When is The Best Time to Buy a Bicycle? 9+ Tips to SAVE Money

When is The Best Time to Buy a Bicycle? 9+ Tips to SAVE Money

If you’re in the market for a new bike, you probably want to get the best deal possible.

Who doesn’t love saving money?

As someone who has worked in bike shops for years, I’ve picked up some tips on timing your purchase to catch sale prices and negotiate the lowest price.

Read on for the inside scoop!

What Time of The Year is Best to Buy a Bicycle?

If you have flexibility on when you buy your new wheels, timing it right can make a big difference.

In general, the best times to buy are in the fall and winter months.

Here’s why:

Bike manufacturers release new models in the summer, usually in July or August.

That means bike shops are trying to clear out last year’s models to make room for the new inventory.

As you can imagine, that equals great sales for you!

I always tell my friends to target their bike shopping between September and February.

September is when you’ll start seeing the first markdowns and inventory clearance sales.

Prices get lower the closer you get to the holiday season in November and December too.

Once the new year hits, shops are prepping for the main riding season and want to unload any remaining inventory.

February is like the last call for deals before spring.

After that, selection is low until summer when new models arrive again.

The takeaway: Mark your calendars for fall and winter and get ready to score savings!

I always say the deals are like clockwork if you plan around the annual bike model year cycle.

Pay Attention to Model Years

One key tip is to pay close attention to model years when bargain hunting.

The biggest savings come when dealers are clearing out old models completely.

For example, if you’re shopping in January 2023, look for leftover 2022, 2021 or even 2020 models.

Those are ripe for deeper discounts as shops make room for 2023 bikes.

The older the model year, the better the deal.

Sometimes you can find 3+-year-old new bikes that got lost in inventory.

That’s like striking gold in terms of savings!

The tech may be a little outdated but you can’t argue with 50% or more off retail pricing.

Shop End of Season

Within the fall and winter timeframe, you really want to shop the end of the cycling season for a given geographic area.

In colder northern areas, the season winds down quickly once back-to-school hits.

In warmer southern regions, it tapers off more gradually towards late fall.

Either way, zero in on the end of that natural season.

That’s when shops are most eager to blow out older year bikes they’ve been trying to sell all year long.

Patience pays off if you can wait out the clock.

Used Bikes

Don’t forget to check used bike listings too.

Those aren’t necessarily affected by model year cycles.

You can find amazing deals on high-end used bikes.

Just be sure to carefully inspect the size, components, wear and tear before buying used.

Give it a thorough test ride. You don’t want to inherit someone else’s problems down the road.

All in all, targeting fall through winter will set you up for success.

You’ll have a great selection of clearance-priced bikes to choose from!

Do Bike Prices Drop in Winter?

Absolutely!

Winter is prime bargain-hunting time.

When there’s snow on the ground, cycling isn’t too popular.

Less demand equals better deals for buyers like you.

Bike shops make the bulk of sales between spring and fall.

Once winter hits, sales take a nosedive.

The temptation for shops is to throw in the towel until warmer weather.

But smart shops will keep hustling with deep discounts to bring in any sales they can, even in the off-season.

It’s better than having inventory just sitting there, right?

The slow winter months are when I’ve seen some of the craziest clearance prices.

We’re talking 30-50% off MSRP in some cases.

It never hurts to call around, even in the dead of winter.

You might get lucky and find a screaming deal.

And shops know winter closers are serious buyers.

You’re not casual window shopping—you’re there to pull the trigger!

Negotiating can go well when they want to move inventory. More on negotiating later…

The forecast calls for awesome bike deals in winter.

Bundle up and go find some!

Off-season Servicing

One angle during winter is negotiating a great bike purchase deal bundled with needed off-season maintenance or repairs.

Shops make a lot of their profit in the service department versus new bike sales.

So they may be very receptive to bundling a tune-up, part replacements, or a major overhaul with your bike purchase, especially in slow months.

Ask them to inspect your prospective bike and provide a quote for any recommended servicing it needs.

Use that as a bargaining chip to get the best overall package deal.

They make money on the service, you save on the bike. Win-win.

