How to choose your refurbished bike with Cycling Avenue

Alexandre Langlois
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Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or casual commuter, or someone who rides on smooth roads, gravel trails or mountain paths, selecting your faithful two-wheeled companion should take into account several criteria; type of riding, surface, intensity and frequency.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect bike.

Which type of riding are you looking for?

To go to work

You’ve always or recently developed a good habit of cycling to work. For the habit to last, it’s important to choose a city bike adapted specifically for this type of daily commute. The appropriate bike won’t be the same depending on your route and comfort level. 

For short urban trips, it’s essential to choose a bike that’s easy to handle and equipped with an efficient braking system. 
We opt for a straight handlebar and a frame with a crossbar, which is more dynamic.

The wider your tires, the more comfortable you’ll be.

For bike touring

The most important point: choose a reliable and robust bike.

It’s also important to clearly define your profile and your needs (what distances? how often?), which will allow you to determine an appropriate budget.

For road biking

Choosing a racing bike has never been an easy task:

- Aluminum or carbon frame?

- Triple, double or compact groupset?

Making the right decision will depend on your type of activity, and whether you want to start or prepare for a competition.  

To travel along paths and trails

Want to ride peacefully on those country roads? A hybrid is for you.

It’s an ideal bike for country roads and unpaved, rolling paths.

It’s an alternative to the mountain bike for those who ride on roads, but want to go off-road from time to time. Equipped with larger wheels, it’s also more rolling.

The mountain bike is the adventurers’ choice on difficult trails and steep paths.

Different practices exist in the world of mountain biking, and the choice will be made towards an adapted model, classified by type of frame and then by travel.

Now that we've seen the broad lines, where will you ride and with what type of bike?

Riding surface

Type of bike

Paved roads and bicycle paths

Road, hybrid and electric bikes

Pavement and natural surfaces

Hybrid and electric bikes

All terrain

Gravel and mountain bikes

Dirt roads and paths

Mountain bikes, electric bikes

Virtually any bike can handle pavement, of course, and many bikes can be ridden on multiple surfaces.

What type of bike fits your need?

Narrow down your choice based on where you plan to do the majority of your riding.

You can also check out our more in-depth overview of bike categories below. 

Road bike

When choosing a road bike, the comfort/budget ratio will be a priority for occasional cyclists who like to have fun

An aluminum alloy frame will bring comfort, lightness and decent rigidity for nice rides on asphalt. A triple chainring or a compact transmission (from the mountain bike, it integrates two chainrings with a 110 mm distance between centres, allowing integrating an internal chainring with 33, 34, 36 or 38 teeth.

Without reaching the development amplitude of a triple crankset, the compact transmission offers almost equivalent performance (especially with the development of 11 speed cassettes) allows riders to serenely tackle all road profiles thanks to its versatility: climbs, descents, long flats, the very wide range of developments will be an advantage to go everywhere.

For regular cyclists used to long rides and serious hill climbs, it’ll be the stiffness/reactivity/comfort compromise that will prevail. The choice will be for a comfortable bike to ride over long distances, but stiff and responsive enough for dynamic and sporty relaunching.

Carbon is a good choice at this level of use.

However, aluminum alloy technologies are improving. Often referred to as SL or superlight, manufacturers are offering increasingly lighter frames that are closer to the weight of carbon frames. They can be an excellent compromise for a mid-range model on a budget. It may be better to choose a good aluminum frame rather than an entry-level carbon frame that won't offer the expected performance.

Unless you get a bike with a good frame at a low price, then upgrade it with higher-end components according to your financial capabilities: this allows you to ride the bike to get to know it better, and then to improve its performance. As for the transmission, the choice is between the double or the lighter compact one which offers up to 2x11 speeds, depending on practice level.

For the seasoned cyclist, a good carbon frame, which is rigid and responsive, will delight the competition and performance enthusiast. This composite material offers many advantages such as extreme lightness, resistance to corrosion, and great rigidity.

The choice of wheels will be of great importance here: the bike's behaviour will strongly depend on it.

The choice between tubular, clincher (with an inner tube) or tubeless tires (with preventive liquid) is a matter of preference.

The drivetrains are generally double or compact with 36x52 teeth chainrings. The higher-end models can be equipped with a Shimano Di2 or Sram AXS electric drivetrain, which is essential to save precious seconds in races.

Prices range from $1,600 for the casual rider, $3,000 to $6,000 for the intermediate rider, and up to $10,000 for the pro rider.

