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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: Do you budget for your bike(s)
I budget by the month/year and stick to that number 12 11.32%
I budget, but also spend my bonuses/overtime wages on schwag 12 11.32%
I spend every available moment looking through magazines/websites, but only buy what I need 51 48.11%
I spend money on my bikes with reckless abandon 31 29.25%
Voters: 106. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-10-07, 11:37 PM   #1
RT
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Budget for your bike(s)

It's that time of the year, when, even if you can squeeze in some quality outdoor miles, those miles can be cold and treacherous.

This winter's project is my 2005 Fuji Sagres. After riding it stock for a year or so, I've added a few features this season, including a set of Nashbar Trekking handlebars - a great solution for lack of hand positions on a straight or bar-ended bar. I'm also looking into replacing the fork with a 700c-disc fork so I can then spend additional money on disc-compatible wheels (cyclo wheels?).

As you can see, this adds up (preaching to the choir). Then you enter the realm of, with all the upgrades, would you have been better off spending that money on a new ride altogether?

The bike was purchased in order to compensate to fill the big-wheeled void in my stable. I know, it's not one of the nicer bikes, but I like it and it suits my needs.

The question is, do you set forth a cycling budget each month/year, or do you fly by the chamois of your bibs when spending money on your bikes?
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Old 12-10-07, 11:41 PM   #2
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If I need it and it's within my means, that is I can pay off my credit card fully at the end of the month, I'll buy it. If it's not I save until I can buy it.
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Old 12-10-07, 11:51 PM   #3
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I started commuting this winter. I am finding I am not prepared. I hope I'm getting close to the end of my spending spree! My Nokian studs should be here by Thursday. Hopefully my bruised butt is feeling a little better by then. I've spent the cold chills away already.

edit: sorry. This reads like a haiku. But the jist is, I can not bare to go back to driving and I'll spend about anything to prevent it.

Last edited by Ouabacher; 12-10-07 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 12-10-07, 11:57 PM   #4
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I just buy what I need - operative word, need. This is the commuting section, most of us ride our bikes as transportation. I fear you should have posted this with the roadies...
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Old 12-11-07, 12:06 AM   #5
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But I'm not a roadie. I ride almost 100% MTB converted for commuting. My point is (I didn't want to make the original post long) that, every time I get something from Performance or Nashbar or Web Cyclery, the catalog they send is great reading material. I tend to find things I need, but was not aware of when I placed the order. I don't think I have a problem I'm talking about things like racks, lights, and cold weather clothing, not just components. My normal commuter bikes are all set, it's this other bike that is causing me to think twice...
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Old 12-11-07, 12:15 AM   #6
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Like any other hobbie, it can get expensive -and tick off the spouse-. That said, I time the spending for needed stuff with gas price hikes--and then get the best for my riding conditions.
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Old 12-11-07, 04:07 AM   #7
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This is a hard question as I budget but I also read bike sites and mags every day. I also spend some extra if I feel something is really worth it.

When I first started commuting I decided to put money away each week and build my gear up gradually, it has taken me 3 years but I think I have everything clothing and bike wise I need for every weather condition.

The only problem is I read this forum and I get to thinking maybe I should start doing some tour riding, or invest in some new lights, or build a snow commuter(I live in the UK and we get 1 maybe 2 days snow). But the way I look at it is as long as the mortgage and bills get payed and I have enough money to treat my lady then it's ok.
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Old 12-11-07, 04:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toddorado View Post
But I'm not a roadie. I ride almost 100% MTB converted for commuting. My point is (I didn't want to make the original post long) that, every time I get something from Performance or Nashbar or Web Cyclery, the catalog they send is great reading material. I tend to find things I need, but was not aware of when I placed the order. I don't think I have a problem I'm talking about things like racks, lights, and cold weather clothing, not just components. My normal commuter bikes are all set, it's this other bike that is causing me to think twice...
You have a very mild case - the true addicts are roadies. For them, it isn't enough to go fast, they have to know how many watts they are using - as though they are light bulbs or something. And that powermeter costs more than most of the bikes commuters use - even my 2,000 dollar hardtail.

