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Is a $3k bike is really worth $3k?

WMAC

Chimp
Sep 23, 2012
65
2
Franklin, TN
Ceramic bearings, carbon this and carbon that, XTR all equals less resistance and less weight which equals less energy output which equals faster lap times.

Most people upgrade as a shortcut to going faster because they don't have the time or motivation to train more or they have goals that require certain equipment. What I've found is this is exactly how an "arms race" occurs.

Imagine two buddies about the same age and same fitness level are at a bar one night drinking beer and eating onion rings. One starts complaining about how fat he is and the other nods in empathy. They both raced BMX as kids and agree that MTB riding would be a good way to get fit, so they each buy a bike and start riding together.

One has $350 bike already and the other comes onto this forum and gets advice and decides to buy an $800 bike. In the beginning, they are both having a blast. Neither of them can make it more than 3 miles without taking a fitness break. They take pictures, go back on the trail in certain sections, try the rock section three or four times before moving along and high five each other when they finish the trail regardless of how long it took to get through.

They are each losing some weight, having fun and not paying much attention to the fact that there is such disparity between their bikes.

Then, they do a group ride. They are with the slow group and this time it's just a little more intense. No stopping, pedal, pedal, pedal. The friend on the $350 bike is puking by mile three. The friend on the $800 bike hangs back with his buddy. He feels fine. Then the fast group laps them. Defeated, humiliated and realizing they are in terrible shape, they both decide to train harder.

The guy with the $350 bike is married and drives an hour each way back and forth to the office. The $800 bike guy is single and works from home. 350G also has a lot of family commitments during the week and MTB is his way to relax, have fun and get away from the wife and kids on Saturday mornings. His calendar doesn't have a lot of openings during the week. 800G goes for a 10 mile road ride everyday after work.

They show up to the trail the next week and the difference in fitness really starts to show. 350G is frustrated, not having fun and over the next couple of months the gap gets worse and worse. 800G is having a great time, 350G is having an awful time. They both agree that 350G's bike is holding him back.

He goes and drops 3k on a lighter, better equipped bike. Now he can keep up with his buddy again. They are having fun together again.

They decide they want to enter an amateur race together in 6 months - just for fun. 3kG with his renewed vigor decides to get up early, ride 10 miles in the mornings and finds a way to put in another 10 each day after work. He's seeing the pounds melting away. His wife wants to bang him more often because he's no longer a fat slob. His confidence goes up. He's got more energy, he's more alert at work. Things are going well for him in a lot of areas. He finishes ahead of his budddy at the race. His life is better ever since he bought that 3k bike.

Then his buddy goes out and drops 4k on a bike ... Wash, rinse and repeat
 
I don't quite understand what the premise is in that wordy piece.

In one's first year of riding the differences in the hypothetical machinery you're citing would not make any difference other than perhaps in attitude. Time in the saddle is what's going to count.
 

WMAC

Chimp
Sep 23, 2012
65
2
Franklin, TN
I think you are wrong in that the machenery doesn't make a difference. Two equally unfit guys where one is riding a 35lb Mongoose Blackcomb and the other a 28lb Trek 4300 will yield different results just as a 28lb Trek 4300 vs a 22lb carbon 29er will yield different results.

The whole point is what you sort of alluded to in that a shiny expensive, well functioning and comfortable bike that gives confidence will often encourage someone to ride more.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
54,829
20,691
Sleazattle
Better equipment will make a difference for any rider but less so for a beginner. What holds them back is not so much power vs weight (except maybe on long climbs) but being smooth, staying off the brakes and pedaling efficiently.
 

deke505

Chimp
Jan 5, 2013
26
0
Hamilton, Ontario
I don't for see a $3ooo.00 bike worth it for a beginner, unless he know for sure they are going to enjoy it and are thinking of getting into racing.

For some one just getting into it for fun and fitness the $300.00 (personally I would put a limit of at least $550.00 for the starting price) bike would work well and can be upgraded as the parts wear.
 

