How much for a decent bike?

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How much for a decent bike?

Postby rob_wales » 5 Jan 2019, 6:15pm

I bought two new bikes this year to replace my old ones. A Raleigh Mustang Elite trail/road bike and a Voodoo Bizango mountain bike The Mustang was £1100 and the Voodoo was £650. Both are excellent bikes, comfortable, light, speedy, and seem to be of good quality. I was lucky because I don't know a lot about the technical side of bikes and the terminology used - as Woody Allen said about accountants in his movie Manhattan "those guys have a language of their own".

So, how much (if price is a general guide) should you have to pay for a bike of a particular type (MTB, road etc) assuming it's not for anything specialized and/or is not going to get very heavy usage. And is it worth paying £2,000 for a bike which in 5 years might be quite out of date?

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby Brucey » 5 Jan 2019, 6:36pm

'value' is at least in part a matter of perception (i.e. in the eye of the beholder), rather than an absolute.

FWIW I think a £400 bike is often 'twice as good' (a fair bit lighter and quite a lot more durable) vs a £200 bike and whilst further increases in price do usually improve the bike in specific ways, it is very much a matter of diminishing returns. I doubt very much if you would notice much difference when riding if you bought broadly similar bikes that cost twice as much as you spent.

Note that folk which appear to be 'bike snobs' (i.e. they are fussy about the equipment they use) broadly fall into two categories

a) those for whom buying an expensive shiny new bike is basically another exercise in conspicuous consumption and
b) those who have been riding long enough to have broken lots of stuff that (regardless of cost) wasn't quite good enough after all.

Telling the difference is not always easy but IME the latter will often train on bikes that look terrible (but mysteriously go quite well and don't break) even if they have a fairly esoteric race bike.


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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby JakobW » 5 Jan 2019, 6:39pm

You're going to get as many different answers as replies I guess, and of course the answer depends on how much maintenance you're comfortable doing yourself, where and how you ride, etc., etc.

But for road bikes I'd have said you're unlikely to get anything durable new under £300-350 or so (and at this price point you need to be very careful what you're going for, though e.g. Decathlon have some cracking bargains around this level), £5-600 gets you something decent, and much above £1100-1200 you're into diminishing returns unless you're a very serious racer or have specialised requirements. If you're happy buying second-hand (and possibly doing your own builds), then you could potentially knock 40-60% off those figures.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby drossall » 5 Jan 2019, 6:51pm

Agree with the price points above. It's like anything else made for the consumer market; if you can buy something for up to double the price of the cheapest, it will give better, more enjoyable service than the cheapest would. You'll be able to pay ten times more than that, but you'll only get a return if (a) you know enough already to be able to choose a suitable product and/or (b) you're buying for the pleasure of owning "the best" or something near to it.

So, most people are well-advised not to buy the expensive product until they have already owned not-the-cheapest. And they may never move on from that, and be quite happy.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby thelawnet » 5 Jan 2019, 6:55pm

How long is a piece of string?

There are many types of bike and many definitions of 'decent'. For example the Bazango has a fork that is very far top of the range but it is still better than entry level. On the other hand the brakes on it are the most basic hydraulic disc brakes and 'nice' brakes would be a bit more money. Some people however would insist on full suspension for MTBing, which will cost more money because you have a more complex frame & a rear shock to pay for. Others will say you need a dropper post.

Hence IMO the Bazango is MORE than decent, as this is £350 and quite nice enough. ... 79537.html

If you're a mug, and like your bike to say 'Trek' rather than 'Decathlon', you can pay £550 for a very similar bike. ... 7/p/17382/

MTB specs to look at:

