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Cycling: Cost per Mile

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Old 12-06-18, 02:40 PM
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the calipers I was seeing on Huffys a few years ago were so crap, when necessary I would bend them by hand.

THe v-brakes have stamped-metal arms, but at least they're by nature easier to adjust.
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Old 12-06-18, 04:18 PM
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Don't get me started on BSO brakes.
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Old 12-06-18, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
don't get me started on bso brakes.
lee chi
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Old 12-06-18, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
lee chi
mmm lee chi

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Old 12-06-18, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
I bought a $1200 MTB thinking I would ride it when not on my road bike. Over 2 years I only put 400 miles on it and decided it was not for me. I sold it for $800 so my cost per mile was $1.

I have a rather expensive road bike, Trek Emonda SLR, Sram Red eTap and Zipp 303 wheels... you can guess the cost. In 4 years I put 22,000 miles on it. So my cost per mile is half that of a $1200.

The most expensive bike is the one you don't ride. So treat yourself to the best bike you can afford... you deserve it.

BTW, if you can't afford to replace it if you crash, then it's too expensive for you. Because odds are you'll crash at least once if you ride public roads and ride often.

lots of excellent points made here
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Old 12-07-18, 08:50 AM
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So are we finding that the purchase price is the major cost of cycling? If so, it follows that saving money on the purchase saves the per-mile cost by a heck of a lot. What are the best ways to do that? It's arguable. Some use any old thing such as a BSO or even a trashed up BSO. I don't like to admit that crappy bikes provide a very high fraction of the utility at a low fraction of the cost, but it's true. I don't like to admit it because I'm a cyclephile, and I find spending extra to be worth it for me, but it really isn't for others. Still, you can get a great value from a bike off craigslist. Some are in good repair and usually cost more. If you get one in bad repair and can fix it yourself, then you get a lot of value, especially if the material cost of fixing it up is low.

I used to visit local police auctions which towns in NJ held once a year. Maybe they still do, but I don't live in NJ any more. There are plenty of people bidding, but most of them don't know bikes at all, so bidding varies mostly by the colors of the bike. BSOs get high bids because the paint looks nice. I got some really nice bikes for under $50 each.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
So are we finding that the purchase price is the major cost of cycling?
It depends on the life span of the bike.

For me (urban, theft-ridden, glass-laden, car-dense environment), it will take me roughly 10000 miles of commuting to have the parts and the bike costs equal out (mostly in tyres/tubes/saddle/busted fenders).

So, that's the goal but I'll probably get runover again or have the bike stolen before then.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:37 AM
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There is a view that says spending more gets you more use per dollar. This is true with some things such as shoes. (Of course, there is a point of diminishing returns.) It seems not to be true with bikes for many people, especially when the bike's demise is caused by theft, vandalism, or collisions. So if economy is a goal, spending less on the bike helps.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
There is a view that says spending more gets you more use per dollar. This is true with some things such as shoes. (Of course, there is a point of diminishing returns.) It seems not to be true with bikes for many people, especially when the bike's demise is caused by theft, vandalism, or collisions. So if economy is a goal, spending less on the bike helps.
I feel like crappier bike get stolen/stripped around here more often. Probably because they spend less on a lock.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Some use any old thing such as a BSO or even a trashed up BSO. I don't like to admit that crappy bikes provide a very high fraction of the utility at a low fraction of the cost, but it's true. I don't like to admit it because I'm a cyclephile, and I find spending extra to be worth it for me, but it really isn't for others.
Acknowledging that you are a cyclephile is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should you find any reason to be embarrassed to acknowledge (or admit) that so-called crappy bikes/BSO serve quite well for others.

Truth be told, for some BF posters who are self described "enthusiasts" or Serious Cyclists™, any bicycle without an LBS provenance is by definition - "crappy" or a "BSO"- and its owner often held in contempt for lack of appreciation of the finer points of Serious Cycling™ and associated bicycling "kit."

I suspect some BSO bashers, as well as Walmart bashers on BF, are unable to admit or even recognize their bias due to a strong emotional (or employment) connection with LBS operations and the products sold by them, or the bicycle club it sponsors.

