Author Topic: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)  (Read 1839 times)

Tango-16

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How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« on: July 07, 2019, 06:55:51 PM »
long story short; I now live in an area where I can bike to work. Great, right? Yes... if I had a bike...

Wife and I go to look at bikes at a bicycle shop in Austin, TX (adding location in case anyone wants to sell me their bike...) and it turns out bikes that aren't purchased at Walmart are very costly. Part of me feels like I can justify a $500-$750 purchase on a bike that I'll be riding 5 days out of the week. The other part of me feels like I'm about to get crucified by this community for even mentioning spending that much on a bicycle haha.

I would love your opinions!

Bonus question: I'm planning on riding mostly road and some easy trails in the near by Ft. Hood area. Thus thinking a Hybrid Bicycle might be the way to go. Any recommendations on which bikes to check out?

Thanks and thanks! You guys are great.

FIREstache

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 07:01:03 PM »
Oh, I don't think anyone will crucify you for wanting to buy a quality bicycle that fits you.

I spent about $700 on mine about 12 years ago, closer to $1000 the day I bought it with tax, add-ons/accessories, bike computer, new helmet, etc.

I have a hybrid with a front suspension and a suspension seat post, and it's pretty sensitive to road bumps, so it's not very good for trails unless they're quite smooth.  If I want to do any riding on bumpy trails, I'll take my mountain bike.  It's noticeably smoother riding, even on the street/roads than my hybrid.  There are some better suspension seat posts you can buy like the Thudbuster and Bodyfloat, but those will cost you in the $100 to $250 range.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 08:36:34 PM by FIREstache »

ecchastang

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 07:09:12 PM »
A $500-700 bike will outlast numerous Walmart bikes.

MsPeacock

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 08:06:37 PM »
$700 will get you a much better bike than a Walmart bike.

You might want to look for used bikes on facebook market place, facebook groups (e.g. pedals bikes n junk) or craigslist. I suggest that you learn a bit about brands and specs before buying a used bike, though - to make sure you get a good quality one.

There is an online bike blue book that helps you figure out a fair price to pay for a bike.

Hybrid is the way to go for the riding you describe. Or a gravel bike.

Zikoris

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 08:20:59 PM »
My bike is a hybrid I bought secondhand for about $250, and it's fine for both roads and trails. I think buying secondhand can be a solid option for bikes.

PDXTabs

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 09:53:43 PM »
The cheapest bike that I would consider would be a Raleigh Redux 1 (~$550), but used bikes can be a screaming deal. I've seen an almost new Surly Disc Trucker go for less than $600 used.

Also, my recommendation on a bike to check out is the Raleigh Redux 1.

EDITed to add: bicycles last a long time. I'm still riding the bicycle that I splurged on 15 years ago, and it's nowhere near death. Unless you crack the frame or let a steel bike rust to death you can replace parts indefinitely.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 10:00:04 PM by PDXTabs »

rantk81

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 06:04:20 AM »
$99/year for an unlimited use of my city's bike-share program!

redhead84

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 07:02:12 AM »
Recently, I purchased a used Trek off of Facebook marketplace for about 25% of the value listed on bicycle bluebook. I'm just getting back into biking, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a bike at this point. There were 10 interested parties within the first hour of the listing. My husband and I were the first people to show up with cash in hand.

PC2K

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2019, 07:15:21 AM »
As a Dutchie that bikes everywhere:
- With bikes, you get what you pay for.
- You can get a cheap option for most things; but do spend on puncture resistant tires (doesn't have to be expensive) ('regular' tires will end up costing more due to patching. Maybe not money wise, but certainly in time).
- Choose the correct bike for the job. I know they are much harder to get in the US, but 'city bike' made to be low maintenance and keeps you clean is really handy for everyday. (City bikes generally have internal hub gears, enclosed chain, enclosed roller or drum brakes, mudguards and some way to cary cargo)

rothwem

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2019, 12:25:55 PM »
For a bike to ride to work, you ought to be looking at used bikes.  You can get a really nice 90s mtb for under $200 that will do an excellent job of getting your butt to work.  The 90s mountain bikes also were pretty good about including rack and fender mounts, as well as coming with sturdy steel frames.  Skip the suspension fork, most cheap ones are garbage and just bounce around, and the expensive ones are super expensive and massive overkill for riding on the street. 

