Your Buying Guide To A Cheap, High-Quality Bike
Cycling is one of those sports that are often “prescribed” by doctors. It is low-impact on the joints and ideal for the individual who wants to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, cycling is one of those sports the entire family can get into. Kids love riding bikes, both as a solo activity and with their parents. For many kids, cycling is about the only activity that will entice them away from their video games and get them outside. However, a quick check on prices reveals that this sport is inherently expensive. Wal-mart — one of the cheapest places you could buy a bike — sells their bikes for about $100 each. And your local bike shop wants about $400 for their cheapest model. Suddenly, you are looking at investing $1600 for your family of 4 to get into the sport. It is, quite simply, not financially feasible for most families to buy everyone bikes at full retail. So, how does one go about affordably purchasing bikes for the entire family? Here are Four great locations to find the best deals on bikes, and 2 tips to make sure you get the best bike for the money.
Where To Find The Best Deals on Bicycles
- Buy Direct From The Manufacturer Online
There is an increasing trend where bike manufacturers are skipping the middleman and selling their bikes directly to the customers. There is a considerable amount of overhead required to maintain a bike shop. And, most customers are not going to visit the local bike store. So, bike manufacturers like Diamondback and Raleigh are finding a resurgence by selling online. They use marketplaces like Amazon or their own e-commerce stores to sell the bikes, and offer top-notch customer support by phone. Further helping the buying process is all of the bike review sites (davescheapbikes.com is one) who compare the different bicycles and helps new riders understand how to get the best value for their money.
- Buy From Pawn Shops
Pawn shops tend to get a large number of bicycles. It’s one of those items that folks can pawn off or sell when times get tight. Unfortunately, many of these bikes have been ridden hard and pawn shops don’t always offer the best prices. Be prepared to haggle them down another 20% to get it into a more desirable price range.
- Buy From Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
There is an amazing number of deals available on craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These private seller deals tend to move quickly, so be prepared to hunt for a few weeks to find the right deal. When possible, ride the bike before buying to make sure you are getting one that rides smoothly, shifts ok and is structurally sound. Also, check the tires for signs of excessive cracking or overuse. Bicycle repairs add up quickly. New tires can easily cost $30 a piece. With labor, a complete tire replacement can easily run $90. So make sure the bike you are purchasing does not require obvious repairs.
- Shop Garage Sales
Garage sales offer the best opportunity for getting the lowest price on your next bike. Often — especially in nice neighborhoods — the owners are less worried about getting top dollar for their items and more concerned about emptying their garage. After a test drive to make sure the bike works well, your basic negotiating skills should be able to get you a barely-used bike for only 25-40% of what it was worth new. The downside with shopping garage sales for this purchase is that you have to go from sale to sale to find the right bike. Plan on leaving the house first thing in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays until you find the right deal.
Tips On Getting The Correct Bike
- Get The Correct Size
Sizing is the most critical aspect when it comes to buying a bike. Bicycles come in different frames sizes. Now, this is important. Most of us have shopped bikes at Wal-Mart where they are sold by tire size. There are only about 4 major tire sizes sold, and this business model allows Wal-mart to carry a limited supply of bikes with a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy. The result is that they sell a lot of ill-fitting bicycles. What you should know is that every bike has its size. You can measure a bike’s size by taking a tape measure and measuring from the top of the frame tube under the seat, down to the middle of the cranks where they insert into the bike. This measurement is your “frame size.” Buying the wrong frame size can lead to knee and back pain, and makes riding your bike generally unenjoyable.
To determine the correct size for your height, you can use a handy guide like this one.
- Buy A Respected Brand
The market is currently flooded with heavy, poorly-made frames that are not designed to last past one season of use. Many of the brands that we grew to be in love with as kids have fallen prey to this corporate drive to create the cheapest bike for the lowest price. (mongoose and Schwinn are two such brands that come to mind). Choosing a high-end brand will help guarantee that the bike you are investing in will last five years or more with minimal maintenance. A partial list of these brands might include Diamondback, Raleigh, Giant, Trek, Specialize, Cannondale and Fuji. You can tell these bikes apart from the more cheaply made models because they will offer multiple sizes to ensure you get the correct fit. These brands are typically lighter than the cheaply-made bikes. Cycling is one of the best ways for the entire family to work out together and lose weight. If you are looking for the best ways to create a memorable childhood for your kids, cycling is an excellent way to do just that.