Meeting your match

Tips for getting set up with the best bike for you

Choosing a bike is like choosing a partner. The right choice can ensure years of enjoyment, while the wrong choice can lead to pain, disappointment and regret. Physical attraction, reliability and other factors play a part. Budd Schwab, owner of Campus Bicycles, has been helping people find the right match for 32 years, and said the following factors can help narrow the field.

Purpose: “Think what you’re going to use it for. Different types of riding require different types of bikes. It’s like a hardware shop, with saws here and drills there. You look around the shop and see so many bikes, but once you know what you want to do with it, 90 percent of them are eliminated.”

Size: “Make sure the bike fits you properly. Start with a floor fit to test stand-over height, then make sure the seat is properly adjusted. Then, ride it and make sure it feels good.”

Price: “You get what you pay for. There are Walmart bikes and bike-shop bikes. If all you want to spend is $200, you might as well go to Target, which is fine if it’s all you need. But if you want something that’s going to last, you might expect to pay $400 to $600.”

That Special Something: “Get it down to a couple of choices, then ride them. If you try two bikes, you won’t be ambivalent; you’re gonna know. You may not know why or what it is, but you’ll know you like this one and not that one.”