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the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!(38 posts)

the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!HRH
Mar 13, 2001 8:13 AM
I'm just curious to know what people out there have bought that's working for them or not.

Barnet Bicycle Manual ($150)
contains lots of info but somehow manages to be useless.

Chris King headset for both road and mtb ($90-113)
Install and forget about it!
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Scott B
Mar 13, 2001 8:24 AM
As far as best (and a number of people will probably have similar thoughts) I'd have to say the $40+ I spent on a Specialized Air Wave (or Air Cut, I forget) helmet that saved my life!
Best / WorstE3
Mar 13, 2001 8:28 AM
Best Big $: custom-built Reynolds Wishbone RT recumbent. Low, comfy, and fast, more than worth the price of $2100.
Best Little $: CO2 inflator

Worst Big $: Trek R200 recumbent. Fairly comfy, complicated double mid & rear derailer drivetrain, high seat, and slowwww.

Worst Little $: chain cleaner device that has internal brushed and a chamber for cleaning solution. Diligence with a rag or a jar full of mineral spirits works much better.

Come to think of it, I've wasted lots of little $ too numerous to mention.
re: the BEST and WORSTSteveS
Mar 13, 2001 8:36 AM
The best was buying my Motobecane Grand Jubilee touring bicycle after seeing some kids touring in Scotland. Its the bike that got me addicted to bikes and bicycling, and glad I bought it.

The worst thing I ever bought was a Rhode Gear Atmos frame pump, that I took untested to Scotland 3 years after getting the Motobecane. Got off a train at Lockerbie when it was raining and cold and started to pump my tires and this thing deflated more than it inflated. After two destroyed tubes, a small temper tantrum, and amused train station employees, I had to take a train to Edinburgh to find a pump and tubes. That was a bad day. Still hate that pump.
This is fun...Dog
Mar 13, 2001 8:42 AM
All my opinions, and I don't intend to denegrate anyone else's decisions or opinions:


Conti Supersonic tires (light, but flatted every ride) $100

Superstrut fork inserts for an older mountain bike - pure trash - $120?

Dura Ace bottom brackets

Oh, absolute worst for me: Specialized Body Geometry Pro saddle - pure torture device - very painful even on short ride

Sort of good and bad: Speedplay X/1 pedals - very light, easy to enter and exit, but never could get used to the sloppy float


New C-40 - expensive, but I'm inspired - rides well, light, stiff, different looking

Ksyrium wheels - light, semi-aero, bombproof, look sharp

Zipp 303 wheels - very light, stiff, aero

Michelin Axial Pro Light tires - love 'em, especially not that they come in all black

Selle Italia SLP saddle - very comfortable and only 138 grams

Best & Worst??JBergland
Mar 13, 2001 8:44 AM
'Best' would have to be ALL of my bikes. I have been VERY lucky to always seem to find a deal at the right time

93-94 GT RTS-1 Free!! plus $500 worth of new parts and TLC.
96 Trek 8000 $800 including clipless pedals, Helmet, and Judy XC.
97 Bianchi Campione $500 including pedals, 2 shorts, 1 jersey, 2 tires, extra saddle, and a set of rollers
99 LeMond Zurich $900 including Time Ti pedals & Flight Deck

Honestly, I can't think of a single 'worst' thing I have ever gotten!! Wait, I take that back. I bought a pair of 26' SPIN wheels on close-out. I was planning to go back to the old days when all I had was a mountain bike with slicks. I thought the SPIN wheels would be nice and aero. Well, I'm sure they are aero, but they are worthless on the road. NOT true, not all that round, and shake like a banshee at anything over 35 mph. I have to take some of the blame... I'm sure SPIN never intended their 26' wheels to be used on the road.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Morgan
Mar 13, 2001 8:47 AM
The Best Big Dollars Spent:
750.00 for a Santa Cruz Superlight (Ano blue) frame (brand new)
The Best Small Dollar Deal:
Avid Arch Rival Supreme Brakes for $50.00 for both (They are no longer made, too costly to manufacturer).

