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Old 02-09-12, 01:18 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Budgeting that bike purchase

There's a great thread here wherein a "newbie" asks questions about what bike to purchase, how far he can reasonably expect to be able to ride in x months, etc. Lots of great advice being offered.

Got me to thinking. When I bought my first bike way back when I had the naive assumption that the price of the bike was biggest financial consideration, and that once I found one in my price range, I was pretty much done with financial outlay.

Silly me!

There's so much more that goes into it: shoes, pedals, bags, cyclometers or GPS equipment if you want one, racks perhaps, and of course even cycling-related clothing, not to mention spare tubes, basic tools, perhaps lights, and even pie.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what a new bike really costs for someone entering the cycling world, with no previously owned gear. Obviously, everyone's mileage will vary, but what should an informed "rookie" include in his/her plans?

For instance, is that $1,200 road bike really a $2,000 investment within a few months? How would you advise a person to budget for all the basics that are normally purchased at the original point of sale or shortly thereafter?
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Old 02-09-12, 01:49 PM   #2
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Could be worse. If you took up golf, the equipment is the cheap part. At least there are no greens fees or membership dues in recreational cycling.
Also, if you go for motorized toys, there's gas, insurance etc etc.
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Old 02-09-12, 01:54 PM   #3
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I always feel that the budget is what you make it. After the bike- my first investment was a helmet. Took a while but shorts and jersey were next. Both bought from the sales bins at various shops I always seemed to find in the towns I was visiting. For the cooler mornings--Never seemed to be cold when I started riding 20 years ago- I had a sports sweatshirt and a thin- almost useless- topcoat that was years old and at one time was wind and waterproof. Glasses were just my normal sunglasses. Fanny pack for the repair kit and Levers and a bit of food. Things like water bottles appeared and eventually a Spare tube and multitool. I just used to ride and as I rode with a few friends- never had the problem of breakdowns or mechanicals.

I still do a 100 mile ride with a wedge under the saddle that has a spare tube or two- repair kit and levers and nothing else. Only thing is that in the car before the start there will be a variety of topcoats that range from 100 to $300- a full tool kit and at least one complete set of riding clothing. The camelback has my energy drink in and the two water bottles are carried in bottle holders that cost $30 each and in the pocket of my $60 jersey are a few Vital food stuffs and gels that cost about $25. Should think that for an average distance ride my anciliaries are worth getting on for $500 so how did I get on 20 years ago?
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Old 02-09-12, 03:07 PM   #4
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Don't forget to factor in the health benefits of riding a bike and the savings one can accumulate from not having an inundation of health problems due to obeisity or lack of fitness. I'd say for the 50+ group, a man that cycles from the time he is 50 until he is just too old to climb into the saddle would probably save on Doctor bills in the $75,000.00 range, and thats if he has good insurance. No insurance and the bill could go into the $1,000,000.00 range. So, a $1200.00 bike along with all the amenities of gear and weekend rides etc.would probably cost the average rider $2000.00 per year. Therefore, at 50 yrs old if a person is fortunate to ride until he is 80 (30 years) he would still come out ahead $15,000.00

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Old 02-09-12, 03:22 PM   #5
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I would answer, but I'm too solidly in denial about bicycling expenses.
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Old 02-09-12, 03:32 PM   #6
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I would answer, but I'm too solidly in denial about bicycling expenses.

This. I would probably quit if I actually knew the real price. Stop this thread now!
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Old 02-09-12, 03:39 PM   #7
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Got real lucky with my last bike purchase. Came with pedals, shoes(that fit and were clean), cyclometer, bag, helmet. All I bought for it was a tube and CO2. Sometimes that used bike is a good purchase
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Old 02-09-12, 04:00 PM   #8
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I would answer, but I'm too solidly in denial about bicycling expenses.
If you annualize the cost over the next 30-40 years, it's as if they actually pay you to buy the bike.
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Old 02-09-12, 04:21 PM   #9
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When it comes to the casual rider who isn't into racing etc. even with all the extras, biking is a fairly cheap sport.

It's when you get into multiple bikes and the addiction of having to have the latest accessory when it becomes expensive.

It's like any kind of hobby or sport, it's what you spend, and what you get out of it, whether it be for fitness or pleasure or both, you have to weigh the personal benefit you get out of it, and if it is worth it to you.
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Old 02-09-12, 04:48 PM   #10
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There are too many variables. Is the newbie setting up a road bike, commuter, path bike, MTB, etc? Is newbie willing (and able) to shop for bargains and do a lot of work themselves? Is newbie willing to go used on the bike and or other stuff?

