Bicycle components, what to splurge on, and what to save on is a bicycle owners biggest dilemma. If your finances are limited, you can purchase a few components that will give you the most bang for your buck. I’ve personally had to decide what it is that’s a priority for me. Do I splurge on a new seat, or, do I buy those really spiffy, gotta have cycling shorts? While they’re not all true components, these are the things that are the most essential to me: a really spectacular pair of over- the- top (some of my co-workers still harass me about HOW much money I actually spent) cycling shorts, a bicycle pump, the seat, and last but critically the most important, good brakes.
Ah, one of my favorite topics, cycling shorts. This is a totally personal choice based on style, economics, preferences, and what works best for you. You may go through a lot of trial and error here, but the most important advice is to go commando. These shorts are made to be worn that way, and no unsightly panty lines, period.
That leads me to my second “gotta have equipment;” and that’s a bicycle pump. I realize that it doesn’t fall into the category of a component either, but without a good pump, it doesn’t matter how wonderful your tires are, or,for that matter, how fantastic your brakes are if you don’t have a decent pump that gets the job done!
A bicycle seat is a matter of preference, and, this is an area you can scrimp on if you’re so inclined, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Personally, and, because I like to ride for hours at a time, as well as distance, I’ve found that this is one area I’m willing to splurge on. As in so many things related to cycling, fit is a critical issue. The Latin term for those “sitz bones” is ischial tuberosity, and, believe me, without a good fit for those bones, life on a bicycle can be pure torture. Your local bicycle shop will have a tool to measure your sitz bones, and, depending on your measurements, will determine the resulting seat. You can definitely splurge here! But, as I have learned over the years (and too numerous to count bicycle seats), I was sometimes penny wise, but pound foolish.
4. Brakes and tires
I always try to concentrate on safety so having a good set of brakes is my first priority. Also a good set of tires will not only improve your ride, but in many instances is also a safety issue. I’ve learned a lot in my years of cycling, but, there’s a lot to be learned by talking with other cyclists. No one ever told me that before every ride, you need to check your tires and, in most cases, inflate them to the specifications of the tire, and, what is the most comfortable for you.
5. Bottle Cage
I discussed this blog topic with two of my favorite bicycle shop employees who thought that I should add the importance of a water bottle cage that can be a nominal expense, or, as one stated, if you own a carbon fiber bicycle, you might want to splurge on that handmade $60.00 carbon fiber water bottle cage, as well.
Bicycling is a fun, wonderful sport, made all the more enjoyable with the right components and equipment. Enjoy the ride, and be safe out there!
Karole is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!