The worst money spent:
$80.00 for a shock absorbing seat post. I am sure that there are other items but thats what comes to mind.
Oh, forgot about that DELL and ADCT stock........Morgan
Mar 13, 2001 9:15 AM
Thats now in the toilet. That I would consider currently some bad purchases.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Peter Rhodes
Mar 13, 2001 8:56 AM
best would have to be Giant TCR Frame and Campy Grouppo for a big item. Best thing ever bought though would have to be CO2 inflator

Worst: Dia Compe BRS-200 calipers. Pads are horrible, centering was horrible, and power was completely lacking.

This I didn't buy, but tried (still is the worst though) Jogmate "Gel" the most incredibly nasty thing I have ever tried in my life.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!mike mcmahon
Mar 13, 2001 9:13 AM
Best: My brand new Strong custom Foco bike with Chorus 10-speed. Only 145 miles so far, but it is by far the best riding bike I've ever experienced. Honorable mention to my trusty old Sidi Genius 3s.

Worst: Vittoria Action Intrepid Pro tires. Not only did they get loads of punctures, they also separated rather quickly where the colored portion of the tread met the black portion of the tread. I probably put 500 miles on them before retiring them. I can't think of any other really awful products.
It's like the worst sex you ever had:Gadfly
Mar 13, 2001 9:22 AM
The worst: still better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I really don't regret spending money on anything bike related. Back in the eighties, though, some coworkers bought a slip cover for my saddle -- leapord print. Very fad-ish, as I recall.

The best: my first road bike. A heavy-as-a-pig Fuji road bike, circa 1986. That bike changed my life. Even so, I was only too happy to trade-up when the time came.
Ahemgrz mnky
Mar 15, 2001 9:28 AM
I would've agreed with you until I "dated" the Ice Queen (no, this isn't some twisted cross dressing experience gone bad). Let's just say a poke in the eye with a sharp stick would've been less painful!

Worst money ever spent: Performance Lunar Light tubes. Nothing quite like the front tire suddenly blowwing while descending a very steep twisty road - the 4th time on the bike after a horrible 50 mph crash. Mentally scarred for life. BTW - you can't patch them any more than you can patch a condom.

Best money ever spent: "stealing" a Serotta Legend Ti, complete with Sidi shoes and Campy Ti Record pedals for $1750.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Greg Taylor
Mar 13, 2001 9:30 AM
I don't count any of my bike purchases: I love them all.


Topeak "Alien" Tool -- this thing has bailed my sorry !*# out of trouble plenty of times. Nicely made, if a bit big.

Park Spoke Wrench -- the little three-sided job. One of my favorite tools.

Nasbar Clipless Pedals -- the cheap $29 ones made by Wellgo. Perfect commuter tools. They are inexpensive and cannot be killed.

Diadora Jalapeno Shoes -- Ok, these are mountain shoes, but they are cheap (about $75), well made, and fit my big stinky American feet. I commute in them, and use them in the dirt.

Pearl Izumi Amphib Tights -- the cornerstone of my winter commuting ensemble. After three years, they are beginning to get a little thin in the tush...

The Worst:

Specialized "Turbo Comp" Tires -- these are one notch down from the black and red Turbo "Team" set up. Tough to get on the rim, prone to flats, and gave up the ghost pretty quickly.

Rock Shox Indy SL fork: Actually, this is a pretty good fork for someone about 40 lbs. lighter than myself. Very light, but flexy. I'm replacing it with a Bomber Z-3.

Spinachi - style Handlebar Extension: I bought a Nashbar clone of the Cinelli Spinachi. Not well made, and I discovered that I don't like aero-devices on my handlebars.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Skip
Mar 13, 2001 9:49 AM
Best: Casttelli shorts & bibs
Wheels - Velomax AC
Bike - MXL

Worst: Shimano SPDR pedals

re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!steveq
Mar 13, 2001 9:53 AM
the WORST: stronglight crankset for my road bike. cracked at the pedal axle during an out-of-saddle effort and left me with an over-the-handlebar experience

the best: the ouzo pro i just threw on my 5200 or my ksyriums i picked up last year. they both rock! (imho)
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Timmer
Mar 13, 2001 10:07 AM

My 1st MTN. bike, a Mongoose with Suntour components. What a POS that thing was, had to replace parts constantly, etc. That's what I get for letting the bike shop owner talk me into something.


