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I'm a bargain hunter, and most bike parts are way overpriced

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I'm a bargain hunter, and most bike parts are way overpriced

Old 07-17-09, 08:53 AM
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I'm a bargain hunter, and most bike parts are way overpriced

Or you could call me a cheapskate, but I've been a cyclist and a mechanic for a very long time. The high end stuff is beautiful but rarely gives you your money's worth. I like to find the sweet spot that balances reliability and durability on one hand and price on the other hand.

I like good tires, light rims, and top quality spokes. I like well made, light frames, and some are not terribly expensive.

I don't race, so I don't need the last bit of competitive advantage, and it's not a disaster if something fails, but I have very few breakdowns overall, and I don't even need frequent readjustments.

For instance, I am absolutely elated with my recent purchase of Shimano cantilever brakes for $10 each. The higher end models have a shinier and longer lasting finish, but that is an aesthetic difference, not a functional one. Oh, maybe the higher end models use stiffer alloy which results in better braking, but I am thoroughly satisfied with the braking I have, and any advantage I can buy is well beyond the point of diminishing returns.

I do appreciate well made bearings, especially after I disassemble a 30 year old bike and see that hardened races and cones make a bearing last longer and run more smoothly. But midline stuff is usually durable and smooth enough. Campagnolo hubs, some of the very best, are insanely expensive. Lower end Shimano hubs, properly adjusted before the first ride, will probably last 30 years, too, so how can I justify the higher cost of Campagnolo?
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Old 07-17-09, 10:12 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, you are preaching to the choir. I'm partial to mid-line components (Ultegra, 105, Chorus, Centaur) also. 95% of the performance of the top line stuff at 50% of the cost.

Cars are like that too. What does a Lexus ES provide in any practical way that a Camry doesn't except higher purchase and repair costs.
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Old 07-17-09, 10:17 AM
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It's all about getting from A to B vs. A to B in style
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Old 07-17-09, 10:26 AM
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I have an Ultegra rear derailleur I got on Ebay for $24 because the name was scratched off. It's quite nice, though it's taken a beating over the last couple of years.

That's my secret.
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Old 07-17-09, 10:42 AM
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Suntour Suntour Suntour. Reliable parts, low cost. Even the beautiful Superbe stuff doesn't approach the cost of Campy.
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Old 07-17-09, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Or you could call me a cheapskate, but I'm practical, really...
fixed.

Now, my best friend; my brother from another mother, is a cheapskate! You rub him with steel wool and a camp fire lights somewhere in the world...
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Old 07-17-09, 12:16 PM
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I'm with you, noglider. I am a stickler for things that work. Reasonable price and durability are what I look for. And I think U R right - the top of the line stuff rarely delivers service on par with the much higher price they command.
I bought a couple of Shimano cranks from Nashbar on closeout last year - $10 each! And they came with plastic covering the decals and the attachment bolts! It's deals like this that make flipping possible.
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Old 07-17-09, 12:39 PM
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Woo-hoo! Testify brother...
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Old 07-17-09, 02:02 PM
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You're not kidding about prices. Tires for road bikes (in most shops) are half the price of decent rims. Brake pads are a stupid price for TWO PIECES OF RUBBER and... well there are lots of examples...

Cycling as a leisure activity has increased in appeal to those with plenty of spare cash to spend on gadgets (current economic situation aside). As witness to this I'd cite the stunning level of componentry and hi tech frames around here, ridden by people with a less than ideal cycling physique. (Please don't read into that last statement any judgement on my part, its just an observation that people splash out on fancy bikes because they can)

Anyway, it's not surprising that the prices of components and sundries one can find easily is inflated. However, it is disappointing for a tightwad such as myself

Shopping around a little can help as can the second hand market if one is patient.

For everything else, there's Mastercard
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Old 07-17-09, 02:14 PM
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So what's the point of this?

less component talk, more riding!
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Old 07-17-09, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Or you could call me a cheapskate, but I've been a cyclist and a mechanic for a very long time. The high end stuff is beautiful but rarely gives you your money's worth. I like to find the sweet spot that balances reliability and durability on one hand and price on the other hand.

