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The best bike (road, mountain, touring, commuting) all comes down to a few things.

1) Does the bike fit correctly? If you are only riding 20-30 miles any old bike will do. But if you are riding long distances and many miles a year, then comfort comes into play. Make sure the bike fits. It can be a $5,000 wonder-bike or a 30 year old classic.

If you end your rides with sore hands, a sore neck, sore butt, and sore feet, then the bike does not fit and the money you spent to ride like Lance was wasted.

2) Are the components, drive train, wheels, hubs, handlebars etc, reliable? If you have to constantly take your bike to the shop for repairs (assuming you are not crashing or abusing your bike) then it is not worth it. Get something with good quality, reliable parts. Don't buy light weight just because it is light weight. Same thing goes for tires. Light weight is nice, but if you are constantly on the side of the road changing flats, it is not good.

3) Buy what you can afford. Not just the total cost of the bike, but the shoes, helmet, shorts, jersey, gloves etc. Now what is your cost per mile over five years? If you ride 500 miles a year (2,500 miles in five years) your cost per mile for a $5,000 bike kit is $2 a mile. Not a bargain in my personal opinion. However if you ride 2,000 miles a year (10,000 miles in five years) then your cost per mile is 50 cents a mile. Again, the more you ride the better cost per mile you get. As parts were out, and even good parts wear out, replace them with quality parts.

One last thing. Health costs. Is investing $3,000 - $5,000 on a bike a good investment in your health? It is if you ride it, it is not if it hangs in your garage or basement.

Ride what fits your body. Ride what fits your lifestyle. Ride what fits your wallet. Ride!
 
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