Author Topic: Over priced bikes anyone?  (Read 9907 times)

AdrianM

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Over priced bikes anyone?
« on: May 06, 2012, 02:51:04 PM »
http://www.smh.com.au/money/investing/come-in-spinners-20120501-1xvkz.html

Saw this and had to laugh, they could almost be Mustachian (with the ride a bike to work part)

Really it just a competition of "hey look at me I bought a bike worth more than a reasonably priced car)

James

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 05:53:45 PM »
It's absolutely a waste for us mustachian types, but at the same time I'm glad there are people out there spending that kind of money on bikes.  They pay for the research and development that goes into making normal bikes (that we actually buy) better and better at the same price...  :)

grantmeaname

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 06:00:57 PM »
Quote
''In the cycling community there are certain bikes that have a status to them; they just perform really well,'' the managing director of the Urban Cyclist in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery, Craig Klement, says.
You know what performs really well, and gets you more inclusion than a  $17,000 bike? Spinning your legs slightly faster. Seriously...

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 11:23:27 AM »
Quote from: Eddy Merckx
Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

Mrs MM

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 12:49:20 PM »
Quote from: Eddy Merckx
Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

Nice!  I'll have to use that someday...

Bakari

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 01:02:16 PM »
I used to have a carbon fiber road bike, with 105 STI shifter/brakes and spinergy wheels.
It was so sweet. 
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

Of course, I got it used for $400, but somebody paid several grand for it at some point before.

menorman

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 11:50:25 PM »
I used to have a carbon fiber road bike, with 105 STI shifter/brakes and spinergy wheels.
It was so sweet. 
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

Of course, I got it used for $400, but somebody paid several grand for it at some point before.
Wow maybe I'll have to look into one of those at some point. But I've heard that those kind of bikes suck for actually riding anywhere but a perfect surface. Is this true?

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 10:57:46 AM »
I used to have a carbon fiber road bike, with 105 STI shifter/brakes and spinergy wheels.
It was so sweet. 
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

Of course, I got it used for $400, but somebody paid several grand for it at some point before.
Wow maybe I'll have to look into one of those at some point. But I've heard that those kind of bikes suck for actually riding anywhere but a perfect surface. Is this true?
nope.  i ride skinny-tire road bikes all around Denver with no problems. as long as you avoid the big potholes and wheel-sucking cracks, it's no problem.  remember, the pros ride Paris-Roubaix (road race on relatively primitive cobblestone roads) on racing bikes. 



anybody who thinks road bikes are only for perfect roads isn't trying very hard.

grantmeaname

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 11:06:37 AM »
Cyclocross bikes are basically road bikes doing basically mountain riding, and they do just fine as well. They've got slightly wider tires (nominal 28mm vs 23 for road racing), but the geometry and handling characteristics aren't really that different.

skyrefuge

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 11:25:24 AM »
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

"LITERALLY literally", or "figuratively literally"?  :-)  If the former, what was your cruising speed on the two different bikes?  You had to be going MORE than twice as fast on the carbon, since you presumably had some stop lights along that 11 mile route where the carbon doesn't make them change any faster.  It's hard for me to imagine a speed differential that would be possible for the same person to achieve.  Even if you could go 25mph on the carbon, it seems like it would be really hard for you to go only 12mph on your previous bike, unless you were dragging a pile of cinder blocks behind you.

I admit I have a natural skepticism towards performance-improvement claims due to lighter bikes, and unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to test out such improvements myself.  But I'm much more likely to believe such claims if they come from an actual Mustachian rather than a standard bike-dweeb with more money than brains (or muscle) trying to rationalize his purchase.  Still wouldn't make me run out and drop $4000 on such a bike, but if I could score one for $400 and get that kind of performance improvement, I'd certainly consider it!

grantmeaname

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 11:28:46 AM »
It's not just lighter weight that gives a road bike an edge. A road bike has better stiffness, better geometry for the rider's power production, better-maintained drivetrain, narrower and slicker tires... with these combined, I bet I could shave almost half of my commute time to work off if I took my road bike ($800) instead of my nasty rusty mountain bike ($20).


kudy

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 12:06:36 PM »
I had no idea there was such a big difference between mountain bikes and road bikes... maybe I'll look into trying a road bike.

