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Do You Get What You Pay For?

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Do You Get What You Pay For?

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Old 07-29-04, 10:34 AM
  #1  
Portis
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A recent post in the sticky $500 MTB thread got me thinking. Is the cost of the bike really proportianal to the frequency of breakdown? After some thought i am inclined to say "NO." Just because something is not as expensive does not necessarily mean it will break sooner.

I have two Trek 4300 mountain bikes:

Trek 4300 2004 Model: ($349)

*Ridden over 2,000 miles since Sept. 2003.

The following parts have broken:
1. Chain worn out.

2. Rear cassette.

3. Brake Pads

4. Headset (got indexed somehow)

Trek 4300, 2003 Model ($170 Ebay, used)
* I have put nearly 2,000 miles on it. Unknown total mileage because it was used.

The following parts have broken:

1. Broken front derailler cable.

2. Bottom Bracket
As you can see, i have hardly anything invested in these bikes and have had virtually no trouble with them. One might be able to say the components are "no good" but what does no good mean? They haven't broken yet for the most part and they function wonderfully.

It would be interesting to see other similar reports from others. What have you ridden how far and what have you had to replace?

This might help offer insight to newbies and others into the cost vs. performance ratio on MTB's.

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Old 07-29-04, 10:59 AM
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It all comes down to ego really. If you've been riding for 8 years and you think you want/deserve a high end 3K plus mtb you're gonna go out and get one. factors for this are dependability, reliability, and overall comfort and ride qualities. You can spend 3K for that ultra lightweight hardtail that'll get you everywhere really fast or that 6K Dh bike that rides over cars and will last longer because the parts are built better. The overall issue of reliability is all over the place. You can buy some really expensive light parts that arent that reliable, but you can also buy some cheap parts that weigh a ton but are reliable.

tough, light, and cheap. pick two
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Old 07-29-04, 11:46 AM
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But the bikes you mention are under 2000 miles, less than 2 years old.

Maybe you ride light, or at least not far. Not dissing you, but a bike that started to funk up @ 2000, I'd trash.

My 20 lb mtb is 14 years old, still running the original bb. That and the headset are the only original parts.

Half the parts failed, the rest upgraded or modernized. Steel is a wonderfull metal if cept dry.

My entire Ritchey build will be under $600. And will last maybe 10 more years.

Hell, I didn't know THAT much about bikes before, 'cept metalurgy.

Metalurgy means low end alloys fail, wear faster.

Design is a different set of choices.

Glad you like Trek, not for me, though a choice for my family as bikes.

>jef.
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Old 07-29-04, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jeff williams
But the bikes you mention are under 2000 miles, less than 2 years old.

Maybe you ride light, or at least not far. Not dissing you, but a bike that started to funk up @ 2000, I'd trash.

My 20 lb mtb is 14 years old, still running the original bb. That and the headset are the only original parts.

Half the parts failed, the rest upgraded or modernized. Steel is a wonderfull metal if cept dry.

My entire Ritchey build will be under $600. And will last maybe 10 more years.

Hell, I didn't know THAT much about bikes before, 'cept metalurgy.

Metalurgy means low end alloys fail, wear faster.

Design is a different set of choices.

Glad you like Trek, not for me, though a choice for my family as bikes.

>jef.
That's not much of an argument against my point. You don't state how much you have spent on any bike that has gone further. Maybe i do ride "light" or "not that far" but I figure 25 miles per day is more than the average person will ride that is looking for a lesss than $500 MTB.

I won't trash the bikes. I will ride them instead. I am pretty certain that a bike costing 5 times as much as mine would likely have had the same types of wear issues that i have had. Your post certainly does nothing to dispell that belief.

I don't care how much you spend on your "ritchey build", if you ride it even "light" like i do, you might just have to put a new chain or cassette on it in 50,000 miles which is around what i would have on that bike after 10 years based on my "light riding."
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Old 07-29-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
Is the cost of the bike really proportianal to the frequency of breakdown?
Not necessarily so... I think it's more of a performance issue. But don't expect inexpensive bikes to hold up mechanically against bikes costing 5 times or more in a grueling cross-country race, for instance....
But on the other hand, a good majority of the people don't race. Under good care, even a cheap bicycle will last years.
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Old 07-29-04, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
That's not much of an argument against my point. You don't state how much you have spent on any bike that has gone further. Maybe i do ride "light" or "not that far" but I figure 25 miles per day is more than the average person will ride that is looking for a lesss than $500 MTB.

I won't trash the bikes. I will ride them instead. I am pretty certain that a bike costing 5 times as much as mine would likely have had the same types of wear issues that i have had. Your post certainly does nothing to dispell that belief.

