Is there a month when new models come out and dealers discount stock like with cars? Do they raise prices in the spring and lower them in the winter?
According to lifehacker end of January or February:
Bicycles and outdoor gear "If you want the newest stuff, the time to look is in February and March, when the season's models come out. The stores start replacing fall and winter stuff with spring and summer models, and that's true for most all outdoor gear from shoes to bikes, hiking gear, everything," says Dennis Lewon, senior editor for Outside magazine. Some companies will send out special holiday items that will land in the discount section after the season. "In general, most of the new products come to stores in February," Lewon says. "January is good for looking for the old models in the classic post-holiday shopping period."
This depends on where you live, however, in the UK the cycling season is May to September. Nowadays, in the UK, Christmas is a minor blip, not a sales extravaganza as people wanting kids bikes go to non-specialist shops and get something cheap.
Much like how Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year, so it is with 'next year model' bikes. As a consequence you can have two model years in the showroom. Sometimes the model range is tweaked (e.g. Ridgeback) or all new (e.g. Giant). Tweaked model ranges tend not to precipitate a sale price on the old models, all new model ranges can result in sale prices for the old ones.
Given the above, February is probably the best month, i.e. when the local bike shop is most wanting any money in the cash register for cashflow reasons.
The question is, do you really want the bike that nobody else wanted, the one that has already seen a few test rides and been knocked about a bit? It can be a case of buyer beware but definitely worth looking out for. However, given that the new bike will hopefully be your pride and joy, consider getting a new bike, in your size, on special order so that it is truly brand new. If you have the mechanic skills try to get the bike in the box rather than assembled. Some shops will give you a fair discount for that if you have the ability to convince them that you can set it up all by yourself. Check the contents of the box when you collect it, take it home and have fun setting up the bike perfectly...
As others have stated, it depends on the season, but also on the type of bike you want. I have noticed that in Southern Ontario (Canada), the new models for mid-range and above bikes (say $800 CAD) can be discounted by September, if not sooner. Large bike manufacturers tend to announce their models for the next year by early fall, so retailers may be anxious to clear out old stock at that point.
By year end, there will also be more consensus (sadly this information tends to be conflicting) on which models have quality or build problems (more frequent than you may expect). Speak to several riders you trust for feedback, but beware of of the 'zealous' who often try to impose their opinions ;-)
Other times to look for deals are during local bike shows. Retailers are often present with stock they want to sell off, and you may find a good deal. In this case, since you may only have a few hours at the show to make your purchase, it's very important to do all of your research in advance. Find out:
- Which retailers are attending, and what can you find out about them?
- What products will they be selling?
- Do you have a personal relationship with the retailer/purchased from them in the past? You may be able to negotiate a better price based on repeat business.
- Will the retailer provide a full warrantee. Also, are they located close enough for you to take advantage.
- What payment methods will be accepted?
January, Most of the bike shops sell a lot of bicycles during Christmas and they want to get rid of all extra stock when the holidays are over. This might depend on the region where you live, as Christmas time might not be suitable for biking and bike shops will thus not sell a lot of bikes. But it's at least true in a bit warmer places.
As aptly said in previous answers, where you live, your budget and local customs/festivals are the major factors affecting the reduced bike prices.
In western India (as far as I have observed), the prices of old models of bike do come down before or after big festivals like Diwali. During that time it can maintain a bit of peak pricing. The price has been observed occasionally to come down around Dec-Jan & Feb-March since new products are being dumped into stores.
In all honesty, nobody can answer this better than a local shop guy where you go regularly.