£800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Tangled Metal
Posts: 5399
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

£800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby Tangled Metal » 15 Jul 2018, 9:15pm

I've been having discussions about the value of spending more money for anyone who isn't into the details of bikes.

What I mean is probably best illustrated by what you get at those price points in touring bikes.
Frames - 725 steel instead of aluminium with cro moly forks / Reynolds 520 frame and forks / other cro moly steel F&F.
Gearing - tiagra instead of sora or deore instead of acera/alivio
Extras - Tubus racks instead of generic or own brand racks. Dynamo hub with lights instead of formula hubs and no lights. Schwalbe tyres such as marathon mondial instead of lesser brand.

Basically they're better bikes at £1600 than £800 on paper but would someone notice? Especially if even £800 is a lot more than their previous bikes cost?

My bike history was heavy and cheap bikes until I bought my own using a summer of work between GCSEs and starting sixth form. That was £450 spent nearly 30 years ago. I noticed the weight difference 9.5kg instead of half a tonne. I set off from the bike shop and stomped down in my pedal because it was on a hill just like I'd do with my old bike. Pulling against the pedal stroke and I pulled the bike from under me it was so light compared before.

I replaced the bike with a £550 hybrid 25 years later. Different type of bike and different type of riding so I didn't notice weight. Then another 9.5kg road bike (aluminium with carbon fork) cost £650. Lighter and I felt a bit nippier. More than good enough for me.

My partner has a £400-500 mtb. The £1600 touring bike is the same weight. Would she notice a benefit? Can anyone explain what doubling the price from £800 would feel like or give you?

My personal view is to buy the better one. For me at least. If I didn't have a secondhand touring recumbent for touring duties I'd be tempted by one of the options she has. Or at least the £1000 for a Spa tourer.

Whilst this thread started as a query about the effect of money on what a bike will feel like, it's kind of a bike buying advice thread too. Not least because this bike would mostly be used for commuting and leisure riding duties. The touring is really 2 weeks a year for now. Would a £1600 touring bike really be worth it?

brynpoeth
Posts: 10560
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby brynpoeth » 15 Jul 2018, 9:19pm

I would spend GBP 1600 on a complete stable of three singles and a tandem

In engineering lighter better products have downsides

Cycles are not exempt from the laws of engineering
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby meic » 15 Jul 2018, 10:26pm

It really depends on whether or not you have a better use for the money.
No point having a cheap bike inorder to spend the saved money on improved quality of some other consumer good that you would not appreciate, and of course vice-versa.
If cycling is your main hobby and you really like a particular £1,000 Spa tourer which will last twenty years, that doesnt really count as extravagant in the 21st Century.
If you buy it, ride it a few times and leave it in the back of the garage for the kids to tip when you die, that probably was not money well spent.

So if you are going to enjoy it and get your full value from it, it is "worth" the extra.

I reckon a bike is worth £2,000 of my money (hopefully another 20yrs left in the saddle) but as I did that 7 years ago, I will not be doing it again.
If I was richer I would probably be happy to spend £6,000.

Functionally I did absolutely fine with a £45 second hand Raleigh 531 MTB. Still enjoy riding it, even though almost nothing of it is actually part of the original it. :lol:
Yma o Hyd

gnvqsos
Posts: 221
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 7:17pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby gnvqsos » 15 Jul 2018, 10:35pm

I would spend less by purchasing the cheaper option and focus on getting really fit.Shift your question ie are you good enough for the bike>

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby meic » 15 Jul 2018, 10:47pm

If you are good you dont need a good bike.
Racing performance isnt a valid way of looking at it. The bike is to be appreciated and it isnt all about speed and fitness, there are other reasons for riding a bike. Yes, I did actually say that.
You spend the money to extract the best from the body that you have, regardless of whether it a super fit lean killing machine or a super fat long ago killed machine.
Yma o Hyd

Brucey
Posts: 34866
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby Brucey » 15 Jul 2018, 10:52pm

Tangled Metal wrote:….Basically they're better bikes at £1600 than £800 on paper but would someone notice?...


essentially the former gives you an opportunity for a form of 'lightweight engineering' that you certainly will notice; you wallet will be twice as light as it was before.... :wink:

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

belgiangoth
Posts: 1243
Joined: 29 Mar 2007, 4:10pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby belgiangoth » 15 Jul 2018, 11:23pm

It's not just weight, a better bike will be stiffer in the right places, not the wrong ones; the wheels will be better quality, lighter bust just as durable, the higher spec gears will ... be better somehow? (I don't use gears).