I like good tires, light rims, and top quality spokes. I like well made, light frames, and some are not terribly expensive.

I don't race, so I don't need the last bit of competitive advantage, and it's not a disaster if something fails, but I have very few breakdowns overall, and I don't even need frequent readjustments.

For instance, I am absolutely elated with my recent purchase of Shimano cantilever brakes for $10 each. The higher end models have a shinier and longer lasting finish, but that is an aesthetic difference, not a functional one. Oh, maybe the higher end models use stiffer alloy which results in better braking, but I am thoroughly satisfied with the braking I have, and any advantage I can buy is well beyond the point of diminishing returns.

I do appreciate well made bearings, especially after I disassemble a 30 year old bike and see that hardened races and cones make a bearing last longer and run more smoothly. But midline stuff is usually durable and smooth enough. Campagnolo hubs, some of the very best, are insanely expensive. Lower end Shimano hubs, properly adjusted before the first ride, will probably last 30 years, too, so how can I justify the higher cost of Campagnolo?
I'm not sure of the point of this post either than to say you buy the best quality components within your budget? I'm pretty sure everyone does this balancing act, but if you want to justify Campy: Increase your budget.
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Old 07-17-09, 02:59 PM
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I'm partial to nice components, like SRAM XO, FSA aluminum chainrings, Phil BB's and on and on. I have gotten good stuff at reasonable prices by watching E-BAy for deals. This can take a while, so looking ahead to buy stuff long before you need it can make the dilfference. I recently bought two good shimano front ders for $22.00, and two PC 991 chains for dirt cheap, shipping included. The seller turned out to be a liquidator, selling off inventory from a bike shop that had closed. The deals are out there, if you don't need the parts 'right now'. bk
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Old 07-18-09, 07:18 AM
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Suntour Suntour Suntour. Reliable parts, low cost. Even the beautiful Superbe stuff doesn't approach the cost of Campy.
The problem is finding it. Or replacing worn parts. It would be really nice if you could mix and match it with Shimano. Sigh.
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Old 07-18-09, 07:43 AM
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Sun Tour parts were relatively low cost even for Superbe and that turns out to have been a real marketing problem.

Frank Berto, in his article "Sunset For Sun Tour", points out that Sun Tour priced their parts based on their costs, not on what the competition was charging. Customers, seeing these very reasonable prices, then assumed the components weren't as good as Shimano or Campy and the upscale market avoided them. That perception plus Sun Tour's inability to produce a really good indexing system in time were major factors in its final failure.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:26 AM
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Most of the responders are not "cheapskates" but rather smart shoppers & practical people. Cycling performance is more about physical fitness rather than component cost, and that's the equalizer of the activity. I have friends who always buy XTR/DuraAce ("because that's what the pros use"), in general, seems like cycling is one sport where the cost of race equipment is readily available and somewhat affordable. I'm an XT/Ultegra type of guy - good qualtiy, well designed and has some bling factor, but more importantly, seems to be the sweet spot in the cost curve. For example, a 105 cassette ~$65, Ultegra cassette $100, Dura Ace cassette $300.
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Old 07-18-09, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
The problem is finding it. Or replacing worn parts. It would be really nice if you could mix and match it with Shimano. Sigh.
Lol, they are smart enough to have their sh*t mis-match. a $10 tool just for removing cranks anyone?
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Old 07-18-09, 01:06 PM
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you can find campy 10sp shifters for cheaper than shimano 10sp shifters.
then you can mix it with a shimano 9sp cassette by b-routing the RD cable.
I did that, works pretty decently, and the veloce shifters were cheaper than buying tiagra shifters.
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Old 07-18-09, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I do appreciate well made bearings, especially after I disassemble a 30 year old bike and see that hardened races and cones make a bearing last longer and run more smoothly. But midline stuff is usually durable and smooth enough. Campagnolo hubs, some of the very best, are insanely expensive. Lower end Shimano hubs, properly adjusted before the first ride, will probably last 30 years, too, so how can I justify the higher cost of Campagnolo?
You are a cheapskate. FWIW, Campy Record hubs, purchased from the right source, are cheaper than Shimano DA. A lot of people are looking at inflated LBS prices, rather than the cheapest prices from sources like Ribble.