WMAC

Chimp
Sep 23, 2012
65
2
Franklin, TN
I feel like I have to explain a joke because everyone is too serious. It is a humorous story that illustrates the typical progression of a couple mountain bike enthusiasts while also demonstrating the benefits of more specialized equipment.

Westy: I agree. Nevertheless, accelerating after braking is easier on a 22lb bike vs a 35lb bike. It will also be easier to be smooth with a well functioning front suspension. Same guy on a 35lb big box bike vs 22lb race bike will have drastically different results.
 

TonesBones

Chimp
Jan 7, 2013
21
0
Sydney Australia
Wmac, i think it comes down to how much you love the sport and how much you get out of it.
If you derive a great deal of pleasure out of it well yes a 3k bike is well worth the dollars, i have a bike that with the upgrades is worth 3k, its worth every penny to me, the quality is awesome and the riding experience is great, that is to somebody that can tell the difference.
To somebody that is not right into the sport and isnt going to stay with it long term, well a 3k bike isnt really going to be worth the money.
cheers mate.
 

WMAC

Chimp
Sep 23, 2012
65
2
Franklin, TN
Totally agree. When you're just out having fun and tooling along real slowly for a couple miles every couple of weekends, a $350 bike isn't much different than an $800+ bike. There's a difference when you are riding with a group with better fitness and bikes and if that's what you want, then a more expensive bike is worth it.
 

OGRipper

back alley ripper
Feb 3, 2004
10,670
1,163
NORCAL is the hizzle
This depends largely on what $3,000 is "worth" to each rider. If it's no sweat to drop the cash and it helps motivation and interest in the sport, of course it's worth it.
 

StiHacka

Compensating for something
Jan 4, 2013
21,560
12,506
In hell. Welcome!
Then his buddy goes out and drops 4k on a bike ... Wash, rinse and repeat
And then his wife found out about his creative accounting (how a "honey there is a great deal on a $1500 bike" cost $4k in reality), promptly called the 350G guy's honey and they both have been in a dog house ever since. ;)
 

Burnt-Orange

Monkey
Jan 5, 2013
153
0
My wife recently said to me in a very sarcastic tone "your Idea of a good bike is $5000" :rolleyes:
she was very close :nerd:
I do have to admit I feel a little guilty after reading this thread
If I didn't spend so much on my bikes I bet I could proubably get laid more
you have to give me credit though, no one else can do so little with so much
 

ArmySlowRdr

Chimp
Jul 5, 2001
41
0
Killeen, TX
My wife was not amused when I upgraded the Allez to an Orbea that cost 3200 and was even less amused when I told her the Stumpjumper was getting old and brought home a 6500$ Pivot. I figure I'm 50--I have 20 good years with luck. I am going to enjoy myself. And FOAMAP (look it up in the acronym thread in the OC forum at the other place--haha).

not worried about wifey honeymoon over long long ago..lol
 
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Pebble

Monkey
Dec 6, 2006
137
0
Nannup
So my husband just let me spend 2.5k on bikes (one for me one for him) and they were both discounted by at least 50%, does that mean he dserves to get laid? Hmmmm don't know he did say the condition was that I don't upgrade anylthing! Mind you I've already swapped over all the good bits from my old bike. :D surely he can't be serious!
 

ALEXIS_DH

Tirelessly Awesome
Jan 30, 2003
6,148
796
Lima, Peru, Peru
And then his wife found out about his creative accounting (how a "honey there is a great deal on a $1500 bike" cost $4k in reality), promptly called the 350G guy's honey and they both have been in a dog house ever since. ;)
the first thing my lbs owner told me, when he found out i just got married was...
"just dont tell your wife how much they cost. most of my clients just tell their wifes their bikes cost $1000 and thats it".

bad thing is, my wife used to come with me to bike shops when we were dating.... and even though she does not ride; she can tell whether a bike costs $1000 or $5000 with just a glance....
 
