Are you looking for a new riding pal? Luckily, buying an inexpensive bike has become more feasible than ever. Today, there are so many high-quality bikes available at affordable prices. Plus, the market offer is versatile and matches everyone’s style.
Yet, some pitfalls can complicate matters if you’re not paying enough attention. Thus, you must learn how not to spend in the wrong areas. Whether your budget is substantial or small and fixed, try to maximize the value of your money. Consider our tips for buying a bike and accessories that fit your needs at the lowest cost possible.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Kind Of Riding Is It For?
- 2 Make A Budget
- 3 Focus On The Right Frame
- 4 Wait For Sales And Holidays
- 5 Check Out Store Brands
- 6 Aluminum vs. Cheap Carbon Frames
- 7 Check Local Stores To Buy Second-Hand
- 8 Online Retailers With Deals
- 9 eBay Or Craigslist
- 10 Get An Older Model
- 11 Tips For Buying A Bike On A Budget
- 12 Bottom Line
- 13 FAQs
What Kind Of Riding Is It For?
You certainly don’t feel like upgrading the bike you bought a few months ago. Hence, it’s essential to ensure that you’re getting the right bicycle for the riding you intend to do. The difference between a regular bike to commute to work and a mountain one is huge.
Check the following four categories in detail to decide what kind of riding you’re up for.
For Casual Use
Comfort bicycles are for recreational riding both on pavements and smooth dirt paths. Most of them have high handlebars, stretched frames, and a soft, slightly lower, wide seat.
These bikes may be perfect if you’re taking on-road cycling for the first time. Moreover, drop handlebars allow riders to sit in a far more efficient position while traveling between neighborhoods. Go for a bike that can fit wider tires and mudguards to cater to your leisure needs.
The upside of comforts is that you’re in an upright riding position accompanied by a cushiony ride. Uphill pedaling won’t be a problem here as comfort cycles have low gears. Plus, you will pay way less than for other bike types.
On the flipside, comfort bikes aren’t fit for pedaling on hilly terrain and off-road. They may also be of lower quality when compared to the rigid construction and wide tires of a mountain bike.
For Off-Road Biking
If you dedicate much of your free time off-road biking, the best solution is a mountain bike. These rides have superb suspension, they’re heavy, and the tires are large-sized and knobby. Additionally, the lower gear ratio and the powerful breaks further ease rough terrain riding. This way, mountain bike riders can conquer harsh weather, steep inclines, and unpaved surfaces.
The perk of mountain bikes is the shock-absorbing front suspension fork. Often, you can get a rear suspension, too, and obtain the best control and comfort on the most rugged trails. They’re also more durable and resistant than other types.
Conversely, riding a mountain bike in an urban setting is almost inconceivable. It’s heavier than regular road and fitness bikes and not suited for road riding. Hence, it can be tiring to get the bike up to speed from a complete stop and ride for extended periods. Forget about grocery runs or carrying items to work since mountain bikes require riders to stand up.
Racing bikes are for riders who want to cover some serious mileage fast, including multi-day touring. Conventional racing bikes feature a lightweight frame, a narrow seat, skinny tires, and low handlebars. Performance road bikes have a shorter top tube and longer head tube for a more upright riding position.
So, if you’re planning to enter a few road races, get a bike with the proper geometry for fast steering. Road bikes are very light and offer exceptional balance and handling. The fact that they are super aerodynamic enables fast riding suitable even for daily commuting.
However, you’re going to sacrifice some comfort for speed. Some riders don’t feel comfortable bending that low and don’t fancy the handlebars of performance road bikes.
Fitness bikes are the perfect combination of road and mountain bikes. Like road bikes, these have slim tires, a lightweight frame, and a narrow seat. On top of that, fitness bikes have horizontal handlebars and a more upright riding position. Opt for these cycles if you want to burn calories or work on your cardiovascular fitness. Daily short-haul commuting is also a viable alternative.
Fitness bikes are usually more comfortable than road bikes. They don’t weigh a lot and tend to cost less than regular road bikes. They might also be suitable for commuting to work since you can mount cargo racks and fenders. Yet, they are usually less aerodynamic than road bikes.
Last, though there are many sub-categories of bicycles, benefits are uniform. You save money on commuting, live a healthier life, and protect the environment, too.
Make A Budget
If you wonder ‘how much is a cheap bike,’ the average quality bike should cost you anywhere from $300 to $400. Hence, if you spot a department-store cycle for less, consider it poorly made and assembled. Cheap and low-quality bicycles are also unsafe and uncomfortable. Yet, a decent bike will last longer, so you’ll be getting the most of your cash. Here’s a dropdown of what you should expect depending on how much money you’re ready to spend:
- If you spend between $300 and $500, you’ll probably get a sturdy metal frame with a rigid fork or elementary front suspension. A drivetrain ranging from 7 to 24 speeds and cable-actuated disc brakes should also be in the standard package.
