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High End Bike = Happiness?

Old 02-18-15, 02:46 PM
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sam_cyclist
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High End Bike = Happiness?

The term "high end" is relative and subjective. For casual cyclists, anything more than $350 is a "high end" bike. For example, I was speaking to a new acquaintance, and she said she was going to spend "a lot" on a bike, meaning she was going to spend $200. When I told her I was planning to spend $800 or more, she tried to contain her shock and surprise. She has money, as she's planning on buying a GMC SUV in the next month or so, so she's not limited by finances.

My question is, for those of you who have purchased BOTH an "entry level" bicycle, AND a "high end" bicycle, was the extra coin worth it to you in terms of how much happiness it afforded you? Or, does a high end purchase simply leave you wanting more, an even more expensive bicycle, in a year or two?

For the purposes of conversation, I will define "entry level" as a below $1,000 bike. I will leave the definition of "high end" up to you, as it is somewhat subjective, but I would consider an ultegra/carbon, a titanium frame, or any campy equipped bike to be "high end."

---

I have my own hypotheses, but don't want to lead the answers in any way.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:55 PM
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Happiness is very subjective and I would question the basic premise that people traded in their entry/mid-level bike for a higher-end ride out of the pursuit of happiness. Many, such as myself, wanted a nicer ride, better components and a machine that overall just meant a nicer ride.

While I'm definitely happy as I'm biking, I didn't buy the bike to attain happiness. As you allude to in your question, if you seek happiness through the purchase of a thing(s), you'll soon find yourself trapped in a scenario with diminishing returns. That's the prime reason people who would generally be defined as middle class, but are comfortable, often report being happier more than people who make more money than they do. Those folks often have a hard time defining what makes a happy life for them.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:56 PM
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High end doesn't turn my crank much unless it does something demonstrably better. Most "high end" bikes aren't noticeably faster or climb better than mid range bikes.

But those that do, are worth it. But will it bring happiness? No, as material things just don't. Pleasure, sure.

Worth $10 grand to cruise at 30 mph? You decide.

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Old 02-18-15, 03:12 PM
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if you are a googleaire your disposable income goes up too , does it cost more to make you happy? I'm not, IDK.
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Old 02-18-15, 03:29 PM
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I believe that like sudden income gains, an extravagant purchase can lead to immediate boost in "affective happiness". But I believe that it decays, and it may be cynical but I strongly suspect that the decay function is exponential quickly approaching an individual baseline which is predominately genetic in nature.

On the other hand, since experiential purchases tend to lead to more abiding emotional responses than do strictly material purchases, and the high end bike implies a continuing experience, it may be that the decay function does not approach the baseline asymptotically, and beginning at a higher point implies to me that it would necessarily mean more long-term affective happiness. As long as the individual continues to ride his bike and enjoys doing so.
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Old 02-18-15, 03:29 PM
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"High End Bike = Happiness?"

Good fitting bike =
Happiness!
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Old 02-18-15, 03:33 PM
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People buying expensive bikes are much more likely to know what they want and thus be more happy with their purchase.

A lot of people buying cheap bikes are beginners who don't know what they are doing and then wind up with bikes that don't fit their body dimensions or riding style or intended use.
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Old 02-18-15, 04:00 PM
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OK as you said high end ,is subjective so in my case I bought a diamondback Sorrento, it's a mountain bike for 300.00 ,, I know that's not high end, and I have a trek 2300 road bike with ultegra everything for about 1750.00 back in the day, I know that's not high end, maybe high end entery level,,,very subjective, but for somebody else they might be high end for them???
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Old 02-18-15, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
if you are a googleaire your disposable income goes up too , does it cost more to make you happy? I'm not, IDK.
I imagine that has some to do with it. Though there are guys scrimping by on ramen noodles in studio apartments with $10,000 bikes, there's a lot of folks around here whose income level means their high-end bike didn't cost them (as a measure of percentage of income) much more than a mid-range bike from someone who made less.

