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  1. #1
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    Here's the Real Cost of Owning a bike...

    ...including theft and maintenance
    Factor In Bike Maintenance and Theft - Business Insider

  2. #2
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    Nice read, I am not sure but it seemed that the spread sheet was a bit optimistic about monthly cost. My bike had been on the rode for 7 months with a total cost of about $15 for a "re-tension'ed" rear rim after about 1300 miles. Nevertheless, I do agree that it is cheaper then a car.

    Mark
    2012 XXL Carve Expert

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by millertm View Post
    Nice read, I am not sure but it seemed that the spread sheet was a bit optimistic about monthly cost. My bike had been on the rode for 7 months with a total cost of about $15 for a "re-tension'ed" rear rim after about 1300 miles. Nevertheless, I do agree that it is cheaper then a car.

    Mark
    I have a 2004 350z rusting in my driveway.

    my daily bike is a gt karakoram xl xc
    2 in riser 720 am bars
    Dj stem
    Ritchey lockons
    Sram x4 drive train with 8 speed.
    X fusion slide 29er forks
    Novatec fr/dh demon v2 wheelset, heavy but set and forget is how i roll.
    Hollowtech 660 cranks
    deity pedals
    40C schwalbe Marathon slicks.
    Cane headset
    Hayes disc mech

    This bike takes giant drops and 6 -8 jumps.

    Since the bike is all black, i electrical taped down all cables.
    built the drive train my self and yes i measured the chain length perfectly.
    Its nearly silent on the trail.
    Hub body is loudest.

    Stealth mtb's are where its at. I hate hearing hub body sound pollution.

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Interresting, but not very realistic. For one thing, theft (one of the only two factors they really looked at) is only a major issue for people in high theft areas. More importantly, I saw zero mention of the two biggest expenses: Upgraditis and N+1 syndrome.
    Recalculating....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Interresting, but not very realistic. For one thing, theft (one of the only two factors they really looked at) is only a major issue for people in high theft areas. More importantly, I saw zero mention of the two biggest expenses: Upgraditis and N+1 syndrome.
    Word. With the upgrades I do, I don't think I save much. Benefit of bike riding and tinkering is maintaining my sanity!

  6. #6
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Interresting, but not very realistic. For one thing, theft (one of the only two factors they really looked at) is only a major issue for people in high theft areas. More importantly, I saw zero mention of the two biggest expenses: Upgraditis and N+1 syndrome.
    N+1 Syndrome? What's that? I hope I don't get it. It sounds expensive.

    Otherwise, that article was "cute" although probably not all that accurate for everybody.

  7. #7
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    I'm a big fan of planning and analysis.

    But the author of that article may be the most boring person in the world.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    N+1 Syndrome? What's that? I hope I don't get it. It sounds expensive.
    You could always do what I do-
    join a forum where somebody else buys a new bike every time you turn around and get half that new bike kick out of the other guy`s purchases
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    ^ I'm helping a co-worker shop for an old frame to convert to a singlespeed, and it's totally not helping with my N+1 Syndrome.

  10. #10
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    It makes sense, but I would have appreciated a breakdown of what the author is buying and how often.

    Certain things like handlebar tape get replaced more frequently than drivetrain bits on my commuter. For that matter, I tend to destroy gloves and need to get a new pair fairly regularly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    It makes sense, but I would have appreciated a breakdown of what the author is buying and how often.
    He did post the spreadsheet here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...wdVpwS0E#gid=0

    But he really doesn't understand what's going on.

    First I spoke to Tito at Bicycle Habitat...an annual tuneup, that’s $130,” said Tito. “All the parts you need are extra. So that’s just the labor cost.”
    Followed by:

    I called up Ellen Aagaard, a Seattle bicycle instructor and serious recreational cyclist...“Learn how to check for wear and tear on the drivetrain. Learn how to adjust the drivetrain. Learn how to replace brake pads. Learn how to check the rims and spokes. Keep your bike clean and lubed. Somebody less picky than me could do that in half an hour.” Does this actually save money compared to Tito’s annual tuneup? Absolutely, said Aagaard.
    Does not paying for labor actually save you money on labor? Absolutely!
    (he then for some reason chooses $75 as his annual tune-up costs - he's only having Tito do a little over half a tune-up?)

    Put enough wrong numbers into a spreadsheet, and eventually you'll end up with something that looks like it makes sense. This is why people don't like accountants.

  12. #12
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    that spreadsheet doesn't make sense. what do those numbers mean for average life? if it's a rating/ranking, it's not right. IME, saddles DO NOT last as long as wheels. that spreadsheet is someone pretending to be analytical when they don't know what analytical really means.

    so there's an attempt to quantify theft as a cost (and not a very good one). the assumption of the rate, as well as the assumption that it happens to everyone eventually are big assumptions. I have not had a single bike stolen from me over my entire life of owning bikes, going back to when I was a kid. That dates back to 1985 at least, and covers at least 7 bikes. In some cases, it may be worth invoking homeowners'/renters' insurance to replace a stolen bicycle. that obviously depends on your deductible and the cost of said bicycle and would require some insurance industry statistics to flesh out.

    but I think the overall conclusion (that the cost of owning a bicycle is, or at least can be, an order of magnitude less than the cost of owning a car), makes sense, though the exact details of it are going to differ. Because frankly, who in this forum has only purchased the items in the spreadsheet at the listed cost for bike commuting? The only item on the list that counts as apparel is the helmet, and that was a fairly cheap helmet (that should have a replacement interval/life span). No shorts. no gloves. no glasses. no shoes. no jackets, tights, arm/leg warmers, or other cold/wet weather clothing (all of which also has to be replaced eventually because it gets worn out). I suppose if your commute is half a mile, you could get away without a lot of bike specific clothing. I did okay riding in my street clothes on a short commute. But I still used gloves and glasses with my helmet.

