The number of cyclists in the United States is growing with each passing day. From 39.69 million cyclists in 2006 to 47.54 million in 2017, more people are using bicycles for commuting, recreational, and fitness purposes. 

However, even with the increase in demand and popularity, purchasing a new bike can be quite the undertaking. From hunting down a neighborhood bike shop with the best inventory, to actually deciding between different styles and models, there are a lot of factors to consider before making a purchase.

Buying a bike online can make the process a lot easier. You get instant access to a selection of colors, styles, and prices without ever having to leave your couch. If you’re ready to buy a bike online, here are five things you should consider:

1. Find the Right Style

Your choices are endless when buying a bike online. But, it’s worth keeping in mind that while some bikes are great for commuters, others may be best suited for an adventure through the mountains. Before you settle on one style, you should have a clear understanding of how you’ll be using the bike. If you plan to use your bike for your daily commute to work, for example, you should look for a city or commuter bike. Or, maybe you want to explore the great outdoors on your bike. In this case, a mountain or trail bike is a better fit. If you're just looking to use your bike for fitness and fun, you may want to consider a hybrid bike or a road bike. 

2. Do Your Research Regarding Quality

When you buy clothes online, you can run the risk of compromising quality. Similarly, when you buy a bike online, it’s important to consider brand reputation, online reviews, and factory location. Generally speaking, do your best to select a retailer that will deliver the most bang for your buck. While most online stores offer bikes that are manufactured and assembled in Asia, there is at least one place you can find an American manufactured bike. These bikes are made from premium American chromoly, a high-end steel that is also used in custom race cars and aircrafts.

3. Choose the Right Size

Determining your ideal bike size is important to ensure a comfortable ride. Once you have a frame size that is in the right ballpark, there are sizing adjustments you can make to your seat height and handlebars to dial things in perfectly. When it comes to finding the right frame size for you, a number of factors come into play—you should take your inseam measurement, height, and the length of your arms and legs into account. The most important measurement is your inseam, which will help you determine your most comfortable stand-over height. Many websites even give a height range for each bike size. 

4. Take Note of the Store’s Refund Policy

Remember that time you ordered new furniture online, but didn’t end up liking your new item? When you buy a bike online, there is a certain amount of risk involved. With a money-back refund policy and a warranty in place, you can always return the bike for a new one if you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase when it arrives in-person.

5. Most Online Stores Ship Semi-Assembled Bikes

Arguably the best thing about shopping online is the freedom to make a purchasing decision without an in-store sales person pressuring you into buying something that you don’t want or need. With that said, it’s worth keeping in mind that when you buy a bike online, your purchase is delivered semi-assembled. Although we've spent years working on shipping our bikes as close to fully assembled as possible, we still recommend assembling your bike with the help of a professional to ensure that everything is in its optimal working condition. Plus, it’s always great to have a relationship with a good local bike shop. Stop by one of our bike shops for help!

In a Nutshell… 

All in all, anyone looking to buy a bike online should do their due diligence before making a purchase. Remember to address any questions and concerns before finalizing your purchase to ensure that you have a smooth online bicycle shopping experience.

Ready to take the plunge? Read up on the best places to buy a bike online next.