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The 10 Most Important Questions To Ask When You’re Buying A Bike

By Georgena Terry

Shifters Bikes Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Shifters Bikes
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

You’re probably going to be asking questions of yourself and your bike dealer during the buying process. Let’s start with the conversation you’re having with yourself.

  1. What are your goals for this bike? If you haven’t thought them out carefully, it’s going to be hard to get your point across at the bike shop. Think about the kind of rider you are and the kind of rider you want to be. Is your future a long, paved road ridden as fast as you can? Or maybe something a little more laid-back, like tours that wanders down dirt and paved roads and over mountains?
  2. Are there features of this bike that you know for sure you want, like dropped bars?  How about the gears? Triple, compact?
  3. Once you’re in the shop, are you getting good vibes about the shop? If you are, that’s great. You want to feel comfortable and welcome. If you feel a little out of your element, explore some other shops. After all, this is hopefully the beginning a long, productive relationship.
  4. Talk to your cycling friends — which shops do they like and who are the best people in the shop to talk to?


Questions for the dealer:

  1. What’s the test ride policy? Understandably, a dealer isn’t going to let you take a bike home for a week, but if you’re limited to just a few laps around the parking lot, you may not learn a lot.
  2. How much fitting will the dealer do before you test ride the bike? Setting the saddle height and the fore-aft position of the saddle is basic. Usually, the height of the stem and the angle of the handlebars can be adjusted easily as well. This is important, because it can make all the difference in the feel of the bike.
  3. If you purchase the bike, does the price include a basic fitting session?
  4. You probably gave the dealer a price point to work with. But ask what you would get if you spent a bit more. You may find an extra $100 buys you something you hadn’t thought about but is well worth the investment, like a shifter that’s easier to operate or a lighter set of wheels.
  5. If you’re new to the sport, ask the dealer if the shop offers a repair class. Knowing how to do basic repairs is important if you’re out on a ride and have a mechanical problem.
  6. Does the shop specialize in the kind of bike you want? For instance, if you’re looking for a road bike and the shop focuses on mountain biking, they may not appreciate your needs.


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Georgena will answer your questions about bike-fit, bike-frames, saddles, and bike-maintenance. So don’t be shy. Take advantage of her knowledge and decades of experience to get answers to any questions you have about bicycles. Email me at [email protected].

When Georgena Terry first started designing bicycles, over 30 years ago, there were no women-specific bikes. Many female cyclists were forced to put up with neck, and shoulder pain, and other physical problems that came from riding bicycles that didn’t fit them. Georgena Terry changed that. Looking at anatomical differences between men and women, such as body mass and body strength, she began designing bike frames that optimized comfort and performance for female cyclists, with special attention to women under 5’2”.

Working out of her basement in Rochester, NY, Georgena first designed bikes for herself, then for her cycling friends. In 1985, she sparked a revolution in the cycling industry by launching Terry Precision Cycling, selling custom-built, high-quality steel frame bikes for women. Larger cycling companies sat up and took notice. Eventually following her lead, they developed their own brand of women-specific bicycles, clothing, saddles and accessories.

Today, Georgena continues her passion, designing and building custom steel bikes for women cyclists of all sizes. Contact her at georgenaterry.com


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1 comment to The 10 Most Important Questions To Ask When You’re Buying A Bike

  • Colleen

    If you feel talked down to or ignored, run from that shop. If the salesperson takes you straight to the most girly bike in the shop and tries to push it on you, run as fast as you can. Maybe you want a girly bike, maybe you don’t. But you have been prejudged. Find a better place to leave your money.

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