A £500 Bike is twice as good as a £300 bike, a £800 bike will be noticeably better. For someone who is used to a £400 bike they may not tell the difference they are paying for as they move above £1,000; but then they may not discover they need better for quite some time (whereas if they find what they are missing from the £800 it would be a real pain). I think as you get to higher costs you not only hit marginal gains that are less obvious, but also you start to pay for upgrades that may not be exactly what you want - e.g. the more expensive bike might have posh handlebars/saddle/pedals/tyres that are not the ones you want. Potentially the cheaper bike with the right upgrades would be better than the more expensive bike out of the box.
Then as you get to higher price points you are starting to pay for name recognition, so you could pay 1,600 for a bike with a label, or potentially find the right no-name bike for a couple hundred less.

What s the specific choice you are considering?
If I had a baby elephant I would let it sleep in the garage in place of the car. If I had either a garage or a car. (I miss sigs about baby elephants)

Clipper_2018
Posts: 31
Joined: 14 May 2018, 4:38pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby Clipper_2018 » 15 Jul 2018, 11:26pm

£800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?


In both cases ... depreciation!

tim-b
Posts: 986
Joined: 10 Oct 2009, 8:20am

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby tim-b » 16 Jul 2018, 5:59am

Hi
Bike for bike, not a lot. I've got one road bike that is double the value of the other, same basic frame and fork material (different letters and numbers), similar geometry, same size wheels. Groupset has the same maker's name on it, different model name. Brifters work the same number of gears and rim brakes. Weight is different, tyres are bigger and tougher on the cheaper bike, it's also fitted with 'guards and a bigger bag, so it could be slimmed down

Ancillaries. The insurance premium. My house insurance includes £1000 per bike max, after that it's specialist insurers or a more expensive household premium

In a few months you'll pick up a new £1300 road bike for under £1000, shop around

Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

reohn2
Posts: 35314
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby reohn2 » 16 Jul 2018, 9:23am

Considerations are how much ùse will it get and how far will it be ridden daily.
If it'll get quite a lot of use then consider spending more money with an emphasis on frame,wheels and racks,steel for the former and latter,handbuilt good quality wheels are a top priority.The drivetrain needn't be high end Acera works fine,brakes need careful consideration if discs quality cable discs are a joy,mid range Shimano V's are as good as any other rim brakes.The rest of the cycle parts are to suit the rider but needn't be high end either though the saddle and grips need to be just right so better quality be needed.

The only compromise should it be needed,,or if only used occasionally in that list are frameset and wheels.

The lighting system is dictated by how much after dark riding you do.
Last edited by reohn2 on 16 Jul 2018, 10:23am, edited 1 time in total.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2212
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby Cugel » 16 Jul 2018, 9:24am

meic wrote:If you are good you dont need a good bike.
Racing performance isnt a valid way of looking at it. The bike is to be appreciated and it isnt all about speed and fitness, there are other reasons for riding a bike. Yes, I did actually say that.
You spend the money to extract the best from the body that you have, regardless of whether it a super fit lean killing machine or a super fat long ago killed machine.


Many miss the fundamental idea that a bike (like anything else with a purposeful design) needs to fulfil the purpose(s) of the rider. These are far more variable than the current cycling media and their manufacturer masters suggest. Not everyone needs to be a Strava-striving MAMIL on a racing bike. As you say, cycling is not all about speed and fitness, even though these aspects may be part of the "why I ride a bike" mix for many kinds of cycling.

So a bike designed and manufactured well for it's functional purpose is essential whilst buying a fashionable bike-frock to impress Mr Jones next door is not. (Unless you enjoy participating in the consumer races rather than the bike races).

But it's also a mistake to think that price represents the only kind of value. This "the only value is cash value" is a filthy mental disease invented by an American banker! Bicycles can have many kinds of value that may or may not cost more to implement. A heavy Dutch roadster of small cost may well be just the thing for the vicar's wife, who goes about in a frock and sandals for no more than a couple of miles at a time carrying the hymn books in her handlebar basket. (Forgive my stereotyping).

Moreover, it is easy to pay for a fashionable label rather than an essential or improved functional part on a bike. Many fashionable labels cost far more than the bike they're stuck on! They add no functionality at all, apart from providing we sceptics with something to guffaw at.

