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I can't think of my bike as being cheap anymore.

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I can't think of my bike as being cheap anymore.

Old 08-10-12, 11:47 AM
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no motor?
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I can't think of my bike as being cheap anymore.

I bought a refurbished Hardrock for $125 in 2005 when I started riding again. I wanted something to ride for exercise, and this seemed to be what I needed. It had new wheels, tires, shifters and it fit, so I started riding it thinking I'd see if I liked riding enough to if made the right choice etc... like a lot of us had. Coming back from the LBS with one of the few parts that hasn't been upgraded yet I was thinking about how much/little I'd spent over the years as things have either worn out or failed and realized I've probably spent at least $500 in parts that are still on the bike. With even more being spent on consumables like tires as well as all the tools and clothes as we're all familiar with buying. I realized my bike wasn't the cheap $125 bike I bought but it really wasn't expensive at all with the positive changes in my health and the commuting savings.
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Old 08-10-12, 12:11 PM
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I've spent more than that. While I've saved some gas money, it will be a while before I break even if that is the only consideration I use.

I've also lost 40 lbs and controlled my cholesterol and blood sugar numbers with bicycle commuting and lifestyle eating change. My doctor literally called and told me to disregard the prescription he'd wrote for cholesterol medication after my last visit and blood work. There isn't a price tag for that.

Plus there is the fun of riding, the reconnection with mother nature, and the ability to give the oil companies the finger. No price tag for that, either.

In all, it's been a big win for me.
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Old 08-10-12, 12:29 PM
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Even spending $100 a month, which I'm not, I'd never catch up to the price of a 2nd family car which we have never bought. Keeping that car (and its care, feeding, and insuring) hypothetical forgives a world of bicycle purchases.
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Old 08-10-12, 02:03 PM
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This has usually been a "big win" for me too. When I first started riding I wasn't too worried about the bike, as I figured it wasn't worth too much. Especially compared to my health. But now I'm slowing down for more bumps because I want to avoid damaging it, and avoid puddles instead of letting my inner 7 year old come out and ride through the middle as fast as possible.
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Old 08-10-12, 02:17 PM
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Since I've started biking the wear and tear on my car has gone down close to zero... I fill up maybe every few months on gas, and I put the lowest insurance I could on it.. and even "Dumping" all the money I do into my bikes, I doubt they've cost as much as 2 major repairs.
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Old 08-10-12, 02:24 PM
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At one point in my life I sold cars. This was back in the early-mid 1990's. At the time I kept hearing that the average car payment in the US was about $400 p/month. We were told at the time that we should figure on $400 p/month covering an $18k (financed) vehicle.

Your bike has cost you just a little bit more than one car payment in the early-mid 1990's.

Sounds pretty cheap to me.
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Old 08-10-12, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SkippyX View Post
Your bike has cost you just a little bit more than one car payment in the early-mid 1990's.

Sounds pretty cheap to me.
Definitely. I was also referring to cheap in the low quality sense, not just financial. As in I started perceiving it to be of lower quality than it really is, and now I'm recognizing it to be a good value in terms of both the money spent on it as well as it's overall quality.
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Old 08-11-12, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
Even spending $100 a month, which I'm not, I'd never catch up to the price of a 2nd family car which we have never bought. Keeping that car (and its care, feeding, and insuring) hypothetical forgives a world of bicycle purchases.
over here, i just saw an offer of a fiat 500 lease for 111€/mo with 2000€ down. everything is included including insurance, taxes and maintenance, but not fuel ... i was actually shocked by how cheap it was. 10,000km/year also (average auto usage is 11000km/year in Germany)
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Old 08-11-12, 04:08 AM
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My bikes cost me a bit to build. The commuter has probably reached $450 and the mtb has hit $1100. I got basic frames and just added bits as I found them second hand. I spend about $150 a month on maintaince/upgrades. Mostly upgrades, but I've reached the point where they are both as good as I want or need them to be. The way I look at it I could spend that cash on fuel and be fat and unfit, or I could have fun working on my bikes. lose weight and stay healthy, and generally have fun. I don't see the need for a full titanium/carbon racer but, all the components I've put on have been from a genuine need for the functionality, not the fashion.
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Old 08-11-12, 04:58 AM
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When you think of the overall costs of any bicycle, no matter what the monetary expense, the benefits of health, will always make it the least expensive option.
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Old 08-11-12, 06:30 AM
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Just to add, a lot of times people figure "cost" of a car when comparing with their bike as just gas, or gas and insurance. The truth is, the IRS estimate of $.50 a mile is much closer, all things considered. Often when using this figure, things tend to look a lot more favorable. It might help soothe the conscience anyway .
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Old 08-12-12, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I bought a refurbished Hardrock for $125 in 2005 when I started riding again. I wanted something to ride for exercise, and this seemed to be what I needed. It had new wheels, tires, shifters and it fit, so I started riding it thinking I'd see if I liked riding enough to if made the right choice etc... like a lot of us had. Coming back from the LBS with one of the few parts that hasn't been upgraded yet I was thinking about how much/little I'd spent over the years as things have either worn out or failed and realized I've probably spent at least $500 in parts that are still on the bike. With even more being spent on consumables like tires as well as all the tools and clothes as we're all familiar with buying. I realized my bike wasn't the cheap $125 bike I bought but it really wasn't expensive at all with the positive changes in my health and the commuting savings.
$500?? Ha, have just about anything go wrong with your car and see if you can make it out of the repair shop with anything left of a $500 bill.