That bias is on display even on this thread where a few of the cognoscenti sneer in derision at alleged cheapskates who do not spend as much per mile as they do on new bicycles from an LBS, bicycling accessories, accoutrements and "upgrades".
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Old 12-07-18, 11:08 AM
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That bias is on display even on this thread where a few of the cognoscenti sneer in derision at alleged cheapskates who do not spend as much per mile as they do on new bicycles from an LBS, bicycling accessories, accoutrements and "upgrades".
I am a proud cheapskate, but I tried (a little) to set that aside and allow in this thread for either end of the spectrum to boast; either about how small or giant their cost/mile is.

I suspect some BSO bashers, as well as Walmart bashers on BF, are unable to admit or even recognize their bias due to a strong emotional (or employment) connection with LBS operations and the products sold by them, or the bicycle club it sponsors.
We hear often around here about how excellent cycling is in Europe, in terms of infrastructure and market volume of more sturdy, utilitarian bikes.

I'd like to see a thread where (informed, local) people compare infrastructure and bike availability in other places is compared to Western (US/Canada/Europe). China? India? Africa? Developing countries/areas vs more advanced? I bet the average *mart BSO would be a coveted prize in many disadvantaged areas, compared to what kind of bikes they can normally get locally.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post

That bias is on display even on this thread where a few of the cognoscenti sneer in derision at alleged cheapskates who do not spend as much per mile as they do on new bicycles from an LBS, bicycling accessories, accoutrements and "upgrades".
Honestly, I'm just stunned that my performance is so piss poor as I thought I was being cheap and it seems that I'm not at all.

Just add another failure to my long list of accomplishments worthy of extreme self-derision; just about my entire adult life, in fact.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:22 AM
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There was a thread by a bike shop owner in the Philippines showing the various bikes he was fixing up or witnessing. The designs were very weird to westerners. A lot of bikes had umbrella holders.

A lot of the bikes have low prices.

Ooh, I found it. Jitensha Philippines
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Old 12-07-18, 11:25 AM
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Don't feel bad about it, @acidfast7 . Lessons learned, right? You were methodical, and that is how you've learned a lot. And remember, when your long term test thread started, a lot of us said the purchase price seemed high, and you defended it for various reasons. I think that company was ripping people off. Some get away with it, and others don't. Marketing is more powerful than we'd like to admit. We are all affected by it, whether we see it or not.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Don't feel bad about it, @acidfast7 . Lessons learned, right? You were methodical, and that is how you've learned a lot. And remember, when your long term test thread started, a lot of us said the purchase price seemed high, and you defended it for various reasons. I think that company was ripping people off. Some get away with it, and others don't. Marketing is more powerful than we'd like to admit. We are all affected by it, whether we see it or not.
They went bankrupt (after becoming a clothing company) and are opened again from northern Ireland.

I still get a lot of interesting looks on the yellow bike and I will ride it into the ground in an attempt to get to a lower value.

I should say that since buying it I have been LCF (public transport only) but do own half of a car that doesn't stay with me. I just got a UK license a few weeks back.

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Old 12-07-18, 11:33 AM
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A lot of bikes can last a lifetime with sufficient maintenance. This is in sharp contrast with cars. Deciding a bike isn't worth repairing by comparing the cost of the repair with the market value of the bike is often a bad decision. So keep it running, and try not to decide you've ridden it into the ground.

Mango's bankruptcy might be from an insufficient number of customers considering their offerings to be good values.

