Fit – Make sure a road bike fits to your size: Youtube How-to
Bike Layout – Full Suspension (mostly for MTB / ATB – mountain trail biking / all-terrain biking or CX – Cyclocross – multiple terrains like gravel/grass/pavement/dirt but not as bad as Mountain) or Hardtail (for more versatility – road/speed/commuting/XC – crosscountry racing and weekend trail biking). The main difference is that Full Suspension absorbs bumps so is more comfortable and more forgiving but requires a little more maintenance (20 mins to remove/clean/oil shocks every 30-40 riding miles, every 6-12 months for pivots/bearings), but Hardtail will teach better technique, is lighter (~2 lbs), cheaper, and no pedaling energy loss. Generally, full suspension is better than hardtail for people with back problems, unless you like to ride out of the saddle (butt off the seat) a lot, allowing your legs to absorb ground impacts.
Budget – If spending less than $2k, it is better to get a hardtail bike even if you’re going trail biking, because full suspension bikes less than $2k will compromise part quality and be susceptible to damage from trail biking, unlike the hardtails at this pricepoint (at least $600 for a trail biking one). At $2k+, full suspension will be quality enough to be durable, unless going for a carbon hardtail for XC racing – which is lighter and more reliable for this purpose.
Brakes – Disc brakes are generally preferred to rim brakes (especially for inclement weather).
Tire Size – For hardtail, get 29″ for hardtail (better for trails to absorb bumps more), unless you’re very short or you do tight trails where you’re turning a lot (then 27.5″). For full suspension, get 27.5″, because the chain is longer on the full suspension than hardtail, and it just handles better than the 29″.
Best Hardtail Bike
Surly Disc Trucker (go with this over the Kona, as Kona has weird handlebars and the Surly is the best value and Surly has better color. Because of the disc brakes, better than the Surly Long Haul Trucker – LHT)
Kona Sutra (exotic and not seen around much, outstanding for both mountain bikes and cyclocross, better resale value and build dynamics/geometry than Motobecane, only a little heavier than Felt or Specialized)
Others: Felt (top of the line, holds high resale value, Kona is better), Motobecane (for budget, no support/distribution/sales dealer to go back to if something goes wrong, better components than Kona), Dawes Galaxy (for touring), Could build a Windsor Tourist or Fuji Touring and upgrade it instead but too much work
Best Full Suspension (FS or Soft Tail) Bike
Best: Salsa Spearfish
Secondary: Santa Cruz Tallboy
Other options: Niner Jet 9 (racing built), Yeti ASRc (racing built), Dawes Roundhouse 2500, BMC, Giant (mainstream, Trance or Anthem 29er), Specialized (semi mainstream but Stumpjumper or Epic are great, get Epic if mainly for XC racing b/c it’s more similar to a hardtail, StumpJumper for all-mountain/trail all-arounder), GT (mainstream but the Chucker is not), Rose Dr Z, Scott Spark, Titus Rockstar
Hybrid/Comfort – Gravity Dutch (Only if you can work on bikes or want to pay a shop to assemble for $50-$100, however, buying at a shop will usually throw in lifetime maintenance) Bikesdirect
Flat Bar Hybrid Road Bikes – Road – Fuji Absolute 3.0 Flat Bar Hybrid Road bikes [Bikesdirect]
Don’t get: Trek (fragile, way too mainstream, Giant is better), Windsor Cliff 4500, RST fork is absolute crap (the Suntour on the 450HT sucks too but its better than the RST), Scott (mainstream), Specialized Epic (Kona is just as good), Yeti (Kona is just as good), Salsa drivetrain just okay, Volcanic VX9 (good frame but bad components, not available to the public, only to police ie Washington DC are getting VX9s but Smith & Wesson is better for patrol and even Cannondale is better), Fuji aren’t great
Police Courses: LEBA and IPMBA courses
If buying your bikes used: part by part on eBay, or used on Jenson / Pricepoint / icyclesusa / On One / Blueskycycles / MTBR Classifieds
Best Folding / Collapsible Bicycle
Best: Brompton H6L (6 gears, includes bag), cheapest model is the Brompton S2L (2 gears). S type handlebar is not too comfortable, H and M type is better for longer distances (M being the classic Brompton).
Substitute: Dahon Formula S18 $1.4k or Tern Eclipse P9 $1.1k
Don’t Get: Place Pacific Cycles Reach IF $2k, Montague Boston 8 $1k
Best Bike Accessories
Best Automobile Trunk Bike Rack
It depends on the type of car you have: Trunk Bike Racks [etrailer.com]
Best Bike Lock
Budget (for bikes <$1k): Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock with Transit FlexFrame Bracket (4-inch x 9-inch) with 4-Foot Flex Cable $43 [Amazon]
Best (for bikes >$1k): Kryptonite New York U-Lock $80 [Amazon]
Best Bike Rack Basket for Cargo / Cell Phone / Waterbottle
See your specific bike.
Best Bike Helmet
Having sufficient ventilation is preferable so your head doesn’t sweat
Cheap: Giro Trinity $19 [Amazon] or with visor Giro Revel $40 [Amazon], both cooler than Schwinn Aereos Adult $12 or Schwinn Thrasher – visor $25
Best Stylish / Subtle Bike Helmet (for professional commuting): Giro Aspect $170 [Amazon] (more professional looking than Hex or Reverb or
Sporty: Lazer Genesis $155 (cooler looking than Lazer O2) [Amazon]
Best Pads, Clothing, Gloves, Sunglasses for Bicycling
Gloves and padded shorts will make the ride more comfortable.
Best Bicycle Work Stand
Park CS-1 [Parktool]
Cheap work stands are bad because if the bike isn’t tightly clamped into the stand, it isn’t any good for most installs or removals that require any level of torque
Other Personal Transportation
Best Longboard: Landyachtz or Arbiter or Original Apex (Don’t get: Quest or Atom Pintail b/c bad even though cheap)
Electric Unicycles: Airwheel, Solowheel Spirit (difficult to control but great form factor) or Extreme, Pinwheel, SBU V3 (too big), RYNO (too big), Inmotion R2 or V3
Electric Two Wheelers / Segways: Segway, Solowheel Hovertrax (two wheels, big), PhunkeeDuck, zBoard, IO Hawk, Oxboard, Cyboard, Scoot, Future Foot, Monorover, Airboard, Freego, Esway, Airwheel, iEZWay, Overoad, Soulja Board, DriftXBoard, ClaroTek Cybord
Best: Solowheel Extreme (better than zBoard and FUnky PhunkeeDuck and Hovertrax Source)