Just Joe

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2019, 02:10:58 PM »
Also read up on how to secure your bike if you park it outside. If it is possible to bring it inside at work and home and store it in a maintenance closet I would.

Once upon a time I had a WalMart bike. It lasted no miles at all. I swear the rolling/pedaling resistance was higher but I can't prove it.

I bought an entry level LBS bike and I have it 12 years later with several thousand miles on it. I am protective of it b/c I have it just the way I like it after slowly investing more money in it.

As things wore out I upgraded components slightly.

ericrugiero

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 07:02:16 AM »
I'm no expert on exactly what bike to get but I can testify that the bikes in the $500-$1000 range you can find at the bike shop are WAY better than a Walmart bike.  The best deals are going to be used but it's not a bad idea to go to a local bike shop and buy from them.  You would get fit to the bike so you are more comfortable and efficient while pedaling and you would probably get free tune-ups for life.  Having a quality bike that fits you will increase the chances of you riding more.  If you really ride a lot you will make your money back in no time. 

A hybrid is probably the way you want to go but I don't have much experience with them. 

Gerard

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2019, 07:13:59 AM »
I went through a few cheap bikes from Canadian Tire (Wal-Mart for people who own pants) before finally shelling out about $600 for a commuter bike. Not only does it last longer, but it goes faster (mostly because it has smoother tires, probably), fits me better, and is just more pleasant to ride. Also, disc brakes are great.

Giant and Trek are the brands that I see the most.

GuitarStv

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2019, 07:32:56 AM »
Get a drop bar touring bike.

They're faster than hybrid bikes on the road because you have an aerodynamic position in the drops to go to.  They can fit wider tires than road bikes if you want to do some easy single track.  They have attachment points for fenders and rack.  They work better with panniers because of the longer chainstays (you won't run into the road bike problem of knocking your panniers with your heels).  Longer head tube makes them more upright (comfortable) than road bikes, and wider wheel base makes them more stable.  The frame is extremely rugged and designed to take heavy loads, so you can abuse them a bit.

A touring bike is the ideal commuting bike.  Around 700$ will get you a great one.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 07:44:45 AM by GuitarStv »

dogboyslim

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2019, 07:43:45 AM »
The year Surly came out with the Disc Trucker I purchased one.  I think that was 2011 or 2012.  I purchased a hub generator, a rack, fenders, a new saddle and some lights.  I threw on some brifters I had in my parts bin, but that would have been another $200 or so.  All in, I was at $2000.  I've ridden it since with only chains and cassettes for maint.  I do lock it up diligently and don't ride in a high theft area.  Its also pretty ugly.  That said, It fits, and is comfortable.  $2k for a bike seemed crazy at the time, but they last nearly forever if you take care of them.

PDXTabs

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2019, 07:48:53 AM »
$2k for a bike seemed crazy at the time, but they last nearly forever if you take care of them.

I did the same thing with a Surly Pacer in 2004 and while I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Pacer as a commuter (get the Straggler or the Disc Trucker) it is still going strong 15 years later.

mizzourah2006

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2019, 07:49:14 AM »
I just dropped $3.5k on this guy. But it was $6k new and the guy had just bought it in Jan. and not really ridden it that much.



https://www.pinkbike.com/news/rocky-mountain-instinct-carbon-90-bc-edition-review.html



Brother Esau

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2019, 08:18:18 AM »
Surly Moonlander, $2k

highplainsdrifter

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2019, 08:25:47 AM »
For a commuter bike, I agree with the community. $500-$1,000 range is the sweet spot. You want to have reasonable quality so that you can count on the bike to be reliable and comfortable for commuting daily.

Look for bikes in the categories of gravel, cyclocross, urban or touring bikes. Basically you want something comfortable, reasonably quick and that has the ability to add back or front racks.

