Bike Buying Guide – value shopping, how to get it right
It’s that time of year – every media outlet has their Bike Buying Guide published.
For less experienced riders looking for an upgrade this experience can be confusing and intimidating.
Bikes are fun, buying a bike should be a fun experience – let’s look at some simple basics.
Everyone has a budget. Sort of.
Don’t lock yourself into a number and miss out on a better deal.
That is to say, on a purchase you plan to keep for a few years it behooves you to look at what’s available with a bit of a stretch on your budget.
If “X” additional dollars over “Y” months of ownership on your purchase are going to dramatically improve your enjoyment it’s something to think about.
(BikeCo offers financing with six months interest free as well if you want to spend someone else’s money…)
A Tiered Approach – whether buying a factory build or a custom complete here is a tried and true method to help you valuate your purchase by prioritizing components.
Frame, Suspension, Wheels, Fill in the Blanks
Start by looking at the performance and value of components that would be the most expensive to replace. It also happens these are the components which create a lot of your bike’s personality!
The cornerstone of your build is the frame. Don’t forget that in the process. Bike’s don’t all ride the same, why compromise on capability and personality?
I often hear clients ask about “brand X” that offers top of the line bits hung to a frame that sacrifices suspension performance, carbon quality, etc. Even the best components on the market are limited in performance by the section that connects them all!
In a world with few makers and many fakers it can be tough to understand what you get from a top tier frame. Predictable, confident performance. Long service intervals. Attention to details. Fun…
Your favorite pro shreds on brand “x”? Ya, well, those riders are so talented they’d probably shred on anything with two wheels. They also have access to consistent factory suspension support to correct mechanical inefficiencies or issues. And again, they simply have a skill set so incredible they can override known issues where needed.
The mechanical suspension design is the heart of a mountain bike.
Even the most complex dampers on the market struggle when asked to control poorly executed suspension leverage ratios and ramp.
Suspension design is complicated, precise and expensive (patent attorneys aren’t cheap these days). Carbon fiber manufacturing is the same. Modern bike geometry is a black art requiring testing options paired with your suspension design for the best performance. The chances that a bargain brand hit it out of the park with design and manufacturing while coming in under the industry standard price point are really nil.
Switch Infinity, DW and Sine Suspension are confident as well as well balanced up and downhill. Riders appreciate the predictable performance as well as tuning ranges from bicycles by Ibis, Yeti, and Alchemy.
(in my best Tom Jones signing voice, which is to say – a terrible Tom Jones singing voice) This is a Fox world, this is a Fox world…
Another pricey area to get your spec wrong… What ground speeds do you ride at? How much adjust-ability to you require? There are great options across a variety of price points right now.
Fox has an amazing lineup for forks and rear shocks. Chat with our expert staff about product and tune options for your bike. Some of the entry level Fox options are actually raced at the highest levels for specific performance benefits.
MTB wheels make a huge difference in a bike’s personality. Are you narrow? Wide? Aluminum? Carbon? There are cases to be made for all of them.
Having to instantly upgrade wheels is a bummer. Are the spec’d wheels going to hold up to your riding style? Will they offer the correct width
Fill in the Blanks
So you’ve got the best frame, suspension and wheels in your budget range – now it’s time to spec the rest of the bike (or review the spec of a factory build).
I look for Magura brakes (best modulation & power) a quality carbon fiber bar (no cheap carbon in my world) and a comfortable Ergon saddle. I’m willing to start a bike with a lower range drivetrain, or with some lower range bits as they wear and I can replace them at the next service interval.
Inverse to the old “let’s put the nicest rear derailleur on to catch an eye” we see more riders with GX Eagle derailleurs and X01 Shifters. The GX derailleur is particularly popular with the grassroots race crowd as they’re less expensive to replace after smashing them through race courses.
Trickle down technology has dropper post options across a variety of price points.
It’s a good time to be in the MTB market
The long and the short of it – a poorly executed frame with all the baller bits isn’t going to ride as well as an mid level kit on a top tier frame. It’s kind of just that simple.
Knowing your budget and examining what level of frame, suspension, wheels and kit you have access to is a good starting point. Working with a resource who can help you understand what you will feel on trail and what you won’t or where to invest in upgrades can be a huge help.
At BikeCo.com we’ve been selling top tier bikes since 1999. We’ve seen the evolution in parts and geometry. We are familiar with which bikes are right for which riders. If you have questions our team is happy to help you through the purchase process. BikeCo’s staff follow up with all bike sales multiple times to help fine tune setup of suspension and fit. When you purchase from BikeCo you’re not a stranger, whether you live down the street or across the world.
Our team evaluates all of the factory builds and knows how to find the most value for your dollar. We know where the cross over from stock to full custom saves you money. Most popular upgrades? Magura, Pro Tune Suspension, etc? We’ve got you covered there too.
Chat in, call, email or come by to learn about which bike fits your riding wants and needs today.
See you on the trails.