How Much Does Cycling Gear Cost? (Prices for Every Budget)


Cycling gear and kit can be expensive if you don’t know what gear you need and where exactly to get it. Luckily, we have asked an entire group of cyclists who shared their estimates on how much it costs to get set up with cycling gear.

Cycling gear generally costs around $155 in total for entry-level gear on a budget. For mid-range cycling gear for occasional riding, expect to pay around $435 in total. For high-quality cycling gear for daily riding, expect to pay around $990 in total to ride comfortably through all seasons.

TYPE OF RIDINGTOTAL COSTGEAR NEEDED
Entry-level riding (budget quality)$155Helmet
Pump
Multi-tool
Puncture repair kit
Lights
Cycling jersey (optional)
Cycling shorts (optional)
Occasional riding (medium quality)$435Cycling jacket
Cycling jersey
Bib shorts
Cycling shoes
Clipless pedals
Gloves
+ Plus basic gear
Year-round riding (high quality)$990Cycling jacket
Cycling jersey
Bib shorts
Cycling shoes
Clipless pedals
Gloves
Rain jacket
Ski mask
Base-layer shirt
Cycling tights
Winter gloves
Shoe covers (overshoes)
+ Plus basic gear

The total cost of gear depends on your budget and the type of riding you plan to do, according to our surveys.

In our surveys of cyclists, we asked them how much cycling gear costs them in their experience.

Here are some of their responses:


Entry-Level Gear = $155 total (Cycling on a budget)

If you’re on a tight budget, then the cost of your gear can be reduced to around $155 in total. This amount includes the basics needed to ride safely and comfortably, as well as do basic bike maintenance.

Here is the bare-minimum gear needed to cycle safely and comfortably on a budget:

Helmet – $40

A helmet is considered an essential item in many places and is even mandated in some cities. Regardless of the local laws, investing in a $40 helmet is a good practice to protect your skull in the event of a crash. A brand-name helmet can cost as much as $100 or more, but a $40 helmet will do just as well at doing its job.

This helmet by Giro (Amazon) is a solid choice that is popular, affordable, and looks good. Giro is a top-notch brand that is trusted by many, so this one is a good deal.

Helmets are especially important while riding near cars or while riding at high speeds. If you’re wondering if you need a helmet, then don’t miss my Helmet Debate article that I wrote just for you.

Pump – $35

A bike pump is an essential item to make sure your tire is always inflated to the correct pressure, as well as fixing flats.

A floor pump is recommended over a hand pump because a floor pump has a gauge with which you can measure the pressure of your tires. A hand pump is cheaper, but it takes much longer to pump a tire and does not have a pressure gauge.

I recommend getting a simple floor pump that will do the job well, such as this from Amazon for $30.

Make sure you know the correct tire pressure for your weight and bike. Use this handy guide to figure out your ideal pressure.

Multi-tool – $10

A cycling-specific multi-tool has just about everything you would need for basic repairs and maintenance of your bike. I personally do all of my own maintenance on my bikes and have rarely needed to use anything outside of a multi-tool.

I got this one from Amazon for just $10 years ago and still use it today!

This multi-tool also comes with tire levers, which are used to remove the tire from the wheel if you need to change the tube due to a puncture.

Puncture repair kit – $25

One of the worst things that can happen while out on your bike is getting caught with a punctured tire tube and no way to repair it! It’s definitely a good idea to have a repair kit with you while riding, especially if you’re riding solo with no way to get home in the event of a puncture.

Hand pump

If you ever get a tire puncture, you will need a hand pump to repair the flat. The hand pump that I got for around $18 from Amazon also comes with a puncture repair kit, which is needed in the event of a flat tire.

Spare tube

A spare tube is recommended for when you have a puncture and need to change the tube. It’s good to keep one with you at all times when riding. They are very affordable and you’ll need to get some eventually anyway. Just be sure to get the correct size tubes for your tires.

You don’t need to bring two tubes with you on every ride—one will be just fine. It is very unlikely that you will ever have two flats in one ride, unless you are riding very long distances or riding on rough terrain.

Here are a bunch on Amazon for you to choose from.

