Author Topic: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars  (Read 4578 times)

skyrefuge

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Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« on: June 12, 2012, 10:52:46 AM »
Here's a post from some random web forum where a guy is asking if he should spend more (per-passenger) on a bike than on a brand new 2012 Nissan Versa.  And worse, instead of severe face-punching, several people (who just happen to work in the bike industry!) are encouraging him, saying "yeah, that sounds like a pretty good idea, you totally get what you pay for, you don't want to cheap out, that's patented you know!", and even posting pictures of bike-porn to help encourage the spending.

Yeah, ok, this is partially a joke, and certainly there are people out there who *will* find a $3000 bike to be a good value, I just thought it was at least a little ironic seeing such an un-Mustachian thread at the MMM forums.  :-)

grantmeaname

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 11:32:31 AM »
I'd imagine that it's possible to spend enough time on a mountain bike that it's worthwhile to get a $3000 one. It's like how music students in college have instruments worth more than their cars. It's not a colossal waste of their money, it's them cutting expenditures that don't matter in order to spend more in areas that do matter.

Matt K

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 01:11:53 PM »
It's like how music students in college have instruments worth more than their cars. It's not a colossal waste of their money, it's them cutting expenditures that don't matter in order to spend more in areas that do matter.

^^^ This.

As one of those Anti-M people suggesting that there are reasons to spend $3k on a bike (also the poster of said bike porn), I want to chime in and defend myself. This being the internet, and tone being entirely lost in text, I want this to be read in a light and conversational tone (hopefully internet flame-war averted).

A hiker spends $200 on boots and the guy who have never walked more than 10 miles in a day calls him nuts saying "I get by just fine with my $20 walmart specials". Around town those shoes are good enough. When you are out in the hills for hours or days at a time, you need good footwear the will protect your feet and ankles, give you the grip you need, and not cause blisters or other injuries. Can you hike in $20 shoes, absolutely. The further and longer you go, the more extreme the conditions you hike in, the more the $200 boots justify themselves.

On the note of the bike porn - take a look at the photos: Very few (if any) are 'product pictures'. The bikes are not the main focus of the pictures, the usage of the bikes is the focus. Most the pictures up (as of today) are big jump pictures. Some (the ones I like best) are shots of riding in beautiful (rocky crag in Italy) or insane (bobsled run) locations. The point, in context of the rest of my post, was simple: here are some pictures of some of the things that can be done on various expensive bikes that justify the expense of those bikes over a $500 bike.

We, the anti-mustachian-bike-pushers, openly admit that expensive mountain bikes are not a frugal choice. But they are not a choice of basic transportation (as your Versa comparison suggests), they are a choice of enjoying life / passion / hobby / whatever-you-want-to-call-it.
Quote
For a mustachian, your $500 bike is better, period. ... If money was the true concern, I simply wouldn't participate in mountain biking to the degree I do. But mountain biking is a significant part of my life, and not something I would chose to give up or even scale back on.

I'm sure you have a passion which you consider more important than money. I'm not saying throw money away with abandon on the things you enjoy the most; we need to think about how each dollar is spent. But you shouldn't be afraid to spend money intelligently on those things that you geniunely enjoy (see my first post on specific ways to buy a $3000 bike for $1500). And what you enjoy probably won't be the same as what I enjoy. Some people can't fathom why I would spend so much on a bicycle, but then, I have a hard time figuring out why anyone would spend more than $10 on a coffee machine (my french press makes excellent coffee and cost me $10).

And thus ends my defense. If you still think spending four digits on a bicycle is silliness, well you're right - no one has accused mountain bikers as being the most sane lot. But next time you're up near Ottawa, drop me a line, and I'll take you out for a ride that will put a smile on your face and start the gears in your head turning "maybe I could put aside a bit of money for a nice bike..."

Edit: I'll take a few punches to the face for mountain biking. It's worth it to me.
Besides, would you rather the OP get advice on buying a mountain bike from a mtb forum? Oh man he'd be taking a used-car loan for his new $20,000 bike ;)
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 09:55:51 AM by Matt K »

Daley

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 02:13:24 PM »
I didn't participate in the other thread, but I'm going to throw in on this one, and I think it's a point that needs to be said.