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 12:17:41 PM »
I had no idea there was such a big difference between mountain bikes and road bikes... maybe I'll look into trying a road bike.
  you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much faster it is.  i can average 18mph on my "good" road bike without breaking a sweat.  good luck with that on 26x2.0 tires. ;-)

TLV

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 12:21:01 PM »
I just upgraded from a freecycle'd mountain bike to a cheap road bike ($300 from bikesdirect.com), and even for a cheap road bike it feels like I'm riding a ghost bike compared to the old beater.

skyrefuge

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 01:10:58 PM »
It's not just lighter weight that gives a road bike an edge. A road bike has better stiffness, better geometry for the rider's power production, better-maintained drivetrain, narrower and slicker tires...

Yeah yeah, I know all the bike company/magazine propaganda, but I'm much more convinced by actual numbers, so that's what I'm curious to hear.  Let me know if you actually run the test, and what your 2x-different speeds are on your road bike vs. mountain bike.  Of your list, I say that slicker tires and geometry are the only things that create a meaningful difference, and you can get slicker tires without changing your bike, and even geometry only matters if it allows you to alter your upper-body position to reduce your wind-resistance.  Narrower tires don't make a big difference over fat slicks at the same PSI, and the benefits of stiffness and power-production-optimized-geometry pale in comparison to the earlier benefits.  And drivetrain maintenance is orthogonal to bicycle type.  Bakari referenced a "steel touring bike", which I assumed was still a (relaxed) road bike geometry with relatively narrow slicks; I'm less surprised at a road bike being a big improvement over a nasty rusty mountain bike, but even then an actual 2x improvement in performance would blow my mind and make me seriously reconsider my riding choices.

you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much faster it is.  i can average 18mph on my "good" road bike without breaking a sweat.  good luck with that on 26x2.0 tires. ;-)

Ok, sorry to keep beating my complainypants drum (just trying to make sure people aren't getting bamboozled by the extremely anti-Mustachian bike industry!), but what is the number for the other side of the comparison?  What is your not-break-a-sweat speed on 26x2.0 tires?  You might be surprised how close it is to 18mph if those 26x2.0s were slicks, with plenty of air in them.  I have a friend who has joined me on my last couple bike tours, riding a front-suspension mountain bike with 26x2.0 slicks (I'm on a Cannondale T800 touring bike, which is essentially just a practical road bike), and he's at least as fast as I am, despite the fact that I'm pretty damn fast to begin with, and 7 years younger than him. 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 02:51:37 PM by skyrefuge »

grantmeaname

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2012, 01:34:27 PM »
even geometry only matters if it allows you to alter your upper-body position to reduce your wind-resistance.
It's easier to produce power when you're seated the right distance above the pedals, which isn't possible on many mountain/cruiser bikes without buying a humongous seatpost. It's easier to produce power when your body weight is centered over your pedals, which isn't possible from an upright position. And in a road position, you're innately less wind-resistant because even upright, riding on the tops of the bars, you're leaning over more than on a mountain bike. Geometry also affects comfort, and a comfortable rider goes faster. And wind resistance of the bike itself. I can go on...

Quote
Narrower tires don't make a big difference over fat slicks at the same PSI
First, yes, they do, you've got much less friction with a smaller contact patch. Second, you can't run fat slicks at the same PSI as narrow tires. Find me a 2-inch, cheap tire and tube that'll do 125 psi, please. You can't? I'm shocked.

Quote
and the benefits of stiffness and power-production-optimized-geometry pale in comparison to the earlier benefits
Are you saying they're not as significant as the road bike strengths that you just disregarded because of how insignificant they are, or are you contrasting them with mountain-bike strengths that you haven't mentioned yet but want to make me think you have? Either way, I'm totally not following your argument.

Quote
And drivetrain maintenance isorthogonal to bicycle type.
My specific drivetrains were what I was referring to there. If you were trying to understand what I was saying and have a conversation instead of just proving yourself right, you would notice that I specifically was comparing one of my bikes to the other and not making a general statement about all mountain bikes somehow having rusty cassettes.

Everyone, in case this wasn't perfectly clear already, I wasn't suggesting you go buy an $800 bike to commute less than two miles to work on. I nowhere suggested that. I do not suggest that. I will not suggest that.

