Buying cheap road bikes

Current model road cycles are the most expensive and definitely are not cheap road bikes. If you are looking for a cheap road bike and one that represents the best value for money the best piece of advice is to look at the older models of the current road bikes as these will be cheaper. Buying cheap road bikes this way does not mean they are pre-owned or second hand, it just means that they are old stock and have been sat in a warehouse for a few months.

Cheap road bikes for all

Almost every road bike manufacturer brings out a new road bike model each and every year which leads to discounts on the previous years’ model. There is a definite snobbery in the world of road cycling and many cyclists will upgrade their road bikes each year and buy the newest model,
which drives the prices of the previous year’s model down even further. As a result, the best way to buy cheap road bikes is to buy last year’s model or, even older if the bike shop still has some old stock.

The main advantage of buying cheap road bikes in this way is that with the older models you will get more for your money and we all want to get the best value for money right? In a nutshell you get an old high specification road bike for the same money as a current model road bike with
lower specification. This means you can get a better drive train and gearing, better brakes, a better frame and all round better road bike without having to spend a fortune. When I bought my road bike I managed to pick up a three year old Trek 1200 with a full carbon frame, top end gears and drive train and a top end wheel set for the same price as a current model entry level Specialised
road bike. A current model bike with the same specifications as the Trek 1200 would have cost over a grand, which is almost double the price of what I paid. This is living proof that buying older models is the best way to buy cheap road bikes.

The only disadvantage with buying an older model is you don’t have the current model, which means you won’t be at the top of the pecking order in your cycling club, but does this really matter?

Some people are under the misconception that buying an older model road bike means there won’t be spares and parts available if something goes wrong with it. Whilst you may not be able to replace any damaged parts with the exact original you will be able to fit more modern parts to the bike.
One of the best things about road bikes is that they are designed to allow the to upgrade, change and replace any component they want and all that is needed is removing the old part and bolting on a new part. Obsolete parts are not a problem so you need not have any fears over buying old road bike models.

If you are looking for cheap road bikes buy an older model and the older the better. You will get far more for your money and will end up with a bike with a much higher specification. If, however, you are the sort of person who has to have the most up to date model this approach will be of no use to you.

If you have the opportunity to buy an older model that is ex-display or shop soiled you may be able to make an even bigger saving. An ex-display model will have sat in the show room gathering dust. The bike may have had a few people sat on it and pulled a few levers but that will be all. If you buy an ex-display the shop will clean it and set it up for you before you collect it so it will be as good as new, just much cheaper.

A shop soiled bike is one that has sustained some cosmetic damage, which makes it a little less than perfect. Many shop soiled bikes have scratches so small you need to look really hard or get a magnifying glass out to see them. Some shop soiled bikes have scratched in places where you need to get on your hands and knees to find them. Shop soiled bikes come with a generous discount so if you can live with a scratch they are well worth buying. As with ex-display models a shop soiled bike will be cleaned up and set up just for you before collection.

Many bike manufacturers sell road bikes online and there may be some additional savings to be had here. Since the manufacturer is selling the road bike directly to the customer and cutting out the middleman, i.e. the retailer, you may be able to get a good discount. However, there are some problems you need to consider when buying bikes online so make sure you think about these before you buy.

Older models as cheap road bikes, or current models as expensive road bikes?

If you are looking to buy a bike the answer to this is easy and if you are looking for cheap road bikes the answer to this is a no brainer. In my experience it is far better to have an older model road bike with a higher specification than a current model road bike that is not so tricked up, especially in these tough economic times when we are all striving to get more bang for our buck.