Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Commuter bicycles cheap vs expensive.

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Commuter bicycles cheap vs expensive.

Old 05-13-21, 12:46 PM
  #1  
PimpMan
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 71
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 88 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Commuter bicycles cheap vs expensive.

What i say below is related to commuter bicycles only, city or hybrid etc not bicycle that is used for particular purpose like MTB or racing etc.

Expensive bicycles that cost $500+ don't even weight less or offer any advantage over a department store ~$150 bicycle other than nicer paint job and more modern frame style/shape and of course a disk brakes. And of course they come equipped with parts that cost way more $$$ in case you need to replace something.

I bought aluminum frame hybrid bicycle for $40 on craigslist that only had a bottom bracket messed up i replaced it with used sealed bearing for $5 and ride happily until i sold it (moving sale).


I know some people buy bicycle for staying fit like they drive their bike in a car to the section of the road where they want to ride then park the car and get on the bicycle after few hours of ride they come back and put their bicycle in the car and drive back home, IMO this does not qualify as commuter.

If bicycle is used commuting its clear disadvantage to have expensive bicycle because commuting often means leaving your bicycle locked on the street for hours, i know a guy with $500+ bicycle who left it outside overnight in the morning all that's been left is frame and a lock.

I'd like to hear some arguments that will convince me to buy a $500+ bicycle for commuting other than its a status thing?

Last edited by PimpMan; 05-13-21 at 12:56 PM.
PimpMan is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:00 PM
  #2  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,856
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13092 Post(s)
Liked 5,575 Times in 2,866 Posts
I leave my LHT fitted with $500 worth of racks outside my office all day. In the 6th most populous city in US. Not worried one bit.

How about you?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:18 PM
  #3  
PimpMan
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 71
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 88 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I leave my LHT fitted with $500 worth of racks outside my office all day. In the 6th most populous city in US. Not worried one bit.

How about you?
I used to live in Los Angeles and with so many hobos and addicts i would not be so confident about, sometimes when i ride by them i see tents packed with bicycles or a hobo pushing cart with bicycle on top which has a u-lock (this how my bicycle was stolen once from under my apartment building parking lot).



However my main point - i don't see a reason to spend more if it rides the same.
PimpMan is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:25 PM
  #4  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 7,350

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1516 Post(s)
Liked 876 Times in 470 Posts
Don't forget, a heavier bike will give you a better workout.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 05-13-21, 01:28 PM
  #5  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 7,120

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2776 Post(s)
Liked 1,405 Times in 1,025 Posts
Gosh... trying to find some way to legitimize pocket book envy?

Really, were going to pick on those that commute on bicycles that are outside of the price range of another.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 05-13-21, 01:32 PM
  #6  
autonomy
Senior Member
 
autonomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Boston Roads
Posts: 870

Bikes: 2012 Canondale Synapse 105, 2017 REI Co-Op ADV 3.1

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 444 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 68 Posts
Quality thread! All 'em rich folks showing off their wealth riding their $500+ bikes... smh
autonomy is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:43 PM
  #7  
Motorazr
Senior Member
 
Motorazr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 59

Bikes: 2020 Specialized Diverge Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
Commuting on a nice bike is dependent entirely on where I can leave it. If my nice bike isn't VERY safe at it's destination, then I'm not going to ride it - period. Finding a bike I can enjoy owning and riding that I also wouldn't mind too much if it was stolen - that would be a difficult balance to find. If I can't own and ride a nice bike that I could store safely, then I'm just not going to commute by bike.

There is some small joy in putting together a working bike for the least amount of money possible. I'd get over that quickly myself - I'd much rather own a nice machine than a cheap toy. I find joy in being able to admire quality; polished and anodized series-aluminum (magnesium, titanium, and carbon fiber too). I can admire the engineering and manufacturing prowess of light-weight, smooth operation, and nice finishes. I don't own anything super high-end - because I can't afford it - but I like all my things to provide as much quality and value as possible. I put my passion and energy into configuring and maintaining my nice things in excellent working condition and having those things stolen (which has happened) is something I very much avoid.