Shop all Road Bikes

Mountain bike

You need a new ride and don't know which mountain bike is right for you? Hardtail bike, fat bike, enduro mountain bike… There are numerous options, and you can quickly get lost in all the terminology.

Mountain bikes are built to ride on off-road trails. Their composition allows them to ride on more or less rough terrain, with dirt and rock surfaces. The elements that differentiate the different models of mountain bikes are their suspension systems, the travel they offer, and the size of their wheels. 

The mountain bike is the choice of adventurers on difficult paths, steep trails and singles tracks. Different practices exist in the world of mountain biking, and the choice will be made towards an adapted model, classified by type of frame then by travel.

There are 5 types of mountain bikes:

XC: If you’re looking for lightness, performance and fast climbing, then cross-country bikes are a better choice for you when compared to trail and all-mountain/Enduro bikes.

Shop XC Bikes

Trail: These bikes are a great choice for people looking for a good balance between weight, agility and speed. Having 120-140mm of travel and a head tube angle of 67-69 degrees makes the trail bikes a versatile choice for both climbing and descending a wide range of trails with ease.

Shop Trail Bikes 

All-Mountain / Enduro: These bikes are designed to take you down some of the toughest and most remote trails in the woods, getting you to places that chairlifts won't. Being tougher bikes than ordinary trail bikes, enduro bikes can absorb big shocks while maintaining some control in rough terrain. Plus, they have the gears to climb to the top of the mountains.     

Shop All-Mountain/Enduro Bikes         

Downhill Mountain Bikes: As the name implies, downhill bikes are designed to deliver the best performance on steep, technical trails. These dual-suspension bikes have stability and durability as their primary elements and are designed for downhill riders who want a machine specifically designed for full-speed descents.

Shop Downhill Mountain Bikes                   

Fat Bike: Fat bikes are perfect for fun-loving riders and beginners who want to play outside without having to worry about overly technical challenges in sand, snow, pebbles or mud. These bikes make cycling fun for all 12 months of the year. Most of them aren’t equipped with front and/or rear suspension, letting the tires absorb the vibrations.

Shop Fat Bikes

Prices range from $250 for the casual rider, $1,700 to $5,000 for the intermediate rider, and up to $8,000 for the pro.

Shop all Moutain Bikes

Hybrid bike

Hybrid bikes serve many purposes. They're great for fitness, commuting, adventure, recreation and more. Each model is designed to give the rider a comfortable and fun experience.

If you're in the market for a bike, but you aren't sure what type of bike you need, choosing a hybrid bike will likely be a good option.

If you ride to stay in shape:

A bike with a rigid fork and narrower tires will be fast and light on the pavement. In addition to being fast and fun, they’re easily customizable with accessories for fitness or commuting, such as a rack and fenders

If you want to go anywhere:

Consider a hybrid bike with telescopic suspension to absorb bumps on the road, trail or track. Their tires have a more aggressive tread pattern to improve grip, while the suspension contributes to comfort. You're free to choose the accessories that suit your preferred type of adventure.

If comfort is your priority:

A hybrid bike with geometry that puts you in a more upright position is what you need. These recreational hybrid bikes have wider tires to improve comfort, and some even have suspended seatposts or saddles with extra padding for even more comfort.

Prices vary from $300 for the casual rider, $1,000 to $3,000 for the intermediate rider, and up to $7,000 for major riders.

Shop all Hybrid Bikes

Electric bike

Imagine: you get on your bike, and as soon as you start pedalling, you start smiling. No doubt about it, you're on an electric bike! Electric bike enthusiasts know this feeling well, and more and more of you are being seduced by this new type of bike.

The revolution in transportation and electric mobility is underway and users aren’t hesitating to jump on board. Do you want to trade in your bike for an electric bike?

In this guide, we give you all the keys to getting started.

Electric bikes are a little heavier than conventional bikes. For this reason, you should consider the following points when choosing an e-bike

  • The front and rear brakes must be powerful. Many manufacturers already use disc brakes on the electric bikes in their range of products. It’s recommended to use at least hydraulic rim brakes or V-brakes, which offer the right braking power.

  • We recommend installing slightly larger than average tires or tires from major brands that are specially designed for electric bikes. These offer optimal riding comfort and higher puncture protection, since the bike weighs more and rides faster.

  • Suspension systems, whether at the fork, rear wheel or seatpost, aren’t just for mountain bikers. They provide a real plus in terms of comfort and increase the stability of your bike on bumpy roads. Don't worry about the extra weight of a suspension fork: the power of the motor more than makes up for it.

