April 2016

Looking a new ride? Check out the 2016 Road Bike Editors’ Choice Winners.

Win a blazing sprint or tick away long, slow miles on these lust-worthy road bikes

How We Chose the Winners

We started with more than 100 nominations. Seventy-five finalists made it through our intensive elimination process. And when the testing was finished, we had found 41 bikes that rose above “great.” They combine performance, value, and class-leading techonology. They inspire passion and excitement among our editors. We would recommend them without reservation to their intended rider.

The following bikes are some of the most fun, capable, and versatile on the market—and they’re this year’s recipients of our highest honor.

Read more at Bicycling.com

CicLAvia – Southeast Cities, May 15 9am – 4pm

CicLAvia – Southeast Cities

For the first time, CicLAvia will connect six communities in Southeast Los Angeles with an open streets event on May 15. The communities of Huntington Park, Walnut Park, South Gate, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, and Watts will host the country’s largest open streets event. Streets will be closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and skaters to use as a recreational space.

New to CicLAvia? Here are some things you need to know for May 15:

CicLAvia is FREE!

CicLAvia lasts from 9 AM until 4 PM

CicLAvia closes streets to car traffic and opens them for people to walk, skate, bike, play, and explore parts of Los Angeles.

CicLAvia is not a race! There’s no starting point or finish line – begin where you like and enjoy the day your way.

CicLAvia traffic flows in two directions, just like regular traffic. Check out some more safety tips.

Learn more here

Trek Domane SLR

From Bicycling.com

Trek’s endurance bike gets smoother, thanks to a new front IsoSpeed system

First launched in 2012, Trek’s Domane endurance bike has become the brand’s most popular road bike. Its signature detail was the IsoSpeed Decoupler, a seat tube which can bend farther and more easily than a traditional seat tube/seat post system, for increased compliance. That detail helped make the Domane a very smooth riding bike, and it was paired with more stability and a more upright riding position than a traditional race bike.

But the Domane was no cream puff: It became Classics-specialist Fabian Cancellara’s bike of choice, carrying him to several victories, and the IsoSpeed was even trickled up to Trek’s top of the line Madone race bike.

Four years after its debut, the Domane gets an overhaul. The new Domane SLR is smoother and more adjustable and has better tire clearance and a few other new tweaks.

Front IsoSpeed
While having additional rear compliance is great (and effective), the previous Domane—without a complementary system up front—had an imbalanced ride. The rider’s hands felt noticeably more shock than the butt.

The new Domane’s front IsoSpeed system should help balance the ride. And the front system is full time, working if the rider is seated or standing—rear IsoSpeed only works while the rider is seated.

Front IsoSpeed is part of the frame—specifically, the upper headset assembly—and not part of the fork. Like rear IsoSpeed, Trek calls it a decoupler. Though it was no doubt a significant engineering challenge, it seems rather simple: The upper part of the fork’s steerer sits in a sleeve that can rock fore and aft. This allows the fork’s steerer to flex along its length in response to impacts more than it could with a traditional upper headset assembly. The sleeve is anchored by a pair of axles, and rotates on a set of ball bearings. Motion is restricted to fore/aft movement only, and Ben Coates, Trek’s road product manager, claims the system does not affect front-end stiffness or steering precision.

Trek’s literature claims front IsoSpeed increases “the vertical compliance of the front end of the bike by 10-percent compared to a traditional road bike.” While the front IsoSpeed surely adds weight, Coates says the new Domane frame is the same weight as the old, which would meanTrek carved weight out of other areas of the frame, though where exactly that happened was not specified.

IsoCore
Trek’s Bontrager division contributed to the new Domane with a handlebar technology dubbed IsoCore. Sandwiched between the layers of carbon-fiber composite is a layer of thermoplastic elastomer. This layer reduces high-frequency vibration by 20 percent compared to a standard handlebar, Trek’s press-release states, and according to Coates only adds about 20 grams to the handlebar (claimed weight for a 42cm width is 249g).

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because IsoCore sounds a lot like Counterveil, which is found in the frame and fork of the excellent Bianchi Specialissima.

