Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Keepcalm
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 7:51 pm

Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by Keepcalm » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:43 am

So I began looking at Fuel EX 7's ($2,400). Turned into looking at Fuel EX 8's ($3,200), and now looking at Fuel EX 9.8's ($4,600).

For those who are not on the biking wagon, from lowest model # to higher the price rises. In return you receive a bike with higher quality/brand components, and a lightweight carbon frame (Carbon exclusively on the 9.8).

I'm having trouble balancing the behavior of remaining economical with my purchase, while still willing to pay a few bucks more for components are are going to last.

So I guess my question which can be answered by anyone, how do you keep yourself in check on not splurging on a model you don't actually "need"?

I always have crazy spenders guilt, I'm the guy that buys a coffee maker and questions whether he should have just bought a $19.99 mr coffee makers from Walmart.

I can cashflow the bike any way I want. I can buy any of them cash, I can take the 0% financing Trek has to offer on their bikes, I can throw it on a CC and get the rewards and float it a month. Having trouble deciding if I should stick to only what I need in a bike or go for the higher end bike and look at it as an investment I'm going to keep for a long time.

User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 13321
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:54 am

If you can afford it and you want it, then buy it.

I don't regret spending $5K on a mountain bike 2 years ago. It was an incredible upgrade from my old one, purchased in 1995 for $1K. Carbon frame, full bounce, tubeless 29 inch tires, disc brakes, top of the line rear derailleur, very nice of the rest of components etc. It's like cheating compared to my old ride.

It's not an investment. It's a consumption item. But I assure you that your hearse won't have a trailer hitch.
Last edited by White Coat Investor on Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7225
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:55 am

This is sort of like investing. You'll need to learn more about bikes and the components. A $7000 bike doesn't have components that'll last longer than a $700 bike. But they'll be lighter and respond better. If you ride a Wal*Mart bike, shift it, hit the brakes. Then ride even a $700 bike from a bike store. The shifting is far more precise. The brakes feel less squishy. The big thing is that the frame is lighter while being stronger. With the $7000 bike, the shifter and brakes feel a "little" more precise. It'll be lighter in the same configuration (suspension wise). Or components are brand names or higher up on the spectrum.

Go to a bike shop that sells lots of mountain bikes. Yes, they do sometimes specialize. I have a local shop that is well known for downhill bikes. Ask them questions. Ask to take a test ride. When buying my son a road bike, I did exactly this and narrowed the choice to 2 bikes in the same price range of different makers. The 2 of us went to the bike trails across the street and rode out, switched bikes and rode back. Both of us preferred one over the other so bought that one.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Keepcalm
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 7:51 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by Keepcalm » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:01 am

How do you guys feel about utilizing Trek's 0% financing (as long as paid off in 12 months). Would give me the flexibility of paying it off in 2 days if I wanted to or extending the full term?

emoore
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by emoore » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:07 am

I'd go for at least full suspension. After that the incremental upgrades of derailers and such have diminishing returns IMO.

fourwheelcycle
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:45 am

Duplicate Post
Last edited by fourwheelcycle on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fourwheelcycle
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:46 am

I can't offer any specific advice on what bike you need because I don't know your age or the type of riding you do. However, I also second guess myself a lot about what level of product I need, in any category from coffee makers to bikes. I usually settle on a price/quality point where the curve has begun to top out, e.g., I generally don't go for the extra 15% in components that add 30% to the price.

I ride a Specialized Carbon Comp hardtail that has SRAM X9 in back and X7 in front. Those are durable and reliable derailleurs. I bought it when I was 63 and at my age I don't ride aggressively enough to need full suspension.

open_circuit
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:20 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by open_circuit » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:03 am

I'm probably just too frugal, but I've been quite happy searching for second-hand bikes on the local mountain biking forums for deals. Buying a 3-5 year old bike with top-end components, and upgrading piecemeal to get what you want can save you a ton of money. Caveat emptor, you need to be sure the frame, fork, derailleurs, etc are all in good working order and know how to turn a wrench with this approach, though.

As a personal bonus, I find it much easier to just ride my used "new to me" mountain bike and not worry about scratching it up: it is pre-scuffed already!

Along with what fourwheelcycle said, you can quickly double your price going from good components to really good components, where the primary difference is a few ounces in weight. Until I'm routinely riding at my peak physical condition, it seems wasteful (to me) to spend 2x the money to save 1/2 lb on components when I've got an extra 10-20 lbs of me to burn off first.

User avatar
gasdoc
Posts: 1475
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:26 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by gasdoc » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:06 am

I prefer components one notch below top, but I do not race. Also, keep in mind that crashes happen, and all may be lost. And I try to match what my colleagues are riding.

