How to buy a better bike … on a budget

1. Find a “bike buddy”

Ask a friend who owns a bike to be your bike buying buddy, or ask your local bike library for buying advice.

2. Choose the right style and size for you.

Think about:

  • Where you’ll ride (on-road or off-road) – do you need fatter tyres and suspension?
  • Are you riding up hills? You’ll need gears!
  • How far you’ll go. The further you go, the lighter you’ll want your bike to be.
  • What (or who!) you have to carry. Do you need a rack or basket. How will you carry your gear? Maybe even consider a cargobike?
  • How important is comfort over speed? Step-thru styles are easier on your back and knees but can be heavier and slower.
Common bike styles

Try out different styles and sizes at a bike shop, with friends or at your local bike library.

Know your height and in-seam length so you can check sizes online. A good rough guide is that the seat should be at hip height (check it isn’t over-extended) and your knee should have a slight bend when the pedal is at the furthest extension. If you’re less confident, a step-thru bike will make it easier to step off when you stop.

3. Set your budget and stick to it.

  • 0 – $100: Look for free bikes from a bike library, friends or neighbours. Check our ‘what else’ graphic for other ‘hidden’ costs.
  • $200 – $700: Look for good quality (see note 4) second-hand bikes. Shop online (Trade me, marketplace, etc.) or visit garage sales. Some bike shops sell serviced second hand bikes.
  • $750 or more: Buy a good new bike from your local bike shop. Shop sales to get a bargain.
Extra (hidden) costs to consider

4. Buy a bike that is built to last!

Look at the brands your local bike shop sells. These brands make bikes that are built to last. The parts will be higher quality and last longer. They will have easy to replace parts, that are quick and simple to fix.

For more detailed information, visit Bike There (by Wellington City Council)