Cycling is an expensive hobby.
Even if you’re not in the $10k Pinarello crowd, running a bike costs much more money than it really should. From bike helmets to shoes, jerseys to spares, it all mounts up.
So wouldn’t it be good if you could save a little money without compromising on quality or style?
Here are 11 practical ways to find bargains and discounts to save money when buying your next cycling gear. As long as you’re not obsessed with saving a few grams or wearing the newest jerseys you could save a serious amount of cash without losing out on quality or quantity!
Wait for the sales
Black Friday, New Year, end of the season, new season, new Tour season and more are all excuses retailers use for offering discounts on cycling gear throughout the year.
If you’re after upgrades or big-ticket items with no urgent need for them, waiting until your cycling retailer of choice has a sale is a no-brainer. You could save a significant amount of money by timing it right.
If you don’t have to have the latest team colors or that year’s strip you can save cash buying last year’s kit. I do this all the time and regularly find Rapha and Castelli kits at a fraction of the original price.
Wait for the off-season sales
The same as you would never buy a convertible in summer, don’t buy summer cycling gear in summer either. Unless you need something urgently, buy your summer kit in winter and your winter kit in spring or summer.
When retailers want to clear space for the next season they will often discount old kits to make space. This happens a lot for clothing but also for complete bikes, frames and nutrition too.
If you have enough gear to last the current season and you can wait until the end, doing so can save a whole lot of money. It does mean you’re not wearing the latest colors but if you’re after saving cash, you won’t mind that too much.
Use price matching
You can price match anything, anywhere, and spending a little time doing your research can save you a lot. It’s always worth supporting your local bike shop wherever possible. But if there are significant price differences, shopping around and comparing prices is always the way to go.
Then there are the voucher sites and hot deal websites. Both can stretch that saving a little further by offering short-term deals and super specials that can also add to the cash saved.
Spend as much time researching pricing as you do reading reviews and you won’t go far wrong.
Join a Strava challenge
Recently, Strava has emerged as a new outlet for brands to run marketing campaigns. Brands such as Castelli, Le Col, La Passione, Fizik, and ROKA are some of the active ones that regularly run Strava Challenges where you’ll get discounts on their products if you completed a specific challenge.
These challenges are usually measured in terms of distance or time. If you’re an active cyclist, you’ll complete the challenges without much effort.
More reading : How to Use Strava for Cycling
There is nothing wrong with buying secondhand as long as you’re careful. Some would call it used but not abused.
Buying without seeing can be potentially risky if you’re dealing with carbon components, as you’re never quite sure how it has been treated. If you can have a look and inspect the item before paying, or the seller offers a no-quibble refund then it’s game on.
Websites like Craigslist, Gumtree, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, cycling clubs, and word of mouth are all great ways to get something you wouldn’t normally be able to afford at a fraction of the original price.
More reading : How to Value A Used Bike
Opt for some weight penalty
When it comes to bike components, opting for extra weight will save you a lot of money when you start adding things up. In many instances, the cheaper version has the same performance as the more expensive one, with the difference mainly in lighter materials and price.
Buying a Shimano Ultegra over 105 purely for weight saving is not a good way to save money. For example, the weight of a rim brake Shimano Ultegra groupset is 2,349g. The weight of a Shimano 105 groupset is 2,530g. For the disc, Shimano Ultegra increases to 2,391g and Shimano 105 to 2,780g.
I bet if you did a blind test between the two groupsets you would genuinely struggle to notice a difference in terms of weight or performance. As that difference could save in the region of $500 depending on where you shop, that’s quite the saving!
Combine the groupset price here with some of these other money-saving tips for cyclists and you could save even more. Buying the older Shimano 105 R5800 over the newer R7000 costs you just 13g in extra weight but you could save a further $200 in discounts!
More reading : Shimano 105 Di2 (R7100) vs Ultegra Di2 (R8100) Comparison
Alloy over carbon
The alloy has come a long way since the lifeless and heavy material of old. Alloy components are now almost as good as carbon and almost as light. The weight penalty has been reduced significantly while the price remains reasonable.
Do you really need those carbon bars?
Do you have to spend four times as much for a 50g weight saving?
As the great Eddy Merckx once said, Don’t buy upgrades, ride upgrades.
If you have the spare cash for carbon components then be my guest. But if you’re cycling on a budget, take a long hard look at why you are buying carbon over alloy. A bike lighter by 50g wouldn’t even be noticeable by Nairo Quintana, let alone any of us!
Even pros will use alloy bars and stems as the weight saving is often negligible, yet reliability is so much higher with alloy.
More reading : Steel vs Aluminum Bikes
Patch, don’t replace
Viewed individually, an inner tube is not an expensive item. But viewed over a season and that picture can change.
Patching your tubes instead of throwing them away can not only reduce landfills but can also save money. As good quality tubes can safely take two or three repairs, you should aim to repair each tube twice wherever practical.
These days, the patches are self-adhesive and you no longer have to contend with glue, blocked adhesive nozzles, and chalk, patching an inner tube is easier than it has ever been. A roadside repair can be done in less than five minutes and you can be on your way again in no time.
More reading : How to Prevent Punctures
Join a cycling club or group
Cycling is an acquisitive pastime. N+1 bikes, a new jersey every season, freshwater bottles, new tires, a more comfortable bike saddle, and new socks. It all adds up.
But if you know other cyclists, you can take advantage of their acquisitive nature while helping both of you out. You can buy their old stuff so they can make space and money for more, and you get some new kit at a great price.
If you know the people you’re buying from, you have a good idea of how the item has been used. If you buy carefully from careful riders, the thing could literally be as good as new. It’s all part of being in the group, helping each other out, and enhancing each other’s enjoyment of riding.
Learn preventive maintenance
Spending money on some training or time with a bike mechanic and on a good set of bike tools is money well spent. It isn’t an expense either, more an investment.
Maintenance isn’t just about saving money but also about preventing mechanical problems on the road. If you’re the type of rider who ventures out into the unknown, maintenance skills like this are even more important.
Learning how your bike works and some basic maintenance skills could save you a bunch of money. Being able to recognize when a chain is getting worn, topping up sealant, cleaning disc brake pads and rotors, or fixing a creaking bike can be addressed at home by yourself.
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