Ask the Pedalist: How expensive should my Road bike be for me to get in shape?


Hi Pedalist, after years of not working out due to work and family, I am now able to take time and get back into losing some weight. I love cycling and was trying to buy a new road bike. I see there are limitless options. Will a more expensive road bike help me get back in shape and lose weight? 

– Pudgy Biker

Dear Pudgy Biker,

You have already identified the type of bike you need,  (a road bike) and this is usually the hardest part, we will now get into the various options and components, etc. We’ll also explain more about road bike pricing and whether a more expensive road bike will help you lose weight and meet your fitness goals better than a lower caliber model.

Since you are getting into cycling after a few years, the first question for you is: is road cycling in your foreseeable future as a method to train and lose weight? If you spend a lot of money and you don’t get to ride your road bike because you’re too busy or disinterested, you’re losing that money. Also, if you reach your weight goal, are you going to keep road cycling? Are you going to make biking a long-term element in your journey to weight loss success?

Learn from My Road Bike Experience

These might not be easy questions to answer right now when you are trying to plan your weight loss strategy, but having a rough idea helps. But, to help answer these questions, and, as I have recommended to others in similar situations, choose a used road bike. Not having ridden for a few years, I too wanted to get back into cycling. I also wanted cheap transportation inside the city, and a road bike was perfect. But being a frugal guy, I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a bike I could not afford. So I went to FB Marketplace and Craigslist to scour used bikes. I was pleasantly surprised at the options. I ended up with a Cannondale road bike that was 3-4 years old. It had mileage on it, but the owner had taken care of it. The rear derailleur was new, and it had new tires. It fit me, and I went with it. This was 10 years ago, and I still use and love the bike. I am glad I did not go with a new bike, and I got more value out of the road bike this way.

Even though your reason for a new bike is different, my experience can have some relevance. Firstly, you can train and lose weight on a good quality used bike without spending too much on a new bike. You won’t feel guilty breaking bike parts like you might on a new, more expensive bike. And after you reach your target goal, you can determine how good or bad the used bike was, and if you need to get a new one. And the most important aspect of starting with a good used bike is that you might not even need a new bike, like I realized. You might spend a little on specific new components as you fine-tune your road riding habits and component preferences.

Instead of thinking about how much to spend on a bike, think about how much you can get for your budget on the used bike market. You might be surprised at the amount of options you have.

Happy riding!

We’re here to help with anything cycling, health, or fitness related. Just hit us up at [email protected]. No question is too silly or off-topic!

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