What Can You Expect from Different Bicycle Price Points?
3rd August 2017. As leisure and exercise activities go, bicycling is surely among the most ideal ways to combine the two. Cycling can be as easy-going or as intense as you want. You can do it on the road, or you can take it off on a rugged trail. It all depends on your personal taste and how you want to approach things. However, you'll need the most important tool of all before you can begin: a bike! Unfortunately, we do not all have an old bike lying around the house to pick up and use. It might be time to buy one.
What's your budget? That's the number one question. Once you determine that, what will it get you? Determining how much you get for your money is the trickier part, as sometimes it's not easy to tell the difference between a low-end bike and a high-end one just by looking at them. The price tag might be all you see. Should you go for something expensive (if you can) or should you opt for something that will come in under budget? What can you expect to find from bikes at each price point? Answering these questions on your own might take a ton of trial and error. We can break it down into a few categories to make it easier to navigate.
Budget and beginner bikes: can you get quality for less than £1000?
When you don't have a lot of cash to spend, shopping for a bicycle can feel like the opposite of fun. When you see so many high-ticket items, you can't help but wonder what you're missing. However, put that out of your mind; it is possible to secure a reliable, solid bicycle for less than £1000. Now, that doesn't mean that the bike you buy today will be the one you use forever. If you're a beginner or just an enthusiast on a shoestring budget, though, you will find plenty of solid construction in the products of this class. At this level, you can expect to find cycle bodies made almost exclusively of lightweight aluminium.
Some bikes closer to the upper limit of the bracket may feature forks made from carbon fibre to reinforce them against shocks. One or two accessories, like lights or a basket, may be included. These bikes will usually feature a medium weight with stock gear sets, chains, and calliper brakes. The key to choosing a sturdy budget bike involves considering what you need. You don't need a super lightweight body and the best wheels if you're only doing endurance training. For leisure and regular exercise, you'll find the basics are best. However, stay away from the cheapest cycles; these may break with little stress, costing you your investment.
Mid-range madness: what £2000 to £5000 can buy
Once you break past the £1000 barrier, you open a whole new world of possibilities. While a bike in the range between £2000 and £5000 might seem pricey, the extra investment will net you some serious advantages regarding features. First and foremost, you'll notice that aluminium is no longer the preferred material for the frame of the bike. Instead, the entire body might consist of carbon fibre. Not only is it incredibly durable, but it is very lightweight too
. For those who are serious about distance or racing, the speed possible with one of these frames is an excellent advantage. You will also notice a range of improvements in the individual components of the bike. The gear set may have more speeds and more variable ratios. Shifting should be smoother. Disc brakes begin to replace callipers and you will find the bikes in this class ride more smoothly and with consistent power output. You can easily specialise for a racing bike, or choose a road bike that will last you for years to come. An investment at this level rarely means you need to replace your bike anytime soon except in the case of a serious accident. It should be easy to find a cycle with most, if not all, of your desired features while staying in budget here.
Ultimate luxury: high-end bikes at £5000+
What if you can afford to go a little crazy and splurge on a bicycle that costs more than £5000? Believe it or not, there are plenty of cycles available at this price point ? and some can reach ridiculous prices. At this level, it isn't about just making a bicycle that works. It's often about custom features, extra bells and whistles, or simply a true commitment to high quality production. Expect very lightweight and modern carbon fibre or composite material bodies. Wheels will come standard at a very high-quality level; you'll see more reductions in weight and an increase in mobility. Engineers for these bikes go the extra mile in creating a very aerodynamic frame that can slice through the air as you pedal at top speed. With this level of sophistication comes some risk, too. You may find that some of these elements do not last as long as a mid-range bike's components, which may be machined for durability rather than performance. If you do purchase a top tier bike, be well versed in the art of bicycle maintenance. You may be breaking out the repair kit more often than you expect. The riding experience is nearly unparalleled, though, and there's a reason why enthusiasts flock to these bikes.
Cheap or expensive: which is best for you?
So, which option should you choose? If money is no object, it might seem like the most high-end choice is the no-brainer. That's not always true though. Let's assume that your budget can fit anything from an economy bicycle up to something around £5000 but no more. First, remember it is possible to find a bike that meets your needs without breaking the bank. Second, start making a list of the pros and cons for the features you see. What do you need the most? What do you want to be certain you can enjoy riding? Making a list of features this way will translate into an easier shopping experience. You do not have to spend your entire budget on the bike itself; you can always add on cycling accessories or aftermarket modifications yourself, which could translate into overall savings but a better bike.
Shopping for a new bike while staying on budget
Once you start searching for a bicycle to buy, it's easy to fall into a state of indecision. Should you go for the more expensive and feature-filled bike, or stick to something friendlier to your budget? Even with your feature list and pros and cons, making a choice is very difficult for some. There are a few things you can try, but whatever you do, don't rush the choice! Ask a sales associate at your bike shop for help. Explain your budget and your concerns about quality. Chances are, they've helped many people just like you find the perfect model. At the same time, don't be afraid to comparison shop. You may be able to find a high-end bike for a discount at one store instead of another.
The eagle-eyed shoppers among us may even be able to nab a great bike for a solid price from a previous owner. Who said your bike had to be brand new? A well-cared for and properly maintained bicycle can be just as good, with the features you want at the correct price point. With so many options out there, it's worth it to take your time.
The perfect bike is out there waiting for you
Clearly, you have a lot to consider when you decide it's time to buy a new bicycle. While your budget will determine a great deal about what you can afford, remember that a tight budget doesn't mean you'll end up with a budget bike. Instead, view it as an opportunity to fully explore all the options available to you on the market. If you have a budget without a ceiling, though, you can let your imagination run wild. Just don't forget that you'll need actually to spend time riding that bike ? and all the bells and whistles in the world won't make you a better cyclist if you don't practice. Take your time, look at the choices, and buy the bike that you think will fit the best into your lifestyle! Follow @SportNessUK