How much you’ll spend to start road cycling

3 min • 22 Jun 2021
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Inspired to start cycling by the Tour de France? Mani, founder of the Black Cyclists Network, breaks down what it will cost to get the bike, the gear and hit the open road

A few weeks ago, Mani, the founder of the Black Cyclists Network, shared what it costs to start cycling. He went into detail for parents wanting to start their children cycling, commuters looking to ditch the trains, staycationers looking for something new and those who wanted a road bike to go long distances.

For those so inclined, it was the road bike that needed the most specialist kit and was the biggest investment. So, as the Tour de France starts and we look forward to the Olympic cycling events, we asked him to go into more details of how much you need to spend to get started with a road bike.

The bike

If you’re after an entry level road bike, this will cost you around £1,000 to £2,000. Your bike will come with low to mid-range components and entry level wheels. This will offer you excellent value for money, as what tends to drive up the cost is the components that come with the bike.

Prices for Intermediate level road bikes for competitive cyclists start from £2000 to £5000. The ultimate super bikes cost anywhere between £5000 and £14,000. Most competitive cyclists pay between £3000 and £7000 for their road bike. At this price, your bike should also come equipped with mid-range carbon wheels.

The accessories

For road cycling, you’ll also likely want a few specialised accessories, such as:

1. A jersey. Manufacturers usually produce two types of jersey. There is the tight, slim-fitting jersey for those who want the tight-fit aero pro-cyclist look, and then there is the loose-fitting jersey, which targets the average cyclist. You can pick which you’d prefer! Cost: £60 - £100 2. Bib shorts. Bib shorts are expensive and that’s because they have a big impact on how comfortable you are on the bike. You’re paying for the padding (or chamois) that is sewn into the cycling shorts. Good padding will mean you’re able to ride for 4+ hrs without discomfort. They are worth the investment. Cost: £80 - £150 3. Shoes. If you’re looking for performance, then you should be going for clipless pedals and shoes. This will mean your shoe attaches to the pedal and locks your feet into the pedals. As a result, you can lift your foot up to the 12 o’clock position without losing contact with the pedals and you’ll be able to do a full 360 pedalling motion. This is efficient and allows riders to go faster than with normal flat pedals. Cost: £100 - £300 4. GPS cycling computer. GPS computers allow you to see how fast you’re travelling and give you many more important metrics, such as distance travelled and calories burned. Premium monitors give you guided maps and offer advanced levels of interactivity. Alternatively, you can use your phone to track your activity with an app like Strava. Cost: £14.99 - £300, depending on the technology 5. A helmet. The most important accessory. Your safety should always come first on a bike. Lighter helmets make for a far more enjoyable ride. Cost: starting from £40

The must-haves for all cyclists

And of course, there are some essentials that all cyclists should have on hand:

Sunglasses (Starting from £50)

Cycling specific glasses protect your eyes and different lenses allow you to see better - brighter lenses will improve your vision in the dark whereas darker lenses help you on a sunny day. If you want to spend a bit more, you should look at polarised lenses. These come with premium sunglasses and offer clearer vision (especially in bright light), increased contrast and minimal colour distortion with reduced glare and reflection.

Inner tubes (£4)

Gone are the days when everyone carried puncture patches with them to stick over a hole in your inner tube. Nowadays inner tubes are fairly cheap, so carry a couple with you in case you get a puncture. It’s much less hassle.

Mini Pump (£4)

Mini pumps are an essential for any cyclist and are small enough to fit into your pocket. Don’t leave home without one.

Tools (£10)

A multi tool is a must for all cyclists. These pocket-sized tools will help you make necessary adjustments and repairs to your bike when you’re out on the road.

Bottle cages and water bottle (£5)

If you’re riding for more than 30 minutes, you may want to consider installing a water bottle cage on your bike so you can carry water with you.

Lights (from £5)

The key thing you need to consider when buying a light is what exactly do you need it for? Do you need to be seen or do you need to use it to see? If you live in a well-lit area, then you most likely need a light so other road users can see you. If you want to be seen, purchase a light with 80 lumens (front) and 30 lumens (back). You want 800 lumens (front) and 60 lumens (back) if you are riding in a dark area and need to see the road ahead. These are anywhere between £5 and £400 depending on the quality.

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