I spent $300+ above the cost of the bike setting up my new commuter (excluding clothes) and already had some of the stuff I needed (and I shopped deals and did everything myself). I have friends who I ride with who bought a bike and a helmet and that was it.
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Old 02-09-12, 06:06 PM   #11
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I race, so the road bike has three sets of wheels, one is the Powertap SL+ Enve 45mm carbon wheels, Campy Chorus hubs/Velocity Deep Vs for training and the Mavic Kysrium ES now for training. The track bike has a set of clincher training wheels and a set of tubular race wheels. Ah and road shoes, Bont A-Ones for track and crits, Giro Factors for road and Sidi 5.5 for the touring bike.
I'm not too excessive . I'm a recovering audiophile
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Old 02-09-12, 06:06 PM   #12
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Don't forget to factor in the cost of air for the tires.
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Old 02-09-12, 06:10 PM   #13
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When I worked at the shops. I found the numbers to often be right around Bike + 20% for people buying new bikes pretty much at any costs.

a 500 dollar bike they buy around 100 dollars worth of stuff. 1k = 200 and so on. Obviously not ALWAYS true, but it was a very good number to use in figuring expenses and revenue.
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Old 02-09-12, 06:16 PM   #14
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Every time I look around the house I think I might soon be the focus of one of those tv shows about hoarding. It seems there are bikes in every room. It can get as expensive as you let it get.
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Old 02-09-12, 06:30 PM   #15
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If you annualize the cost over the next 30-40 years, it's as if they actually pay you to buy the bike.
Over walking? Isn't that like saving money because what you want is on sale?
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Old 02-09-12, 06:41 PM   #16
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As a runner many years ago, I paid the exorbitant price of $49 for a top of the line pair of Etonics. I thought myself very self-indulgent. Later I had to invest in shoe goo and then, after shaking my head, more running shoes as time and miles went by.

Little did I know what degree of expense lay in my velo-future.
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Old 02-09-12, 07:09 PM   #17
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Don't forget to factor in the health benefits of riding a bike and the savings one can accumulate from not having an inundation of health problems due to obeisity or lack of fitness. I'd say for the 50+ group, a man that cycles from the time he is 50 until he is just too old to climb into the saddle would probably save on Doctor bills in the $75,000.00 range, and thats if he has good insurance. No insurance and the bill could go into the $1,000,000.00 range. So, a $1200.00 bike along with all the amenities of gear and weekend rides etc.would probably cost the average rider $2000.00 per year. Therefore, at 50 yrs old if a person is fortunate to ride until he is 80 (30 years) he would still come out ahead $15,000.00
Serously, My most recent stress test showed completely clear arteries. After my most recent operation last week, the doc checking me out of the hospital said all the numbers were excellent, heart rate, blood pressure, lungs, temp, liquid output, blood tests, all perfect. No way I'd be that way if I had stayed the couch potato I was back in 05.
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Old 02-09-12, 07:26 PM   #18
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I ran into a thread on another forum about something--maybe kitchen remodeling. One poster replied, "It's like bikes. Give yourself a budget. Then double it."

Transportation is my primary purpose for cycling. When I started out, I budgeted one year of monthly bus passes, $660. My first bike was $380. I hit the budget with helmet, lights, lock, and multi-tool. And NYS sales tax.

A few weeks later I was back for rack, fenders and panniers. It kept going from there. I blew through that "then double it" budget of $1,320 within the first nine months.

On the plus side, later on as the bikes get more expensive, you already own the accessories. I bought Jeeves as a frameset for $1,000. Components, wheels and tires were another $2,800 or so. Didn't spend a red cent on accessories.

Oddly, for a person who hasn't owned a car since spring of 1999, I find myself shopping for my second car rack.

I travel with my parents once a year to the family vacation cottage in Ontario Canada. I bought a Saris Bones 3 for taking the bikes along. They just traded-in the LeSabre on a Buick SUV, which has a soft plastic visor/spoiler thingie along the top of the tailgate. Can't attach the straps there. So I'm shopping for a hitch rack. Jeepers those things are expensive! For something I'll use one week a year, and store for the other 51.