Lights – $45

Flashing lights are strongly recommended at all times, especially when riding around cars or at night. In fact, many cities require lights by law at night for safety reasons.

Even when riding during the day, it’s important to have flashing lights at the front and back of your bike to make sure that cars and other cyclists see you. This is especially important if you are riding in a city with lots of cars and pedestrians.

Front light

A good front light has different options to either flash or stay on. When riding in the day or early evening, use the flashing function. When it’s completely dark, just keep the light on without flashing.

You will also want to make sure that your front light can be charged by USB, rather than powered by disposable batteries. You should be charging your lights at the end of every day, so USB charger is the way to go.

I have been using this front light from Cycle Torch for many years without any issues. It’s super bright and has multiple flash patterns.

Rear light

The rear light should also have different flash options. You will definitely want to keep your rear lights on all the time, night or day. A good rear light will be powered by a USB-chargeable battery, rather than disposable batteries.

This rear light by Blitzu has never let me down through dark winters and brutal rain. It has different flash options, such as a rapid flash or a steady flash. It is also rather bright. Not dim at all for more than four years of constant use.

Cycling jersey (optional) – $30

Although options, a cycling jersey can make your riding experience much more enjoyable. Jerseys wick away sweat, they are aerodynamic, and they have handy pockets on the back for your necessities (like your phone!).

Cycling jerseys don’t have to be expensive. You can find a variety of affordable ones on Amazon for around $30.

As a bonus, cycling jerseys can unzip at the front to cool you down right when things get steamy.

Check out some jersey options here.

Cycling shorts (optional) – $40

Another optional piece of kit, cycling shorts could save your butt on long rides!

The real benefit of cycling shorts is the padding (chamois) on the bum. If your ride is long (more than 10 miles), then you will want to get a pair of cycling shorts. For shorter rides, normal shorts will do just fine.

The added benefit of cycling shorts is that they are breathable and they are aerodynamic (due to the tight fit).

(Don’t wear underwear under these shorts!)

We strongly recommend getting bib shorts, as opposed to waist shorts. If you’re new to bib shorts, then you might be wondering if those are necessary. In addition to the padding and sweat-wicking that regular cycling shorts have, bib shorts have the added benefit of the bib straps. The main benefit of bibs is that they cover your entire torso and backside without being tight around your waist.

Especially if you have some fat around the waist, you will definitely want to get some bibs, as opposed to tights that squeeze your belly. 😉

You can get this solid pair of bibs for just around $40 on Amazon.

Here’s an option for the ladies:

Are cycling clothes worth it?

If you will be doing moderate to intense cycling for distances longer than 10 miles, then a cycling jersey and shorts are highly recommended. Cycling shorts offer aerodynamic fitting, sweat-wicking, and padding to prevent saddle soreness and chaffing. Cycling jerseys offer better aerodynamics, seat-wicking, and back pockets for your necessities.

The good news is that cycling clothes don’t have to be that expensive. As a frugal cyclist, I would only recommend doing something if it will make your life better. And cycling clothes do just that. They are breathable, maintain a good smell, and jerseys even have cool little pockets in the back for your phone and things!

Spending the extra $70 on some basic cycling clothes is worth the money for anyone planning on cycling a few times per week or distances over 10 miles. After 10 miles, you may start to experience soreness in your rear end, which can be prevented with cycling shorts.


Mid-Range Gear = $435 total (Cycling costs for occasional riding)

If you plan to ride about once or twice per week and are willing to invest a little more for better-quality gear for a more enjoyable ride, then expect to pay around $435 in total. This amount includes the basic necessities mentioned above plus some nice-to-haves. I’ll explain why these items are nice to have.

As a frugal cyclist, I always use the best bang-for-buck gear on the market, so this is my recommended price range for every cyclist who wants quality on a budget. If you want to make cycling a real priority in your life and commit to riding long-term, then this is the price range that is best for you.

Here’s all the mid-range gear you need for occasional cycling:

Cycling jacket – $40

A cycling jacket is essential to keep you warm when the weather turns, as well as protect you from getting wet from the rain. Try to get a “softshell” jacket like the ones mentioned below, which means it will protect you from the elements while also being breathable enough to let air pass through comfortably. Hardshell jackets, on the other hand, are completely waterproof, which means they do not allow for air to pass through.

