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Why do you want an expensive, light-as-air, high-tech bicycle?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Why do you want an expensive, light-as-air, high-tech bicycle?

Old 02-10-05, 01:32 AM
  #1  
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I read over the post "What would you get?" and practically everyone there listed expensive bicycles with full campy records and all carbon components and stuff like that . . . and I can't help but think, WHY??

Would you actually ride that bicycle? I think I'd be afraid to take it out of the house!

What about insurance? Most companies charge from $6 to $10 per $100 of insurance. A $7000 bicycle would cost a person $400-$700 a year.

Do you really think a bicycle like that would make a huge difference in your performance? All of a sudden you'd be able to fly up hills, win the races, cover centuries in under 4 hours? Maybe it would for some people. I highly doubt a bicycle like that would make much difference in my performance.

Or would it be more like a piece of art? Just like some people own Piccassos or sculptures or whatever.


I'm just trying to understand the desire for a top-of-the-line bicycle.

Last edited by Machka; 02-10-05 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 02-10-05, 01:51 AM
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Sometimes I wonder myself how much better A group like Record is from a group like Veloce? If I was a pro athlete racing the TDF every gram would count, but honestly over the course of your average century the weight savings would really about to hardly anything......maybe 10-20 seconds faster in my 100 mile time?

I think the quality of the frame matters the most.Then the wheelset.

And you can get good frames and wheelsets that are 99% as good as the very top end stuff for much less.
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Old 02-10-05, 01:56 AM
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i noticed a huge difference going from steel to carbon fiber. yes it was more rigid and yes it was lighter and yes it does soak up more vibration(don't confuse vibration with "bumps"). it depends on the company, though. plus, it seems that A LOT of people think carbon means "light" first and foremost.

however, you may want to take what i say with a grain of salt since i made the mistake of confusing manufacturing terms in another thread. i guess, becasue of that, i don't know anything.
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Old 02-10-05, 02:36 AM
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Would you actually ride that bicycle? I think I'd be afraid to take it out of the house!

What about insurance? Most companies charge from $6 to $10 per $100 of insurance. A $7000 bicycle would cost a person $400-$700 a year.


Very good observation – and something many don’t think about. When I travel to my race events the airlines only cover so much depending on the airline…in the range of $2,000 - $3,000 and that’s it. It sure doesn’t cover a $10,000 TT bike. So I have to carry a $200.00/year rider on my homeowners policy to cover the potential loss and or damage to my baby. Photos of the bike and all receipts kept in a safe place.

In Kona, HI. for Ironman there must have been about 200+ “Hard Case” bike boxes laying around waiting for their owner to claim one as their own when my flight arrived. All of them looking the same – not that it happens – but the potential is sure there. Outside of travel it could be taken from inside your car, your garage, house or whatever. What about a crash on it, or being hit by a car? I wonder how many others add such a rider to their homeowners policy to protect their investment??
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Old 02-10-05, 02:43 AM
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Well it all is really in the eye of the beholder. I got back into cycling last year with my old Centurion Expert Ironman steel bike with old Suntour components from 1989. I really love that bike, and will probably never get rid of it. It is smooth, comfortable, and is great for nice long rides. It weighs almost almost 23#.

That said, this year I got the opportunity to invest a little over $3000 in the bike of my dreams. It has Record 10s ders/shifters, Zero Gravity brakes, Rolf Prima wheels, carbon fiber frame/bars/seatpost/pedals/crank, etc. It weighs 15#.

On my old Centurion, I used to cruise the flats at 17mph.

With the new bike, I can cruise the flats at 19-20+mph.

On a long ride, there is HUGE differance between the two. Especially in climbing hills. The new bike easily blows the other one away in every category. Even the ride is just as smooth, if not smoother than the steel.