Gasdoc

User avatar
prudent
Moderator
Posts: 5496
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by prudent » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:37 am

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

mrb09
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:02 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by mrb09 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:11 am

Not bicycling specific, but related to your question about splurging on unneeded things: "need" is subjective, but depends on much you use it for its intended purpose. Would you use this a couple times a year on a bike path? If so, carbon full suspension probably a needless splurge. Are you out on the trails every weekend and wishing you could go faster with a lighter bike and better suspension? Probably totally worth it.

Specifically for the bike: just stating the obvious, try to ride the two models on a trail similar to the ones you like to ride on. If you can't find a shop that will let you do this, Trek has a demo days calendar.

William104
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:09 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by William104 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:32 am

Need more information to figure out what you really want as far as what type of riding you do. I tend to go for a year or two old model that is the highest end rather than buying a new mid grade model. For instance I'm on a full suspension XC bike with carbon everything and full XTR components. If I were you and wanting to buy new, I'd go with XT or if it has SRAM go XO and you will be plenty happy with the performance without going to the highest end model. I also highly recommend a 1x drivetrain and 27.5 wheels for a good all around ride but this could change depending on what you like to do.

User avatar
queso
Posts: 532
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by queso » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:44 am

Welcome to the club. Hemmed and hawed over upgrading my old Gary Fisher but decided to sell it and get something a "little bit nicer". Ended up with an S-Works Stumpjumper. I'm not one iota faster than I was on my old Sugar 1, but it makes me smile to ride it and gives me motivation to get out and get some exercise so I can keep the cost per ride number on a steady downward trajectory. Enjoy!

alfaspider
Posts: 1370
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by alfaspider » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:34 pm

I ride the predecessor to the EX 9.8 (top fuel). It may be worth looking at used. I paid around $2k for mine when it was just 3 years old. Although It doesn't have the absolute latest and greatest- it's still extraordinarily light weight (~23lbs for a full suspension). It's almost 7 years old now. I've rented brand new $2k bikes, and I still prefer mine- hands down.

sk2101
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by sk2101 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:43 pm

queso wrote:Welcome to the club. Hemmed and hawed over upgrading my old Gary Fisher but decided to sell it and get something a "little bit nicer". Ended up with an S-Works Stumpjumper. I'm not one iota faster than I was on my old Sugar 1, but it makes me smile to ride it and gives me motivation to get out and get some exercise so I can keep the cost per ride number on a steady downward trajectory. Enjoy!
That's the way I see it too. Having nice bikes makes me get out and ride more. That makes it all worth it.

mattfr
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:11 am
Location: France

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by mattfr » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:34 pm

Some great responses as always here on this board.

A few suggestions as a former bike industry insider:

1. Get something you'll be happy with, but don't get sucked into the marketing hype about weight loss and advanced materials. There are and always will be fads in this industry. From a production standpoint, faddish equipment almost always has higher defect rates, unrefined machining processes, etc. Getting a upper-mid range bike will always get you the best bang for your buck in terms of build quality (they've gotten rid of early-stage production issues) and performance. Getting something on the cutting edge simply means that you're the one that gets to bleed for the privilege of being the first. It gives you bragging rights, and if that's important then go right ahead. Just know why you're doing it. :)

2. I'm completely biased, but when possible, go for SRAM equipment. Our friends at QBP (one of the largest distributors of bicycle products in the US) keep tabs on defect rates and SRAM along with their brands Avid, Rock Shox, Truvativ, … products tend to hold up a bit better overall. They're far from perfect and you'll hear anecdotes and horror stories from all sides (any Campy fans here? :) but you'll like the ergonomics of SRAM gear and appreciate the longevity.

3. Since cost is a secondary concern in your case, consider building your bike with the components you want. The experience is scientifically proven to substantially increase intrinsic value (see Mochon et al in 2011 on the IKEA effect) and you'll have a good time. You can even build out your collection of appropriate bike tools.

4. In deciding how much to spend, consider what else you could do with the price difference. A significant other may enjoy a thrifty but comfortable week-long trip to Paris for the difference in what you're paying for two models.

5. Finally, instead of stressing about whether you want pedals that weigh 179g for $450 vs others that weigh 280g for $150, just think about making a trip to the restroom when heading out for a ride. Typically you'll shave off anywhere between 300-400g and cost is nil. :)

User avatar
Cloudy
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:55 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by Cloudy » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:46 pm

How important is wheel size for a beginner?

nimo956
Posts: 720
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:07 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by nimo956 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:56 pm

Look into the company Moots
50% VTI / 50% VXUS

N10sive
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 6:22 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by N10sive » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:03 pm

I'm a pretty avid mountain biker, and don't necessarily heed the boglehead way when it comes to buying bikes. That said whether you want carbon or aluminum would be my first question. Then whichever you do buy the cheapest model.

