Thursday, July 15, 2010

What is the price of your bicycle?

Here at this blog we ride all kinds of bicycles. Mostly re-purposed, passed on from relatives, found on the curbside, with the exception of Ade's Yacht (the bat), I could say all of them did not cost much at all.
Without Me
Good morning San Francisco!
Eddy & mixte
This morning I read an article (from a woman's persepctive, written by Christina Binkley) and found it quite interesting. Check it out at The Season of Biker Chic
These are old-fashioned-looking bikes with heavy frames, strong, wide tires and handlebars high enough to let the rider sit upright.
Well, my frenchie is that. Melyssa's bike is that. And most of Ade's bikes are that. But they certainly did not cost over $1,800 USD. The article does offer information from bikes in the range between $300 - on. I am all for exposure of bicycle city riding of all kinds, not only the uber cutesy marketing that has recently sprung out (not that I am against it either) but all choices. People should ride as they please. And also support new companies that make an effort to be locally active (ie, Public bikes has participated in many events here in San Francisco)
The article also mentions the various companies, targeted at getting more women to ride, which I think sets the tone for a thumbs-up in my books.
My favorite part of the wsj article, which sounds like a story cut for our story blog here is:

"My ride to the office is 7.2 miles, mostly downhill. As I cruised to work, I saw Los Angeles from a new purview. The city is badly in need of bike lanes, and the streets are littered with hazards like glass.

But generally, I found L.A. surprisingly easy to bike in. To avoid car traffic, I tried to stick to quiet neighborhood streets. Being near to the ground allowed me to discover several new shops and restaurants along the way, and the ride made the city community seem closer and smaller. I arrived at work feeling as energized as I do after a morning yoga class. I even made a mental plan to do this more often."

(this excerpt and the quote above from by Christina Binkley: The Season of Biker Chic)

So to put out the question out there, how much would you drop on a new bike? (from "Our bikes are designed in the United States, by us. They are built and assembled in Taiwan...more") or would you rather fix an older bike yourself?
And I'm curious that if design and colour would influence you to drop almost 2K on say, those juicy citrus orange mixte public bikes? If I had spare money I'd be tempted because they are quite irresistible, but to be honest, if I had 1500 to burn on a bike, I'd probably do so on a touring bike like a Surly LTH.


  1. I am a recreational cyclist (MTB, Road) as well as a transportation cyclist (commuting, errands, etc...) and I have several bikes to accommodate these uses. The theme with me seems to be that the more I ride a given bike, the less I am apt to spend on it. For several years I rode a 25+ yr. old 10-speed as my daily driver until the frame broke; and when I decided to buy a new bike to replace it, I spent as little as possible. My thinking was that a daily riding "city" bike was going to be outside often, locked up, etc... and the less the "investment" the better. Strange logic, but it works for me ;)

  2. Re-cycles baby!!! Bicycles should have character, and that can not
    be purchased. You have to earn that. Luckily, old bicycles can be pretty inexpensive which leaves lots of room to make them your own!

  3. I would drop $1500 on a WorkCycles bicycle, because it would honestly enable me to do certain trips by bicycle that I simply cannot do with my old Raleigh that cost me $350. This is not because of the price, but simply because of the differences between the bicycles.

    I think the $1500 would be worth it, because I'd be getting a bicycle which, like my Raleigh (a 1953), would be made to last several generations.

    That being said, my Raleigh is a perfect bicycle for 90% of my trips.

  4. I'm always leery of second hand bikes for the inexperienced purchaser. I think they're ideal for everyone once we build up a little knowledge, but otherwise the purchase of a second hand bike should be done with the guidance of a trusted and far more knowledgeable friend. Otherwise someone might run the risk of paying $400 for a beautiful vintage Raleigh Suburb with mangled bb threads.

  5. My LBS has a new Bianchi for sale at $600 (aus). Allow %100 mark up for the retailer plus $20 freight,China to Aust, the bike is now worth $280 ex wharf.Labour$50???? This would leave the thing worth $230? How do they do it? That is the question!

    just wondering~ian ,Melb

  6. My $5,000 bike is not 50 times better than my $200 bike, for sure. My $200 bike is totally the best bang for buck. Do you want to hear about my 10 other bikes? The ones I have loved and used the most cost me $1200-$1700. See, I figure if I've saved about $8K a year my whole life for never owning a car, well, all bikes that get ridden are cheap.

  7. The only bike I purchased new was my road bike and even it was on clearance. I get a little high from a great deal so even if I was flush with cash for a super spendy bike i'd probably still seek out the best deal possible. My road bike aside, the most I've spent on a bike is $120. Now I've acessorized far beyond that, but still never came close to those prices. The thrill of the chase for a true bargain is priceless.

  8. I love vintage bikes but I don't have a problem with people spending a few thousand dollars on a new bike. If you buy an expensive bike like a Rivendell, and you plan to keep it for the rest of your life, the actual cost is minimal. Plus it's going to fit properly, it's going to be the color you want, and it's pretty to look at. Even if you have to sell it you can still recoup a fair amount of your money, like I did when I sold my LHT.

  9. i think you know my bikes and me by now. none of them is new. i have never bought a new bike or car. i absolutely prefer classic shapes, lines, colors & design. a spare $1500? i'd search for a 1960's cinelli sc in great but not perfect condition. i need to know that what i buy will be worth the same or more in the future should i have to sell it.

    and, btw, Adam, stripped BB threads are not a problem anymore. as usual velo-orange has a solution:

  10. While I have no problem dropping serious money on a super well made bike like a Workcycle (my most likely choice should the Batcyclegentleman come to a premature end), I would only do so for a bicycle that I could use for 90% of my bicycling. After a year of ownership, my road bike has tires with very little wear, so to have it be anything other than a vintage cheepie would be silly.

    Todd- i assume the 5k bicycle is a cargo trike kinda thing, but I'll bite. What are the other bicycles?

  11. My $639 (CDN) Trek Navigator was an upgrade from a $359 Norco Olympia. The ride is smoother, but slower. Would I drop serious coin on a bike? I'm not sure. I drool over the Rivendell Betty Foy, but every time I see that $2000 price tag (for a complete bike) my gut clenches. The next bike I'll buy will probably be in the $900-1000 range because I ride more than I used to, but from a financial standpoint, that price point is a huge barrier.

  12. ade, the $5k bike is an embarrassment at this point. i never ride it. i should clean and sell it. it was my first of 2 custom bikes. sycip made it, back when they worked on pier 33 in SF. i thought it would be the last bike i'd ever own. it's an expedition touring bike with rohloff, schmidt SON, S&S couplings, and a few changes of all the bike-porn-cult-high-end other components out there. i last rode it in earnest in a 300k brevet in 2003.

    i did ride it from portland to sf in 2000, camping. in a couple weeks i will do the same ride on a brompton folding bike, also camping, not because it's better, but because it's plenty good enough.

  13. I bought my bike for $1675 nine years ago and I would do so again. :)


  14. I recently just spent about 3K on my Bakfiet, but I decided that was worth it the moment I took it for the test ride.
    I have noooooo problem spending a lot of money on a bike, as long as it is one that will last a lifetime. For example, my next bike I hope to acquire is a Brompton, then next summer I want to invest in an electrical assist Yuba Mundo! Okay maybe not next summer...

  15. I recently bought a Globe bike for about $900. I live in the suburbs and use it for all my errands within 3 miles (which is quite often). I also have a Fuji road bike which I bought used ($150) and use it for long-distance recreation riding. I hope to use the Globe for the rest of my life and the Fuji until I get tired of it.

  16. Sorry, I’m too stupid to convert currencies. I wanted to say $860. My bike wasn’t THAT expensive. :)


  17. This post is quite timely for me! I'm just about to drop around $1000 for my first road bike (I commute every day on a 15yo Bianchi hybrid, occasionally on a Brompton).

    I thought for a long time I would try to buy a used road bike -- more bang for the buck, right? -- but a lot of friends convinced me that with proper fitting and component changes and so on, I might end up paying just as much or end up with a worse-fitting bike. "Leave the craigslist bike for when you know more," they said. An LBS will make the little adjustments that come with getting used to a new bike for free.

    I never thought I'd want a slick road bike, but then this summer I took up training for a century. Suddenly my heavy steel workhorse doesn't seem so comfortable at mile 45.......

    (it's been great for building muscle, though!)