For further cushioning, the IsoCore bar uses Bontrager’s existing EVA foam IsoZone padding on the tops and drops.

So far, only one IsoZone bar has been announced. Selling for $325, it’s offered in 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46cm widths, all with 123mm of drop and a rather rangy 93mm of reach. The bar uses a variable radius bend, and the drops flare slightly.

The IsoCore handlebar and front IsoSpeed work together to cushion the front end. According to Coates, front IsoSpeed handles the harsh peak inputs—the big stuff—while IsoCore takes up the smaller stuff like “normal road feedback.”

Read more at Bicycling.com

Or see the bike at Trekbikes.com

Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Spring and Main Streets

DTLA – Downtown Los Angeles is one of the city’s ripest areas for pedestrian activity, and bike access is expanding with dedicated lanes and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s coming bike share pilot program.

The shifts have been noticed by 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, who last year introduced a new program to address the needs of people on both two feet and two wheels. He recently revealed new details of the plan dubbed DTLA Forward, which aims to improve pedestrian and bike travel, create green spaces, and streamline traffic flow around the Central City.

“Every great city needs a great Downtown and DTLA Forward aims to bring smart, innovative public space policy and programs to a rapidly growing Downtown L.A. that will not only make DTLA more functional, accessible and safer, but greater,” Huizar said in a prepared statement.

While the initiative touts a number of elements, the most dramatic is the creation of protected bike lanes on Main and Spring streets between Cesar Chavez Avenue in Chinatown and Olympic Boulevard in South Park. Unlike existing painted bike lanes, these would create a physical buffer, with some designs putting street parking between traveling cars and bicyclists.

Final designs are under discussion, but the change could cut driving lanes on portions of both streets. Plans call for two phases of construction, with completion by 2017.

The streets were selected because they cut through some of Downtown’s densest areas, according to Huizar’s office. Main and Spring streets will also see Metro bike share kiosks and will be intersected by the Regional Connector and its Second Street/Broadway station.

While L.A. has trailed other cities in building up bike infrastructure, Eric Bruins, policy director for the Historic Core-based nonprofit Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said the “stars are aligning” with proposed improvements to Main and Spring streets. A silver lining about being late to create more protected bike lanes is that L.A. can take lessons from other urban bike projects to shape its policy and promote biking, he added.

“I think upgrades will take it to the next level, but we also need some Second and Seventh street connections to create corridors and a real network,” Bruins said.

DTLA Forward also calls for kick-starting three pilot programs to activate deserted alleyways. The “Green Alleyways” program would support and springboard off three proposed alley projects in South Park, the Historic Core and the Arts District, each led by a private group. Ideas include creating seating and installing artwork and greenery in the alleys.

Other portions of DTLA Forward include the creation of the Spring Street Community Garden, to which Huizar’s office contributed $15,000. The amenity at 220 S. Spring St., formed by Historic Core stakeholders, will allow people to rent a large planter to grow vegetables and other goods or work several community plots. It is slated to debut this month.

The city Department of Transportation has also installed 16 crosswalk signals that give pedestrians a four-second head start before the green light, with the aim of preventing collisions between walkers and turning cars. Finally, the City Council on March 23 approved a DTLA Forward motion to create a “Master Tree List” for Downtown so that tree-planting standards are streamlined.

Huizar broached DTLA Forward last year, when he issued a series of motions after convening a planning workshop between DOT, City Planning and other departments. It is one of several plans to improve pedestrian and bike travel in and around Downtown.

MyFigueroa, which will cut driving lanes and create protected bike lanes along the Figueroa Corridor and up through Seventh Street, is slated to begin construction this year and wrap up in 2017. The Seventh Street Improvement Project, funded by public improvement dollars tied to the Wilshire Grand replacement, would also potentially create protected bike lanes and widen sidewalks along Seventh Street between Figueroa and Olive streets.

Finally, Huizar’s own Bringing Back Broadway campaign touts the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, which wrapped its pilot phase last year after cutting driving lanes and installing temporary public spaces and bike lanes. The second phase, estimated to cost $42 million, would widen sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and add permanent dining and leisure spaces on Broadway between First and 11th streets.

