Tip #1. Go for a mountain bike

You may be planning on sticking to city cycling for now, but a mountain bike is the way to go if you’re still getting to grips with your new hobby. In comparison to a road bike, a mountain bike’s suspension, stockier tyres, wider handlebars and more upright sitting position make it easier to gain confidence before transitioning to a road bike. And the versatility is great, if you decide to take to the roads less travelled.

Tip #2. Where to shop

Since you’re here, your search probably started online, but popping in to your local bike store is recommended to get a better idea of sizing. They are also likely to carry a bigger range of better quality bikes compared to those you’ll find in a “supermarket”.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may find a few bargains second hand. Ask a knowledgeable friend for help to ensure you don’t buy a lemon, or consider buying from a reseller to give you some added peace of mind.

Tip #3. Accessories are a must

For a great start, make sure you’re comfortable and safe. A helmet, gloves, eyewear and padded shorts are essential. Oli chatted to East City Cycles in Cape Town to get the latest on accessory prices when it comes to some of his favourite brands. Prices, of course, vary from store to store. Check out these recommendations from Oli:

  • Helmet: Giro mountain bike Fixture helmet (R1,250)
  • Gloves: Giro Bravo LF gloves (R715)
  • Sunglasses: Radar Path EV Prizm Trail Oakley eyewear (R2,490)
  • Cycling shorts: First Ascent Domestique cycling shorts (R849)
  • Secure water bottle cage: Ryder is a good one, where the side kick cage costs about R75.
  • BPA-free water bottle: Camelbak Podium 710ml (R225)
  • Allen key set: Ryder offers a 9 function tool at R115.
  • If you’re planning on going off-road, consider converting your tyres to tubeless – get down to your local bike shop for the ins and outs.

Tip #4. Choose 1x

‘1x’, pronounced ‘one-by’, refers to a gearing system that consists of a single front cog paired to a rear derailleur that shifts the chain up and down the cassette. Basically, this makes it simpler to change gears, where setting your bike to an ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ gear only requires shifting the rear derailleur. The idea is to minimise gearing guesswork and error, allowing you to focus on conquering the terrain ahead. Brands such as Signal Bikes have designed their entire range as 1x, making it easier for cyclists to simply enjoy the ride.

Tip #5. Stick with flat pedals (for now)

Flat pedals will come with your new bike — stick with them while you’re gaining your confidence. This way, you can put your foot down without a second thought whenever you need to stop. Juggling gears, brakes and terrain while clipped in is a skill which may take time and being clipped in from the beginning will make coming to a stop that much more difficult. Save the clips for when you’re really getting the hang of things.

Tip #6. Get your bike shop to set up your bike

Being comfortable on your new set of wheels will make taking up cycling more pleasurable and get you riding harder and longer. Ask your local bike shop to help set up your bike for you, including positioning your handlebars and saddle. Following a few rides, you may need to make an extra adjustment or two, requiring another trip to the bike shop, but the hassle will be well worth it!

JaSure and Bike Hub have made it even easier to get a bicycle insurance quote. Introducing the zero second quote! All bike listings on the Bike Hub site now display an indicative JaSure premium. You can instantly get an idea of the insurance cost for a bike you’re checking out and easily click through to the JaSure Quick Quote for more details.

Lastly, do you have a question or advice of your own for a new buyer? Add your comment below.