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The concept of buying cheaper

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The concept of buying cheaper

Old 03-21-11, 07:52 AM
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Santaria
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The concept of buying cheaper

I noticed a trend over the last few years, not just in biking, but in every consumer decision I saw people around me making.

Clothing: My wife loved to buy cheap. She thought that by buying 10 pairs of jeans over a year from Wal-Mart at $20 a pair, she was really saving money.

Then I pointed out the Levi 501s I bought were going on year 6, and still had room to go another year at least. I reminded her that in the 14 years we've been married, I had one pair that I wore at least 1 day a week for 10 years that STILL were good enough to wear to anything outside of an office environment.

So I spent $50 in one shot versus $20.

Where this comes to bikes is this: I have spent well over $4k buying and then later selling at a substantial loss poor-quality bikes. Only recently did I take a leap of faith and spend more than $1500 on a single bike. And while that bike is amazing, I'm already seeing WHY I could get more from a better equipped bike - and its based on one that I have sitting here that I spent $250 for used. That bike is now relegated to mild cruises on a Sunday evening with the wife and kids, but it made me think.

My 1977 Araya has seen a lot of miles. Before I bought it, the original owner was a LBS manager/owner. He got this bike in 77 straight from an Araya rep himself. It has seen well over 15k miles. In the 80s he put Campy hubs on it. But otherwise its still stock. It wasn't a cheap bike back in the day - and that shows.

On the other hand, my "I saved a buck" bikes purchased in the 90s are all dead and gone. They were designed like most cheap alternatives made today in a global market - they were designed to wear out quickly, cost as little as possible in manufacturing costs of material and man hours - all with the intended purpose of making you have to come back and buy yet another bike in the next year or 3.

It's just my opinion, but if you wouldn't wrap your butt in Dollar Store drawers, wearing Wal-Mart jeans and a $5 t-shirt from there along with Pay Less shoes on clearance while eating ramen and thinking your 1976 Vega you picked up "for cheap" was the way you envisioned your life................why would you put yourself on a bike doing 30+ miles per hour in a club ride that was designed to be hucked a mile or 3 a month?

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Old 03-21-11, 08:11 AM
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I'm interested in hearing peoples' opinions as to where the point of diminishing returns lies. $2000? $3000?
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Old 03-21-11, 08:18 AM
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Well this is really for an economics forum more than BF. But, the heart of your subject is something I have talked about for years on why the poor stay poor. They buy crappy items cheap and then replace them more often, or toss it trying to keep up with the Joneses with something nicer.

Buy a quality desk and your grandkids will have it. Buy a Walmart desk and its in the trash a few years later with sagged shelves and splintered particle board.
Buy some beautiful Italian hiking boots and wear them all the time for 7-10 years, or buy a Walmart pair every year.

For some items, the whole "Save Money, Live Better" slogan is totally wrong and actually keeps lower income families down.

As for bikes, I spent a lot of money on my Tete which rides like a dream and makes me happy every time I ride. Did I need Campy Record instead of Chorus - No, but I sure do love it. 2006 was the last year for Spine Tete's and so mine is now 5 years old. Wow, 5 years was like nothing and its still a perfect bike and another 5 years will go by quick. While I've never spent so much money on a single bike before the Tete, I will also never have gotten so many years out of any other bike.

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Old 03-21-11, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ScoJo View Post
I'm interested in hearing peoples' opinions as to where the point of diminishing returns lies. $2000? $3000?
I personally think it lies somewhere around the Tiagra/Force/105 level. So, you can get a good, solid bike for about $1000. Everything after that is more about weight, smooth operation, and speed than it is about longevity.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:27 AM
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Bottom line is price != quality != value, necessarily. Sometimes they don't correlate at all. This is where being a smart consumer comes in handy.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:28 AM
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Let's keep it biking related, folks. If it's not about biking it has to go to foo.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:28 AM
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Ah, but this correlates directly to many of the threads we see here on BF forums. How can I do what everybody else does at the absolute cheapest cost to me?

The irony is that while you can almost guarantee to see it, with some obvious explanations, in the commuter forums and living car free as well, it has shocked me to see it more in both the mountain biking and road biking forums.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:33 AM
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Mmm...wut?