You can always replace the parts when they wear out. Unless your a semi-pro or pro rider the subtle differences now with the bike technology is just mostly weight and some precision aspects. I would at least spring for a dropper seat post. It makes your life a lot easier.

hudson
Posts: 1418
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by hudson » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:57 am

mattfr wrote:Some great responses as always here on this board.

A few suggestions as a former bike industry insider:

1. Get something you'll be happy with, but don't get sucked into the marketing hype about weight loss and advanced materials. There are and always will be fads in this industry. From a production standpoint, faddish equipment almost always has higher defect rates, unrefined machining processes, etc. Getting a upper-mid range bike will always get you the best bang for your buck in terms of build quality (they've gotten rid of early-stage production issues) and performance. Getting something on the cutting edge simply means that you're the one that gets to bleed for the privilege of being the first. It gives you bragging rights, and if that's important then go right ahead. Just know why you're doing it. :)

2. I'm completely biased, but when possible, go for SRAM equipment. Our friends at QBP (one of the largest distributors of bicycle products in the US) keep tabs on defect rates and SRAM along with their brands Avid, Rock Shox, Truvativ, … products tend to hold up a bit better overall. They're far from perfect and you'll hear anecdotes and horror stories from all sides (any Campy fans here? :) but you'll like the ergonomics of SRAM gear and appreciate the longevity.

3. Since cost is a secondary concern in your case, consider building your bike with the components you want. The experience is scientifically proven to substantially increase intrinsic value (see Mochon et al in 2011 on the IKEA effect) and you'll have a good time. You can even build out your collection of appropriate bike tools.

4. In deciding how much to spend, consider what else you could do with the price difference. A significant other may enjoy a thrifty but comfortable week-long trip to Paris for the difference in what you're paying for two models.

5. Finally, instead of stressing about whether you want pedals that weigh 179g for $450 vs others that weigh 280g for $150, just think about making a trip to the restroom when heading out for a ride. Typically you'll shave off anywhere between 300-400g and cost is nil. :)
Thanks for sharing mattfr! Useful info! I've been mountain biking since 2000 and I'm on my 3rd bike. After the first starter bike, I bought a frame and transferred the parts. After wearing out the frame on bike 2, I replaced the frame, but many of the old parts wouldn't transfer. So bike 3...a 26" wheel bike, has many new parts. I've learned that if you ride a lot, you're constantly replacing stuff that you break or wear out. I'm a year or three away from getting a new bike. It looks like 26" mountain bikes have gone away and the choice is 27.5 or 29 wheels. Triple cranks appear to be disappearing. I'm sure that I'll just buy a frame and add parts...again. I'll steer clear of the low weight/high end components and continue to buy low to mid range components known to be reliable. I've had good luck with SRAM/Avid for chains, derailleurs, and brakes.

halfnine
Posts: 856
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by halfnine » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:17 pm

I am a big believer in frame geometry. At those costs, I'd look at various manufacturers and buy the frame that has the geometry that best suits my build and riding style. Then customize the rest of the parts around it.

chuppi
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:47 am

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by chuppi » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:38 pm

Not many people know that bikes are expensive. I think if you buy any bike and put it to good use, you won't repent it. People often buy and then realize it is not the right one. Give it some serious thought before pulling the trigger. Some bike shops do have demo bikes that you can rent before buying.

I usually buy bikes used. I bought a almost new surly bike on eBay and didn't like it. After a few rides, I sold it without losing much money. I ended up buying a lynskey hardtail which was also used. It has decent components. I love riding it and as and when components need replacement, I will keep upgrading it. I will probably keep this bike forever.
I bought a specialized allez road bike for 300$ in 2012. I used it for commute and might have put some 3000 miles on it. I am ready to reward myself with a better road bike. I am looking for a particular model and likely buy used. I am currently looking for one in the range 2-3K (new ones may be in the 5K range). These things lose significant value once you buy it.

ThankYouJack
Posts: 2017
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Question for MTB'rs. Buying a bike.

Post by ThankYouJack » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:32 pm

OP, are you brand new to mountain biking? If so, I would start on an entry or mid-level hardtail (assuming you're not riding very rough terrain and don't have back problems). I think it'll make you a better rider in the long run as it's very easy to over-bike easy trails and not improve as you would have on a HT where you would have to pick better lines and use better technique.

And if you eventually go with that $5k bike you'll know which one to get, appreciate it that much more and be able to better pinpoint differences in components.

As far as payment, I wouldn't mess around with taking on debt even at 0% interest. I would offer the bike shop cash if they're willing to cut me a deal, if not, I'd pay with my credit card and get 2% back.

Post Reply