And of course their wheels are fast enough so they replace that, and various other things - trust me, you have merely a mild case.
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Old 12-11-07, 06:26 AM   #9
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I never had credit card debt till I owned a bike. So guess which option I chose.
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Old 12-11-07, 06:33 AM   #10
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You have a very mild case - the true addicts are roadies. For them, it isn't enough to go fast, they have to know how many watts they are using - as though they are light bulbs or something. And that powermeter costs more than most of the bikes commuters use - even my 2,000 dollar hardtail.

And of course their wheels are fast enough so they replace that, and various other things - trust me, you have merely a mild case.
Thanks for the diagnosis Yeah, I'm not a jersey hoarder, I wear cargo shorts over my lycra, and most of my miles (centuries aside) are commuting. I was just curious about others' spending habits with regard to their mode of transportation/hobby.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:07 AM   #11
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I spend within my means. This includes portions of my normal monthly discretionary fund, on call pay, and bonuses.
I generally stash a certain percentage in savings and do what I want with the rest.
My trek card has a completely horrible interest rate that I like. I use it to purchase items I already have money for and pay it off before the three months are up to keep a bit of credit card activity going.

A cycling budget is nonexistent and I have no interest in tracking how much I spend.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:26 AM   #12
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I fix stuff that breaks or wears out.

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Old 12-11-07, 08:22 AM   #13
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I used to get pretty much whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Now, after buying a house, I'm relegated to simply buying what I absolutely need. I still have a budget for the bike (s) but it's much smaller and I have less discretion, I find that, although my bike is perfectly good, I feel like I'm just "making due" sometimes (which isn't all that bad, I commute, in part, to be a better guardian of the environment, so extending the life of tires, chains, brake pads, seats, etc is a good thing). On the other hand, since I don't spend money on other, more costly commuting options, I feel justified in replacing a part that needs it, it makes financial sense.
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Old 12-11-07, 08:47 AM   #14
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I only spend what I need.

I do not look through magazines/websites for bike parts all that much, but I do enjoy doing it from time to time.
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Old 12-11-07, 08:53 AM   #15
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I chose option 3 like most others
I like to reserach what is out there & get quality stuff that lasts a looong time. This last year or so has been a big one in terms of dollars: fancy new bike, fancy lights, fancy tires, etc. all told probably close to $3k.
but i will ride this sucker for a very long time. I justify it by the facts that
1) i ride a lot
2) i enjoy it
3) cheaper than a car
4) combines pleasure with utility
5) buying the nice stuff often saves repair/replacement costs down the road
6) buying the nice stuff is often a bit safer - i.e bright lights, reflective tires, disc brakes...
7) the last bike went about 10yrs and maybe 50,000 miles. This one will be at least that long.

Cheers
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Old 12-11-07, 08:53 AM   #16
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None of the above. When I need something, I look around for a little bit to find a decent price, and then buy it.
"Need" = the bike will stop working pretty soon if I don't fix it, or my ride will be miserable or dangerous without it, which might lead me to stop riding.

I rode with a noisy bottom bracket for about 5000 miles (about a year) until I was placing an order for other stuff from a place that happened to have a new BB for a good price.

I did finally switch my front wheel to disc brakes after debating it for about 2 years, so my winter braking will be more reliable. Total cost on that was about $160 for the new hub, rim, brake and cable; I couldn't get the hub I wanted and had to upgrade to about a $50 hub. I think they intentionally short stock the $25 hubs.
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Old 12-11-07, 09:23 AM   #17
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I've been debt-free since 1992, so I have to budget for every purchase. If cash isn't available or is committed to other things, I have to wait.

That said, the new position at work this year doubled my wages, leaving plenty available for bike stuff. Fortunately, as I'm coming up on three years of cycling, I've gone through the experiments of what I need, don't need, what works for me, my bike and my riding, and what doesn't.

Using what I'd learned in the preceding 18 months, in September I sunk a huge wad into a new bike (my third). I haven't had to change a thing on it, although I have purchased a second wheelset to make snow tire changes faster and more convenient.

