How to Choose a Recreational Bike

person riding Specialized Vado Electric Bike

In the market for a recreational bike? ERIK’S has tons of options to choose from. We have styles ideal for those who want to bike for fitness, need a comfortable bike to ride to work on, and for those that simply want to explore the great outdoors on two-wheels. With so many types of recreational bikes available today, it can be confusing to know which type will be best for you. Keep reading to learn how you can hone your search!

This article will give you five questions to answer to help you pair down your choices when shopping for a recreational (also called path and pavement) bike. Once you’ve narrowed down your search you’ll be ready for test rides! Stop by your favorite ERIK’S shop to explore a variety of models to find the one that suits you best. If there’s no ERIK’S nearby, no worries. Call or chat with our Customer Service Experts for assistance in selecting a bike online.

1. Do you want an analog (regular) or electric recreational bike?

Word on the street is that riding an electric bike makes cycling way more fun! If you’re already a convert, move on to question two. If you’re curious to learn more about why you might want an eBike, let us share some of the top reasons folks opt for an electric bike over analog.

First, as we already stated, they’re super fun to ride! Take one on a test ride and you’ll come back with what is commonly called a “turbo smile”. Second, electric bikes allow you to go further. This means you can think bigger! You won’t be intimidated by a long weekend bike trip. Or run errands by bike. Load up the groceries and still ride with ease. And finally, electric bikes provide great exercise. One of the most common questions we get about eBikes is, “Will I still get exercise riding one?” In short the answer is a resounding yes! We did some research and the stats are in. Check out our blog on Ebikes and Exercise to learn more.

To learn more about electric recreational bikes, check out our Electric Bike Guide. To learn more about our analog recreational bikes, check out our Recreational Bike Guide. If you’re ready to shop, swing by your favorite ERIK’S shop and test-ride a few models today!

Shop Electric Recreational Bikes
Shop Recreational Bikes

Closeup of two specialized recreational riders

2. How do you plan to ride?

Recreational bikes are an ideal bike choice for many because they offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to where and how you ride. If you see yourself mostly riding for fun around town with friends, check out our comfort and active bikes. If you plan to take long trail rides for exercise, a fitness or hybrid bike might be ideal for you. If you are looking to bike to work, check out our urban commuter bikes.

For more in-depth information on these types see our Recreational Bike Buying Guide.

Once you know how you plan to ride, you can hone your search online or simply visit your favorite ERIK’S and tell us what you’re looking for.

3. What’s your budget?

ERIK’S stocks a deep selection of recreational bikes from the best brands in the industry like Specialized. Entry-level models start as low as $400 and high-end models can cost over $4,000.

As you can see, there’s quite a range in recreational bike pricing. Typically, the higher the price, the fancier the components. Consider what your budget range is and then dive into the following question to determine which components are important to you.

Woman riding casually on a Specialized Bike

4. What components matter to you?

Lower-priced bikes feature entry-level componentry which provides what you need to get out there and begin enjoying cycling without a big initial investment.

However, as you gain experience you may find yourself wanting to refine your ride to improve your performance. This can usually be accomplished by upgrading your bike’s componentry.

So before you buy, especially if you are a seasoned cyclist, consider what components matter most to you. Sometimes investing more, in the beginning, can save you more in the long run.

For example, high-end wheels will be lighter and propel you forward at a faster rate than entry-level ones. If speed and efficiency are important to you, having good-quality wheels will be key! Additionally, the quality of the brakes on your bike can really impact your riding experience. The more you pay the better your stopping power which is something both newer and experienced cyclists alike can appreciate.

Remember at ERIK’S we stock some of the best brands of bikes in the industry. Our entry-level models all provide solid components that you can trust. And, when you’re ready for an upgrade, we’ve got the bikes and/or the components to take you to the next level.

View all of our recreational bikes here.

5. What size of bike do you need?

Riding the right-sized bike impacts your comfort level, your safety, and your overall performance. And feeling confident on your bike you’ll simply allow you to enjoy your ride way more!

If you visit us in-store, our awesome staff will help you determine which size of recreational bike is appropriate for you. Then, you can take as many models out to test-ride as you’d like to discover which one gives you the best riding experience.

If you’re shopping online with us be sure to review our Bicycle Sizing Chart. Using your inseam and height, you can figure out which bike size is ideal for you. Our chart is a general reference. Some brands’ sizes will vary slightly. When you are shopping online, click the “sizing information” link in the left sidebar of the bike product page to see individual brand sizing recommendations. If you have any questions, we’re here to help! Give us a call or chat for assistance.

Learn more about bike sizing here.

Specialized Sirrus X displayed on a city sidewalk

#NewBikeDay here you come!!!

Now you’re ready to begin your recreational bike search! Check out our deep selection of path and pavement bikes online here or visit your nearby ERIK’S to take a few styles on a test ride today!

When you’re ready to break in your new bike check out the Dakota Rail Regional Trail in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Our St. Louis Park and Minnetonka stores are nearby if you need any supplies before heading out. Or, check out the 400 Trail in Wisconsin. Our Eau Claire store and Madison East and Madison West shops are close by if you need your bike checked before your ride.