Buying a Bike

Oxford has about a dozen bike shops of various sizes, which you can see on the map (yellow squares with a black cycle symbol). For details see this list.

How & where to buy a bike (courtesy of www.whycycle.co.uk)

Decide if you are buying a toy… …because if you are buying a toy then go to a toy store. But a bicycle isn’t a toy, it is a vehicle which goes at speed on or next to the road. Doesn’t it then make sense to go to a specialist bike shop where they have the skills and knowledge to help you properly? These guys have been working with bikes for years so really know what they are about. More detail please…

Find somewhere you like… …because if you buy a bike from a shop you don’t like, then you might feel pressurised into buying something which isn’t right for you. Walk up to the counter and see how long it takes before you’re noticed. Is the salesperson friendly and helpful, or condescending and treating you like an idiot? And do they seem to know what they are talking about? (Yeah, I know, how do you tell?) Women: most bike shop staff are unfortunately still men, but that doesn’t mean that you should put up with them patronising you! More detail please…

Decide how much you want to spend…because, it sounds obvious, but you should buy the best you can afford. In bikes, like in everything, there are no ridiculous bargains – you really do get what you pay for. If you pay more for a bike, expect it to be more durable, lighter, have more features, and be nicer to ride.

And decide which bike you need for the riding you plan to do…because buying the wrong bike for you means you are no better off, just out of pocket. Have a look at different Bike Styles to get some ideas. More detail please…

Don’t be fooled by technospeak… …because, if you don’t understand what the salesperson is talking about, how will you decide if it’s worth spending your money on? It can be embarrassing to admit that you don’t know what they mean, but that’s their job – helping you. Have a look at the Bike Jargon Buster section for some help. More detail please…

Buy a bike that’s the right size… …as a bike that’s the wrong size will be uncomfortable and can be dangerous. If you’re buying for a child, don’t be tempted to get a bike that they will grow into – much better to get a bike that’s the right size for them and then when they get too big for it it will still be in pretty good shape so it will have a high resale value. Have a look at the Bike Sizing section for more info. More detail please…