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  1. #1
    Senior Member carnivroar's Avatar
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    Spending more money to upgrade bike than it initially cost

    If my bike cost X dollars, does it make sense to spend Y amount of dollars upgrading it, where Y > X Or is it better to buy a new bike?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Uh, it depends

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    the lower X is the more inevitable buying a new bike or upgrading will be.

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    Senior Member carnivroar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Uh, it depends
    Let me rephrase the question. In general, which is better: a $600 bike as is, or a $300 bike with $300 worth of upgrades?

  5. #5
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    Let me rephrase the question. In general, which is better: a $600 bike as is, or a $300 bike with $300 worth of upgrades?
    What is it you have, and what do you propose doing for $300?

  6. #6
    Senior Member carnivroar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    What is it you have, and what do you propose doing for $300?
    I have had this bike for two years: Save Up to 60% Off Windsor Fixie Singlespeed Bikes - Clockwork

    And never upgraded it except for when the back tire got worn out.

    I just bought bullhorn bars, bar tape, brake levers, brake cable, pedals, foot strap, two tires, saddle, stem... now I just need brake calipers and seat post for a $300 total in upgrades.

    Got an air pump as well.

  7. #7
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    If you're happy with the result then that's all that matters. And besides, you can always transfer those components if you ever decide to get a new frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    If my bike cost X dollars, does it make sense to spend Y amount of dollars upgrading it, where Y > X Or is it better to buy a new bike?
    If you bought a dirt cheap used bike intending to spend the money to restore it, then go ahead and do it.

    Big money upgrades to new bikes never make sense. Upgrading worn out or poorly fitting parts makes sense, but modern bikes are well balanced enough that upgrading just for fun is not cost effective.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    If my bike cost X dollars, does it make sense to spend Y amount of dollars upgrading it, where Y > X Or is it better to buy a new bike?
    Calculating cost is easy. Determining value isn't.

    What are you trying to accomplish? If the upgrades produce a unique bike that's what you really want then the bike's value to you may easily exceed what you could get by selling it to someone else. In other words, it would make sense for you but not for anybody else.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    C&V is full of people raving about their hidden bargains they do just that on .

  11. #11
    Member Joe_Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    If my bike cost X dollars, does it make sense to spend Y amount of dollars upgrading it, where Y > X Or is it better to buy a new bike?
    Go with what is cheaper.
    Im no bike expert here, but from experience, If you can buy a used bike for cheap, and then upgrade to where you want it or to make it a perfect fit, then that is the better option.
    Unless you can buy a brand new bike that has everything you need right from the showroom floor...which it usually doesn't. New bikes usually need some sort of fit or aftermarket purchase, especially if youre like me and want or need something customized right away. So you spend a lot on a new bike, and also a lot more because you forget or overlook that it doesnt have that "thing you need"


    I dont really see how a used bike can rust away like a car can. If you find a nice frame, even if its old, roll with it. Throw some money at whats broken.
    Nothing sweeter than taking and old bike and fixing it up for a daily rider. Scratches in the paint add character.
    Last edited by Joe_Hoffmann; 03-25-14 at 10:05 PM.

  12. #12
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    I've been doing that to my wifes bike... want to go shimano 11s now and I'm throwing in the towel. I dropped her bike from 19.x pounds to 16.x pounds. Only so much more I can do without spending thousands, so if I am doing that I'm starting from scratch.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bent Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    Let me rephrase the question. In general, which is better: a $600 bike as is, or a $300 bike with $300 worth of upgrades?
    A $ 300.00 bike with $300.00 worth of up grades is better
    that way you get exactly what you want

    this is a twenty two year old mtb that cost me about $350.00 new in 1992
    on its 20th birthday I spent almost $1200.00 converting it to a "fat tire" road bike
    with brifter's drop bars ect.ect.
    the LBS thought I was nuts (probably am)
    I wondered if I was but it was the best money I ever spent on a bike
    I have several other much more expensive bikes
    but this is my favorite go to bike for everything
    This is one that will not ever be sold
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    box, and the cartridge box.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Trying to look at it logically, which admittedly isn't always my strong suit...

    I'd say that a (new) $300 bike with $300 in upgrades does not equal a $600 bike. Bike parts are generally made to a price point. You'll still have a frame and other major components that were designed and manufactured for a $300 bike. Adding $300 in parts won't make them any better or lighter.

    But we're not talking about one new bike versus another, nor are we really comparing the difference between $300+$300 and $600. It's simply $300 versus $600. You can spend $300 and upgrade your bike or you could spend $600 to replace it. Which would make you happier?

    If you do want to factor your current bike's value into the equation, keep in mind that while it might've cost you $300 two years ago, your bike is no longer worth $300. It's a used bike, maybe worth $100 depending on your local market. So we're really comparing $100+$300 against $600-$100 (assuming you'd choose to sell your old bike).