I would have to say my 1st (and current) road bike, a 2001 Cannondale R600. Not only am I really happy with the bike, but it has expanded my passion with cycling into a whole new world! It's like doing it all over again, for the 1st time!

re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!steveq
Mar 13, 2001 10:11 AM
the WORST: stronglight crankset for my road bike. cracked at the pedal axle during an out-of-saddle effort and left me with an over-the-handlebar experience

the best: the ouzo pro i just threw on my 5200 or my ksyriums i picked up last year. they both rock! (imho)
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Tiger
Mar 13, 2001 10:13 AM
We need to find the Wal-Marts of bike shops, where you can use something for a while before you decide it's junk and can take it back for a refund.

Worst things: Bought a pair of Performance Bike shorts with an ill-placed seam. Also, as someone mentioned, those plastic chain cleaners. I was dumb enough to buy two of them.

Best things: Also mentioned, CO2 inflator, Michelin Axial Pro tires, and I really enjoy the Serotta CSI frame I bought last year.
in defense of chain cleaners:bill
Mar 13, 2001 10:24 AM
Every once in a while they're good for getting out the gunk IN the links. Not for routine maintenance, but every once in a while.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!bill
Mar 13, 2001 10:21 AM
Best: Litespeed Natchez, 1998, 105 triple, $1300. Yeah, I pretty much stole it. Got me into road biking. The only thing that came with the bike that's still on it is the frame. And, I guess, the bottle cage.
'Nother best: Wound-up fork. Heavy maybe, but stiff and alert, and turned me on to the possibilities of tweaking my ride.
Worst: $50 Airwalk MTB shoes that don't fit (purchased on "sale," of course). Don't ask why; it's too embarassing. Just a bad idea all around.
Airwalk hu?? :) (nm)JBergland
Mar 13, 2001 11:44 AM
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!DCP
Mar 13, 2001 10:32 AM
Worst: Performance brand tights, $29. Seams improperly sewn and broke in several places. Dumb enough to keep them. Performance completely ignored e-mail complaint. Wife kindly fixed them, but months later I am still being reminded that sometimes buying cheap stuff is very expensive.

Best: Leonard Zinn's repair books. Well done.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Larry Meade
Mar 13, 2001 10:43 AM
Best Buys:
New Campy Record 10 gruppo for $800 US.
Pinarello Paris frame for $800 US.
My Litespeed Ultimates
Trek 2300 Amazing ride for such an inexpensive frame.

Waste of Money:
Any Camelback product I ever bought. It seemed like good
idea at the time but I never use them after buying them.

Cheap Tubulars

Aerobars (see camelback comments)
Best is easy ...Humma Hah
Mar 13, 2001 10:43 AM
In 1971 I paid 89.95, plus tax, for the cruiser. I think I've gotten my money's worth.

Worst ... uh, in the summer of 99 I needed a new rear wheel for it while I scrounged a new rim for the original. I bought a Shimano 26 x 1.75 coasterbrake rear wheel from the LBS, which they had collecting dust. The price would have been OK if the unit had not been inherently, dangerously unreliable. Imagine you had a freewheel that sometimes failed to catch when you started to pedal -- that's essentially what it did. Three rebuilds, two by the LBS and one by me, failed to fix it.

It wasn't much money. What made it such a bad buy was that being sent suddenly sprawling in the street at the wrong time could easily have been lethal. I've never seen a cycling product that bad.
best and worstMMaggi
Mar 13, 2001 10:56 AM
best: back in 1998 I purchased a mid 70s Legnano equipped with Shimano 600 8 speed with Rigida 18, 32 spoke wheels for $750. Italian steel and lugged. What a ride.

worst: SPD pedals by Nashbar for ~$70. Just horrible. Problems with the cleat and then one fell apart after about 1000 miles. What a joke of a product.
best and worstKen
Mar 13, 2001 11:59 AM
Best: Liquid Teflon. I originally bought it for using it in my motorcycle engine. Since I never ride my motorcycle anymore I use it on my bike chain. You have to bake the chain in the oven at about 500 degrees for about ten minutes for "bonding" to take place between the chain surface and the teflon. It works better that anything I've seen or used before for chain lubrication.

