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Difference between a $500 bike and $5K bike

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Difference between a $500 bike and $5K bike

Old 06-22-20, 07:43 PM
  #51  
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Even using your friend's argument of exercise and scenery seriously rather than as an absurd reductive debate position made in bad faith, a better bike can get you more motivated to ride because it feels better (heck, a new top of the line saddle can cost $500 after tax), and you can take it farther and higher where you can admire better scenery, then descend more safely because the brakes won't be crap.
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Old 06-22-20, 07:56 PM
  #52  
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ask your friend why they ask such a question.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post

Vandersteens?
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Old 06-22-20, 08:08 PM
  #54  
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Bose.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:12 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by ljsense View Post
I just looked at Trek to see what a $5,000 bike is, and one example is the Emonda SL7 with Di2 Ultegra, disc brakes and carbon wheels. It weighs about 17 pounds or maybe a touch more with pedals and a larger size, has an 11-speed cassette and nifty mounts for lights and computers.
Yup. That's the one he was comparing to.

If you're lucky, $500 could score you another Trek from the US Postal Service era or maybe even a Discovery Team clone Madone. That's somewhat optimistic -- you'll probably pay more like $800 to $1,000 for a complete bike that's ready to ride. This bike will weigh about the same, be handbuilt in the USA, have easy to work on exposed cables, and have a 9- or 10-speed cassette and rim brakes.

So for the extra $4,500 you get disc brakes, electronic shifting, an extra cog or two on the cassette, more aerodynamic wheels, a warranty program and some more proprietary parts and cabling. A rider should be able to move either one down the road at the same speed; if the Emonda has a slight edge, it's inconsequential compared to the varying ability of riders. I'd take the old Trek and a glass of beet juice over the Emonda and a lousy night's sleep worrying about that $4,500.

This is why I feel for anyone selling road bikes. The past successes make future gains so difficult. It's a legit question, but probably not the tone your friend was taking.
I think what he was asking is what differentiates a high-priced bike from an ordinary competent one (he thought $500 would get you that as a new bike, which 10 or 20 years ago, did).

Last edited by wgscott; 06-22-20 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:15 PM
  #56  
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"What is the benefit of a multi-thousand dollar bike over, say, a $500 bike? If its sole benefit is to go faster for a given amount of pedaling effort, that seems counterproductive. If the purpose of biking is exercise, reducing the effort defeats the purpose. OTOH, if you expend the same effort on a $5K bike as a $500 bike, you’ll go faster, which is both more dangerous and reduces your enjoyment of the scenery because you’re whizzing by so fast."

Actually I think he has a point, race training in traffic can be more dangerous than actual races. But actually most of the folks I see riding $$ road bikes don't even go fast, just go on easy short MUP rides...they could be just as happy on a cheaper comfier & more useful bike.
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Old 06-22-20, 08:41 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
So I got asked the following in an email from a non-cyclist friend today:



My diplomacy skills fail me. (This guy is spending > $5K on recreational audio equipment, so the issue isn't a restricted budget.)
I think NEW
~$500 is not really made to be ridden and maintained. Parts are not easily replaced.
~$2,500 is a great value point if you ride it.
~$5,000 similar to $2,500 but lighter. You will find pros riding and winning in this range.
----------------------End of logical purchase----------------------------------
~$10,000 because it is a hobby and you just want to know, try stuff.
Or you don't know a $5,000 is all you need.
There might be some really new cool crafted stuff. Electronic shifting can bump you up $2K.


$5K is low for an audiophile. Sometimes it is just nostalgia.

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Old 06-22-20, 08:43 PM
  #58  
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in a perfect world everyone would own a civic (corrola) & ride a 42 X 17 SS w risers but the world aint perfect so why not tell people who you wanna be by what you drive & ride
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Old 06-23-20, 04:41 AM
  #59  
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Your friend is right for him. I have no idea why anyone other than a marketer should want to convince him otherwise or, for that matter, care what he thinks on the subject.

