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Why Expensive Commuter bikes?

Old 08-22-19, 01:47 AM
  #1  
gammy13
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Why Expensive Commuter bikes?

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
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Old 08-22-19, 05:17 AM
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If you have secure parking @ work, why not have a nice bike if you've got a jones for one?

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Old 08-22-19, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me.
This would not be the same for everyone
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Old 08-22-19, 05:42 AM
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Why not? People buy what they want for their personal reasons. A few years ago I went to the Philly Bike Expo. The guy who built my custom ti road bike had a booth there. One of the bikes on display was a 1x commuter with a rear rack and fenders ordered by a customer. More power to you if you can afford a custom Engin ti solely for commuting. The frame alone (sans fork) was probably over $4K.
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Old 08-22-19, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
If you have secure parking @ work, why not have a nice bike if you've got a jones for one?

Nice perk. Are they hiring?
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Old 08-22-19, 06:09 AM
  #6  
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Some like to ride a nice bike to work in the same way that some like to drive a nice car to work.

Not everyone lives in places like New York City where bikes need to be left unattended and theft is likely. I used to bring my bike into my office.


-Tim-
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Old 08-22-19, 06:15 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Why Expensive Commuter bikes?
Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
Originally Posted by tcs View Post
If you have secure parking @ work, why not have a nice bike if you've got a jones for one?
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Why not? People buy what they want for their personal reasons…

More power to you if you can afford a custom Engin ti solely for commuting. The frame alone (sans fork) was probably over $4K.
I have an $8K Specialized S-Works (bought half off) that I use for a one-way 14 mile commute on the mean streets of Boston, with secure parking @ work. I bought it after a severe cycling accident.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Do you tell strangers how much your bike costs?"...

Now, considering the attitude most non- or occasional cyclists towards bicycles and prices, I’m frankly somewhat embarrassed to admit to paying so much, sounding like some over-the-top conspicuous consumption.

Personally, I can afford it, and it was an offer I could not refuse. Cycling is that important to me and I’m fortunate to be able to continue the lifestyle, so that puts it in perspective for me.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…My average speed stayed the same, but I think I was hampered by injuries from the accident, and I believe the new bike compensated at least to maintain my average speed. I did note that I was more inclined to sprint (successfully) to beat traffic lights before they turned red.

I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting,making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end.
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
… Performance in this context does not mean outright speed because that is down to the person riding it and their strength and endurance.

But rather is in the quality of the shifting, braking, ride, handling through corners and over rough surfaces, aerodynamics and (dare I say it) comfort.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting.
That's entry-level e-bike territory.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
Free your mind, and your bike will follow.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
The same kind people buying $5-10k road bikes. I can see sub $1k to $1.2k commuters for the better components, but a carbon $2k flatbar commuter bike is just silly.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:51 AM
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~ $1300 after selling the original wheelset.

This is about 4 years ago. And the photo doesn't count the panniers and handlebar bag that I already had. My daily commuter. Theft is a non-concern in my work situation, so why not enjoy a comfortable and trouble-free ride to work?

It now sports a Gyes GS-17A laced trimmed skirt leather saddle and Schwalbe Marathon Plus 35 tires. Plus a forward light mount above the mudguard. It's a rugged beast.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:58 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post

That vault doesn't look secure enough. It needs to have a time lock, retinal scanner, laser grid, and at least one heavily armed guard with attack dog.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:17 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
Around here, most people I've seen that ride commuter bikes in the price range you mention are college educated professionals with the income to live in nice neighborhoods and drive a BMW or Lexus to work on bad weather days. So, a commuter bike like that fits in their budget pretty easily, I'd imagine.

As far as security, the companies these people tend to work for have bicycle racks inside of locked cages out of the weather.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:24 AM
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In the United States, we're a consumer based economy with approximately 70% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dependent on consumer transactions. Of course, bicycles are a tiny portion of all that but with everyone trying to pry money out of everyone else's pockets, creating reasons for spending more on everything is a key part of it. Why drink a cup of coffee at home when you can spend $4 or more at a coffee shop? Same with a $100 bike or a $500 bike or a $1500 bike for commuting. The $100 bike will do the job for many people, as will the more expensive bikes. Plus, you get a nicer ride....to a point....when you spend more money. Your Cannondale is a fine commuter ride and your bike shop was happy to sell it to you. They'll gladly sell you a different and more expensive ride. Choice is a wonderful thing! Enjoy your ride but, if it doesn't meet your needs, you can always look for something different--not necessarily more expensive, but different.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:24 AM
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Depends on the commute, right?

I have a well-employed friend who commutes 18 miles through the NW Boston suburbs each way every day. 36 miles a day is plenty and a nice bike is a lot cheaper than a crappy car. That commute calls for a different bike than someone commuting 12 city-blocks to a downtown office building.