    And then throwing logic out the window to agree with the other guys...

    I have a few things that I have a particular appreciation for, regardless of what their resale value might be. For example, I'm a drummer and really like my old kit. I'll happily keep on maintaining and repairing it even though it will probably cost me more to do so than to replace it. If you've got a similar attachment to your bike, upgrade it and enjoy it.
    Last edited by SkyDog75; 03-25-14 at 10:56 PM. Reason: Added some additional thoughts

  15. #15
    Senior Member carnivroar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
    I'd say that a (new) $300 bike with $300 in upgrades does not equal a $600 bike. Bike parts are generally made to a price point. You'll still have a frame and other major components that were designed and manufactured for a $300 bike. Adding $300 in parts won't make them any better or lighter.

    But we're not talking about one new bike versus another, nor are we really comparing the difference between $300+$300 and $600. It's simply $300 versus $600. You can spend $300 and upgrade your bike or you could spend $600 to replace it. Which would make you happier?

    If you do want to factor your current bike's value into the equation, keep in mind that while it might've cost you $300 two years ago, your bike is no longer worth $300. It's a used bike, maybe worth $100 depending on your local market. So we're really comparing $100+$300 against $600-$100 (assuming you'd choose to sell your old bike).
    Not exactly, the way you framed the question, I think the $600 is too much.

    My logic is: say I have $300 for my bike budget.

    The question would be: is it better to invest $300 on my bike (which is now worth $100), or sell the bike invest $400 on a new bike.

    In both cases I would have spent $600 in total. But the first would have given me a $300 bike with $300 upgrades, whereas the second, a $400 bike with no upgrades. I think it's clear that the first is better!

    I am not really looking for an answer to this question, it's just some thoughts.
    Last edited by carnivroar; 03-25-14 at 11:00 PM.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The question of Why , .. do you want the components different, ... non standard repurposing ?

    I turned a free steel MTB frame with a broken dropout into what is my go to when Icy, studded tire bike ..

  17. #17
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I paid $80 for my LeMond Zurich, changed to compact crankset and 11/32 cassette then had to replace sti, worth every penny! My favorite bike!
    Treks, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  18. #18
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    If you bought a dirt cheap used bike intending to spend the money to restore it, then go ahead and do it.

    Big money upgrades to new bikes never make sense. Upgrading worn out or poorly fitting parts makes sense, but modern bikes are well balanced enough that upgrading just for fun is not cost effective.
    In general I'd go along with this.

    I bought a used bike for 350 and since then I've bought rack and panniers (100), new saddle (40), new bar tape with gel pads underneath (20) and built a new wheel (200). So there's more than the bike cost before considering chains, cassettes, tyres etc (roughly 150 on tyres, 40 on chains and 40 on cassettes).

    I'd continue to spend at that kind of level although if I decided I wanted to move from Tiagra to Dura-Ace parts I think I'd just buy a new bike than upgrade to that extent.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  19. #19
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    Depends on the upgrades but the up side of buying a new bike is having an additional bike !

  20. #20
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I built my current bike from the frame up so any upgrades I make are just continuations of the original cost. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

  21. #21
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
    Let me rephrase the question. In general, which is better: a $600 bike as is, or a $300 bike with $300 worth of upgrades?
    Almost always, if we're talking new bikes vs new parts the $600 bike will have better components than you'll wind up with spending $300 upgrading a $300 bike.

    Building a bike from scratch costs more than buying the exact same bike complete. I came out ahead on mine and I'm proud of that, but it was only because I re-purposed some older parts and replaced/upgraded as parts wore out.

    Upgrading wheels and tires on a cheaper bike might be the exception because that's the best bang for the buck upgrade, and ironically it's sometimes where the inexpensive bikes cut corners. And the take-offs are useful as spares.

  22. #22
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    I've spent a good deal more than my recumbent cost on upgrades. A good chunk went for getting handlebars that fit me really well. The rest went for wheels and drive train improvements. Yeah, I'm in it way too deep, but I have no regrets. The bike fits perfectly and is a real pleasure to ride. bk

  23. #23
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    It depends on the nature of your addiction.

    I bought a used bike for $250 that was in good shape. I bought new wheels ($200), tires & tubes ($90), brakes ($40), cables ($30), grips ($20), bar ends ($12), bottle cages ($18), rack ($30), handlebar ($30)

    But the bottom line is, I have a bike that is absolutely the way I want it, and it cost me about the same as buying the same model new, with the manufacturer's choice of components. Also, I now have a spare set of wheels with tires and tubes for road riding versus my usual rail trail configuration... and some spare parts that I may use elsewhere.
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  24. #24
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Depends on the frame. If the frame is good quality,fits you right,and you like the way it rides,then it's worth putting whatever you want into it to keep it going.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  25. #25
    Senior Member carnivroar's Avatar
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