All this managed to do was make me aware that the 13 yo mountain bike brakes are perhaps not the best in town. I love the bike though. Lovely frame, decent componentry, nice fit.
Since then I've been coveting disc brakes. Real bad.
Just an FYI, as someone who uses both types of brakes, on a normally weighted (not a large cargo bicycle) bicycle in good weather (not muddy, or wet) disc and V-brakes should be very similar in stopping time. Presuming they are well adjusted, the pads and rims are clean, and you've replaced the cables and housing sometime since 2009. ;) Disc brakes have their advantages (working in all sorts of yucky, slimey conditions) but also have their disadvantages too.
Should you decide to purchase a new bike my suggestion would be to create new short term income/selling a current bike - that way you're even and don't need to feel guilty.
Fortunately, this is not in my future. This set of bikes came about after several years of careful consideration. Right now I'm selling off a lot of stuff in my parts boxes (I made 80 bucks last night selling an old set of studded tires and 300 selling off my wife's old roadbike that hadn't been ridden in roughly two years). There is more to go, it was this process that got me thinking about the bikes I currently own.
You could perhaps calculate what the annual running costs of a car plus the cost of the car are apportioned to its expected life; and compare this against the combined cost of all your bikes. The car results could act as a benchmark. If all your bikes equal the combined cost of the car then I'd say you'd need to reassess your fascination with the two wheeled machines.
I've thought of this but here is what creeps into my head: how do you account for the fact that it is an interesting hobby too? For example, you may save x amount of dollars by not driving or owning (gas, insurance, tabs, etc) and x amount of dollars by not going to the gym for exercise but how do you account for the value a hobby brings? If I weren't doing this, would I be doing something much more expensive or less healthy? And while I'm sure we could adjust for hedonic adaptation, how do we measure the sheer happiness this relatively inexpensive hobby brings to my life?
(Would LOVE to know what bikes you've got.)
I should attach a few photos but the bikes are as follows in order of frequent use, and likely resale value (that is unlikely to depreciate much further) with :
1) CETMA Largo (bakfiets) Cargo Bike (estimated value 2600)
2) Surly Big Dummy with child attachments (estimated value 1300)
3) Soma Juice 29er (600)
4) Surly Crosscheck set up fixed gear (900)
You'll note I'm a steel is real kind of fanatic which is very mustachian in terms cost compared to other frames and, as a result, I own bikes that hold their resale vale. When you take the total cost of these and compare to our very mustachian cars, the upfront costs are actually more than one of the cars we bought but these will last essentially a lifetime with inexpensive regular maintenance while the car has about 5 to 10 years left with some likely expensive maintenance on the horizon. (If we ever drive it enough to break anything!)
Thanks for the thoughtful response!