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  1. #1
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    Are we going too far?

    For commuters I keep wondering if we are going too far on worthless items for our bikes. 3 years ago when gas was 4 bucks a gallon, I decided to get a bike. I liked the features and reviews of what I wanted and chose the GF Utopia. I still have it and it's a joy to ride. But I am really not utilizing some features that made the bike more expensive because I use it to commute on roads. Mainly shocks and disk brakes. I say this because my brothers new bike is simple and it appeals to me. He has the Giant Escape. Smooth as silk on the road!!! Nothing fancy about it. But the basics of it appeal to me for cost reasons.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Maybe you're going too far. I have a mid-80s 12-speed I bought for $100. It goes, stops, shifts, and has a rack and fenders. Works for me.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Too far? I guess most of us go farther than really necessary (except A Switch, maybe ), but mostly (I think) we realize that and we do it anyways "just because". In your case, it sounds like you commute on the same bikle you mtb on, so the "extra features" for commuting aren`t so extra on the weekends. If nothing else, you`re learning what you need and what you can live without, and hopefully having a good time while you`re at it.
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
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    Like the meaning of life, this is more a pursuit than a destination. Too far for one person is not far enough for another. Minimal for one is inadequate to another. Keeping salt and sand off a nice and expensive bike and having something less desireable to thieves, more expendable, or more indestructable can make long-term economic sense. Then there are budgets and what one thinks is expensive may be cheap for another. The commuting and errand bike needs to be comfortable and fun to ride so it doesn't feel bad to ride it. Keeping the fun for some means using paths and single track as part of the commute. requiring a bike capable of that. Others have only nice smooth fast roads, and though a Pugsley could do it, I imagine it wouldn't be a lot of fun over a year of commuting (La Pugdozzer owner may comment here, at least for me it wouldn't, unless we got over 6" of snow). Then there is need versus want. Some of upgrading actually translates into longer life and less cost over time. When parts last decades instead on one or two years, that is value. Saving wear and tear on expensive components meant for MTB may make a second commuting bike a good option. You shouldn't give a rodent's heiny what anyone thinks of your bike(s) other than you and, if you have one, your spouse. ('Ain't mama happy, ain't no one happy.')

    Bottom line: Do what you wish and can afford (ecomomically, and maritally). Ignore any jerks.

  5. #5
    a lazy pedaler
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    ... Others have only nice smooth fast roads, and though a Pugsley could do it, I imagine it wouldn't be a lot of fun over a year of commuting (La Pugdozzer owner may comment here, at least for me it wouldn't, unless we got over 6" of snow)...
    I've done it...and I would do it again just for a programmed ride after work...it is fun, but too much work... I'm lazy that way .... if a nice trail was in the middle of my commute it would be different though.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Of course, I'd by lying if I said I didn't miss riding around my college campus on my mountain bike and sneaking in bits of singletrack, or envy people with a safe place to keep their racing/training bikes and a change of clothes, who can ride in in cycling clothes, not carrying stuff, and pick up some miles on the way home.

    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I was facing this very question.

    I commuted to work on a SS CX bike this Summer.

    Sold the bike as it was a bit too big and couldn't get a decent rack to fit on it.

    Decided something like a Paddy Wagon would work....but then started looking at internal gear hubs, disc brakes for bad weather etc.

    In the process, i was looking at bikes in the $1,000 range (Giant Seek 0, RM Metroplis NRT, Scott Sub 10 etc).

    I then realized..."WTF am i doing? This is my 3rd bike, to commute on, to not be stolen etc".

    I caught myself and picked up a barely used Paddy for less than half the price of the bikes listed above.

    No disc brakes, no IGH, but who cares?

    To each their own. If you want to commute on a $2,000 bike or a $20 bike, it's up to you, do what makes you happy.

    My $0.02
    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
    2014 Giant TCX SLR2
    2013 Trek Stache 8
    2011 Giant Defy Advanced 0

  8. #8
    One Colorful Rider
    Reputation: Normbilt's Avatar
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    Ride what fits your needs
    if you ride a old clunker so be it
    if you ride something a little more than you need if it make you smile when you ride go for it
    but remember a bike that you commute on is a tool.
    if it is something that needs more maintenance (to me thats not practical)
    for me I ride a SS fixed gear bike with brakes. Low maintenance period.
    Truing the wheels once or twice a year,
    lubing the chain once or twice a month,
    air up the tires once a week.

  9. #9
    Which way? Uphill.
    Reputation: nepbug's Avatar
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    I'm also in the use a crappy bike department even though I have a safe place indoors to store it.

    I've only spent money where I've really felt I would appreciate it.