There are some good deals to be found online. There are some direct to consumer brands that offer pretty low prices such as Poseidon or Aventon. Big box brands can have good deals check out Raleigh, Giant or Trek. If your commute is in a flat area of Texas, consider riding a single speed because they are super cheap. You can get a new solid single speed bike for $250 - $400.

mlipps

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2019, 08:38:04 AM »
Get a drop bar touring bike.

They're faster than hybrid bikes on the road because you have an aerodynamic position in the drops to go to.  They can fit wider tires than road bikes if you want to do some easy single track.  They have attachment points for fenders and rack.  They work better with panniers because of the longer chainstays (you won't run into the road bike problem of knocking your panniers with your heels).  Longer head tube makes them more upright (comfortable) than road bikes, and wider wheel base makes them more stable.  The frame is extremely rugged and designed to take heavy loads, so you can abuse them a bit.

A touring bike is the ideal commuting bike.  Around 700$ will get you a great one.

+1 to this. I also like REI's selection of bikes in your price range, although I'm first and foremost a proponent of the local bike shop.

hainesjd

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2019, 08:49:19 AM »
I'm going to swim against the stream here.

I recommend buying a cheapish bike, like one from Critical Cycles. It's <$300, you assemble a couple of parts when it arrives, good quality components. I'm on year 3 with mine, only light maintenance.

Even the tiniest, most fuel-efficient cars cost more to operate than a bike. If you have a ten-mile round trip commute, you'd break even in less than three months.

ETA: Some posters are mentioning their 4-digit bike purchases. I strongly recommend against buying a forever bike until you have some Austin commuting/trailriding miles under your belt. You'll have a more refined wishlist for buying a more expensive ride later.

ETAA: I happen to be wearing my El Diablo Poker Dash n Bash T-shirt today. It's the only ride I've done in Austin- definitely check it out. You pick up a playing card at each aid station to make a hand.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 08:57:20 AM by hainesjd »

PDXTabs

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2019, 09:22:47 AM »
ETA: Some posters are mentioning their 4-digit bike purchases. I strongly recommend against buying a forever bike until you have some Austin commuting/trailriding miles under your belt. You'll have a more refined wishlist for buying a more expensive ride later.

As one of those posters, I want to second this comment. I built my bike up from scratch and learned a ton, but if you are asking for advice here that probably isn't your plan. I would not spend $1000+ for your first commuter. However, my $1500+ bike could be found for $600 used on craigslist today, so that's always an option.

Boofinator

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2019, 09:57:27 AM »
Timely discussion, as I'm looking to upgrade my bike as well. That being said, I think a big factor that hasn't been mentioned is how FI you are. When I was starting my FI journey, and interested in saving every penny, I followed MMM's advice and bought a Nashbar flat-bar road bike for $200 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/). I've ridden that thing thousands of miles (at least 10% gravel) with the only troubles being flat tires from goatheads. No regrets, with perhaps the exception that I would have told my younger self to get drop bars (as GuitarStv recommends). (And one of the great side benefits about a cheap POS bike is that I've never been overly concerned about theft.)

Now that I'm essentially FI, I am planning on getting a "real" road bike for the first time (I splurged on my mountain bike in pre-MMM days). I intend to maximize some combination of speed and comfort for medium distance travels, and I intend to spend between $1k and $2k on the bike. As MMM has emphasized, once one is FI, money should no longer be the dominating consideration for your purchases, as more money only provides more happiness up to a point. Therefore, it is a very good probability my new bike will be worth more than my motor vehicle....

As for the flat tires, since I live in goathead country (as I assume you do too), I plan to investigate tubeless, which I hear is a godsend. Fucking seeds of the antichrist, those goatheads.

BoonDogle

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2019, 10:27:46 AM »
I second the comment about looking for a good used bike.  I have bought 2 used road bikes several years ago and still ride them today.  They have been great bikes.  Your local bike shop also probably takes trade-in bikes and resells them so you might check with them to see if they ever get whatever type of bike you decide on.

With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a new bike for $700.  I have several at home that I bought new from the bike shop.  Quality of bike and ride will be much better than a department store bike.

I prioritize lower weight over having suspension so I would be looking for a touring or hybrid without suspension.  I would definitely recommend test rides on the bikes you are thinking about, preferably on the route you will be taking, if possible.