Virtual Shopping

Don’t hesitate to call around to bike shops in colder regions and see what inventory they have collecting dust in winter.

See what deals or quotes you can negotiate over the phone.

Even if local pick-up isn’t feasible, many shops can ship bikes and assemble them for you.

No need to limit yourself to local retailers.

Go virtual and cast a wide net for the perfect winter deal!

Are Bikes Cheaper in the Fall?

Fall is a goldmine for bike bargains. As the weather cools down, new model-year bikes keep rolling into shops.

That constantly refreshes the clearance selection.

September is when you’ll start seeing good discounts as dealers unload the previous model year bikes.

This starts the inventory sell-down push so shops have room for the latest bikes.

October is an even better month for deals.

Dealers are anxious to sell the remaining stock before the holiday season kicks off.

Nobody wants last year’s bikes taking up space when the Black Friday and Christmas crowds arrive!

By November, prices are reaching peak discount season.

Don’t be shy about haggling for the best deal on that bike you’ve had your eye on.

Dealers are ready wheel and deal!

The whole period from September through November is prime bargain-hunting time.

You’ll have an excellent selection of discounted bikes, plus motivated sellers.

It’s a buyer’s market.

Roll into your local bike shops this fall and get ready to ride out with savings!

Ask About Upcoming Sales

When visiting shops, always ask the staff if they have any big sales or clearance events coming up.

Get on their email list so you’re the first to know.

Often shops will advertise blowout events in the fall to attract customers.

For example, they may offer 25% off all bikes over Labor Day weekend.

It never hurts to inquire.

At minimum, you’ll learn the general cadence of sales so you can hit the right timing.

Getting intel straight from the source is super valuable.

Refurbished Fall Inventory

Keep an eye out for refurbished bikes that dealers deeply discount in fall.

These are bikes that were rented out during peak season and now cycled back into inventory.

Rentals typically have some wear and tear. To sell them, shops will fix them up and tune them mechanically.

Though not brand new, these lightly used bikes can be amazing deals!

Ask retailers if they have any refurbished rentals coming back onto the sales floor.

The price will likely be very negotiable on those.

Off-season Demo Sales

Stores often discount demo bikes in fall after heavy use during the main riding season.

These bikes were used for test rides and events.

While worn, demo bikes are usually well-maintained by shops.

If the sizing, condition, and price are right for you, this can be a killer bargain opportunity.

How Do I Get the Best Deal on a New Bike?

Scoring the best price on your dream bike takes some preparation and negotiating finesse.

After years of seeing customers land great deals, here are my pro tips:

Tips 1: Do Your Research

Don’t just rely on what the shop tells you.

Look online for retailer prices, manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and average selling prices for the bikes you’re interested in.

That gives you a good baseline for the real market value.

Tip 2: Ask About Upcoming Sales

Shop employees usually know when sales or promotions are coming.

Ask if they have any big clearances or discounts planned.

You could save a bundle by timing it right.

Tip 3: Bundle Accessories

Negotiate to include complementary accessories like a helmet, lock, rack, lights etc.

Accessory markup is high.

Bundling saves you money upfront.

Tip 4: Get Quotes in Writing

Always get any quotes or negotiated prices in writing.

Verbal agreements can vaporize or numbers can get fudged later on if there’s no proof.

Tip 5: Offer to Pay Upfront

If paying the full amount immediately, you can politely mention that.

Dealers like fast cash in hand versus financing over time.

Tip 6: Time it Right

As I covered earlier, buying in the fall or winter when prices drop gives you the upper hand. Use that as leverage.

Tip 7: Shop Multiple Stores

Don’t just look at one or two places.

The more options you have, the better your negotiating position.

Make stores compete for your business!

Tip 8: Negotiate a Bike Fit

A pro bike fit is usually an add-on service that costs over $100.

Try to negotiate a comprehensive fitting session as part of your purchase.

This works well as you’re getting ready to drop serious cash.

Fitting services have high-profit margins for shops, so they have flexibility to discount or comp it.

Having a perfect-fitting bike right off the bat improves performance and comfort.

It’s worth bargaining for!