But, all in all, it just depends on what you personally want. I still love my old steel bike.
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Old 02-10-05, 03:21 AM
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For me it was very mental...a lot like golf. I buy the best equipment that I can afford (practically speaking) to get me to the highest level of performance possible without putting in the practice or ride time. And for cycling, from that point on, speed is simply a function of time. All you need to get faster (if that's your goal) is to have the time available to workout and improve physical capabilities. For 99.9% of the people on this board, they are not going to get any more comfort or speed from a $10,000 bike than they will on a $2,000 bike!
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Old 02-10-05, 03:30 AM
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When you go to something like CF from Al there is a difference. For TTing and tris the areodynamic 8000+ dollar bike does make a difference in speed. For normal riding at normal speeds a 2000 dollar bike is probably going to be as good as the 10000 bike.

When it comes to racing all this is off... we all want the best advantage we can get.
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Old 02-10-05, 03:57 AM
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There is 1 constant among the guys I ride with who are obsessed with getting their bike as light as possible.. There always the one holding up the group with mechincal problems..

I'll take my hefty 22lb Eddy Merckx's all day long..
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Old 02-10-05, 04:26 AM
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One could also ask why people buy sportscars that can go 200 mph, when the speedlimit is 66 mph. There are many things that can not be understood by those who haven´t got the tech addiction.
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Old 02-10-05, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
I read over the post "What would you get?" and practically everyone there listed expensive bicycles with full campy records and all carbon components and stuff like that . . . and I can't help but think, WHY??

Would you actually ride that bicycle? I think I'd be afraid to take it out of the house!

What about insurance? Most companies charge from $6 to $10 per $100 of insurance. A $7000 bicycle would cost a person $400-$700 a year.

Do you really think a bicycle like that would make a huge difference in your performance? All of a sudden you'd be able to fly up hills, win the races, cover centuries in under 4 hours? Maybe it would for some people. I highly doubt a bicycle like that would make much difference in my performance.

Or would it be more like a piece of art? Just like some people own Piccassos or sculptures or whatever.


I'm just trying to understand the desire for a top-of-the-line bicycle.
A few of us are in the business. Manufacturers, while not providing the bikes for free, do make it economically easy to get the best stuff. As a result, like last Sunday when I pulled into a huge park we have here, I had seven guys crowded at the back of my car looking at my Dura Ace Six/13. One guy came in and ordered one. I raced at the CAT II level and am used to riding good stuff.

BTW...If I was you, I'd shop my insurance around a bit.....
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Old 02-10-05, 07:38 AM
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Old 02-10-05, 07:51 AM
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Personally, I would not pay for the best, most expensive bike. I don’t think I will be buying a Colnogo 50th anniversary C-40. But, I am a cheapskate. Ask anybody who knows me, they will confirm my cheapness. If I won the lottery, I might change my mind. But, I am a firm believer in the law of diminishing returns. I am also a firm believer that in cycling, the engine is more important than the frame, wheels and components.

That being said, I find that I do quite well with middle-upper end stuff. My frame is 5 years old and at least a pound heavier than state-of-the-art, and I ride Veloce, not Chorus or Record. Veloce works just as well, just does not have the ‘bling’ factor.

The difference between the top of the range and the middle-upper is insignificant.
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Old 02-10-05, 08:30 AM
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Ego. I can, therefore I will.

I can't say or do that with too many things in this life - not cars, houses, boats, motorcycles, women or any other sport or hobby.

With the exception of my wife and kids, nothing makes me feel better and gives me more pleasure.

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Old 02-10-05, 08:40 AM
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I can't afford a Ferrari Enzo, or a Ford F40
but I could reach a top of the line frame from Dave Kirk, Richard Sachs,
Sacha White, or Brian Baylis for full on customs, or an Ottrott from Serotta
and kit it out in full campy record (actually I'd choose chorus).
Why? because to me those are the pinnacle of frame design. Would I be
a better cyclist? no. but they might inspire me to ride more/longer/harder.
For me mostly its an ego/pride thing, YMMV.

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Old 02-10-05, 09:05 AM
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I can understand why someone would want top-of-the-line even though they don't need it. It's just the act of *having* it that's so pleasurable.