Then there's the law of diminishing returns. Does Dura ace perform 2 or 3X better than Ultegra; or 10X better than Claris? Of course not. In fact, certain aspects of the expensive stuff make it less functional, at least in terms of longevity and resilience. Expensive lightweight stuff may well prove to also bend more easily than does the beefier low-cost item if and when stressed.

Finally, consider the different marketing models that exhibit vastly different profit margins, mark-ups and all the other devices for extracting money from your wallet. A Decathlon bike may cost half the price of something of exact functional equivalence from a chain of sellers and middlemen all adding their cuts of the inflated profit to the price you have to pay.

Cugel

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4478
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby foxyrider » 16 Jul 2018, 9:25am

There is a point where the effect of spending more money will have smaller and smaller advantage. At the lower price points you can see quite a lot of advantage as you spend more, better quality frames, more robust wheels, higher quality components. Weight will drop, durability of parts will improve and whilst there may be negligible difference in 'feel' between say £400 and £500, make a bigger step though and it'll be quite noticeable.

However you get to a point where there are no more obvious steps up, a £1600 bike will look, and ride pretty much the same as a £1500 bike. At this point you can be paying quite a bit more for just a brand name. Oh, if you spend £2500 you might shave more weight, have 'nicer' finishing kit but to be honest I doubt most people would notice the difference.

I got my CF beast at a real knock down price and on cyclescheme so instead of £1800 I paid @ £600. Compared to my other bikes it's a lot lighter and responsive. I've since upgraded from the full Campag Veloce to full Campag Super Record, carbon bars, saddle, new wheels etc etc and chopped 1kg off the weight. The replacement cost would be @ £5500 but whilst it's nice to own and pose on it doesn't do anything really different to its original iteration.

Would I spend say £7000 on another bike to take another few grams off the weight? Probably not, I couldn't ride further, faster, longer - i'm past the point of worrying over a couple of watts saved with aero.

Of course, different styles of bike will have different points where the returns stop being economic. A touring bike is different to a time trial machine, comparing the relative costs is wrong, like comparing a camper van with a dragster or a family SUV with a 2 seat sportscar.

A lot of newbies spend more than is sensible in the expectation of instant gratification, best gears, frame, lighter, 'faster'. Problem is, they don't know what their machine is actually better than, they've not the experience of lower price points. Of course the bike companies don't mind, they sell more high price point machines after all.

The old advice of spending the money on the frame still, in my view, holds. Look to see what the parts are hung on rather than neccesarily just what the parts are - they can be replaced/upgraded.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

iandriver
Posts: 2106
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby iandriver » 16 Jul 2018, 9:47am

Tangled Metal wrote:Extras - Tubus racks instead of generic or own brand racks. Dynamo hub with lights instead of formula hubs and no lights. Schwalbe tyres such as marathon mondial instead of lesser brand.


All these I'd definitely pay for. Good hand built wheels, dynohubs, good tyres and racks are a real bonus IMHO. Once the miles rack up, I think you'd start to notice if you had both bikes in parallel universes.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Jul 2018, 10:30am

I think that when both were new, quite a lot of the difference would not be obvious, except to somebody who knew the difference. Once upon a time, a "sports bike" would have had drop handlebars and little else in common with a "lightweight." I've put those in quotes because they were recognised types of bike. Paying more for a bike most noticeably meant less weight.

More recently, within a category of bike - eg road bike - the cheapest will be made to appear as similar as possible to the most expensive. In particular, the prominent components such as the gear mechs will be branded - probably Shimano - even if they are a lower group. The cheaper the bike, the more the other components will be unbranded. One of my regular concerns here is wheels. OK brand new but regular use will sort out the best from the not-so-good. If anything repays investment wheels must be high on the list but with an off-the-peg bike are a target for economy.

LollyKat
Posts: 2848
Joined: 28 May 2011, 11:25pm
Location: Scotland

Re: £800 or £1600 bike, what will you notice really?

Postby LollyKat » 16 Jul 2018, 10:33am

Sometimes you can pay more for slightly reduced weight or extra sophistication at the expense of durability - think 10-speed versus 9-speed versus 8-speed. And comfort and handling doesn't necessarily depend on price.

I have just built up a Spa steel tourer frame with bits from another bike. It is supremely comfortable and handles like a dream - predictable yet responsive. £1000 for the complete bike comes well within your price range. Spa keep all sizes available for test rides and although they don't make it clear on their websight you can spec it however you want.

Edit: more details in my review here.
Last edited by LollyKat on 16 Jul 2018, 12:42pm, edited 1 time in total.