June 17, 2015

Best Time to Buy Bike

Read more about Best Cities for Biking

In the market for a new bike, but don't know where to begin the process? For starters, figure out a budget because bicycles range from under $100 to thousands of dollars. You don't want to get your heart set on a bike that you can't afford.

To keep your budget in check, add timing to your bike budget plan. If you’re able to wait out the on-season months, you can get a great deal on a new bicycle and you won’t have to skimp on quality. Here are the best times of the year to buy a bike, along with a few additional money-saving tips:

When is the Best Time to Buy a Bike

© Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

  • January
    When it’s yucky outside, the bike retailers bring out their deep discount signs. By January, any bikes they still have were not picked up as holiday presents and have little chance of leaving the shop floor until the snowstorms and rough road conditions are over. This makes retailers very amenable to lower prices on the chance that a smart consumer – perhaps you – will be enticed by a bargain to buy a bike during the off seasons. Also, new models start arriving in mid-February, so retailers want to get their excessive inventory cleared out to make space on the showroom floor.

  • September
    Cooler temperatures are around the corner, and the riding season is winding down. Bicycle shops have no desire to be inundated with stagnant inventory in the forthcoming months since the new models will be arriving. Expect steep price reductions on models that have been completely redesigned for the coming year.

How to Save Money Buying a Bike

  • Buy second hand
    Websites like BicycleTrader.com and Craigslist are a great way to narrow down both new and used options in your area. But be on the lookout for shadiness and do your homework. You will need to evaluate a few key factors, including the fit and if it closely aligns with your intended riding style, along with how it performs during a test spin.

    If you plan to spend a handsome amount of cash, find a comparable model at a nearby location to really get a sense of how much you should be paying. If you’re a stickler for a brand-new bike, you could get all accessories – except the helmet – second hand and make up for some of your bike’s price tag with significant savings. You can find items in great condition, particularly from people who thought they’d take up biking on a regular basis but just didn’t.

  • Shirk the brand loyalty
    Unless you are a stickler for a particular brand, think outside the box when shopping for a new bicycle. The brand is an indicator of style preferences, not necessarily performance. So pay close attention to the bells and whistles – and not the logo – on the model you’re evaluating to narrow down your options and save money.

  • Go for an older model
    If the current model only has minor variations in its parts and appearance, expect to save money by purchasing a dated model. But if the newer model is completely redesigned, then you may want to upgrade.

  • Negotiate
    In most instances, this only works for older or less expensive models because profit margins are thin on newer inventory. And if you can’t secure a lower price, try to negotiate free add-ons, including accessories, basic adjustments for a year, and service warranties.

  • Shop local
    You may not save money when making a purchase from a mom-and-pop shop versus a big-box retailer that sells certain brands, but you may find the service it provides over the life of your bike will be worth starting off there. To entice you, such shops may offer you a warranty that will keep you coming back for maintenance. Keep in mind that certain credit cards offer extended warranties as well.

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