Getting Good Bikes under $300 - is it possible?

Getting Good Bikes under $300 - is it possible?

More and more people are jumping onto bikes as a fun, cheap and fit way to get around, but they don't want to spend a lot of money.

So what's your best option for bikes under 300 dollars? Should you go new from a bike shop, get a department store bike or buy second-hand? We give you the low down on the options. If you're buying your first bike since you were a kid, or buying a second bike to keep your racing machine pristine, you don't need to spend a lot of cash to get something good! For most people, putting aside a few hundred bucks for a new bike is pretty manageable. You may be keen to upgrade later down the track, but spending two to three hundred on a bike will be a good investment. Even if you upgrade down the track, your sub-$300 bike will still be useful for commuting, popping down to the shop, rolling to the pub or similar.

Let's look at the main options in this price range.

Second-hand bikes under $300

Verdict: Can be a great value option if you know what you're doing and happy to take a few risks, as there's no after sales support, no warranty and no bike servicing options.

Second-hand bikes can be a good deal, especially if you're a competent bike mechanic. If you're able to service a bike and inspect an older bike for damage or disrepair, you may be able to find a great deal. Obviously, you won't be covered by any warranty or service plan, so if there are any problems you'll have to fix them yourself. The key things to check in second-hand bikes are the frame, consumable parts and then general level adjustment and condition.

If there's any rust, chips or bubbles in the paint of the frame, it could indicate that the frame has been crashed otherwise damaged. If the brake blocks, tyres or cables are stiff, rusted or cracked, they'll need to be replaced for safety. If the brakes don't feel right, or the gears don't shift well, you'll need to pay for a service, or do it yourself. Keeping all of that in mind, good bikes can be found second-hand, just remember that it's 'buyer beware'.

Department store bikes under $300

Verdict: Cheap prices, generally poor quality. Difficult after sales support, no mechanical support and no bike servicing options.

You can buy a bicycle from some of the big department stores at super cheap prices. These kinds of bicycles are bought in the box directly from the store, with no mechanical support and a very low build quality. The use of ultra cheap steel parts means that these bikes are typically very heavy, with no-name components that don't last. They look like a bicycle, but their high weight and low quality means that they're not fun to ride, and probably do more to discourage people from continuing to cycle, even if they do help them start off. So it's best to steer clear of department store bikes.

Bike shop bikes under $300

Verdict: A solid option but not many options under the $300 mark as brands, distributors and bike shops all add margin to make a profit. Good after sales support & offer servicing.

Lots of bike shops can provide good value bikes for under $300. If they're an established business selling a good brand name, you can rest assured that the product will be reliable, with some kind of warranty and after sales service. The key things to look for are quality alloy components, even on steel framed bicycles, and overall good fit and finish on the products. A loose ball bearing bottom bracket, stamped or pressed steel brakes and single wall rims are all signs that corners have been cut - and should be considered as red flags. A sealed bearing bottom bracket, forged brake calipers and double walled wheel rims are all generally indicators of a good quality bike. Even if you don't know exactly what they are, they're what you should ask for! Ask your local bike shop guy to show you the difference.

New bikes from Reid Cycles under $300

Verdict: Reid Cycles sell quality bikes direct to market, so we have a great range of bikes in the sub-$300 category. Reid Cycles have great after sales support, free servicing for 12 months and the best bike warranty available.

Reid Cycles has a large range of bikes under the $300 mark. They're inexpensive, because Reid Cycles designs, manufacturers, transports, distributes and sells it's own bikes. There's no extra middle men adding to the cost. However, there haven't been any corners cut. Bikes collected in store are fully assembled and ready to ride.  Good quality components such as sealed bearing bottom brackets, forged brakes and double wall rims can be found on even our first level models. With a lifetime warranty of the frame and any rigid forks, 2 years on suspension forks and at least 1 year on all other mechanical components, you can ride assured that you're on a good quality bike.

A great sign of quality is SAI Global Certification. You'll probably recognise the 5 ticks of approval. A bike that is SAI Global certified is accredited as meeting or exceeding the consumer safety standards applicable to that bike. Meeting the standards is mandatory, but getting third-party accreditation shows that the seller is serious about safety, and is willing to be checked!

Everything from beach cruisers to fully kitted out commuters and even road bikes can be found in this price range. The Reid Rapid Flatbar is among the best value in the bunch. Add a rear pannier rack and you're ready for road riding, commuter or even long-distance touring. For a ladies vintage bike you can't go past the Reid Ladies Vintage 7-Speed PLUS, and if you're looking to hit the trails, you'll have a lot of fun on the Reid MTB Sport Disc.

So check out the range of Reid Cycles under $300. There's much to like there. We also have higher-specc'd models including high-end road bikes, mountain bikes and fixies to choose from. If you need any more info, feel free to give one of the stores a buzz, drop in and check us out, or simply shop online.

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