I didn't view the other thread as anti-mustachian at all, this was a thread started by a very hard-core bicyclist about a quality of bike desired for a level of usage very few of us participate in who was having difficulties maximizing his purchasing dollar due to needed frame size, level of desired serviceability and function, and high resale value in that market segment. In the end, this is no different than the shoe thread, or any other thread on purchasing quality over quantity. In the end, the wisest of all frugal purchases will always be the ones who purchase quality over quantity with long term reliability (and added safety) for the purpose at hand and the right tool for the job. As such, he would be nothing more than a spendthrift idiot flushing his very hard earned money down the crapper and in great need of a face punch if he bought even a $1500 mountain bike, let alone a $500 model, even if it was used.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: A poor man cannot afford to buy garbage, and most hard earned affluent people get this.

There's different markets for different people. You can't let it bother you that something you might think as high quality for even most people may in fact be a pile of crap for specialists. It's like telling an engineer that your $1000 homemade CNC router made out of quality off the shelf parts is good enough for a project they're working on that requires +/- 0.005mm milling precision. That pig 'aint flying, and anyone who thinks it would isn't knowledgeable enough to know better and should probably just sit back, listen and learn. (I'll admit, I've been a tiny bit guilty of this myself in the communications guide, but I also recognize that the people who can't get away with barebones service and phones for legitimate reasons shouldn't try to, either.) Recognize the need for what it is instead of slamming them as being "un-mustachian" and spending within your expected budget and requirements.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 02:26:19 PM by I.P. Daley »

skyrefuge

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 02:37:19 PM »
Hey Matt,

Thanks for taking my post in the non-malicious spirit intended and responding in kind.

I actually *have* spent four digits on a bike...the first digit was a '1', but adding in the hand-built touring wheels with Schmidt Dynohub, racks, Arkel panniers, $65 Schwalbes, and a million other components, it's probably pretty close to $3k worth of kit that I ride around on.    So while I do think that spending four digits on a bike is silliness, it's silliness that I have done, and silliness that I would happily do again.

BUT, if I came to the MMM forums and asked "should I be silly like this?", I would be posting with the expectations that a bunch of Mustachians thinking more clearly than me would punch me in the face, remind me about hedonic adaptation, and suggest more-efficient alternatives.  I'd already have the Bicycle Marketing Machine and my own hedonic desires sitting on my left shoulder with a pitchfork saying "yes, you'll love it, don't even bother asking anyone else!", while I would want the MMM community to sit on my right shoulder with their white mustaches and coolly and logically counter that guy on my left.  Not say, "hmm, you know, that red dude on the other side of your head has a pretty good point!"  I'm probably reading too much into such posts, but I figure if someone comes here and asks a question like that, it's a cry for help and they want to have someone talk them back from the edge.  That's why I wouldn't even ask such a question.  :-)  And if I did, I'd say "fuck you, you're all wrong anyway, trying to ruin my fun, I'm getting the $3k bike anyway!" 

To that end, I thought that your post on getting a $3k bike for $1500 was excellent.  And yes, I forgot that saying "yeah, $3k is not that bad" is a lot different than the "pfft, $3k?  Are you going to get it from Wal-Mart?" that he would get from a MTB forum.  :-)

And yes, excellent point about those bike-porn photos being more about the experience than the object.

I made the comparison to a car not because they're at all filling the same function, but just in terms of raw price.  Even if the buyer is getting $10k worth of value from a $3k bike, $3k still sounds like a stupid amount of money when you look at what makes up the bike and what makes up the car.  A car also has fancy highly-researched suspension systems, in addition to a bunch of computers, and safety devices, and air-conditioning, and a million other things, and on the whole is FAR more complex than a bike and has a lot more raw materials.  Just seems like someone must be making a lot of money on that bike, though I guess volume certainly comes into play.

My brother has a $3k (or more?) MTB, but unfortunately (fortunately?) I've only ridden it up and down his driveway, so I've never gotten the real mountain-biking itch.  If I'm ever in Ottawa I'll have to decide if I want to risk getting that itch or not.  :-)

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 03:46:34 PM »
My touring bike is handbuilt and cost me about $1600 used.  A new complete bike of the same make and model, with the racks, costs $3350.  While I probably wouldn't have bought it new, I really really enjoy the bike, and it will probably be with me for a long time.  If I would have gotten an off the peg touring bike with racks it probably would have cost me about $1400, so I think I got quite the deal!  The difference in quality between the handbuilt and the off the peg are probably very slight, but noticeable to the enthusiast.

