161 Burns Bay Road
Lane Cove NSW 2066
Phone: 02 9427 1055

Learn What to Look for When Buying a New Bike

Your Guide to Buying the Bike That's Perfect for You

Intro - Bicycle Types - Riding Styles - Which Size - Fit - Frames - Components - Accessories - Women - More on Mountain Bikes - Assembly - Service - Guarantee - FAQ - Buy

Welcome to our Bike Buying Guide

Buying a bike is a great decision! You may cycle for fitness, fun, or health. You may ride off-road on trails and tracks. You may ride to get to work. You may race against your mates. Or you may just enjoy a sunny day in the park with your friends or family. Whatever your reason to cycle, you’ll love riding when your new bike is perfect for you.

There are hundreds of bikes to choose from here in Australia. And over 220 Sydney bicycle shops, department stores and on-line outlets to select from too. Who can blame you for feeling overwhelmed! Well, the mere fact that you are reading this guide means you want to get the right bike for you. We are here to help you every step of the way. It’s what we do before, during and after you buy your new bike that guarantees you will make the right choice. And we know that making the right choice will give you years of riding enjoyment.

When you visit our shop you can count on expert and friendly advice, exceptional service, and a great selection of quality bikes, accessories and clothing. We’re here to make cycling easier so you can enjoy your riding more. I invite you to read this guide and then visit us today for the bike that’s perfect for you.

Get The Bike that Suits You

There are three major types of bikes: mountain bikes, road bikes, and city bikes. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding on fire trails and bush tracks but you can still ride them on sealed surfaces. Road bikes are built for speed and performance and are designed solely for riding on sealed roads. City bikes are for recreational riding, commuting, and fitness. They can be ridden on unsealed roads, but typically you’ll find them being ridden in parks and suburbs. If you are a recreational rider, you’ll find city bikes comfortable and efficient.

A good analogy of the three types of bikes is to compare them to cars. Think of the mountain bike as a four-wheel drive vehicle, the road bike as a Formula One racing car, and the city bike as the family sedan. When you are deciding which type of bike will best suit you, think about where you want to ride and with whom. After all, it’s much more enjoyable to ride together when you all have the right type of bike for your purposes.

Choose the type of bike you want first.

What Kind Of Rider Are You?

The next step is decide what kind of cyclist you see yourself as. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating your intentions. If you are just beginning but are a go-getter who wants a performance-based bike to ride, you’re probably best off with a bike designed for just that. If you were to buy a recreational bike instead, you would soon discover its limitations and ultimately be held back by the bike. Here’s a table to help you budget for your new bike.

Budget Guide Mountain Road City
 Recreation  $600 - $1,500 $1,000 - $3,000  $600 - $1,200
 Enthusiast $1,500 - $4,000 $3,000 - $6,000 $1,200 - $2,000
 Performance Over $4,000 Over $6,000 Over $2,000

It’s great to save money up front, but remember, as with most purchases, you get what you pay for. While a more expensive bike isn’t necessarily more comfortable than a recreational model, it will be lighter and stiffer for better hill climbing, efficiency and acceleration. It will have better components for smoother shifting and better braking. It will last longer.

Decide what kind of cyclist you want to be, and then you’ll know what level of bike to look for.

Don’t Shop For A Certain Size

Most people know that adult bikes usually come in different frame sizes but many aren’t aware that manufacturers measure frame sizes differently. A 55cm frame of one brand may be quite different to a 55cm frame of another brand. So don’t let anyone tell you what size bike you need until you have selected the brand and model. Yes, even different models of the same brand will have different dimensions for a given frame size.

How important is getting the right size? It is probably the single most important aspect of your new bike. Just imagine if you bought the wrong sized shoes. They would be pretty useless, wouldn’t they? It’s the same with bikes.

You may be surprised to know that in order for you to get maximum satisfaction out of your riding, ten dimensions of your bicycle have to be right pretty much to the centimetre. Not just one, but ten. And every model can vary in a number of dimensions to another model.

