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cheap vs nicer bike

Old 11-21-20, 05:38 AM
  #1  
jacquisplace
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cheap vs nicer bike

Hi, I'm wondering what the advantages are to buying a more expensive bike. I was looking at a carbon bikes in the 2-3k range that is ~20 lbs. One of my motivations is the limitation I had with trying to transport my heavy Walmart bike on a bike rack. I've since found a bike rack that is lower to the ground but am still thinking a lighter bike (20lbs) may be a nicer ride.

What is the cause for such a jump in cost in bikes from a Walmart aluminum bike to a carbon bike? I am trying to buy from a direct supply store because I don't want to pay extra at a brick and mortar store, but the costs are still higher.

Is the ride that significantly better with a nice carbon bike vs a cheaper aluminum bike? Is the primary difference the weight so one slows you down and is heavier to lift? Any ideas on if the heavier/cheaper bike to lift might actually be a better workout because it takes more effort to move it?

I will likely only ride an hour or two at a time and it's generally for a work out so I'm wondering if the investment into a nicer bike is worth it. I am also trying to motivate my 13 year old to fitness and plan on getting him a bike also.
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Old 11-21-20, 05:59 AM
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Buy used Trek 7.5fx for $350-$500 and you're done. More than enough for your needs. It's fast, comfortable, lightweight, and readily available on the used market if you look around a bit.

I'll be honest, your first post and asking about jumping from a Walmart bike to a 3k carbon bike...

...and we're off..

Last edited by Homebrew01; 11-22-20 at 08:38 AM. Reason: Removed insult.
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Old 11-21-20, 06:56 AM
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Buying expensive bikes and parts... This thread actually started as a troll but over the years has accrued some info if you can sift through it. Welcome to BF!
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Old 11-21-20, 07:41 AM
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Cheap bikes can be good as long as they not purchased from Wallmart.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:12 AM
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If you really like cycling and really intend to ride regularly, I'd invest at least $1200 .... and not a Whole lot more.

i got my Fuji Sportif on a huge sale but it was about $1100 standard. it was last year's model so I got even more of a discount (usually this is a good time for bike shopping except the CCP virus has screwed up delivery.) I got what s in my opinion the perfect drivetrain---Shimano 105---best blend of performance and price. Hard to find on cheaper bikes lately. Shimano Sora is also good.

The bike is aluminum, has a CF fork, mechanical discs, 105, and has a listed weight of about 22 pounds. It is an Excellent bike for my needs, and probably for yours.

The frame material is not important. The fork is---Always get a carbon fiber fork unless you are buying a touring bike. Disc brakes don't matter. Sora or Tiagra or 105 is a good level of component. Light weight is nice but not essential.... when you are spending several hundred dollars to save half a pound, you have probably hit diminishing returns unless you plan to race very competitively.

Walmart bikes are heavy no matter what they are made of .... and they are poorly made, and a lot of the components are not durable, not fixable, and not replaceable. Absolutely great if you want to tool around town and ten mph, a couple of hours a week, but pretty much not worth the money if you plan to ride more then ten miles or ten mph. (IMO.)

CF is great, but you don't need to get CF to get a light enough bike, and CF has its own issues. My Fuji, I have no issue throwing it on a rack on my car, parking it against a fence post, whatever. it is metal, it won't break. If I crash i don't have to check the frame. If you don't crash and can care for the frame, nothing wrong with CF. Two of my bikes are CF and I love them.

There are plenty of bikes which weigh about 20-23 pounds (showroom weight) which are not CF and not prohibitively expensive. These would probably be more what you are looking for.

I often suggest that new buyers check out Bikes Direct, if only to see what is on the market and to see that you can get a bike which is not brand-name, save a couple hundred dollars, and get a very nice bike. (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm)

Look at the Vent Noir (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._xii.htm#gsize) for instance. Carbon fiber fork, new (7000 series) Shimano 105 drive train, Shimano Wheels .... great bike for $900. It might be a little too racy for you, geometry-wise, but check it out. it checks all your boxes and does not cost $3000.