I don't care how much you spend on your "ritchey build", if you ride it even "light" like i do, you might just have to put a new chain or cassette on it in 50,000 miles which is around what i would have on that bike after 10 years based on my "light riding."
My bike, though was probably never sold, except to the owner, then me, was worth around $1000 bucks in 1990. Probably one of the most expensive mtb @ the time.

Quality steel lasts, I believe every time I ride. I have had this bike a year, rebuilt and rode above 8000k.
The old Shimano stuff was surprisingly still able to run well, I replaced mostly as I jump and ride very hard.

I'm not bugging you guy, I'm saying the bikes are not run, a 10 year piece of steel I can depend on interests me. 2 years, 2 000 miles a brief span of component life. Or maybe not with disposable culture.
I certainly do not build disposable bikes. I build them FROM bikes that have failed. I search the corpses for the nice solid bits.

Did you know the can only use 486 computers in space?, the design must function flawlessly on earth for 10 so as they can trust it. I'm that way about bikes maybe.

"ritchey build", Ya dude, Tom Ritchey hand welded my bike frame, he is the best mtb frame welder on planet earth. I spent the original $150 to get a Ritchey frameworks. I was prepared to junk ALL components.

Got lucky, nice Mavick rear wheel and half decent bb. the rest of the alloy stuff is tossed.

Im so worried about Alu failure my headset\ stem are vintage Ritchey Chromoly. My bars are 5mm wall alu.

If you DH and jump bikes, you HAVE to get seriously strong metal. A handlebar or headset failure means stitches at least and more likely, the speed I go- a hospital visit.

Trek make super bikes, not my style really.

Recycle, cycles.

>jef.

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Old 07-29-04, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
Not necessarily so... I think it's more of a performance issue. But don't expect inexpensive bikes to hold up mechanically against bikes costing 5 times or more in a grueling cross-country race, for instance....
But on the other hand, a good majority of the people don't race. Under good care, even a cheap bicycle will last years.
Thanks fixer. That is my point. It also is the advice of my LBS owner. I don't expect that my bike is going to be as fast or shift as well as my brother-in-law's Specialized Enduro that I rode this weekend. I know that it isn't as nice a bike. I do think that my 4300's will likely last as long on the road/trail if maintained adequately.

I am not trying to say that i have great bikes because i know that i don't. Neither do i want to spend the necessary money to have performance level bikes. THat is why i don't own one. I am just trying to point out to any newb's etc. that durability may not be necessarily tied to price.
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Old 07-29-04, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
Thanks fixer. That is my point. It also is the advice of my LBS owner. I don't expect that my bike is going to be as fast or shift as well as my brother-in-law's Specialized Enduro that I rode this weekend. I know that it isn't as nice a bike. I do think that my 4300's will likely last as long on the road/trail if maintained adequately.

I am not trying to say that i have great bikes because i know that i don't. Neither do i want to spend the necessary money to have performance level bikes. THat is why i don't own one. I am just trying to point out to any newb's etc. that durability may not be necessarily tied to price.
That's why I always buy used, bikes, computers, lots of stuff. New, you don't even know if there is a design flaw.

I miss bubble wrap though...

>jef.


Oh, and Ranger, if you haven't figured yet, I agreed with your post. I just don't buy 'new' or large production bikes, the are fine for most riders. Me...no, only Chromo, and used to save cash. I am not a hobby cyclist, have children and need a good bike.

A Trek, lower level would, for me been a poor choice.

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Old 07-29-04, 03:01 PM
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The point I was trying to make is that at the $500 price point if you add a whizz bang feature like disc brakes it WILL cost you in terms of a lower level drivetrain.
You and I both know that the quality and precision of components go up as the price increases but that's not the issue.
Say you're a bike company; you want to sell a bike for $500 due to factors of profitability you will have have a set cost of production of $100 to build that bike. (Nobody starts a business to go broke) Lets say for the sake of argument that the frame costs $40, the drivetrain $30, the fork $15, and the controls / saddle etc another $15.
Now lets say you want to add a $15 dollar set of brakes but you have to stay at your $100 cost of production.
What do you do? You cut corners.
The frame stays the same @ $40 the so something else has to take a hit, like the drivetrain. How much should that be? Lets say 20 dollars. Now you won't need those fancy shifters for your lower drivetrain will we? We can back the control group down to $10. Ok now you need another $5. Where would that come from? Hmm let's back the fork down a level to save that extra money. These things have to happen in order to bring your cost of production back to that $100 level. The kicker is that most people will see the disc brakes and totally over look the fact that the same bike sans disc brakes has the better components.
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Old 07-29-04, 06:54 PM
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Any part will last as long as you want them to last. If you treat that part like crap, it's not going to last forever, if you treat it like pure gold, it won't last forever, but it will last alot longer than the previous.
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Old 07-29-04, 09:16 PM
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As far as lasting goes, it's going to depend on many factors.