Worst: My first bike. I didn't know jack-diddily about anything that had to do with bikes I only knew I liked cycling and wanted to lose weigh. The bike cost me a hundred bucks. It was a 5 speed go-to-school type bike. In less than a month while climbing a moderate hill the rear cassette popped out of the hub! I had to retrue the wheels daily. I got really fed up with it and stopped locking it before going up to my apartment to go to bed. Fortunately someone did me a favor and stole it.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!BipedZed
Mar 13, 2001 11:54 AM
1" Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork - just not stiff enough for racing. That's with 1cm of spacers and a 155lb rider.
Hutchinson Krono Competition Gold clinchers - flat city

Specialized water bottles - love that soft top
1 1/8" Reynolds Ouzo Pro - now we're talking, light and stiff with a great ride
Michelin Axial Pro clinchers - super grippy and relatively durable
Pearl Izumi Therma Fleece bib tights - comfy down to 15 deg F
Castelli Progetto Y bib shorts - if only my team bibs were this comfy
Easton EC90 bar - makes 200g aluminum bars seem weak
Campagnolo Record Pro-Fit pedals - lightest big platform pedal out there
Park PCS-1 Workstand - essential
Best and worstnigel
Mar 13, 2001 12:21 PM
I've been lucky to have had positive experiences with bike stuff. I also tend to be almost anal in my detective work when buying things, though.

BEST: So easy. My 2000 Giant TCR2. Smooth as butter, but without the fat and guilt.

WORST: Blackburn's Race Tool. Even sounds funny, like something to use against another race (of people). Very lightweight and compact, and easily fits in a pocket without you knowing it's there. HOWEVER: the hex wrenches are SO small (and I've got some small hands), that zero leverage can be had. Couldn't even do some basic bolt tightening without it trying to punch a hole in my palm. Painful! Too bad; the design's great, but the tool's useless for even basic roadside wrenching. Good thing it was so cheap! Did they test this one at all? Gotta wonder...
use of Blackburn toolDog
Mar 13, 2001 1:51 PM
I have a couple of those. I think they are made so that you use the flat tool as an extension lever with the allen wrenches.

Nonetheless, I do think they are for emergency use, only. They have saved me a few times, and I'm not about to carry anything larger or heavier.

Question about the Race Tool, Doug.nigel
Mar 13, 2001 5:51 PM
Thanks for the comments.

I've tried to fit the smallest open box wrench (6mm) on top of the largest hex wrench (6mm), but it simply doesn't fit. There may be a TINY bit of extra metal in the box wrench cutout to prevent this.

My problems came with the use of the actual hex wrenches, rather than with the box wrenches. When fitting the 5mm hex (for example) onto the appropriate bolt on my stem, I can't get enough leverage to tighten or loosen it. Just not enough of the T handle.

Have you had this problem as well? Do tell. If so, then I may just return it (I only bought it a couple of weeks ago). If not, I'd more than appreciate your advice. The tool's a great thing, sizewise and weightwise, if only it would work for me.

Big thanks.
Future Best or WorstE3
Mar 13, 2001 1:32 PM
I'm fixin' to buy a carbon fiber monocoque road frame off the internet for $509 at I've been wanting a longer top tube, but haven't wanted to spend much to get it.

Ahhh, the impulse purchase, will it be my Best or my Worst?
I just got my...Kreeger
Mar 13, 2001 5:20 PM
...Carbon Aeroblade ($699) in the mail yesterday. Mike at Pedalforce was very helpful and answered all my questions. I got the frame, the cabon seatpost (160gm) and the M4 fork (380gm) all for under $900. They are beautiful! Wait till you see the craftmanship of your frame. You won't be sorry.
I already have an M4...E3
Mar 14, 2001 5:36 AM
...and with the 1" steerer, it's somewhat springy, not very stiff. I felt better about my purchase after reading some posts that were critical of the 1" Ouzo Pro for the same reason.