I have no purchase needs for the foreseeable future. The gear I already own is sufficient. This is good because I need some other things, like glasses and a new PC. Since I couldn't think of anything else to buy, I took the November/December bike budget and spent it on new cookware. I hate having to buy new cookware every 10 or 12 years...
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Old 12-11-07, 09:32 AM   #18
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I've been debt-free since 1992, so I have to budget for every purchase....
...The gear I already own is sufficient.
Clearly, the mindset espoused by the second statement allows you to make the first.

I look at it this way: when I ride, it saves me $0.25/mile in gas. Want a new shiny toy? Keep riding...
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Old 12-11-07, 09:38 AM   #19
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Reckless abandon. Just because I'm a broke undergrad doesn't mean I'll stop buying bike stuff.

Though if I were only a transportational cyclistthat might be different. Either way, I constantly break stuff...
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Old 12-11-07, 09:48 AM   #20
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I buy only what I need for practical purposes. Every purchase is pretty much driven by need and carefully considered and I will pay for quality but that's it. I don't track or budget purchases nor do I go looking for new stuff.

No option fits. I don't budget, but neither do I buy excessively let alone recklessly. I buy what I need, but I don't spend any time looking for needs in magazines - until a need arises, then I spend some focused time looking for the options and prices.

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Old 12-11-07, 09:51 AM   #21
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I chose option 3. My wife thinks the spending is out of control, but she wants me to happy [although I notice she's pretty happy when she gets some new biking doodad]. I spend less [in theory] on bike stuff each year than I would on parking if I drove to work. That's my justification.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:11 AM   #22
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If I can afford it, I go for it.... I bought a MTB for US$350, then I start commuting, bougth lights, rode 1100km, then I upgrade my machine to an US$1000 MTB, with 1.50" Kenda kwest slicks, bougth fenders and a rack, (feel unconfortable with tires) and rode 1000 km, then change tires for 1.95" WTB All-terrainasaurus and Motoraptor, rode 350 km, change Motoraptor for a 1.95" slick. Now I'm thinking about having 1.5" or 1.25" slicks for riding in pavement, and..... mmm I'm caught...
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Old 12-11-07, 10:34 AM   #23
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I don't really budget for my bike. I don't set limits on cost to run it. My commuter bike always gets what it needs. It's too important to neglect it.

Having said that, it doesn't mean that I splurge. When I was commuting 9 miles each way in Palm Springs, my commuter was a 35 year old American Eagle/Nishiki 10 speed. My ex calculated that it cost me $6.00 per month to operate. It was wonderfully dependable.

My current commuter is a 17 year old Specialized Hard Rock with street slicks, fenders, rack and lights. It gets parts replaced as needed. Though I have fancied it up with brighter lights and toe clips. Once a bike meets my commuting needs, I don't need to play a lot with it.

My big splurge has been a Bacchetta Giro 20. Sometimes I commute on it. But its real reason was to do longer rides on weekends. I also have an even more frivilous bike, a Giant Stiletto chopper that is mostly used to ride in parades. The Hard Rock paid for them both in the money it has saved me as compared to any other transportation.
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Old 12-11-07, 06:42 PM   #24
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I took door number 3 as well. This year I am actually keeping track of what I spent and how far I rode. As of today I am at 11 cents per kilometer on a bit less than 8000 km for the year. Seems pretty cheap to me, must be time for some new pedals
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Old 12-11-07, 08:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkrobe View Post
I chose option 3. My wife thinks the spending is out of control, but she wants me to happy [although I notice she's pretty happy when she gets some new biking doodad]. I spend less [in theory] on bike stuff each year than I would on parking if I drove to work. That's my justification.
Exactly like me. My hobby used to be cars and when you consider the cost difference you could go a lifetime without even coming close to the simple cost of purchasing a car (approx.$20,000) with bike stuff.

With my skills from the car hobby I keep the wife's car up & running without (mostly) the need for a mechanic and the bike fills my need for a hobby that involves a vehicle and techie stuff, you also feel way better physically riding a bike than driving a car although nothing can compare to a really fast motorcycle ride
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