OTOH, my wife worked in Leiden for a year and commuted (like almost everyone else) on a bike that was about $89.

And . . . who cares if the manufacturers call something a "commuter". Everyone should still buy the bike(s) they'll ride.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
People have different needs/wants/resources/commutes/bike storage arrangements so they have different buying preferences.

I like riding the hell out of relatively inexpensive bikes and the marginal improvements you can get for spending a lot more don't seem worth it to me. I also think the reduced fear of theft allows me more flexibility in my bike use. Judging whether people who choose to spend more get their money's worth is really not my department. I can only say it doesn't interest me.

You happy with the bike you have? That's the only important question.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

I live in NYC and have Cannondale Quick that I paid $750 for and that was a bit of a stretch for me. But I see these manufacturers selling $1500-$2000 bikes for commuting. To me, an ideal commuter bikes is discrete (drab colors, not flashy, etc.), capable - but without the expense of high-end/name brand components, and most of all - relatively cheap! Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?
People do things. A lot of people are wracking their brains trying to figure out why anyone would live in an expensive place like NYC.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
It's a rugged beast.
Too bad it has disc brakes. Otherwise, I would give it a "Hot!"
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Old 08-22-19, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rollalongnow View Post
The same kind people buying $5-10k road bikes. I can see sub $1k to $1.2k commuters for the better components, but a carbon $2k flatbar commuter bike is just silly.
I use my new $2k+ full-carbon flatbar road bike to ride to/from work most weekdays, because

-- I am able to bring it directly into my office when I arrive at work (0 theft risk);
-- it is my main bike, and I like riding it; and
-- my rides to and from work are an integral part of my cycling; I will often, on nice days, extend my ride home by an hour or so.

This winter, once the season shuts down (ice/snow) for me, I plan to make changes to it to suit my preferences that will push it up to and possibly past the $3k mark. I will continue to ride it to and from work, as well as for my long rides on the weekends.

In fact, reading this thread and posting this inspires me to try to push my bike into the "$5-10K" range (a nice SRAM Axs wireless electronic drivetrain switch might do it), so that I can be thought of not only as "just silly" but also as one of 'those' people.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).
1. They're nicer to ride, especially over the 32 mile average daily round trip to commute.

2. A nice one for $3000 costs 1/10th the average new commuter car, and 1/30th to 1/40th a nice commuter car like a Tesla Model S P85D (four times faster than a Ferrari, because it's allowed to use California HOV lanes during rush hour).

I used to commute on my Litespeed titanium road bike with Campagnolo Record gruppo, carbon fiber brake levers, power meter, dynamo light, and rack.

Because there's a good chance it would get stolen.
Parked in your office or locked bike room it's not going to be stolen.

I prefer driving my German sports sedan, and going for a nice bike ride before work. 24 stop lights and 10 stop signs in 13 miles ruined bike commuting for me. With highways, it's 11 and 2 with infrequent stops at consecutive lights because they're timed for traffic traveling at the speed limit.

No one would bat an eye at that if my car hadn't weathered over the 19 years I've been driving it.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-22-19 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 08-22-19, 08:52 AM
  #21  
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I didn't have any problem spending $1200 building a commuter.
Got everything I wanted. It gets used for more than commuting as well.

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Old 08-22-19, 08:57 AM
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Seriously? You're really racking your brain worrying about what other people spend on a bicycle? I would worry more about that.

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Old 08-22-19, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gammy13 View Post
I've been wracking my brain trying to think of use cases for expensive commuter bikes ($1000+).

Anyone have thoughts? Who's buying these things?

You're asking the perennial pointless, dead-end question: why do other people spend their money differently than I do?
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Old 08-22-19, 09:14 AM
  #24  
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I spent what I did because I wanted a bike that can handle my commute and bikepacking trips. Depending on the route to/from work I ride 18-21 miles. 6 to 11 is gravel, if I do the 11 option 3 is on extremely poor condition gravel. Once I get home I may load up the bike for a bikepacking trip without changing anything on the bike beyond adding a couple bags. Theft is not an issue at my office. Most importantly there's no way I could ever be convinced to live in NYC. I prefer a rural life of dodging deer, bear, coyotes and other wildlife.
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Old 08-22-19, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolfhaven View Post
Once I get home I may load up the bike for a bikepacking trip without changing anything on the bike beyond adding a couple bags.
Good point. I tour and commute on my Surly LHT. Dual purpose. Don't have to change a thing other than slap on the bags and tent. And while I live in Philly, I am not worried about theft. I use a very good lock and 100s of people walk by my bike every few minutes so the chances that someone is going to fire up a grinder with its shower of spark are extremely slim and none.

As for dodging bears, I had to do that back in June :

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