Anyway ... learn more about what is out there, figure out exactly what you want (do you plan to ride centuries (100 mile rides)? Do you commute, do you want to go camping on your bike, do you want to haul groceries, cruise around the neighborhood in the evening, race, go real fast, just get out of the house and get exercise>? Figure out what the job is and then choose the best tool.

Even more important is Fit. if the bike doesn't fit you simply won't ride it because it will hurt. You need to know what size bike you need and how you need to set it up. If you go to a bike shop, them might sell you whatever bike they need to sell, instead of the bike that suits you best, so you need to know your stuff.

Last edited by Maelochs; 11-21-20 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:17 AM
  #6  
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One of my two work commuters is a Bikesdirect Windsor Clockwork Plus I paid 169 bucks for.
The other is a chromoly Marin MTB I paid 240 bucks for twenty five or twenty six years ago.
Both pretty cheap but super serviceable. Actually, way more than serviceable and either can be chained up outside work, so there’s that.


Correction: She who knows all and controls my life says we paid 219 for my Windsor Clockwork plus and 169 for her Windsor Clockwork. Not super sure about the differences between the two aside from the wheelsets. The Clockwork plus came with an Alex r450 wheelset and the Clockwork came with the Weinmann XR18s.
Still pretty cheap. And plenty serviceable.

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Old 11-21-20, 09:42 AM
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Bike buying is a classic example of "point of diminishing returns". There will be a very large jump in quality just going from a $300 Wal-Mart bike to a "real" $800 or $1000 entry level name brand bike. But going from a $1200 bike to a $3000 bike will net far less significant gains, and so on. Once you ride a name brand bike, even a less expensive one for a season or two, you will be able to go back to Wal-Mart and understand why you would never buy a Wal-Mart bike again.

Someone mentioned the $1200 price point and I'd be inclined to agree with that. You don't need to go above that dollar figure to get a very nicely equipped bike with great components that will last you years to come and won't be super heavy. Don't get too enamored with carbon. I started out with aluminum for my first "real" bike and have since added a couple of very nice carbon bikes and they are great and all but it made me realize that as much as people talk about carbon fiber being the best it isn't going to make you a better rider and will realistically only make you very marginally faster at best. By "marginally" I mean almost imperceptible. If you ride a carbon bike for an hour you will likely arrive at your destination seconds ahead of yourself riding a nice aluminum bike. I personally am now just as apt to hit the road on my aluminium bikes as I am a carbon bikes. They both have different "feels" to them and I enjoy each for what they are, but the fun factor is the same for me.

My first three bikes were all from local bike shops. I like having a relationship with them but my last 4 bikes were purchased on www.BicycleBlueBook.com. You can find a lot more bike for your budget there and many of their bikes are in "as new" condition even though they don't advertise them as such. I've been very impressed with them.

Mostly just figure out what type of riding you will be doing. Are you always going to be on the road? Get a road bike but then decide if you want drop bars or flat bars, etc. Will you hit some trails as well as do some road riding? Maybe you want a gravel bike that is competent on the road and trail. For the most part, the components you get on brand name bikes will be very capable and light years ahead of your Wal-Mart bike. I.e., Shimano Sora or Tiagra or 105, etc. They are all going to be a big jump in quality and ability compared to what you are used to.
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Old 11-21-20, 09:53 AM
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Don't buy an expensive carbon bike going from a cheap walmart one. In fact, buying a bike that is four times the price of a $300 walmart one will give you a whole lot of better bike than the Walmart. I like carbon fibre, titanium, kevlar, and all that, but you don't need any of that to have a good bike/boat/car whatever. In fact, at that price point, I'd rather have an alu bike (alu, because it doesn't rust, but if living somewhere dry or I only rode when it was dry, steel would do). I think it will run better because more of the money will be spent on components/wheels etc. than a cheap (for CF) CF frame where not much money was left over for components. Much of the advantages of CF only shows up in dearer frames.
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Old 11-21-20, 10:04 AM
  #9  
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Old 11-21-20, 10:06 AM
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A mid-priced aluminum bike will get you most of the weight savings without the expense of carbon. Get one with a carbon fork and you'll have more comfort.
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Old 11-21-20, 10:56 AM
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I predict this thread will hit six pages within a week.
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Old 11-21-20, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I predict this thread will hit six pages within a week.
Not only that, but ignore lists will fill up really fast too. Members with cheap bikes will fill up their ignore list with members who have expensive bikes....and members with expensive bikes will fill up their ignore list with members who have cheap bikes.