He's looking for a relatively hard workout at relatively slow speed over relatively short distances. He should take the $500 bike and just ride it up hills.
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Old 06-23-20, 05:06 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
This guy has an engineering degree from MIT and says he can hear differences between power cables.
The Placebo is strong in this one...
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Old 06-23-20, 05:12 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
I think NEW
~$500 is not really made to be ridden and maintained. Parts are not easily replaced.
~$2,500 is a great value point if you ride it.
~$5,000 similar to $2,500 but lighter. You will find pros riding and winning in this range.
----------------------End of logical purchase----------------------------------
~$10,000 because it is a hobby and you just want to know, try stuff.
Or you don't know a $5,000 is all you need.
There might be some really new cool crafted stuff. Electronic shifting can bump you up $2K.


$5K is low for an audiophile. Sometimes it is just nostalgia.

Was at an auction where they were selling ex Antarctic equipment. There was an old Russian radar there that somehow ended up with the Australia program. It was huge, on a couple of pallets. An old dude bought it for 50 bucks. I was chatting to him afterwards, like why did you buy that? Turns out the valves sell for a minimum of 50 bucks each, there were at least a hundred in the thing. I got my own score, around 3000 bucks worth of camping stoves for 300.
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Old 06-23-20, 06:11 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Vandersteens?
Original Model IIs that I sent to Vandersteen 10 years ago and had the drivers and crossover replaced.
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Old 06-23-20, 06:35 AM
  #63  
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I will take the $1500 dollar bike over the 500 or 5000$ one any day.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:02 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by csuperbike View Post
I will take the $1500 dollar bike over the 500 or 5000$ one any day.

Interesting, but I'm not sure I get your meaning. Are you saying you prefer $1500 bikes to $5000 bikes or that you prefer the $1500 price point to the $5000 price point?

There's no wrong answer here, just trying to understand your opinion.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:07 AM
  #65  
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There's been plenty of riders on $5000.00 bikes left like they were tied to a post by riders on $500.00 bikes.

The biggest difference in cycling is the motor.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:13 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Your friend is right for him. I have no idea why anyone other than a marketer should want to convince him otherwise or, for that matter, care what he thinks on the subject.
He says the question is purely academic. He prefers to walk, and has a "$100 Sears bike" from probably 30 years ago in the garage.

He's looking for a relatively hard workout at relatively slow speed over relatively short distances. He should take the $500 bike and just ride it up hills.
That's his point: If the bike is heavy and has high frictional drag, it will give you a good workout. I suppose you could improve it further by strapping on a 50 lb sack of dog food, or strapping down the brake levers.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:18 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Original Model IIs that I sent to Vandersteen 10 years ago and had the drivers and crossover replaced.
Get rid of the crossovers and drive them directly with separate amp channels as active speakers. Do the crossover in the digital domain.

That'll really make the snap-crackle-pop of soft scratchy vinyl, with its tube-enhanced euphonically superior distortion and effective 12-bit dynamic range and mono bass track, come to life.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:32 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
He says the question is purely academic. He prefers to walk, and has a "$100 Sears bike" from probably 30 years ago in the garage.
That's his point: If the bike is heavy and has high frictional drag, it will give you a good workout. I suppose you could improve it further by strapping on a 50 lb sack of dog food, or strapping down the brake levers.
The way he's framed the argument, he really hasn't gone far enough. Clearly, the safest, most efficiently mechanically inefficient aerobic workout would be on a very clunky stationary bike. And even that is questionable because cycling isn't a particularly good aerobic exercise when it comes down to calories/hr. or whatever metric you want to use. So, maybe he should just pick up the stationary bike and do laps up and down the stairs with it on his shoulders.