(a) tyres - not particularly important as they can be changed
(b) rims - double wall aluminium, 32 hole is standard. wider rims are standard these days than previously
(c) hubs - anything Shimano branded at all is fine. Often this is not disclosed. But possibly a cheapo bike may have an off brand?
(d) fork - the standard entry level is Suntour XC. This goes XCT (worst), XCM (better), XCR (slightly better). The XCR exists in 'Coil' and 'Air' variants, while XCT & XCM are both coil only. Some people claim that XCT is unusably bad. I don't know if this is true, and may have been in the past. It is notable that XCT & XCM have roughly the same weight (around 2.8kg), while XCR is more like 2.3kg/2.4kg. I use XCR coil for thousands of miles & it's just fine. There is then Raidon, then Epixon, which are air only. You may find a 'Rockshox' fork, generally these are more expensive for the same performance than Suntour and are another one for the label snobs. There are various cheapo coil Rockshox fork to impress the unwary.
Other brands besides these two on cheap bikes may be a sign of very cheap rubbish.
(e) Brakes - Shimano hydraulic brakes are all good. Other brands of hydraulic brakes are probably ok. Other brakes may be a sign you have a cheap bike.
(f) Shifters - cheap bikes may have Shimano 'EZ Fire' shifters/brake levers. They are integrated into one unit & look clunky. They work just fine but are a pain for upgrading/repairing and best avoided in favour of seprate units. SRAM is another fine choice. Other brands than these two may be a sign of cut corners.
(g) Cassette - a cassette is a minimum, a freewheel is a sign of a supermarket 'BSO' basically. The number of speeds doesn't matter that much in all honesty, they all work fine.
(h) Derailleurs - the cheapest have 'Shimano Tourney', which says 'cheap', but actually works just fine. More expensive Shimano models may be better. Clutch-equipped derailleurs are an improvement off-road and a sign of a far-from-cheapest bike.
(i) Drivetrain - 1x is slightly lighter and fine if you drive to the MTB trail, and generally not on cheapest bikes, but not so good for road miles. Expensive or impossible to change down the line.

Road bikes are a bit less involved, as you don't have to fret about forks. Basically more money = lighter & better components, and if you avoid freewheel bikes then you will be ok. Any Shimano setup with STI levers works fine as a basis, more expensive models are not necessarily going to shift better if they are not kept well fettled.

The basic spec is thus Shimano Claris 8 speed with a front derailleur. These days you'll probably find a 'carbon' fork, as they're quite cheap from the far east, and reduce weight & road buzz (a bit).

In 'Trek' logo £600 ... -2/p/23522

Decathlon make one with a clone 'Microshift', which seems to be ok and is £350 ... 79069.html It's heavier than the Trek though.

If you want a 'gravel'/'adventure' bike you'll pay a substantial premium because you're paying for 'new' tech (which is nothing of the kind, just repackaged), and the manufacturers force you into a more expensive drivetrain, in this case a '1x' drivetrain which is more expensive than basic, proven 2x or 3x systems.

The same thing applies to road bikes with disc brakes, particularly hydraulic discs. These are cheap as chips to make but they want to milk the current trends by charging hundreds extra for something they knock out for £30 on mountain bikes.

Hence £1400 for a (admittedly otherwise nicer) hydraulic disc-equipped Trek road bike ... c/p/17352/

If you can make do with caliper brakes, or just ride your MTB when it's raining/whatever excuse it is you have for 'needing' discs, you will save lots of money. And wait five years and probably buy a new hydraulic disc road bike for £500.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby Canuk » 5 Jan 2019, 7:21pm

I haven't bought a new bike in about 5 years. I'm thinking of a gravel bike this year but probably have more pressing demands.

Best value bike I bought recently was a mint Cannondale Caad 10,with Ultegra /105 mix. I paid 400 euros for it, which is a good price because it would have been about 1600 new. I like the frame especially, they are about 1050gr for the 10 in 54cm, and are extremely stiff with a very large oversized down and head tube. It rides like a race bike, but has all the comfort (because of Cannondales legendary design, angles and frame manufacture) of an all day bike. I can easily knock out 100 milers on this bike with no real discomfort. Built its about 17 lbs.

I only use it at weekends and am considering (as I got the bike cheap) upgrading it with second hand Di2 group I bought recently. This would take the purchase to about £900. Not bad for a lightweight performance bike with electronic gears. I suppose a brand new, shop bought bike of similar spec and quality would be around £4-5k.
I tend to stick with shimano drive trains. I've used the Microshift as mentioned above but they're not a patch on even entry level shimano. Best avoided.