Last edited by wolfchild; 11-21-20 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 11-21-20, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jacquisplace View Post
I am trying to buy from a direct supply store because I don't want to pay extra at a brick and mortar store
If saving a few dollars is more important than getting actual guidance from a human being with firsthand experience in the very bicycles you're choosing between and who will stand behind the sale, you'll deserve no sympathy when your Internet bike disappoints.
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Old 11-21-20, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
If saving a few dollars is more important than getting actual guidance from a human being with firsthand experience in the very bicycles you're choosing between and who will stand behind the sale, you'll deserve no sympathy when your Internet bike disappoints.
Kind of harsh ... but true.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jacquisplace View Post
I will likely only ride an hour or two at a time and it's generally for a work out so I'm wondering if the investment into a nicer bike is worth it. I am also trying to motivate my 13 year old to fitness and plan on getting him a bike also.
If your route allows you to ride as fast as possible with very few traffic stops, then an expensive, lightweight bike will provide the same workout value as heavy bike and you'll be faster - as long as you try to maintain the highest speed you can.

The workout value of heavy bikes is only realized if you ride in busy city streets with very frequent stops, accelerations, and use of the brake.
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Old 11-21-20, 09:33 PM
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Folks, you couldn't make this stuff up.
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Old 11-21-20, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jacquisplace View Post
Hi, I'm wondering what the advantages are to buying a more expensive bike. I was looking at a carbon bikes in the 2-3k range that is ~20 lbs. One of my motivations is the limitation I had with trying to transport my heavy Walmart bike on a bike rack. I've since found a bike rack that is lower to the ground but am still thinking a lighter bike (20lbs) may be a nicer ride.

What is the cause for such a jump in cost in bikes from a Walmart aluminum bike to a carbon bike? I am trying to buy from a direct supply store because I don't want to pay extra at a brick and mortar store, but the costs are still higher.

Is the ride that significantly better with a nice carbon bike vs a cheaper aluminum bike? Is the primary difference the weight so one slows you down and is heavier to lift? Any ideas on if the heavier/cheaper bike to lift might actually be a better workout because it takes more effort to move it?

I will likely only ride an hour or two at a time and it's generally for a work out so I'm wondering if the investment into a nicer bike is worth it. I am also trying to motivate my 13 year old to fitness and plan on getting him a bike also.
Yeah, folks (including moderators), honestly, is this even a good-faith question?

This is the most generic, trolling question of all time. We are to believe that this person has a heavy,WalMart bike, but has been considering a $2-3000 bike and wants to know what accounts for the difference in cost between an aluminum vs. a CF bike? Srsly??

The OP answered his/her own queries and has launched headlong into a “wHy aRe SomE bIKes so $$$!’ thread. Just say no, man. There’s enough real issues to deal with nowadays.
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Old 11-22-20, 03:00 AM
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If you have to ask such a question, perhaps you have no real need for an expensive bicycle at this point in time. I'm not trying to be funny. You will be better served with the inexpensive (cheap) bicycle until such point that you can really determine how you would wish to further your cycling activities. There are several distinctively different types of nice, a.k.a., expensive bicycles. (MOUNTAIN, ROAD, HYBRID and full on TRIATHLON type race bicycles........just to name a few general classifications).
You also have the beach cruiser segment which is basic and relatively inexpensive, but if a slow comfortable ride is your pleasure and you have no hills in your town, then such a simple bike might work well for you. THE POINT IS THAT ONLY YOU CAN DETERMINE WHAT YOU LIKE TO RIDE. You have to have ridden something in most of the categories to determine if you like riding that particular type of bicycle.

