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Should I Buy the Cheapest Bike I Can Find?

In a word, no. The cheapest bike you can find will be at a big box store and it won’t perform very well or last very long. So the next question is: Should I buy the cheapest bike that is recommended on Cheap Bikes? Maybe, but not necessarily. It depends how much you intend to use it.

One of the primary things that differentiates the cheapest bikes we recommend with those that are a little more expensive are the components, which is just bike lingo for parts. Paying a little more gets you better components (e.g., better brakes, derailleurs that shift more smoothly and consistently, etc.). Better components provide better performance and, often, require less maintenance too. Better components will generally also last longer.

One strategy that many people employ is to buy an intermediate-priced bike and then upgrade components as they wear out. Honestly, that’s a pretty reasonable strategy. The only downside is that, for a while at least, you have to live with the lower performance and higher maintenance that comes with less expensive components. If you’re only riding occasionally, the reduced performance might not be a big deal.

Let’s say, however, that you’re looking for a commuter bike and plan to ride to work or school every day. Or you’re setting a goal of riding frequently for fitness. In those cases, I’d strongly recommend that you spend a little more up front so that you’re not making as much of a compromise when it comes to performance. For those type of circumstances, gravitating toward the more expensive bikes recommended here would make a lot of sense. Those bikes are very good quality but still represent an excellent value.

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