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Would you go into debt for a bike?

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Would you go into debt for a bike?

Old 03-29-12, 02:58 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Would you go into debt for a bike?

This is a bit of an odd question, but I'm curious, for no real reason, and would like to hear about this from people who rely on their bikes. Humor me!

People go into debt for cars all the time, and it isn't rare for it to be for more than $10,000. There's a lot going on, but one reason this happens, is that people value cars. Also, cars are much more expensive than bikes, and below a certain point, the less you pay for one, in general, the less reliable it will be, and, for a lot of people, there's a sweet spot where spending a boatload of money on a new or lightly used car makes it easier to get a loan. On the other hand, people tend to look at their car as an investment; they're able to have a job if they're able to get to it. It's worth taking on debt to have a car, for these people.

Now, bikes can get you to and from work, too, but I'm preaching to the choir. They're simpler; it's easier to buy used and not worry about getting a lemon. They're drastically less expensive. People usually don't need to go into debt to have a bike. On the other hand, cycling also attracts a certain type of personality. Human powered locomotion is a good thing among bike people, but it's a reason car people don't bike to work - you have to power the thing yourself. [strike]Freds[/strike] commuters enjoy carrying everything but the kitchen sink in their handlebar bags so they can repair issues on the road. Maybe cyclists are a self-sufficient bunch who shy away from debt.

Imagine you have no transportation, and you don't have enough money to buy a car or a bike outright. But you live just under 10 miles from work, and you're able to get a loan for a nice (but not top of the line) bike, which will get you to and from work comfortably, reliably, and quickly enough. Would you take it? Or would you commute on the bus or a $100 Walmart special until you'd saved enough pennies for your own ride?
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Old 03-29-12, 03:00 PM
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I'd ride a beater and save up, or browse Craigslist for a vintage road bike and fix it up.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:04 PM
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erg79
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No.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:06 PM
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I wouldn't go into debt for anything other than a house.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:07 PM
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nope
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Old 03-29-12, 03:07 PM
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No...I mean I'm not against the idea in theory, but in practice you can get a great bike for a hundred bucks on CL. It's going to do everything a more expensive bike will.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:12 PM
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I have always used cash or bank account money to buy my bikes, occasionally use the credit card for parts, etc.

I do think it would be nice if there were more options for longer term/lower interest loans exclusively for bicycles. Then again, from a lender's perspective it's almost like a signature loan - bikes can be 'stolen' pretty easily and that would make it hard to repossess, so it goes back to the individual's credit to say if they are likely to repay the loan. It doesn't seem like there's much to be done about that, either - short of giving all bicycles a VIN and making them mandatory to register with the DMV, requiring insurance, etc... sounds like a pretty painful option to me.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:13 PM
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Yes I would.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:18 PM
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hubcap
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no
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Old 03-29-12, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I wouldn't go into debt for anything other than a house.
same
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Old 03-29-12, 03:20 PM
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seely
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I've done it before, and I would again.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:26 PM
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Once in the past, my LBS let me do a layaway, so I would have to say yes if the need arose.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MadMan2k View Post
I do think it would be nice if there were more options for longer term/lower interest loans exclusively for bicycles. Then again, from a lender's perspective it's almost like a signature loan - bikes can be 'stolen' pretty easily and that would make it hard to repossess, so it goes back to the individual's credit to say if they are likely to repay the loan. It doesn't seem like there's much to be done about that, either - short of giving all bicycles a VIN and making them mandatory to register with the DMV, requiring insurance, etc... sounds like a pretty painful option to me.
This is a very good point. Especially when you couple it with insurance. I had a car loan, and it was more than I wanted to borrow, for some of the reasons spelled out in the OP. The bank wouldn't have lent me the money unless I had comprehensive coverage on the car, including insurance against theft.

I agree, though; there should be more and easier options for people to take out bike loans, if they feel they need to.

Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
Once in the past, my LBS let me do a layaway, so I would have to say yes if the need arose.
I don't think that's really the same thing, though. If you'd changed your mind and decided not to buy the bike, it would maybe have been rude, and you might even forfeit any deposit you may have put down ... but it wouldn't have been possible for them to send you to collections or affect your credit score, right?
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Old 03-29-12, 03:32 PM
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Yes. As a matter of fact, I have a Trek card; I purchased a Trek 1.2, 0% for 18 months. I paid it off early and everything worked out OK. Now that you mention it, I *DO* have my eye on a 520.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:34 PM
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No. I have enough debt already. If I want a nicer bike I'll save for as long as it takes and buy it when I can afford it.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:35 PM
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when my old foul weather commuter was killed by a bus last spring, i went out and bought a replacement on credit, believing that i would eventually be reimbursed for it via a settlement.