The Broadway project expects to get about half its funding from Metro and state grants, and the city Bureau of Engineering will begin working on the first block, from Eighth to Ninth streets, in 2017, according to Huizar’s office.

Read More at ladowntownnews.com

See the grueling Paris-Roubaix from the cyclists’ perspective.

In one of the most exciting Paris-Roubaix races in years, Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) sprinted to a thrilling win, with Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) second and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) third.

Velon teams carried GoPro Hero4 Session cameras onboard for the first time ever at the Queen of the Classics, capturing incredible footage from inside the peloton.

Garmin cuts Vector 2 power meter pricing

Pedal-based system becomes more affordable.

The top-end Garmin Vector 2, which measure both left- and right-side power, are now priced at £899 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed). This is a hefty reduction of around £300 from the £1,199 that the Vector 2 previously cost you.

We rate the Garmin Vector 2 as the best pedal-based power meter currently out there
The more affordable Vector 2S, which measures power on the left pedal only, is now priced at £549. This is also a large reduction from the previous price of £749.

There are also price cuts for the Vector 2S Upgrade Pedal, which enables Vector 2S owners to upgrade to dual-sided power measurement. The Vector 2S Upgrade Pedal now costs £449, down from £549.

View the Pedals here.

Read more at BikeRadar.com

Hayman wins Paris-Roubaix

Orica-GreenEdge rider out-sprints Boonen in breakaway sprint.

Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) caused a huge upset by beating Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) in the sprint in one of the most memorable editions of Paris-Roubaix in recent memory. Hayman looked stunned, and almost unbelieving, by his victory, bursting into tears once he realised what he had achieved.

Ian Stannard (Team Sky) tried to come around from the back of the group but didn’t quite have the legs and finished third. Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), who had been the most aggressive in the finale, just missed the podium and finished fourth, with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in fifth.

“I can’t believe it. I broke my arm five weeks ago and I missed all the racing, I raced in Spain last week,” Hayman said. “This is my favourite race. It is the race I dreamed of winning.”

It was Hayman’s 16th appearance at the Hell of the North, previously finishing eighth in 2012, and he was the underdog in an elite five-man group that came to the line. The riders were already part of a select group that did not include pre-race favourites Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo). They went clear on the Camphin-en-Pévèl sector after an attack from Stannard distanced much of their group.

The tension ramped up as the cobbled sectors ticked down. Knowing that his chances in a sprint were small, Vanmarcke kicked and made the first serious attack from this small group on the Carrefour de l’Arbe. At first it appeared he had his rivals in trouble, as they scrambled to mount a chase. As they looked to have him pegged, the Belgian kicked again but he was finally brought back after the next sector of cobbles.

Thus ensued a series of attacks and counter attacks, each turning the wick up just a little bit more. It was Hayman and Boonen that entered the velodrome first but a strong chase from Vanmarcke saw him bridge the gap. As the bell tolled, their number had swelled to five again and Hayman wound up the sprint.

It looked like Hayman had gone too early as Boonen sat in his wheel ready to pounce. Stannard tried to go for a long one around the outside but it was too much for him as Hayman and Boonen went head to head. Boonen appeared to get boxed in briefly and was unable to close the gap when he did finally wriggle free, leaving Hayman to take the biggest victory of his career.

Sagan came over the line over two minutes down, just missing out on a top-10 finish. There was no fairy tale for Cancellara, who had crashed earlier and he finished over seven minutes down. To add insult to injury, he hit the deck again in the velodrome while riding around with a Swiss flag.

How it unfolded

After the rollout from sunny Compiegne at 10:50 a.m. countless accelerations came after the official start was given just outside the city centre. Jacopo Guarnieri (Katusha) was the only non-starter.

A first breakaway group of six riders was caught back before Noyon, after 20 kilometres of racing but the speed remained high. Stijn Devolder (Trek-Segafredo) sparked a large and strong breakaway move of 25 riders when exiting Noyon. The group also featured late call up Phil Gaimon (Cannondale) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and a tailwind meant a high-speed start to the race. However, their lead of half a minute was soon neutralized. A few more small breakaway attempts followed but without success. After 67 kilometres of high-speed racing the riders were back together.