It mostly depends on things like: The size of the rider, the weight of the rider, the kind(s) of terrain you ride, what conditions you ride in, how often you ride, and how well you maintain your parts.

I myself have had mixed luck. Right now, I'm riding a $4,000 bike. Wonderful, yes, problem free.... by all means no. Parts that are skimped on to save money are the first things to go. Case in point? After 1 good dowhill race (in mud, I'll mind you), my stock "Aheadset" was thrashed. Pit marks, and sand-sounding bearings were all that were left. So I replaced it with a Chris King NoThreadSet. Will this headset last for a long time? YES. It's expensive, but by far worth every dime.

I also use my siblings bikes a lot. My sister bought my friends 2000 Schwinn Mesa off of him, for a measly $100. I've used it off and on since she bought it (as she barely uses it). I've put WELL OVER 3,300 miles on it since then. It has 1.25" skinnies on it, and has all stock parts. Has anything broken? No. Have things been thrashed? Yes. My friend beat the crap out of the bike before it was sold to my sister, so I had to go back and give it some TLC for my sister after she bought it. I've maintained it very well while using it, and when my sis uses it it's always on-road only. Case in point, it rarely gets dirty anymore. What kind of riding has this bike seen? Mostly 130-160 LB riders, on-road, and light offroad.

What kind of riding has my Demo 9 seen that it has needed parts already? DH racing, dropping off walls, and hucking. My Demo 9 is worth $4,000 +. My sis's heavily abused Schwinn is probably worth a good pair of Nikes.... at best. Has it out-lasted my Demo so far? Yes. That doesn't necessarily make the Schwinn better, or my Demo better.. it's just that under extreme conditions my Demo will wear through parts quicker (especially drive-train items. My derailleurs are already tweaked and I've only owned the bike for a month and a half!).

Anyway, the skinny on my schpeel is this: Conditions have a lot to do with it. My friend Chris is a die-hard semi-pro Roadie. God only knows how many miles he has on his USPS carbon Trek right now. Last time I saw, it was over 24,000. And that was last year. What all has he replaced? Try the whole drivetrain. Why? Things wear out.. especially when you get cought 80+ miles from your house, in a rain-storm.

-Matt
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Old 07-29-04, 09:33 PM
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Well put.
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Old 07-30-04, 02:52 AM
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Also think about the type of rider using different price range bikes:

People who buy expensive bikes are usually better riders who use the bike more. Say in mountain biking Someone with a $4000 DH bike will definately ride his bike harder and possibly more than the new guy with a $300 bike just learning. For this reason the more expensive bike will have components wear out quicker.
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Old 07-30-04, 08:18 AM
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There is a HUGE misconception that more expensive equals better. It does and it doesn't depending on what your definition of "Better" is.

For example, if you are a gram counting weight weinie, then, XTR or SRAM X0 is your ticket.

If you want the smoothest shifts yet a lot of durability, but cost isn't an issue, the SAINT group is for you.

If you are into freeriding and know you're going to destroy 4 rear derailleurs a year, then Deore level is better than SAINT. Cost of one Saint rear derailleur is about the same as 10 Deore level ones.

If you enjoy smooth shifting, but don't mind a few extra grams, then XT is about all you would need.

If you're just getting started, then you want something that will handle some abuse yet is inexpensive, Alivio, Acera or even Deore is what you need.

For me, my style of riding, my ego, my budget and the fact I get an employee discount, I usually buy top-end stuff. Would my bike work with Deore level stuff? Sure and in some cases it does. My front derailleur is Deore. It works, I barely shift out of the middle ring, but when I do, it always drops the chain like it's supposed to. The difference between a Deore level and an XTR is barely noticeable. My Shifters are XTR (but now over 4 years old). My rear derailleur is also XTR, but when it goes, I'll probably switch over to SRAM shifters and derailleur.

