Pedal along flowing trails or scenic gravel roads; feel the wind in your face; appreciate the warm sun on your back and ride into a place where your mind is cleared and your soul fulfilled. Sounds great. But first you need a bike. There are so many bikes though. Here’s how to choose the right bike for you.
Walk into a bike shop, look around and tell us you aren’t intimidated or overwhelmed… Bicycles everywhere, ranging in size, colour, frame design, wheel diameter and price. Road bikes, mountain bikes, kid’s bikes, electric-assist bikes – it’s a lot to take in. Which is the bike that’s best for you?
That’s what Cycle Lab, South Africa’s only national bicycle retail store, set out to achieve. Make it as easy as possible to connect the customer with the bike that best suits his/her needs and budget.
“As South Africa’s leading national bicycle retailer, Cycle Lab is committed to giving value to the customer. We know that buying a bike can be an intimidating experience so we have developed a solution which requires the customer to complete a short questionnaire with one of our sales staff,” explains Stephen Bunyard, Cycle Lab Marketing Manager.
“The customer’s answers to eight fairly straight-forward questions allow both our sales staff and the customer to narrow down the options, based on the customer’s budget, age, gender and riding intention and level of fitness/skill. The answers point us to where the customer currently fits – Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced.
“Walk around a Cycle Lab store and you will see a coloured ribbon tied around the seatpost of every single adult bicycle. These identify whether the bike is most ideal for a Beginner (Green), Intermediate (Blue) or Advanced (Black). This helps save time and eliminate any confusion. We can then set about fine-tuning the options to suit the customer’s budget and individual attributes and objectives,” adds Bunyard.
FIND YOUR BIKE IN-STORE GUIDELINES
- Why: For some fun
- Where: On the road & dirt trail
- Rider level: Novice cyclist
- Why: Speed
- Where: Ride on singletrack, gravel and possible events
- Rider level: Weekend warrior
- Why: Speed & comfort
- Where: For competitive events, technical & singletrack
- Rider level: Racing snake
Since there’s a lot more to riding a bicycle than just the bicycle, Cycle Lab also gives each bike-buying customer a ‘List of Essentials’. This list focuses on four areas, including rider clothing, bicycle accessories, repair and maintenance and rider supplementation.
“We don’t want a customer to feel like we’ve not been thorough with their quest to get riding. The List of Essentials has a tick box for each item that they may need. Even if they don’t take everything on the list, we have made them aware of it and that we stock it,” says Bunyard.
Cycle Lab sales staff are also trained to ensure that each person that buys a bicycle is aware of the importance of maintenance.
“Education is essential. Customers buying a new full suspension mountain bike need to be informed that the bike has pivots and suspension, both of which require maintenance, that the bicycle needs to be washed regularly and that chain lubricant is essential, as is topping up sealant in tubeless tyres,” says Andrew McLean, Cycle Lab Director.
“We also show them how to do a pre-ride check to help avoid any surprises while out riding, including being aware of the correct tyre pressure, how to re-seat a derailed chain and how to remove the wheels. All small things that most experienced cyclists take for granted, but which can make or break a cycling experience for a newcomer,” adds McLean.
Once the decision is made in terms of which bike it’s going to be, Cycle Lab offers an in-store bike set-up to get the customer to a position of optimal comfort and control on his/her new bike. And then there’s the Cycle Lab Supercycling Club, which offers a ‘tribe’ for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level riders.
“Where to ride and riding safely are both very important factors in South Africa. Cycle Lab’s established club makes this possible at least once a week for its members. It’s also a great environment in which to learn, as we grade our club rides according to rider ability. And it’s also here where new friendships are formed as cyclists get to share a common passion for cycling with each other,” says McLean.
Cycle Lab, which has four branches, with a fifth opening soon in Cape Town, also has an online store, making it possible to make any purchase from anywhere in the country.
“Of course buying a new bicycle is best done in store, especially for someone that’s brand new to cycling, but the convenience of our online store cannot be underestimated, especially with our wide range of brands and models and excellent pricing,” says Bunyard.
Cycle Lab Stores:
Pretoria Megastore: Lynnridge Mall, No 3 Jacobsen Drive, Lynnwood.
Fourways Megastore: Cycle Lab, Unit 1, Fourways Retail Park, C/O Willam Nicol and Leslie Avenue, Fourways
Boksburg Superstore: 120 North Rand Road, Boksburg
Cape Town Megastore: Opening soon.
Cycle Lab online store: www.cyclelab.com