Straight away a new group of 16 riders attacked. They reached the first pavé sector (#27) with a lead of a minute, despite the work from Etixx-QuickStep and Bora-Argon.

Team Sky led the peloton over the first pavé sections, keeping the gap under control and more importantly, keeping their riders safe.

After five pavé sectors had distanced some riders, the break held a two-minute lead over the peloton. The riders up front were Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Matthew Hayman and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-GreenEdge), Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Borut Bozic (Cofidis), Marko Kump (Lampre), Salvatore Puccio (Sky), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Maxime Daniel (AG2R), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Tour of Flanders star Imanol Erviti (Movistar) and Yaroslav Popovych (Trek-Segafredo), who will retired after today’s race.

The leaders extended their lead up to a maximum of 3:45 at sector 20. Just before that sector there was a crash in the peloton. Etixx-QuickStep reacted by charging forward with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Tony Martin. The peloton was split up into multiple groups with Cancellara, Sagan and Terpstra featuring in the peloton that trailed the large group that included big names like Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Sep Vanmarcke, Zdenek Stybar, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Tom Boonen.

The gap between the two groups quickly grew to a minute when starting sector 19 from Haveluy to Wallers. The breakaway group was 2:40 ahead. Tony Martin did a huge pull on this sector, dropping most of the riders in the group. Only Boonen, Robert Wagner, Stannard, Boasson Hagen and Luke Durbridge followed, sparking a race within the race.

Forest of Arenberg

Boonen led the group over the long cobbled sector of the famous Trouée Arenberg. Cancellara did the same in the peloton with Daniel Oss (BMC), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Nikki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) and the others on his wheel.

After the Arenberg Forest the break had a lead of 1:15 on the Boonen group. The Vanmarcke and Rowe group was 20 seconds further back. The peloton, with Cancellara and Sagan, was more than a minute behind the Boonen group. An isolated world champion accelerated a couple of times to get the speed up in the peloton but their chances seemed compromised.

Just before starting sector 16 the Boonen group and the chase group with Vanmarcke and Rowe merged to change the race yet again. At that moment the 13 riders in the break had just under a minute on the Boonen group of 19 riders. The peloton was following at nearly two minutes from the leaders. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) managed to get the gap down to 35 seconds on the Boonen group when exiting sector 14 at 64 kilometres from the finish. At that moment Popovych sat up in the break to work for Cancellara in the peloton.

After coming off the cobbles of sector 13 from Beuvry to Orchies the early break were caught by the Boonen group. The Sagan-Cancellara peloton was 50 seconds down on the large lead group, as Team Sky tried to put set the pace up front.

Cancellara unleashed his devils on Orchies’ sector 12, with Sagan following swiftly but a little later disaster struck the Sky team on sector 11. One moment they were leading the group with three riders. A few moments later three of their riders were down on the ground. First Moscon and Rowe crashed when coming off the cobbles. Later Puccio missed his corner on the cobbles. Only Stannard remained in front.

Cancellara crashes

A Vanmarcke acceleration brought down the numbers in the front group on the feared cobbles of Mons-en-Pévèle. About 45 seconds further back Cancellara was sitting behind two Giant-Shimano riders when riding through a muddy section on the cobbles. Cancellara’s bike slipped off the crown of the cobbles and the Swiss rider crashed. Sagan somehow managed to get himself and his bike over Cancellara without crashing himself. Terpstra, a Sky rider and several others were less successful and crashed too.

After the chaos the seven remaining leaders had a bonus of one minute on the Sagan group and three minutes on a battered Cancellara. The leaders were Boonen, Erviti, Stannard, Boasson Hagen, Erviti, Vanmarcke, Hayman. On sector 8 Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) with Rowe, Sieberg and Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) managed to bridge back up, creating a lead group of ten riders.

At thirty kilometres from the finish the leaders still had a bonus of a minute on the Sagan chase group.