Even a modest car cost and average of $6,000 per year to own, maintain, and operate. Now, if you OWN a car AND bicycle, then the equation gets a little less convincing because the cost of the car gets taken out of the numbers. However, you can spend a lot of money on your bike before it gets as expensive as owning and using an automobile.
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Old 08-12-12, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
over here, i just saw an offer of a fiat 500 lease for 111€/mo with 2000€ down. everything is included including insurance, taxes and maintenance, but not fuel ... i was actually shocked by how cheap it was. 10,000km/year also (average auto usage is 11000km/year in Germany)
God Bless America...
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Old 08-13-12, 01:04 AM
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Both of my bicycles were really cheap to buy, but trying out different combinations of parts and accessories through trial/error began to get expensive.
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Old 08-13-12, 10:20 AM
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Actually in the world of cycling $500 on just the bike is not bad. I have about $1k into each of my bikes at Wholesale prices not the msrp. IF I had paid that plus wrenching fees I would have more like 4k in my cross bike and 11k in my road if I were to have bought them off the store floor.


I started off with the mountain bike from a LBS that was about 800 but soon start breaking stuff from just wear as it was my only mode of transport and was getting major miles. I started getting into bike groups around town and a local coop. Those places have helped me greatly in affording my bikes while helping another cyclist that wanted to sell something in the process. This method takes time and patience but can result in a great amount of savings. I also am my own mechanic which in my case has saved me about 3-4k in tuneups alone. You really dont need to buy that many specialized tools to work on a bike from scratch. I only really use a park cassete tool, and external BB tool otherwise all my tools are craftsmen or harbor freight including my torque wrenches. I also dont use a stand unless Im at the shop volunteering.

Im actually to the point myself that I even look at the 1.5 each way on the city bus as too much to spend on transport as I would rather bike and have exercise, have fun and get to breathe clean air while not seating next to someone I dont know than ride the bus.
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Old 08-13-12, 02:18 PM
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I figure I have about $6000 worth of bikes and about $3000 worth of accessories (tools, clothes, etc.) built up over the years. It's still about 1/2 to 2/3 of my photography equipment; about 1/4 of the new car we bought last year; and likely about 1/20 on an annual basis of the annual costs (insurance, fuel, tune ups, etc.).

But as others have said, I've added more variety to my exercise routines, saved on gas (even on our short commute), went places I would have never gone, given me more flexibility with commuting options (got to stay late today? no problem - I'll just ride home), and given me a whole new topic to talk about with some good people. And lots of fresh air. The bikes will probably outlast the new car by 2:1 with only a couple hundred dollars worth of maintenance, if that, annually.

And great bragging rights! "Is that a folding bike?" "Hey, nice colour!" I'm old enough that some ego stoking is always appreciated.

Just because it's not as cheap as you thought might be a good thing. The poor man or woman buys twice. If you can afford what you want and a high quality item upfront do it. Don't buy something you'll regret later. As they say, you can have faster, cheaper, or better: pick any two!
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Old 08-13-12, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Definitely. I was also referring to cheap in the low quality sense, not just financial. As in I started perceiving it to be of lower quality than it really is, and now I'm recognizing it to be a good value in terms of both the money spent on it as well as it's overall quality.
+1 A Hardrock is like an old Schwinn rb, any bike-boom Pac-Rim rb or alot of mtbs of that era. The frames were great and one can upgrade them w/parts readily available and relatively inexpensive. Sort of like a 283 V-8 Chevy or a Dodge/Plymouth slant-6. Bombproof workhorse engines. R22 equipped Toyota pick-ups are recommended for those of the 'prepper' ilk. Another bombproof engine.

Purchased a 94 Fuji Discovery from a pawnshop for 50.00 and rode it in heavy urban traffic for 5 years. Retired it when I moved rural and my commuting/utility distance demands changed, but it's still available should I ever need it. Cro-Moly frameset, 7 sp cassette, etc. Very similar to a Hardrock of the same vintage. Great Urban commters for good money w/a broad spectrum of parts that will fit. What's not to love?
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Old 08-13-12, 03:06 PM
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it's funny how commuter bikes seem to get progressively more expensive over time. I was sitting at my desk with $150 worth of bike parts sitting on it -- in two small boxes. Someone who keeps asking me if a $99 walmart bike was worth buying saw them. He was really impressed with my spd pedals.
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Old 08-13-12, 03:27 PM
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I think when you're an enthusiast on a budget that's sort of how it goes.

I'm looking my 2005 Specialized road bike as I type this. I bought it in 2007 for what I thought was a steal at $350. That was a lot of money for me to spend on a bike. The only parts that are original now are the frame, fork, headset, brakes, and seat post clamp.

I don't want to even add up what I spent on the new or upgraded used parts, but it was never more that a couple hundred bucks at a time unless I sold something else to help finance the new stuff.

Even with the upgrades it's still a budget road bike. It's starting to look pretty outdated next to the bikes I see at my weekly group ride.

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Old 08-13-12, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I realized my bike wasn't the cheap $125 bike I bought but it really wasn't expensive at all with the positive changes in my health and the commuting savings.
Excellent post, excellent sentiment. I'm turning 60 within a year and when I think about the health benefits of bicycling through the years, the machines become priceless. No chronic disease, no prescription drugs, mobile and strong, happy and free. Bicycling? Priceless.
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