Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why Would You Spend That Much for a Bicycle?

Walmart will sell you a bicycle for $80. But maybe you don’t like the cheap model. If so, they have bicycles priced as high as $300. Since so many people shop at Walmart, that’s about would people expect to pay for a bicycle, but some bicycles are priced in excess of $10,000. Your average cycling enthusiast doesn’t pay nearly that much. Most of the bikes you’ll find in a bicycle shop are priced between $300 and $2,000. Even that is enough to shock people who are accustomed to Walmart prices.

Most bicycles look alike, so some people struggle with understanding why it costs more to buy a bicycle from a bike shop. It all comes down to components. Just like when you buy a computer you can buy one for a low price if you don’t need the latest and greatest components, you can buy a bicycle with lesser components for cheap, but the better components will cost you. The better components are lighter weight, less resistant, easier to use, and less likely to fail.

When considering how much you should spend, consider what you intend to use the bicycle for. Some people think they need only consider price and appearance, but this is a mistake. There is an implied use that they are considering without realizing it. Some people want a bicycle because they want to go for an evening ride around the neighborhood with the family. Maybe they load them up and carry them to a trail once in a while. For these people, a Walmart bike is probably adequate. If they can afford more, they would be better off with a bicycle store bike, but there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on a bike that is going to see little use.

Walmart bikes are good for about 2,000 miles. That’s about the time the bottom bracket fails. If you’re willing to do the work yourself, you can fix them, but they’re really designed to last about 2,000 miles and then you throw them away and buy a new one. If you take them to a bike shop for service, you can easily spend as much as you paid for the bike getting everything repaired.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re big into racing bicycles, you’re going to be looking for the lightest weight bikes that can handle a lot of stress. On a road bike, you don’t want to try to shift gears and not be able to because you are pushing so hard on the pedals. On a mountain bike, you don’t want to come over a jump and the handlebars break loose under the strain. On any bike, you don’t want the brakes to give out on you. You want the best bike you can afford.

But in between you have people who are out for their exercise. These people ride frequently and put in a significant number of miles. They are looking for comfort. They are looking for reliability. They are looking for maintainability. They are looking for ease of use.

There are also people who want to commute using a bicycle. Any bicycle can be used as a commuter bike, but when you’re on a bicycle every day, you become more selective. There are certain features that you want. You want it to be easy to ride.

It seems to me that the more time people spend on a bicycle the more they are willing to spend on a bicycle. And when people spend more on a bicycle they are more likely to spend more time on a bicycle.