I'm hesitant to throw these questions out there, but I should really hear what those with an opinion have to say.
I have two bikes: a stock Trek MTB which is fender equipped and used during the seemingly endless months of bad weather. Great set-up with the studded tire option when necessary. No changes planned for that one, it does everything desired as it sits.
My fair weather bike is a rebuilt department store gas pipe three speed from the 60's-70's. Most of you have seen it, but I'll post another pic for those who want a point of reference for this post. I'm delighted with this bike's speed and smoothness, but it's still sure footed enough to deal with less than ideal road surfaces.
I have about $200 in the bike, including initial purchase and replacement/upgraded components. I really don't think I could have bought as nice a rider new for that money. I ride alone for exercise and sanity, though from what I've experienced this bike keeps up with the roadies I've encountered.
I'm thinking about some upgrades over the Winter like alloy rims. I see that two new rims and spokes are going to cost an additional $100 plus the sweat equity of building them. Is the performance of these commonly available Sun ISO 590 alloy rims going to be worth the expense and effort? I'm happy with the durability of the steel rims on the bike now, and question the return on the possible upgrade .
I'm also thinking about a Brooks B17, bag and bar tape for the cosmetics and personal indulgence. Probably another $200 when it's all said and done. That makes for a near $500 used department store bike.....lipstick on a pig? I love the way the bike rides, the ease of maintenance, and the looks, or I wouldn't consider the changes.
Thanks for your opinions!