Sometimes the love of riding a bicycle never leaves us, no matter how old we get. Sports bicycles are among the top fitness and recreational vehicles purchased each year. The gut feeling of buying the perfect sports bicycle is one that isn't easily matched or replaced.
The top five sports bikes are Schwinn, Scott, Specialized, Transition and Giant.
How to Buy the Best Sports Bike
Comfort: Bicycle seats aren't exactly the most comfortable sitting area. Cheap bicycles don't often have much cushioning and not a lot of thought is given to the rider's overall comfort. The seat isn't the only issue to consider when looking for a comfortable bike. Sit on each model you consider and make sure the handlebars and pedals are in comfortable range.
Style: The style of a bicycle is extremely important to each individual biker's tastes. Many of today's bikes are created with as much style as they have durability.
Determine Terrain: Bikes are specifically designed with terrain in mind. Biking to work wouldn't require a heavy duty mountain bike. Know the terrain you'll be riding before you make your final decision.
Research the best brands: An ounce of research is worth its weight in gold. The more you know about the sports bike and potential problems it may develop over time, the better purchase you'll be able to make. Research also helps you buy the perfect sports bike the first time.
Plan to spend money: A decent beginner mountain bike may cost $350. A top of the line bike may run several thousand dollars. A few of the top manufacturers offer their best brands at a base price of $6,000 to $8,000.
Beginners won't need a top-of-the-line bike, so if you're looking for your first mountain bike, plan to spend $300 to $500. Intermediate riders can probably plan to spend up to $1,000 while expert riders don't often take price into consideration.
Compare Sports Bicycles
Schwinn (http://www.dealhack.com/archives/2006/11/save_during_gt_mountain_bike_c.html): Schwinn's newest lineup includes the 2010 Frontier, 2010 Hornet, 2010 Tango Tandum, and 2010 Collegiate Series. The Schwinn 2010 Frontier, 2010 Frontier Expert and Frontier Sport are available in both men's and women's styles. In true mountain bike style, the Frontier is relatively lightweight and extremely durable and comfortable on rough terrain. The basic 2010 Frontier starts at about $320.
Specialized: Specialized bikes are incredible mid-ranged bikes, costing around $450. The Specialized Hardrock Sport is considered a budget mountain bike with a durable frame, great for beginner to lower-intermediate riders. Most riders say the Hardrock Sport is a bit on the heavy side and doesn't handle rugged terrain as well as other bikes.
Overall user reviews give the Specialized Hardrock Sports bike a 4.2 out of a possible 5 stars. Many riders agree that the bike is very durable and handles well on smooth trails. Some added that it was heavier than other bikes and the pedals felt cheap.
Giant: Giant's bikes are designed with comfort, durability and terrain in mind. The 2011 Talon 29er 2 costs around $750 and was one of the most anticipated cross country bikes made by Giant. Riders gave the Talon 29er rave reviews and highly recommend it as a mid-to-high-range intermediate bike.
Some rider reviews recommended the 2006 Giant TCR2 as a beginner to mid-range-intermediate sports bike, but they recommend not crashing it due to the super thin frame. Starting around $1,000, this lightweight bike receives an overall rating of 4.7 of a possible 5 stars.
Transition: Transition offers a wide range of mid-to-high range sports bikes. Many riders praise Transition's ability to balance a bike's weight, durability, and comfort with its respective price range.
The Transition Blindside is easily one of the best mid-to-high range sports bikes on the market. The lightweight frame without the rear shock weighs an incredible 7.6 pounds. The complete bike weight is about 37 pounds. Prices range from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on shocks and other parts ordered.
Scott (http://www.dealhack.com/archives/2009/11/20_off_select_scott_mountain_a.html): Everyone who loves the rush of sports bikes knows the brand Scott. Their latest Genius LT is an incredible long travel mountain bike, built with speed, comfort, and durability in mind. No matter the terrain, this bike is ready for the challenge. Customers who purchased the Genius LT had nothing but good to say about it.
The 2011 Scott Genius LT features a front triangle made of IMP carbon fiber and an aluminum rear. The Scott Equalizer 3 shock with built-in sag indicator provides 185mm of travel. It only weighs around 28 pounds and retails for about $6,800. This may look like a hefty price tag if you aren't familiar with the brand, but most bikers will agree that Scott bikes are worth every penny.
Which Bike for You?
You're the only person who can answer that question. Listen to customer reviews and ask your friends about their likes and dislikes of specific brands. Make a list of items you want in a mountain bike and don't settle for less just to save a few dollars. Look at the bigger picture and invest in future rides from the start.