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Why Are Bikes So Expensive? [EXPLAINED]

If you have been looking at buying a new bike you might have found yourself wondering why some are so expensive. While for most basic bikes the price can be quite reasonable factors like specialist parts, construction materials, brand and activity can all attribute to high costs. 

Have Bike Prices Gone Up?  

Let’s be honest things just aren’t as cheap as they used to be. Thankfully, for most bikes the price rise has mostly been in line with inflation. With a bog-standard city bike or mountain bike will only cost around £150-400.   

In fact, even the price of electric bikes is not as high as they once were, mostly due to the boom in popularity and a wider availability on the market. Granted they will probably still cost you closer to £1000 than £500 for a basic one. 

However, this may not be the case for long as costs of raw materials may cause prices to jump in the not-too-distant future. This can already be seen in the prices of some of the ultra-light bikes that are on the market. 

Why Do Bicycles Have Such Different Prices?  

To start with features, the type of brake, wheel, seats, and number of gears are all things that can raise the price of a bike. The most expensive feature a bike can have is a battery.  

Like in most electronics, there are different battery sizes available for E-bikes with the smallest size generally being both the weakest and cheapest and a bigger battery giving you a better range but at a more premium price. You can discover which e-bikes have the longest range here.

SOURCE: Unsplash.com

Another feature that increases the cost is the frame. The majority of bikes are made of aluminium alloy but there are some very expensive bikes made of carbon fibre, some of which can be more expensive than a small car.  

Recently issues in supply have caused price increases due to factors such as Brexit and shipping delays which have then caused shortages. Bikes with more exotic parts are the most affected by this which don’t help their already high prices. 

Is It Worth Paying More for a Bike? 

At the end of the day, it depends on you. What’s your budget? What are the must-have features for you? Electric or peddle power? These are things that you should be thinking about before you spend big.  

If you’re really not sure how much to spend, check out our guide on how much you should spend on a bike here.

For most people looking for a bike to get some exercise in or for a commute to work, it’s worth noting that there are some pretty decent bikes on the market from shops such as Decathlon and even some supermarkets will surprise you with decent quality bikes for a very affordable price.  

If you’re on a budget and want something specific it is well worth looking into getting a preowned bike. Places like eBay, gumtree, and Facebook are good places to start. It’s even better if you can see it in person before you buy so you can check out the hard-to-replace bits such as the breaks so you don’t need to pay out later for repairs or parts.  

Pete Reynolds


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Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile