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Buying expensive bikes and parts...

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Buying expensive bikes and parts...

Old 12-22-15, 09:33 AM
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Kindaslow
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Buying expensive bikes and parts...

I have been around this forum for about a year or so, and it seems like people get a lot more criticism for buying expensive bikes than cheap bikes. It appears at times everyone is fine with $200 complete bikes but find the $5,000+ bikes pure insanity.

I-Like-To-Bike posted a link to this article in a thread in the general biking section. I believe it makes a lot of sense.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/yo...-you-love.html

In part, I wonder if this crowd, the older crowd, sees things any differently than the younger crowd. Many folks, by this age, have some extra cash in their pocket. Also, if you have gone through other hobbies (sports cars, boats, motorcycles) a $5,000+ bike no longer sounds expensive.

When I got back into biking seriously, my first bike was an expensive bike. I did not want any excuses about the bike being limiting (whether real or imagined), and I wanted something that I thought was so cool that I was motivated to ride it. Things worked out well going this route.

Thoughts?

And, please, do not make this into some tangential debate on a thinly related topic. I am a bike loving kind of guy who is also always thinking and wondering about human behavior, not good, not bad, just curious.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:41 AM
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I've only been a member a few months. Seems to me it's a "can't win" - the people buying Walmart bikes and $50 thrift store specials get criticized for buying low end, people buying high end are labeled elitist snobs.

I own both ends of the spectrum, enjoy riding them all, so everyone can disapprove!
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Old 12-22-15, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
...... and I wanted something that I thought was so cool that I was motivated to ride it. Things worked out well going this route. Thoughts?
I think all my vintage bikes are cool and motivate me to ride. Nothing better than a clean, no-look, friction shift. I've also got newer Ti and CF with Campy 10speed. But it's the older ones with some history that draw me in.


But bicycles draw me in for reasons other than just the ride.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:50 AM
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I think there is a general feeling (warranted or not) that expensive bikes are more about show than go. When a person criticizes an expensive bike and brags about how well his less expensive bike works, he may be trying to send a signal that he is more authentic, that he appreciates the bike more than the price tag. I'm not a psychologist but I pretend to be one when explaining human behavior.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I think all my vintage bikes are cool and motivate me to ride. Nothing better than a clean, no-look, friction shift. I've also got newer Ti and CF with Campy 10speed. But it's the older ones with some history that draw me in.


But bicycles draw me in for reasons other than just the ride.
I see vintage as a complete world of its own, and I respect the love for vintage bikes. Regardless of the price.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I think there is a general feeling (warranted or not) that expensive bikes are more about show than go. When a person criticizes an expensive bike and brags about how well his less expensive bike works, he may be trying to send a signal that he is more authentic, that he appreciates the bike more than the price tag. I'm not a psychologist but I pretend to be one when explaining human behavior.
I do think that you are on to something here. I just wonder if the people with the less expensive bikes keep their eyes open, and minds, enough to see that within the very expensive bike crowd there are many hard core enthusiasts???
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Old 12-22-15, 09:57 AM
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I own seven bikes, one of which is new. The new one cost close to a grand, that may not seem expensive to some. The older bikes all represent a $300+ or - a few bucks total investment, with free labor (mine).
That said, I wouldn't waste time and effort on a crappy low quality bike. Old or new. Better to buy a used good bike than a new cheapo bike.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TriDanny47 View Post
I've only been a member a few months. Seems to me it's a "can't win" - the people buying Walmart bikes and $50 thrift store specials get criticized for buying low end, people buying high end are labeled elitist snobs.

I own both ends of the spectrum, enjoy riding them all, so everyone can disapprove!
If you could find just one more thing to bring upon you the wrath of the unhappy, you would have a trifecta. You need to work harder on that, no slacking.
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Old 12-22-15, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I see vintage as a complete world of its own, and I respect the love for vintage bikes. Regardless of the price.
Why? 2 wheels, frame, chain, crank, handlebars. For 99% of all the riding, vintage works just as well as new.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I do think that you are on to something here. I just wonder if the people with the less expensive bikes keep their eyes open, and minds, enough to see that within the very expensive bike crowd there are many hard core enthusiasts???
Yes, they (we) open our minds to see the value of expensive bikes when we decide we can afford it a make the purchase. At point, we feel wise beyond our miles.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Why? 2 wheels, frame, chain, crank, handlebars. For 99% of all the riding, vintage works just as well as new.
The "why" part are the people involved, not the bikes. The vintage lovers I know are great example of people who love bikes. And, although I love modern bikes, I respect their enthusiasm and joy.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:04 AM
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I think the cost has something to do with it too. On the internet we all start out on a level playing field. If anyone knows our financial status it's only because we told them. Unlike pulling up to the LBS in a BMW wearing a tailored suit vs. a rusty beat up Subaru (in my experience, the guy in the rusty Subaru has the nicest bike in town and the guy in the BMW is cheap! ha!), it sort of levels things out.

So we all tend to 'project' ourselves on one another, and assume a $5,000 bicycle means the same thing for all of us. It stands to reason that there are people on here for whom $5,000 is a significant, but not earth shattering purchase. There are others for whom it's a drop in the bucket. Still others who would have to work overtime, pinch pennies, and eat ramen for a year to have that kind of liquidity.

One example is a topic some time ago in which I saw someone asking about carbon framesets and were bashed because in a crash, the carbon is more susceptible to damage. "But what you can afford to replace" was the addage. But there was no implication about what the poster could afford to replace, they didn't even specify a budget. Now that very well may have been solid advice; in fact it probably was. BUT, it's also possible that this individual COULD afford to replace a carbon frame. My primary care physician rides Carbon bikes and doesn't keep 'em long enough to brake them anyway. At the rate he replaces his bikes with the newest, flashiest model; he probably CAN afford to replace them if they were damaged. No amount of wealth makes throwing money away to fix something you broke not sting, but it's certainly easier for others.

I'm still pretty young, so I hope y'all don't mind me snooping the 50+ thing. But my income has changed quite a bit in the last 3 years. Tends to happen when you get established in your career and go from being a minimum wage graduate student to a professional in your field. So it's amazing to catch myself scoffing at someone being 'cheap' about something when, in reality, I would've made the same decision 3 years ago.

I hear the same stuff. And I've gotten it too. I'm on the 'cheaper' end, certainly. And I've reasoned that my motivation for cycling is to get and stay fit, for which it's doing an excellent job. So an aluminum frameset and entry/mid level groupset suits me fine. I've been told that "not racing is a lame excuse for not being as fast as possible". Which is pretty lame indeed. We all have different goals. And it's not just about money, but priority. My wife manages close to 500 rental properties. Ranging from two mobile home parks to large homes. The home next to mine cost $8.5m to build (before you get any ideas, no, mine is nowhere NEAR that), complete with marble floors and an olympic size swimming pool and a pool house just a little smaller than my house. The owner owns a major hardware store chain. He also has a couple track cars, high end Porsche's (his favorite brand). His daily driver? A 2004 Ford Focus. Priorities. His fun track cars (pulled around with an old pickup truck) cost $100k+, and it's not worth it to him to upgrade his Ford Focus. It still runs right? And my wife has tenants who live in $200/month homes driving brand new cars and expensive high end pickups. There's nothing wrong with either, but there's someone somewhere who probably thinks there is. It's all priorities and budget. Likewise, just because someone has cash doesn't mean that cycling is their top priority.

I went with my stepdad to pick up a used motorcycle he bought from a flawless example of a modern hipster. Man bun, he was a barista, and he showed up to his house (after us, he was late) on a fixie bicycle wearing a sweatshirt and board shorts. His car was a station wagon covered in vegan minded bumper stickers and political stickers, and rust. 12~15 year old volkswagen. Small but well kept home. He opened his garage to reveal the BMW Sport Touring bike we were after, AND three other bicycles including a specialized S-Works and a gorgeous Cervelo. (Sorry, I don't know more than that, all I know is what the stickers on the side say). Obviously, different priorities! His bikes might've cost more than his home.

At the end of the day, this is the internet. And the only thing you need to know about the internet, is that you're wrong.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
Yes, they (we) open our minds to see the value of expensive bikes when we decide we can afford it a make the purchase. At point, we feel wise beyond our miles.
Sorry if I over generalized there. Electronic communication is limiting.

Now, in a few minutes, I am off to try fat biking in the snow for the first time!
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Old 12-22-15, 10:08 AM
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I ride vintage bikes both road and mountain. They are decent and I really love older Dura Ace and XTR stuff.

