How to get into road cycling on the cheap

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

If you are wanting to get into road cycling you’ve probably noticed it can be quite expensive.  Super expensive if you started out with great everything.  And if you are frugal, you might be thinking it’s just too expensive.  Well, I want to give you some tips on how to get into it on the cheap. 

cyclist near unrecognizable friend riding bikes on road
Road Cyclist

What you need

You really only need two things, a bike and a helmet.  There are a ton of other things you could start with, but that’s all you really need.  Those two things should be enough to get you out riding and figure out if it’s for you. 

How to get an affordable road bike

The price of bikes has really gone up just the last few years.  If you look at the Trek website right now the cheapest road bike they are offering is the Domane AL 2 for $1,129.99.  That’s a pretty steep price for entry into cycling.  Now it is a great bike if you have and want to spend the money, but I’m gonna give you some cheaper options.  You can always buy a more expensive bike after you know this is something you are going to stick to.

Used bikes

Your cheapest option is going to be finding a used bike.  If you take time you can find a great deal on a bike that was barely ridden.  Lots of people buy a bike and then never end up using it much.  Then years later they decide they just want to get it out of the way.  Here is a guide to help you in buying a used bike.

Used Bike buying help guide – Frugal Average Bicyclist

Online bikes

Your next cheapest option will be buying from one of the online only bike shops like bikes direct.  At bikes direct you can get a decent entry level road bike for around $500.  It will be very entry level and you will need to assemble and tune it.  If you don’t know how to do that you will likely have to pay some money to bring it into a shop for the tune up.  But it is much cheaper than the local bike shop.

Bikes Direct Road Bikes

If you use one of those two options, you should be able to get a bike for $500 or possibly much cheaper.  That’s not a bad investment for a healthy habit.  And you will always be able to sell the bike when you are ready to upgrade.


Helmets don’t have to be too expensive, here is an affordable option on Amazon:

Team Obsidian Airflow Bike Helmet

Team Obsidian Airflow Bike Helmet – AMAZON

If you follow the above, you will have a bike and a helmet for a reasonable amount of money.  Now you just need to start riding as much as you can, hopefully every day.   Be sure to spend some time adjusting your bike to fit you properly. 

People often have a bad fit that leads to pain which leads to not riding.  Here is a guide to help you eliminate that pain.

Cycling should not hurt. 

Check out our FAB reviews of frugal items when you are looking to buy more cycling gear.

Frugal Average Bicyclist Reviews

A small budget doesn’t have to keep you out of road cycling.

Published by FAB Jim The Cyclist

Jim has over 40 years of experience with bicycles and loves road and mountain biking and just going for calm cruises. He is a mechanic who has built custom bikes and is also very interested in bike history.

7 thoughts on “How to get into road cycling on the cheap

  1. I understand your point about breaking into road cycling on the cheap if you are an entry level cyclist. The problem with that logic is that a low end bike is made with low end components, which means the bike itself is prone to more mechanical issues. No, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, but you also want to avoid something that is going to immediately start having issues because it made with low quality parts. My suggestion would be for someone to have the bike checked over by a qualified mechanic or buying that inexpensive or used bike could be like buying a used or inexpensive car, a potential lemon.

  2. I watched the video again and noticed some errors in my bike positioning that put too much strain on my knees. I like to have a bit more stretch between the seat and pedaling even though I sacrifice some speed and power. Keep in mind I bike only for fun though.

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