Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a Budget?

Published on the 10th of November, 2022 by Cycling Bargains

Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a Budget?


Although the price of new bikes has shot up in recent years, it is still possible to find good or high-quality Bikes, Bicycles or Equipment at reasonable or budget prices – if you know where to look.


If it's keeping an eye on the best bike deals or choosing from one of the best cheap road bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes or e-bikes etc. there are plenty of sources.


But there are still problems you can run into,it's easy to waste money spending in the wrong areas if your budget is large or small, maximize what you are getting for your money by considering the following.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


Most fundamental to ensure you won't need an early upgrade after you've bought a bike, is to ensure you're getting the right bike initially for the kind of riding that you want to do.


If you want a bike to commute to work on - no matter the weather - a dedicated road bike with narrow clearances and no frame mounts is likely to cause frustrations and not meet your requirements. Going for a bike which can fit wider tyres, mudguards and even the option for a pannier rack will be much more likely to fulfill your commuting needs.


Or if you want to dip your toes into road cycling for the first time, choosing a bike with drop handlebars rather than a straight bars will put you in a far more efficient riding position for covering the miles more efficiently and faster.


Or looking to enter a few road races, make sure you’re getting a bike with the right road bike geometry for yourself, fairly lightweight, responsive and with appropriate gear ratios. Wheel and tyre selection is also very important here.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


The good thing about bikes is there is always room for upgrades if you need them. Over time you can build it into your dream bike, but do you buy a bike with a good quality frame but cheaper components, or a bike with a cheaper frame and better more costly components?.


In the majority of cases, you should go for the better frame with the cheaper budget components. There are a few reasons for this, one main reason being buying a frame on its own is surprisingly more expensive, often costing not much more than a complete bike.


The second is if you try and upgrade your frame later, you may well find many of the components already on your bike are not compatible with the new frame, meaning you’ll have to replace them too.


If you buy a good quality frame and upgrade the equipment that it came with later on, there will be no issues with cross compatibility.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


Your next road bike needn't be carbon - aluminum can be a better choice. Carbon frames can be made lighter, aerodynamic and dampen vibrations well. But these properties can exist in a good quality alloy frame.


Cheap carbon bikes cut corners here, so you can end up with a bike that doesn’t save weight and has a harsh ride quality. Aluminum is a cheaper material to work with, so for the same price you can get greater workmanship.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


It’s easy to get sucked into a 'higher numbers = better' mentality. But it helps to think objectively about your requirements and whether the extra gear will actually help you, or if it’s an area where you can save some money.


An 11-speed cassette doesn’t make you 10% faster than a 10-speed cassette would. There are two benefits an extra gear can bring, the first is that you can have more closely spaced gears for the same gearing range. That means your top gear and bottom gear remain the same, but the jumps between gears are slightly smaller, and thus you are less likely to find yourself stuck between one that’s too hard and one that’s too easy.


Alternatively, you could use that extra gear to increase your gearing range and keep with the same gaps between the gears. This means you can have an easier bottom gear or a harder top gear, but the jumps between the gears will therefore remain the same.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)

You can be sure that you are getting a good quality bike if you buy it from any of the big bike brands, such as Giant, Specialized or Cannondale, as they have their reputations to uphold. But, as these brands have such a degree of name recognition, you are paying for their name on the downtube as well.


Halfords and Decathlon have their own in-house bike brands and can match the Specializeds and Treks of the world pretty closely for economics of scale, but without the added price of brand name. Although significantly cheaper, many of these bikes are still really high quality, and their bikes can still impress you.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


You really can grab a bargain in the sales. When a brand launches its next year's bike models, most of the time it will just be a new colour scheme or maybe a few component changes - essentially the same bike as the previous year, but now at a higher price.


Holding off buying your bike until the sales start is an effective way of maximising what you can get for your budget. Brands tend to start releasing new models in September, so that is a good time to be on the lookout for previous year models and bargains.


(Tips for Buying a Cheap Bike on a budget)


Kit-wise, you’ll want at the very least a set of cycling specific shorts and a jersey along with a helmet. Getting some arm and leg warmers along with a rain jacket will greatly increase the range of conditions you’ll find comfortable to cycle in.


The bare necessities when it comes to tools are a set of Allen keys, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, pump and spare inner tubes. Although getting a proper tool set might be a little large of an initial outlay, being able to repair your bike yourself will save you a lot of money in the long run over taking it to a bike shop.