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2012, 01:39:40 PM »
Quote
you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much faster it is.  i can average 18mph on my "good" road bike without breaking a sweat.  good luck with that on 26x2.0 tires. ;-)

Ok, sorry to keep beating my complainypants drum (just trying to make sure people aren't getting bamboozled by the extremely anti-Mustachian bike industry!), but what is the number for the other side of the comparison?  What is your not-break-a-sweat speed on 26x2.0 tires?  You might be surprised how close it is to 18mph if those 26x2.0s were slicks, with plenty of air in them.
no, i wouldn't be surprised, because i've done that experiment. on 26x2ish semi-slicks (very minimal knobs down the center), 15mph at best for "not break a sweat" exertion level.  i can keep a 15mph pace on an old single speed road bike (while inebriated!) without much trouble.  i'm not going to stick up for the "double" claim, but it's definitely a non-trivial difference.  (and no, i don't work for any sort of bike company - just a guy who's ridden a lot of bikes (that didn't cost $10000) over the years.)

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2012, 01:52:54 PM »
For anyone with a mountain bike an knobby tires looking to upgrade, Nashbar is selling some 26x1.5 slicks for $10 apiece right now, which is a lot cheaper than any road bike you'll be able to get your hands on.
better than knobbies, yeah, but...
Quote
WEIGHT:      607g
MAX. PSI:      40 psi max
 
vs 115 PSI and 200g for my road Michelins?  (not to mention the heavier rims?)   no thanks.  if you're a one bike kind of guy, go for it.  i'll stick to skinny tires for road riding. and considering what a CX  bike can handle with 700x32 knobbies, mountain bikes are overkill for a fair amount of off-roading too!

admittedly, i ride my dirt jumper with 26x2.4s on short street trips, but that's more for the fact that i can plant my feet on the ground from the seat easily, and plow over curbs and potholes without a second thought.  road bikes are more capable than people give them credit for IMHO, but they're not trials bikes. 

skyrefuge

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2012, 02:51:12 PM »
And wind resistance of the bike itself.

Ha...I'll admit that I'm good at trying to prove myself right, but only if you admit the same for yourself!  :)

I completely agree that everything you mention can make a measurable difference.  My point is that some differences (in particular, knobby-tire rolling resistance and wind resistance) are much greater than the other differences, to the point where the secondary differences are nearly irrelevant to a casual cyclist who just doesn't want to feel like they have the slowest bike in the world.  For a competitive cyclist, they certainly need to take advantage of all those factors and more, but for an average Mustachian who just wants to get to work a little quicker without breaking the bank, the point of diminishing returns comes pretty quickly, and some of the big improvements can be accomplished without getting a new bike at all.  And it sounds like we generally agree on that too, so I will do my best to refrain from further unproductive quoting!

no, i wouldn't be surprised, because i've done that experiment. on 26x2ish semi-slicks (very minimal knobs down the center), 15mph at best for "not break a sweat" exertion level.

Awesome thanks!  I love me some real-world data.  :)  And yeah, that 20% speed improvement from one bike to another is much more in line with my gut-feel than a 100% improvement, and that's just what I wanted any less-experienced cycling Mustachians reading this thread to be aware of.

better than knobbies, yeah, but...
Quote
WEIGHT:      607g
MAX. PSI:      40 psi max
 
vs 115 PSI and 200g for my road Michelins?

D'oh!  I didn't even look at the specs.  40 psi?  What are they made out of, rice paper?  Really really heavy rice paper?

Anyway, yeah, I'm not some kind of fatty-lover, encouraging anyone to get a fat heavy low-pressure tire just for the hell of it (I ride 700x28Cs on my touring bike unloaded, 35Cs loaded); I only intended it to be advice for non-bike geeks who already have a mountain bike with 26" knobby tires, have no interest in getting another bike, and just weren't aware that there are alternatives out there that could make their rides more pleasurable.  I just didn't realize what a crappy replacement option I had given, so I'll retract that.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 02:53:52 PM by skyrefuge »

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2012, 03:44:29 PM »
How bout some nice Maxxis Detonators instead?  26x1.0, 1.25, and 1.5, and the smaller sizes are under 300g. 

The Maxxis Hybrid line has lots of good choices for both 26 and 700 mixed use tires.

Bakari

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2012, 12:42:21 PM »
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

"LITERALLY literally", or "figuratively literally"?  :-)  If the former, what was your cruising speed on the two different bikes?  You had to be going MORE than twice as fast on the carbon, since you presumably had some stop lights along that 11 mile route where the carbon doesn't make them change any faster.  It's hard for me to imagine a speed differential that would be possible for the same person to achieve.  Even if you could go 25mph on the carbon, it seems like it would be really hard for you to go only 12mph on your previous bike, unless you were dragging a pile of cinder blocks behind you.