When it comes to newer expensive bikes, I'm in the camp of great frame and great components than I am in spend another $2000 solely to take off a little weight or have the latest.

If you spend real quality time researching and finding that perfect frame, custom or otherwise, and you can afford it, then go for it. If you want the best components, I'm all for getting the best you can afford.

If after that all that you end up with the perfect bike; but you want to scrap the whole thing because you can save a few grams, or toss out a great drive train because you just have to have one more cog, then I'll call you an idiot.

John
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Old 12-22-15, 10:09 AM
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Romansfiveeight,

that last line is pure truth about the Internet!

In my area people assume my wife and I do not have "their" kind of money because we drive Toyotas. Funny world we live in.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
When a person criticizes an expensive bike and brags about how well his less expensive bike works, he may be trying to send a signal that he is more authentic, that he appreciates the bike more than the price tag. I'm not a psychologist but I pretend to be one when explaining human behavior.
reminds me of a thread in General Cycling where a new person asked about Mercier bicycles. I jumped in and said that Mercier was a French company that made bikes, and that the name had been sold to a mass marketing firm that sells a range of bikes, mostly low end stuff. I pointed out the low end stuff still rides like most bikes, but many of the French Merciers were made with the finest tubing and lug sets and brazed by hand and would offer a better ride and investment. The thread deteriorated with some guy from Arkansas attacking me as an elitist.

The point of the above paragraph is that some people view this sport differently. For some, any bike that goes from point A to B without trouble is a 'quality' bike. For others, especially people who have been cycling for decades, the bar is set a bit higher. Who is the most correct? IDK.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:19 AM
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Ride what you want and can afford. You're riding for you and no one else.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
Romansfiveeight,

that last line is pure truth about the Internet!

In my area people assume my wife and I do not have "their" kind of money because we drive Toyotas. Funny world we live in.
My next door owns the banks over $500,000 just so they can afford their life style .
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Old 12-22-15, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tg16 View Post
Ride what you want and can afford. You're riding for you and no one else.
Absolutely!

That is why I had the last lines of my OP. I just want to hear some friendly discussion and thoughts on the general topic, and hopefully that is where this stays as I am off riding.

Cheers!
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Old 12-22-15, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mapeiboy View Post
My next door owns the banks over $500,000 just so they can afford their life style .
My wife and I had the goal of 100% debt free, house included, by 50. We got there at 49. So, extra cash for bikes for me is there, but every purchase is made with retirement in mind. An extra $3,000 for the Sworks version is $3,000 that might triple by the time I want to spend it. But, I wanted a bike I truly loved. So, the Epic Expert WC met, meets that bar. Like the guy in the NYTimes article pointed out, sometimes spending a certain amount can lead to savings over time.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
Romansfiveeight,

that last line is pure truth about the Internet!

In my area people assume my wife and I do not have "their" kind of money because we drive Toyotas. Funny world we live in.
We have two cars in the garage. A 2014 Ford Focus with cloth seats and a 5 speed manual transmission (what I typically drive). And a 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible with leather seats and every option but navigation (what my wife typically drives). Neither is going to impress anyone in hollywood but it's "interesting" how differently one can be perceived based on which car I choose to drive.

Though the most compliment comes from the cheapest vehicle in the garage, the motorcycle! (My wifes motorcycle used to get more compliments than mine so I had to buy a flashier one. We can't have that!!!)



Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I do think that you are on to something here. I just wonder if the people with the less expensive bikes keep their eyes open, and minds, enough to see that within the very expensive bike crowd there are many hard core enthusiasts???
I've thought about the enthusiast aspect too, only because I've caught myself being a little snobby. An acquaintance revealed that he, too, rode a bicycle to keep fit. Later he posted to Facebook a picture of him riding his $250 hybrid bike with big fat springy cushioned seat down the pedestrian path of a city park with flip flops. And my immediate reaction was "Ohhh, so he's not REALLY a cyclist". But then, there's CERTAINLY people on this forum who feel the same way about me.

It seems in every hobby, there's qualifiers for who gets to be in the "in" crowd. Anyone can buy a bike, so what makes you a "cyclist". In the motorcycle world sometimes it's brand, or whether or not you belong to a group. And certainly how much you ride and spend on your bike. A guy who buys some dusty old used motorcycle and rides a few nice weekends isn't a "biker". A guy who lives under an overpass but rides 60k a year on his $36,000 Harley IS. And so on, and so forth. No hobby is immune.