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Burnt-Orange

Monkey
Jan 5, 2013
153
0
can you tell how much her purse cost ?
I'm sure she dragged you into a coach store or two
unless she is a latent lesbian
you might have more in common than you think :thumb:
 
Jul 8, 2013
3
0
Fun thread (for me at least. HA) and a question in my mind as well.

I found a "deal" on a new hybrid/comfort 8 speed Nexus. All good for me starting after 45 years of NOT riding and to see.........well, if I could take it without breaking the bank. HECK of a bike to what I SEE running around local but I'm NOT in much of a bike area except for a few who come to the lakes to spend the summer and a few "fun rides" scheduled at local festivals.

I'm only 3 weeks or a bit more into riding. 90 miles last week and not much to those who ride but A LOT for some ol fart. The bike is HEAVY, big ol fat tires but speed was not the objective. Weight lose and health was number 1 and 2. Its working just fine. Three weeks and down 2 size of jeans.

At my age and weight, a MILE was "enough" the first time out. I had doubts. 34 miles on the 4th and yep, sore but was ok a few days later and another 20 miler down the tube.

What this has told me is two things. ONE I can do it and TWO I enjoy it. I will want to ride longer rides by next year at the latest. Maybe Ill make a 40 mile ride this summer, maybe not but going to try. Same ol story, the more I ride, the best shape I'm in and the less weight I'm packing up hills.

I weighed 253lbs when I started. Add the bike and I am trucking a LOT of weight around but ......it's all coming together.

POINT is, I will want a regular, LIGHTER road bike in time and for now, till next summer looking at posts such as these to gather all the info I can........and compare dollar spent to what I will find justifiable.

Going to a good LBS isnt much of an option unless I want to drive more than an hour......or 3! What I see and find out about is here online but I really REALLY would like to put feet on the pedals of a "good" road bike.

All I really KNOW right now is that, I will have to get extra income for awhile to AFFORD a good bike, but it seems, so far, to be justifiable......but 3000 dollars? hmmmmm. It would take some convincing.

NOT ever thinking of competition (no desire at all) I just have different priorities when it comes to even weight. "Light enough" will work with more attention to gear ratios than anything, with "fit" being number 1.

Age, bad knees, ankles etc..low end gears are more "custom fit" to my capabilities than one that goes 3 mph faster with higher end gears. As you can tell, Im dang near ignorant......but learning.

Thankfully, hours on the web between now and my next bike will give me most of what I want to know.

RIGHT NOW, I cannot see spending 3k on a bike but I do know there are MUCH higher end bikes (cost wise) than that I have seen online. That said???? If I have the means when buying that I can spare........and find one that seems to be "THE" bike I would want for the rest of my riding on this rock, I'd probably spend it but right now, there's some nice bikes around for about half that which would probably be all I'll ever "need".

NEED however, is in the eye and wallet of the rider/buyer. If someone wants one, and has the funds, buying something else "instead" is crazy in my eyes.

In the short time I have been reading cycling posts I see a HUGE number people comparing to successful riders in equipment, form etc............but they do NOT race themselves. Seems racing fruitless IMO and FOR ME, certainly not something that will effect what I BUY down the road.

2 cents, no toes directly stepped on in this post.
God Bless
 

cindylennom

Chimp
Jan 18, 2014
4
0
You have to really look at all the parts if you are buying it for that price. $3K is a huge sum of money for a bike.
 

maddog17

Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
2,817
106
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
$3K for anything is expensive. for bikes, prices have gone crazy. i'm still shocked that there are some bike builds, roadie mostly, that are $10K plus!! it's funny to think that when i started racing road in '89, a complete bike over $1K was expensive. then Merlin's came out and you were looking at $3K and that was just unheard of. now it's becoming the norm. now your seeing Ti frames in the $3K range, custom steel's for over $2K and some alu's for the same. i'd like to get back into road riding but not for that kind of cash. even looking for something old school is still crazy $$. but demand dictates the prices and as long as there is demand those prices will stay high.