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What advise should I give new riders on a budget?(23 posts)

What advise should I give new riders on a budget?localhero
Nov 10, 2003 7:10 AM
I am not a great biker or anything; but I am the only guy in the neighborhood that rides off every Saturday morning on a flashy bike in funny clothing (that's how my neighbors see it). I have a Trek 2300 from 2 years ago -- nice bike which I have enjoyed (except the spokes kept breaking and I had to go to VeloMax wheels).
Anyway, now people in the 'hood are asking -- what kind of racing bike can I get? And how much is it? What is good to start on?
What is strange about this is; they all want a new bike for less than I paid for my VeloMax wheels. And they all say they are just getting started; and that they might get a more expensive bike after they know if they will like it.
I have tried the used route; but it is a real problem. First, no one wants a used bike. Second, it is hard to find a clean used bike in the correct size. Thrid, it eats up lots of time looking. And last, people are turned off by being told that $500 will not get them a good new bike.
Any suggestions? The best prices on new road bikes around Atlanta are about $600 and up. Any hope of good bikes at less for beginners?
Don't spend you whole budget on the bike . . .ms
Nov 10, 2003 7:27 AM
It sounds like your neighbors will have a problem with their bike budgets. I don't have any bike recommendations, but I do have one general recommendation: If you have a tight budget (i.e., I only have X to spend, as opposed to I only want to spend X on a bike, but I have lots of $$$ to spend on other things), don't spend your entire budget on the bike. At a minimum, the person should be prepared to buy a good pair of bike shorts and the things to make minor repairs on the bike (pump, minitool, spare tubes). It sounds trite, but these things are necessary and add up. I also think that a bikes shoes and clipless pedals (even low end ones) are an investment that is well worth it even for a low-budget beginner.
Don't spend you whole budget - but Bikes under $500 are availablsylvie
Nov 11, 2003 6:44 AM
I got a brand new bike online from bikesdirect and saved a lot of money. They have new road bikes under $500 and so your friends can get something nice to start out on. I did and I am very happy.
best advice: call me when you get a bikemohair_chair
Nov 10, 2003 7:30 AM
Why go through the aggravation? You've tried to explain the realities of bike costs, they don't wanted used, you've spent time looking, so what else can you do? Stop wasting your valuable ride time and move on. Unless you are going to buy them bikes, you are done giving advice. Simply tell them you'll ride with them when they show up with a bike.
why DO bikes cost so much?BostonDave
Nov 10, 2003 8:34 AM
A lot of folks think a bike should cost $99 at Target. And you can reason with them by comparing to other sports--I paid $500 for my skis, bindings, boots and poles--a great deal--at least that gets people over the ridiculously low expectations.

But I'm sorry...nobody should be spending $5000 on a bike. And that crazy ad in the left margin for the Dogma Ego? If that's what you need a sponsor.

"You get what you pay for" only goes so far to explain why somebody should spend over $1000 for a bike. Can someone explain the economics of bike sales? What is the typical markup from dealer to LBS? What is the real cost to manufacture a bike? Are the materials really that expensive and difficult to machine? I can believe that for really exotic bikes and custom-built things, but what's the real cost/profit breakdown, on say a Trek 2300?

My "starter bike" was a Specialized Sirrus Comp at $600, on sale, last year's model, etc., and it is a good bike for that purpose. But of course, even there, that's only the beginning of expenses...

Ultimately, the cost is based on supply and demand. But demand is manipulated by marketing to us that we need the latest, greatest, space age materials and components by the best name brand manufacturers, etc. Unfortunately, people without money to burn are likely to go buy a POS from Target, not enjoy it, and give up on the sport. People with money to burn will drop $2500 on a Trek 5200 because it's an "awesome" bike...and as long as Trek can keep selling at that price...they will.
why DO bikes cost so much?russw19
Nov 10, 2003 10:09 AM
Dave, here's a relatively simple breakdown of what bikes cost the bike company, the retailer (shop) and the consumer.

First, a bike maker makes a frame and sometimes a fork.. some companies have their own proprietary companies for stuff like seat posts, bars, stems, and wheels. Still more outsource this stuff to overseas companies. I work for a Lemond dealer which is a Trek company, so I will use Trek as an example.

On Trek bikes, they build the frame and fork, and have their own Bontrager badged stems, bars, posts, and wheels put on. Some of their high end bikes use TTT bats and stems, and some of their mountain bikes use Bontrager pedals and grips and stuff like that. The more the company makes themselves, the more their profit margin is.

On a typical bike, the bike company profits about 20% off what it sells the bike for wholesale. They sell the bike at a wholesale rate to the shop, which in turn marks the bike up anywhere from 30 to 40%. Standard markup at the shop I work at is 33%. Not really a huge markup when you consider all that goes into a bike sale. The shop has to pay to have the bike built, someone to sell it, and most good shop have a service plan for free maintenance for anywhere from a one time 30-day check to free tune-ups for a year.

Bikes aren't where shops make the most profit. They profit best from accessories. They make the most revenue from bike sales, as they are big ticket sales, but bikes also tie up most of the stores inventory budget at the same time.