- Spending from $500 to $1,000 on a new bike will mean an improved front suspension. Some models may also include hydraulic disc brakes, lighter wheels, and tires.
- Last, most bikes over $1,000 (often up to $5,000) will entail a light aluminum or carbon frame. Shock absorbing in these rides is excellent, and wheels and tires are more lightweight. Except for some road bikes, most expensive items have hydraulic disc brakes.
: One of the essential steps for saving money when buying a bike is to decide what type of bike you need. There’s no need to pay extra for features you won’t use.
Focus On The Right Frame
As with all vehicles, there is always room for upgrades and improvement with bikes. Meaning, you can buy it for cheaper now and build it up into your dream steed over time. Yet, the dilemma ‘how to purchase a bike’ remains. Should you procure a premium frame and components of lower quality or the other way round?
Most of the time, bikers choose a better frame and economize on the components and accessories. You probably wonder why someone would follow this rule. Well, the frame is the foundation, so a sound and faultless structure is crucial for your safety and comfort. Also, if it is in good working order, getting components such as chains, tires, and brakes is cheaper than replacing the frame.
On the other hand, you may learn that some components aren’t compatible with your bike. Hence, when upgrading the equipment, take note of each component’s compatibility. Last, frame material, such as steel, alloy, or carbon, will set the final price.
Wait For Sales And Holidays
An old but gold trick is to focus on grabbing a bargain when the sales come. Usually, waiting for Christmas to pass can pay off in hundreds of dollars. The same goes for other holiday seasons, such as the period after Thanksgiving and, rarely, Easter.
Holding off purchasing until summer or winter sales start is a smart way of maximizing the value you get for your budget. Most brands release new models in September, so refrain from buying at that period. Any time after that is suitable for going on the lookout for bargains. Also, purchasing a bicycle off-season (during the winter) can save you extra cash to repurpose for add-ins.
Check Out Store Brands
If the question ‘where can I get a cheap bike’ bothers you, then big brands won’t be the answer. Getting a bike from renowned brands, such as Giant, Cannondale, or Specialized, is a costly option. After all, they have their reputations to uphold, but the quality is undeniable. All in all, you’re paying for the name and not the product only.
For a cheaper bike with decent quality, check out what’s on offer at Halfords and Decathlon. Besides popular brands, they also have in-house bike brands that can match top-notch models. Although substantially cheaper, these bikes follow the latest trends and have often impressed with their properties.
Aluminum vs. Cheap Carbon Frames
Though steel and titanium are the most popular bike building options, most modern frames are from aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon components tend to be very light, aerodynamic, and dampen vibrations. Yet, carbon itself doesn’t entail such features. All these properties come from long research combined with a complex production cycle.
More specifically, producers use more material where the frame should be stiff and less material to allow flexibility and comfort. Hence, you’d better be extra careful with cheap carbon. Lower quality carbon bikes won’t save weight and have a harsh ride. To compensate, look for an aluminum frame that is more affordable and grants you refined workmanship for the same price.
With the proper components, any aluminum frame can be competitively light. Still, carbon is unbeatable if you’ve set your aims on the ultimate lightweight performance. Lightness isn’t cheap, but this usually matters to those who compete at higher levels or can afford to splash out on the best available model.
Check Local Stores To Buy Second-Hand
The solution to the dilemma ‘where to get a cheap bike’ isn’t always brand new. Particularly when it comes to selecting the best second-hand alternative. Indeed, it is possible to find real bargains when buying used rides, but you must assess the risk of getting ripped off.
Many bike shops sell moderately used bikes checked over by the store. Though often more expensive than buying online, you’ll be sure that the cycle’s in good working order. Plus, if you’re a rookie in bikes, a traditional brick-and-mortar bike shop is an excellent place to find a decent ride.
Of course, buying second-hand goods means you expect some quality for your money. Yet, purchasing used items will usually deprive you of the right to get any guarantee or returns policy.
Also, finding a bike in the proper size or make can be challenging. Hence, try to be more open-minded and flexible to the options available. Last, look for signs of damage and wear to avoid potentially higher repair bills on top of the initial purchase.
Online Retailers With Deals
Online bike shopping is a proven way to save cash, but you must be confident and knowledgeable in what you want. In short, you should be aware of even less popular brands, the size range, and the components available. For example, Chain Reaction Cycles and Bikesdirect offer deals on bikes of lesser-known brands with impressive properties.
Stores like Competitive Cyclist have excellent reviews for doing business online. Besides live assistance through chats, they strive to help customers find the proper bike size and make. Plus, discontinued items are often available through the online ‘outlet store’ of giants such as Specialized and Cannondale. Yet, buying online can become complex if you want to return a product.
