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Buying a Race Bike for Less Than $500

Buying a new BMX race bike in Australia for under $500 is almost impossible. Now this article isn’t about finding the ultimate bike for $500 and it’s not saying that’s all you will need to spend either. This is a guide for those who don’t have a bike and are looking for a good bike for starting on.

Buying New

GT’s Mach One or the Haro Annex are among the only bikes that (just) squeeze into the $500 budget. There is potential to pick up and older model for a discounted price, if you are very lucky, but the way the bicycle industry went crazy through COVID you would need to do some series hunting to find one.

In general though entry level race bikes start about the $600 mark. There are offerings from DK with their Swift Series, Position One, and others. Extending your budget my widen the possibilities for you, and might even save you some money down the track.

The size range of these more affordable bikes is limited. If you are about 5′ 10″ ish or above you will need to spend extra to find something with a bigger set up to allow for your height, even a pro sized 24″ bike is likely to feel small for a taller rider. Try our interactive sizing chart to see the recommended bike set up and compare it against what’s available.

As with all things though “you get what you pay for”. A $500 bike might be a good start but you will most likely need to upgrade as you go, depending on how hard you are on the bike. For example, they would almost certainly come assembled with plastic pedals which you wouldn’t expect to have a long life span.

Buying Second Hand

If $500 is still beyond your budget, or if you are looking for something a little better quality, and wear and tear isn’t an issue, second hand can be a pretty good option. Facebook’s Market Place or Buy Swap Sell pages, Gum Tree or eBay can be good places to look, but you should be careful when using these sorts of services we hear horror stories of people being scammed out of their hard earned money. Sure it’s doesn’t happen often, but it’s better to be aware of it than fall victim.

That said there is often a healthy market for second hand bikes at BMX racing events. Maybe at larger club races, but more likely at open events. It’s always worth checking in with the local BMX club to see if they might know of any bikes for sale too.

You may notice that second hand entry level bikes from micro to expert sizes are generally around the 200 to 500 mark. The larger sized bikes are a lot more popular and generally a fair bit more expensive.

When buying second hand there are obvious things to look out for, if it looks like it hasn’t been cared for it probably hasn’t. If the bike is filthy or banged up alarms should be ringing in your head. Even if it does look like it’s been cared for you should look over it closely checking for any damage that might not be obvious, especially around the welds on the frame. Take the bike for a ride and make sure it’s in working order, or ensure you know exactly what may need to be repaired or serviced before handing over your cash. You don’t want to find yourself blowing your budget on a money pit because you didn’t check things thoroughly enough first.

Things to avoid if you can

  • Rust – unless it’s light surface rust that you think you can clean off, maybe move on
  • Pressed metal chainwheels – you are likely looking at something that’s super cheap and heavy and wouldn’t be doing yourself any favours buying it to get started
  • One piece cranks – these days you would generally find these on extremely cheap bikes that really aren’t build for racing

I always keep a close eye on the second hand market just to see what’s out there and I have noticed if you are quick (maybe set up notifications for online markets), and know what you are looking for, you can pick up some real gems at incredible prices. It might be worth watching the market to see how prices vary and see what comes available before diving in.

Try Before You Buy

If you are looking to get started in racing, don’t have a bike, or have one that wouldn’t be suitable or safe, chances are the local BMX club has loaner bikes that you can borrow or hire and see how you feel without laying out wads of cash.

Check With Experts

Use resources available to you. BMX Clubs have coaches that should be able to help you find the right sized bike, and local bike shops should have the expertise to help you find the right size bike.

Hopefully you are now armed with some insights and can hit the ground running. Happy hunting.

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