You might be tempted to just use a regular jacket, but I highly recommend using a cycling jacket for three reasons:

1. Cycling jackets are fitted for cycling. The sleeves and back end are extra long to cover your vulnerable areas while riding your bike. The longer sleeves are especially important in covering your wrists from the cold wind.

2. Cycling jackets are weather-resistant. If you are riding in the rain or snow, a weather-resistant jacket will keep your clothes underneath and skin from getting wet, while also maintaining breathability.

3. Cycling jackets have back pockets. There’s really no better place to safely keep your phone, snacks, or other necessities than a jersey back pocket. It’s important to have your important things easily accessible when riding your bike.

If you want a budget-friendly cycling jacket, then Przewalski is in the more affordable price range. The company has produced some very warm clothing on a budget.

The men’s version can be found on Amazon here for just around $40. There is not a women’s version available currently, so for women I recommend the Baleaf cycling jacket here on Amazon for around $45.

Here’s an option for women

Gloves – $20

If you are doing long rides or rough-terrain riding, then gloves could save your hands from getting tired. Cycling-specific gloves have gel padding on the palms so that your hands do not get tired and sore from long rides. After several miles of riding, your hands begin to get tired from the shockwaves that the bike sends to your arms.

Cycling gloves also have the benefit of keeping your hands dry while riding. If your hands tend to get sweaty, then gloves can be very effective in wicking sweat and preventing your hands from slipping while holding the handle bar.

These Giro gloves on Amazon offer gel padding at an affordable price of just $20. Giro is a popular brand that has a great reputation.

Cycling shoes – $100

If you’re new to cycling, then you’ll probably wonder if you even need cycling shoes. After all, your regular sneakers have always done just fine, right?

Well, cycling shoes give you more power with every pedal stroke by attaching to the pedals of your bike. Imagine your foot grabbing onto the pedal while you’re riding to give you extra momentum with every stroke.

If the idea of having your feet attached to the pedals intimidates you, then don’t let it. You will get used to riding in cycling shoes after just a few short rides. And if you’re like the other millions of people that use these shoes, you will never want to go back to regular pedals after you use them.

My recommended cycling shoes are the Pearl Izumi mountain bike (MTB) cycling shoes. If you’re going to be commuting to work by bike, then MTB shoes are much better than road cycling because you can actually walk in MTB shoes. Road cycling shoes are completely flat at the sole so that the clip at the bottom of the shoes comes in contact with the ground, which makes it almost impossible to walk in. You cannot walk properly in road shoes. And you shouldn’t.

Option for women:

Clipless pedals – $50

Clipless pedals are how your cycling shoes attach to the bike. You can get some from Amazon for about $50. Again, I personally recommend getting some mountain bike clipless pedals (as opposed to road pedals) because you can walk in them, but that’s a personal decision.

These ones by Shimano on Amazon are just $50 and are for mountain bike shoes.

Watch this video to help you decide if you should get clipless pedals:

Cycling jersey – $30

As mentioned in the entry-level section above, a cycling jersey is extremely beneficial to cyclists who are riding regularly. If you want to take your riding to the next level, then definitely invest in a jersey that you’re proud to wear. You can still get a solid jersey for around $30 on Amazon, but don’t be afraid to swing for an $80 jersey if you find one you really like!

Check out some jersey options here.

Bib shorts – $40

As mentioned in the entry-level section, bib shorts are designed to save your bum through their padding (chamois) and breathability.

Invest in some shorts that you’d be proud to wear. If you want to swing for high-quality shorts, then read the next section in this article.

Here’s an option for the ladies:

Plus the basic necessities – $155

  • Helmet – $40
  • Pump – $35
  • Multi-tool – $10
  • Puncture repair kit – $25
  • Lights – $45

High-Quality Gear = $990 total (Year-round cycling costs)

If you will be cycling daily throughout the year, then you will need to spend around $990 in total for the proper gear that will make it safe and enjoyable even in the most extreme temperatures.

I personally commuted to my job in NYC from New Jersey every single day for years through freezing temperatures and blistering summer days.