The most certain way to get the right fitting bike is to first choose the model you want. Then let us work with you to get the right sized bike and the right fit. Unless you have years of experience setting up people on bikes like we do at Renegade Cycles, your chances are pretty slim that the bike you buy will be perfect for you. At Renegade Cycles we will work with you to get all ten dimensions right. It’s a simple but extremely important part of what we do when you are buying your new bike.

Choose your model first and then we can help you choose the right size for that model.

Get Fit!

You may be surprised to know that the majority of people who ride bikes don’t know how important it is to have their bicycle correctly fitted. (Hence the proliferation of on-line sellers who are quite happy not to inform their customers of this!) We’re not talking about just the right frame size here.

There are those ten other measurements pertaining to your bike that have to be addressed for you to get the most out of your new bike. While many bike shops and on-line retailers could care less, we enjoy putting our knowledge to use for you so you can enjoy your riding more.

The result is that your bike will provide you with a balanced ride in four respects: efficiency (power), handling, aerodynamics, and comfort. You achieve that balance when you get the bike that’s perfect for you and you get each of those ten measurements right in setting up your bike.

If you are interested in learning more about those ten measurements please see the appendix at the bottom of this page.

You may want more comfort and handling in a recreational bike or alternatively, more efficiency and aerodynamics if you are racing. An enthusiast mountain biker faced with hills and varying terrain would seek handling and efficiency above comfort and aerodynamics, for instance.

Whatever your style of riding, when you buy your new bike from us we’ll work with you to achieve your perfect balance in the four areas. In doing this we take into account your intended riding style, your flexibility and so on. It’s not a long process. Fortunately our brands vary crank lengths and stems as frame sizes change which greatly helps. But it still takes experience and a willingness to help to get the best result.

Cycling is easiest when your bike is correctly fitted to you.

Every Bike Has A Heart And Soul

The heart and soul of any bicycle is its frame. A superior frame means you have the makings of a bicycle that is a joy to ride. Whether you want a frame that’s light for easier hill climbing, stiff for blinding acceleration or compliant for a comfortable ride, there is a frame that is just right for you. Four elements are central to a great frame: design, materials, workmanship and testing.

Cheap bikes have cheap frames. At first glance the untrained eye can’t see much of a difference but wait until you start test riding. What an eye-opener! In fact, in a recent survey 92% of the people who test rode bikes said it made a difference in their choice. You can feel the difference between a quality frame and a cheap one even if you have no experience riding bikes. You may not be able to explain it, but you’ll feel it.

A good frame doesn’t just happen, it evolves. First a concept is explored and then prototypes are made. These are tested in the lab and then more importantly, in the great outdoors by experienced cyclists. Further changes are made to improve the ride you’ll ultimately get.

Materials used in bikes vary. Aluminium frames for example, come in different commercial grades and are manufactured with different methods. The better-made frames are stiffer, lighter and have a longer life. Better aluminium frames on road bikes and city bikes are often teamed with carbon fibre forks to provide a more comfortable ride up front.

Carbon fibre is now the frame material of choice. Designers and engineers can create frames that are light yet stiff in the power transfer areas and compliant in the rider comfort areas. They can even shape the frame to deliver superior aerodynamics. Carbon fibre frames were once reserved for the performance end of the spectrum but now enthusiasts can enjoy them too.

The world’s best frames are a culmination of superiority of design, materials, manufacturing and testing - both in the lab and under real riding conditions. The manufacturers who excel at all four aspects make the bikes that ride the best. You’ll find their performance models being raced worldwide at the highest levels. Remember, you can always change the components on your bike, but changing your frame is a costly exercise.

Get the best frame you can afford. You will appreciate the difference every day you ride.

Components

Many people base their bicycle purchase on one or two components of a bicycle. It is easy to compare a component here and there. But oftentimes it’s one of the least important - and sadly, heavily marketed - parts of the bike. It is a good idea to compare components, but remember that comparing frames is more important.

Your priorities should be:

  • Frame: Test ride the bike, the frame is heart of the ride. Its warranty is an indication of its manufacturer’s belief in their product.
  • Suspension: On mountain bikes, suspension almost goes hand-in-hand with the frame.
  • Wheels: Reliability and rotating mass are important.
  • Contact points: Tyres, saddle, and handlebars. These can make a huge difference to your ride.
  • The rest: Brakes, shifters and front chainwheel sets are high on the list.