Another thing that if often overlooked is the actual cost of ownership, rather than the initial cost to buy. I've sold 5 year old Campy parts for at least 50% of what I paid for them. When I wanted to move on to the latest 11 speed components, it wasn't that expensive, after selling off the old 10 speed parts.

I chose a mix of Record and Chorus 11 parts, even though I knew that Chorus was the best value. I wanted black brakes, so I paid more for Record.
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Old 07-18-09, 03:34 PM
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All hobbies cost more money then there probably actually worth because the hobbyists will spend it.

I too like mostly midend stuff especially the newer stuff because the newer top end stuff is not designed to last a long time, just made as light as possible and to hell with how long they last.

I also second the Suntour motion. My Suntour Superbe Pro friction stuff all has over 150,000 miles on the components, except for the front derailleur who's band broke after about 120,000 miles, but I had an identical brand new derailleur in storage. When I first tried Suntour it was on Trek 412 and it had the Vx series; I was bit leary of Suntour because they were cheaper priced then others, but this stuff shifted faster and more positive then top of the line Campy, Huret, Zues or Shimano offerings. So that experience made me go after the Superbe line.

But if I was racing today I would not go with high end components, I would either choose Shimano 105 (stuff that I knew many racers using today) or Campy Centaur. I don't happen to like black components either but that's just a taste issue, so I wouldn't buy the new Veloce all black components. Of course a professional racer is going to have the top components given to him or her, but us non and former non-professionals don't have that luxury.
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Old 07-18-09, 06:53 PM
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I reluctantly owned a 22 foot sailboat for 6 weeks. Gave me a different perspective on what's expensive, and what's not. And, you guesed it, bikes aren't expensive. bk
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Old 07-18-09, 07:16 PM
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Bunch of whiners in here Seriously, shop around. There's a huge discrepancy between the lower and higher end components out there in terms of cost. For MTB's, you can buy $36 9 speed shifters or $275 shifters. For road bikes, you can buy a $23 rear derailler or a $440 one. If you are still complaining about the $23 RD being too expensive, I'd love to see you try and make something that complex and sell it, at a profit, for that price, ya cheapskate. Good luck. I don't know how Shimano does it.
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Old 07-18-09, 08:50 PM
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When push comes to shove, nobody is forcing you to buy anything. You don't like the cost of Dura Ace or Record or Red? Fine, don't buy them. That's why there are other groups so you can pick a price point you are comfortable with.

As others have already noted, even at their absolute worst, bikes and their components are relatively cheap compared to other hobbies. Try power boats, racing cars or airplanes if you want to spend REAL money.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by stausty View Post
Suntour Suntour Suntour. Reliable parts, low cost. Even the beautiful Superbe stuff doesn't approach the cost of Campy.
Amen! I've loved Suntour deraileurs, friction shifters and freewheels since first encountering them in the early '70s, and I'll keep using them as long as I can find them.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stausty View Post
Suntour Suntour Suntour. Reliable parts, low cost. Even the beautiful Superbe stuff doesn't approach the cost of Campy.
And even the cheapest Suntour crap from the 80s works flawlessly today. Love the stuff.
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Old 07-18-09, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
The problem is finding it. Or replacing worn parts. It would be really nice if you could mix and match it with Shimano. Sigh.
Every old bike I find is Suntour equipped. They had a virtual monopoly in the 80s prior to indexed shifting. They started the indexing craze, I think, but their first attempt was problematic. Shimano learned from their mistakes and Suntour never caught up and eventually went belly up (the brand is now owned by SR Suntour of Taiwan).
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