Save £500 on your next bike

Compulsive bike buyer James Whitham on how to save a monkey

Over the years I’ve bought and sold loads of bikes; new ones, old ones, mint ones and basket cases. And I can’t remember once paying the asking price if I was buying, or being offended by a bit of haggling if I was selling. Whether buying from a dealer, a private individual or from an auction, I usually come away feeling like I’ve got a bit of a deal. The bottom line comes down to supply and demand. If you’re trying to buy a bike that’s rare or sought-after, and you’ve set your heart set on it, you’re clearly in a fairly weak bargaining position. If you’re after a model there’s plenty of and you’re prepared to walk away you obviously have more room for manoeuvre. Here are my tips to save yourself a few quid next time you go shopping for a bike.

Do your homework

Half an hour’s research online or on the phone will tell you what the going rate or recommended retail price is for the bike you have in mind. You may also be able to find out who’s discounting – there’s a lot of it out there at the moment. Even if you still fancy buying from your local dealer, at least you’ll have a good idea of what kind of figure to aim for. Bear in mind the first service is usually only free at the dealer you bought the bike from. Factor this in if you’re buying miles away.

Hit big dealers towards the end of the month

Go into one of the huge, multi-showroom dealers in the last couple of days of the month. These kind of places usually have sales targets handed down from head office. If you drop in at the end of a slack month they’ll be keen to do a deal just to get another bike sold.

Buy in winter

Dealers are more likely to talk when it’s cold outside and the showroom is devoid of customers, especially if they need room for new stock. Equally, private vendors are more likely to take a low offer when they’ve been stumbling over it in the garage for three months and they need cash for Christmas.

Go for last year’s model

Sometimes the only difference is the colour-scheme. “Settling” for last year’s metal can save you a £1000 or more. After six months nobody will remember which is the new colour-scheme anyway.