How To Save Money When Buying A New Bicycle

How To Save Money When Buying A New Bicycle

With petrol prices reaching dizzying heights and paid parking spreading like ground-elder, driving is becoming an increasingly expensive activity.

As a result, many people are switching to cycling to work: zero fuel costs, shorter travel times and a looser waistband after a few weeks. And with the government’s Bike to Work scheme, there’s never been a better time to buy a new bicycle.

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But if you’re new to cycling and unsure of which model to buy, I’m is here to help find the best bicycle for you.

Mountain Bikes

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Mountain bikes are the most common model of bicycle in Ireland, and are probably a type of bicycle most are familiar with from their childhood. Mountain bikes are among the cheapest models of bicycle on the Irish market, but their quality varies wildly.

And they aren’t the most practical model for commuting. The key is in the name: unless you work half-way up a mountain that has no paved roads, a mountain bike isn’t  for you.

Their thick tyres are designed for mud and gravel, not tarmac or concrete roads, and the extra rolling resistance slows you to a surprising degree. And they come equipped with way more suspension than is necessary for city riding – it won’t improve the comfort of your ride, but it will slow you down.

The same goes for disc brakes, they’re entirely superfluous for general purpose cycling (they’re also a nightmare to fix if anything goes wrong with them).

Road bikes/Racing bikes

At the other end of the pricing scale are road bikes. Racing bikes aren’t terribly practical for cycling through traffic, particularly for novice cyclists.

Drop handlebars provide less leverage when riding at low speeds than flat handlebars, which will cause you to wobble when you’re trying to work your way up through the stationary cars at the traffic lights.

Racing wheels will provide for a quick ride, but you have a much better chance of buckling them going through an unnoticed pothole than you would a wider wheel. Apart from anything else, a racing bike is much more of a target for thieves than a more unassuming model.

If your commute is over ten miles, there is an argument in favour of a road bike. High-end racing models cost over €5000, but there are good entry level models priced between €600 and €700.

The Specialized Allez is the most popular at the moment, and with good reason – it is an excellent bicycle for its price.


If you’re only getting into cycling and are planning on using your bicycle primarily for commuting, a hybrid (sometimes known as a “city bike” or “commuter bike”) is probably the model for you.

The hybrid combines elements of both road and mountain bikes, and offers a compromise between comfort and performance. The tyres are wider than those of a road bike for our not-always-perfect roads, and most are equipped with comfort saddle and suspension in the seat post and the front forks.

Hybrid bicycles typically have flat handlebars, which provide the rider with a comfortable, upright seating position. They usually come equipped with a chain guard, mud guards, and rear pannier.

Hybrids start from around €200-€250 for a steel frame model, and from €300 to anywhere up to €1500 for an aluminium frame machine. There’s little point in paying much over three hundred euro for a commuter bike, however: my Cross Arrow (approximately €300) has put up with four years of abuse and is still going strong. Giant, Trek, and Falcon all have good models in this price range.

The extra €100 for the aluminium frame is worth it in the long run as it makes the bike slightly lighter and it won’t rust. However, if you’re buying with a view to upgrading in a couple of years, a cheaper steel frame model would be fine.

‘Supermarket Specials’

If you’re looking to pick up an inexpensive bicycle, you might find yourself tempted by the bicycles that supermarkets sell from time to time. Don’t be – they seem too good to be true because they are.

They’re made of cheap, low-grade steel and inferior components. What’s most worrying about the ‘supermarket specials’, however, is that they are sold to customers unassembled.

Putting a bicycle together is a complicated job and should NOT be attempted by a novice. Remember, you’re going to be sharing the roads with cars and lorries on this machine – go to your local bike shop and get a bike that’s assembled by professionals.

Bike shops always give a free service with a new bike, so they will be able to sort out any teething issues for you.

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