When you are considering buying a new bike, it’s worth taking a little extra time to ensure that you make the right decision. Not only in terms of which bike you should get and what accessories, but also taking into account when you purchase. The best time to buy a bike may seem to be: right now! But there are some key things you should consider before making the plunge.
Making a decision on buying a bike is actually a very tricky situation. If you just head out and buy one, you risk making the wrong choice which will inevitably lead to discomfort, less usage, or of course, a waste of your cash. Once you’ve made your decision on the type of bike you want, the most important thing to consider is when to buy a new bike.
In this article we’ll look at the top 5 key strategies to making sure that you get the best deal possible, and that you’ll be happy with your choice.
When You Actually Have Time to Use it
Whether you’re planning to use your new bike for off-road riding, distance travel, racing or even just getting from A to B, planning your usage schedule will help you get the most out of your new purchase. Before spending your hard-earned cash, look at your upcoming schedule and decide if you’re going to have the time to make use of your bike.
Do you have a busy work month coming up? Are you going to be away on holiday? If you were to buy your new bike today, when is the soonest time you’ll be able to make use of it?
With bikes more than any other big purchase, how we start tends to be how we carry on. Unless you’re already a major cyclist, getting a new bike probably means that you’re looking to make some changes. We are all creatures of habit, and habits need to be formed. Consider how much use you will get in the first week, or the first month, and then plan your purchase accordingly.
If you can make a schedule that allows you to use your bike for three or four good sessions each week, then now is the right time to buy. If not, then check your calendar and plan ahead.
Studies suggest that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. If you are buying a new bike with the intention of getting healthy or changing your transportation system, then you should allow yourself a clear three weeks to make use of it. Remember that it’s easier to start something then it is to stop it.
Are You Mentally Ready?
Buying a new bike can be an expensive act. There are several things you can do to ensure that you’re ready for the plunge. If you’re not quite ready to either get started with cycling, or get rid of your old faithful bike, this can really affect your cycling wellness.
Put together a mental checklist to see if you’re ready for the plunge. Here are a few ideas that you can ponder to see if it’s the right time to buy.
- Is this worth replacing? If you’re already a keen cyclist and have a bike that fits your cycling style, consider why you want to replace it. Is it worn out? Are you after a new type of bike and biking style? Do you just fancy a change and will a different bike help you achieve that change?
- Is this a new hobby? Should this be your first foray into cycling, consider if you’re ready to take the plunge with a fully-kitted bike. Is it worth starting with a cheaper town bike to see if you actually get into the cycling habit? Should you consider borrowing a bike for a few weeks to see if you can get into the habit? Have you got enough time and activities set up to make sure you’re going to get the most out of a new bike?
- Have you done enough research? Making sure that you know what type of bike will fit in with your goals is a key consideration. Once you’ve actually bought the bike, changing your mind or your desires is going to be a huge deal. Buyer’s regret is a very real and very frustrating thing.
If you make the wrong decision, not only will you not get the usage out of but it will eventually die of rust in your garage. Making sure you get the right bike to suit your needs is a key factor. Be prepared, do your research and take the time to figure out exactly what kind of bike you will get the most use out of.
Is Your Budget High Enough Right Now to Get the Bike You Really Want?
This is an important question. Your main consideration when buying a new bike should never be “Is this the cheapest bike available?” This will only lead to regret, and worse, lack of use. If you are just looking for a simple bike to take out every couple of months or to make your ½ mile trek to the shops a little easier, then sure, get the cheapest bike you can.
But if you’re looking for a little something extra in terms of riding and comfort, then take some time to consider your budget. The costs of bikes vary according to many factors. Such as:
- Steel frame vs. aluminum frame vs carbon frame: While steel frames tend to be a little cheaper, aluminum frames weighs less. This may not seem too important for short jaunts, but if you are planning on any longer treks, the added weight can become really tiring and make those last miles drag on and on. Carbon frames are top of the line and the lightest on the market: is this something you want to pay for and will it enhance your riding experience enough for the added cost?
- Disk brakes vs. Linear pull brakes: Getting the right braking system for your cycling style could not possibly be any more important. In terms of your personal safety, brakes are one of the most important considerations. Again, if you are only doing quick errands on regular roads at fairly comfortable speeds, then linear pull brakes will do you just fine.
However, if you are going to be moving at high speeds up and down hills, around tracks (or blind country-road corners), then having fitted disk brakes can literally be the difference between life and death. This is an area that you really don’t want to skimp on.