    Bike - $50
    Saddle - $75
    Fenders - $30
    Rack and Trunk Bag - $30
    Good Commuting Tires - $75

    That's pretty much it besides the occasional chain and brake pads. There are some pretty cool commuting bikes out there, but I don't need them; some people do. Whatever it takes to make you want to get out there and ride your commute is what you should do.

    It sounds like you could "downgrade" and still be happy. Selling the Utopia is an option, but the problem is commuter bikes tend to have a pretty low resale value. Maybe a better option would be to sell the items you think are over the top and get cheaper, simpler replacements.
    Blog

    Just keep spinning. Just keep running. Just keep paddling.
    Just keep moving forward.

  10. #10
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    I have two bikes...

    One from the ninties and one from 2005....

    I ride the newer one all the time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug
    I'm also in the use a crappy bike department even though I have a safe place indoors to store it.

    I've only spent money where I've really felt I would appreciate it.

    Bike - $50
    Saddle - $75
    Fenders - $30
    Rack and Trunk Bag - $30
    Good Commuting Tires - $75

    That's pretty much it besides the occasional chain and brake pads. There are some pretty cool commuting bikes out there, but I don't need them; some people do. Whatever it takes to make you want to get out there and ride your commute is what you should do.

    It sounds like you could "downgrade" and still be happy. Selling the Utopia is an option, but the problem is commuter bikes tend to have a pretty low resale value. Maybe a better option would be to sell the items you think are over the top and get cheaper, simpler replacements.


    You'd think that.....but the only thing I might change is the fork.

  12. #12
    Just Joshin' ya!
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    I have a simple fixie. Over time, I have upgraded to some more expensive components and I wonder the same thing...if I am getting too over the top. I had a Chris King headset from an old mountain bike frame that I sold, so I put it on the fixie, I put a brooks saddle on it, which I do not regret actually, and when I needed a brake lever, I put a Paul Cross Lever on it. I am pretty sure I would cry if someone stole it in its current iteration, as I bought it just to have a bike to get to work with. That being said, I enjoy riding it and it actually is my favorite bike above even my MTBs so I guess as long as you like the bike, that is what matters.
    What do we want? TIME TRAVEL! When do want it? THAT'S IRRELEVANT!

  13. #13
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    Having a bicycle that you enjoy riding can be an important part of commuting. If you own a car or have the means to do so, it is easy to start driving simply because it is easier than riding your bicycle. I don't think anyone needs to spend more than $300 or $400 to have a functional commuter and accessories, but if money isn't an issue, why not get something that strongly motivates you to ride? I only live 3.5 km from my workplace, but I also use my bicycle to pick up groceries. My winter bike is a rigid steel Raleigh mtb with studded tires, a rack and fenders. Excluding my Ortlieb panniers, which were originally purchased for touring, my winter commuting rig cost about $250 in total.

  14. #14
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datalore
    Having a bicycle that you enjoy riding can be an important part of commuting. If you own a car or have the means to do so, it is easy to start driving simply because it is easier than riding your bicycle. I don't think anyone needs to spend more than $300 or $400 to have a functional commuter and accessories, but if money isn't an issue, why not get something that strongly motivates you to ride?
    Very true- good points.
    Recalculating....

  15. #15
    dirtbag
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    My commuter is my old Stumpy mtb bike I converted to commuting duty. Using the same parts that were on it when I upgraded it over 10yrs ago - v-brakes, 8spd, ISIS. So I didn't go out and buy a new bike specifically for commuting. I did, however, went and got the necessary bits for commuting: lights, fenders, racks, etc. But the cost outlay is far less than a new bike. I'll be putting on a new rigid fork to replace the old Manitou SX fork that's on it now to lighten up the front end and keep it simple. Are the added upgrades "worthless"? They may be for the layman, but for me absolutely not.
    Amolan

  16. #16
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    If some of us didn't go so far...

    The rest of you would have to look elsewhere to find a chip for your shoulder!! (easy big fella - just having some fun)

    Really though - I am quasi- gear junkie. I love mechanical things, work with mechanical stuff, own an overly sophisticated AWD car (mechanical AWD!!) with snow tires etc, etc.. It's not so much a matter of going too far as it is feeding my passions and finding balance.

    I draw the line at ostentatious - but if there is any piece of technology that provides increased safety & performance while decreasing anxiety (fine line there) - I'll buy it.

    Example - I have studded snow tires and disc brakes on the commuter, but you won't catch me buying any Ti racks or higher end (Ultegra and above) bits for a daily driver.

    My commuter is probably worth $1300 - but I have the luxury of not having to park it in a high risk area. If I did, things might be different.

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