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Do I really need an expensive bike?

Old 09-13-21, 07:15 AM
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777funk
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Do I really need an expensive bike?

I'm an occasional rider (trails mostly paved sometimes hilly terrain). I see non big box store brand bikes (Trek, GT, etc) on FB Marketplace and CL in the $75-200 range at times and when I look them up here or other places, most say... "Trash. Save your money."

I'd have to think most of these are better than my $100 new USA Huffy since they say Trek on the side.

Most of my problems with my Huffy are fixable (new cables, brake pads) for about $50 or less. Should I keep the Huffy or do I need an expensive bike. My requirements are:
1. Won't fall apart when riding. I'd want any injuries (God forbid) to be rider error and not mechanical failures.
2. Rides half way decent (I don't need that last 5% or maybe even 10% of ride quality, light weight, etc).

Will a cheap bike be good enough?
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Old 09-13-21, 07:21 AM
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You are good to go, ride your bike.
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Old 09-13-21, 07:37 AM
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Depends, what is expensive to one might be cheap to another.
could go have some decals printed to enhance your bicycle to be like those in the used market that are "$75-200 range".
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Old 09-13-21, 07:40 AM
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777funk
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Depends, what is expensive to one might be cheap to another.
could go have some decals printed to enhance your bicycle to be like those in the used market that are "$75-200 range".
lol. I don't care about the name on the side. For that matter, the bike doesn't even need paint. It just has to ride half way decent without a wheel or chain coming off.
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Old 09-13-21, 07:44 AM
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Any bike is better than no bike.
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Old 09-13-21, 07:54 AM
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The answer might be sure, ride the cheap bike but not always. I think back to the Scout who showed up for a cycling merit badge 10 mile ride with a Walmart special that weighed half of his weight. I checked it out for safety but didn't realize the cranks hadn't been tightened enough when it was assembled a few days earlier by the bike experts at Walmart. It lasted about two miles until one crank stripped as it loosened even more. Had he been standing on the pedals powering up the next hill, that would have been a disaster. The second ride in the series of rides (by now on his 3rd Walmart bike) was similar. The bike stayed together but it was too hard for him to complete the 10 miles. We had to stop for him to rest far too often which was really annoying to the other riders. He soon quit trying so never earned the badge.

A decent bike is far more pleasurable to ride, especially if it is properly fitted. Better bikes come in multiple frame sizes to fit your stature. Cheap ones are often "one size fits all" which is quite a joke for anyone on the lower or upper ends of human sizes. It probably will last a lot longer. Over my lifetime I owned 3 road bikes. The first was a second hand Fiorelli Italian racing 10 speed. I kept it for about a decade. The second was a Japanese Nishiki Semi Pro. Both bikes weighed around 29 pounds. The last one was a French made 1973 Motobecane Le Champion. It was top of the line at the time for their production bikes. 21 pounds, great components, and sure was fun to ride. I kept it for decades until as I got older it was no longer fun to ride a bike that had narrow wheels and required being hunched over the handlebars. It was still a good bike and perfectly rideable for the right person. I'll bet that kid's Walmart bike was in the garbage within a couple of years at best (if he ever rode it).
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Old 09-13-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I'm an occasional rider...Will a cheap bike be good enough?
Yes. Unless or until you gain enough experience to realize that you want to change. Ride what you can reasonably afford and keep it in its best mechanical condition. The rest you will learn on your own.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:03 AM
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Few of us are in the group in which a better/expensive bike will make a difference on how much we ride or how fast we ride. It's the person on that seat that determines it.

PS it's very similar to the situation concerning cars it doesn't need to be fancy, but it needs to be reliable aka getting from A to B whenever one wants/needs to.

Last edited by OldRailfan; 09-13-21 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:12 AM
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If you are able to do with your bike what you want to do then it's a good enough bike.

If you later find that it's keeping you from doing anything, then at that time you can get another that is more appropriate.

I sometimes feel that those that buy the best possible bike that exceeds their current fitness level or riding demands miss out on understanding what is really so good about that bike other than it cost them a lot of money.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:18 AM
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777funk In photography (before the ever-present smartphone camera) they used to have a couple of sayings: "The best camera is the one at hand." and "F/8 and be there!" The spirit of these adages can also be applied to bicycling.

"The best bike is the one at hand." That is, "Run what you brung." Don't miss out on the fun and joy of riding just because you don't have the "right" bike. Mountain biking began in the 1970s with people bombing downhill on old balloon-tire bikes from the 1940s and 50s. Definitely not purpose-built or high-end. But they generated enough fun to ignite a whole industry.

"2:1 and be there!" Just as an F/8 aperture can work in most photography situations, a single speed with a gear ratio of 2:1 works in many cycling situations. Sure a track cyclist may want a higher ratio, and a single-speed off-road cyclist may want one that's lower, but the point is people rode and enjoyed cycling with the most basic equipment for decades. Most people's first pedal-bikes are single speed.

A often-repeated phrase I discovered here on bikeforums.net is "Ride your ride." It means more than just ride the bicycle you have, it means ride the circumstances you have. And it isn't limited to budget. People have different athletic abilities, different physical abilities, different levels of health. People have different time constraints, different locational challenges, and family obligations that make cycling a challenge to fit in, and yet they cycle and enjoy it.

To tie this all together, here is a photo taken with a very basic camera of a man in non-cycling specific clothes enjoying a very basic bicycle on a driveway.



Even Einstein didn't overthink it...he's just having fun.

Which leads me to a personal mantra I employ:

"Overthinking?...Pedal Harder!"