So, I ride a low-mid range bike. But on the things I have spent more-than-typical money on, do they make me happy? No. The people I'm around make me happy. But you can want something, and own something, without it being necessary for your happiness. Maybe a better question is "do you enjoy it that much more". I would assume the answer is yes, because people get buying them!

High end is subjective too. To a lot of people, my Fuji is 'high end'! Around here, it's the bottom of the spectrum; the only way to go any lower is to get on a department store bike!
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Old 02-18-15, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
My question is, for those of you who have purchased BOTH an "entry level" bicycle, AND a "high end" bicycle, was the extra coin worth it to you in terms of how much happiness it afforded you? Or, does a high end purchase simply leave you wanting more, an even more expensive bicycle, in a year or two?
I had "entry level" bicycles until 2003 when I bought my first "non-entry level" bicycle.

With my "entry level" bicycles, I raced for 3 years, and then decided I had enough of that and got into Randonneuring. I rode my first SR series on the Giant OCR3 I had, and then the next year traded to the newer model of Giant OCR3 which had a triple so that I could ride another SR series plus the Rocky Mountain 1200.

That year I determined that aluminum was not the way to go for long rides, and on the RM1200, I determined that my gearing was sadly inadequate.

So I was measured up for and ordered my Marinoni Ciclo.

Did it make me "happier"? I don't know. Did it make me so much more comfortable on numerous long rides and light tours to various parts of the world? Oh yes! Do I love that bicycle still after all these years? Yep! Was I devastated when he was stolen and then so overjoyed I can't put it into words when he was found again and returned to me? Absolutely!!

Did it stop me from buying more bicycles? Nope.

I like bicycles. My Marinoni Ciclo is still my favourite, but I really like my other bicycles as well. And I still have my Giant OCR3 ... it's my trainer bicycle now.

Was I compelled to purchase an even more expensive bicycle after a year or two? Nope.

I'm guessing most of my bicycles run about the same price as my Marinoni, but they are different bicycles for different purposes. It's a bit hard to tell because we rarely buy "off the shelf" bicycles. And my most recent bicycle purchase was a $25 hybrid from the tip shop.

Last edited by Machka; 02-18-15 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 02-18-15, 04:35 PM
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For me, it's all about the groupset that comes with the bike. I won't consider a bike unless it has at least a Shimano 105 groupset. My primary interaction with the bike is thru my gears. They MUST operate smoothly and effortless. I think that bikes with a Shimano 105 or Ultegra groupset meet my needs and price point. With the truly high end groupsets your paying for lightness.
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Old 02-18-15, 05:29 PM
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Several years ago I bought a Rohloff hub equipped Bike... the German 14 speed IGH definitely is a Price Bump.
but it's a 1 time investment , after that all I wear down is a single cog , chain and so forth . change the oil in the Hub, occasionally..


But My Happiness is very independent of My Consumerism . Its still going to be an uglier world ..

I could walk to School when I was A Child, now parents are arrested for allowing that.

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Old 02-18-15, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
For the purposes of conversation, I will define "entry level" as a below $1,000 bike.
Uhhh... Well, that does me in.
My Colnago Super that I've ridden for years and years and years barely qualifies roadkill based on the original purchase price.
Even my "new" Litespeed Titanium bike still isn't too far away from that.

There are a number of ways to consider "satisfaction", and it is not always covered by the maximum number of dollar signs. For some, in fact, the fewer the dollar signs, the better.

I talked to a friend yesterday who was ecstatic about his Schwinn Sprint he had just finished.

But, each person is different.

Certainly it also depends on ones goals. Keeping up with the 20 yr old road racers? Touring? Commuting? Errands? Off-Road? etc.

I wouldn't be happy riding a 30+ or 40+ pound bike (other than my cargo bike). But I also don't need to be riding a 15 pound bike worth more than all of my cars put together.

Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
for those of you who have purchased BOTH an "entry level" bicycle, AND a "high end" bicycle, was the extra coin worth it to you in terms of how much happiness it afforded you? Or, does a high end purchase simply leave you wanting more, an even more expensive bicycle, in a year or two?
Oh, and the Colnago Super replaced a $100 interim bike between the theft of my Viscount and the purchase of the Colnago. I kept the beater for a while, but I just liked riding the Colnago better (and thus chose to use the Colnago as an every-day bike, a decision I've never regretted). Eventually I loaned the beater out to someone who got it stolen.

Last edited by CliffordK; 02-18-15 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 02-18-15, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ludkeh View Post
For me, it's all about the groupset that comes with the bike. I won't consider a bike unless it has at least a Shimano 105 groupset. My primary interaction with the bike is thru my gears. They MUST operate smoothly and effortless. I think that bikes with a Shimano 105 or Ultegra groupset meet my needs and price point. With the truly high end groupsets your paying for lightness.
My first "high-end" bike was $1500 and came with 105. My next (and current) "high-end" bike was $3500, but came with all Ultegra and a power meter. I am definitely 3 times happier with it.

I also agree with johnny99; I think I got more for my $$ even though it was a more expensive bike because I knew more about bikes, what I liked, and what I wanted.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:02 PM
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High End Bike = Happiness?

This current thread on this General Cycling Forum, ”My new $7,000 bike and the futility of justifying the price to the average person” does broach the subject, at least regarding the desirability of a high end bike. But to directly answer the question of Happiness, my answer as one who lives a self-pronounced cycling lifestyle, the answer is YES.

I replied to the thread, “Do you tell strangers how much your bike costs?"

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
For years, I rode a steel Bridgestone RB-1, costing about $650 down from about $800 as an end-of-year model when I bought it in the early 1980’s. I came to learn it was considered a classic. After the introduction of carbon fiber bikes, I always wondered if the premium prices of CF, which I considered to be about $2000 was worth the presumed enhanced riding experience.

The Bridgestone was totaled in 2012 in an accident from which I was not sure I would ride again. Well I did, and decided to get a CF. My trusted mechanic said here’s the bike you want, knowing my riding style. Well the MSRP was $8000, but he got it for me at half off.

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
I once read this description of a "nice" bike, "Lighter than a f@rt, and more expensive than a divorce."
In reply to another thread, ”Do you cherish your bike”:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Agree. My pristine carbon fiber bike is especially cherished because I don't take it out in the rain. My beater mountain bike is also cherished even though I take it out anywhere, any time. As a year round cycling commuter, the bikes have an added significance and importance for my lifestyle.

Most importantly, my bikes are very personalized for fit and quality, perfectly for my encompassing cycling lifestyle. Shopping for a new one is a challenging and unwanted hassle, as when my cherished and classic Bridgestone RB-1 was totalled.

So as Merriam Webster expects by their definition, I will “hold dear, feel/show affection for, keep/cultivate with care and affection, and entertain/harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely (as in my daydreams and planning about riding)” my bikes, as long as we both shall live.
Also, by buying high end, there is no buyer's remorse for what I might be missing.

PS: See this post to the aforementioned $7000 bike thread, in reply to this question,

Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
So, how would you rate the bike assuming you've ridden it a fair bit by now?

10/10? 9/10?...

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-18-15 at 08:45 PM. Reason: Added PS
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Old 02-18-15, 07:16 PM
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Bicycles like most all things reach their bang for the buck at about mid price. At about mid price more cubic money gets you very little more performance.

That said, I dont think that anyone would argue that an $800 would make you happier than an iron pipe $150 bike.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Bicycles like most all things reach their bang for the buck at about mid price. At about mid price more cubic money gets you very little more performance.

That said, I dont think that anyone would argue that an $800 would make you happier than an iron pipe $150 bike.
Interesting point. So, where would you all say the "mid point" is for, say, road bikes?

