How to buy a mountain bike without breaking the bank

Today, buying an ATV is considered a luxury purchase. Most modern machines cost between $ 4,000 and $ 10,000, even without adding all the extra equipment you might need to customize the thing.

The easiest and most economical way to buy a new bike is to pay cash. But if you’re like most Americans, you probably have less than $ 1,000 in reserve. So if you’re thinking about getting a loan for your bike (and there are a lot of great options out there, trust me), be sure to take the time to assess your choices first.

Before you jump into financing options, check your recent credit score. Most lenders will require you to have a credit score over 600, but the higher your score, the lower the interest rate you will get. A lower interest rate means you’ll spend less over the life of the loan to buy your bike, which is a great thing. I recommend Sesame Credit, Credit Karma, and MyFico for fast, free ways to check your credit score.

After doing this, try one of the following solutions.

Bike-Store Financing

One of the most common ways to finance your new bike is in-store financing. Many stores offer financing options through a company called To affirm, a leader in cost-effective monthly financing options for people with good to excellent credit scores.

There are a few variables you should consider first if you are interested in this option:

  1. What is the interest rate associated with the loan? It is possible to find an offer offering zero interest if you repay your purchase within a specified time. This is the best deal you could ever hope to get.

  2. How much time do you have to pay for the bike?

  3. Are there other fees associated with the loan, such as an annual charge on a credit card or special finance charges?

  4. What happens to my interest rate after the special offer period? This is important if you cannot pay off your loan on time from the low interest rate offer.

  5. Is there a prepayment penalty?

Ask your bike shop if they have a layaway program. It’s basically like paying cash (without interest), except you can spread your payments over a certain period of time, usually two to three months.

Loans from credit unions

Many credit unions, like Affinity Plus Credit Union, Unitus Credit Union, and Virginia Credit Union, have started offering specific bicycle loans. This is a lot if you are in a credit union, as the interest rates and terms are usually quite favorable. With that said, you will still want to ask the five questions above in order to fully understand the terms of your loan.

The key thing is that to be eligible for a credit union loan, you must already be a member of that credit union. You can use a cash register locator to find one near you and find out about special bike loans available before you register.

Credit card

Credit card are the GOs when it comes to financing the purchase of a bicycle. But if you’re not careful, credit cards can be dangerous for larger purchases. A good rule of thumb is to treat your credit card like a debit card and pay the balance in full within the month. This way, you can enjoy all the perks (rewards, cash backs, and points) without having to deal with nasty interest rate charges and debt.

For example, the national average interest rate on credit cards is 19.24% (your interest rate may be higher or lower depending on your credit score). If your bike costs $ 5,000 and you paid in two years, that would cost you $ 253 per month and $ 1,064 in interest charges. If you paid for the purchase in just one year, it would cost you $ 461 per month and $ 537 in interest. The longer you delay paying for your purchase on your credit card, the more expensive that purchase will become.

Alternatively, many credit cards offer occasional financing at low interest rates, sometimes as low as zero percent. Contact your credit card companies before you go shopping to see if they have a low interest rate option that might be more attractive than store financing for bikes.

If you don’t have an offer available, there are a plethora of credit cards you can apply for for that offer. zero percent interest rate, some up to 18 months. To be eligible, you’ll need a healthy credit score of 740 or higher – just another nudge to take a look at your credit score before you get on the bike of your dreams.

Some bicycle manufacturers even offer their own financing. Take Trek and its Trek Credit Card. It is accepted at over 1,000 Trek retailers and offers low-interest six- and twelve-month financing options.

Main photo: Axel Brunst / Tandem

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