How Much To Spend on A Bike?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is – how much should I spend on a bike? You can spend as much or as little as you want. But, this is rough guide to what you will get for your money. Bear in mind, if your budget is really tight, you may be better off buying a second hand bike, rather than a ‘bicycle shaped object‘ for under £100

Bike in Argos catalogue, notice forks pointing wrong way.

A decent local bike shop, will rarely sell any adult bike for less than £150. The exception is somewhere like Cycle King, where you can get an Ammaco hybrid for £100-£150. I reviewed the experience of riding an Ammaco Dresden here.

If you buy a bike for £99, the chances are the shop will have bought it for £60. For £60, the components will be very basic and liable to go wrong. Some friends in local bike shops say that they often see these bikes bought in for repairs shortly after their purchase. The cost of repairs can sometimes add up to more than the initial price.

raleigh oxford
£180 for a cheap hybrid. Fine for short commutes around a town, but expect metal to rust and and components to be sluggish. Also tyres more likely to attract punctures.
I guess it all comes down to what you want to use a bike for. If it is only for very occasional riding, then there is no need to spend a huge amount of money. The £150 bikes are fine for the purpose of getting round town. Another £150 bike I reviewed is the Raleigh Oxford

One tip to consider is how much would you spend if you used other types of transport. For example, if you use the bike for commuting, think how much you would spend on car, petrol and tax. If you consider that a bike may last for several years, £150 doesn’t seem very much in comparison.

£150-£250 Range 

If you go from a £150 bike to a £250 bike there will be a noticeable improvement in the quality and comfort of the ride. It will be lighter, better made and more reliable. For £250, you could start to get a bike with a stronger more lasting frame and components.

£250-£400 Range

If you go up to £400 you start to get to an entry level road and mountain bike. These can have the latest features like STI gear levers. For a beginner there wouldn’t be a huge difference in performance between a £400 bike and a top of the range bike. I commute on a £400 bike (brand new). It is a trek 1000 with standard Shimano Sora groupset. It is a very good ride, – not too flashy for locking up in the centre of town, but not that much different to my racing bike. It’s also as fast as any commuting bike. I wouldn’t want to spend more for a commuting bike, the risk of getting stolen is too great. But, I would be reluctant to use anything less good. Once you get used to riding a certain type of a bike, you don’t want to go to a clunky Taiwan – plastic affair.

I also know how cheap a bike is compared to other forms of transport. Therefore, I don’t begrudge the relatively small cost of cycling.

Also, at this price range, you can get some really worthwhile features, such as bikes with really good puncture protection (see: puncture resistant tyres) this is the kind of relatively cheap feature which can make a big improvement to your cycling experience. Get a pair of puncture resistant tyres for £50, and it will be a great investment.

For a selection of commuting bikes under £500

Spending on a Road Bike

If you are considering a proper road bike to do some training, cyclo sportives and even lower cat road races, if possible try and spend close to £1,000. For £1,000 you will get a really good road bike which will be light and enjoyable to ride. You may even be able to get a carbon fibre frame on a road bike like the Focus Cayo (road bikes under £1,000)

If you can’t managed to spend £1,000 the entry level road bikes from £350 are reasonable. Raleigh, GT and Trek all bring out bikes from around £350.

However, if you wish to spend less than £350 on a road bike, I would definitely recommend going to the second hand market. See: Tips for buying Second hand

See also: Advice on buying first road bike

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