Buying a new bike. One bike to rule them all

I have been riding a Specialized Allez for the past ten years which has had a few upgrades in its time.

It has served me well and is good to train on but I think the time has come to upgrade to something a bit special. When we are talking new bikes I wonder what percentage of people go for a 0% finance over three years and who just lay the cash down. Because we all know cycling gear can sky rocket into the thousands especially when you have companies pushing the new aero advantage.

My other question is if you had to pick one bike what would it be Aero or All Rounder?

Just want to gauge the response and if anybody has experience buying an expensive bike that would be helpful.

Thank You


I was in a similar situation to you: I’ve been riding a 17 year old Merlin Extralight Ti road bike which I’ve upgraded the components (now on eTap) over the years. I’m finally getting a new bike - a Parlee Altum disc which I’m picking up today.

I followed a self finance 0% approach: basically I saved money every month in a new bike fund for many years, and now I’m using the bike fund to pay cash.

Good luck


I don’t take out a loan to buy bikes - I only buy what I can afford to pay for entirely.

If I was buying a single bike I would buy only an aero road bike - probably one of the new ones with disc brakes


If you have a look through the TR users bike thread, many of us have experience of buying expensive bikes. However I’m not sure how many will want to be sharing how they manage to pay for them. How you choose to pay for it is a very personal decision.

Now that’s out of the way, the fun part!! Buying a new bike!!!

The choice of Aero or all rounder comes down to personal preference. What do you want the bike to do, and what kind of riding do you do? Many of the new GC bike are becoming very aero. Take the new Tarmac for example - it’s more aero than the previous Venge. Having owned the Tarmac 2015 and the SL6, the difference is phenomenal in terms of raw speed, handling and weight.

Consider an off the peg version or a custom build. Depending on budget you can go all in on a absolute superbike or make some compromises to potentially get a frame you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Having a custom spec means you get exactly what you want. I’ve gone down that route on my TT bike (Trek Speed Concept) and my last two race bikes (S-Works Tarmac 2015 and SL6).

Think about supporting your local bike shop with an expensive purchase. If you do, they will look after you much better than a big/on-line retailer.

Fun times ahead planning what you want!!


I’ve never had the chance to buy anything 0% down same as cash for three years. So I pay everything off before I leave the shop. If I had the option I’d do 0% and pay it off in three years. No brainer. Congrats on the new superbike!:grinning:

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Personally would only ever pay upfront for what I deem a non-essential. Mortgage is the only borrowing I would do.

Re the actual bike. I just ordered a do it all Mason Bokeh frame that I’ll build up myself. It’s a 3 month wait until I pay for it so that is 3 months to source all the parts.

My only other road worthy bike is a steel tourer.

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Wall of text but this will give you an insight into how some of us roll around in what look to be 10k rides but actually don’t pay even half that.

So yes, 0% finance is attractive and it’s the smart way to use money if we’re talking big sums. In anything, kitchens, cars, bikes, whatever. If you have 3k to 10k sitting in the bank, you want to invest that instead of just handing it over to some bike shop owner who will take it and invest it in making more money off of it. Your money, that you worked for. He’s playing smart with it.

Problem here is that finance companies take around 15% IIRC from the retailer so it’s extremely rare to get a heavily discounted bike on 0%. You probably noticed this from cars too. New cars can get nice 0% deals, with a contribution sweetener. Used cars get higher interest rates. Bikes are the same. That 0% financed bike is still going to cost a ton of cash by the end of the loan.

What that means is that unless you are definitely going to take your lump sum of cash and actually invest in it, by the end of year 1 to 3, you’d be better off financially just buying a discounted bike outright than paying 0% finance on a new bike with a small discount at best.

The absolute best way to buy a posh bike is to strip down a mid-tier model that is a season or two ‘old’. It has to be a model that is using the high end frame though. A good example would be the 2015 to 2018 Cervelo S5 Ultegra. This bike is cheap as chips right now. And you can flog off the components and wheel set to land yourself one of the fastest framesets in the world for just over £1400 after you’ve sold off the parts.

Next you get yourself onto eBay and start offering sellers for nearly new kit. eTap, Zipp tubular wheelsets etc. These are selling low on eBay at the moment.

eTap I’d probably just buy from a retailer right now for the warranty and because the price is dropping hard (12 speed eTap is coming soon).

But the Zipp tubulars, definitely grab those on eBay. Loads of excellent condition ones and I wouldn’t stress over warranty. Bike shops can fix that stuff cheap if you do a spoke or have a hub problem. They can rebuild the whole thing if you wreck them and it’s still worth it.

S5 frameset (inc bars) £1400 or less if you get one nearly new on eBay.
eTap £700 (bit more or less on the route you go here)
Zipp 404 tubs £800
SRAM Red brakeset £100 (eBay)
Rotor Inpower power meter chainset £380 (spotted this recently)
Chainrings £100
Pedals/tape/mount ? (as much or as little as you want)

Just built yourself a 7kg aero bike with a power meter for around £3500. Bet I could get it even lower than that with patience.

And it’ll look boss.

Now if you can take out a 0% purchase credit card, you simply stick it all on that, and pay it off over the term of the card. Can be as long as nearly 3 years in some cases. You wouldn’t even feel it paying it a bit off monthly.

