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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Road Bike vs. Mountain Bike: Which to Choose as Your First Bike?

Which to Buy? 

It is a question that I have pondered and a question that always seems to come up when one of my buddies gets into cycling; should I get a road bike or a mountain bike.  Cycling is a great sport in and of itself and it is also a really good cross training activity for many sports.  Quality bikes are not cheap and getting one will required a nice chunk of change.  If money is not a problem the BEST answer is get BOTH!  In then end that happens to many cyclists once they really get the bug and it goes from a mere exercise to a burning passion.

However, if you need to pick one to start here a few things to consider:
  1. What do you want to get out of biking? Are you planning on getting into cycling to explore new things, exercise, ride with friends, or something else?  Consider the real reason you are buying a bike and it should lend itself to one or the other.  For example if the exercise aspect is the most important I would recommend a road bike.  One great thing about a road bike is that you can typically just go out your front door and find a road to ride.  
  2. What do you friends and family currently ride? Cycling is a great social sport, it is often more fun to ride with a group or buddy.  If you friends and family have a mountain bike it is probably a good indication you are going to want a mountain bike as well. 
  3. Where do you live? For your first bike you want something you can get a lot of use out of.  If you live in an area with a lot of trails nearby a mountain bike might be a good fit.  If you live in an area without great trail access a road bike is most likely your best bet.  Keep in mind that if you don't live within biking distance of the trails for your mountain bike you are going to need to transport your bike with some sort of bike car rack.
  4. Amount of time available?  Similar to factoring where you live, factoring in how much time you have to devote to your bike important as well.  If you want to spend a lot of time both are great options and there are many exciting trips you could go over with your bike. If you are limited in time, you are going to want something you can hop on and take out for a spin close to your house.
  5. What does the local bike shop stock the most?  Your local bike shop is going to stock whatever style is most popular in your area.  If they have a lot of mountain bikes in the showroom, you know that it is very popular near you and a good chance there are some great trails to ride.  Another great resource is the people in the bike shop, both employees and customers.  They are going to know of the local events and rides and have a good sense of the local biking scene.

Both a road bike and a mountain bike are great fun so you practically can't go wrong either way.  Enjoy your first bike!  Once you buy your first bike remember and check out our bike storage racks so you have somewhere to store your bike when you aren't out riding.  As you and your family accumulate more bikes, a bike rack becomes essential.  

What do you suggest? Leave a comment with your thoughts