing your total up to $20 – which if you had just bought the $20 in the first place, you’d still have it.
Not everyone has the money for a “good bike”. If you don’t have the money for a “good bike”, you need to be doing your research on how to repair flats, how to check chains and derailleurs, and how to make minor adjustments to brakes and cables. The money you save on a bike will be spent on repairs. If you purchase a department store bike, allot at least another $50 or so to bring it in to a bike shop for a general tune up. Add another $30 for spare tubes, tire levers, and a bike pump. There’s nothing sadder than getting ready to go out on a bike ride and finding that your tires are flat and you can’t inflate them properly, and don’t have a spare tube to fix the problem.
By the time you account for money spent on repairs and parts over the course of the first year of your inexpensive bike, you could have put that towards a “good bike”.
If you’re only riding occasionally, a department store bike might last you a long time. But if you want to ride more regularly, or use your bike as transportation, it definitely pays in the long run to make sure you have a ride that is safe, reliable, and comfortable.
Bike Fun has a limited list of bike shops in the Nashville area, as well as online resources for finding the perfect bike for you.