Cliff notes anybody?
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Old 03-21-11, 08:33 AM
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IMO, that line of thinking is mostly just a rationalization for buying more expensive stuff.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:43 AM
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The point of diminishing returns is $1. That is, each additional dollar you spend on a bike will buy you less "bike" in terms of the cost to produce it. So the question becomes, where is the point at which the marginal value of an additional dollar spent on the bike falls below the value of that dollar spent elsewhere? (sorry, I'm an economist). That point is different for everyone, but most around here seem to agree that the jump up the the top of the line carries an additional "prestige premium," so that very little additional benefit is gained relative to performance. Thus, a lot of price-conscious riders looking for premium performance choose the penultimate product line (Ultegra, Chorus, Force, etc.). As for other places where you might see such a discontinuous jump (and thus have a lot of price conscious buyers clustering at that level), I'm not sure that's consistent across product lines.

To the OP, I agree with this for the most part. On the one hand, I wasted so much money buying stuff that I thought would suffice only to discard it later. At the same time though, when I first started riding, I did not know any of the things I know now that I could only learn through riding. So, when I first started riding, I bought this awful GT off of eBay. I learned quick that it was not right for me and I regretted the purchase. But there's no way I could have chosen the bike I have now except by pure luck. The criteria I developed for making that choice came from a whole lot of miles on the wrong bike and the almost-right bike.

But you're right; for the times when I'm sure I know what I like, I get a lot more "value" from paying more for the right item, especially when it comes to personal fit items like shoes, saddles, and the like.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:50 AM
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I know I should spend more on my bibs as I'm always replacing them/finding them not quite comfortable/riding with only the expensive pairs, but I have such a hard time dropping $100 on a single pair (and I'm one of those buy high quality - including jeans - for most things people). My bike is another thing I regret not buying exactly what I wanted as I've spent a lot more money that way, but at least I've gotten to work on it with my hands and that's something I enjoy.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mose View Post
Bottom line is price != quality != value, necessarily. Sometimes they don't correlate at all. This is where being a smart consumer comes in handy.
This is the real truth. You can have your cake and eat it too so long as you know what you're doing. I tend to buy high quality off-brand stuff, often used, for fractions of the costs of the mainstream stuff. A case in point is a practically new $3k Cyfac frame that I paid $400 incl. shipping on Ebay. Most people want a Cervelo or such, but the same model Cyfac was in the TdF too.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:03 AM
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There's a huge difference between cheap parts, and used out-of-favor cheap components. Shimano 600 hubs can be found on CL for $30 a pair with no more than 3K miles of actual use. These hubs are just as good as modern Ultegra. I recently paid $15 for a pair of near-new Tektro R538. Again, performance is par with Ultegra after spending $11 for new pads.

Centurion Ironman or Bridgestone 400 is often listed on CL for <$250, but one can often negotiate the price down to sub $150. One can spend +4K on a modern bike. However, is the potential gain of 1.5mph cruising speed worth the 26x price premium over the other used bikes?
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Old 03-21-11, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I personally think it lies somewhere around the Tiagra/Force/105 level. So, you can get a good, solid bike for about $1000. Everything after that is more about weight, smooth operation, and speed than it is about longevity.
My statndard is pretty close to yours, a Cannondale with 105. Around $1200-1500. Anything past that, there is no real functional difference for most mortals.

You can quibble about aero wheels making a huge difference, and in a TT they might, but for most riding the advantage is negligible. Ride without a water bottle and you get about 60% of the aero advantage of deep aero rims.

Although, you do have to spend close to $300 to get an 11-21 cassette, which is absolutely a necessity if you want to go fast in predominately flat terrain.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:17 AM
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Another thought. I will always get something that is good quality but used, rather than get something new that is junk just to be able to say I bought it new.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by zigmeister View Post
Mmm...wut?