As soon as you wheel a new bike out your lbs you are losing half the value straight off the bat.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby peetee » 5 Jan 2019, 7:31pm

None of my bikes are less than 10 years old, most are considerably more. They are all enjoyable to ride, well maintained, fully functioning and capable of doing the job they were designed for so in that respect they will never be 'out of date'.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby iandusud » 6 Jan 2019, 10:51am

The thing to bear in mind is that, with the exception of top bespoke stuff, everything is built down to a price - it's how our economic model works. This means that at any price point compromises are being made to keep the cost of manufacture as low as possible. Therefore if you go for the cheapest you can expect compromises to have been made at every point, so parts are going to wear out or fail rapidly. As someone else has said, if a basic bike costs £200 then a £400 bike is probably going to be twice as good. I have an alloy framed Giant road bike that I paid £900 for new (reduced from £1200) 5 years ago. It has seen a lot of use. In 2017 I decided to relegate the Giant to use as my winter bike and get another road bike for summer use. My "new" summer bike (Rose Xeon CGF 4400) has a carbon fibre frame, fancy wheels, and weighs about 2kg less than the Giant and cost twice as much. Is there much difference in performance between the two bikes? In reality not a lot. They are both comfortable bikes that I can ride all day long. The Rose has a bit more get up and go but I don't race. I don't in any way regret my choices and really enjoy having a light, stripped down bike for sunny days. The point I'm making is that double the price doesn't equate to double the bike at that price point. My brother decided to by a road bike last year. He was looking at various bikes at around £400-500. I consider these to be pretty much entry level prices. I eventually persuaded him (he's careful with money!) to give himself a budget of £1000. He ended up buying a Trek from a local dealer who did a proper bike fit for him. He couldn't be more pleased.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby rob_wales » 6 Jan 2019, 6:02pm

iandusud wrote:My brother decided to by a road bike last year. He was looking at various bikes at around £400-500. I consider these to be pretty much entry level prices. I eventually persuaded him (he's careful with money!) to give himself a budget of £1000. He ended up buying a Trek from a local dealer who did a proper bike fit for him. He couldn't be more pleased.

I'd agree with that figure of £1,000. As I said in my OP I don't have a lot of technical knowledge about bikes, I just wanted a couple of bikes to enjoy, but I wanted them to be fairly good quality. I came to the conclusion at the time that £1,000 was probably a reasonable sum for each bike. Having said that there are exceptions that are cheaper, and I think the Voodoo I bought was one. It retailed at £650 as I said, but I actually got mine for £530 due to last minute discount (no longer there), which is quite impressive for such a bike, as this review points out

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby Jamesh » 6 Jan 2019, 6:45pm

Basic but adequate road bikes start at about £350 with an alu frame, claris groupsets and carbon forks.
To get something appreciatively better will cost you double that.
And carbon bikes with much better wheels will be 4x that!
The best bike is the bike you can ride in all weathers, leave on any station and see it at the end of the day!

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby thelawnet » 6 Jan 2019, 6:52pm

Jamesh wrote:The best bike is the bike you can ride in all weathers, leave on any station and see it at the end of the day!

Well that's a £20 bike.... My wife has a rather horrid bike. It's big and heavy and has low-end components (Tourney). But nobody will steal it.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby rob_wales » 6 Jan 2019, 7:21pm

Jamesh wrote: ... leave on any station and see it at the end of the day!

That would be the one I saw last week in a bike shop that came with a very large muscular-looking chap who will stand guard over it while on your commute? :roll:
Last edited by rob_wales on 6 Jan 2019, 9:34pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby Samuel D » 6 Jan 2019, 8:15pm

rob_wales wrote:And is it worth paying £2,000 for a bike which in 5 years might be quite out of date?

If it works well today it will work well in five or fifty years – degradation from age and use aside – since humans and roads don’t change.

