Pensacola, Florida
Sunday June 25th 2017


Buying Bicycles

By Jessica Forbes

When considering where to buy a bicycle, it may seem like the least expensive option is going down to a big box retailer and picking up whichever bike looks the sportiest.

But cheaper bikes can wind up costing more in the long run, many have seen.

A lot of times, people will be unhappy with a bike because its not fitting them right. Big box stores dont sell bikes that are sizedtheir approach is one size fits any, but in reality they dont fit most, said Mark Woolson, owner of Truly Spokin. Theyre not trained mechanics, theyre assembly people.

In all styles but beach cruisers, bicycles come in sizes from extra small to extra large. Big boxes carry only medium bikes, so if you are not average size, often mass merchandized bikes wind up being an uncomfortable ride.

You can buy the most expensive bike in the world, but if its not your size, its never going to be comfortable, said Karen Simms, manager at Bikes Plus downtown.

Sometimes weve even told people that theyre better off going on Craigslist and getting a used bike shop bike, said Simms. We get the Wal-Mart bikes in all the time, and there are always issues with them, were always fixing them.

Its an issue of value for the money, Brian Stone, co-owner of Cycle Sports has seen, saying bikes sold at specialty shops are in general a better quality bike. The parts and pieces are lighter in general, put together the way theyre supposed to be together.

Simms and Stone both recognize that for some people, the bikes in their stores are too expensive, even with layaways.

The least expensive bike I have is about $220 and some people just cant afford it, said Stone, who adds that his store offers two free tune ups for bikes purchased there.

All local shops offer repair services. I always encourage if they buy a mass-merchandised bike to come in and get it tuned up, because they can be serviceable, said Stone.

So whether you can afford a bike store bike or not, keep in mind that the local stores will tune up or repair bikes no matter where theyre purchased and can offer expertise for getting maintenance right.

Bikes Plus Downtown
194 N. Palafox St.

Cycle Sports
2125 N. Palafox St.

Truly Spokin’ Pensacola
6103 Tippin Ave.