10 months later, i still haven't gotten my settlement (though the new bike is paid off now)




Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
[strike]Freds[/strike] commuters enjoy carrying everything but the kitchen sink in their handlebar bags so they can repair issues on the road.
not all commuters are like that. i carry a fairly bare bones repair kit in a small saddle bag - spare tube, levers, CO2 pump, patch kit, multi-tool. if anything more catastrophically fails on the bike (like when my chain exploded and split my rear derailleur in two last fall), i just walk to the nearest el station and hop on the train (my commute roughly parallels the CTA's red & purple lines).

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Old 03-29-12, 03:55 PM
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I bet a lot who responded didn't read your whole post.

No, I wouldn't take the loan. I'd buy a beater bike and also take the bus sometimes to avoid debt in this case. To me, a Walmart bike is like a reliable car with low performance and no options. Maybe like a base model Nissan Versa for $10k. I'd check that the bike was built properly though. I might even opt for a higher end used bike, for the same price as the new Walmart bike. Like a bike shop Schwinn instead of a Walmart one.

The thing about bikes is that they are much more easily stolen than cars, so there's a higher chance I'd lose my investment. I had a new bike stolen from me last year, and it was only a $600 bike. If I had a bike I needed a LOAN for, and it walked off, it would really hurt.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:59 PM
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I sure as hell wouldn't, but then I fix up and ride cheap bikes, so I don't need to.
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Old 03-29-12, 04:06 PM
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I would say "no" but if I were in the kind of situation that the OP would like us to imagine . . . maybe so. If, however, I was in that situation, I probably wouldn't have a credit rating good enough to allow me to have a loan in the first place.

For me, the reality would (probably) be that I would simpy borrow a bike from a friend who has multiple bikes (I have lots of friends like that!) and use someone else's clunker while I saved up for something better. Or, slowly buy the clunker off my friend if he/she were willing to part with it . . . which would be kind of like a loan.

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Old 03-29-12, 04:20 PM
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I've been in "debt" for my bike since purchasing it in October 2011 - but its a high end racing bike

I had just started at my first job, and didn't have the cash up-front to pay for it...the place I bought it offered the first year with no interest though, so I'm paying it off about $400/month over 12 months.

My bike was my first real purchase as a wage-earning adult. It's the only piece of property I own. I bought it instead of a car because I put more way more miles on bike than a car - and I bought an expensive one because efficiency was important to me...it's also my only debt (and my only expense, really, still living with Mom and Dad), which is nice

So to answer your question...yes, but only if I can pay it off in that first interest-free year...the rates they charge after that are ABSURD.

I'm looking into triathlon bikes at the moment for my first ironman, I plan on going into "debt" for that as well (but will pay a reasonable chunk up front).

Edit: also...I'm of the (hugely irrational) mentality that if I'm buying something, I should buy the highest quality one I can within my price range. Having no other expenses, that pretty much meant any bike out there.

Last edited by hiyer1; 03-29-12 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 03-29-12, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JeremyZ View Post
I bet a lot who responded didn't read your whole post.
That's a bet I've learned better than to take.

Originally Posted by hiyer1 View Post
My bike was my first real purchase as a wage-earning adult. It's the only piece of property I own. I bought it instead of a car because I put more way more miles on bike than a car - and I bought an expensive one because efficiency was important to me...it's also my only debt (and my only expense, really, still living with Mom and Dad), which is nice
Thanks. You're part of a demographic I was especially curious about.
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Old 03-29-12, 04:37 PM
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Maybe. I'd get a CL or BSO and save for something better. BSOs should last a few months, right?
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Old 03-29-12, 04:43 PM
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I bought a bike "90 days same as cash" once. I could have paid for it outright but thought I would use their money for a while. Normally, I would never go into debt for a bike.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:00 PM
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If I was a competitive cyclist with performance requirements of a bike, then I would consider it. Just to ride to work, there's no reason. There's plenty of used bikes out there for around $100 that can fulfill the basic requirements of getting me around, so I can't imagine any world where I'd want to take on debt to buy one.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:04 PM
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When my bike crapped out on me last week, I used some LOC money to buy the new one.

Consider just commuting the ~22 business days a month is around 114$ for public transit, and I've got shopping for groceries, and going out on weekends etc to add up, even with the 126$ metro pass, my bike, including the interest in the mean time gets paid off within 4-5 months in savings, and there is still a few more months this year of biking, plus next year.

Jim
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