But I feel like, if I could blow a ton on any bike I want, lightness would come second to durability. I'd want something light and fast sure...but I'd also want to be able to throw it off a cliff and still have it work just fine. Or get hit by a car, or survive a housefire, or be able to hit pothole after pothole and not need any adjustments made. For some reason I love the idea of incredibly low-maintenance, low-worries, and the security of knowing the bike will never, ever let me down.

I dunno if such a bike exists though, doubt it does. Maybe I should create such a thing... : )
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Old 02-10-05, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
I read over the post "What would you get?" and practically everyone there listed expensive bicycles with full campy records and all carbon components and stuff like that . . . and I can't help but think, WHY??

Would you actually ride that bicycle? I think I'd be afraid to take it out of the house!

Do you really think a bicycle like that would make a huge difference in your performance? All of a sudden you'd be able to fly up hills, win the races, cover centuries in under 4 hours? Maybe it would for some people. I highly doubt a bicycle like that would make much difference in my performance.

Or would it be more like a piece of art? Just like some people own Piccassos or sculptures or whatever.


I'm just trying to understand the desire for a top-of-the-line bicycle.

Why? To me it's half of the fun. No, I don't think they made me any faster and I don't care about the "Aaahhhhhh!"s from other riders. I just like top end stuff when I can afford it. Record and DA have always been a little more polished and tricked-out than the other grades. If I ever decide to get another road bike I'm sure I'll sink 3,000+ into it. But that would mean mean 3000+ of clothes, shoes, etc. for the wife. I really can't afford 6,000 for a bike.

SS
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Old 02-10-05, 09:14 AM
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Three years ago I bought a $6000 downhil mtn bike and I hucked that thing off rocks, threw it over logs and basically busted all sorts of things on it, replaced them and kept on going.

Two years ago I bought a BRAND new 2003 Jeep Rubicon and again I went and plowed through river, over rocks, and bathed it in mud, dirt, bushes etc as much as possible.

Would I ride a $10000 road bike? Try and stop me.

(And no I'm not rich, I eat Kraft Dinner)
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Old 02-10-05, 09:39 AM
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Well the question was what would you have if you could have it. Some of us will never get a fancy top of the line bike. But if you could have one, wouldn't you want one? Wouldn't you want to ride it to see just how good it really was?

Anything over $2,000 is probably excessive, but that's America. Everything is excessive around here: cars, houses, the food we eat, etc.

nbf is on to something:
One could also ask why people buy sportscars that can go 200 mph, when the speedlimit is 66 mph. There are many things that can not be understood by those who haven´t got the tech addiction.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:40 AM
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Not that I have $$, but even given a lottery prize, I would likely drop 2-4k on a custom (keeper) and not think 2x. It wouldn't be sub 20#, but would look classic (lugged w/ tasteful paint), feel well when riding all day, and make me smile.

I own a few rides, but riding fixed has helped me cure tech addictions. It is just as much fun, but in a different way (for under $125). Eventually, I'll drop $250 for a phil hubbed rear wheel to match the parts bin front, but not until the cheap suzue goes.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:48 AM
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Once upon a time I was an equipment geek, spending money unwisely on stuff I didn't need for my brand spanking new Colnago. I got wholesale discounts from the guys I worked for, first dibs on new shipments, all that. Frequently I was the first to have the newest brakes/shifters/saddle/stem/wheels/clothes/you name it. Then, gradually, "Cat 3 me" obtained a life. People meant more to me than stuff. Relationships loomed much larger and more important than self-indulgence. Make no mistake: I kept the bike and the stuff, and I rode it and enjoyed it; I just stopped being so narrowly acquisitive. When my kids reached "that age," I found myself riding less and less due to career, marital, and parental time constraints. Now my kids are older and both my wife and I sought to recapture as much of the joy of cycling as we could remember. And you know what? We shop for bargains, ride chro-mo machines, look for what works as opposed to what will wow the crowd at the parking lot at the start of a ride. And we have never enjoyed cycling more. It's all about spinning those cranks...
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Old 02-10-05, 09:49 AM
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I think that there's a difference between the group's that've been mentioned that is notable to those of us that put the money into it. For me, though, a lot of it is the possiblities that are brought about by having friends in the industry. Things aren't cheap, but they aren't as expensive since I've stayed in touch with so many of the guys I've worked with over the years.