- Gear system: Depending on the type of cycling you intend to do, choosing the right gear system can affect your comfort and endurance levels greatly. Think about where you’re going to be riding. Are there a lot of hills? Is it mostly flat roads? What condition are the tracks you’re going to be riding on in?
Having multiple gear settings will determine how easily you can make your journey. The option of creating varied gear ratios can make your travel more enjoyable, more comfortable and certainly less tiring. If you are planning on a long trek over varied terrain, you are more likely to manage it with a wider range of gear options.
- Suspension: If you can afford a good suspension system, your back and shoulders will thank you on every journey you take. If you are planning to do any off-roading at all, good suspension is a necessity.
It doesn’t just protect your body from the worst of juddering and bumps, it also protects your bike’s frame and wheels leading to a longer service and usability life. If, however, your cycling is going to be mostly on nice, smooth roads, then this is an expense you can probably do without.
If you have considered all of the expense factors and realized that you can’t quite get all of the aspects you need, then hold off on buying right now. Save up a little and get the bike that will really fit your needs, the time you have to wait will be far less of a problem than the regret you’ll feel from not getting the bike that’s just right for you.
The “Special” Times of Year
There are several times of year when you can get a bargain price on a bike.
- After Christmas is a well known sale time for most items, and this applies to bicycles too. Bikes are a popular Christmas gift, so shops generally slow down a bit post-holiday, and anyone who’s ever taken a business course knows that lack of demand makes for low prices. So instead of treating yourself to that expensive racing bike for a Christmas present, try waiting until January and you may find that you can get a better deal on the same product.
- No one except for really hardcore cycling enthusiasts wants to ride in cold and wet weather, which means that winter is a slow time for bike shops. Spring and summer are the real peak seasons for bike sellers, so they aren’t too likely to be offering bargains during the warmer seasons. Winter months offer more possibilities for reduced prices, as bike shops are looking to drum up business and attract customers. Shop around at several stores and compare prices to see where you can get the best offer.
- Most bike manufacturers bring out their new models at the same time of year. That is, around September. This means that the subsequent weeks are an ideal time to buy a bike, if you are looking for a discount deal. Those few weeks are when the old models get reduced to clearance prices, as bicycle shops are trying to make space for the new arrivals.
Although manufacturers may tweak their bike designs every year, there aren’t necessarily going to be ground-breaking redesigns every season, so new models may not always be worth the hefty price tag. A different paint job or minor part upgrade isn’t going to make that much of a difference to your riding.
Waiting for huge discounts can be a risky balancing act however; the old models have been available for a year at this point, and as they get reduced in price, the popular ones are likely to sell out, especially in average sizes. If you need an unusually large or small frame size, this is going to suit you, but anyone looking for an average sized bike shouldn’t leave it too late.
- Maybe a bargain price isn’t your priority. Some people love having the newest models and state of the art features, either for showing off, or because they enjoy a high-quality piece of equipment. If you want the newest models on the market, September to November is the best time to look, since brand new products are coming to market then.
If you can’t afford a brand new bike, or simply don’t feel it’s necessary for your level of riding, then think about going for a used one. The best time for this is going to be just following the peak buying times for new bikes.
The weeks leading up to Christmas are a huge time for bike sales, as people are buying gifts for their cyclist loved ones. Just imagine it: Christmas morning and Santa’s left you a brand new fancy bicycle under the tree. You can’t wait jump on and start using it. But what do you do with your old bike?
It’s still in passable condition. It doesn’t have the style and up market technology of your new bike, but it seems a shame to toss it in the dumpster all the same. It served you well over the years, after all. So, what do you do? Then the answer comes to you: sell it!
This is good news for people looking to buy at a low price, if you don’t mind a bike that’s been a little pre-loved. You can get some really good deals, as people upgrade and want to sell their old bikes. Most people who are looking to upgrade their bikes are likely be enthusiastic cyclists and therefore to have a quality bike in the first place. Browsing the classifieds or trading websites at certain times of year can yield some spectacular bargains, depending on the seller.
Good times to be on the lookout are: the days and weeks after Christmas and September-October, when new models are released and people are upgrading, then selling their old models. If you don’t want to wait until then, it’s always worth having a quick look at the second-hand market, as you never know what you’re going to find and you can strike gold at any time of year.
If you’ve taken all of the above into consideration, then you’re ready to purchase with confidence. A bike is not just a mode of transport; it’s a tool, a hobby, an expression of your living vitality and much, much more.
Once you’ve taken the time to make the right decision, you can relax and enjoy your bike without the nagging doubts of making the wrong decision. Make an informed choice to make the right decision for yourself.