Loaning a Team Bike:
PHS MTB has limited loaner bikes. We raise money to buy more. We accept donated bikes too assuming they are not too old and in good working condition. Reach out to Coach Jose Rivera with any questions or to request a loaner.
Buying a Bike:
Whether you choose a HT or FS bike, be mindful “You get what you pay for.” There is an old rule cyclists have - spend as much as you can on the parts that connect you to the bike and the bike to the ground (Cycling shorts/pants – connect you to the seat/saddle, gloves, handlebar tape/grip, shoes, wheels, tires)
Heavy tires and wheels will make even the lightest frame bike feel like it’s difficult to pedal and get up hills. Think about rotational mass. The heavier the tires and wheels, the more rotational mass, which means the rider has to work that much harder to spin the wheels and keep them spinning.
When you look at bikes that are the same manufacturer, and have the same frame, but each model has tremendous price variation, it’s usually attributed to the parts, especially the wheels. Carbon fiber wheels are costly and many times more expensive than aluminum. However, carbon wheels aren’t always lighter than aluminum. But inexpensive aluminum wheels may be stout, but they can weigh so much that not only does the bike weigh more, but getting those wheels turning will require a lot of fitness and strength. If you like a bike, but suspect the wheels and tires are heavy, ask the seller/store about lighter tire/wheel options and cost.
What is a typical weight for a bike? HT bikes will vary in weight between 20 and 28 pounds. The high-end super race bike will weigh around 20-22 pounds but can cost several thousand dollars new and about $3K used. A good performance HT can cost $500 used to $750-1000 new and not be a tank. The PHS MTB loaner bikes are about 28lbs and are in the $800-1000 range. FS bikes, however, can range 22lbs to 35lbs with wide cost ranges - $500-5000 used and $1200 to $12K new. For new and intermediate student riders I recommend keeping the bike weight no more than 30lbs. Even with lots of gears, chugging a tank up hills is not fun.
Most shops offer demo bikes to try out. Sports Basement has a big selection of bikes that can be rented and tested. Even if you’re going to buy used, or directly from a manufacturer, it is helpful to demo a bike that is as close to the type you are interested. For example, you want to buy a Canyon FS. But they are direct to consumer. Go to a shop and demo a similar bike. Or, you saw a used bike that you are interested in. Most private sellers are not going to let you take their bike out for an afternoon of riding. “You wreck it you bought it.” Go to a shop that has that bike and test it out.
The bike industry has too much stock right now. Therefore, there are GREAT deals on new, fully warrantied bikes. Search online. Check out discount sites, like Pros Closet, Merlin Bikes UK, etc. Note that bikes sold in stores have shipping and distribution fees bundled into those costs. Bike shop margins aren’t great. They make their money on service, not selling bikes. And in order to carry a selection, they have to meet some agreed upon quota with the manufacturer. This is why you don’t see Specialized or Trek bikes sold everywhere. Also, bikes from Canada can be great deals due to currency exchanges and proximity to the US. Most mass-produced bikes like Specialized and Trek are made in Taiwan or even China. So those get shipped globally hence increased costs to the consumer.
IF you buy from a private seller, ask if the bike can be inspected by your chosen technician or shop. If they refuse, consider it a big caveat and move on. Bike shops can scan or enter the serial number of the frame to see if it’s legit and even if it’s been stolen or has been recalled. Personally I am in favor of second hand bikes. Making a bike and shipping it, etc., are huge environmental impacts. Used bikes save money and help the planet.