Last edited by tsl; 02-09-12 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 02-09-12, 07:40 PM   #19
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I travel with my parents once a year to the family vacation cottage in Ontario Canada. I bought a Saris Bones 3 for taking the bikes along. They just traded-in the LeSabre on a Buick SUV, which has a soft plastic visor/spoiler thingie along the top of the tailgate. Can't attach the straps there. So I'm shopping for a hitch rack. Jeepers those things are expensive! For something I'll use one week a year, and store for the other 51.
Look used. I picked up a Yakima hitch-mounted 4 bike rack on CL for $50 and a Yakima trunk-mount for $10 at a thrift store. Both are like new and give me a lot of options when the need to transport arises.
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Old 02-09-12, 11:09 PM   #20
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I look at it dividing the cost by the amount of miles or hours of riding. It don't look so bad.
Can't got to the movies for that price.
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Old 02-09-12, 11:20 PM   #21
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I look at it dividing the cost by the amount of miles or hours of riding. It don't look so bad.
Can't got to the movies for that price.
Very true. The more miles you ride, the more efficient the money you invest becomes.
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Old 02-09-12, 11:26 PM   #22
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I'm 65, and I've had plenty of hobbies/interests and still do most of them, and biking has been one of my favorites now for the last 20 years, and I can honestly say it's the least expensive of all of them, and I own four bikes at the moment.
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Old 02-10-12, 12:03 AM   #23
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Two years ago, I replaced the trusty 20 year old Nishiki with a 105/FSA-equipped KHS carbon/alu road bike. It cost $1200, which was in my "somewhat over $1000". I'd posted a which-bike-to-purchase question in the 41, but because I wasn't looking at either a BMC or CAAD-10, well, you know where *that* went... ;-)

I'd been riding in cotton shorts and t-shirts all those 20 years, maybe I'll get some lycra shorts and a proper jersey, too. Someone (probably in the 41) mentioned Ribble as one of the online places, and I got a Giordana jersey and bibs for about $120. The only existing gear I could reuse from the old bike was the helmet.

First thing I noticed was the seat had to go, and new pedals too (but not clipless). The stock Kenda tires made for a *really* rough ride, and I always liked my Continental Gatorskins. But the 41 recommended GP4000s, so I ordered them from Ribble a little later (sterling recommendations, BTW, for Ribble and GP4000s). With more comfort came longer rides than on the Nishiki, so I'd better get a seatpack too. More reading of bikeforums, and I became aware that 10-speed chains are more fragile than the 8-speed ones that could last me 5 years, so a chaintool and multi-tool seemed prudent for these longer rides (80-100km by then). You can see where this is going ... once the weather cooled, I needed arm warmers and tights. A CO2 let-down meant a new backup frame pump. And so on. A few of the purchases were impulse, but most weren't.

I don't have a lot of cash to throw at this hobby, so I waited for Ribble sales and favourable currency exchange periods to stock up. So, in the end I probably added another $800 to the purchase price of the bike, bringing the "entry fee" to an even $2000. But the bike will last years more, and so will some of the clothing and accessories. I'll probably continue to spend about $300+ per year on new/better clothing and required maintenance that I can't do myself (which is anything involving hubs or bottom brackets).

In the end, though, it took some luck (KHS, Giordana, and 105 were all just mildly expensive guesses) as well as some good advice from here and I'm very happy with almost all my purchases to date, both price and quality-wise. I honestly don't look at/lust after blingy stuff like Di2; in fact, I used to take pleasure in passing lycra-clad posers on Treks on my 30lb steel bike wearing cotton shorts and no helmet!

No offence to Trek riders ... in those days, it was the only brand name recognizable enough to me to sneer at. ;-) Now, it's Pinarello! :-D
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Old 02-10-12, 03:01 AM   #24
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one perspective

I would sum it up by saying you can spend whatever you want. Understand that you don't -have- to get anything. But here are some thoughts on fairly average costs. Some are wild guesses, but here's what I think is nearly critical stuff.


$40 shorts
$20 gloves
$120 shoes
$165 pedals
$ 20 saddle bag
$100 basic tools including floor pump, spare tube, chain oil, whatever.
$20 water cages/bottles
$60 bike computer
$75 helmet

Of course you can get many of these things in a wide price range but we know the cost of cycling isn't limited to the purchase of the bike. I have several sets of tires, a second set of wheels, many tools and a professional stand and just got back from a cycling vacation....I'd guess I'm not that unusual when compared to other people in this forum in that I devote a fair bit of my recreational resources in terms of both time and money, to cycling.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:46 AM   #25
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I would sum it up by saying you can spend whatever you want. Understand that you don't -have- to get anything. But here are some thoughts on fairly average costs. Some are wild guesses, but here's what I think is nearly critical stuff.


$40 shorts
$20 gloves
$120 shoes
$165 pedals
$ 20 saddle bag
$100 basic tools including floor pump, spare tube, chain oil, whatever.
$20 water cages/bottles
$60 bike computer
$75 helmet

Of course you can get many of these things in a wide price range but we know the cost of cycling isn't limited to the purchase of the bike. I have several sets of tires, a second set of wheels, many tools and a professional stand and just got back from a cycling vacation....I'd guess I'm not that unusual when compared to other people in this forum in that I devote a fair bit of my recreational resources in terms of both time and money, to cycling.
I'll say. I might spend 100 on pedals while having like 300 dollars of bottles/cages. If you're doing your own wrenching, add about 300-1k in tools EASY including stands...
The rest is all not as important.. cept maybe shoes. helmest are cheap.. 30/40
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