Choosing the right bike for your riding style (sponsored)
Let your riding style and ability dictate which kind of bike you buy
June 13, 2018
As seasons change as we switch recreational gears, something inevitably happens every year: the need for new gear.
Biking is one of summer's hottest activities in Summit County thanks to countless trails and roads where you can pedal amid gorgeous scenery, all while challenging your lungs and skills. Buying a new bike is a much bigger purchase decision than, say, a new helmet or pair of cycling shorts, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming thanks to the wisdom of so many bike experts in Summit County. Whether you want a road bike or a mountain bike — or a hybrid that can handle both — it's easy to find a biking enthusiast among the staff at Wilderness Sports in Dillon.
"Most of us ride our bikes to have fun," says JT Greene, marketing manager at Wilderness Sports. "Our goal is to help you select a bike that makes you smile and enjoy the outdoors. We hope to send you out on a bike and have you return with the same enthusiasm that we have for bikes."
With fun in mind, here are some of the things Greene says bikers should consider before riding in Summit County this summer, regardless of your riding ability.
Most people know whether they want a road bike or a mountain bike, but you have to think beyond that. It's important to consider pavement vs. dirt, but what about uphill vs. downhill? Also, Greene says to think about the body position you're looking for on your bike. Do you want performance or is comfort more important?
The no. 1 priority for beginners to consider when buying a new bike is to seek a bike that fits properly. Then you can make sure the bike meets your specific needs.
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"This is best done with the help of one of our experts," Greene says.
Before you venture out on an epic ride, Greene says riders should try to improve their skills on trails without big elevation changes first.
"Riding areas with shorter loops allows riders to link up multiple trails," Greene says. "I'd recommend the Frisco Adventure Park trails on the Peninsula, the Oro Grande/Keystone Dump trails, or the Summit Cove trails for beginners."
Transitioning to intermediate or advanced bikes
Once riders gain some confidence and ability, many find a new urge to take their two-wheel exploration a bit further — both in challenge and geography.
"Naturally, a bike that is more capable, lighter, and/or more adjustable allows you to take your riding to a new level," Greene says. "Sometimes a bike with more travel solves the problems, but usually improved components provide the solutions."
As riders continue to progress, adjustability and weight become more important. Think carbon fiber parts, which improve stiffness and reduce overall weight.
What works well in Summit County?
Short travel, full suspension mountain bikes are really popular among Summit County's trails. The bikes are becoming more capable descenders and are ideal for high-altitude climbing, Greene says.
For road biking, it's all about endurance geometry road bikes in Summit County. Wilderness Sports also sends out a ton of endurance geometry road bikes such as Specialized's Ruby and Roubaix models.
Budget shopping vs. top of the line
The Specialized brand offers multiple plus-sized hard tails that can get mountain bike riders out on the trails for less than $1,500. If you prefer to stick to pavement, Specialized offers the Sirrus for less than $1,000, Greene says.
On the high end, Specialized's S-Works mountain and road bikes are cutting edge and spare no expense Greene says. Santa Cruz also uses some of the most innovative manufacturing techniques on their high-grade carbon frames, known as "CC."
Again, riding style and ability should be what guide purchase decisions. A beginner rider likely doesn't need the lighter and costlier carbon frame, for example. Talk to the staff at Wilderness Sports to determine which bikes match your riding needs and budget.
Looking for an epic ride?
Riders seeking advanced mountain bike rides should try the Colorado Trail, the Great Flume Trail, Wheeler Trail or Cerro Pass. For downhill enthusiasts, try Lenawee Trail, Two Elks Trail, or Keystone Bike Park. Visit http://www.summitdaily.com/biking for more information about local trails.
Be prepared for your ride
When you're surrounded by national forest, a lot can happen in a short amount of time. Riders can unwittingly enter wilderness areas, where bikes are not allowed, without proper preparation. Weather changes and mechanical breakdowns also can happen suddenly.
"I definitely wouldn't go riding without a helmet, sunglasses and repair kit — tube, multi tool, tire levers, and inflation device," Greene says. "And always bring an appropriate amount of water for your ride."
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