Best Time To Buy A Bicycle [New & Used Options]

It’s time to take your spin class out into the real world. Perhaps you will purchase a bicycle and ride to work or school.

Maybe your new bike will be a source of both entertainment and exercise. It could be new bike summer fun for the whole family. Trying to determine the best time to buy a new bicycle can leave you spinning.

The best time to buy a bicycle for a reduced price is during the fall and winter. Fewer people are buying bikes, and many shops are clearing out inventory for new models.

On the other hand, if you want the latest models, the best time to buy is in late spring and early summer when the latest styles hit the public market during major racing events. A year-round possibility for saving on a bicycle is to seek out a used bike that meets your needs.

Continue reading for specific ideas on saving money when shopping for bikes and cycling accessories and where to shop to meet your lifestyle needs.

The Best Time Of Year To Buy A Bicycle

Save During Holiday Sales

Some people need a new bike for everyday use, like toodling around the neighborhood or enjoying a family bike ride.

Bikes that fall into this category are likely to be on sale around major holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Christmas.

Memorial Day is right at the beginning of summer when many people have more time in their schedule for leisure activities.

Labor Day sales may focus on bikes for college students returning to campus. And of course, Christmas and other mid-winter holidays are gift-giving occasions for all. 

Shop Overstocks And Last Year’s Models

More committed cyclists who know they want a specific style or bicycle brand may be able to save some money in the fall and early winter when bike shops are clearing out old stock and models to prepare for the following year’s models.

You may not get exactly what you are looking for, but it is possible to come close and save some money. 

Find The Newest Models And Features


Serious cyclists searching for the perfect bicycle may find that price is less of a concern than having all the absolutely correct components.

In this case, shopping for a new bicycle model in April to early summer is probably the best bet.

This is a racing season, and the latest models and features are more likely to be readily available in shops.

Ways To Save On A Bicycle

Establish Your Budget

Budgets for a bicycle can range from under $200 to $10,000, depending on the materials, construction, brands, and needs you to have for a bike.

Choosing your bicycle to fit your body and your needs exactly will make your cycling experience more positive.

Spending a little more on a quality, comfortable bike that will last you for years to come is a worthwhile investment.

Bicycle Basics

For a basic bicycle that you will only use occasionally, you can find reasonable prices at a big box store like Target or Wal-Mart.

These bikes will be off the rack and not have any customizations. They are likely to be less than $200, and therefore affordable for almost any budget.

Customizable Comfort

Your local bike shop will offer better bicycles assembled by experts. They will also be able to help you find one that fits your size and your needs precisely.

Most bikes can be customized so that the bike you purchase is exactly what you need. 

The prices at the bike shop are going to be higher than those at a big box store. The profit margin for a local bike shop may be anywhere between 20-35 percent depending on the agreement they have with various manufacturers.

However, remember that slim profit goes toward overhead, assembly, and paying for knowledgeable staff to help you with the perfect bicycle. 

If you are shopping at a local store, you are more likely to find a discount on biking accessories like helmets, water bottles, repair kits, carriers and baskets, and clothing.

These items tend to have wider profit margins than bikes do. When you purchase from a local bike shop, ask if they offer a package deal on cycling accessories.

Decide On A Demo

Demo bikes are floor model bicycles. Many bike shops allow prospective buyers to rent a sample bike for a few days to try it out and see if they are comfortable with it.

These slightly used bikes are well maintained by the shop but are not sold as new. You may be able to score a sale on one of the demo bikes when the manufacturer discontinues that style. 

Consider A Used Bicycle

With some careful consideration, you may be able to buy an excellent used bicycle. A casual rider may find an acceptable option at garage sales or estate sales.

Furthermore, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and e-Bay may offer some possibilities for well used bicycles. 

However, just like buying a used car, buying a used bike has its pitfalls. If you are new to purchasing a used bicycle and looking for a high-end one, you should ask an experienced cyclist to check out the bike.

You will want to ensure that the previous owner made any repairs correctly and that there are no cracked parts or hidden damage.

Several online resellers offer used bicycles. The Pro’s Closet has in-house mechanics that check over their used bicycles before listing them for sale.