I admit I have a natural skepticism towards performance-improvement claims due to lighter bikes, and unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to test out such improvements myself.  But I'm much more likely to believe such claims if they come from an actual Mustachian rather than a standard bike-dweeb with more money than brains (or muscle) trying to rationalize his purchase.  Still wouldn't make me run out and drop $4000 on such a bike, but if I could score one for $400 and get that kind of performance improvement, I'd certainly consider it!

Sorry, I didn't notice I had caused such a stir in this thread!

Yeah, actually literally literally.
30 min vs 1 hour

But with a caveat

The carbon bike weighed 20lbs (including spare tube and tools and lights)
The touring bike weighed 35

Because of the weight difference, I was happy to ride the direct route, over the hills, which cut a couple miles off the total trip.
With the road bike I rode the full 11. Although, with the steepness of some of the hills, and how many there were, I think a direct speed differential of almost 1:2 might actually be possible, or at least close (at least during the uphill stretches) - say 5mph vs 10.  Since you spend more time to get up than down, your avg speed during ascent affects overall speed more than the avg speed on the decent.

In addition to the weight, the road frame had me in a much more aero position, and had less rolling resistance in the tires, but on flat land the difference was more like 15mph vs 17mph.  (which is an educated guess, since neither one had a consistently working speedometer, and I didn't keep records when one did have one working).

menorman

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2012, 01:17:27 PM »
I used to have a carbon fiber road bike, with 105 STI shifter/brakes and spinergy wheels.
It was so sweet. 
It literally cut my 11mile commute to work in half compared to my steel touring bike.

Of course, I got it used for $400, but somebody paid several grand for it at some point before.
Wow maybe I'll have to look into one of those at some point. But I've heard that those kind of bikes suck for actually riding anywhere but a perfect surface. Is this true?
nope.  i ride skinny-tire road bikes all around Denver with no problems. as long as you avoid the big potholes and wheel-sucking cracks, it's no problem.  remember, the pros ride Paris-Roubaix (road race on relatively primitive cobblestone roads) on racing bikes. 

anybody who thinks road bikes are only for perfect roads isn't trying very hard.
Oh, I know road bikes can be quite capable. I ride my bike around on when practical and it had 700x18s on it when I got it. I've since put a x25 on the rear with more tread than the original racers that were on it. My question was more so about the ride quality of a carbon bike vs. a steel because I've heard that carbon bikes just aren't friends with real riding and can actually be almost unbearable when loaded. However, Bakari also clarified how he was able to cut the time in half. It sounded like he was saying the exact same route was literally half the time, but his explanation clears up the confusion.

Bakari

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2012, 01:54:21 PM »
mine was the trek 2120, one of the first ever carbon bikes available (main tubes only, not one piece frame like the modern ones) so I don't know how it would compare, but the ride quality was great.

kriserts

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2012, 03:27:41 PM »
Well, I used to race, and cycling is still my biggest passion. For my next bike I'll budget maybe 6k. I'm a 51-year old woman and I ride that thing 3-6 days a week, probably 80-100 miles on the weekend. Frame and component quality makes a difference when you're doing miles. My road bike is a totally different machine than my commuter. But I think a lot of people can get into the sport on a decent road bike for 1-2k, and after say 10k you're either insane or a pro and getting your equipment free. I  think the key to keeping your costs down after the initial purchase is not getting caught up in the arms race of new wheels and upgrading components every year. I want my bikes to last approximately 10 years (if no crashes).

Caveat: my first bike I got a big discount on from a team sponsor and my second bike was free from a sponsor (I paid for the components but not the 6k frame). I haven't owned a car in years and the last one I did own was a piece of junk I bought for $500 just to get me to races.... all of this is me trying to justify the price I'm going to lay down in the next year or two on a new bike. :)

And I agree with James, people spending money on bikes has really helped bring the industry back from the edge. Better 10k on a bike than 50k on a car.

napalminator

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Re: Over priced bikes anyone?
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2012, 01:03:03 AM »
i've got no experience with monocoque carbon frames either.  only carbon frame i've ever owned was a Specialized Epic from the mid 90s that was lugged carbon (similar to the Trek 2120).  why fuss about such frames, though?  it's not like it's hard to find steel or aluminum frames.