My general advice would be to commute on the cheapest, most easily-replaced bike YOU can enjoy without excessive risk.
Motorazr is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:48 PM
  #8  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,531
Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1028 Post(s)
Liked 223 Times in 166 Posts
Well...
Pre-Covid, I rode between 2h10 and 2h30 daily. 6000+miles/year.
While I do prefer to keep the value down - mainly due to the risk of traffic damage(I have secure parking at work) - my cost-per-mile or cost-per-hour will rather soon become tolerable almost regardless of what commuter bike Iíd buy.
And DUE to the hours spent riding, being comfortable and enjoying the ride is quite important.
Of course I could do it on a cruder bike.
People have ridden around the world on high-wheelers. Compared to that, commuting on a basic fixie would be a doddle. But there are no prices available for suffering, and I donít see the point.
I find it stranger when people invest heavily in bikes they donít want to ride unless conditions are JUST right. Bikes are meant to be used.
dabac is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 01:49 PM
  #9  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,091

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2624 Post(s)
Liked 2,119 Times in 1,013 Posts
Any bike is a commute bike if you ride it work and back. Figure out what works for you.

I am fortunate to have secure bike parking inside, so I'll often ride my road bike during nice weather. Now that the days are longer, I will use the ride home to incorporate a workout. It's not optimal to do intervals wearing a backpack, but it can be done. 2 birds, 1 stone, etc.
caloso is offline  
Likes For caloso:
Old 05-13-21, 02:16 PM
  #10  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,463

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2313 Post(s)
Liked 1,270 Times in 865 Posts
A $500 bike is not an expensive bike and doesn't generally have any sort of quality components better than Wally-mart but not a significant amount.

Buying a quality bike means a lot of things but in the end more quality and support. With high quality parts they tend to need less frequent service and replacement as often if at all. Plus with the higher quality brands you will get warranties and support from them and they will generally be built by actual mechanics and exit tuned by mechanics so everything is safe and ready to go when it leaves. In the case of say Specialized they have a lifetime warranty on their frames and forks which they stand by meaning 11 years down the road when you bottom bracket cracks they will support you and get you a new frame or credit towards something they sell if they don't make that frame. Plus with high quality parts you will get smoother shifting and better braking as well in addition to potentially having less weight (but not always)

Commuter bikes see a hard life and low quality bikes just don't fit the bill for that you want something you don't have to worry about as much. Sure for locking up for long periods a crappy Magna or Schwinn from k-mart is certainly going to be something a lot of thieves might not want to touch because it is crap but you probably will need to spend a lot of money on it to keep it running properly and have it built properly which wasn't done in the first place. However they make quality locks and there are plenty of great articles and knowledge out there on how to lock up properly so the whole I need a crappy bike to lock up is just silly these days.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 03:11 PM
  #11  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,856
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13092 Post(s)
Liked 5,575 Times in 2,866 Posts
Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post

However my main point - i don't see a reason to spend more if it rides the same.
I bought the touring bike that suits my needs and also commute with it.

But an earth shattering conclusion just the same.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 05-13-21, 03:17 PM
  #12  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,707
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1001 Post(s)
Liked 549 Times in 356 Posts
I live on a street that is a designated bike route and "main drag" for commuters, and right now my "office" looks out onto the street, so I see a lot of bikes. According to what I've seen, people commute on practically any bike that has wheels and is capable of forward motion. Prior to the covid, I was a daily bike commuter myself.

Over the years, I've helped a lot of people with maintenance, and have volunteered for a charity that fixes up bikes for poor kids. So I've seen my share of what they used to call "department store bikes." My view of the cheapest bikes is that they actually come in a couple of levels: 1) Those that can be repaired and kept operable. 2) Those that can't. The ones that can be maintained are often hard to keep in tip top shape because things don't fit very precisely, and it takes some futzing to get a satisfactory adjustment. For instance the cheapest cone bearings are this way. The Park Tool website suggests to not even try to get them perfect. In turn, this might be OK for someone who is confident in their mechanical skills, but frustrating for a beginner who is reading one thing in online tutorials, and experiencing quite another on their bike.

And don't get me started about cheap brakes.

The bikes that I ride are thrown together from old parts, but they were of good enough quality to begin with, that they are virtually maintenance free except for consumables like tires and brake pads. And adjustment is a breeze.

Americans have some weird attitudes about the relationship between business and pleasure. For this reason, you see things like bikes (and cars) that are more fancy than they need to be for the purely utilitarian side of their riding. What's not obvious is that while riding to work, they are also having fun. For this reason, they are not adhering to the lowest common denominator of what they strictly "need."

