A new bike is always a great thing. We all want or need to save money where we can though. The hard part is in getting good high quality bikes and parts that will perform well last while we do this.
Most newer riders will not be shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest bikes, but still need something that’s off road capable, rides well, and is reliable. Department store bikes are just don’t fit any of this criteria, so lets take a look at what does work.
There are a few good options here. See your local shops and ask what they have in your price range, new or used. With this you are normally getting a bike that’s fitted to you, a good tune up already done, and in most cases a warranty. There are new options in most price ranges / levels to fit most riders. If you are looking for something a little higher end on a budget, then used is probably the answer. Your local bike shop is still the first place I’d look. This falls right in with our basic premise that being plugged into your local shop is normally a great thing, and especially for newer riders. A good shop will help with your maintenance schedule, recomended parts upgrades, local events, and everything. Even if you get your next bike on Craig’s List or what ever, it would be highly advisable to get it tuned up here immediatly. They will go through the entire bike and make sure everything is as good as it possibly can be. This will help the life span of the bike and also the enjoyment level of riding worry free. Dave at Boise Bike Wrench does absolutely great work and normally has great info on used bikes here in the area too.
A great way to save money on new is to go with a previous year model bike on sale like what I did when I got my wife’s Schwinn Rocket 3 at Performance Bike on Franklin here in Boise. It retailled for $650 and we got it for $450. She loves her bike and we saved a good percentage on it that way. The bike is about the right quality level and set up right for how she rides. It will last her a good number of years. Of course doing it this way comes with all of the normal warranties, tune up/adjustments program etc that will come with any other new bike. It’s really one of my favorite ways to go. Check out the shops that carry your favorite makes and models and see what they have. A new bike will always bring that smile, and THAT is really what it’s all about, the smile.
Used sporting goods shops such as Play It Again Sports is a good option. These places would be the next place I’d look as there are normally some good finds to be had here. Pricing will be below that of new, but higher than Craig’s List or Ebay type sites. As with all used equipment the rule is buyer beware. Google search the make and model of what ever bike you are looking at to see reviews, specs, original retail pricing, and any other info you might want. I’d also figure in the price of a good pro tune up at your local shop along with the purchase of any used bike. It’s just a good practice.
From the used sporting goods shops I’d look next to the local Craig’s List ads. With these you really need to do your homework. There are great deals to be had along with way over priced and mis-represented items here. Along with the normal Google search, google the seriel number to see what comes up there. Buying a hot bike is just never going to end well. I do highly suggest Craig’s List over Ebay as you can check out what you are getting in person. See how the bike rides, look it over to make certain there are no cracks or dents etc.
Pawn shops normally have bikes in every end of the spectrum. It doesn’t hurt to look at these as well, but make extra certain to look up what you are looking at and also look up what pricing should be. I’ve seen used stuff at these with new asking prices quite a bit. You also want to google the seriel numbers here, just as you would the Craig’s List bikes to make certain the bike wasn’t stolen at one time. It’s a sad reality in today’s day and age.
Remember that if there are any components you don’t like on a used bike, you can normally look these up to see what it would cost you to have it set up just right for you right there on your smart phone before making the purchase. If you are not comfortable doing the work changing out these parts, your local bike shop can set you up with the components you like along with mounting it up at the same time they do that initial tune up for you. Building a custom from the frame up is a fun way to go too, and can be done on a budget, such as I did on the Project Old School bike featured HERE. I had a really good frame and built up a nice bike from there.
From there, ride and enjoy.