The initial cheap bicycle whether big-box store new or used older quality bike will be all that you will need at first. Either will serve you well enough. Some will argue that you're buying a disposable bicycle if you're buying new from a big box store but who cares (other than LBS proprietors here on bikeforums who'd rather have the sale..) because even the crappiest new big-box store bicycle will provide a minimum of two to three years of reliable riding if is even halfway assembled properly with minimally acceptable lubrication and bearing grease and if stored indoors and not exposed to rain and snow. If expertly assembled, most any new big box store bicycle should deliver a minimum of four to five years of reliable riding. Yes, the Walmart/Target/Dicks/Kohls..etc bicycle is not going to be lightweight, and it certainly will never be mistaken for state of the art, but for less than $250 and possibly as little as $175 total cost, you'll get a bicycle that will provide good value for the total cost even if you consider it as a "disposable" bicycle purpose. Now it is true that you will have to make due with the frame size offerings of these el-cheapo inexpensive Walmart/Target offerings. Typically, you might have one size to fit ladies and one size to fit men , or you might just have one single size offering to accomodate everyone. Yes, seatpost height adjustment of maybe 8cm max. and maybe the possibility of raising the stem about 3cm is about all one can expect. You have to sort of adapt to that in such a way that an ancient pickup truck had limited forward/backward seat position adjustment or an ancient delivery van having a fixed non adjustable seat and both having 16 inch bus like steering wheels with a non adjustable steering column.

Figure out exactly what you really hate and what you really desire from your expensive bicycle BEFORE you go shopping for that "NICE" bicycle. Otherwise, you might find that you bought a "NICE" bike from your local LBS that is not what you really enjoy. I'm not faulting the LBS because they are great and sell great bicycles but the one thing they cannot do is read your mind. The best Local Bike Shops might insist that you try out a wide variety of their offerings to see what you actually like the best but I am betting that most LBS today given that they are busy and with the Pandemic and social distance protocols and sanitization that they simply will want to close the sale as quickly as possible on whatever remains in current inventory that happens to be close enough to your size. I'm saying that yes a new big-box store $250 or less bicycle (referred to by LBS proprietors and staff by the derogatory abbrev. BSO...) is a much better initial entry into BICYCLING 101 if you have no idea of what the hell you want or need. Ride the BSO (bicycle shaped object.....as those fools refuse to refer to any new bike sold in big-box stores as a bicycle...) until you have a clue of what you really might desire. The BSO will serve you well and after a year or two, donate said bike to Salvation Army, etc or sell it for $50, or give to some resident at the homeless shelter/rescue mission. After doing that buy that expensive NICE bike. That $250 spent on the "disposable" BSO will be well worth every penny. You'll get more than your money's worth and you'll find what you like and dislike about it such that you'll know what you will want. Consider it the starting-out bicycle. Perhaps, it might even be all that really want but even so after about five years or so, you'll have maintenance that unless you are self-skilled in doing bicycle maintenance and tuning, it will be cost prohibitive to having a professional shop tune and adjust a five year old BSO with a current mkt value of $50. This is the reason if you are a know nothing person with respect to bicycles that a new $250 or less BSO from someplace like WALMART/Target is the way to initially proceed for your first bicycle purchase. Yes, perhaps certain old used bicycles are better values in that price range if and only if you or someone that you know who will assist you in shopping for such a used bike, knows enough to rationally determine what is ready to be ridden-bulletproof-and needing no remedial repairs or service. Someone that knows something about bicycles and has even limited basic DIY skills at tuning/cable replacement/derailleur adjustment/tire-tube replacement and replacing brake pads can easily transform an old used bike to reliable rider status for very little cost other than online-web sourced parts. The know-nothing individual has two choices when it comes to getting USED bicycles into reliable rider status: (1) Take the Used Bicycle To A Local Bike Shop For Repair/Tuning/Tires, or (2)YOUTUBE and/or Glenns Complete Bicycle Manual and/or enlist another family member/friend to assist with your Do It Yourself approach and if you are determined and said old used bike is very simple like something with a one piece crank like an ancient Chicago Schwinn, you can figure it out within a week with Youtube & Glenns, etc, if not within a weekend. Most people are afraid of the DIY on a old used bicycle. Ancient Chicago Schwinn bikes are the best from a durability and do it yourself standpoint. They weigh a ton so you might see that as something you cannot accept. There are many other quality lightweight bicycles but none are as simple or as durable as a Chicago built Schwinn.
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Old 11-22-20, 03:10 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Share some of that popcorn please as this is going to get interesting.
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Old 11-22-20, 03:55 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
If you have to ask such a question, perhaps you have no real need for an expensive bicycle at this point in time. I'm not trying to be funny. You will be better served with the inexpensive (cheap) bicycle until such point that you can really determine how you would wish to further your cycling activities. There are several distinctively different types of nice, a.k.a., expensive bicycles. (MOUNTAIN, ROAD, HYBRID and full on TRIATHLON type race bicycles........just to name a few general classifications).
You also have the beach cruiser segment which is basic and relatively inexpensive, but if a slow comfortable ride is your pleasure and you have no hills in your town, then such a simple bike might work well for you. THE POINT IS THAT ONLY YOU CAN DETERMINE WHAT YOU LIKE TO RIDE. You have to have ridden something in most of the categories to determine if you like riding that particular type of bicycle.