It's a personal choice. The balance between quality, security, and cost, comes down to every cyclist and the particulars of their commute. No two commutes are the same.
Gresp15C is offline  
Likes For Gresp15C:
Old 05-13-21, 03:28 PM
  #13  
tomato coupe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,070

Bikes: Colnago, Van Dessel, Factor, Cervelo, Ritchey

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1250 Post(s)
Liked 1,817 Times in 748 Posts
Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
I'd like to hear some arguments that will convince me to buy a $500+ bicycle for commuting other than its a status thing?
You should buy a $150 bike. Seriously.
tomato coupe is offline  
Likes For tomato coupe:
Old 05-13-21, 03:36 PM
  #14  
jzink0883
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bicycles, cars, motorcycles, computers, stereo systems. You reach a point of diminishing returns. Each user has to determine for themselves whether theyíre paying for effect or affect. And whether itís worth it to them.
jzink0883 is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 03:37 PM
  #15  
shelbyfv 
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 8,373
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2262 Post(s)
Liked 2,193 Times in 1,192 Posts
Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
You should buy a $150 bike. Seriously.
+1 Or any bike....
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 05-13-21, 03:38 PM
  #16  
jzink0883
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would no longer own a car or motorcycle without ABS brakes. I prefer not to own a bicycle without disc brakes.
jzink0883 is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 05:17 PM
  #17  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,856
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13092 Post(s)
Liked 5,575 Times in 2,866 Posts
Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
You should buy a $150 bike. Seriously.
Do $150 bikes need disc brakes?
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 05-13-21, 07:15 PM
  #18  
VegasTriker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sin City, Nevada
Posts: 2,460

Bikes: Catrike 700, Greenspeed GTO trike, , Linear LWB recumbent, Haluzak Horizon SWB recumbent, Balance 450 MTB, Cannondale SM800 Beast of the East

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 400 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 98 Times in 77 Posts
Think hard about how much money was devoted to brakes on a $150 bike. There are a couple of Chinese brands out there that sell for really low prices. Check out Zoom on Ali and Farbetter on Amazon. These are retail prices. Who knows what the manufacturer pays for them .Not sure I want to trust my life to one of these brands. I used Hope Tec, Shimano, and Avid disc brakes. The Hope hydraulic brakes were the best but cost far more than the entire $150 BSO.
VegasTriker is offline  
Old 05-13-21, 08:05 PM
  #19  
shelbyfv 
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 8,373
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2262 Post(s)
Liked 2,193 Times in 1,192 Posts
Hard to figure the fascination we seem to have with BSOs recently on BF. There must have been a half dozen threads in the past two weeks. It's sort of like if you turn on the porch light and see a cockroach/palmetto bug scurrying around. You feel compelled to squash it even though you know you can't make a dent in the population.
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 05-13-21, 08:39 PM
  #20  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,856
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13092 Post(s)
Liked 5,575 Times in 2,866 Posts
Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Hard to figure the fascination we seem to have with BSOs recently on BF. There must have been a half dozen threads in the past two weeks. It's sort of like if you turn on the porch light and see a cockroach/palmetto bug scurrying around. You feel compelled to squash it even though you know you can't make a dent in the population.
Low hanging fruit. Why try harder when BOS-related threads work so well? Same goes for ebike-related threads.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 05-13-21, 08:46 PM
  #21  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3,695
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3122 Post(s)
Liked 3,986 Times in 1,800 Posts
My commuter bike cost $550.

Gosh, I am sooo bourgeois.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 05-13-21, 10:35 PM
  #22  
aplcr0331
disgwyl marwolaeth boenus
 
aplcr0331's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Inland Northwest
Posts: 729

Bikes: Black Road Bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked 234 Times in 117 Posts
OP: You see any good ass out here on your commute? Are they more impressed by your sexy bell rings or your non TDF clothes and cheap bike?

How strong is that pimp hand anyway?
aplcr0331 is offline  
Likes For aplcr0331:
Old 05-14-21, 01:07 AM
  #23  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,784

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Phantom 20 kid's MTB, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 292 Posts
I have a $250 gravel/road bike (brand new cost last year) I use for centuries and also for commuting, hauling groceries.

All parts are made in China but the bike is surprisingly tough with reliable shifting via brifters. I had so far put 5000 miles on it in poor quality 3rd world country roads, gravel, sometimes carrying >30 lbs of groceries without a single part failing!

I had one accident on it which sent me to ER with a shattered bone requiring surgery but the bike itself was undamaged! Some parts went out of alignment but nothing that can'be fixed by allen wrench.

I would not spend >$500 on a commuter bike myself unless I don't mind losing the bike to robbers. You don't need a fast bike in a city commute because everyone is so slow in the bike lane and motorists become murderous freaks as soon as you leave the bike lane.

More importantly, not attracting the attention of bike thieves.
cubewheels is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.