If components were the most important consideration, we could all buy out of a catalogue. No one’s riding a catalogue though.

The Fun Stuff

There is saying that if you get into cycling you’ll spend another 50% of your bike's value on accessories and cycle clothing. And if you REALLY get into it, make it 100%. Accessories and clothing make a huge difference so allow for them.

There are over 50 different accessories you may want when you buy a new bike. Many are essential. Many make your cycling easier or a lot more fun. Others will improve your performance.  Lots are just handy to have.

Look at the table below and make a list of what interests you. We've split the accessories into a few categories for you. Then come talk to us. We’ll be happy to provide you with product information or advice that is suitable for your riding intentions.

 

Worthwhile

Mountain Biking
Performance /
Enthusiast

Mountain Biking
Recreation

Road Riding

City Riding

Consider It

Essentials

   
Helmet        
Lights        
Lock        
Floor pump
       
Mini-pump        
CO2 inflator
       
Saddle bag
       
Spare tube
       
Repair kit
       
Chain lubricant

     
Upgrades



 
Saddle  
   
Tyres        
Clipless pedals
 
   
Cycling shoes
   
 
Aerobars        
Bar ends
       
Hydration | Energy

     
Water bottle
       
Water bottle cage
       
Rehydration formula
       
Energy formula
     
Recovery formula
       
Transport

 
   
Basket        
Handlebar bag
       
Bicycle rack for your bike
       
Panniers        
Backpack        
Child carrier
       
Bicycle carrier for your car
       
Clothing
     
Gloves        
Knicks / Shorts
       
Jersey        
Jacket / Vest
       
Tights        
Cycling socks
       
Warmers        
Chamois creme
       
Navigation

     
GPS
       
Cycle computer
       
Where to Ride books
       
Maintenance

     
Mini tools        
Workshop tools
       
Starter kit
       
Repair stand
       
Maintenance books
       
Maintenance seminar
       
Extras

     
Kickstand        
Cycling sunglasses        
Home trainer
       
Power meter
       
Storage solutions
       
Mirror        
Chainstay protector
 
   

Women’s Bikes

You might believe that all bike manufacturers - and bike shops - recognize the difference between men and women, but they don’t. Sure, many offer a traditional ladies' step-through frame. But that doesn’t really constitute a women’s specific bike. The women’s mountain, road and city bikes at Renegade Cycles also feature women’s specific saddles which are typically shorter and wider to better support you. You’ll also find that our women’s bikes have a higher and shorter reach to the handlebars so you won’t get an aching neck or shoulders. Shorter cranks also round out the package to optimize your efforts.

We back our bicycles with a great range of women’s accessories, clothing and cycling shoes many of which come with 30-day comfort guarantees.

Even with the best products, we’ll still take the time to make sure that they are the best for you. That includes fitting your new bike to you so you get the most enjoyment from your riding, and helping you choose the right accessories and clothing for your needs.

We’re very happy to say that 41.5% of our customer database is female. That’s well above the average bike shop. The differences do matter.

Tame to Treacherous

Are you buying a mountain bike to tackle some terrain? If so, there have never been more choices. Frame geometry, travel, wheel size, suspension all vary greatly depending on your off-road style. Not sure which is best for you? It’s OK. We can help.

There are four styles of mountain biking that enthusiasts enjoy with the first two being the most popular:

Style Purpose Common Qualities
Cross-Country
Overland, not overly technical terrain, getting from A to B quickly. Lightweight dual suspension and hardtail bikes with minimal suspension travel and 29er wheels.
Trail Tracks and trails. A few more obstacles. Well suited for both technical and sweeping terrain. Dual suspension bikes with medium travel and predominately 29er wheels. Seatpost suspension often an add-on.
Enduro Ride anywhere. Seek out terrain.
Dual suspension bikes with significant travel and predominately 27.5 wheels. Seatpost suspension often an add-on.
Downhill Purpose-built. Speed whilst descending over rough terrain. Maximum travel dual suspension bikes, downhill geometry and predominately 27.5-inch heavy-duty wheels.

Which wheel size?