The initial cheap bicycle whether big-box store new or used older quality bike will be all that you will need at first. Either will serve you well enough. Some will argue that you're buying a disposable bicycle if you're buying new from a big box store but who cares (other than LBS proprietors here on bikeforums who'd rather have the sale..) because even the crappiest new big-box store bicycle will provide a minimum of two to three years of reliable riding if is even halfway assembled properly with minimally acceptable lubrication and bearing grease and if stored indoors and not exposed to rain and snow. If expertly assembled, most any new big box store bicycle should deliver a minimum of four to five years of reliable riding. Yes, the Walmart/Target/Dicks/Kohls..etc bicycle is not going to be lightweight, and it certainly will never be mistaken for state of the art, but for less than $250 and possibly as little as $175 total cost, you'll get a bicycle that will provide good value for the total cost even if you consider it as a "disposable" bicycle purpose. Now it is true that you will have to make due with the frame size offerings of these el-cheapo inexpensive Walmart/Target offerings. Typically, you might have one size to fit ladies and one size to fit men , or you might just have one single size offering to accomodate everyone. Yes, seatpost height adjustment of maybe 8cm max. and maybe the possibility of raising the stem about 3cm is about all one can expect. You have to sort of adapt to that in such a way that an ancient pickup truck had limited forward/backward seat position adjustment or an ancient delivery van having a fixed non adjustable seat and both having 16 inch bus like steering wheels with a non adjustable steering column.

Figure out exactly what you really hate and what you really desire from your expensive bicycle BEFORE you go shopping for that "NICE" bicycle. Otherwise, you might find that you bought a "NICE" bike from your local LBS that is not what you really enjoy. I'm not faulting the LBS because they are great and sell great bicycles but the one thing they cannot do is read your mind. The best Local Bike Shops might insist that you try out a wide variety of their offerings to see what you actually like the best but I am betting that most LBS today given that they are busy and with the Pandemic and social distance protocols and sanitization that they simply will want to close the sale as quickly as possible on whatever remains in current inventory that happens to be close enough to your size. I'm saying that yes a new big-box store $250 or less bicycle (referred to by LBS proprietors and staff by the derogatory abbrev. BSO...) is a much better initial entry into BICYCLING 101 if you have no idea of what the hell you want or need. Ride the BSO (bicycle shaped object.....as those fools refuse to refer to any new bike sold in big-box stores as a bicycle...) until you have a clue of what you really might desire. The BSO will serve you well and after a year or two, donate said bike to Salvation Army, etc or sell it for $50, or give to some resident at the homeless shelter/rescue mission. After doing that buy that expensive NICE bike. That $250 spent on the "disposable" BSO will be well worth every penny. You'll get more than your money's worth and you'll find what you like and dislike about it such that you'll know what you will want. Consider it the starting-out bicycle. Perhaps, it might even be all that really want but even so after about five years or so, you'll have maintenance that unless you are self-skilled in doing bicycle maintenance and tuning, it will be cost prohibitive to having a professional shop tune and adjust a five year old BSO with a current mkt value of $50. This is the reason if you are a know nothing person with respect to bicycles that a new $250 or less BSO from someplace like WALMART/Target is the way to initially proceed for your first bicycle purchase. Yes, perhaps certain old used bicycles are better values in that price range if and only if you or someone that you know who will assist you in shopping for such a used bike, knows enough to rationally determine what is ready to be ridden-bulletproof-and needing no remedial repairs or service. Someone that knows something about bicycles and has even limited basic DIY skills at tuning/cable replacement/derailleur adjustment/tire-tube replacement and replacing brake pads can easily transform an old used bike to reliable rider status for very little cost other than online-web sourced parts. The know-nothing individual has two choices when it comes to getting USED bicycles into reliable rider status: (1) Take the Used Bicycle To A Local Bike Shop For Repair/Tuning/Tires, or (2)YOUTUBE and/or Glenns Complete Bicycle Manual and/or enlist another family member/friend to assist with your Do It Yourself approach and if you are determined and said old used bike is very simple like something with a one piece crank like an ancient Chicago Schwinn, you can figure it out within a week with Youtube & Glenns, etc, if not within a weekend. Most people are afraid of the DIY on a old used bicycle. Ancient Chicago Schwinn bikes are the best from a durability and do it yourself standpoint. They weigh a ton so you might see that as something you cannot accept. There are many other quality lightweight bicycles but none are as simple or as durable as a Chicago built Schwinn.
Aren’t you supposed to have a table of contents to go with that?