It's all a matter of what your intentions are. I think XT is about the best compromise of quality, precision, weight and cost. Great for your cycling nuts and riders who are "serious" about their cycling. XTR is for Weight Nuts/Racers (and those with employee discounts and big egos). SAINT is for sponsored riders and or people with more money than sense. LX is the workhorse of the line-up. Good for 90% of us "weekend warriors" (dedicated cyclist who have lives other than cycling) Strong, good quality, not as precise as XT/XTR, but the difference is negligible, but LX weighs quite a bit more than XT. (bigger difference in weight/cost comparison). Deore is RACE ENTRY LEVEL. Decent weight, decent price, decent precision. Good for those who are just getting started as "devoted" riders. Acera/Alivio are your entry level components and for those who'll ride only once or twice a month or those who just ride around the neighbor hood.

Realize these are GROSS generalizations and each person will fit into their own idea of a category. I'm not a bike snob, I'll be your riding buddy if you're on a $4,000 bike or a bike from K-Mart. As long as you ride, you get a thumbs up from me.

L8R
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Old 07-30-04, 08:57 AM
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I think that the way the bike is used, in relation to the intended purpose can have a serious effect on durability etc, regardless of cost.

For example, last year I purchased a $1300 Giant XtC, basically a midrange XC bike. The problem is, I don't just do XC, jumping, tricks, DH is also on the cards for this bike = a plethora of broken/seriously worn parts -

Seatpost
Stem
Rear shifter
Rear disc
Cassette
Rear hub

So next time I go to buy a new bike, I won't just be taking into account the bikes `reputation` of performance, but under what conditions it gained this rep.

Sure if I had stuck to pure XC most of the above parts would still be intact, but theres no fun in that
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Old 07-30-04, 09:24 AM
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nearly the same as Me Dazza, I puchased my Hardrock planning on doing Aggro XC, but as ive progressed, im more into Jumping, Street and Aggro XC, so basically, i chose the bike that would hold up reasonably well under all of these conditions, and wasnt just dedicated to a certain type of rider, or a certian type of riding..

Because my mood for what sort of cycling i want to do changes everyday, its nice to have to worry about parts too much, although, i often enjoy buying and fitting new parts rather than riding the bike, althought thats great fun too
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Old 07-31-04, 08:54 AM
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Hey cornish, whats the riding like around Cornwall, my parents are just back from a 2 week trip over there, and i was supposed to go also with my mtb, but pulled out at the last minute. They were in a town called Falmoth i think. Wish i had gone now, sounded like a great place.
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Old 07-31-04, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dazza
I think that the way the bike is used, in relation to the intended purpose can have a serious effect on durability etc, regardless of cost.

For example, last year I purchased a $1300 Giant XtC, basically a midrange XC bike. The problem is, I don't just do XC, jumping, tricks, DH is also on the cards for this bike = a plethora of broken/seriously worn parts -

Seatpost
Stem
Rear shifter
Rear disc
Cassette
Rear hub

So next time I go to buy a new bike, I won't just be taking into account the bikes `reputation` of performance, but under what conditions it gained this rep.

Sure if I had stuck to pure XC most of the above parts would still be intact, but theres no fun in that
My bike was expensive sorta, to upgrade to near indestructable, But still, using an old frame that cost little, I was able to get the components I needed.
The only bikes with this kind of stuff are dh, freeride. A bit pricey for me. Also i wanted a xc 'style' of riding bike, still fast, not heavy.

The next bike I get will be built frame up also, 'cept new steel. I have 75% of the component already on the current Ritchey. Obviosly a labour intensive way, and a bit expensive..but I have EXACTLY the parts I like to ride, Like a 38t chainring for offroad 'cause I like flat speed.
Ritchey doesn't assemble bikes anymore, I understand why, you seriously just start removing stuff as soon as you get heavy on the bike.

Not everybody can go this route, It's saving me bucks in the end.
I currently run what 'rides' like $1000 for 500. The New bike will come in @ $1400 and then I will almost have 2 complete bikes.

Not even sure this really pertains to the question. You need to buy some expensive bits, and rarely are the provided on a factory ride.

Oh, and sorry about going off, I really dig Ritchey bikes, and Toms work in the sport. I get pretty hot about his work.

>jef.
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Old 07-31-04, 08:01 PM
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I used to bust plenty of XT deraillieurs, some I've broken at the loop some I just outright bashed up and broke the mount broke 3 of them due to chain failure(Shimano chain what else is new.) Haven't broken a X.7 part yet probably won't for quite awhile.
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Old 07-31-04, 09:12 PM
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aluminum frames do not last. especially when ridden by clydesdales and hit by a dodge truck.I had less than 3000 miles on my old v-link.I got hit by a truck and it evidently did a hidden crack cuz a bout a month later I was climbing a hill and heard a popping sound.got off and looked and the frame was broken at the bottom pivot point.the components (mostly xt or SRAM) are still used as spares today.
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