DireWolf

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2019, 10:42:15 AM »
It's hard to justify dropping a ton of money on a bike if you aren't sure yet exactly how much you'll use and don't know exactly what is going to be the right bike for you. I got frustrated with my cheap, used $100 Raleigh I'd bought off Craigslist and finally got a new hybrid back around 2015 or 2016 for around $500 (Jamis Coda Sport). It was great for getting me on on greenways, backroads, some easy gravel. I got super into riding, the most since I was a teenager (I rode 30 miles a day in my teens). While a good value, I'd logged enough days and miles on the Coda to realize what I liked and didn't. Sold it to a friend (who is still using to this day) and bought my "dream bike", a carbon gravel adventure bike. I've put about 8000 miles on that one, and also added a steel touring bike that I've toured around 2000 miles on to date. I've spent over $5K on bikes and related gear over the last few years. Maybe even a little more once repairs taken into account. It's a lot of money, but given how much I ride, it isn't unreasonable. It's had a massive effect on my health. At 50, I'm in some of the best shape of my life. The mental health aspects are enormous.

I'm retiring in 2 weeks and plan to do a lot of touring and get out and ride 20-30 miles most every day. I want to get involved in some of the non-profits working like Rails-to-Trails and work to make the US better to bike in. Spent the fall riding around Europe and was blown away at what things could be like.

GuitarStv

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2019, 11:23:22 AM »
ETA: Some posters are mentioning their 4-digit bike purchases. I strongly recommend against buying a forever bike until you have some Austin commuting/trailriding miles under your belt. You'll have a more refined wishlist for buying a more expensive ride later.

As one of those posters, I want to second this comment. I built my bike up from scratch and learned a ton, but if you are asking for advice here that probably isn't your plan. I would not spend $1000+ for your first commuter. However, my $1500+ bike could be found for $600 used on craigslist today, so that's always an option.

+1

You don't really know what you want in a bike until you've ridden around on one for a while.  Everyone's different, everyone values different things . . . but you won't know what camp you fit into until you've spent some time in the saddle.

hadabeardonce

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2019, 12:15:43 PM »
Bonus question: I'm planning on riding mostly road and some easy trails in the near by Ft. Hood area. Thus thinking a Hybrid Bicycle might be the way to go. Any recommendations on which bikes to check out?
Road and weather conditions dictate what you need to look for in a bike. Personal preference is a big factor too. Unfortunately it does take some trial and error to find the right bike(s). No matter what you choose, don't skimp on your helmet.

My choice for fair weather (aluminum road bike)
Drop bars, rim brakes, lights

My choice for wet weather (aluminum cyclocross/gravel/adventure bike)
Drop bars, disc brakes, lights, fenders, rear rack, dry bag, overshoes

The wet weather bike could do it all, but it's nice to have the fair weather bike when I want to really enjoy a ride. Having two bikes can make sense when a part fails. Hopefully it's extending the life of my fair weather bike by not exposing it to poor conditions. All personal preference and things you tell yourself that may not make sense to others... (a.k.a. what the voices in your head tell you.)

Start riding something/anything and you'll find out what you need/want.

Marmotinha

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2019, 12:40:33 PM »
Fellow Austinite here :). I was about to list my husband's Marin Fairfax on Craigslist. It is a pretty good commuter for the Austin roads and trails, being essentially a road bike with flat handlebars. Unfortunately my husband has changed jobs and the new location is not a good candidate for bike commuting, thus the sale. When it was new, it was in the price range that many here are recommending and it served us well. I would get something like that if I was buying now, either used or new from a lbs if you want a "safer" bet.
If you want to have a look at the bike or want recommendations on local bike shops, private message me.

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bilmar

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2019, 04:37:09 PM »
Having spent 8 years in Key West ( a long time ago) where bicycles are often primary transportation, I have always outfitted my bikes with a BIG front basket.
I can do all of my food shopping using the bike and even carry a 12 pack if I need to.

Since retiring, I have also set myself a rule  to make me use it beyond scheduled exercise.
If I can do the job/trip  on the bicycle and it is not pouring rain or over 5 miles then I have to use the bicycle
No more quick trips to the store in the car!