But if I had a $7k bike, I'd ride it like I stole it. If I had a Ford GT (it's not an F40, that was a Ferrari about 10 years ago) I'd drive it every day, too. I don't see a point to paying for engineering and not using it. Most people have a vice or passion that they put money into without doing harm to themselves. My brother in law is huge into A/V stuff. I don't get it. But I don't think he wastes money on it. He can afford it, doesn't go into debt to pay for it and enjoys the hell out of it. I can say the same thing about bikes.

And there is a difference between Veloce and Record. Just as there is 105 and D/A. Small differences, sure, probably not worth it to most, but they're just not as obsessed about it as the rest of us. Working in a shop did it for me. Getting high end stuff at prices that are lower than retail on medium range stuff gets you hooked on the high end. You can't go back, man.

And finally, there are plenty of worthless and completely un-redeeming things that I could spend the money on instead. At least I get a return on my bikes. Every single time I've looked at a motor swap for my car, or even a simple suspension tweak, I end up talking myself out of it and putting the money into a project bike instead. I don't spend as much and get far more out of it that way.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:55 AM
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Well, it depends on the question. If the question is "what is the "best" bike I would buy with MY money?", the answer is likely to be a bike that sells for well under $2,000.

If the question is "Someone is giving you any bike in the world...which bike do you want?"....well, my FREE bike ought to weigh 14 pounds, and it will be covered with 14 karat gold plating. Why not? When the IRS offered to give doctors and lawyers FREE $100,000 Suburbans last year, which lawyer said no?
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Old 02-10-05, 10:00 AM
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[/QUOTE]Would I be a better cyclist? no. but they might inspire me to ride more/longer/harder. For me mostly its an ego/pride thing, YMMV.
[QUOTE]

That's exactly my sentiments. In response to why, I say why not? If I have the money, why not buy the best for a sport/hobby/actvity I thoroughly enjoy. I decided on my latest bike after many test rides on a variety of frame materials. My choice of components is based on trails, talking with friends, reading in magazines and place like this, and represent lightness plus durability.

I keep the bike in my garage and take it on rides in my SUV. My roof rack locks. If I'm away on a ride, I'll either take it ina hotel room or keep in inside the SUV. I'm careful but not paranoid about haveing it stolen.
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Old 02-10-05, 10:07 AM
  #24  
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I was just thinking about this whole thing last night at come up with this...

My friends uncle makes 150k per year, yes it is quite a bit of money. He lives in a modest house (2 bedroom, 2 car garage). His passion is very high end cars and he owns a fararri and something else exotic (can not remember what) but they were both over 200k.

My other friend from high schools dad is into showy houses. He makes about 90k and has a 700k house (probably 1.5 Million now after inflation). He drives a modest car and does not blow lots of mooney elsewhere.

Some may enjoy high end bikes. For some people riding a 5000+ dollar bike makes them feel better and maybe translates into riding faster. Some people love to just sit and look at a bike and marval at its construction. Some love the smooth responsivness feeling between their legs (ya ya, no dirty minds ).

For me I am forced into high end due to other factors such as size (and the need for things like 180mm crankarms). After going there I would never go back. You get a taste for something and you want more.

My LBS asked everytime when I am getting my madone (or other high end bike, joking). You could just max your 3 credit cards and... I tell him someday I will have a 5000+ bike but until then I ride what I have.

BTW since I put DA10 on my bike I have enjoyed riding all the much more... worth the 800 dollars in cost again and again.

(Now to get over a 3500 dollar trek 2100...)
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Old 02-10-05, 10:17 AM
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The snobbish answer but quite true for most people is "Because we can afford it".

Take note though that I'm not a well off person and certain sacrifices had to be made (after 2 years I'm still carless, in LA no less). If the original post is why are you buying a 5k + bike while your kids are starving then obviously that's a different issue and you need top stay away from these ever so consenting boards but all that being said life's to short sometimes to keep skimping out on yourself.
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