Ideal Bikes For Health & Fitness Goals
Tired of that pavement blowing your knees to shreds when you jog? Or is that favorite outfit suddenly looking like a polyester suit? We've got tons of clients who use bicycles as their primary routine to shed pounds the healthy way, without gimmicks or short-term gains. Riding bicycles for fitness is a life-changing experience, and one we hope you adopt.
The single-most important factor in choosing the right bicycle is finding one as durable and reliable as possible. If you're using the bicycle regularly (daily or even twice daily), the last thing you want hindering your workout is faulty equipment. Trust us on this one, if you spend the money for a good bicycle, chances are you'll be less likely to stop your exercise routine. A solid bike will keep you smiling as the pounds drop off.
So how much should you spend? As much as you can afford - just keep in mind you'll be spending a couple of hundred bucks for essential accessories: two pairs of riding shorts, two jerseys, gloves, a helmet, and a computer to log your miles. All bicycles are great for fitness; just choose the type of bicycle that will best match your desired fitness routine:
- Visualize your ideal path. Are you close enough to a trail to mountain bike every day? Are the roads around you smooth enough to enjoy road cycling?
- Visualize your routine. Will you be riding with a buddy? If so what will they be riding? What type of riding will keep you interested and motivated for many months at a time?
- Consider your budget. Check out our pricing guidelines to narrow down your choice.
- Accurately gauge your current physical health. If you have a bad back, neck, or wrists, a comfort bicycle is a great choice to get you riding and keep you going.
Why spend so much money on a bicycle?
Look, it's not like you're spending money on a prettier paint job. Spending more money on your bicycle will get you a better bicycle, simple as that. Consider for a second what we're talking about here. We're not talking about an additional $5,000 for the upgraded engine. We're talking fifty, maybe a couple of hundred dollars more for something you'll be enjoying for leisure, exercise, and transportation for years.
So what makes a better bicycle? It comes down to three main things: the frame, the parts, and the suspension. Better frames are lighter and more responsive because more man-hours are spent shaving off unwanted material, creating stronger and cleaner welds, mixing additives like Specialized's M4 frames, and processing like Giant's Fluid Form technology.
Better parts make up the majority of price differences between bicycles. By better parts we mean wheels, cranks, derailleurs, shifters, brakes, headsets, etc.
- Better parts are made of different quality metals. So the parts will last longer and withstand more abuse.
- Precision is increased with each step in components. Bearings will run smoother, shifting will feel crisper, and brakes will stop quicker. An insane amount of R&D is allotted to making cooler and more efficient parts each year, such as disc brakes, tubeless tires, and carbon wheelsets. Of course, the most recent innovations are found in the higher priced goodies, trickling down each year to lower price points.
- Better parts miraculously get lighter without losing strength.
Finally, better suspension characteristics make your ride more efficient, comfortable, and safe using a combination of springs, air shocks, and materials like carbon. For example, seatpost suspension puts your butt in constant float; with it, you'll barely feel the subtle bumps in the road. And front suspension not only gives you more comfort, but relieves stress on your parts as well.
What's up with all the gears?
Bicycles nowadays come with 21 to 30 speeds, and, believe it or not, us gearheads still want more. First to simplify things: gears are split into front gears (three gears controlled with your left hand) and rear gears (seven to eleven gears controlled with your right). Consider your three front gears your main ones - you'll only lower to one if you're on a hill and raise to three if you're racing down (or being chased by the neighborhood dog). Consider your rear gears, then, your fine tuning gears. Got it?
Now to answer the question. You need all those gears because you're constantly trying to maintain a steady cadence (ideally around 90 revolutions per minute). This not only maximizes your power, but conveniently puts you at your target heart rate as well.