Mountain bike or road bike? If you’re a commuter, a racer or a recreational bike rider, Sears Canada can help you decide which bike is best for you.
Size & Fit
It is easy to find a bike to fit your body type & dimensions, since there are bikes to suit all heights & sizes. Ensure that it isn’t difficult for you to straddle the bike and that mounting and dismounting is comfortable. 26” tires are standard for adult bikes, and may be even higher on racing bikes. Women who are having difficulty finding the right size bike may wish to consider looking at bikes designed specifically for women, with a lower top tube.
A helmet is the most important cycling accessory you can buy and anyone considering purchasing a bicycle should not do so without also purchasing a helmet. A helmet will absorb the force of the impact if you fall and will therefore reduce risk of brain damage. They are designed to withstand one forceful impact, so once you’ve had a crash or collision, you should replace your helmet as its shock-absorbent ability might be compromised; although, without a collision, your helmet should last you 5 years.
Do not use an older helmet (5+ years), as it might no longer be compliant with today’s safety standards. It is vital that you buy a helmet certified by an organization such as the CSA (Canadian Standard Association). There should be a sticker on the helmet displaying certification. Also, consult your provincial bicycle safety laws. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia it is mandatory for cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet. In both Ontario and Alberta, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. No matter what the laws say, wearing a helmet at all times while cycling is the best way to avoid injury.
Fit is extremely important when choosing a helmet. When trying on a helmet, adjust the straps to fit firmly under your chin. Try pushing the helmet off your head; if it is easy to move around you should try a smaller size. Do not buy a child’s helmet large enough for the child to “grow into,” since a loose, poorly-fitted helmet is less effective. It may be necessary to replace a growing child’s helmet more frequently.
Softshell or microshell helmets, which have a thin layer of plastic bonded to hard Styrofoam, are lighter and therefore easier on your neck than hardshell varieties. BMX and rough terrain riders should consider hardshell helmets, which have a thicker layer of high-density plastic on the outer shell and cover more areas of the head, like the back and sides, since off-roaders have a greater chance of falling in different trajectories than road riders.