Here are the essentials of cycling year-round:

  • In the Winter, layer up clothing with a base layer, cycling jacket, legging tights, gloves, and a ski mask.
  • In the Summer, wear a breathable cycling jersey with a front zipper and cycling shorts.
  • In the Spring, bring a lightweight rain jacket for sudden rain showers.
  • In the Fall, put some treaded tires on your bike to avoid slipping on leaves.

We will outline all the gear you need for year-round riding in comfort and style.

Here’s all the high-quality gear needed for year-round cycling:

Rain jacket – $60

Be sure to bring a lightweight rain jacket with you on cloudy days. .

Benefits of cycling-specific rain jackets include:

  • Super lightweight
  • Can easily fit in the back pocket of your jersey
  • Completely waterproof

It’s the perfect companion for the rainy season!

If you want a cheap rain jacket, I would recommend getting this one by Baleaf on Amazon. It’s an affordable brand that I have used for many years, so can personally recommend it.

If you want a fancy and super high-quality brand, then get this Castelli rain jacket. There’s nothing that says “serious cyclist” more than a Castelli rain jacket.

Cycling jacket – $170

If you can afford to spend around $170 for an excellent high-end cycling jacket, I highly recommend a Castelli jacket for men, which is available on Amazon here. A women’s jacket by Castelli for around $230 can be found on Amazon here.

Castelli is a premium cycling clothing brand that any avid cyclist would love to get their hands on. You might have seen many pros sporting Castelli’s iconic red scorpion logo through the Tour de France.

High-end option for women:

Cycling jersey – $80

Cycling jerseys generally get better in quality as the price increases, but the quality doesn’t get much better above the $100 price tag. With a higher-quality jersey, you get more comfortable materials, an excellent fit, longer-lasting fabric, and of course better style.

This one by Castelli is $80 on Amazon and is super comfy, comes in many colors, and looks awesome.

And for the ladies, here’s a stellar option:

Bib shorts – $160

As mentioned earlier sections, bib shorts are highly recommended for cyclists who plan on doing regular rides and longer rides.

If you get a high-quality pair of bibs like these by Castelli on Amazon, then they will bring you years of comfort and style.

Here’s an option for women:

Cycling shoes – $100

As mentioned earlier in the mid-range section, cycling shoes give you more power with every pedal stroke by attaching to the pedals of your bike.

The quality of cycling shoes does not increase past the $100 price range. Read the above section for why you should get cycling shoes.

Option for women:

Clipless pedals – $50

The quality of clipless pedals does not increase past the $50 price range. Read the above section for why you should get clipless pedals.

Gloves – $20

The quality of cycling gloves does not increase past the $20 price range. Read the above section for why you should get some gloves.

Gear needed for winter cycling

Ski mask – $10

A ski mask will save your most vulnerable facial areas. It keeps your nose, mouth, ears, and head warm even in below-freezing temperatures.

You will even start to get a bit warm after cycling for just a few minutes. Luckily, you can easily just pull down the mouth area to expose your mouth for better breathing.

The ski mask that I recommend is by Balaclava on Amazon for around $19 and has a breathable mouth area that can easily be pulled down when you start to warm up. The mouth area also has holes, so that it is more breathable than other ski mask options.

For only about $19, I’d say that the ski mask is probably one of the most important pieces of gear to get right when riding in the winter.

Thermal base-layer shirt – $70

The thermal base-layer is the main piece of clothing that will keep you warm. I recommend this one from Under Armour, which is thermal, comfortable, affordable, and also has long enough sleeves to cover your wrists while riding.

Cycling tights – $45

You will never feel cold again with a pair of cycling tights. Tights offer a few huge benefits:

  1. Made with very warm fleece material
  2. Cover your ankles
  3. Padding for extra saddle comfort
  4. Bib straps add warmth and comfort
  5. Aerodynamic tight-fitting

These cycling tights from Baleaf on Amazon were the only pair of pants I needed to bike through brutal NYC winters and snowstorms.

They are truly warm, comfortable, and rather affordable for such an important piece of clothing. These tights come with bib straps that go over your shoulders.

If you can’t get past the idea of wearing tights to work, then just put on some shorts over your tights to cover your bum. You’ll get over it quickly.