With 26-inch wheels now found only on the entry level sport bikes, the latest debate is 27.5-inch (also known as 650B) or 29er. The latest thinking is 29er if you want a proven faster wheel and you’re the type who likes to roll over obstacles with minimum fuss. 29ers also have the advantage of being able to use city tyres should you wish to use your bike around town. Go with 27.5 if you want a more playful feel and like to search out terrain. You’ll be able to wing it a bit more.

On smaller sized bikes (under 16-inch frames), a 27.5 wheel can provide a better geometry due to the smaller headtube needed on these sizes. But for shorter riders wanting real speed, the recommended set-up is a 29er wheel with a negative rise stem.

Dual Sport

There is also an increasingly popular style of bike known as Dual Sport. It combines elements of city and mountain. The result is a bike that is efficient around town yet versatile enough to handle moderate fire trails and country roads. They come with 29er wheels with narrower, low tread mountain bike tyres for efficient fast rolling. Minimal suspension keeps the weight down yet gives you the versatility to point down a country road and go there with confidence.

Whatever your off-road aspirations, there is a bike that’s right for you.

It’s a Vehicle, Not a Toy

Well, that’s our opinion. Many people think that bikes shipped by the manufacturers come fully assembled and all we do is roll them out onto the shop floor and sell them to you. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have up to 159 assembly and pre-delivery steps which we perform on adult bikes before you wheel your new bike out the door (and even 48 steps on kids bikes - safety is important!). These steps are performed by our experienced mechanics who have the expertise and capability that comes from working on over 56,000 bikes over the years. We use professional cycling tools to assemble your bike. Whether it’s a kids bike or a custom carbon fibre dual suspension mountain bike, there are no short cuts.

Unfortunately not all bike shops have the same standards. Some cut corners. Some have no standard for their pre-delivery procedures. Some use only the tools you would find in your toolbox at home. Some don’t have the experience to be assembling let alone servicing your bicycle.

Here’s a story that may startle you: A person who assembled bikes for a competitor came to us to do the most basic of all repairs: change a flat tyre. He came to us, not because he didn’t have the time to do it himself but because he didn’t know how. It’s not very comforting to think he is assembling bicycles, is it? Well actually, “was”. They are out of business now. But it’s a true story... and very scary!

Come to think of it, buying a bike on-line or from a department store is even a bigger gamble with your own or your children's safety.

At Renegade Cycles we set high standards for your benefit. Our commitment and experience is there for your safety and enjoyment.

Better built bicycles ride better.

Discover the Spirit of Riding

We know you want a great bike and a great ride. The promise of a great ride isn’t met until you receive exceptional after-sales service. That's where we come in. We want to deliver all the extras so you can get the most out of your riding.

To start with, you will receive at least one Deluxe Service voucher to use on your new adult bike. (Kids bikes receive a commensurate service voucher too.) Bikes, like cars, have a running-in period. It is important to have your new bike serviced within four months of your purchase in order for us to make necessary adjustments and to protect your investment. Bikes priced at $999 and above receive two Deluxe Service vouchers as part of the purchase price. Typically these bikes see a bit more action and employ more technology so it’s important to service them in the first two months and then again four months later.

Other shops may offer “free adjustments for a year” when you buy a new bike, but “free” is about all they are worth. After all, an "adjustment" only takes a few minutes. There is no degreasing of the drive train, straightening of the rear derailleur hanger, truing of the wheels, cleaning and polishing of the frame, etc.

Our Deluxe Service costs $129.95, but at Renegade Cycles it is complimentary with your new bike. We perform exactly the same work on your bike as we do for those customers who are paying $129.95 in the normal course of business.

Our service doesn’t end there. We can help you out with riding tips, directions and maintenance pointers. We can give you good advice about the many quality products that we carry and use ourselves. You can receive brief monthly emails to keep you up-to-date with the latest news including sales and specials. Or if you prefer, you can stay engaged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We’re your link to better riding and the greater cycling community. What we do after the sale makes a difference.

You are Backed by This Unique and Unbeatable Guarantee

“We want you to be thrilled with your new bicycle and accessories. If for any reason you are not completely thrilled, return them to us within 90 days for a full refund.”

