How to Buy a Bike

Types of Bikes (advantages / disadvantage of each)

  • Road – 700c or 27” wheels, skinny tires, drop handlebars, hand brakes, 10-30 speeds (2 or 3 chainrings in front, derailleur with 5-10 sprockets in back). Light weight, easiest to pedal. Sports car.
  • Mountain – 650C or 26” wheels, typically with 1.75”-2.25” knobby tires. Flat bars, hand brakes, 10-30 speeds (2 or 3 chainrings in front, derailleur with 5-10 sprockets in back), often with suspension fork. Heavy, harder to pedal (with knobby tires), but more versatile. Jeep.
  • City or Hybrid –- 700C or 650/26” wheels. Flat bars with hand brakes, skinny to medium tires. Good compromise between road and mountain bikes. 2WD SUV.
  • BMX – typically 20” wheels, hand brakes, single speed. – Not suitable for road riding of any distance.
  • Fixie — typically 26” or 700c wheels, flat or drop bars, hand brakes, single speed, often with no freewheel. Not suitable for road riding of any distance.
  • Beach Cruiser – typically 24 or 26” wheels, coaster brake, typically single speed. – If single speed, not suitable for road riding of any distance. Buick.

New vs. Used

  • Either can be great; it depends on how much you want to spend and how much time and effort you want to spend looking. New bikes (especially if purchased from a bike shop) are properly assembled, have a warranty, and typically include tune-ups for the first 90 days or more. Used bikes can be great values if you’re willing to spend a little more time and effort looking for them.
  • Getting the right size frame and having it adjusted properly is critical. The wrong bike, even at a great price, is still the wrong bike.

How much should I plan to spend?

  • Plan on a minimum of $100-300 used, $250-600 (or more) new for the bike, plus an additional $50-100 for helmet, gloves, water bottle cages and bottles, tool bag, tire levers, and patch kit.

In addition to the bike, is there anything I else I need to buy? (typically $50-100 total)

  • Mandatory: helmet, gloves, water bottle, rear light (red), spare inner tube, pump (or CO2 unit), tire levers, patch kit, wrench (for nuts on wheel axles if wheels do not have quick release levers).
  • Highly recommended: extra tube (in the right size and right type valve stem), seat bag and tool kit; cycle computer
  • Where to buy: any of the locations below, plus Target, Sports Authority.

Where do I go to buy the bike?

  • Local bike shops
    • Jax (Bellflower @ Spring, Long Beach)
    • Big Wheel Bike Shop (Artesia & Pioneer)
  • REI (various locations)
  • Sport Chalet (not SportMart > SportsAuthority)
  • Bicycle Discovery (Warner & Magnolia, next to Performance)
  • Performance Bike (Warner & Magnolia, and mail order)
  • Surf City Cyclery (Edinger Ave, Huntington Beach, near Bella Terra (& REI))
  • Nashbar (mail order only)
  • Craig’s List, eBay (shipping is typically $25-50)
  • PennySaver, Newspaper
  • I do NOT recommend Costco, SportMart, Toys-R-Us, WalMart, Target, etc… Although the price is right, the bikes are generally heavy, of poor quality, and poorly assembled. If cost is a significant factor, buy a decent used bike instead.

Bicycling Merit Badge Requirements

  • 1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, snakebites, blisters, and hyperventilation.
  • 2. Clean and adjust a bicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a bicycle safety checklist. Be sure the bicycle meets local laws.
  • 3. Show your bicycle to your counselor for inspection. Point out the adjustments or repairs you have made. Do the following:
    • a. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
    • b. Show points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
    • c. Show how to adjust brakes, seat level and height, and steering tube.
  • 4. Describe how to brake safely with foot brakes and with hand brakes.
  • 5. Show how to repair a flat. Use an old bicycle tire.
  • 6. Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
    • a. Properly mount, pedal, and brake including emergency stops.
    • b. On an urban street with light traffic, properly execute a left turn from the center of the street; also demonstrate an alternate left turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic.
    • c. Properly execute a right turn.
    • d. Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
    • e. Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to safely ride along a row of parked cars.
    • f. Cross railroad tracks properly.
  • 7. Describe your state’s traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.
  • 8. Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates, routes traveled, and interesting things seen.*
  • 9. After fulfilling requirement 8, lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.
  • The bicycle must have all required safety features. It must be registered as required by your local traffic laws.

How to Videos?

How to Fit a bike (from REI):
How to fix a flat (from Performance Bike):
How to repair a bile:

Bike Size Charts

Road bike size chart
Mountain bike size chart

If you have any questions, PLEASE call:

  • Ed Johnson – (C) 310-990-6699, moc.gnirpsdnim|1nosnhojde#moc.gnirpsdnim|1nosnhojde or
  • Dennis Gorospe - (C) 562-756-1838, moc.loa|epsorogd#moc.loa|epsorogd
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