I am thinking about perhaps building a DIY Ebike too.


Bill

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2019, 05:37:41 PM »
I did well with a touring bike.   I bought a Raleigh back around 1986 and I'm still riding it to work.    Wouldn't object to disk brakes though.

kendallf

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2019, 06:12:54 PM »
You'll always get a lot of responses to a "which bike" thread here, which is a good sign that lots of people are riding! 

I have lots of bikes, but some of my best utilitarian bikes have been used classic road bikes picked up from Craigslist.  I literally paid $5 for a Schwinn that I rebuilt and rode ~300 miles to south FL a few years ago.  I did buy new wheels for it and outfitted it from other parts from my rotating bike parts stash, but it was cheap.  This of course requires some mechanical ability and at least rudimentary tools, but it's fun if you have the aptitude.

If you don't want to work on it, I'd still buy used, just find a good shop that sells serviced, used bikes, or a friend who can help you evaluate CL finds.  Depreciation of 50-90% is common on bikes in the 5-10 year old range; I look for older top of the line components like Dura Ace and optimistically purchased bikes that sat in someone's garage.

lhamo

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2019, 07:12:16 PM »
Get a drop bar touring bike.

They're faster than hybrid bikes on the road because you have an aerodynamic position in the drops to go to.  They can fit wider tires than road bikes if you want to do some easy single track.  They have attachment points for fenders and rack.  They work better with panniers because of the longer chainstays (you won't run into the road bike problem of knocking your panniers with your heels).  Longer head tube makes them more upright (comfortable) than road bikes, and wider wheel base makes them more stable.  The frame is extremely rugged and designed to take heavy loads, so you can abuse them a bit.

A touring bike is the ideal commuting bike.  Around 700$ will get you a great one.

+1 to this. I also like REI's selection of bikes in your price range, although I'm first and foremost a proponent of the local bike shop.

We bought the newish edition of REI's touring bikes (the ADV 1.1) last year -- decided to go with REI because of their no questions asked 1 year return policy.  We ended up liking/keeping the bikes.  We did end up going in for bike fittings and changing out some components to improve the geometry/comfort of the ride.  DH got the post for the handlebars extended, and I swapped out the seatpost for one that curved to allow me to sit further back.  The only other real issue I have with them is that the gear range is not quite as wide as something like the Surly Disc Trucker -- if I knew I was going to be doing a lot of long distance rides with long climbs, I would probably switch to one of those.  For now we mostly are using it for riding local trails, which are mostly flat.  I do find the hills are easier now that I have the seat better adjusted.

Steeze

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2019, 07:15:39 PM »
One of my favorite bikes was a 100$ Schwinn 10-speed I bought in college off craigslist  that was older than me and maybe my parents. Super fun and didnít worry about it getting stolen. Just chain it up next to a fancy bike and you are good. Sad I lost it to a low beam in a parking garage on a cross country road trip. RIP.

Replaced it with a shiny single speed - also a ton of fun, but at $400 the build quality sucked. It was flashy and was stolen out of my front yard last summer. Next bike will either be another 100$ special off craigslist or will wait several years until I move.

PDXTabs

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2019, 07:41:24 AM »
The only other real issue I have with them is that the gear range is not quite as wide as something like the Surly Disc Trucker -- if I knew I was going to be doing a lot of long distance rides with long climbs, I would probably switch to one of those.

I looked up the gearing on a recent ADV 1.1 and Disc Trucker. They both have 26/36/48 chainrings and while the disc trucker has a 11Ė36t rear cassette the 11-34t on your ADV 1.1 is almost as wide/tall. With that said, looking at the component list on the ADV 1.1, you should be able to swap that 11-36t (or even wider) with no issues. A good mechanic could tell you for sure, I've never used that specific rear derailleur.

dignam

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2019, 07:55:07 AM »
I spent about $400 on a hybrid (Trek Checkpoint listed at ~$1400, but having a sibling that worked for Trek was very nice), worth every penny. 

I had a used hybrid I bought for $300 before that and was constantly breaking.