My problem with a lot of expensive bikes is they do not seem like they will last a lifetime.  I could be wrong, that is just my perception.  If i was going to spend a ton of money on a new bike it would be steel and custom built to fit me. 

gooki

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 09:02:33 PM »
Quote from: skyrefuge link=topic=974.msg14019#msg14019
I made the comparison to a car not because they're at all filling the same function, but just in terms of raw price.  Even if the buyer is getting $10k worth of value from a $3k bike, $3k still sounds like a stupid amount of money when you look at what makes up the bike and what makes up the car.  A car also has fancy highly-researched suspension systems, in addition to a bunch of computers, and safety devices, and air-conditioning, and a million other things, and on the whole is FAR more complex than a bike and has a lot more raw materials.

The car comparison isn't fair, as a bike will have an annual running cost about 1/100th of a car. Also considering most vehicles are used to transport a single person, and we are talking about a new item the car would be 10 x the price of the bike up front.

But yes there are high margins on bikes, this is easily apparent when you see last years model sell at 50% off. Even at those discounted prices, the dealer, distributor, designer, and OEM are still making money.

James

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2012, 09:26:13 AM »
Here's a post from some random web forum where a guy is asking if he should spend more (per-passenger) on a bike than on a brand new 2012 Nissan Versa.  And worse, instead of severe face-punching, several people (who just happen to work in the bike industry!) are encouraging him, saying "yeah, that sounds like a pretty good idea, you totally get what you pay for, you don't want to cheap out, that's patented you know!", and even posting pictures of bike-porn to help encourage the spending.

Yeah, ok, this is partially a joke, and certainly there are people out there who *will* find a $3000 bike to be a good value, I just thought it was at least a little ironic seeing such an un-Mustachian thread at the MMM forums.  :-)

I get the idea of your question and sympathize with first impression, but I think it is based on the false idea of mustachian being synonymous with frugal.  Look at MMM house, he has the financial ability and priority to have a $400,000 house.  I might personally choose something different, but discussing the pros and cons of a $400,000 house would be an excellent thread on this forum.  So to the contrary of your statement calling it un-mustachian, I think the question about the bike was actually an excellent mustachian thread perfectly fitting to this forum.  I personally find that a draw to this forum and MMM in particular, there are plenty of other places talking about how to live cheap and be frugal, this place has that but also more.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 09:27:48 AM by James »

andrew

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 04:30:41 PM »
If biking is a huge part of your life and you'll squeeze every dollar of value out of a $3000 bike, then I see nothing wrong with spending that kind of money if you can afford it. It's not something I would do at this point in my life since my $500 bike does everything I need it to do, and I'm not extreme in my biking anyway (only about 60 miles a week).

For newbie bicyclists I would definitely recommend against spending that much. This sort of thing happens with newbie guitar players all the time. They have these grand illusions that they'll play all the time and become a great guitarist if they buy a $3000 one. Nope. Get one that's less than $500 and see if you stick with it first, chances are you won't.

mtnrider

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Re: Bikes That Cost More Than Cars
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 08:54:33 PM »
I know something about that thread. :-)

Yes.  It's splurging.  And I'll do everything I can to buy used, if I can find my size.  Failing that, I'll buy on sale as there seems to be a huge amount of variability in pricing. 

But like others say, it's about what's important to me*.  I'll probably use the thing for 15 to 20 years, if I use it like my last mountain bike.  At 9 months a year, say twice a week, that's 1080 rides, for about $3.00/ride, not counting races or bikepacking trips.  I do try to make up for it.  My computer is about 10 years old.  I don't drive much.  I do my own haircuts.  I don't watch cable.  You get the picture.

@andrew - Point taken - I agree that spending big on something you're unsure about is not wise.  And despite also enjoying guitar, I know not to buy a $3000 Fender.  I'm just as happy on a $500 knockoff - providing the action is good and it stays in tune for more than 10 minutes! 

* Having said that, I'll probably do an endo and brake a collarbone.