Also, do you reallly imagine that people are go to read all of that?
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Old 11-22-20, 06:29 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
If you have to ask such a question, perhaps you have no real need for an expensive bicycle at this point in time. (edit).
There is just Way too much great advice and a surfeit of common sense in this post.

This is a serious and thorough explanation of the wise and informed bicycle-buying process, full of intelligent advice. Why is it being wasted on BF?

Great post .... but you cast your ceramic bearings before people whose bikes have Ashtabula cranks and no derailleurs.
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Old 11-22-20, 10:26 AM
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The difference between a Walmart bike and a high-dollar bike is the difference between a Ford Focus and a Cadillac. I don't know why there's really any question about the price difference between bikes. With just about any item you can buy, there's expensive high quality and cheap lower quality.
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Old 11-22-20, 11:54 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
Also, do you really imagine that people are go to read all of that?
I think it's the online version of the guy sitting on the park bench talking to himself.
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Old 11-22-20, 07:06 PM
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My fist bike (in 40 years) was a Giant Cypress, which I gave to one of my sons who lives nearby when I got my Specialized Diverge 16 months ago. Yesterday a shifter cable broke in the Diverge, so off it want to the shop and I borrowed my son's Cypress to ride 20 miles today (a typical distance for me). I was pretty impressed with the ride quality of the Cypress, which cost about one-eighth the price of the Diverge. Both bikes have 700x38 tires and high gear is 48-11 on both (older model of Cypress; the specs are different now). The Cypress was comfortable to ride, and the Shimano Altus drivetrain shifted very smoothly even though I'm used to Ultegra on my Diverge. The Cypress was slower for sure, and more work to get up hills, but if you're riding for exercise you don't really need the fastest bike. I was really surprised at how pleasant the Cypress was to ride. My thought was that if speed doesn't matter (not racing, or trying to keep up in a group ride), the Cypress is probably 90% as good as the Diverge at one-eighth the cost. No, I'm not going to give up my Diverge, but after my experience on the Cypress today my impression is that beyond $1000 or so you spend a lot of money to get a little bit of an improvement in a bike. (The Cypress cost me $450 at a LBS three years ago.)
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Old 11-22-20, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post
Yeah, folks (including moderators), honestly, is this even a good-faith question?

This is the most generic, trolling question of all time. We are to believe that this person has a heavy,WalMart bike, but has been considering a $2-3000 bike and wants to know what accounts for the difference in cost between an aluminum vs. a CF bike? Srsly??

The OP answered his/her own queries and has launched headlong into a “wHy aRe SomE bIKes so $$$!’ thread. Just say no, man. There’s enough real issues to deal with nowadays.
I interpreted OP's question as being in good faith and out of curiosity. He wants to buy a nicer bike, and perhaps was expecting to pay maybe twice or even three times the amount of a $250 Walmart bike. While shopping around he finds bikes are literally 10 times (and more) as much. He's trying to understand how a bike could deliver a ride 10 times better, or be 10 times as comfortable, etc. For someone without a lot of cycling experience or knowledge, the value of the differences between a $300 and $3000 bike may not be obvious.
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