When buying a new bike it can be very confusing to work out how much you should be spending. As a keen cyclist for many years now, I wanted to take a more 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 bike costs?
Cyclists 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 bikes cost?
|Type of road bike||Estimated cost|
|Budget Road Bike||$500|
|Mid-Tier Road Bike||$1500|
|High-End Road Bike||$6000|
|Type of mountain bike||Estimated cost|
|Budget Mountain Bike||$500|
|Mid-Tier Mountain Bike||$1200|
|High-End Mountain Bike||$3000|
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 being 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 thier last bike cost them.
As you can see, the majority of cyclists seem to spend between $1000 and $3000 on their bike, 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 likely that these cyclists will be spending slightly more on their bikes than your “average” cyclist. This is because in reality, 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.
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 to make the bikes. This can lead to more maintenance costs in the long run, a less comfortable ride, and some can even can be dangerous if you use these bikes in tough riding such as mountain biking.
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 road bike on sale is the Pinarello Dogma F12 Red eTap which costs £12,000 ($15,000), and the most expensive mountain bike is the Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 which comes in at £8000 ($10,000).
In this price range, you may even be able to afford one of the bikes used in the Tour De France, however, this is likely to be unnecessary for most cyclists.
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 means 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 cyclist who spends 12 hours a week out on a bike, 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 for spending more than $2000 on a bike. Obviously, for some people, spending more money is not a concern, and 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 most 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.
How much does a Tour De France bike cost?
Tour De France bikes aren’t purchased as the whole bike like many of us will buy from a local bike shop. In reality, they are bought as a frameset (the main frame of the bike), which is often supplied by their main sponsor. They then add different components to the bike, depending on the type of rider and the specific day of the event, and which other sponsors they have.
A Tour De France bike costs in the region of £10,000 to £15,000 ($18,000) once you take into account all of the components on the bike itself.
The price of some of these components may seem much higher than normal, for example, the bottle cages for £60, however, this is the result of these components being made from super lightweight materials as well as in a specific aerodynamic shape to maximize speed.
On top of the price of the parts, Tour De France riders will also spend thousands on the look of their bikes. This is because they have to use special low weight paints (a whole bike can be painted with as little as 20g of paint). This is often the case for famous riders or those that have previously won large tournaments such as world champions.
How much did Lance Armstrong’s bike cost?
When it comes to road bikes, the most expensive bike ever sold was Damien Hirst’s Trek Madone. Damien Hirst is a British artist who created a road bike decorated with real butterfly wings on the bike’s frame and rim.
The bike was used in the Tour De France by Lance Armstrong who was returning to cycling in 2009 and then sold at a charity auction for a whopping $500,000.
Can I buy a Tour de France bike?
In comparison to other sports like the formula one, the Tour De France and other popular biking events often pride themselves on the fact that you can buy the majority, if not all of the gear that is being used on the bikes.
Most of the components can be bought individually, however, this will cost a lot more than the teams actually pay for them (often they are given them from sponsorship deals). Many of the bikes are also available at high markups.
As we’ve already seen above, some of the bikes are even auctioned off after the event, normally for charity.
As you can see, the price of a 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.
If you’re interested in why bikes cost as much as they do, take a look at my article on why bikes are so expensive which can be found here.