Just Joe

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2019, 10:49:24 AM »
With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a new bike for $700.  I have several at home that I bought new from the bike shop.  Quality of bike and ride will be much better than a department store bike.

Definitely test ride some new LBS bikes if your experience is mostly with big box discount store bikes. It was eye opening for me. Went from WalMart to bargain basement LBS bike. Indexed shifters, better V-brakes, better feel overall. Prob $500 in 2019 dollars.

A few years back I rode a $3K mtn bike with full suspension for a couple miles. Nice but my standards were higher by then. It came with low-stiction full suspension with lock-outs, hydraulic disc brakes, etc. Really a nice bike but not necessary for my riding needs.

caleb

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2019, 03:19:22 PM »
You should buy a Raleigh 3 Speed.

Someone is sure to say this is bad advice, and if you take it you will also quickly think it's bad advice, so I need to explain why it's good advice.

You should be able to find a Raleigh 3 Speed with a functioning hub for <$200.  You will need to do things to it to make it rideable, like change the brake pads that have turned to bricks over the last sixty years so that you can stop.  Then you'll know how to change the brake pads.  You'll also learn about machined rims when you learn your wheels don't have them, making stopping a relative term.  Then you learn about wheels.  And on it will go, with every shortcoming leading to knowledge.  Keep going, and you'll make bike nerd friends who will teach you more about bikes.

The clicking from the hub on the Raleigh will never go away, and so once you're convinced of just how horrible the Raleigh is you'll buy something like a Bianchi Velope for $800 with Tiagra shifters and heavy tires, and okay wheels that won't break for at least six months.  You'll ride it and marvel at how much better it is than the Raleigh.  And one day you'll put a Brooks saddle on it because your bike nerd friends have them and insist they're amazing.  You won't know it at the time, but putting that horse saddle on your otherwise normal bike will be the moment you go over the dam.

You will upgrade.  If you're lucky, you'll stop with something like a Surly that you lovingly assemble component by component.  If you have the bug worse, you'll start ordering custom frames.  You could waste money in worse ways.

Then, eight or ten years later, you'll pull the old Raleigh out of your garage to ride on an errand.  You won't have thought much about it for years, but the minute you get rolling you'll realize that your old sub-$200 tank does basically the same thing as all the special wonderbikes that now fill your basement.  And you'll be amused at yourself, without regretting any of it.

Maybe you'll start riding the Raleigh again, or maybe you'll give it to a carless grad student who reminds you of yourself years ago.

Whatever happens, you won't regret it. 

You should buy a Raleigh, clicking hub and all.

mizzourah2006

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2019, 03:44:30 PM »
Agree with others on not dropping $1-$2k before you decide if it's for you. I'd look on FB marketplace for a few weeks and see if you can pick up a decent used bike. You can usually find gently used bikes that are 3 or 4 years old that were originally in the $1-$2k range for $3-$600. That'll be a great first bike because if you decide it's not for you, you can almost certainly just resell it for around the same price. But LBS' usually have good new bikes for the $4-$700 range as well. My first couple adult bikes were Walmart/Target $150 specials and I didn't much like riding them. When I went out and actually bought a nice bike with hydraulic disc brakes, etc. it really changed how much I enjoyed biking. That's why I'd suggest a good used bike, because the difference in drive train, brakes, etc. is very real.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 03:46:58 PM by mizzourah2006 »

ArtistGrowingMustache

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2019, 03:52:51 PM »
If your commute is in a flat area of Texas, consider riding a single speed because they are super cheap. You can get a new solid single speed bike for $250 - $400.

Any specific recommendations for single speed bikes?  I live in a very flat area.  My $60 cruiser from academy sports is getting pretty beat up and I think it's time to upgrade.  Not commuting, just 10ish mile rides around the city.  I'd love to stay in the $200 to $400 range and nearer the bottom if possible.

Edwards

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2019, 03:55:51 PM »
Will you actually ride the bike to commute if you buy it?
I know this seems like a dumb question, but many people buy gym memberships and then don't follow through with it.  I'm not suggesting this is the type of person you are (I don't know), however, you may not of factored in everything.  Such as...