  18. astroluc/ funny how that works. i have to yet attempt to ride a mt. bike in SF but one of my guy friends is all he rides - says he can jump and skip sidewalks :D

    portlandize/ if SF was any flatter, id be rocking a big cargo bike. i bet they are tons of fun for also trekkin your friends around

    adam/ yes I agree, however somehow the 'let's find me something cheap and see if i like this in the first place (which almost always does)' helps some people get in the groove to later acquire a nicer bike, dont you think?!

    slow rpm/ i have no idea, must be some magic equation !!

    todd/ iluv how most people we know have more than one bike :D

    m+G/ tell me about it, accesories are oh so tempting. i have been shopping for rear large saddle bags and it has been very educational in a fun way, to say the least.

    slavk/ :DDDDD

    myles/ i have enjoyed all the bikes and fixes that you have written about. my fave so far has been the LHT. I have yet to check out rivendells, but as you may know, for the time being I cant bring myself to get one of those…;-) they are like the APple of bikes, seems to be a similar following

    eric/ +iLOVE all of them. if I was your height, you'd be in big troubles!!

  19. cecily/ thanks! i also the same way, speaking of trek+gary fisher bikes, I reently came across newer series they are trying to target towards city riding, not bad i must say

    todd/ i have found sycip appealing in the sense that i am in LOVE with their boccalone custom bike and some other gelato bike. id like to have a change of career doing something on a bike like that, je jee

    nico/ that is awesome!! u got any pictures when you first bought it? send them over =)

    kate/ i tell you. what possible good addictions could be out there - bikes!!

    jennifer/ globes are so nice! it has been pretty nice to see them more and more around the states, think they have done a good job being known in the blogesphere by word-of-mouth

    eva/ wooo-hooo! we'll be doing a century this summer. Both Ade + I have bikes that are pre mid-80s and I think we will do just fine. muscles!! agreeed - these SF hills dont just look pretty in postcards

    thanks for all your comments all, keep them coming!

  20. My road bike cost $25 from Craigslist. Yeah, I'd love to drop a grand or more on a new Trek but it's not gonna happen. There are plenty of cheaper used bikes out there that can be fixed up. REUSE!

  21. hard to say. i spent about $200 for my bike off craigslist, which has all the stuff (including lights and rear lock) that the bikes like PUBLIC Bike and Electra have. i was window shopping some new bikes and $1000+ is high compared to $200. but unfortunately its what's out there, for whatever reason. I wouldn't want to pay $1000, so hopefully if these get more popular, i can upgrade thru craigslist again!

  22. my schwinn hollywood $35- gift to self for 25th birthday and daily rider for 10+ years

    upgrade to schwinn le tour- purchased from junkie in the TL for $20, first bike to go over the bridge

    upgrade to gary fisher montara- found on Dolores st, second "touring" bike

    after these and countless other free and cheap re-cycles i dropped $450 for a NEW soma mixte frame and fork set. then i dropped twice that for parts to build it up. If i were to do it again, it'd be cheaper parts (i'm too special to pay retail ever again) and a more expensive frame set.

    is it worth it? hell yes. my bike as you know has class and if you notice it's the only one i ride, on tours and in the city. everday i think what a lovely and capable and reliable ride i have. I must admit that at first, i wasn't in love with the bike's newness, but i've broken that girl in. next on the scene, lil' frances.

  23. I would not hesitate to drop $2000+ on a good bike if it was what I needed to do the job. I usually buy used bikes, decent ones are hard to come by in my part of the country. I have a variety of bikes with only two being purchased new within the past few years, most are 20+ years old. I have found my bike needs have changed some over the years, so the bikes have changed with them.

    Given how much the average American spends on motor vehicles in their lifetime a few $2000 a piece bicycles looks to me like a helluva bargain.


  24. In bike buying the proverb - "A fool and his money are soon parted." - do so often apply. Fancy and expensive bikes are not neccesarily a 'blue-blood' biker bike!

  25. I'm a huge fan of buying used in almost all aspects of my life (though not so much when buying food). I personally would have a pretty hard time spending more than $200-300 on a bike.

  26. I'm willing to spend (and have spent) a lot on a bike. I paid for my Rivendell with the money I made selling my car and renting out my garage spot. Still, the price of my bike was no more than what lots of people spend on TVs, purses or a few months' car payments. Even an old beater car would cost more than my bike. So would about 1.5 years of public transit passes. I looked around for a used bike for a while, but could not find exactly what I wanted. Now that I've changed to a not-for-profit career, I'm not sure I'd make the same decision, but I'm glad I bought my bike when the money was still rolling in :)

  27. I love my 70's schwinn suburban that I paid about $200 for off craigslist. If someone wants to drop a lot of money on a bike that's their business. My main concern would be locking it up. Having had a bike stolen in the past, I feel you need to be prepared for the possibilfy that it may not be there when you get back.