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It might not take a huge stretch of imagination, but let’s say you’re thinking about buying a new bike.
Should you just go out and buy one?
Of course, you can rush out any buy the first bike that takes your fancy. But that’s rarely the best approach.
When is the best time to buy a bike?
Picking the right time to buy your bicycle can save you significant money. In this article, we’ll tell you when and how to strike!
When Are The Best Times To Buy A Bike?
If you have the patience to wait it out, certain times of year are more favorable for buying a new bike.
In The Fall
The best time of the year to buy a new bike at a discounted price is during the fall. In the US and Europe, that means around September and October after the cycling season has drawn to a close.
It’s during the fall that bike brands are looking to clear inventory in readiness for new bike models early the following year. In particular, you’ll get good prices on bikes being discontinued or revamped.
Naturally, when there’s a worldwide shortage of bikes owing to a pandemic or other crisis, you may have a little more trouble sourcing bikes. But fall (or autumn in the UK) is a great time to pick up a bargain.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday is normally the fourth Friday of November and Cyber Monday is the following Monday. Cyber Week follows Cyber Monday among some stores.
These commercial dates are observed by the US, much of Europe, and other countries worldwide. They mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and they’re especially useful for picking up online deals. You might find bargains in shops, too.
What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? In theory, Black Friday is the day when you’re more likely to find bike bargains, while Cyber Monday is more for small electronic gizmos. But in reality, these lines are blurred.
You have to be very quick off the mark to pick up a bike in your size during these sales, especially if your bike size is average. Be on the starting blocks for Black Friday, as bargains inevitably dwindle the more hesitant you are.
What About Christmas?
There’s no real benefit in waiting to the Christmas holidays before buying a bike. In fact, there’s a disadvantage because many of the end-of-season stock from the fall will have been sold off.
Even so, it might be possible to take advantage of seasonal deals from bike vendors or benefit from salespeople in the holiday spirit.
Early Season / Early Spring
If it’s the latest tech you’re after and not bargain prices, time your purchases to coincide with the beginning of the cycling season. That’s likely to be February and March if you’re in the US or Europe.
During the early part of the season, fewer leisure cyclists are riding because the weather is often unwelcoming. If you leave it until summer, you might struggle to find the bike you want, whether online or at your local bike shop.
Bikes are always evolving one way or another. In the past few years, we’ve had a major shift towards disc brakes, aerodynamic bike design, and 1X drivetrains with a single chainring up front.
Buying during early season is one way of bringing your bike up to speed—perhaps literally—if you want the latest and greatest.
Summer is not the time to grab a bargain, but it can be easier to buy a bike in June or July. This is when bike shops greatly increase their stock. There are many fair-weather cyclists in the world and far fewer who ride through the winter.
Of course, this increased summer stock exists to meet an increased demand. So, it makes sense to talk with your local bike shop before peak time arrives (e.g., around May). You’d be lucky to walk into a bike shop and find your ideal bike waiting for you.
When demand for bikes is high and starts to outstrip supply, you may find yourself paying more for some bikes and components than expected. The secondhand market is worth exploring, that being the case.
Are Bicycle Prices Negotiable?
Whether a bike price is negotiable or not largely depends on what bike it is, whether or not it’s the latest model, and what time of year it is. In the latter respect, it’s closely related to the best buying times discussed above.
If you’re looking for discount on a bike that is about to be replaced and needs to be shifted, maybe you’ll get 5% to 10% off if you’re lucky. On a newly released bike, the odds of getting a reduction are slimmer.
There is more than one way to haggle for a bike. You can request “discount for cash”, as a cash payment saves the store from having to pay credit card fees. Or you can act indecisive and hope to get offered an incentive to buy.
Even when the shop owner refuses to lower the bike price, you may be able to negotiate some freebies to sweeten the deal. You may be able to upgrade tires, for instance. New bikes often come with mediocre tires, so why not fish for better ones?
It always helps if you shop regularly at your local bike shop. A regular customer stands a better chance of being offered discounts. As well, it helps if it’s an independent bike store rather than a chain store.
Quick Tips On Buying A Bike
Before you even think about the best time to buy a bike, it helps to know what exactly you’re looking for and how to approach a bike purchase.
Where And How Will You Ride Your Bike?
The places where you expect to ride a bike and the way you’re likely to ride should help you find the right bike for you. So, what bikes are out there?
Here are most of the common bike types:
- Road bike – for fast and efficient riding on paved roads. Road bikes can be designed purely for performance or for comfort over long distances.
- Gravel bike – similar to road bikes but with a more relaxed geometry and wider tires. Ideal for gravel roads or easier MTB trails.
- Cyclocross bike – like gravel bikes but with more aggressive geometry and agile handling. Usually designed for racing.
- Touring bike – like a road bike but has more relaxed geometry and responsive handling to counteract carrying weight (i.e., with panniers).
- Cruiser – meant for slow leisure rides over flat terrain.
- Mountain bike (MTB) – ideal for off-road riding. Hardtail MTBs are good for smooth trails or cross-country riding. Full-suspension MTBs are for more demanding terrain and downhill riding.
- Hybrid – a blend of road bike and mountain bike, so you can go off-road to some extent and ride moderately quickly on the pavement.
- Urban or commuter bike – a bike for city riding that encourages an upright posture and generally has fewer gears than a hybrid bike.
- BMX bike – used mainly for performing tricks.
The question of how you envisage riding a bike is vital. If you enjoy riding quickly and place a high emphasis on fitness, a fast road bike might suit you. On the other hand, a more laid-back bike like a cruiser is great for gliding around town or along seafronts.
Check Out Bikes At Your Local Bike Shop
The benefit of going to your local bike shop is that you can usually test ride bikes you’re interested in. Although the ride will usually be a short one, it’ll help you get a feel for a bike and whether you enjoy riding it.
Try to test-ride two or three bikes.
Video: Test Ride Bikes At The Bike Shop
If you can, resist test-riding a bike at the shop and then buying the same bike online for less money. Bike shops need support and they’re useful to have around when you need urgent spares or repairs.
Buying Bikes Online
If you have a fair idea about what you’re looking for or seek a specific model of bike, buying online may be better for you. Prices are likely to be cheaper online, too, though of course you don’t benefit from the bike-fitting expertise of a shop.
Don’t forget to pick up essential accessories when you buy your bike, or even beforehand. Requisite items might include a helmet, water bottle cage, water bottle, puncture repair kit and spare tubes, a bike pump, lights and a bell.
The kind of riding you anticipate doing helps shape the shopping list.
Conclusion: Ready To Buy?
The aim of this article is to help you plan your bike purchase.
Any kind of cycling will improve your aerobic fitness, so what other reasons do you have to buy a bike? What terrain will you cycle on, and how far will you go in one ride? Are you aiming to bike-commute, race or tour?
Crystalize any cycling aims or ambitions you have in your mind and the correct buying choices should start to emerge.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to leave a comment or share it with friends. Happy riding!