Buying a mountain bike is one of the biggest investments any rider can make in this sport. It’s a difficult decision to make that has a long-term impact, is very expensive, and is subjective on top of all that. One part of the process is finding the best timing for the actual purchase. The good news is that there are certain times of the year when you can save money on a mountain bike purchase – new or used.
The best time to get a good deal on a mountain bike is in September and October. That’s the end of MTB season and when demand is low but supply can still be relatively high. With new models coming out every year, bike shops are in a rush to get rid of existing inventory at the end of every season.
The exact timing does vary though depending on if you want to buy a new or used mountain bike and depending on where you live. Let me share my experiences buying and selling bikes so you can find the best deal on your next MTB.
The 4 best times to get a deal on a new MTB
Let’s use the basic economic principle of supply (seller) and demand (buyer). What you want to avoid as a buyer is a situation of high overall demand (many people in the market of buying a bike) and lower supply. Especially since 2020, manufacturers can often not keep up with the high demand during the spring months. During this time, odds are in favor of sellers.
To stack the odds in your favor as a potential buyer, look for times when demand is low and supply high.
Mountain biking is extremely seasonal and very predictable with product reveals and launches occurring at similar times each year. Knowing that is half the battle.
The best opportunity for great deals is at the end of every riding season. That’s the last chance for bike shops to get rid of inventory, next year’s bikes are starting to get announced and riders are generally not interested in buying bikes. It’s one of the best times to get current models at discounted prices while most of the range is still in stock.
These probably aren’t going to be the biggest discounts of the year, but it’s still a time with a great selection. Remember: There are multiple options for the same bike model in terms of size, components and paint job. There’s a good chance you’ll still find exactly what you want or need then.
End of bike-park season
A couple of weeks before that, in late summer is another great opportunity. While bike parks are gravity-oriented, the bike shops in these destinations usually offer all types of bikes from XC to Downhill. But they still close shop when the lifts stop operating, riders stop coming and the weather gets cold in the mountains.
The end of bike park season is usually earlier than the end of the general riding season. In mountain regions the window for good deals is sometimes starting in the middle of August and throughout September. These places mostly also offer rental bikes, that are up for sale then, but buying bikes used and abused in bike parks is a whole different story than buying new.
Mid-summer flash deals
Summer is peak season when people are actually riding and excited about MTB. Brands like to ride that wave of excitement and get the last squeeze out. The window of opportunity for shops is slowly closing by this point. Most people are riding what they got. By offering deals on a few select models and configurations they get riders’ attention.
If those deals are on a model, size and component setup you like, that’s a good opportunity to pull the trigger. Usually, those reduced prices are put on models that are lagging behind in sales compared to expectations. Those are either polarizing colors, non-average sizes, or price ranges at the expensive end.
Black Friday deals
By the time black friday rolls around, it’s extremely late in the seasonal cycle and the last chance for shops to get some sales. So, there can be the occasional bargain on new bikes. But usually, the stock leftover at this point in the year is a poor selection most of the time. The best models and deals are generally gone by this point.
Usually, the only models left are at the extremes of the range. Either in the largest and smallest sizes, the most expensive and cheapest configuration, or the most niche colors.
For smaller or taller people this may be the best time. Frame sizes XS, S, XL and XXL are usually the last in stock. For riders of average height in need of sizes Medium and Large, don’t expect to find what you need this late in the year.
Both supply and demand are low during winter. This makes it a great time to check out the used bike market!
When to get the best deal on a used MTB
Used bike markets follow similar ebbs and flow as the new bike market. Additionally, the offer some unique opportunities on top of the previously discussed.
First weeks of the new year
In January and February is when used bikes start to get posted on used marketplaces. But buyers’ demand only kicks in once spring comes around. So there is a short window where supply is ahead of demand.
Winter is more relaxed with buyers and sellers taking their time sussing the market. For some sellers, it may all be too slow and give the impression of not being able to sell. That’s your opportunity as a buyer.
Spring & early summer
Things happen quickly during peak bike buying season, but if you’re on the pulse and a little lucky, you can snatch up a good bike at below market price. Make use of that chaos when prices can be all over the place until they’re fairly settled.
Spotting bargain deals is not easy here, so start having your eye on the market early so you can get a feel for pricing and spot good deals quickly. Pre-planning budget, models, and component configurations early helps in a fast decision process.
During summer it’s a similar theme with taking advantage of high demand in the new bike market. Used bike sellers may be in a hurry to get their old bike sold to make room or to get cash for their new bike. People are changing bikes mid-season likely due to inventory shortages and long delivery times. It’s not unusual to get bikes ordered in spring delayed or restocked in summer.
End of season
At the end of every season, riders will want to get rid of the bike they’ve been riding all year. This is especially true for riders with limited bike storage. So, supply goes up, but demand is at an all-year-low at this time. The perfect time to strike if you got the space and know how to service a bike if needed.
When people choose to sell their MTB instead of keeping it stored over the off-season, you’ll notice that the number of options available for purchase increases. As this happens and demand stays low, prices will start to drop. Don’t feel the rush into buying right away. Instead, observe as sellers get impatient and lower their prices. If you see a listing that has been up for a few weeks, it’s likely that the odds are in your favor when negotiating.
In regions where there are no clear off-seasons in terms of climate, the seasons are more dictated by the leisure time people have on their hands. School holidays are a great indicator when weather isn’t.
Don’t get stuck with a lemon! There’s opportunity and risk in buying a used bike. To minimize uncertainty, I wrote this guide on how to inspect a used MTB.
No matter what your situation, it’s always best to save some money when buying a mountain bike. Even a few percentages here and there add up to hundreds of bucks. So it pays to be patient here more than any other single gear item. If you can be patient and buy your next MTB at the ideal time, do it and save! That way you have more money for gear and don’t need to cut corners there.