    And yeah, doing your own labor does save a lot of dough as compared to having a mechanic do it for you. But when you're a full time commuter, sometimes your time is better served NOT doing your own wrenching. I know there were a few times I was VERY thankful that my LBS was within walking distance of my office so I could drop the bike off at lunch for needed service and pick it up in the afternoon when I left the office.

    Not to mention, if you're a year round commuter in an area that puts salt on the roads, you're going to need to do bearing maintenance every spring. So yeah, the posted spreadsheet does fail to account for all the costs of bike ownership. But the same could be said for the costs of car ownership in that article, too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    that spreadsheet is someone pretending to be analytical when they don't know what analytical really means.
    Bingo. The best part is:

    I don’t own a bike, but after seeing how cheap it is, I’m thinking about buying one.
    ...because he needed to put a bunch of effort into making an incorrect spreadsheet in order to learn something that should have been immediately obvious.

    Most. Boring. Person. Ever.

  14. #14
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    Like I said, that article is "cute". He's got the maintenance cost of owning a $550 bike at $480 every 2 years. At that rate, ride it into the ground and then buy a new one every 2 years. Use the old one for parts or leave it unlocked to stack the odds in your favor of getting your good bike stolen.

    Nice that those $20 tires go 2 years. Those $12 tubes must be pretty good because he only goes through one/year so no flats. At least no cost to repair them...and so on, and so on.

  15. #15
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    I should mention that after 4~5 years of this, it might finally be paying off for me.

    My previous cases of upgraditis have resulted in 3 bikes that I'm really pretty happy with.

    The draw of n+1 is still very, very strong, but space limitations are stronger (although I swear I could probably fit a vintage ss/fixed road bike in there if I really tried)

    Last winter was the first time I didn't buy any new gear - gloves/shoes/jackets are all pretty optimized.

    Running 3 bikes means that my consumables are lasting forever. Eventually I'm sure I'll have to replace a lot of parts all at once, but for now I've got backups for my backups.

    And my wishlist of tools&parts has dwindled to almost nothing - do I really need an emergency derailleur hanger, 80mm stem (since 60 and 90 aren't enough), or pedal rebuild kit (just in case)?

    It's weird to not covet any new bike stuff or have any purchases planned. My wife could definitely use a new bike though...

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    It's weird to not covet any new bike stuff or have any purchases planned. My wife could definitely use a new bike though...
    As long as she lets you do the obsessing, source the pieces, and put it together, that`s almost as good as a new one for yourself
    And I`m surprised that putting your co-worker`s bike together made your N+1 flare up. I spent several days (over the span of like six weeks) working on a buddy`s bike two years ago and my N+1 went into remision for the duration of the project. Same virus, but we must all be afflicted by a different strain!
    Recalculating....

  17. #17
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    Bedwards, you'd be surprised at how many people want to repair junk rather than buy a new. It is a peculiar logical fallacy, to be sure.

  18. #18
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    For a set of guesstimates, it doesn't seem too bad. He does seem to be spending more annually on some things than I do - I don't pay someone to tune my commuter and buy MUCH cheaper bottom brackets, but I also buy more expensive saddles. His annualized parts cost actually seems to match mine for my collection of bikes. Which implies that I'm spending closer to $40/year maintaining just the commuter, but then he may be going on pleasure rides on his, while I do that on my "serious" bikes.

    For purchase, I've always spent less on a commute bike and its fenders. His theft assumption makes that a pretty big contributor, but I've sworn off spending much less. I wouldn't lose my helmet or lights if I had a bike stolen, though. Not that that's such a big contributor either.

    I think that if I try to figure out my own annualized costs, I take some little chunks out of parts, a significant chunk out of not paying someone else to do my maintenance, and a small to large chunk out of the initial purchase, depending on whether it's one of my previous $100-$200 commuters or my current $450 racemuter.

    So I guess I think he's a bit high on price, he shouldn't have needed a spreadsheet to figure out that it's cheaper to own a bike than a car (I can figure it out making a ludicrous comparison like how many miles of burning gas it takes me to have paid for an entire bicycle, for example, or how many bus passes I could buy - I figured out at one point that I could have a bike a year stolen and still be ahead) but he does seem to have landed in the right order of magnitude. Which is sometimes as good as you can get on these things.

    He is a financial blogger. So it seems par.

