WASHINGTON — The best bike shops offer good service before and after customers pedal away on a new ride. Washington Consumers’ Checkbook has tips to help cyclists navigate a purchase.
Among the recommendations: Find a shop offering test rides on several bikes to get a feel for what’s available. Try bikes in several price ranges. Good bikes can have lower-than-expected prices. Look for a shop that offers free adjustments for at least a year.
A number of factors help correctly match a bike to a rider. The width of the handle bars is important. The bike’s frame height should fit its rider. Bike shop employees also should adjust seat and handle bar height to individual riders.
As for what novice riders should look for, Checkbook says riders need to evaluate how smooth the bike rides, its responsiveness, its comfort, its stability and how easy it is to control, shift and brake.
Because manufacturers set the prices, there isn’t much competition among shops selling new bikes. Vast price differences can be found however for accessories, repairs, tune-ups and adjustments.