In part one of this series of articles, we looked at the importance of Christmas trading for the Cycling Industry. In particular, we looked at who has the Best Choice of Bikes for adults and saw that it was the specialist bike shops; Winstanleys Bikes, Tredz and Evans Cycles that were the clear leaders.

In part two, we looked at who has the Best Choice of Childrens Bikes and saw that, for choice, Amazon was the place to go this Christmas with 600 bikes for children. The specialist bike shops were once again well represented at the higher end of the chart, ahead of the supermarkets. However, Sports Direct, Argos, Asda and Sainsbury’s had a stronger presence on the childrens bike list than the adults and in fact, all had more bikes for children than they do for adults.

In this article, we move from choice to the question of Who has the Cheapest Bikes as many consumers look to grab a bargain this Christmas. The data was correct as of 1st November 2017 and was taken direct from the retailers own websites. We take no responsibility for any price changes and present this info only as being correct as of the date shown. These are the top 10 cheapest bikes for bike shops and cycle retailers in the UK and are all adult mountain bikes with 26-inch wheels or larger.

Top 10 Cheapest Mountain Bikes

  1. Winstanleys Bikes – Reflex Edge 2012 £79.99
  2. Halfords – Ridge Mens Mountain Bike £90.00
  3. Sports Direct – Muddyfox Energy26 £94.99
  4. Argos – Challenge Conquer £99.99
  5. Winstanleys Bikes – ProBike Sapphire 2015 £104.99
  6. Argos – Challenge Spectre £109.99
  7. Amazon – Arden Trail Mens 26 £109.99
  8. Sports Direct – Muddyfox Recoil26 £109.99
  9. Winstanleys Bikes – ProBike Escape 2015 £112.49
  10. Winstanleys Bikes – Freespirit Tracker 2016 £112.49

The Supermarkets and mass-market retailers may not have the widest choice of mountain bikes but they certainly have the cheapest. Now, as a cyclist, I feel it necessary to point out that generally, you get what you pay for. This list may be the cheapest but it is devoid of the well-known brands such as Trek, Specialized, Scott and Cannondale. As always, there is a clear difference between buying on price and buying on quality.

It’s quite refreshing to see that a dedicated cycling shop features strongly in the top 10 and also has the overall cheapest bike.

The Cheapest Mountain Bike

Reflex Edge Mountain Bike

So what does a £79.99 mountain bike look like?

The Winstanleys website is pretty devoid of information, other than the bike’s specifications (listed below). However, at this price, you can be certain that it’s not going to have top-of-the-range components but that’s not what this bike is about, it’s about the lowest price.

The Reflex Edge is an 18-speed mountain bike with Shimano shifters. In comparison, the bike listed in second place, from Halfords, has just 6-gears.

  • Frame: Hi-Tensile Gents Dual Suspension
  • Fork: Hi-Tensile Suspension
  • Cranks: Triple with Chainring Chainguard
  • Pedals: ATB Style
  • Shifters: Shimano 18 Speed Rotational
  • Rims: 26″ Alloy
  • Tyres: 26″ x 1.90″ All Black ATB
  • Brakes: Powerful V
  • Brake Levers: Alloy
  • Handlebar: ATB Riser
  • Saddle: ATB Padded

Bikes like those listed in our Top 10 are bought on price and price alone. But which is the best of these cheap bikes?

The Muddyfox Energy26 and Recoil26 both have Shimano Tourney gears, which is pretty decent for a bikes either side of £100.

As you can see, if it’s a cheap mountain bike you’re after, Winstanleys Bikes are the best option with 4 of the top 10 places. Thereafter, the usual suspects are close behind so it’s probably worth visiting Halfords, Argos and Sports Direct, even if it’s only to reiterate the point that mass-market retailers’ buying power wins again. Having said that, perhaps the specialist bike shops simply choose not to compete.

There isn’t much variance between these cheap bikes, they are all solid steel, which results in them being quite heavy, on the whole this being 14-18 kgs. They are 18-speed with 26-inch wheels and standard v-brakes.

Top 10 Cheapest Road Bikes

But what of cheap road bikes, do the mass-market retailers dominate the top ten or do the specialists offer a cheap alternative? The following bikes are all multiple geared road bikes with drop handlebars.

  1. Winstanleys Bikes – Viking Route 66 £157.99
  2. Tesco – Barracuda Corvus 14sp £164.99
  3. Winstanleys Bikes ProBike XRC 2.0 2017 £169.98
  4. Tesco – Barracuda Corvus 14sp £179.99
  5. Halfords – Apollo Paradox £180.00
  6. Halfords – Mizani Ar1 £181.47
  7. Tesco – Tiger Olympus 700c £186.99
  8. Argos – Viking Route 66 £189.99
  9. Amazon – Ammaco XRS650 £199.99
  10. Sports Direct – Muddyfox Race 200 £225.00

A slightly more concentrated list of road bikes than mountain bikes, with just 3 retailers in the top 7. Price is keen with all bar one of the bikes under £200.

What is perhaps surprising is that just one of the bicycle shops is a pureplay online retailer, Amazon, and they’re in tenth position. Go bike shops!

As per the mountain bike top ten, Winstanleys Bikes head the list of cheap road bikes with the Viking Route 66. Someone should tell Argos that they are £32 more expensive!

The Cheapest Road Bike

Viking Route 66 Road Bike

So what do you get for your money and is it worth buying?

The Viking Route 66 is an entry-level road bike with basic components and one that is priced to attract people who wish to start cycling on our roads.

By using a steel frameset, the cost can be kept down, but regardless of price, Winstanleys suggest it, “offers a comfortable, not-too-aggressive riding position and cancels out a portion of feedback from the road due to its ‘soft’ properties as a metal”.

The Viking Route 66 has Shimano front and rear derailleurs, a Shimano 14-28T freewheel cassette and Shimano shifters so all things considered, this is a good basic starting point.

Brakes are also Shimano, which stop the 700c double wall alloy rims and 700 x 23c tyres.

This bike is priced to attract first-time buyers who may be beginners or someone looking for a cheap bike to get to work. In that case, they’ve done a great job and I wish them well.