Chat Bubble
Live chat
Phone Icon
09 886 6600


What to look for when buying your first bike

November 13, 2023

What do you want to use the bike for?

Do you plan on using your bike to commute to work and back daily, or are you looking for a bicycle to shred trails with? Understanding what you want your new bike to be able to handle is crucial to help you choose the correct bike.  

If you’re looking for a hardcore trail bike to keep up with the speedsters on the trails, explore options like the Trek Top Fuel and Slash.

Or maybe you’re starting out on your triathlon journey and need a fast, slick road machine to zoom along on. Since it’s your first bike, we recommend investing in a road bike. It’s more versatile than a triathlon or time trial bike. You can easily add time trial bars to your road bike or even upgrade later if you take your racing more seriously.
If your bike will be your commuter, taking you from the suburbs to the CBD without breaking too much of a sweat, you’ll want to explore an e-bike. Something slightly more comfy, like the Specialized Turbo Vado, is a great option. Read our e-bike blog for more on how to choose your e-bike.

If you need a bike that can transport the kids and the kitchen sink, you’ll be best off with a cargo bike, and Dutch Cargo Bikes has an extensive range of beautiful eCargo bikes that can transport the whole family and some baggage.

What’s your budget?

You can pick up a second-hand bicycle for $100 or spend thousands of dollars on a sparkling new bike; that’s up to you. You are spoilt for choice and bound to find one within your budget. A basic understanding of what to look at when choosing will help you score the best deal. When buying a second-hand bike, ask how much mileage it has done when it was last serviced, and even spin it around the parking lot, running through the gears and testing the brakes. If you’re unsure, take a friend who rides with you to give some advice. Don’t be afraid to shop around; some stores may be running festive season deals, and you could pick up the same bike for less just around the corner.

Remember to include accessories like helmets and shoes into your overall budget and bicycle insurance. Sundays insurance offers comprehensive cover for your bike, and you can take out a quick obligation-free quote online.

What are specs?

Understanding the technical specifications around bikes can be confusing and complicated. There are multiple brands and various ranges within each brand. So, where exactly do you even start? Identifying your use for the bike, followed by your budget, will give you an idea of what specs you’ll be looking at. The two major and most common brands are Shimano and Sram. They produce everything from brakes to derailleurs. Typically, the more expensive the bike, the better the components are; however, different bike brands within the same price range won’t always be fitted with equivalent parts. We’ve left it to the experts over at Bike Radar to explain the differences to you, where you can find a complete guide to road groupsets and a full breakdown of mountain bike components.

Where do you live?

Whilst most cities and towns across the country are equipped for bicycle commuters with bike paths, bike parking and more, some cities are better for riding than others.  

Auckland is one of those cities with the busiest bikeway in the country. The Northwestern Cycleway spans 20kms running from the Viaduct in the city centre to Westgate. In 2019, sensors along the popular cycleway recorded 370,000 cyclists over the year, which has increased significantly since then.

Wellington is yet another city working hard to increase the number of people riding bikes. The city council aims to reduce transport emissions and become a net zero carbon capital by 2050. Cycleways have been built, and bike infrastructure is improving daily. One of the busiest bike paths is in Oriental Bay, where sensors recorded over 30,000 bike trips between January and April in 2021, a figure we’re sure has grown since.

The city of Christchurch refers to itself as the “city of cycling” for excellent reasons. With a growing number of cycleways and fantastic riding on the city’s outskirts, it’s a great place to ride a bike. Use the Coastal pathway as a way to commute from the CBD out to Summer.

The Little River Trail Heartland Ride is another great ride to explore the city and surrounding area. The trail is 50km long and beautifully flat, perfect for the fit and not-so-fit among us.

The city council has assembled a map of all cycle routes and paths to make it easy for you to ride through Christchurch.

Understanding what you want your new bike to do, where you want to ride it and how much you can afford to spend are all factors influencing which bike you purchase. Do you buy new or secondhand road or commuter bikes?

As long as you’re riding and having fun at the same time.

More blog posts