So grab your Huffy and pedal until the endorphins kick in and "Don't let anyone steal your joy."
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Old 09-13-21, 08:28 AM
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If you see a Trek on FB Marketplace or CL in the $75-$200 range......


it's probably stolen.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:37 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I see non big box store brand bikes (Trek, GT, etc) on FB Marketplace and CL in the $75-200 range
Should I keep the Huffy or do I need an expensive bike.
A used $100 GT is not an expensive bike. Don't upgrade until you find a bike that's actually an upgrade.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:45 AM
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Around here $200 Treks are common, as are some other nice bikes. The trick is that unless you know what to look for and are prepared to do any needed repairs, you could just be buying a problem you can't solve. So if that's the route you're thinking, I'd suggest first focusing on bike fit and learning how to do maintenance/repairs, so you'd be ready.

I think if you're looking new, at about the $500 range you start seeing bikes that are much, much better than department store bikes. Or at least that was the case before covid. Nowadays, you can hardly get a new bike, so it's kind of moot.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:47 AM
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Spend as much as you can afford - save money on things you do not care about
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Old 09-13-21, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
Will a cheap bike be good enough?
Based on your forum join date, you have been riding for at least 8 years. And since you mention fixing your bike, you have experience with that side of things.
By now, you know what is good enough for you. No need to ask others what is good enough for you.
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Old 09-13-21, 09:19 AM
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I'd probably pay $200 for a used Trek if it was a model I liked, in good shape and if it fit me well.
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Old 09-13-21, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I'm an occasional rider (trails mostly paved sometimes hilly terrain). I see non big box store brand bikes (Trek, GT, etc) on FB Marketplace and CL in the $75-200 range at times and when I look them up here or other places, most say... "Trash. Save your money."

I'd have to think most of these are better than my $100 new USA Huffy since they say Trek on the side.

Most of my problems with my Huffy are fixable (new cables, brake pads) for about $50 or less. Should I keep the Huffy or do I need an expensive bike. My requirements are:
1. Won't fall apart when riding. I'd want any injuries (God forbid) to be rider error and not mechanical failures.
2. Rides half way decent (I don't need that last 5% or maybe even 10% of ride quality, light weight, etc).

Will a cheap bike be good enough?
Your requirements are slightly at odds with your $75-200 range. That is exactly in the price range where they do tend to fall apart easily and ride like crap!
Better to buy a quality bike and keep it long term. Cost per annum will be minimal that way.
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Old 09-13-21, 09:40 AM
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I am rather good overall physical shape. I started off with different entry level bikes before scoring a good deal on a carbon mountain bike.

Even with my fair amount of skill and physical conditioning, I am well within the limits of my Felt Doctrine.

Witu that being said, yes, a better bike is totally worth it and does greatly improve your experience if you are confident in your abilities.
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Old 09-13-21, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
If you see a Trek on FB Marketplace or CL in the $75-$200 range......


it's probably stolen.
Not in my market.
​​​​​​https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/d/b...bia?query=trek
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Old 09-13-21, 09:54 AM
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It's not about whether the bike is cheap or expensive. It's a matter of whether you like this bike or not. If you hate your current bike- you are not going to be riding it much. If you like the bike, and you feel good every time you look at it- you're going to ride it more.
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Old 09-13-21, 10:22 AM
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Most of the others have really covered it. Often it isn't a question of if you need a better bike, if the one you have works fine and has nothing wrong with it then the obvious answer is you don't need a better bike. Unless there is something wrong with your bike that keeps it from working properly the real question is do you want a better bike?
A better bike will work more efficiently so while it won't "make you faster" it will better help you better realize your potential which of course means faster results. More importantly is that a better bike often stops better which I find pretty important. I know people got by fine for years, and still do, with hard little blocks of rubber on chromed steel rims using a less efficient leverage design and softer, thinner metals to stop but I'll take a modern dual pivot or disc brake any day and the results can make a serious difference in the right situation.
As to used, too many people recommend this but if you don't know what you're looking at used isn't always more affordable and can be a money suck.
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Old 09-13-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I'm an occasional rider (trails mostly paved sometimes hilly terrain). I see non big box store brand bikes (Trek, GT, etc) on FB Marketplace and CL in the $75-200 range at times and when I look them up here or other places, most say... "Trash. Save your money."

I'd have to think most of these are better than my $100 new USA Huffy since they say Trek on the side.

Most of my problems with my Huffy are fixable (new cables, brake pads) for about $50 or less. Should I keep the Huffy or do I need an expensive bike. My requirements are:
1. Won't fall apart when riding. I'd want any injuries (God forbid) to be rider error and not mechanical failures.
2. Rides half way decent (I don't need that last 5% or maybe even 10% of ride quality, light weight, etc).

Will a cheap bike be good enough?
two such repairs and you've bought your bike twice.

not saying you need an expensive bike but if the repairs ratio is like that it might be time to consider something better. of course it matters more based on how much you ride and if you are liking it.
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Old 09-13-21, 03:28 PM
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One of my favorite bikes from when I was a kid was a Huffy BMX bike. It was my first BMX style bike and I rode that thing all the time for years until it was finally beyond repair. I will always have a soft spot for Huffy bikes.

If it fits you well, goes forward when you pedal, and stops when you apply the brakes I say keep riding it. That said, if you're curious you can always head to a bike shop and test out a few to compare with your current bike. You'll figure out quickly if your bike is good enough or if you're really missing out on something else.
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Old 09-13-21, 03:37 PM
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Practice adjustments and repairs on you current bike so you can buy a used bike and fix it up yourself. #1 money-saving skill is to learn to DIY.
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Old 09-13-21, 03:49 PM
  #25  
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Expensive, no. Good, yes.

A well made used bike with good components will outlast a big box store level bike many times over.

John
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