EXPERIENCE VINTAGE B&B
Guide to buy the bike you are looking for
The bicycle is the great alternative to the automobile to promote a more sustainable urban mobility. About 3.8 million people already use this means of transport on a daily basis in Spain, according to a 2015 report published by the Spanish Cities for Bicycle Network . In addition, cycling has become the sport most practiced by the Spanish according to the latest Sports Habits Survey of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
"In parallel to a growth in demand, there has also been an increase in supply," says Carlos Núñez, general secretary of the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE). The number of businesses that offer products related to the world of cycling exceeds one thousand in the whole country and continues to grow, according to Núñez.
With the increase of brands and stores, it is not easy to find the best purchase option. For this reason, in EL PAÍS Escaparate we talk with technicians, experts, brokers, businessmen and members of cycling associations to help us find the keys to take into account to find the bicycle that fits perfectly with what each cyclist is looking for.
What should I know before buying a bicycle?
"Many people do not spend too much on the first purchase. Wallapop is full of almost new bicycles that have been discontinued, "says Sergio Fernández, head of the Road & Mud cycling portal . In his opinion, adjusting the needs of the buyer to the benefits and the price of the product is essential to find the ideal bicycle.
In the stock of the main sellers can be found from models that exceed 6,000 euros to some that do not reach 200. For Carlos Núñez, the budget for a "good" bike would be "bike under 500 and 800 euros." "There is a huge jump in quality between the cheapest range and the basic 500 euros offered by many manufacturers," he says.
The general secretary of the AMBE also believes that the proliferation of Internet sales portals benefits buyers because they can compare prices easily. In the case of novice cyclists, it is advisable to receive assistance in deciding decisive aspects of the vehicle such as size, material or weight.
The search: basic technical notions
Although it is not necessary to have technical knowledge to ride a bike, it is advisable to acquire certain notions about its operation, explains Víctor Fernández, founder of EMEB , one of the first schools in Spain specialized in bicycle mechanics. For those who are starting in the cyclist practice, Fernandez comments the parts that must be taken into account before buying a bicycle.
Transmission. It is composed of various elements, such as gear changes, plates or chain. "This is a fundamental part. The change of gears, for example, is the heart of the machine, what suffers most and, therefore, what should work best, "explains Fernandez. The technician recommends buying products from brands that have been on the market for many years.
Suspension. It is the system, housed in the back and front of the bicycle, which serves to cushion the cyclist before the possible irregularities of the terrain. "It's a secondary aspect for a beginner pilot. Without technique, a good suspension is useless ", says the founder of EMEB. According to comments, a good suspension greatly increases the price of the bicycle.
Wheel. "Wheels are usually imposed by the type of bicycle. It is the part in which brands save more and do not have as much quality ", explains Fernández. In the event that the buyer wishes to change the ones that come standard with new ones, the mechanics expert insists that it be done with products from specialized firms and indicates different sizes for each type of velocipede: 29 inches maximum for mountain and 28 inches for of road.
Picture. The structure that supports the bicycle is made of two materials in most cases: aluminum or carbon. "Each one has its advantages. Aluminum is cheaper and more expensive carbon, "he says. In his opinion, if the buyer chooses a mid-range product, it is better to choose aluminum: "In these cases, the carbon they can offer is not of high quality and unnecessarily increases the price of the final product," the specialist concludes.
Fernández insists that the evaluation of the essential parts of the bicycle that each user makes will depend to a large extent on the range, the model and the type that he chooses.
"The trend that is taking hold and that I believe will be the future of urban mobility is the electric model," says Michal Zasowski, owner of the Trixi Madrid company , which has been renting bicycles in the capital for a decade. Zasowski comments that any typology is valid to circulate around the city, but believes that the most indicated is to use a "Dutch-style" bicycle.
The businessman emphasizes that when making a new acquisition, what the urban cyclist should look for is not so much the speed but a product that provides comfort and allows him to maintain a correct posture.