Alternatively, you can go for Trek and Giant, as they have taken a hybrid approach. These companies sell online but offer consumers a local shop to assemble the bikes and provide post-sales services. Though not everyone likes such an arrangement, it’s probably the solution to the concern where to get a cheap bike.
Waiting for sales after holiday seasons or checking our eBay and Craigslist are among the tested ways to score a cheap bike.
eBay Or Craigslist
You can find relatively affordable used bicycles if you decide to check out Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Sites like eBay and Amazon are also viable alternatives if you want to skip in-person shopping. In this case, call the seller first and ask detailed questions to avoid wasting your time and money. Ensure the bike is your size, and ask if there are any mechanical issues.
Though some people purchase used bikes without inspecting them first, this practice may not have a happy ending. Typically, you’d like to see the ride in person and ride it around. Even dummies should check gears, brakes, and tires before making the final payment. If everything seems fine, go for it! Also, remember that most prices on resale marketplaces are negotiable, so nagging is acceptable.
The greatest threat of buying from online marketplaces are scams and stolen bikes. Use sites like https://bikeindex.org/ to check if you’re dealing with a stolen bike. Last, if the bicycle is genuine but needs minor adjustments, or a professional tune-up, take it to the local shop.
Get An Older Model
New bike models come out every year, and following the latest trend requires significant cash. The price rises proportionately if the frame underwent a complete redesign that takes a lot of time and investment. However, most of the launches involve a new color scheme and several component changes. In essence, you get the same bike as the previous year, but now at a higher price.
Our advice is to opt for an older but higher quality model. Consider stores like Competitive Cyclist and Jenson USA. These sell brands like Niner, Colnago, and Jamis with great deals on last-season models. Overall, you’ll get almost a new bike at half price.
Tips For Buying A Bike On A Budget
How much is a cheap bike won’t be your only concern when looking for a long-term biking pal. Many other elements can impact the price to extremes and make the ride worthwhile or a waste of money. A bike will further pay off if you put some ideas on how to make money with your bike in practice. Take a look at these hacks before making the final purchase.
Choosing The Right Gear
When deciding on the gears, select what best fits your riding type. Typically, you’ll benefit from a low enough bottom gear to go uphill. Next, choose a high enough top gear that enables you to reach the desired speeds without having to spin too fast.
Alternatively, some bicycles don’t have gears at all. Single-speed cycles run on one cog, so you need to pedal harder if you want to go faster. Fixed bikes are also cheaper. Yet, these are most suitable for kids and offer poor flexibility. Thus, most of you hoping for an improved speed-effort ratio would seek a higher number.
Remember that an 11-speed cassette doesn’t mean you’ll ride 10% faster than with a 10-speed cassette. The benefit of extra gears is that these get more closely spaced within the same gearing range. Meaning, the jumps between gears are slightly smaller, but the bottom and top gear remain the same. A lower-tier groupset will go easy on your budget. So, think objectively about whether you need that extra gear or you can use that money to get a better frameset or wheels.
Get A Bike Fitting
One of the best tips for buying a bike is never to leave out the fitting process. Above all, all cyclists must adjust the ride to optimize their comfort, performance, and efficiency. Proper fitting will also help you prevent injuries. Ensure your cycle fit includes the following segments: foot position, saddle height, stem, and handlebar position.
Indeed, you won’t see the benefit of fancy wheels and top-tier groupset if riding feels awful due to the wrong size. Don’t get tempted by significant discounts to buy an extra-large bicycle for an incredible price. Likewise, if you’re buying second-hand, don’t compromise on the fit.
More specifically, improper fitting is a false economy as you’ll soon be wishing to buy again. Your bike position is more important than any of the components, and consider it a top priority.
Save On Accessories
If you’re on a strict budget, always factor in the essential extras. If you spend only $50 and save cash on a proper cycling kit and tools, you’re unlikely to enjoy the experience. So, don’t underestimate the power of essential add-ons, as these ensure you’re safe and comfortable.
Though you can skip most posh accessories, some are a must. First, a good bike helmet is mandatory. Then, a water bottle is crucial to take on long, hot-weather rides. Gloves protect your hands in case of an accident and prevent friction and blisters. Moreover, cycling shorts, a jersey with warmers, and a rain jacket increase the range of conditions you may cycle in. Last, ensure you have the mandatory lights and reflectors installed for your safety.
The bare necessities for tools are a multi-tool, bike pump, chain lube, and a bike lock. Although getting a proper toolset can cost you over the odds at the onset, it will pay off later. Fixing the bicycle yourself will save you money in the long run over taking it to a bike shop.
Cheap tires, no accessories, and no extra gear are among the steps that can get you a bike that won’t cost a fortune.
Get Cheap Heavy Tires
The most frequent issue you’ll be dealing with when riding is tire punctures. That’s why you should have an effective strategy since tire prices vary broadly.