We are the only bike shop in the world that offers this guarantee. We’ve been doing it since 1998. When we implemented it we weren’t sure what would happen. What we found is that we started doing a better job at selling you the right bike. We knew the consequences if we got it wrong. The biggest surprise was not only that less than 1% of people exercise their 90-day guarantee, but of those that do almost half upgrade. The rest mainly change colour or size, and yes, a few just find cycling isn’t for them. There are a few conditions but they don't apply to most people's circumstances.

Whatever your reason, we stand by our guarantee.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I pay for my new bike?

We accept EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, direct deposit, and cash. We accept cheques from existing customers with appropriate identification. You can also layby your bike.

What warranties and guarantees does your shop offer?

Our brands offer you lifetime frame warranties. (Five years on mountain bike swingarms.) Parts warranties are as per the parts company’s warranties and are generally one to three years. You are also backed by our unique and unbeatable guarantee where you can return your bicycle and accessories to us within 90 days of purchase for a full refund if you are not completely thrilled with them. (There are a few exceptions: To take advantage, you accept that, whilst we will not deduct any amounts for fair wear and tear, we reserve the right to deduct the price of replacing any component(s) from the refund amount which, in our opinion, failed or was damaged due to accident, abuse or neglect. The guarantee does not apply to purchases for a commercial purpose or to Trek Project One custom bikes. The guarantee is not transferable.) We also offer a Deluxe Service voucher worth $129.95 with any adult bike purchased and a second voucher on bikes priced $999 and above.

Where are you?

We are located at 161 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove. We are next door to IGA XPress (previously The Agora food market). The nearest cross street is Ross Smith Parade which we are just opposite. You can park on-street or drive down Charlish Lane between us and IGA and park behind our shop. Parking behind the shop is easiest if you are dropping off or picking up a bicycle. 

Your Next Step

We know your time is valuable. Ring us now on (02) 9427-1055 to make an appointment to purchase your new bike. Or if you prefer, simply drop into our shop today and we will be delighted to help you. We are open 7 days a week.

We make cycling easier. So you can enjoy your riding more.

Plan a visit to us today.

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Appendix : The Ten Measurements

1. Crank length
Too short and you’ll be losing leverage for hills and acceleration. Too long and your pedal stroke will be compromised. Your knees won’t like you either.

2. The ball of your foot to the pedal axle
Too far forward and you’ll be favouring your hamstrings at the expense of your quads. The result: possibly a loss of efficiency, especially if you are male. Too far back and your Achilles tendon may never be the same.

3. Knee to the pedal axle
This is a key position to achieving balance on your bike. If your knees are too far forward (due mainly to saddle position), you’ll have too much of your weight forward on the bike. This will compromise your handling… and safety. If you are too far back, the same issues may arise, but for different reasons. Experienced, competitive riders can achieve a balanced rearward position. But under pressure even they will move forward slightly to maximise their efforts.

4. Seat height
Set it too high and your hips will be rocking and your pedal stroke will be inefficient. Too low and you'll do damage to your knees.

5. Seat angle
Comfort is the key here. If you are male, you’ll probably like it level. If you are female, you may prefer a very slight dip in the front. If you like your saddle positioned differently, it’s often an indicator that something else is wrong with your set-up.

6. Top tube length
The top tube length is an important measurement on your bike and one that can’t be varied. An appropriate top tube length is the foundation to achieving the balance that you seek.

7. Stem length and
8. Stem height

Comfort, handling and aerodynamics are in balance when the right stem is used with the right top tube length. Your neck, shoulders and arms should be relaxed and you should feel like your “cockpit” (saddle to handlebars) is roomy enough to comfortably handle the bike.

9. Handlebar width
Achieve a balance between handling, aerodynamics and comfort by selecting handlebars that are suitable to your body and the type of riding that you will be doing.

10. Handlebar rise (mountain or city bike) or drop (road bike)
Too low on this one and you’ll lose efficiency, comfort, handling and even aerodynamics. Too high and your handling and aerodynamics will be compromised.

And for mountain bikers, we add 11. Suspension set-up. When you pick-up your new bike we’ll help you set up your suspension so it delivers the ride it’s intended to.

We Make Cycling Easier
So you can enjoy your riding more.