I'm ordering the ZX frame. Hopefully, it will be of similar quality as the Aeroblade.

By the way, I think the Pedalforce frames are the same ones sold as BpStealth at other web sites for much more $.

Let me know how it rides.
I already have an M4...Kreeger
Mar 15, 2001 3:01 AM
My M4 came with a 1-1/8 steerer... I guess they changed it. That's interesting about the BP Stealth thing. My fork had a sticker that had all the stats (weight, size, who inspected it). It also said Martec on it. I guess they are the manufacturer?
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!12x23
Mar 13, 2001 3:28 PM
First, let me say there's been at least 10000:1 good-to-bad, but let me bare my stupids:


I walked into a bike shop in 1988 to purchase a Schwinn Aero-Dyne. I saw it advertised while reading the current SI (my form of exercise at the time). I walked out the door with a SIXTY-FOUR CM Nishiki with 7sp Exage. Remember the indexed fr der? I am 6'1+" and could barely straddle this beast. That's not all..., the lbs owner sold me a pair of those HUGE Bolle sunglasses that were similar in size to what you see fighter pilots in the cockpit wearing. I am so thankful there are no photos from my neo-amateur year of recreational cycling.


The Nishiki, minus those compound eye sunglasses, of course. The Nishiki set a fire under my, uh, chamois. Within a month I replaced the silly front index shifter with 105 and swapped the pie-pan rear freewheel with a 13-21. I rode 2,200 miles in my first three months and exceeded 6,000 miles my second year. I quit avoiding hills and began to search the hilliest training routes. I am now 45 years old and weigh less than I did at 18.

WORST (again) :)

That dadgum Nishiki. Thanks to it, my house is now full of bicycles, wheelsets, parts, saddles, stems and bars, windtrainer and rollers, clothes, old shoes, pedals, magazines, Graham Watson photos, videos, energy foods, tools & workstands. And I can't get enough of it.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!ScottV
Mar 13, 2001 3:46 PM

CIOCC frame - It was my first real road bike. Was visiting a friend and fell in love when I was at a local shop. The problem was that the LBS sold me a bike that was way to big for me. Oh the clank arms where also different links and the rear deraillier packed it in after two months. Was in a different province so I was to much of a problem to return the bike. Did get them to send me the right crank arm.

Profile Aero bars - What a pile of .... They came apart during the first TT that I tried them in.


1998 Specialized Stumjumper Comp _ I don't know why but I just love this bike. First mountain bike I plan to hold on to until it falls apart.

Syntace aero bars - Light, comfortable, and mount on the bike in a few minutes.
Best: $89 Magna at Target / Worst: Nike shoesIan
Mar 13, 2001 6:56 PM
I know what you thought when you read the title, I mixed up the best and worst. Nope.

In 1995 I did cross-country (singletrack) running, it was a nice change of pace to get me out of the gym. On the trail I saw people on bicycles and thought that it looked like fun. I purchased an $89 Magna at Target. After 2 rides I really enjoyed myself, but realized that bike wasn't really made for such riding. So I cleaned it up and returned it. I shopped around and bought a $440 Hardrock FS. I thought "Wow, $440, I won't ever have to buy another bike". I will pause here so the laughter can die down. Anyway, 6 weeks later I was purchasing a $1,350 Stumpjumper FS. A few months later I started racing. A year later I picked up road riding to train for racing. I met some wonderful people, my best man and groomsmen were all riding buddies. I got a job in a shop and then moved on to representing some of the best cycling companies out there. So that $89 Magna changed my life.

The worst was the Nike clipless shoes I bought with that Stumpjumper. After two weeks of riding I snapped the plastic sole. Got a warranty pair and snapped them again in two weeks. Got an upgraded warranty pair and those lasted three weeks. At that time I walked back into the shop and asked for the best shoe they had. They set me up with a pair of Shimano's that lasted nearly three years.
re: the BEST and WORST money you ever spent!Jamis
Mar 13, 2001 10:07 PM
Best: Speedplay pedals ($125), eliminated knee pain, lightweight, float great for out-of-the-saddle sprints and climbs.

Worst: Onza pedals ($100), elastomer retention system inconsistent and unreliable.