They also have a 30-day return policy. Bike Exchange sells used bikes, new bike parts, and they also connect retailers across the country to bring the customer the perfect bicycle. 

Bicycle BlueBook is a site that allows you to evaluate your bicycle for its value, and to buy, sell, and trade bikes.

Where Can I Buy A New Bike

Department Stores

New bikes with no customization are available at many department stores, sporting goods stores, and big-box stores.

Target, Wal-Mart, and Academy are all good places to shop for an inexpensive basic bike to get around in your neighborhood. 

Local Bike Shops

If you want to have a better bike that is more specific to your needs, visit your local bike shop.

The experts there will help you find the style, size, materials, and customizations that will make the bike perfect for you and your needs. 

Online Retailers

Online retailers have a wide selection of bikes and often have lower prices than your local bike shop.

If you know exactly what you want (size, frame, tires, etc.), you can be successful in ordering from an online retailer. Try Chain Reaction Cycles, BikesDirect, Bicycle Warehouse, and Universal Cycles.

However, if you don’t know what you are looking for, you can’t try out the bike if it is online.

You should also pay careful attention to return policies and warranties offered online.

If you are purchasing directly from a manufacturer or through an online bike shop, you will get a manufacturer warranty.

On the other hand, if you are shopping at a third-party online seller, you may not have access to the manufacturer’s warranty. Amazon, Costco, and Sam’s sell bicycles and bike accessories.

What To Consider When Choosing A Bicycle

The Purpose Of Your Bicycle

As you are looking for a good deal on a bicycle, be sure to consider the features you need. Think about the purpose of the bike you want to buy.

If you are primarily cruising around town leisurely, then a city bike is the broad category you should begin looking in.

For traveling quickly on paved roads, you should look for a road bike. Finally, if you want to go off-road on dirt paths, a mountain bike is the appropriate choice. 

Choose The Right Size

Picking the right size bicycle is like buying the right size pair of jeans. The fit may vary between styles and brands and sometimes even between bicycles. It is important to “try on” the bike for the best fit. 

You need to know your height and your inseam length when you start shopping for bikes.

Also, be aware that size is more than just the height of the frame. You will also need to consider the distance and angle from the saddle to the handlebars, the height of the handlebars, and the standover height, which is the distance between your body and the frame when you are standing over it.

The size of the wheels and the position of the pedals are further measurements that genuinely make your bike riding experience comfortable.

Bicycle Frame Materials

Bicycle frames are the central piece of the bicycle. The composition of the frame determines how heavy or light the bike will be, and therefore how much more weight you will be propelling as you pedal.

The lightest frames are carbon fiber. Aluminum or a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber are common and the most affordable lightweight frame materials.

For high-end bikes (at a high-end price), titanium bike frames are incredibly light and strong. Chromoly steel is another light and strong but less common frame material. 


Advice for Buying A Bike

Take Test Rides

You can’t get a feel for different bicycle styles unless you try them out. Find out what is comfortable for you by riding a variety of bikes.

Try Several Different Brands And Styles

Just like changing jeans, other brands of bicycles will feel different. You may find that one is simply more comfortable for you.

Don’t Settle For “Almost Right” 

Your bike should be an investment you keep for many years. Be sure that it is exactly what you need when you make that decision.

Ask Questions

Talk to the salespeople at your local bike shop. They will have the best answers to the questions you have about buying the perfect bike. 

Be Honest About Your Riding Goals

While you may have dreams of riding on mountain trails, be realistic about how you are truly going to use your bike. You will be much more comfortable riding your bike to work if it is a city bike.

Remember To Pick Up Accessories For Your Convenience And Safety

Helmets save lives. Always wear a helmet when riding a bike. You can also invest in other safety features such as a light. You should also add an air pump and a water bottle cage. 

Build A Relationship With Your Local Bike Shop

The staff at your local bike shop can help you learn to care for your bike and do minor repairs like changing an inner tube and maintaining the chain. 

Final Thoughts

Buying a great bike is an investment in your health and enjoyment. You can save money by shopping during the off-season, winter, or when bike shops are clearing out their inventory for new models.

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