As a long-term bikepacker who was in the market for a new bike, I realised just how confusing it can be to work out how much you should be spending. In this article I take a detailed look into this topic, to help new and hobby cyclists alike decide just how much they should be spending on a bike, and clarify how much a bikepacking bike should cost.
Bikepackers spend an average of $1000 to $3000 on a bike. This is less than the cost of bikes used by professional cyclists which is around $15,000. If you buy a bike second-hand, you are likely to save around 40% of the price of the bike, however, you will lose out on certain benefits such as a warranty.
So, we can see that most cyclists spend between $1000 and $3000 on a new bike, but why spend this much money if there are some bikes available for $150? I take a more detailed look into how much you should be spending on your bike, as well as how expensive bikes can get in the rest of this article.
How much do bikepacking bikes cost?
The most common types of bikepacking bikes are mountain bikes and gravel bikes. Below you can see the estimated costs for a budget, mid-tier and high-end mountain bike.
|Type of mountain bike||Estimated cost|
How much does the average bike cost
While the average bike in the UK sells for only £233, the actual average price of a bike that cyclists use will be much higher than this. This is because this average figure is made up of a broad range of bikes, with a large proportion of them being sold by department stores and children’s bikes (which cost less than the bikes used by regular cyclists).
To get a better idea of how much real cyclists spend on their bikes, I asked a large cycling community how much their last bike cost them.
As you can see, the majority of cyclists seem to spend between $1000 and $3000 on their bikes, however, the average amount came in at $3200, this again was very skewed by a small number of cyclists spending over $10,000 on their bikes.
It is also likely that the cyclists I asked will spend more on their bikes than the “average” cyclist. This is because anyone who is involved in a cycling community is likely to be more invested in the hobby of cycling than those who aren’t.
From my own personal experience, the majority of the riders I know spend around $1000 to $1500 on their bikes.
Example bikepacking bikes
To put things in perspective, below is a list of some of the most popular bikepacking bikes, and their prices.
|Kona Hei Hei||£2100|
|Sonder Frontier SX Eagle||£849|
|Surly Bridge Club||£1400|
What is a cheap price for a bike?
A budget bike is not going to be as effective as a more expensive bike (most of the time). However, the most important factor when buying a bike is to ensure you are buying one that meets your needs. There is no point in spending extra money if you personally will not take advantage of what the extra money is getting you.
The cheapest bike on sale currently is this Challenge Crusade bike being sold by Argos in the UK for £105. However, a cheap bike such as this may actually cost you more in the long run.
Bikes such as this that are very cheap have to use low-quality materials in production. This can lead to more maintenance costs in the long run, a less comfortable ride, and these bikes may not be suitable for tough riding such as bikepacking.
In reality, using these cheap bikes will be suitable for simple riding around a town, but for anything more, you will want to look for a slightly more expensive and quality bike.
How much do new bikes cost in comparison to used bikes?
If you are looking to get a bike on a budget, a good idea is to look at the used market. Here you can often get pre-owned bikes for a much lower price than their RRP, some of which have been very rarely used.
The cost reduction you will get when buying a used bike rather than a new bike will be brand specific. Just like in the car market, some classic cars hold their value much better than others, the same is true in the biking world. Brands such as Pinarello are known to hold their value more than others.
Spending some time looking at used bike prices, I have found that on average you will be paying around 60% of the MSRP if you end up buying a bike used when compared to a new one.
There are some key advantages and disadvantages to both new and used bikes, and which is right for you will be a personal decision.
|New Bike||Used Bike|
|Comes with a warranty||It may not come with a warranty|
|Likely to last longer||Unsure how long it may last|
|You know how well it has been taken care of||Uncertain how well it has been cared for|
|Supports the bike industry||Does not support the bike industry|
|No risk of the bike having previously been stolen||The bike may have been stolen and being sold|
|Long delivery time||Immediate delivery time if collecting|
|Worse for the planet||Better for the planet|
|May be able to customize the paint job||Unable to customize the paint job|
|Low risk of being scammed||Risk of being scammed|
|Same price at most sellers||May have to wait for a good deal|
How much does a nice bike cost?
I feel like we can’t talk about the cost of bikes without spending some time on the top-of-the-range bikes available. These bikes contain the best new technology in the biking world and can cost upwards of $10,000.
Even the most passionate cyclists tend to stay away from buying these types of bikes. This is because these bikes tend to offer less value for money. As the technology is new, there is a higher markup on the price of the bike itself. This is because the bike manufacturers are still trying to earn back some of their costs from when they made the bike (for example research and development).
The most expensive mountain bike on sale currently is the Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 which comes in at £8000 ($10,000).
How much should you pay for a bike?
Obviously, you should never be spending more than you can afford on a bike, however, I feel there is a minimum value that any regular cyclist should be looking at. This range lies between the $750 and $2000 price range for a bike.
The reason for this increased cost is that you avoid all the “budget” bikes made by off-brand bike manufacturers that are less safe and less fun to ride.
The amount you spend on your bike should also be set by how much time you spend cycling. If you are an avid bikepacker who spends every other weekend out on a bikepacking trip, then getting a more expensive bike may be a better choice for you. When you work out the price per hour you are paying, you may be paying less than most of us. In reality, it comes down to a balance.
Is buying an expensive bike worth it?
You might be wondering why I don’t advocate spending more than $2000 on a bike. Obviously, for some people, spending more money is not a concern, so then you should get the best bike you want, however, most of us have to prioritize our money where it will have the most impact.
When you get past the $2000 mark, the value for money of bikes tends to drop. This is because, past this point, any benefit you get from a lighter, more aerodynamic, or better bike will have a very minimal impact compared to the benefits you will notice from a price increase from $500 to $1000.
In reality, at this point, you are holding the bike back rather than the bike holding you back. A better bike only has so much impact, and a professional cyclist on the cheapest bike will still beat many of us in a race.
Bikes in this price range tend to take advantage of one year or two old technology that has trickled down into the more budget-friendly market. This gear is still very effective but just not the “newest available” so makes a great choice.
As you can see, the price of a bikepacking bike is very dependent on what quality of bike you are buying, as well as if it is new or used. In reality, the majority of cyclists seem to spend between $1000 and $3000 on a new bike, and I would not recommend spending more than this unless you have extra cash burning a hole in your pocket.