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I’ve bought three bikes so far.
One for myself, one for my cousin, and one for my three-year-old daughter. And in those three instances, I’ve been very careful about how I chose my bikes.
Today I’m not going to teach you how to select a perfect bike for yourself or your loved ones. I’ve already done that on this post. Instead, I want us to analyze how much a bike actually cost. This way, you can get a clear picture of how much you expect to spend if you ever want to buy a bike.
So without further ado, let’s get to it.
What’s the True Cost of Buying and Owning a Bike?
Bikes don’t have fixed prices attached to them. The cost varies from brand to brand, the type of bike, the material used in the design, and so much more. That notwithstanding, here’s a cost range for the different types of bikes in the market.
Type of Bike
Cost Range in USD
$350 and above
$1000 and above
$300 and above
$140 to $1000
$1000 to $2000
$700 and above
The values above aren’t absolute. It’s rather what you can expect a particular type of a bike to cost in retail price. At the end of the day, the true cost of a bike will vary depending on the factors that we’ve mentioned.
Factors that Determine the Cost of Buying and Owning a Bike
Bike frames aren’t made equal. And from my observation, the cost of a bike seems to vary depending on the design of the frame. In terms of design, frames are made of either aluminum, carbon, or steel. Bikes that sport aluminum frames are not only lightweight but also relatively cheap.
Take road bikes, for example. They mostly have frames made of aluminum, which explains why they’re relatively cheap. Today, you can get a road bike for as low as $350, but price can go up to $700 – maybe even more.
But aluminum has become a lot less popular these days. With bikes technology improved over the years, carbon frames seem to be a lot more common these days, although aluminum is still an exception. Carbon frames are pricier than aluminum, but it’s also of better quality than the former.
Some bikes are made of steel frames. And while they’re durable, I tend to have an issue with them for two reasons. First, steel frame bikes are ridiculously expensive. Unless you’re not on a budget, look elsewhere. Second, steel frames are heavy, and as such, the bikes may be a tad difficult to ride.
Before I purchased my bike, I had to ask myself an important question: what will I be using the bike for exactly?
And so should you.
Is the bike for just commuting? Will you be using the bike for indoor cycling? Do you intend to brave rough terrain and cycle in tough races? Or are you only interested in occasional cycling?
Depending on your needs, the type of bike you choose will have a completely different cost attached to it.
Take mountain bikes, for example. There’s a reason why the least expensive model costs at least $1,000. Manufacturers have built these to brave the worst terrains possible. You can take them virtually anywhere, from normal trails to steep mountains, and they won’t disappoint. Ideally, even a typical mountain bike features robust suspension forks, powerful brakes, and strong gear system, which enable you to enjoy mountain climbing, street cruising, and even cross country cycling.
Beach bikes are another example worth looking at. From a design standpoint, the likes of Kulana Lua and Mongoose Dolomite play their role just fine. Put to the right use, these bikes will handle their designated environment just fine. They cost between $350 and $700 in retail price. And sure, they are cheaper because they’re built for soft terrains.
Bike accessories also contribute to the true cost of owning a bike.
And let’s be frank: some of these gadgets are a must-have if you seriously want to ride your bike. For example, the law requires that every cyclist have bike lights installed before taking a bike to the street. And as such, the best bike lights are quite essential.
You shouldn’t go impulse buying bike accessories anyway. Some cyclists make this mistake and end up buying accessories they won’t even need. I’m sure I don’t need cycling headphones most of the time. And I’ve never even been a fan of bike phone mounts nearly as much.
My point is, only go for what’s essential. If you can ride your bike fine without a particular gadget, you probably don’t need it in the first place.
Some brands require you to pay a shipping fee before they can send your bike to you. Yet other brands have a free shipping policy, which requires you to pay only for the bike. It comes down to business after all. At the end of the day, however, you should go for a more reliable shipping option so that you can get your bike sent to you on time.
Buying Your Bike Online
I’d like to finish by saying that buying a bike online is not as easy. From a buyer’s point of view, you’re spoiled for choice. And that’s fine. But with many brands competing for cyclists’ attention, it’s hard to know just what’s good and what’s otherwise.
That’s not to say you can’t get a bike worth the price. You can. Only you have to stop relying on five-start reviews and instead pay attention on consumer experience. If you like, you can even test a bike first before buying, so you can take the right model from a reputable brand home.