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Wondering where to start to buy a bicycle? It’s not complicated if you have a clear idea of what you want, have a budget, know what size frame suits your measurement, and know that it’s available for you to collect or to receive delivery of.
If you’re disciplined enough to save money, and have a specific model in mind before the day that your piggy bank is brimming, I doff my cap to you. Most of us are in a perpetual whirlwind of advertising, dreams and reality-avoidance, biting at upgrade offers and being drawn in by new models, or the promise of new components.
But when is the best time to buy a bicycle? We’ll try to put some context onto the process that manufacturers and dealers follow when they put that lovely sale sticker on a prized machine. We also offer a guide to how much you should spend on a bike here.
When Do Bicycles Go on Sale?
The prime time for bicycles to go on sale is in the Autumn / Fall. Manufacturers are busying their machine processes with schedules for new models, and are happy to start to offload older models. This definitely does not mean you will be buying an outdated model. Bicycle design is timeless, after all.
This time of year coincides with the warmer weather drawing to a close, and the shutters being drawn down once more on the majority of the racing seasons within cycling. Manufacturers, dealers and retailers are all seeking to replenish their stock, and so it’s out with the old, in with the new.
You will find stores and websites bursting with tempting offers. It’s a complex maze which can be made easier with some selective filtering. Go armed with a knowledge of the correct frame size and crucially, work out what the sizes extra small to extra large equate to in centimetres. You’re going to want to know how the sizes stack up against traditional units of measurement.
Have a really tight grip on your budget and stick to it. This will inevitably help you make a decision whether to buy a bicycle quickly. It’s important to act fast as the marketplace for bicycles is global. There could be tens of thousands of pairs of eyes looking at the same pictures as you. By being clear about what you can spend, you’ll spend less time deliberating.
Many sites will keep the models on sale until all frame sizes are exhausted. The most popular are usually in the small-middle range. Don’t be too disappointed to see that the only model still on sale is 62cm.
What Time of Year Are Bikes Cheapest?
Christmas is another very good time to buy a bicycle, with Black Friday proving to be as popular as ever. But in many cases, the advertising of these types of deals is simply an extension of offers held over from the Autumn / Fall.
Big retailers who do not exclusively sell bicycles are very likely to have promotions during the Christmas period, to coincide with sales across their other departments. This is when you are most likely to find that bikes are at their cheapest.
If you are new to cycling and want to avoid specifically haggling with a local dealer, then a Christmas trip down to Decathlon or Halfords (country specific) will usually find prices at their lowest.
In markets across the world, bicycle prices will also be lowered when the specific season for that model comes to an end. High-end road bikes with thinner tyres are ridden less after the Autumn / Fall – hence their reductions at that time. You’ll probably find that commuters or hybrids are evergreen, especially as you can accessorise them with wet and cold weather protection very easily.
How Do I Get a Good Deal on a Bike?
Research and planning are needed to ensure 100% customer satisfaction in securing a good deal. You can go very deep and prepare yourself for a model coming to the end of the line, or a groupset of components being run-off. The spectre of retail store closures could mean a good deal too.
One great example of a good deal would be when a manufacturer considers a moving part to be superfluous. The rim-brake, considered a staple of road and urban machines for decades, is close to being phased out, from the top down. If you are willing to adopt this trusted ‘legacy’ of cycling, you will easily snap up a great deal.
Dealers are usually given scope to offer a discount on a bicycle, but retailers warn that this is paper-thin at the outset. If you haggle over a package deal including accessories, clothing, and replacement parts, you might get a better overall deal. The discounts offered on these vital additions to your wardrobe and riding comfort are considered to be larger.
We have talked about shortages in the supply of models and technology – something affecting global economics. Unfortunately when supply slows down the price of existing models does not alter by as much as usual, or the good deals thin out to models which may not have originally appeared on your shopping list.
Buying a demo bike might be a consideration. They are less likely to have been ridden under duress and most imperfections are minor. A retailer has to be upfront and clear with you. There are pitfalls at any time in buying second-hand, some of which we explore here.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Bicycle?
Your research identifies a model coming to the end of its production and the end of the ‘season’ for that particular discipline of cycling. You have the cash. That would be a great time to buy a bicycle and strike a deal – regardless of the time of year. Within a calendar year, the Autumn / Fall might be best.
It pays to do some research and identify when the end of life for a model might be. Your dealer may even be willing to give you notice. Bicycles can be like cars in that it takes a lot of R&D time to make significant changes in models and mid-life changes tend to be cosmetic. It’s sometimes better to wait for the end of the line.