Read more at CyclingNews.com

16th Annual Los Angeles River Ride Benefitting LACBC

The Los Angeles River Ride benefits the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the only non-profit organization working to make all communities in L.A. County healthy, safe, and fun places to ride bikes.

When: Sunday, June 12, 2016

Where: Autry Center in Griffith Park

7 GREAT RIDES: 100-mile, 70-mile, 50-mile, 36-mile, 25-mile, and 15-mile rides, plus the First 5 LA Kids’ Ride + Festival. Start and finish at The Autry Center in Griffith Park (Los Angeles). Join over 2,000 other riders, and enjoy a great day of bicycling fun, exploration, a post-ride expo, a raffle, live music, and more. All participants receive a t-shirt, goodie bag, and finisher’s medal. All proceeds benefit the work of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

VOLUNTEER FOR THE L.A. RIVER RIDE
The L.A. River Ride could not happen without amazing volunteers! We have volunteer opportunities both before the ride and on the day of the ride. Volunteering also comes with special perks.

Click here for details on how to sign up to volunteer.

SPONSOR THE L.A. RIVER RIDE
Last year, the Los Angeles River Ride, with the help of our media partners, reached over 200,000 people in Southern California and beyond. This year your company can be part of this event. For more information, contact kelly@la-bike.org.

RIDE DESCRIPTIONS & START TIMES (TENTATIVE)
All riders must wear helmets.
Bringing a refillable water bottle is recommended.
Technical and medical support available along the ride.
START & FINISH at AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER – 4700 WESTERN HERITAGE WAY

100-MILE CENTURY RIDE
Riders start at the Autry Center in Griffith Park and hit the LA River Path down to Long Beach. They then do a loop around Long Beach and then return to Griffith Park. The profile is very flat, with few inclines—none of them steep. Registration opens at 6:00 a.m. Ride starts at 7:00 a.m. 2015 route

70-MILE PARK-TO-PLAYA RIDE
Riders start at the Autry Center in Griffith Park, take the L.A. River Path from Griffith Park down to Long Beach, and then head back to Griffith Park. Registration starts at 7:00 a.m. Ride starts at 7:45 a.m. 2015 route

50-MILE HALF-CENTURY RIDE
Riders start at the Autry Center in Griffith Park, take the L.A. River Path from Griffith Park down to the Paramount Dills Park Pit Stop, and then turn back to Griffith Park. Registration starts at 7:00 a.m. Ride starts at 8:00 a.m. 2015 route

36-MILE TRAINING RIDE
From The Autry in Griffith Park to Maywood Riverfront Park and back. You’ll spend 8 miles on the river path and detour through downtown for the remaining miles. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. Ride starts at 8:30 a.m. 2015 route

25-MILE EXPLORER RIDE
Riders start at the Autry Center in Griffith Park, ride down river on the LA River Path, then to the Hollenbeck Park Pit Stop in Boyle Heights, where they turn around and ride back to Griffith Park. Registration starts at 7:45 a.m. Ride starts at 8:45 a.m. 2015 route


FIRST 5 LA 15-MILE FAMILY RIDE

Riders start at the Autry Center in Griffith Park, take the LA River Path from Griffith Park down to the end of the Elysian Valley path, then turn around back to Griffith Park. This ride is on a dedicated bike path, along a scenic natural stretch of the LA River. Very young riders (and their families) can easily do this ride. Families can do this ride at a special Family Rate thanks to First 5 LA. Kids 12 and under ride for free. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. Ride starts at 10:30 a.m. 2015 route

FIRST 5 LA KIDS’ RIDE AND FESTIVAL
This is a free ride upstream on the L.A. River Path from the entrance near the Autry. Riders will be escorted by parents to the path entrance and back. Total riding distance is 2 miles. If families are participating in both the kids’ ride and the family ride, participate in the kids’ ride first, then join up with the family riders. Kids will learn about bike safety and enjoy other activities. Bikes and push bikes are okay. Please, no tricycles. Participants are asked to bring their own bike. A limited quantity of bikes will be available to borrow for the festival only. Riders over 9 years of age should probably ride (with an adult) on the 15-mile Family Ride. The Kids’ Festival & Ride is free, courtesy of First 5 LA. Prizes and t-shirts for all registrants. Registration and festivities begin at 8:00 a.m. and go to 11 a.m.