Will you still ride in the rain, heat, and snow (though Austin doesn't get much of the white stuff)?

Have you tried this bike commute to work multiple times already?
You may find that you don't like it (for any number of reasons) and this new purchase may end up being a waste if you haven't tested it out yet. For example, I bought an old motorcycle to save on gas but ended up reselling it within the year because I realized how much I disliked it.

How many cars do you currently have and will you be getting rid of any now that you will be riding your bike all the time?
^You can even come out ahead on a bike once you factor in the savings from selling a vehicle and no longer paying for automobile services, gas, insurance, etc.

I've spent $800 and $1,300 on the two bicycles that I have.  For me, they are worth the money because I expect them to last me a long time and can tell the difference in quality when I use them (as opposed to cheap bicycles). 

Garrett B.

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2019, 05:38:48 PM »
I recently bought a brand new Giant Escape 3 for $500. Amazing value. I just love it. I take it to work every day which is around 25km round trip. Add around $200 for accessories like bike lock, helmet, rack and pannier.

js82

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2019, 07:33:36 PM »
I spent ~$1300 on mine.  Nearly 10 years and close to 10k miles later, it's still in (mostly) great shape with little more than routine maintenance(chain, tires, brake pads, lube, etc.).  Probably needs a new cassette soon, but that's about it.

I might have spent less, but I'm quite tall, and my selection of bike frames was quite limited, even new.  Finding a cheaper option is probably more realistic if you're a normal-sized person.


Additional Disclamer: as others have mentioned, I wouldn't recommend this level of spending unless you're sure that you're going to put thousands of miles on your bike.  But a good bike can last a long, long time with relatively modest maintenance costs, provided you do a reasonable job of caring for it.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 07:41:57 PM by js82 »

Malkynn

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2019, 04:33:11 AM »
$500-1000 is the absolute sweet spot for bikes...once you know what you want.

Used bikes are so cheap, you really can't go wrong with buying a decent, cheap, used bike, learning your own riding needs and then upgrading to a $500-1000 bike if you can't find what you want used easily.

When I first started, I hadn't cycled for 20 years and was pretty out of shape and started cycling 20km/day. I bought a used Trek cruiser because it was so comfortable and so easy to balance.

After a few months of daily bike commuting, I quickly got much fitter, much better at riding, and realized that trying to haul a cruiser up steep hills was ridiculous. I sold it for slightly less than I bought it, and got a Rocky Mountain hybrid.

I NEVER would have bought that bike when I first started, as I had no idea what I actually needed.

So yes, $500-1000 is ridiculous to spend on a bike before you even know what you want/need, but it's downright frugal if you know what you want, know that you will stick to bike commuting, and buy something that will serve you well for decades.

EngagedToFIRE

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2019, 06:25:39 AM »
I bought a clown bike (is that possible?) - a Trek Supercommuter.  It was $4800.  But to be honest, it's changed my life.  It's one of the things I really thank this site for.  Would never have ridden a bike if I didn't read so much here.  I actually ride a bike to work semi-regularly.  I get out and do 20 mile rides around town.  I use the heck out of it and the price seems reasonable considering the benefits to my health.  Plus I got rid of one of my clown cars and I'm selling my Peloton, so this was a little splurge I thought was fair :)  And people keep bikes forever, I figure if I keep it for 15 - 20 years, then it's a steal.  Just a new battery here and there I guess.

hainesjd

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2019, 10:21:00 AM »
If your commute is in a flat area of Texas, consider riding a single speed because they are super cheap. You can get a new solid single speed bike for $250 - $400.

Any specific recommendations for single speed bikes?  I live in a very flat area.  My $60 cruiser from academy sports is getting pretty beat up and I think it's time to upgrade.  Not commuting, just 10ish mile rides around the city.  I'd love to stay in the $200 to $400 range and nearer the bottom if possible.

I have the reversible-wheel fixie/single-speed from Critical Cycles ("Harper"). It's $200 on Amazon, comes unassembled but you can build it with 2 included tools in 20min. Mine has about 3000mi on it so far, all original parts with just lube maintenance. I'm a 5'9", 200# male riding the 53cm "Medium" bike.

