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Help! I bought the wrong bike!

By: Summer Poletti

"I bought too much bike for me." Have you ever heard anyone say that, or something similar? In short, they have a bike and they don't ride it because it doesn't fell right, doesn't fit, or they just don't like it. Or maybe they do ride it and have fallen because they have trouble controlling the bike. It might be someone you care about, it might even be your own experience. I can tell you, you (or your companion) are not alone. We hear it often in the shop.

Many of the people who tell me this purchased their bike online or from a large retailer that doesn't specialize in bikes. They probably had to assemble the bike themselves and didn't get to try it out before they bought it. Buying a bike in a box and assembling it yourself isn't necessarily something I knock - I have two kids and I did that many a Christmas Eve! A new bike on Christmas morning has delighted many children, myself included. I got a red beach cruiser when I was in 3rd grade - my first "big kid bike" that had never even seen training wheels. It was too big for me and scary. But once I grew a bit and got used to it, I could ride all day. The thing about that story contrasted against e-bike riders is that kids don't always notice or care if a bike fits wrong, is a rough ride, or makes noise. Adults do! And we know our kids will grown into the big kid bike we buy them. Adults, obviously will not.

By the time someone wants or needs an e-bike, we've generally reached a stage in life where comfort matters. You could get a low price bike in a box and risk it being uncomfortable (and not wanting to ride it), in which case you've wasted your money.

Or you could go to a specialty retailer that is going to assemble and adjust all of the bikes in their shop - it comes ready to enjoy. They'll let you test out their bikes before you invest, that way you know that you enjoy the ride. And they'll fit the bike to you or customize parts such as the seat or handlebars, so you're getting something that fits you just right. Kids don't necessarily care about comfort - we generally just wanted to get out of the house. Adult riders will tend to ride for exercise or leisure, and don't generally want something feeling sore after they do so. As an added bonus, specialty retailers will usually service the bikes that they sell. I have heard many calls from frustrated e-bike owners that report they have trouble finding service for the e-bikes they bought online or from those big box retailers (Nerd Squad doesn't work on bicycles). I assure you that if you support a small business, they will appreciate you and support you back!

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