Rest stops with food, mechanical support, fun: Elysian Valley (mile 8), Hollenbeck Park (mile 13), Maywood Riverfront Park (mile 18), Dill’s Park in Paramount (mile 25), and Shoreline Aquatic Park (mile 35).

Read more and register here

More Californians Are Commuting by Bike

The Alliance for Biking and Walking just published its 2016 Benchmarking Report, which ranks states and cities on key statistics including the percentage of people commuting by bike. Every biannual report is a little bit different, as states develop their data collection and the Alliance is better able to compare statistics across fields.

California’s bike commute mode share now ranks fourth among the fifty states, up from sixth in 2014. At 1.1 percent of all California commuters, the number of bike commuters is slightly up from the 1 percent in the 2014 report. But it still has a ways to go to get to the tripling of bike mode share that Caltrans and the California Bicycle Coalition have set as goals for the state (to 4.5 percent of all trips by 2020).

The Alliance’s Benchmarking Report promotes good data collection about bicycling and walking, and makes that data available to support informed decisions about policy, infrastructure, and funding. It also seeks to make the connection between health and active transportation. To that end this report includes data about health markers including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

There are caveats. For one thing, the data is very general, comparing population-wide statistics that may or may not have a causal relationship. It is also limited by its sources; for example, the bike and pedestrian mode share data comes from the U.S. Census, which limits travel mode questions to the commute trip. This not only leaves out the considerable number of other trips people make—thus likely undercounting these modes in particular—but the census only gives people one choice when they answer, so that a person who walks to transit will report that as a transit trip, not a walking trip.

Furthermore, much of the data is self-reported. It is not necessarily wrong, but in some cases it can be inconsistent, especially when comparing between different states.

Keeping these caveats in mind, the Alliance’s Benchmarking Report is still a key source of nationwide data about bicycle and pedestrian trips. Though more and better data is needed, this report is a great place to start and getting better every time.

California’s 1.1 percent bike commute mode share is smaller than cyclists want it to be, but it is nothing to sneeze at. California is, by a long shot, the most populous state in the nation. At 38 million, CA is 12 million more than the next most populous state, Texas—which only has a 0.3 percent bike commute mode share. At 1.1 percent, that’s a lot more bicycle commuters on our roads than in many other states.

Read more here

10 Things to Avoid When Buying a New Bike

From Bicycling.com

Swept up in the excitement of researching and picking up a new ride, we’re all apt to make some mistakes—but make sure to avoid these big ones.

As new bikes trickle into shops across the country, you’re going to be tempted to buy one. But the road to cycling nirvana is littered with potential mistakes. Here’s what not to do when buying a new bike.

Don’t Buy Without Taking a Test Ride
You don’t know how a bike truly fits or handles until you’ve hopped in the saddle and taken it for a test spin. Try to do more than a simple pedal around the parking lot; some local bike dealers have demo bikes you can rent or borrow, and many bike manufacturers offer free demo days at shops and parks throughout the year. Talk to a salesperson to learn about your options.

Don’t Test a Bike at a Shop, Then Buy Online
Definitely test ride a bike at your local shop and bombard the salesperson with any questions you may have, but don’t use that knowledge to buy the same bike online for a few bucks less. That’s bad form. And whatever you do, don’t expect more free advice when you bring the bike you bought online into that same shop to fix a problem.

“Our time is worth money,” said Adam Rodkey, a manager at Bikesmiths in Bloomington, Indiana. “If I’m giving you my expertise to make someone else money, well, that’s just bad business.”

Don’t Visit Just One Shop or Ride Just One Bike
Brand loyalty can be a great thing, but just because you’ve always ridden Cannondale bikes, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience how a Santa Cruz or a Salsa rides. You’ll either reaffirm your love for Cannondale or find a bike that fits you even better. Either way, it’s a win.

