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I bought a new bike few months ago and it cost me 375€, which for the most people it is a lot for a bike, but it is really cheap in bike world. I already have some problems with my seat (and seatpost). I changed it but I still getting problems. A good quality seat even for casual riding can easily get up to 100€ or more. The same goes for almost every component. That made me ask: How much you must spend in order to have decent bike?

In a sense decent enough to not have to change any component (which at the end makes your bike more expensive) and have a good experience on it.

Is there a minimum price or some frontier like: starting from this price you are getting real bikes?

closed as too broad by PeteH, andy256, Rider_X, Deleted User, Criggie Jan 6 '16 at 0:43

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  • Think you need to re-phrase this question as "decent" means different things to different people with vastly differing incomes. Perhaps - you need to specify a budget? – OraNob Jan 5 '16 at 11:40
  • I will try too. I am asking how much you should spend that is the point. – kifli Jan 5 '16 at 11:43
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    In the US you can purchase a new bike for anywhere from about $50 to $20,000. For an adult, a bike costing $300 or so new would be "serviceable" but not something you'd want to use for a daily 10 mile commute or a week's tour. For about $1000 you can get a fairly decent bike that will last decades (with proper service) but won't win the Tour de France. From there up it's basically a question of what features you want -- disk brakes, carbon frame, aero wheels, etc. But prices vary considerably with the season, at least in the US, about 30% cheaper in the fall. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 5 '16 at 12:52
  • The trouble is, you're asking an unanswerable question. For example, if someone says "€1000 will get you a decent bike", someone else will come along and say "I got a really good bike for €750", and so on. I'd recommend going to a reputable bike shop, looking at teir range and making a note of prices. Finger in the air, I'd say maybe a third of the way through the range is where you'll start finding the well-made bikes. But really, there are so many variables. – PeteH Jan 5 '16 at 13:26
  • For the UK you can pretty much convert @DanielRHicks's figures using the current exchange rate, assuming you shop around a little. Of course, if you can get last year's model that always helps. A bit higher than those figures and some of the replaceable parts can get lighter and "better". – Chris H Jan 5 '16 at 15:04
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At the very low end you have BSO or Bicycle Shaped Object. Those should be avoided. At the very low end you get parts that are not even serviceable.

At a minimum you want name brand (e.g. SRAM, Shimano) components. They are serviceable and you are going to be able to find replacement parts. A bike with low end named brand components will start in that $400 (US) range.

A low end bike is going to have low cost drive train components as well as low cost tires, wheels, post, bars, ....

Yes you are going to have stuff wear out faster on low end bike.

If you are having problem with a seat post that is like a design flaw. You should expect a working seat post on a low end bike.

If you want higher end components it is always cheaper to buy a bike with those components up front. Replacing components is expensive and labor intensive.

You almost never get a bike you never change any component. Even higher end stuff wears out. Look for a good frame and a drive train at the target level and target budget. Beyond mid range you are not going to get more reliability - the expensive stuff is for weight and racing. Like in Shimano in the road line 105 is a very reliable.

At even the $800 point you are getting a mid range drive train. Well more than the lowest level drive train components.

At $800 you are not going have $400 wheels and a $100 seat post. Even at $1200 you are not going to have $400 wheels and $100 seat post.

Seat is lower end on almost any bike as on a higher end bike it is almost always changed out. Higher end bike often don't even come with pedals. Even on a mid range bike you are not going to find an expensive seat post as many people like an offset - it is a component that is often changed out.

Wheels are typically going to get better as you spend more. If you put a lot of miles on a bike you are going to wear wheels out. When you upgrade then put a nice set of wheels on the bike. What you want is core bike that you are willing to put more money into consumables.

On a mountain bike never go full suspension on a low end bike. That is going to be a low end suspension you need to put money into and money that did not go into other components. Even the front suspension on decent mountain bike is going to be low end.

At $800 you are getting a decent bike. For light needs even $600 is a decent bike. At $1200 are you getting the stuff you really want - yes I like the wheels, post, pedals .... Beyond $1200 you are getting more into performance rather then reliability. That said a $2000 bike is probably more reliable / durable than a $1000 bike but not any where close to twice as reliable / durable.

Your best buy in my mind is used $1200 bike you got for $800. Or a $2000 bike you got for $1200. The higher end bike always have higher discount. You get people with money that buy a new bike every few years.

