Bicycles are more than just a mode of transportation. People ride them for fitness, to race, to commute, and to explore the outdoors. My favorite reason to ride is that you can get somewhere faster on two wheels than you can with two feet. It’s tempting, though, to consider purchasing an inexpensive bike at a large retailer because, well, it’s cheap. However, there are so many reasons to reconsider. Here’s five top reasons to purchase your bike from a bicycle retailer to save money, hassle, and heartache down the road.

Good Advice

An independent bicycle retailer is always going to have staff who not only cycle but also can give advice about what type of bicycle or gear may be the best fit for your riding goals. Tell them how and where you plan to ride your bicycle and what your budget concerns might be. They can give share what may work best and what choices are available to keep you riding for a long time. Not sure about maintenance? They will be happy to tell you what you can expect to keep your bicycle in tip top shape. Try finding help at a large retailer, much less knowledgeable help.

Most of us probably are not experts on the many types of bicycles, maintenance, repair and the many types of clothing, accessories and gear available. Why waste time doing your own research when you have a helpful resource around the corner at your local bike store? Plus if what you’re looking for isn’t on the shelf, a bike store can probably get you anything you need in whatever color you desire. All you have to do is ask.

Try It Before Buying

Local bike shops often offer test rides or the opportunity to rent a bike in advance so you can get an idea of which kind of bike might be best for you. If you’re going to invest in wheels that will last, it’s time well spent to take that bike for a spin. And if you’re on the fence, a test ride can make the difference. Large retailers do not offer this kind of personal service.

Proper Assembly & Maintenance

By purchasing a bicycle from a large retailer, you risk getting a bike that has not been assembled by someone who knows what they are doing. Sure, all the parts may fit on the bike but have they been properly adjusted so wheels are in true, brakes don’t squeal, bolts are tightened, and the chain is lubed? Do you know where your bike parts are manufactured? Your bike retailer makes it their job to know. That’s why you won’t find bent handlebars or inferior quality frames there.

Because large retailers don’t specialize in bikes, it’s up to you to figure out the fit and maintenance on your own. You may end up spending more to have parts of your bike re-assembled, adjusted or parts replaced if they wear out earlier than you expect. Once more, bicycle shops usually carry trusted brands that have warranties. This means if a part goes bad, you’re covered.

Safety

There’s nothing worse than going out for a ride and having a part on your bike break. At best, it’s a long walk home; at worst, you could be injured. That’s why it’s so important to choose someone who has reliable bike expertise that you can trust. They can make sure the bike fits you so you don’t end up with unexpected aches or pains. And they probably are going to recommend that you do buy that helmet. It’s just a smart thing to do! Having a bike properly assembled, maintained and fit to your body will reduce the potential for a breakdown, accident or other major repairs.

Buying Local

There are many benefits to purchasing local. Local bike shop owners have more latitude to give more personal service and they are tied in to cycling in the community. Many bike shops offer lessons, workshops or free rides to learn new skills or just enjoy biking with other enthusiasts. They know the best routes to bike and are happy to get you connected. When you buy local, even if you pay more, you’re contributing to the continuation of that local bicycling community.

The next time you’re looking for a new bicycle, consider heading to a bicycle retailer. They’ll provide the personal service and expertise to help you choose a bike you will have for years to come.