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)
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