If you’re planning to splash some cash on a trusty new steed and get the most bike for your money, it helps to know when new bike models become available, when any discounts are likely to be given and, if you are looking for a very specific model, when you should place a pre-order.
Latest Model Availability
New models on most major mountain bike brands start to be shipped to distributors in November of the previous year. This enables retailers to capitalize on pre-Christmas sales when bike addicts start to crave for something new to rattle down the trails.
While you are unlikely to obtain any discounts on brand new bikes, particularly new models introduced to a manufacturer’s range, it can pay to place an order before the latest models are shipped to guarantee availability.
I recently bought an extra small size 2012 35cm ladies Lapierre X-Flow 310 mountain bike. I placed the order at the end of October and received the bike just before Christmas 2011. While I got an early bird £20 discount, the main reason I ordered the bike so early was because this model is brand new for 2012 and likely to be in short supply, and smaller sizes are almost always sold out when it comes to Sale time at the end of the summer season.
Buying a Bike During the Sales
You can of course get some real bargains if you wait until the sales to buy a new mountain bike. As the new models arrive, retailers need to make room by selling off old stock, so do your research carefully and check whether the following year’s model is really any different.
Has the spec changed? Look closely at the components especially the rear mech, brakes, front fork, wheels and gear shifters on the detailed product description; this can be checked online on the manufacturer’s website. In many cases, only the color of the bike will have changed, so if your size is still available, consider buying a previous year’s model
Watch for Mountain Bike Bargains Online
While your local bike shop is a great place to get solid advice and the ability to test-ride your new bike, mountain bike bargains are available at many online retailers all year round. Sign up with several retailers such as Chain Reaction Cycles, Wiggle or Evans Cycles to get advance notice of special discounts. UK-based Evans Cycles, for example, offer free worldwide delivery on many bike brands over a certain price-point and selective discounts, all of which are notified by e-mail when you sign up as a potential customer.
Buying a New Bike
If your heart is set on next year’s brand new model, my advice is to order early to guarantee availability, especially on highly desirable brands like Lapierre. If you are happy to pick a bargain from a previous year’s range, wait until the sales or sign up at online retailers for advance notification of discounts as and when they happen.