TrMama

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2019, 11:04:15 AM »
No, that's not too much to spend on a bike. Especially since if you use it to replace car trips it'll save you more than that in vehicle costs. Also, if you don't know much about bikes, buying new from a shop means you'll at least end up with something safe and in the right size.

As to what kind of bike you should buy, it should be the bike you like to ride. Go out and test ride as many different types of bikes as you can. Some you'll hate, take those back right away. However, at some point you'll get on one that you don't want to take back to the shop. You'll want to just keep riding it. Get that one.

For reference I just bought bikes for my kids. At 10 and 12 they're old enough to need adult sized bikes and to use them for proper transportation. My oldest is also probably done growing, so she won't outgrow it. I spent $800CAD for a new bike for my oldest (including fenders and rack) and $400 for my youngest for a refurbished bike from a bike shop. Then I added a set of $50 fenders to it. My oldest got a new bike because she has some valid preferences that would've been difficult to find in a used bike. Since I want her to like riding it, I just spent the money to get her one that fit the bill.

moof

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2019, 12:19:05 PM »
My commuter beater bike was $500 off craigslist that was lightly ridden for <500 miles judging by the original tires.  It is Fuji 4.0 LE cyclocross thing (more upright riding than a pure road bike).

New it would have been probably $800 new (co-worker has the next size up identical bike and paid $800 on "sale") and checked the boxes for having disc brakes and not being junk.  I've put another ~$400 into it for tires, tubes, fenders, rack, shop repairs (wheel true and bottom bracket after 6k miles), chains, cassette, 2 chain rings (never buy FSA crap), etc.

So my advice is to find a comfortable bike with mid-range components and don't look back.  ~$1k is a good price point these days.

Getting top-end components only makes sense if you are racing, and makes the regular maintenance expensive and painful.  In fact, you should look up the cost of the main drive train components before you buy.  Expect that every ~1-2k miles to replace the chain, every 2-4k miles to replace the cassette and main chain ring, and maybe every 4-6k miles to replace the derailleur.  If you weather is not wet and crappy all winter you might do better than me.  Some of the new 1x11 or 1x12 drive trains are painfully expensive to replace wear items on, like ~$100 for a low end 12 speed cassette vs more like $30-40 for the old 9 or 10 speed ones.  Factor that into your choice before you pull the trigger.

I have a second bike for "fun".  It was $1k for a fully rigid mountain bike (Kona Unit-X) for bikepacking, but that is a whole different category of hobby/fun rather than commuting utility.  It probably has another ~$400 of add-ons to get it the way I wanted it with cargo cages, an added front derailleur/crankset (1x11 drive trains are not my favorite...), frame bags, butterfly handlebars, handlebar tape, etc, etc.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 02:22:21 PM by moof »

Just Joe

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2019, 03:36:47 PM »
Whatever you do - ride alot of different bikes. Build an understanding of what you like and don't like. Understand how to choose a frame that fits you.

That Trek Super Commuter.... Love the look and function of that bike. Built a DIY ebike with a similar appearance that I love - not nearly as clean looking as that factory bike though. Maybe someday I'll upgrade.

Not Sure

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2019, 10:10:22 PM »
For a bike to ride to work, you ought to be looking at used bikes.  You can get a really nice 90s mtb for under $200 that will do an excellent job of getting your butt to work.  The 90s mountain bikes also were pretty good about including rack and fender mounts, as well as coming with sturdy steel frames.  Skip the suspension fork, most cheap ones are garbage and just bounce around, and the expensive ones are super expensive and massive overkill for riding on the street.

Every word of this is good advice.

An old steel Specialized Rockhopper, or Hardrock would be an excellent choice and they were pretty popular so the used ones are out there.

It's important to get a good fit so find a local experienced cyclist to help you!


Not Sure

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Re: How much would you spend on a bicycle? (and which one?)
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2019, 10:24:11 PM »
PS.  I wouldn't blame you for spending 3k on a commuter bike but the advice to get started with something cheaper is solid.  It's also handy to have a bike that you're not afraid to lock up in front of a store.