Treat yourself, you only live once but don’t feed people your money unnecessarily. Bikes break, they’re not an investment so play it smart. Also, beware the latest and greatest lure. The latest aero bikes are unlikely to even be 5 watts faster at superhero speeds. And I’m extremely dubious about whether in real world conditions the 2019 disc bikes are genuinely faster than their previous peak aero iterations. Tour in January will be very interesting here. I wouldn’t be surprised if old Canyon rim brake Aeroads are still faster than some of the new 2019 models coming out.

Also, you can sometimes buy custom build super bikes on eBay for a few grand. Saves you the hassle. Custom builds can be hard to sell on.

Edited to include power meter because… why not :slight_smile:


I purchased my Allez on store credit, and it skyrocketed my credit rating (more so than my car loan did). I would see if you can demo one of the new Specialized Tarmacs or the new Venge. Both seem to overlap each other in the ‘all round’ category to some degree. I really enjoyed how much snappier the S works Tarmac felt compared to my '17 Allez Sprint.

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Great advice by Shrike there :+1:t2:

But also I’m a Giant man myself, so a bike to consider should be a Giant TCR Advanced


Don’t you know about n+1? Buy both!

I think it depends on the kind of riding you do, and what you want to optimize for. I have an endurance road bike, but am finding that now I ride a lot of gravel, and need a true gravel bike. If I had to do it all over again, I’d buy a gravel bike, with a 2nd set of wheels for road.


This is a good approach and an option, I presume rather than just handing over the lump of cash all at once.

What’s the point right?

I respect this approach and have considered it myself. But say if you could afford to buy the bike outright but just used the same sum of cash to pay it off monthly?

This true I found myself getting lost in the TR users bikes thread.

My number one concern with an aero bike is that it may be slightly one dimensional in that it wants to go FAST. Take the Canyon Aeroad for example try doing a century on that thing, I don’t believe the position would leave you feeling very good by the end. I could see that bike being a weapon for a couple of hours tops.
Taking that thing down some steep descents here in England has me frightened for my life.

All the data suggests I get an aero bike but I wouldn’t want to drive a Lamborghini everywhere.

Thank for taking the time to write out this really great piece of advice and another fantastic option for funding an affordable super bike.

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I LOVE the Giant TCR Advanced SL.


I still wouldn’t do a monthly payment plan for something the depreciates so much as soon as you leave the store (same principle as car loans). Additionally, as someone else mentioned in this thread if you get 0% financing you are almost certainly paying full price and, in the USA at least, you can almost certainly get 30% off most major brand bikes

30% during sale season or just generally?

I think the key piece of advice should be what do YOU want from the bike? There’s no point dropping big money on something you don’t want because someone else said it was better or you should get it.

I’ll give you an insight of how I put my bike together…

I wanted the new S Works Tarmac SL6. I’m a racer, and wanted a GC orientated bike rather than an aero bike because although I’m not the lightest I like to climb. I couldn’t afford the off the peg version and wasn’t sold on the spec. I wanted mechanical over electronic shifting as I’d rather pay £100 for a rear mech than £250 in the event of a crash. Wanted Ultegra over Dura Ace for the same reasons. Only DA I had was the chainset for weight saving. Wanted a lightweight set of wheels as I already had aero wheels and as the roads I’ll be racing on are pretty poor I wanted tubeless. Hence the Roval CLX32. Went rim brake rather than disc as I’d invested heavily in wheels that I didn’t want to become redundant, and still have a choice on race day.

With all that I’m mind, I ended up with a bike coming in several thousand pounds below the off the peg version, and I bike that I need to change nothing.

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Agree. I just got the new Emonda SLR 6 Disc, and have a set of Aeolus 3 carbon disc aero wheel for it. I am replacing an older Emonda rim brake bike with plain wheels.

I had the option to get the new Madone SLR 6 Disc at slightly more cost. But I skipped the Lambo option because I don’t race that much and wanted a bike that was more comfortable for all-around riding. The Emonda is also 2.5 lbs lighter and one of the most versatile “climbing” bikes around.

Adding the aero wheel makes a nice imrovement for speed, even though the frame isn’t as slippery as the Madone. There just isn’t enough advantage in the race for my needs to justify the fit limitations.


Just generally

Edit - now that I’m at my computer I’ll provide the additional context.

Typically 30%ish is the range of discounts that bike shops make available to the team they are affiliated with. This isn’t always the case and some bike manufacturers apply limits on new bikes or complete builds - but it is generally in the 20-30% range even for a full build.

If you aren’t on a team that is getting a similar discount but have a relationship with your LBS you can often work with them on this same type of pricing. Further, if you’re paying up front anyway - many will give you a small additional discount if you write them a check instead of swiping a card.

New, fully built bikes are priced a lot like automobiles - the price on the sticker should be viewed as the highest possible price you can pay and the starting point for negotiations.

Totally separate point - but often times you can get just the frame and throw on your own components and wheel set and save even more (similar to the detailed post above - but talking about new frames). Unless you’re buying a completely built out top of the line bike a lot of the OEM components are going to go in the trash (or resale bin) anyway. Stock wheels, saddles, bars, seat posts…all up for debate based on where on the price curve you fall - but these are things you would technically be paying for and then soon (immediately?) replacing