In the early 90s, I worked at AT&T in a business unit that used AT&T-made computers to run the business. We wanted to show how worthy the computers were. The truth was that they were insanely overpriced, and that was largely because the computer division was too ignorant about what the market was like. They had a captive market (local phone companies) who were, for a while, willing to pay the excessive prices. I warned that it wasn't a sustainable business model, and of course, I was proven right.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A lot of bikes can last a lifetime with sufficient maintenance.
But then you're within the realm of the Theseus's paradox like most houses over here (which thankfully retain their value).
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Old 12-07-18, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Ooh, I found it. Jitensha Philippines
What a cool thread! I'd say basically all of those bikes are way better than 'murkan BSOs, in terms of reliability and utility. I see a pretty consistent theme of stepthrough frames and chaincases for either SS or IGH. And a lot of folders.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:45 AM
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Don't ponder Theseus's paradox, because it doesn't help with decisions. You can maintain a bike (really frame) by replacing components, and when the frame brakes, you can move the components to another frame. Sometimes these are decent decisions. Is it the same bike? I don't know. It's a kind of zen question.
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Old 12-07-18, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
But then you're within the realm of the Theseus's paradox like most houses over here (which thankfully retain their value).
Yes I did mention the Ship of Theseus originally, but it's usually not that big an issue for a bike. On a bike, an original decent-quality lugged-steel frame, fork, stem, handlebars, seatpost, crankset, pedals, brakes&non-brifter levers (depending on the type) would not be surprising to last 100 years of regular use. Maybe also seat, hubs, a few other bits. That's a lot that would keep a bike recognizably the 'same' bike even though all other wear parts may be replaced many times.

I agree with noglider that it basically boils down to the frame. If you strip a bike down, throw away everything but the frame, and build it up again, I don't think anybody would bat an eye if you said "I upgraded all the components on my bike" (with that phrasing implying it's the same bike). But if you swapped a new frame into all your same components, it would sound odd to phrase that as "I upgraded the frame on my bike". Most people would be more likely (I think) to say "I moved all my components to a new frame"

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Old 12-07-18, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Yes I did mention the Ship of Theseus originally, but it's usually not that big an issue for a bike. On a bike, an original decent-quality lugged-steel frame, fork, stem, handlebars, seatpost, crankset, pedals, brakes&non-brifter levers (depending on the type) would not be surprising to last 100 years of regular use. Maybe also seat, hubs, a few other bits. That's a lot that would keep a bike recognizably the 'same' bike even though all other wear parts may be replaced many times.
I think that would only qualify a tiny fraction of bikes currently on the roads today as most aren't made out of steel and are subject to failure due to fatigue (Alu being the most common material nowadays.)
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Old 12-07-18, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Don't feel bad about it, @acidfast7 . Lessons learned, right? You were methodical, and that is how you've learned a lot. And remember, when your long term test thread started, a lot of us said the purchase price seemed high, and you defended it for various reasons. I think that company was ripping people off. Some get away with it, and others don't. Marketing is more powerful than we'd like to admit. We are all affected by it, whether we see it or not.
Hard to find anything equivalent online that was cheaper and shipped there though. What he spent wasn't really out of line. Probably could have pieced one together, but that wasn't what acidfast was after.
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Old 12-07-18, 12:11 PM
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I think that would only qualify a tiny fraction of bikes currently on the roads today as most aren't made out of steel and are subject to failure due to fatigue (Alu being the most common material nowadays.)
True, but (a) most people don't own/use a bike long/hard enough to actually wear out the frame (alu or carbon or otherwise), (b) if a frame brakes most people would throw the bike away, maybe keeping the parts for use on various other bikes, and (c) in the rare event of replacing just a frame, most people would (I claim) conceive of the result as a new (or at least different) bike than they had before.

The exception might be, if a new bike is bought, the frame has an issue, and the frame is replaced under warrantee. In that case, I think a lot of people would think of the bike being still the same bike, even though it has a different frame. Largely because the frame is identical (same construction, same coloring, same brand-new condition). If, say, a new MTB is ridden hard and the frame gets scratched and worn, but breaks 364 days after purchase and is replaced under a 1-year warrantee, the owner would likely be excited that they are back to having a 'new' bike

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Old 12-07-18, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
...(b) if a frame brakes most people would throw the bike away...
wow I don't think I've ever done that before. How embarassing!
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Old 12-07-18, 12:37 PM
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Last night as I was standing by the doors of the train waiting to get off, I put on my reflective vest over my jacket, and the conductor said I looked like a trainman with that vest. I told him I wear it because I ride my bike home in the dark, which he thought was pretty smart. When I got off the train, he saw my bike in the rack (it was around 20° last night so mine was the only one) and said "That's your bike? I've seen that bike for years and always wondered who rode that thing all the time. Now I know. Have a good ride!" Normally I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but this thread made me think it was funny. On the way home I also thought about servicing my bearings this winter since it's been a few years.
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