Summary: Having determined the type of bicycle and equipment that best suits your needs you then have to figure out how to get it for the lowest cost. This post provides some tips on how to do so. This enables your budget to go further so that you can get a better quality bike given the money you spend or save some money for other equipment or future maintenance.
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by nevil zaveri
Note: These tips are for buying new bikes not used. You need access to someone with decent experience with bicycle components and how to inspect one if buying a used bike. Otherwise, stick to new bikes unless your budget gives you no other choice.
1. Be flexible and identify a few suitable bike brands/models to search for
- If you find a few suitable bikes of similar type but different brands or models you are more likely to find one of them on special during the period you are looking - especially if they are popular models sold by several retailers.
2. Monitor bike listing websites and retailer's websites for temporary specials
- Bike listing websites in your country that list bikes from all retailers are the best way to find all suitable bicycles within your budget. In Australia, the best one is www.bikeexchange.com.au.
- Once you've identified certain suitable bicycles, if you can be a little flexible with timing, it's worth monitoring the site for temporary specials as old stock is regularly placed on sale to clear it. On most listing websites, the discount from the regular price is often listed; while this may be slightly inflated sometimes it is still a decent indicator of better value.
- Most bicycle retailer's websites and e-newsletters also contain regular bike specials so check these directly too. Different bicycles may go on sale on rotation and particularly during key sales periods like the end of the financial year.
3. Go for last year's model not the latest model
- All brand name bicycle models have yearly releases and generally there is only minimal difference in components yet the price of the latest model is often significantly higher than last year's model - which is often on sale. Last year's model is virtually always better value in this circumstance.
4. Only change components from the stock offering if it saves money
- If you want some different components to the stock offering (e.g. gears, handlebars, seat) try to negotiate this as part of the bike purchase so that you aren't paying full price as components are always cheaper online.
- Components that are significantly cheaper online/elsewhere and are easy to replace yourself can be a way to save money by buying them from the cheaper outlet rather than with the bike. E.g. Racks, panniers, wheels, tyres and other detachable accessories.
5. Buy from a local, physical store that will do quick repairs/replacements and low-cost upgrades
- Generally it is always best to buy your bicycle from a physical store you can readily get to as during the first 12 months (main warranty period) you may need to get components tuned, repaired or even replaced. Upgrades are also generally less costly if buying from the store you bought your bike from as they will often be fitted for free.
6. If really stretched for the initial bike cost try an auction site
- Auction sites are not desirable places to buy bicycles as it will be more problematic to get warranty repairs or replacements. However, some auction sites re-sell new bikes for less than wholesale prices as they are simply getting rid of the property ASAP for the best price.
- In Australia, http://www.graysonline.com is one auction site that regularly lists bicycles and bike equipment for clearance at below wholesale prices or sometimes even cost price.