Photography is the WORST though. Unlike other hobbies, the photography hobby feels they are closed to newcomers. Boy do photographers hate other photographers. A lot of that is probably the professional side of things. The stereotype is a stay at home mom who buys an entry level low end camera, that she considers a 'high end' camera because it's not a point and shoot, sticks it on auto and takes terrible wedding and baby photos for all of her friends, blows them to smithereens with the sliders in Lightroom and says she's a professional photographer now. That sort of thing means guys like me who just like to take pictures and want to learn more, are kind of automatically shunned. Photography forums are notorious for eviscerating people. I posted an image that I didn't quite like how it turned out and wanted tips on and several posters told me I should give up and that I'm wasting my time. "Why would you even post this" was one response. It was just a shot of an old barn. Sheesh! I mean I know I suck but I'm having fun. But that's probably wasn't doesn't make me a part of the "in crowd". Because I'm just having fun, and not taking it too seriously. Photography is way, way down my hobby priority list. I have a cheap, low end DSLR that's now several years old and I have no intention of upgrading. Likewise, it seems people who want to just "buy" rights to being a cyclist (expensive bike and kit but without the accolades to show for it), or who don't take it seriously enough (cheap bikes, vintage bikes), are not real 'cyclists'.

(NOTE: I'm not saying vintage bikes aren't serious and expensive bikes are useless. Just mirroring the attitudes that I hear around here, that's all. I'm in that "just having fun with this" crowd, too.)

Admittedly, I can be more of a snob with the motorcycle. I ride 15k a year, ride in all kinds of weather, ride in big group rides. My vacations every year are on the motorcycle and involve exploring parts of the country I've never been to, camping and trying local restaurants. I have a strict no chain restaurant policy when on vacation. I will readily admit to snobby thoughts (even if they don't become comments) when I see some RUB (derogatory term, 'Rich Urban Biker') buy an expensive bike with all the farkles (function that sparkles) who rides once in a while. Psh, he doesn't take it as seriously as me, he's not serious at all! It's silly, and I bet it's the same attitude that many on this forum have.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tg16 View Post
Ride what you want and can afford. You're riding for you and no one else.
Sage advice. For me, it is more middle of the road. I appreciate quality components and a good frame, but also recognize I am not a racer and particularly not a pro where every second counts so I do not feel the need to buy top of the line.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:48 AM
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I suppose "expensive" is relative to the individual, but I see nothing wrong with a person who loves a particular activity spending as much as they can afford to maximise their enjoyment, as long as it doesn't drive them into debt or mean that the family goes without.

I have reached the age where I am comfortably off and could buy anything I want (within reason - I couldn't afford to buy a 100 foot yacht - not that I want one, I don't get a great deal of pleasure out of possessions, plus I get seasick), but I find it difficult to get over the way I was brought up - in a low income family, where money could not be wasted, and I still have a bit of a guilt complex about spending extravagantly.

I have three bikes at the moment - all made up from new or nearly new frames and components bought after searches of ebay or car-boot (or yard) sales and I love riding each one of them. The mtb and the hybrid cost me about 150 each, while the road bike cost me a staggering 400 (although it would cost 1200 to buy new), but I get a huge enjoyment out of making up my own bikes, and changing the components when I fancy upgrading.

I have a husband & wife pair of friends who pay thousands of pounds for their carbon bikes with electronic gears and they absolutely love them, and great for them. I know they get huge enjoyment for their money, but so do I, and, at the opposite ends of the scale those choices are right for the both of us.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TriDanny47 View Post
I own both ends of the spectrum, enjoy riding them all, so everyone can disapprove!
+1

The key thing is to get out and ride on whatever you enjoy.

I spend lot less than I could on bike stuff. Basically because I'm a cheapskate and believe in the law of diminishing returns.

But consider this ... it's a win-win for those that do otherwise. They get a bike they really dig, they support further technological advancements in the art, and they're doing more than their part to support their LBS and the bike manufacturers (who make a lot less money on loss leaders).

So it's all good to me. Vive la difference!
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Old 12-22-15, 11:09 AM
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wphamilton
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I may be one of the worst offenders here about talking about inexpensive bikes and how well they work. I don't have anything against high-end bikes; I just want people to realize, when they ask, what the realistic alternatives are. That often gets lost in our enthusiasm.
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