Tip 9: Bundle Maintenance Services

Negotiate complimentary follow-up tune-ups or maintenance services as part of the purchase package.

For example, ask if they’ll provide the first year of periodic servicing discounts along with the bike.

Most are willing to sweeten the pot if it closes a big sale.

This saves you money down the road.

Just be sure to get service agreements in writing when you buy the bike.

Verbal promises can be forgotten later.

Tip 10: Leverage Sales Expertise

If one salesperson won’t negotiate seriously, politely ask to speak to someone more senior or the owner directly.

Higher-ups are empowered to wheel and deal when needed.

Don’t be afraid to make it known you’re a serious buyer looking for the best offer.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Follow these tips and you’ll be coasting out of the store with a new bike and money in your pocket.

Can Bike Prices Be Negotiated?

This is one of the most common questions I get.

The short answer – yes!

Bike prices are very negotiable if you play your cards right.

Unlike car dealerships, bike shops rarely publish firm pricing.

Tag prices on bikes are usually just a starting point.

I’ve seen customers get 10-25% knocked off just by politely asking.

That said, there are some ground rules of negotiating:

  • Have a reasonable target discount. Smaller shops have less wiggle room than big retailers.
    Don’t demand the impossible.
  • Avoid peak seasons like summer. Negotiate when business is slower and they want to move inventory.
  • Bundle a fitting, accessories, or service package. More potential profit eases negotiating.
  • Be ready to walk out if you don’t get a fair offer. Don’t take a bad deal just because you’re emotionally attached. Patience pays off.
  • Cash is king. Offering to pay in full on the spot can sweeten the deal.

The key is being a savvy negotiator while also showing you’re a serious buyer who will bring future business.

Earn their trust and respect.

For high-end bikes, get quotes from multiple shops and make them compete.

The threat of buying elsewhere gives you leverage.

Just avoid being the person who wastes everyone’s time shopping endlessly with no intention to buy.

Karma counts!

With the right approach, almost any bike is negotiable.

Don’t be shy about haggling! Just stay flexible and friendly. You catch more flies with honey as they say.

Negotiate Used Bikes

The key is justifying the discount you’re asking for.

On a used bike, point out any wear, dated components, etc. that warrant a lower price.

If you have cash ready, mention you’re willing to pay $X amount right now which is fair given the condition.

Come prepared with competitive listings so you’re not asking for the impossible.

For new bikes, it’s all about sales data.

Reference deals you’ve seen online, what competitors are offering, and overall market prices.

Convince them you know a good deal when you see one!

Shop Late Season

The very end of the season right before winter hits is another prime time to bargain.

At that point, shops are desperate to clear out inventory.

Tell them you’re ready to make a purchase now but need a good deal to pull the trigger.

Float an offer maybe 10-15% below the asking price and negotiate up slightly from there.

If a shop knows a bike has sat unsold for 6 months, they’ll be very motivated to wheel and deal, especially if you have cash in hand.

Buy Floor Models or Test Bikes

Ask for a discount on floor model bikes or heavily used demo/rental bikes.

Since these can’t be sold as new, you should pay 5-15% less.

Lead with a reasonable offer based on condition and how long it’s been sitting there.

Offering to finalize the purchase now rather than waiting works in your favor.

With the right approach, almost any bike is negotiable.

Don’t be shy about haggling! Just stay flexible and friendly.

You catch more flies with honey as they say.

Final Thoughts

Finding a new bike is super exciting. Making sure you get the best deal possible makes it even sweeter!

Timing your purchase in the fall or winter takes advantage of blowout clearance prices on last year’s models.

That’s key to maximizing savings.

Negotiating works when you follow some common sense etiquette.

Come prepared with market research, shop around between multiple stores, and show you’re ready to buy.

Being reasonable but persistent pays off.

For me, nothing beats the thrill of rolling out with a shiny new bike.

I hope these insider buying tips help you score the bargain of your dreams! Pedal safely my friends.

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Joey B. Ramsey
Passionate cyclist, father, and blogger.
I've been riding bikes since childhood and enjoy sharing my knowledge with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
My diverse bike collection allows me to write reviews and advice based on personal experience with various bikes and accessories.
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