  • I far as I have check looks like in usa you have cheaper bikes so 800$ bike it is like 1000€ in europe. Said that decathlon have BSO with shimano parts on it for slightly over 100€ I have one and it still working after like 4000k it needed a derail change (and wheels change) it is frame it is slightly bend and I should really change cables. – kifli Jan 7 '16 at 8:25
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As other people said this is difficult to answer within the subjective field of "decent" "good quality", etc.

There are two main components to the price of bike(part)s:

  1. Weight (lighter is generaly more expensize)
  2. Quality (which is a catch-all phrase for durability, the technical sophistication needed to make a part, complexity of the part, extra effort made to enhance comfort, etc. anything other than lowering weight.)

Increasing price will get you a bit of either, or mostly the first or the second, depending on what the supplier of your bike considers important. From your question I think that you want to focus on quality more than weight, so don't go spending on carbon, titanium, and other exotic stuff. This rules out most bikes above about $2000 - $3000, so there is your upper limit. I'm not sure what you expect from your bike in terms of features, and when and how you'd expect to use it.

You can get a pretty decent quality no-frills single speed bike for the price you paid for your bike, but it will be bare. No fenders, lights, no chainguard, no luggage rack, coaster brake.

If need more than that the price starts to increase, and all I can say is: "it depends" but you'll stay within the upper limit I gave above even if your definition of "decent" can compete with my "very good" as long as you mostly ignore weight.

To give you one last pricepoint: For a decent daily use commuter bike (15k one way, mostly flat, wet/cold winters, full time riding) I need fenders, a rear luggage rack, a full range of gears, lights, leak-proof tires, low maintenance- high durability components, a comfortable saddle, mountainbike handlebars with bar ends, and very good and dependable brakes. I would expect to pay about $800 $1000 for this bike. I would expect to ride this bike for 5+ years, only replacing brake pads, tires, chain, chainrings and cogs, and maybe the occasional brake- or shifter cable, or spoke.

  • That last paragraph translates reasonably well to UK pricing, but I'd hope to get more than 5 years out of it (and be likely to change the BB). – Chris H Jan 5 '16 at 15:06
  • I find that after 5 or so years the strain of all the water and salt (winter riding) has taken its toll on the more expensive components and I find it better to replace my bike rather than go for an expensive refit. – jilles de wit Jan 5 '16 at 15:13
  • That seems reasonable -- I'm rather attached to mine as it fits so well, and it's no longer made. I also find that the components that suffer in the winter are those that wear anyway (although I suspect the BB's demise was hastened by riding through a flood). – Chris H Jan 5 '16 at 15:17
  • If you have the storage a separate winter bike may be the most economical approach. – paparazzo Jan 7 '16 at 16:10
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Fit matters more than price

Unless you are competing in professional races (or aspire to), you don't need to spend a lot of money. There is no price threshold (and if there were it would vary from place to place and from time to time).

What matters is adjusting the bike to fit your body and style of riding.

See Budget Road Bike Review & The Brutal Truth - the same principles apply to a commuter bike.

I spent less than you did on a brand-name non-suspension MTB which lasted me 20 years. In that time I replaced, because of wear, the saddle, cables, rear derailleur, cassette etc. The last 10 years I used it for a daily summertime commute (on hybrid tyres). It was a real bike.

I'm pretty sure a badly adjusted $20,000 bike could cause you the exact same problems you are concerned about.

The only Velominati rule I remember is #5 - you can use banknotes to mitigate the problems of settling into a new saddle/bike but you can't eliminate initial discomfort completely if you haven't done much regular cycling in the last few years.

Serious cyclists should stop reading here.

For your amusement: the collected jwz bicycle wisdom

  • This is particularly true of road bikes -- as you hint at with your MTB. – Chris H Jan 5 '16 at 15:05
  • It is only related to me but I am riding almost every day for 3 years already round 10k per day which isn't that much but I like to do longer routes on weekends. Last weekend after 40km I noticed that my parts went to sleep e I was using antiprostatic seat and culotte. – kifli Jan 5 '16 at 15:15
  • 20 years ago 375€ was a LOT more money. And it was probably steel. Don't expect a 375€ bike today to last 20 years. It is pretty much a world economy in bikes and the time is current. – paparazzo Jan 5 '16 at 23:25

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