Cliff notes anybody?
Has the internet really caused peoples' attention spans to become this short?
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Old 03-21-11, 09:29 AM
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Unless you're racing and hot to shave mere seconds off the clock, spending >$1,500 on a road bike is all about making the rider feel better about himself. Cheaper than therapy, I suppose.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:47 AM
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the problem with posts like these is that they assume that the the only measure of "value" for bike stuff is longevity. but that's wrong - "returns" means different things to different people.

if your goal is to have the lightest bike possible, your returns are measured in grams saved per dollar.
if your goal is speed, it's watts saved per dollar.
if your goal is to have the "latest" bike, then there is no "diminishing returns." you simply deal with the fact that there is a premium paid for NEW, and that you take a loss selling it later.


consider the Michelin Pro 3 Race tire. comparatively high price, great ride. but you know going into it that it's not going to last anywhere near a Gatorskin or something like that.
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Old 03-21-11, 12:49 PM
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The post isn't in favor of being cheap, rather, as I said before, its getting the most value for your dollar. In that case, bikes tend to be a better value somewhere in the high middle. You can't compare a GMC Denalli to a Super13. But most of the people I see posting questions about keeping cost down to the same price as a pair of high quality sneakers are trying to, and looking for people here to justify their future buyer's remorse.

Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
the problem with posts like these is that they assume that the the only measure of "value" for bike stuff is longevity. but that's wrong - "returns" means different things to different people.

if your goal is to have the lightest bike possible, your returns are measured in grams saved per dollar.
if your goal is speed, it's watts saved per dollar.
if your goal is to have the "latest" bike, then there is no "diminishing returns." you simply deal with the fact that there is a premium paid for NEW, and that you take a loss selling it later.


consider the Michelin Pro 3 Race tire. comparatively high price, great ride. but you know going into it that it's not going to last anywhere near a Gatorskin or something like that.
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Old 03-21-11, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
I noticed a trend over the last few years, not just in biking, but in every consumer decision I saw people around me making.

It's just my opinion, but if you wouldn't wrap your butt in Dollar Store drawers, wearing Wal-Mart jeans and a $5 t-shirt from there along with Pay Less shoes on clearance while eating ramen and thinking your 1976 Vega you picked up "for cheap" was the way you envisioned your life................why would you put yourself on a bike doing 30+ miles per hour in a club ride that was designed to be hucked a mile or 3 a month?
You clearly haven't ridden curren-gen intro level road bikes.

You can race at the highest level with them - $700ish. Definitely not short-lived garbage.

Although Wallyworld stuff - that falls into the category you're talking about.

Last edited by hhnngg1; 03-21-11 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 03-21-11, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mose View Post
Bottom line is price != quality != value, necessarily. Sometimes they don't correlate at all. This is where being a smart consumer comes in handy.
This.

Got my used Cervelo with Ultegra for $500.
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Old 03-21-11, 01:03 PM
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I don't even have to read this in order to know where it's heading. I find it very interesting the number of people in this world who feel the need - nay the right and the duty to tell people how they should be spending their money. Quite entertaining at times.

Other times not so much.

Anyone ever wonder why they make so many different bikes? Because that's what people want.
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Old 03-21-11, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Harlan View Post
This.

Got my used Cervelo with Ultegra for $500.
Well...it appears that in your case price < quality & value
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Old 03-21-11, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
The post isn't in favor of being cheap, rather, as I said before, its getting the most value for your dollar. In that case, bikes tend to be a better value somewhere in the high middle. You can't compare a GMC Denalli to a Super13. But most of the people I see posting questions about keeping cost down to the same price as a pair of high quality sneakers are trying to, and looking for people here to justify their future buyer's remorse.
read the first line of my post.
the definition of "value" differs between bike buyers, depending on what you're buying.

if i'm looking at lightweight brakes, i see the Planet-X CNC as a good "value," whereas there are many people on this board who scoff at spending extra money on anything lightweight, since there are plenty of much cheaper brakes out there that function exactly the same.
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Old 03-21-11, 01:29 PM
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All things being equal more $$ = better stuff in the cycling world. That being said the average shcmuck doe s not need dura ace anything....I would say that sans the racer or stump jumping downhiller that a bike in the $1000-1500 range is about a high end a toy you would ever need. The $65K corvette is as fast as many six figure cars....heck a $35k Subaru will be as fast.....
that all being said some things like seats, helmets, shoes, tires, tubes, cables, chains, soxs, jerseys if more money usually better..But Assos is an example of WTF!!!! why is it 10times more than anything else...
Thnaks for the rant.
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