Prices range from $1,700 for the casual user, $3,000 to $5,000 for the intermediate user, and up to $8,000 for the serious user.

Shop all Electric Bikes

Triathlon/TT Bike

When choosing a Triathlon bike or a Time-trial bike, the only thing you should have in mind is speed. To have fun on a TT bike you need to get the fastest bike possible. The sole purpose of this type of bike is to get you the fastest from point A to point B.

A Carbon frame will bring you the stiffness and the power transfer necessary to achieve the fastest average speed possible.

These frames are not only made of carbon but are also the most aerodynamic you can buy. They are designed most of the time with the help of a wind tunnel to get it to cut through the air.

TT Bike

The major difference between a Time-Trial bike and a Triathlon bike is that the Triathlon bikes are not subject to any geometry or construction restrictions from the UCI (Union Cycliste International).

Manufacturers can make triathlon bikes as wide and as deep as they want to make the bike faster and more aerodynamic.

On the other hand, a time-trial bike needs to respect the 3 to 1 rule and a couple of other restrictions.

The 3-to-1 rule being the most important and obvious one is that the tube that composes the frame of a time-trial bike can’t be deeper than 3 times the width. For example, if you look at a bike from the profile, you can see that the frame is wider than when you look at it from the frontal area.

Here is a picture explanation:

 3 to 1 rule for time trial bikes

The other restrictions from the UCI are more on the fitting side of things like the saddle placement and the length of the aero bars.

The Choice of wheels is one of the most important decisions when it comes to TT or Triathlon bikes.

Since most of the time-trial and triathlon courses are flat or slightly hilly you want to be the fastest and not necessarily the lightest since the wight does not affect your speed on the flats. In that case, going with a deep carbon wheel or a tri-spoke front wheel and a disc wheel at the back is definitely the fastest option out there.

The drivetrains on these bikes are really similar to the drivetrains you can find on a road bike. They use the same derailleurs and cranksets, but they have special brake levers and shifters that fit at the end of aerodynamic bars.

Prices range from $1,600 for the casual rider, $3,000 to $6,000 for the intermediate rider, and up to $12,000 for the pro rider.

Shop all Triathlon/TT Bike

Gravel bike

A new kind of "hybrid" road bike is growing in popularity: the gravel bike. Derived from cyclocross, it allows you to get off the traditional roads and ride across fields on a dirt road or on a paved road.

It’s distinguished from other road bikes by a reinforced frame, ultra-compact geometry, wider road handlebars, disc brakes and specific reinforced tires.

The transmission is generally compact (34x50 chainrings and 11-32 teeth cassette), but some models offer specific ratios close to those of the mountain bike.

If you can't decide between picking a gravel or a cyclocross bike, the main difference in characteristic is its frame. There are carbon, aluminum or steel frames. 

Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are a few examples to make it clearer:

  • Want to get a gravel bike to see what it’s all about? Choose a gravel bike with an aluminum or steel frame. It’ll be more flexible than a carbon frame and more economical to buy.

  • You've been riding a road bike for a few years and you want to discover the pleasure of riding on trails? Opt for a carbon frame. The rigidity of carbon will give you the same sensations as a road bike when climbing.

On flat or slightly brittle roads, the gravel bike has a behaviour worthy of the best XC. Its wide handlebars will allow you to feel at ease in turns and hairpins.

Gravel bikes are often mounted tubeless on 700c wheels. The wide, slightly spiked tires will give you grip on gravel and dirt roads.

Trails, dirt and gravel give your bike a particular strain when you’re going downhill. That's why you'll find hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes on 90% of gravel bikes. 

The transmission is a choice which is made according to the usual practice with the bike. It’s good to know that a 1x12v SRAM Eagle transmission is lighter and more ergonomic because the front derailleur is removed.

Prices range from $900 for the casual rider, $1,500 to $4,000 for the intermediate rider, and up to $8,000 for the pro rider.

Shop all Gravel Bikes

Now that you know the perfect bike (or bikes) to meet your needs, check out our different bike brands!


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Further reading

Why do some bikes cost so much and how their prices are justified can spark a seemingly endless debate, especially since bikes continue to evolve annually. The price of a bike is the sum of the price of the individual parts. Simply put, bicycles are expensive because of the materials, manufacturing costs, and research and development that go into them.

If you’re in the market for a bike, you may be wondering what the benefits are to getting a new bike or one that’s simply new to you. For starters, buying a second-hand bike is a far simpler process than buying say, a used car because it’s a lot easier to assess a bike’s condition without having to “look under the hood” for chassis or transmission failures.