Is it a 105 bike? (Sora/Tiagra/105/Ultegra/Dura Ace)

So, a 105, mid tier carbon bike? This might net you an 18 lb. bike at maybe.....$2K or $2.5K?
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Old 02-18-15, 08:41 PM
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I've never understood the focus on group sets, or the desire for fancy high dollar ones. I've never owned an entry level "bike shop" bike that didn't shift perfectly for me... every time. The name on the parts matters little to me when choosing a bike.

Then again, $950 is the most I've ever spent on a bike so I guess I'm still at entry level. Maybe I'm just not aware of how much happiness I'm missing out on?

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Old 02-18-15, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
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Old 02-18-15, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I've never understood the focus on group sets, or the desire for fancy high dollar ones. I've never owned an entry level "bike shop" bike that didn't shift perfectly for me... every time. The name on the parts matters little to me when choosing a bike.

Then again, $950 is the most I've ever spent on a bike so I guess I'm still at entry level. Maybe I'm just not aware of how much happiness I'm missing out on?
How much are you cycling?

My entry-level Giant OCR3 was a great bicycle for shorter rides and up to about 100 mile rides ... it was when the rides became a bit longer that I noticed the difference. And I was a whole lot happier on a bicycle that fit better and rode smoother on the longer rides.
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Old 02-18-15, 09:23 PM
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For me, there is one very simple criteria for a "high end bike". Does it disappear under me? Cost has little to do with that criteria. The bike I called "Team Dumpster" for its frame, literally saved from a dumpster and repaired with a CF wrap around the BB and chainstays as both were about to break cost me $105 to get riding. That bike was closer to my old racing bike than anything I had owned in the 20 years between. It inspired a custom replacement that cost me about 40 times as much

My wish for anyone getting into cycling is that they find a bike and experience it disappearing. (No, no, not it getting stolen. ) Then 1) they will be hooked and 2) they will always know it when they settle for less.

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Old 02-18-15, 09:46 PM
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Yeah I would say so. The entry level bike I had (Trek 1200) is a hugely different bike than my Moots. I don't want to discuss the difference in price, but there simply is no comparison between the two. I thought cycling wasn't my thing until I go rid of the Trek. The Moots rides like a dream. That certainly puts a smile on my face. Especially when I leave the group I'm riding with to go bomb down a trail I see off to the side.
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Old 02-18-15, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I've never understood the focus on group sets, or the desire for fancy high dollar ones. I've never owned an entry level "bike shop" bike that didn't shift perfectly for me... every time. The name on the parts matters little to me when choosing a bike.

Then again, $950 is the most I've ever spent on a bike so I guess I'm still at entry level. Maybe I'm just not aware of how much happiness I'm missing out on?

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
How much are you cycling?

My entry-level Giant OCR3 was a great bicycle for shorter rides and up to about 100 mile rides ... it was when the rides became a bit longer that I noticed the difference. And I was a whole lot happier on a bicycle that fit better and rode smoother on the longer rides.
Here’s how I described my High End Happiness; Specialized S-Works vs Bridgestone RB-1, totaled in an accident:

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…bragging rights are also fun.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Also, by buying high end, there is no buyer's remorse for what I might be missing….
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Old 02-18-15, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
How much are you cycling?

My entry-level Giant OCR3 was a great bicycle for shorter rides and up to about 100 mile rides ... it was when the rides became a bit longer that I noticed the difference. And I was a whole lot happier on a bicycle that fit better and rode smoother on the longer rides.
Around 3000 miles a year. From what I've read over the years my guess is this is at least average for folks on this forum. I understand some, like yourself, ride much more.

I agree that fit and smoothness is most important! We all get to choose how much money it takes to get there.

Isn't part of owning a fancy ($$$$) bike the status it brings the owner? On the board here and in real life? No shame in admitting it.
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Old 02-18-15, 10:12 PM
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I having a funny feeling this thread is gonna end up costing me a lot of money.
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