Winter gloves – $15

You will need to get two pairs of gloves: one pair for cold weather and another pair for brutally freezing weather.

Gloves for cold weather 30ºF~50ºF (0ºC~10ºC)

For cold weather, you can just use any winter gloves that have a longer wrist piece to cover your wrist. I recommend these cycling-specific gloves from Vbiger for commuting by bike because they have long wrists, they are nimble in the fingers, and you can use a phone (pretty well) while wearing them.

The ones that I personally use are no longer for sale, so I recommend these newer versions of them on Amazon here.

Gloves for below-freezing weather below 30ºF (below 0ºC)

For brutally freezing weather, ski gloves will be your best friends. Ski gloves are ideal for freezing temperatures because they are designed to keep you warm. With these ski gloves from MCTi, you will never experience cold hands, even if it’s raining or snowing. They’re on Amazon here for just about $17.

The only drawback to using ski gloves for cycling is that they are not very nimble in the fingers, so you will have to get used to pulling on the brakes and shifting gears while wearing them. After just a few days of wearing ski gloves, you will just get used to pulling a little hard on the brakes.

Shoe covers (overshoes) – $55

If you don’t do your feet right, you will dread biking in the winter. But luckily, there’s a way to do it without wearing three pairs of socks and plastic bags over your shoes.

Overshoes are ingenious pieces of warm material that cover your shoes. They are weather-resistant and also warm.

If you are riding in cold weather, these will keep your feet warm and dry. If you are riding in below-freezing temperatures, then you can wear a second pair of socks to keep your feet extra warm. You don’t want to wear more than two pairs of socks because your feet will become uncomfortable after you start sweating due to the lack of breathability.

I have tried many different types of overshoes over the years, and these ones by Pearl Izumi are the only ones that were durable enough to walk in and are easy to put on and take off.

Other overshoes I have tried tore at the bottom when walking on concrete or were just too time-consuming to put on.

These ones from Pearl Izumi have very sturdy velcro straps on the back that make them super easy to put on and remove. They are also very thick and durable so that I can walk in them on the concrete ground of NYC.

Plus the basic necessities – $155

  • Helmet – $40
  • Pump – $35
  • Multi-tool – $10
  • Puncture repair kit – $25
  • Lights – $45

I wrote a super-detailed guide on how to bike through all four seasons, which you should definitely check out here.


Why is cycling gear so expensive?

Cycling gear is more affordable than is often perceived. The common misconception is that more expensive gear means you will ride faster and be more comfortable, which is not necessarily true.

Cycling gear has diminishing returns as you climb the brand-name ladder. The reality with high-quality gear is that you start to pay more for brand-name gear that doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of your riding experience any more than the entry-level gear. For example, a $30 helmet from Amazon will be just as effective at protecting your head as a $100 aerodynamic helmet by Giro. Another example would be cycling jerseys; as long as the jersey is tight-fitting and wicks away sweat, a $30 jersey is just as effective as an $80 jersey.

With cycling gear, you generally get what you pay for. If you’re on a budget, then you can pay as low as $155 for the basic gear that you need for occasional riding. If you’re looking to ride more frequently, then invest at around $435 in your gear. If you’re doing daily riding throughout the entire year, then around $990 would be your price range for some high-quality kit.

As a frugal cyclist, I always use the best bang-for-buck gear on the market, so this article contains my recommended gear for every cyclist who wants quality on a budget.


Improve your gear quality gradually

We covered a lot in this article, so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the options, I’ll make it simple for you. Just start with the entry-level options and then gradually get better gear as your cycling progresses. If you start with all the high-end gear, then you’ll never learn to appreciate it as much. It’s okay to make purchases incrementally as you star to get a feel for your personal preferences and riding style.

Start with the basics, and move up from there. Enjoying the ride is the most important thing to get right.

Ride on!

Benjy Suzaki

Hi, I'm Benjy Suzaki and I love cycling with my kids. Biking has been a big part of our family life ever since I decided to bike everywhere instead of drive, including to my job in NYC from New Jersey. BikeTrailerPlanet.com is all about how to make biking a priority in your daily life through bike commuting, bike maintenance, and riding with kids.

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