    EDIT: Oops, I'd initially had trouble looking at the article and just looked at the spreadsheet. Then I managed to look at the article. He researched the hell out of this! And it seems like he ended up standardizing on a really long commute, while his wife's is maybe 25% the distance, or less.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    $100 for a bottom bracket? Wtf? What the hell kind of BB is that? A Chris King?

    I kept detailed numbers on my Surly Steamroller for 34,000 mi. I donated it when I got rid of it, so you can liken that to the bike being stolen (total loss of value). It was something like 23c / mi for the bike, including all costs - servicing, parts, upgrades, initial purchase and whatnot. Sadly, at 10,000+ miles a year, I was spending some pretty serious cash on my bike each year, comparable to what we were spending on the car each year. The main difference was the car was sitting in a garage most of the time, whereas the bike was seeing daily use and about 2-3x as many miles. One of these days I'll stick it in a spreadsheet and upload it to the cloud, for everyone to look at.

    I don't even want to think about the Rohloff Ogre. It's just barely breaking the $1 / mi mark at the moment, at around the 6500 mi mark. I'll need to hang on to that bike for a long time for the cost per mile to drop below 55c / mi. At least 30k miles at the current glide path.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter006 View Post
    $100 for a bottom bracket? Wtf? What the hell kind of BB is that? A Chris King?

    I kept detailed numbers on my Surly Steamroller for 34,000 mi. I donated it when I got rid of it, so you can liken that to the bike being stolen (total loss of value). It was something like 23c / mi for the bike, including all costs - servicing, parts, upgrades, initial purchase and whatnot. Sadly, at 10,000+ miles a year, I was spending some pretty serious cash on my bike each year, comparable to what we were spending on the car each year. The main difference was the car was sitting in a garage most of the time, whereas the bike was seeing daily use and about 2-3x as many miles. One of these days I'll stick it in a spreadsheet and upload it to the cloud, for everyone to look at.

    I don't even want to think about the Rohloff Ogre. It's just barely breaking the $1 / mi mark at the moment, at around the 6500 mi mark. I'll need to hang on to that bike for a long time for the cost per mile to drop below 55c / mi. At least 30k miles at the current glide path.



    I have been comparing boutique components to main stream and they are not even on par with weight, let alone durability.

    As far as im concerned, its just marketing bs or weight weenie syndrome.

    There was a time when i was all about sealed bearing setups but now day i look for highend cup/cone. They are just much more easy to service.

    Here is a learned trick, well two.

    1 buy electeical tape the color of ur bike, use it as anti rub.

    2. Buy silicon sealant, the clear kind, use it to seal the seals or to seal a cup cone setup.

    Sounds crazy but omg does it work. My last bike ran rain and fl sand daily, after two years, all bearings were uninfected with debris.

    Sealed bearings that were not sealed with silicone gave out way way sooner.

    These are multi rider bikes and i use it everywhere i can.

    Not the most elegant look but sure does cut service time done.

    Usualy greasy up all sufaces then apply a few layers, move parts before dry. Cut out a peice here and there, another light layer of grease.

    Walk away.

  21. #21
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    I kept looking for fuel costs. Cycling uses groceries for fuel, for the extra calories required the average commute costs about $500 per year (long and complicated calculation I will not get into here).

  22. #22
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    "In addition, students at MIT discovered that crappy-looking bikes are much less likely to be stolen."

    Really...paying all that money to get a quality education at MIT and this is what you get out of it...

    It takes MIT students to figure this out?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mariposaman View Post
    I kept looking for fuel costs. Cycling uses groceries for fuel, for the extra calories required the average commute costs about $500 per year (long and complicated calculation I will not get into here).
    not true at all!
    I still never eat breakfast, I still only ever have a bowl of leftover pasta or a single sandwich for lunch, and I still eat a big dinner.
    No change in my diet at all, of course I did get thinner...
    I'll grant you possibly a cost increase due to coffee intake.

    In short, "fuel" is irrelevant, because it's infinitely variable depending on taste and personal resistance to hunger pangs.
    I could eat 1000$ of caviar a day and call it a "bicycle fuel related cost" but it's not. Neither is the 10$ I spend a week on lunch supplies.
    I had to eat lunch anyways, and I don't eat two of them just because I rode in.
    Besides, it's not like people riding in cars don't eat food because they drove.
    I'll wager most car drivers eat more per day than I do.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  24. #24
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    ^^

    Then (assuming we don't get hit and sent to hospital), there is the increased health and lack of energy intensive care for the cardiac and other patients who carry 100 pounds or more of excess body fat. It takes more fuel to fly the average North American. The list goes on and on. Somebody apparently decided we fuel the ride with primo steaks and showed we take more fuel than driving. Suffice it to say that is one is trying to get the full social, economic, and health costs into driving and cycling it is a very difficult thing to do well. So beware those with built in biases. They will likely overlook some things and distort others. My filet mignon intake is the same as ever! Rare.

    BrianMc

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts View Post
    In short, "fuel" is irrelevant, because it's infinitely variable depending on taste and personal resistance to hunger pangs.
    Yeah, I'd say that the typical, daily, north american caloric intake leaves plenty of extra fuel for generating a few pedal strokes.

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