Prices of mountain bikes go down once manufacturers release new models. Usually, there’s hardly any difference between a model from last year and a new batch. If you’re looking to buy a mountain bike at the right time, consider buying one around September or mid-winter.
The best time to buy a mountain bike is when last years models are on sale, this is usually late summer or fall. Many brands release new models in October and you can get heavily discounted MTB’s around September. This is one or two months before the new models arrive, depending on the manufacturer.
The problem is that once your size is sold out, you’re out of luck. You can save a huge amount of money though so it’s wise to make a list and have multiple options before a sale. There are more ways to get a good deal if you know where and what and to look for.
When to buy a mountain bike
Buying a mountain bike is quite an investment so if you can get a deal, go for it Black Friday is always a good time to get a good deal on a new mountain bike. Make a list of bikes you want prior, save up enough money and check regularly if they are on sale. Also, at the end of the year, especially around Christmas you can get some sweet deals.
Mountain biking season usually ends in September and if you wait till winter you can find good deals. Sales are down at this time and shops will give you a huge discount. They have to make sales, pay their employees and get rid of their stock.
Manufacturers and new model release dates
New mountain bikes often get revealed at the end of the summer depending on the manufacturer. Early fall they get rolled out to the shops.
- Giant: Giant releases their model earlier than other brands, around June you can expect to see new models
- Trek: releases models usually after the Trek World dealer expo. The expo is usually in August or October, after that the new models roll out.
- Scott: Like many others usually at the end of the summer/fall.
- Cannondale: At the end of the summer, around august, Cannondale usually releases new models. They announce them a month before they roll out to the shops
Buying a used mtb
You can get an amazing deal if you buy a used mountain bike but you need to know what to look for. The older the models the more problems they might have. Mountain bikes lose the most of their value after one year which is about 45%, your best bet is to get a second-hand bike little over a year old.
Make sure you ask to for a test drive and ask questions about why they sell it, how old it is or if it has been crashed before. Also, ask if the bike was serviced and if they have proof of the maintenance. Even better, if possible take it to your local bike shop and ask them to inspect it for a small fee.
Once you get there make sure to inspect the bike and look for specifics like:
- Cracks, weld fractures
- Check for dents and signs of crashes
- Are the tires worn down
- Look for missing paint (especially carbon frames)
- Pump the fork up and down and listen for weird sounds or oil leaking
- Inspect the chainring, chain, cassette and check if they have signs of significant wear and tear
- Spin the wheels and check for wobbles, try the brakes etc
Don’t be afraid to haggle if you buy a mtb in person and be willing to leave if you think you’re overpaying. Read my guide on how to buy a used mountain bike if you want to get a used MTB.
If you have a friend you ride with that want to sell this might also be a good option. At least you know where it’s been and how it was used.
Buying a demo mountain bike
Demo bikes are a great buy, they usually aren’t used a lot beside a few test drives or sprints. Most of the time they are well maintained and way cheaper. Sometimes shops allow weekend use so check the tires and make sure they are still in good condition. This should give you a good idea of the condition the bike is in. Often you still get service and it’s a way better option than buying one on Craigslist.
Most important about buying a demo is that it fits, fortunately, it won’t be a problem testing the bike and maybe even take it to a nearby trail if you ask nicely. Ask if it comes with a warranty, technically you are still the first owner of the bike and you should at least get a factory warranty. Often they also offer a free tune-up and discount on maintenance. If they consider it a used bike, you often get no or limited warranty
Visit a few bike shops
Find a shop that has older bikes that they need to get rid off. You can usually get a good deal if you’re not afraid to bargain. I usually tell them that I’ll let them do the maintenance (which is true) and quite a few times this helped me to get an even bigger discount. You don’t want to push it too far though, I’d like to make sure I have a good standing with my local shop to avoid awkward moments.
Sometimes they have models that they have a hard time selling and they’re very willing to get it off their books to buy a new model.
Support your local dealer
You can get deals all around the year when you shop online but buying a MTB online is a gamble. I always recommend to go to your local shop and see if you can take it for a test drive. Not all mountain bikes behave and feel the same and it’s a big investment. They also measure your body to make sure you get the right frame size. Online shops often offer less support and sometimes bikes can only be returned if you pay a fee.
Online deals might seem great but buying a MTB at your local shop has many advantages. You get to see, feel and in many cases ride the bike you want and they fully customize it to your needs. Many beginners have their saddles way to low for example. This might seem minor, but it doesn’t offer a comfortable ride. They check all the parts and often give you a discount on maintenance.
In my case, they know their stuff and always recommend things I never thought of. My local MTB community drops by for a cup of coffee and it’s a great way to meet new people sharing the same passion.
Besides socializing, local shops maintain and repair your bike quickly and online shops can be a pain. It can take weeks before they send someone over, assuming that’s even a service they provide. Just go to your local shop when you want a mountain bike.
A good time to get a deal on a MTB is a month or two before new models arrive. If you’re out of luck and your size isn’t available, check for demo bikes. Buying used bikes is a bit of risky if you don’t know what to look for. Make sure to inspect the bike for damage and don’t overpay. Used bikes are only worth half their price after a year so make sure to not overpay.