Don’t Settle on a Bike
If you don’t like the way a bike handles or looks, or it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it just because you’re getting a great deal. You’ll likely own the bike for several years and spend plenty of hours on it, which means you should be really comfortable with the package you’re getting.

“A friend was buying his dream bike, a [Pinarello] Dogma, not too long ago,” says John Gatch, mechanic for the Lionhearts Developmental Team in Cincinnati. “He could have gotten a black-on-black model right then, or he could wait until June and get the silver-on-black model he really wanted. He knew if he got the black-on-black Dogma, it would bother him every time he went on a ride. He didn’t want to be kicking himself, wondering why he didn’t just wait a couple of months.”

Don’t Be Reluctant to Engage the Salesperson
The Internet is filled with information about various bikes, so it’s easy to think you don’t need assistance. But many bike companies offer specialized online training on their models to shop staff, Kuchy said, giving them access to information you may have overlooked.

“Make sure the salesperson is asking you just as many questions as you are asking them,” says Tim Mendoza, manager at Plano Cycles in Plano, Texas. “A good shop with good staff should be trying to benefit the customer first, not just land a sale.”

Don’t Buy a Bike that Doesn’t Align with Your Riding Goals
“Be honest about the type of riding you will do and then focus on those strengths when bike shopping,” O’Donnell says. “Don’t buy a pure race bike, then complain because it’s uncomfortable on centuries.” Beware of any bike that needs significant modification to work for you—component swaps get expensive, and large fit adjustments (like adding a stack of headset spacers or a super-long stem) can change the character of the bike completely. A few tweaks are fine, but if you find yourself with a long list of things you’d like to switch, shop around to see if there’s another bike that better fits your needs.

Don’t Skip the Accessories
Many new riders budget a certain amount for a bike, but completely forget about the accessories they’ll need, according to Colin Kuchy, a territory manager for Trek. At the very least, Kuchy suggests walking out with a helmet, quality shorts with chamois padding, a floor pump, bottle cages, and bike lights. Spare tubes, tire levers, and either a small pump or CO2 inflator and cartridges are also must-buys.

Don’t Forget to Ask about Discounts and Special Offers
Buying a bike is a lot like buying a car: You may love that gorgeous Subaru sitting on the lot, but you’re not going to buy it without haggling with a salesperson. Why should it be any different when you’re buying a Specialized? You may or may not be successful—profit margins on new bikes typically are fairly small—but you can often negotiate a discount on higher-margin accessories pretty easily.

Don’t Skimp on a Proper Fit
Have the salesperson confirm you’re buying the right-sized bike, then make an appointment with the shop’s professional fitter to get everything dialed. Most decent-sized shops have some type of bike-fitting service, whether it’s an old-school set up with a plumb bob and a tape measure, a more high-tech Retul 3D motion-capture system, or something in between.

“Riding an ill-fitting bike is like driving a nice sports car with four of those little spare-tire donut wheels,” Gatch says. “You’re not only wasting watts without a good fit, you’re also risking (a repetitive stress) injury.”

Don’t Walk out of the Shop Forever After You Buy
When you buy a bike at a shop, you’re also entering into a relationship. Many local shops offer a complimentary 30-day tune-up and free adjustments for at least the first year, not to mention advice and expertise. Don’t know how to change a flat or properly lube your chain? See if the shop offers any maintenance clinics, or ask the shop wrench to show you how. (If they don’t, sign up for our online maintenance class through RodaleU.) Many mechanics will gladly walk you through the steps of routine maintenance and basic repairs, especially on slow days.

Don’t Rule Out a Custom Bike
If you’re an experienced rider who can’t seem to find a bike with the particular qualities you desire, consider having one custom-built. After getting a client’s measurements, O’Donnell will ask about his or her experiences with previous bikes, including what characteristics they loved and what they didn’t like; component and paint choices; and, of course, budget. O’Donnell documents every step of the process—from the steel tubes being cut, to the frame returning from the painter—and shares photos with the client through e-mail and social media. In the end, the customer gets a gorgeous bike built exactly to his or her specifications for less than the cost of a super-high-end race bike.