Whether it’s ‘out of date’ by then depends on what you mean by that. Bicycles are constantly changing since their makers cannot claim their new wares are better unless they have changed in some way. Most of this change is fashion-driven and aesthetic, e.g. the ever-faster cycles of preferred colours, graphic design elements, frame tube arrangements, Shimano’s continual tinkering with the surface shapes of derailleurs, cranks, shifters, etc. Often these changes are portrayed as functional with undefined claims like improved comfort or better ergonomics when they’re transparently change for the sake of novelty. These changes are precisely to make you think your five-year-old bicycle is out of date, but only a fool would fall for that. Right?

The bicycle has been nearly completely efficient at transferring power to the rear wheel for about a century, so significant improvements in that sense cannot be made. Bicycles are a small fraction of their riders’ weight, so major improvements are no longer possible there either. Similarly, the aerodynamic drag of a bicycle is a small fraction of its rider’s drag, and tyre rolling resistance is low. Combined, these things leave very little room for meaningful performance improvements outside of racing for valuable prizes.

There’s more scope for improvement in cost and reliability, but there isn’t much appetite for that. Quite the opposite: buyers care less than ever and high price and impracticality are often status symbols.

In some ways bicycles do improve (disc brakes are a commonly cited example). Such significant changes are only significant to bicycle nerds, not to humanity’s basic use of the bicycle. They always have associated downsides, and anyway they happen infrequently – not every five years.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby thelawnet » 6 Jan 2019, 10:32pm

Samuel D wrote:Whether it’s ‘out of date’ by then depends on what you mean by that.

I think partly it's a matter of value.

Someone put these up on sale on Facebook yesterday for £60 the pair


I guess the Specialized was quite nice 20 years ago, the Carrera looks ok too tbh, BUT they are only worth what someone will pay for them then be willing to repair. Presumably a new Specialized full sus would be £1k+. But then there are cosmetic concerns because presumably you'll have to spend something on it to restore it to original condition at which point well you could just buy a new bike, not necessarily a Specialized full sus, but something, so it has value as a sort of retro piece and in that case clearly the value has limits on it as 26" wheels are no longer fashionable etc, and not everyone has the time and knowledge to restore such a thing.

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Re: How much for a decent bike?

Postby The utility cyclist » 7 Jan 2019, 3:35am

You can get far more value by buying parts and frame separate so you can shop around. I put together a top of the range bike for £1500 a couple of years ago. It was an ex-conti pro team frameset that was unused by the team and the bike manufacturer sponsor was selling off the leftover frames on ebay. I bought new Dura Ace components (11 speed) incl STIs from Merlin cycles, I already had a full carbon FSA K-Force light chainset that I bought with hardly any miles on it for just over £100, also bought top end Modolo carbon bars for not very much as they were a tad narrow for the original owner and then bought some carbon wheels from private seller in Germany that had about 200-300 miles on them (FRM carbon hubs/aerolite spokes+gigantex rims). Ritchey superlogic post, carbon railed saddle, carbon botle cages.
Well under UCI limit.
If I had bought equivalent from a shop it'd be around 2.5-3 times more, you'd have been pushed to notice a difference between my bike and one spanking new from a retailer after 3-4 decent rides.
The only other way to avoid most of the depreciation is to buy a future classic or a decent spec second hand bike that's hardly been used. I grabbed a Principia Rex with Dura Ace 9 speed about 11 years ago for £600 and before that a Raleigh Titanium with Dura Ace 9 speed for circa £350.

ATEOTD. spend as much as you want, for some £10,000 on a bike is not a great deal (you can certainly spend a LOT more than £10k, very easily too!), for others £200 is a lot.
There's no right or wrong on how much one spends, despite the same old names coming out with the same old tired trope about consumerism (then ignoring their own buying habirs :roll: ) it's no-one else's business apart from yours as to how much you spend and what latest gadgets or whatever shiny new thing.
NEVER feel guilty about pending the money, if it makes you feel good and encourages you to cycle/cycle more than it's money well spent. :D