The first time you walk into a bike shop can be overwhelming. You may see road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, beach cruisers, and bikes you can't even identify. However, the most pressing thought running through your mind is "how much does a bike cost". We believe finding the bike of your dreams should be a fun and exciting process, so we are setting out to dispel any confusion you may have.
How Much Does a Bike Cost?
So, how much does a bike cost? Like so many questions about cost, the answer is: it depends. However, you can expect to pay around $80 to $300 for a bike from Wal-Mart or Target. Mid-range bikes will run you between $300 and $1,000. High-end, custom bikes can easily cost over $3,000.
While the answer to "How much does a bike cost?" varies based on location, brand name, time of year, quality, and numerous other factors, we are going to break down some of the largest driving factors in the cost of a bike.
Pricing Guide by Style
One of the most significant factors driving the answer to how much does a bike cost is what type of bike you're talking about. Here are the average prices for different types of bikes:
Mid-range bikes are made of relatively light metals, such as aluminum. They have high-quality, durable wheels and are fairly shock absorbent. The chains and pedals are also durable, and they include a few features, such as multiple speed settings and water bottle holders. For example, Schwinn manufactures the Le Tour model, which comes with five frame sizes and 24 different speed settings. Mid-range bikes may also fold up quickly or be designed for riders to carry it up stairs.
Higher-end bikes are typically lighter and much more durable and aerodynamic. They are often made of titanium or carbon. They are made for competitions or rigorous daily commutes. These bikes are highly customizable, from the color and size of the frame to the type of wheel, braking mechanism, and seat.
What Should Be Included
Your bike should have at least a one-year manufacturer's warranty on the frame and a limited warranty on moveable parts, such as pedals and chain. Very reputable bike manufacturers offer limited lifetime frame warranties. Such warranties do not cover normal wear and tear, like spoke damage or scraped paint on the frame. Most reputable bike shops offer an in-house repair plan.
You may think you will save money by purchasing a bike online. However, these bikes may not come fully assembled. You may not have the tools to assemble the bike and will need to purchase specialty tools to put your bike together. Otherwise, you may have to pay nearly the cost of the bike to have it assembled for you.
We recommend purchasing a bike locally, because you can have it fitted, including the frame and seat height, and take it for a test ride to see if it is right for you before you buy it. You also save money on delivery costs and have professional help finding the bike for your needs.
Which Is the Right Bike For Me?
Road bikes are extremely affordable and usually come with a lightweight aluminum alloy frame. If you worry that the aluminum will not be durable enough for the paces you plan to put your bike through, carbon is a great option. Features to look out for include extensive tube butting, slim seat stays, profiled chain stays, and hydroformed tubes to drastically bolster structural integrity. To enhance front-end stability, look for a tapered head tubing and internal cable routing.
Mountain bikes can easily cost twice as much as a road bike, but they are designed with rough terrain in mind. You can't put thick, well-treaded tires on a road bike and call it a mountain bike because you won't have adequate suspension and shock absorption. Consider the local terrain when you pick out your mountain bike. Mountain bikes come in different designs tailored for different terrains, including DH (downhill) bikes, XC (cross-country) bikes, enduro and all-mountain bikes, and trail bikes.
Single-speed bikes make very good starter bikes because they are so affordable and minimalistic. The components are of incredible quality, so you get an excellent value for your money. Keep in mind, however, that because it is minimalistic, it will lack features such as shifters, derailleurs, and cables.
Beach cruisers are another simple bike model. If you just want to leisurely enjoy the great outdoors while riding to the neighborhood market or barbecue or cruise the beach on the weekend, a beach cruiser may be right for you. Rather than looking at colors when picking out a cruiser, gauge the comfort of the bike. You might not be spending hours in the saddle at a time, but the parts should still be of high quality and durable.
Recumbent bikes are incredibly expensive. Seeing a $5,000 recumbent bike is extremely common. These bikes typically cost between one and two thousand dollars. They can be designed specifically for the elderly or disabled.
They are ideal for people who would love to spend hours at a time on the open road but can't due to pain in the back or neck that is exacerbated by regular bikes. Recumbent bikes are built for distance rides. Thanks to the third wheel, you do not need to worry about balancing when you ride. They are also extremely comfortable and easy to operate. They are durable, and the seats are adjustable. You can easily lower or raise the height of the seat to meet your needs.
If you are looking to purchase a bike for your child, make sure you purchase a helmet, bell or horn, knee and elbow pads, lights if your child will be riding in the dark, and spoke-mounted and pedal reflectors. Once you have all the necessary safety gear, look for a bike in your child's age range. This gives you the peace of mind that the bike will fit your child and she will be able to grow into it as she gets bigger.
Bikes for children between the ages of three and eight typically have 12-inch wheels. Bikes for children over the age of eight typically have 20- to 24-inch wheels. Do not be surprised if the bike weighs the same or more than adult bikes.
If you have not owned a bike in years, the answer to "how much does a bike cost" may be greater for you than your coworker who has been commuting by bike for years. First, you need a helmet. Whether you will commute through busy intersections, ride down steep grades littered with exposed roots and loose rocks, or you just plan to cruise leisurely around your neighborhood, safety gear is essential.
The average helmet will cost you around $30 to $40. However, you can pay as much as $130 for a well-ventilated, aerodynamic helmet with LED lights. Furthermore, whether you are a competitive rider or not, we strongly recommend that you invest between $45 and $100 in riding shoes. These provide better grip on the pedals and keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable.
Finally, you should invest in a high-quality bike lock. Most foldable locks cost between $50 and $100. They can cost up to $200 if you purchase a folding lock with a carrying case. If you buy a used bike or starter bike, a $5 to $20 combination lock or two will be adequate. We recommend purchasing two chain or flex cable locks for low- to mid-range bikes so you can secure both the front and rear wheels.
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If you purchase a $2,000 Cannondale, though, we recommend investing in a "U" style lock or foldable lock to protect your valuable wheels. A U lock can cost as little as $31 or as much as $100. But you should be able to get a high quality U lock for around $65.
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The Bottom Line
The answer to how much does a bike cost is not cut and dry. It is affected by factors including the style of bike you want, where you are buying it from, and any customizations you want to make or accessories you want to add. Then, you probably need to purchase safety and riding gear.
If you are unsure what type of bike to purchase, we recommend borrowing a friend's bike and determining what you like about it and what you don't. Whatever you do, don't buy the most expensive bike on the market, ride safely, and remember your helmet. Happy riding!