For me, the appeal of cycling is motivational rather than rational. I enjoy the activity, therefore I do more of it than I would something I enjoy less. I've never ridden a $5000 bike in my life, but there is a point in bike quality below which I don't find riding pleasant or fun, so I wouldn't do as much of it. It comes down to a personal preference. Those aren't very interesting topics for "academic" debates. I find it fun to hear why people feel the way they do and to tell them why I feel differently, but I know neither of us is going to convince the other, and I don't care to try.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:38 AM
  #69  
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I don't think he was trying to convince me of anything. He is a bit awkward, and often misunderstands things I say (I don't think deliberately). I think he thought I was trying to mock him for spending $3K on an amp. (I said at that price, he should get two, and run them as monoblocks, which gives you about triple the power in each one if you run them in bridge mode. I think he thought I was trying to be difficult, but I actually think it would be a good idea. He was replacing a set of $20K Class A monoblock amps that were room heaters, to put this into context. I said he could do it for not much more than a recent family bike purchase.)

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Old 06-23-20, 07:42 AM
  #70  
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Two thoughts:

First, the POV that a slower bike will give you more exercise is generally incorrect. A slower bike will just get ridden less because it is less rewarding. Bikes provide a positive feedback loop where increased effort results in increased speed and therefore enjoyment, which motivates you to ride more and faster. There are situations where this is not true, like when riding with a slower person or a child, then a faster bike will require you to turn the effort down to not ride away from them, or when riding with a group where you will always be riding at the group speed.
If the 'more resistance = more exercise" postulate were true, then why do weight machines at the gym have pulleys? Wouldn't you get a better workout with the steel cable dragging directly over the metal frame of the machine? The answer is no, because the human body is a pretty feeble machine which is controlled by a largely irrational brain, so adding unnecessary drag or making a machine work less smoothly is just going to result in being discouraged from using the machine, even if you are getting 'more exercise' than the person on the machine with pulleys beside you.

If you are huffing and puffing up a hill on a cruiser with stylish white walled tires, and a little old lady flies past you on a hybrid, your instinct would likely be to throw the bike in the ditch and walk home, not to celebrate all that great extra exercise you are getting.

Second, except for heavy and thick OEM tires, a brand new $500 bike will not be significantly slower than a $5000 bike. The main difference between a $500 bike and a $5000 bike is that the moving parts on the $500 bike will wear out much sooner, so things like bearings and derailleurs will develop slop and increase drag. A well used 1 year old $500 bike (that has not had at least a few hours of maintenance performed) will almost certainly feel like a piece of crap compared to a one year old $5000 bike.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:50 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
He says the question is purely academic.
If that's the case, he's not doing a very good job, as he's starting with a false premise.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:08 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
If I had a $ 5000 budget to spend on a bike I would buy two different $ 2500 bikes instead of blowing $ 5000 on one bike....
For sure many of us C&V old school bike lovers could use 5K$ to build a very nice fleet of bikes. I would suggest 3 steels (road, street, gravel) circa 1990s and 1 CF circa 2010. What a way to learn appreciation for bikes & cycling it would be ...

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Old 06-23-20, 08:09 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
What's the point of a $100,000 car when you can get a 1987 Hyundai Excel for 400 bucks?
Working in bike shops I heard many people remark when hearing a bike was more than they expected: "Two thousand dollars? You can buy a car for that much!"
The correct reply was always: "Not much of a car."
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Old 06-23-20, 08:23 AM
  #74  
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What I personally find amusing is eBikes that cost more than motorcycles.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:29 AM
  #75  
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As a sorta-cyclist, I say the same thing as non-cyclists when it comes to bikes like the Specialized Turbo Creo SL. Yeah, it's electric and made entirely out of fancy bits, but as noted-- it costs more than a motorcycle (and not an entry-level one-- a fully decked out Honda CBR650 would be cheaper) and gets real close to the cost of a brand new hatchback.

So as a sorta-cyclist, what's the difference between a $1,000 e-Bike and a $13,500 e-Bike? Monstrous roadie tax, it would seem.
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