Undeniably, it’s worth shopping around and making use of frequent deals. Or you can purchase discounted bundle packs at affordable prices. Cheaper tires are heavier and often supplied with a steel bead around the rim. Though lacking in grip, heavy tires and wheels reduce the possibility of punctures and save you money.
Think about spending what you may reasonably afford. If you plan to use one set of tires, ensure you have heavy all-rounder ones. This way, hitting potholes or bumps won’t stress you about cracks in the rims. Some riders don’t even bother to stop riding through broken glass.
Yet, if you race professionally or want to dominate the road by riding fast, consider lightweight aero wheels. Use the heavy tire and wheel combo at any other time. Ultimately, you’ll become a stronger cyclist and eliminate the stress of punctures.
The final step of purchasing a bicycle is to go for a test ride. Most shops allow potential buyers to take the bike out for several minutes up to an hour. Though the seller may ask for some deposit, such as a 1p charge to your credit card, don’t leave out this opportunity.
During the test ride, take note of how good modern bikes feel. If you had an old, rarely used bike, a new bike would feel fantastic. Don’t let the feeling of excellence push you into buying an improper fit for your needs. Bear this fact in mind when making the final decision.
When demo-testing, shift through all the gears, check how the bicycle handles around corners, and go both uphill and downhill. If buying second-hand, ensure there are no unusual noises or movement. Inspect the drivetrain, brakes, tires, and wheels. At this time, you should iron out all the aspects you might have dilemmas about before swiping the card.
Signs Of A Good Bike Shop
There’s no one-fits-all solution to the concern ‘where can I get a cheap bike.’ Typically, renowned bike shops have friendly and knowledgeable employees who work at your speed. Such stores show buyers how different parts work and allow test rides. Besides setting up the bicycle properly, reputable shops inform you of essential accessories, discuss maintenance, and offer service plan packages.
In case you run into a rude or dismissive employee, find another to help you. If you have further issues, go to another shop or ask to speak with the manager. You’re spending money there, so the least you should expect is unhelpful and ignorant shop assistants.
Luckily, pressure sales tactics are rare in most bike stores. Yet, if someone attempts to sell you a wrong product or size that’s unsuitable for you, leave immediately. Most popular shops are user-oriented and professional but don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself if you sense something fishy.
Repairs are an expense that people often neglect until it’s too late. The truth is that you can deal with minor bike issues on your own. Whether you’ll use guides online or consult bike shops, try to learn how to clean and disassemble various parts of the ride fast.
If you have the proper tools, you should be able to change the tires quickly. Also, don’t think that replacing the chain, pedals, handles, and even the brakes is rocket science. The only thing bicycle repairs require is to be extra careful not to turn a tiny problem into a major one.
Due maintenance will help you avoid daily fixes and visits to the bike repair shop. Hence, always keep the moving parts lubed, the bike cleaned, and the tires full of air. Besides, regular and thorough cleaning is the perfect excuse to inspect the ride. This way, you may unveil existing problems before they start to impact your rides.
Cycling has been facing a huge boom, and the demand for bikes is ever-growing due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, buying a new bicycle at a reasonable price may be more challenging. Whether you’re looking for a road, mountain, fitness, or any other set of bike wheels, some hacks can ease the pricing segment.
Are you a biking addict, too? Please, share your insights on how to purchase a bike on the cheap with us? Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to find super-helpful tips on buying various stuff on a tight budget.
What is the best inexpensive bicycle?
Finding the least expensive but best fitting bicycle for you is a demanding process. Overall, the Brooklyn Bicycle Company offers the best-priced rides for everyday use. Giant Contend 3 is an affordable road bike option for men, while Liv Avail 3 is ideal for women. Last, if you’re a beginner, with Tommaso Imola, you’ll get the best value for your money.
How much does a decent bike cost?
A reasonably-priced bike should cost you anywhere from $300 to above $1,000. With $500, you should be able to purchase an average ride with decent properties. Spending more money will get you a lightweight frame made of carbon fiber or aluminum. So, the higher the cost, the more high-strength steel and other high-quality components you get.
How should a beginner buy a bike?
First, decide what kind of riding you intend to do. Knowing what you’ll do narrows the bike range you’ll be considering. If you ride on the pavement and for exercise, a road or fitness bike is a good choice. A comfortable bicycle is better for short, casual rides with the family. Beginners should also do a test ride and seek advice from an expert on the essential add-ons. Last, buy during the sales and inspect the bike in person before purchasing.
Is it cheaper to build your bike or buy one?
Many believe that it costs way less to buy a complete bike than to build one up from a frame. Stores strike deals with component manufacturers to procure quantities that allow them to keep prices lower. Above all, the technical expertise of assembling a bike prevents many cyclists from attempting their builds. Yet, if you’re up for the challenge, plan well, have a detailed list of tasks, and stay organized. Approach the process of bike building from the frame up with the right mindset.