So simple example of your Sirrus... If you paid $600 and it was on sale, I would guess the advertised retail was what? $750? or so? If so, the bike most likely cost the shop around $525 to $550. If they bought 30 bikes when they ordered that one, they most likely got free freight on the bikes, but if not, they also paid $25 in shipping. Meaning that they didn't make squat off your bike. Now, sometimes a bike company will have excess stock and sell end of the year bikes to the shop, but most companies have a better idea about what they will sell than the shop, so this is more rare than the shop just having extra bikes and having to discount them to move them. Again, bikes sitting on the floor is tying up the shop's inventory budget making it hard to buy the new bikes until they move the old ones, so the idea is to sell the bikes for what the shop paid, or close to it at least, to get those bikes off the floor and untie the shop's money to get the new bikes in.

Some shops may work off this model, but it's not an exact science like running a Wal-Mart, so it may vary a bit, but this is pretty close to how most shops operate. Hope that helps you.

why DO bikes cost so much?BostonDave
Nov 10, 2003 11:06 AM
Thanks, that's helpful. It's helpful then to apply this logic in reverse to people who say "but I can get a bike for $99 at Target". Of course, those really cheapo bikes are probably sold at retailer cost, to get people in the door so they can buy other crap, but bottom line is would you want to ride a bike with a grand total of $30 worth of parts in it? You can't even buy shorts for that!

I don't know what's in that Dogma Ego, but for $16,000, they should have real live elves forging the bike from Rhinegold. ;)
RUSS - nice outline - you just missed the mathwardinside
Nov 10, 2003 12:19 PM
Russ, that is a good attempt on the cost breakdowns -- you have the trend down; you just missed the numbers some.
I think lots of people are interested in this - so I will post it in a nw thread above.
RUSS, isnt there any work to do in your shopbikeshopguy
Nov 10, 2003 2:10 PM
you of all people should be defending the right and requirement of bike shops to charge a markup -- what has our costs got to do with this guys question? there are list prices you know; that is what should be published
What exactly are you talking about???russw19
Nov 10, 2003 8:36 PM
First off, why should I of all people be defending the right of bike shops to do anything? I never offered up my OPINION about shops and profit margins. I personally think each and every shop SHOULD hold to their margins and not offer sales. Offer better service and proper fitting. Teach people the basics about how to maintain their bikes for easy to fix things, and send employees out on 10 mile test rides with customers if a customer needs it. Send them out with helmets and have the shop employee riding with them show them real world tips to help them with their riding skills and style. That's how I would run my shop if I owned it. And I would pay for it by holding tight to my 35% markup margin. I would give people the discount on accessories and stick tight to my bike pricing. I would only give a discount on cash transactions and only to offset what I would lose to the CC companies. That's how I would run my shop.

But you didn't ask that did you? You just assumed you know something about me and thought I was giving away the great secrets of the shop owners. Yes, my post had everything to do with the post that I responded to. The guy wanted to know what the costs were with bikes and where the money went. If you would get down off your damn high horse once in a while and maybe be honest with your customers and tell them exactly what they are paying for, you may just find that many are going to pay it. But some people seem to have it in their heads that bikes that a shop sells for $1000 only costs the shop $300 to buy. They think that shops are getting rich off the sale of bikes. I simply broke it down for that guy and everyone else to show that shops are not getting rich by selling bikes. They make high revenue selling bikes, but profit and revenue are NOT THE SAME! Take a freshman level college business course if you don't believe me. Shops need to move bikes because they are big ticket items, both to buy and sell, but they are not high profit items. I didn't bother (until now) to tell anyone that an inner tube that you charge $6 for only costs you 94 cents if you buy in large enough bulk. That's where the profits are.

As for the "you of all people remark" what the heck is it in your personality that makes you think I want to be associated with you? I didn't post any specific wholesale prices except to make an educated guess as what the shop actually paid for the bike the guy said he bought cost. And it was in an attempt to show him how good his shop treated him so he hopefully goes back and supports them. You act like I just told everyone what Level 1 2 and 3 pricing is on the entire Trek/Klein/Lemond/Fisher lineup is. It's pretty well told here by way more consumers than dealers that shops mark up bikes 30 to 40 percent. If you can't pick up a calculator and do the math yourself, that's your problem, not mine. I have always stated in my posts here that although I may work in a shop and see the shop's point of view, I am still a consumer and see their point of view as well. You seem to have lost sight of that. Yet you choose to act like I just told the board that shops don't deserve your money and that you should go in and only pay 10% of what they make. Hell, I even told the consumer that shops get charged to have the bike shipped to them if they don't order enough. Most smart people could figure out that means that every time a shop special orders a bike for you, they are eating $40 off the profit of that bike just to put you on one. But nowhere did I ever say nor did I even imply that the shop doesn't have the right as you put it to do so. Heck, the shop has a right to jack the price of their bikes up to full advertised retail if they want, and the consumer has the right to buy elsewhere if they don't want to pay that.

I think you would find that most people don't mind paying for service. If you can show a consumer where their money goes, they will pay it. If you show them that you aren't getting rich and
Nov 11, 2003 11:14 AM
I think your position is pretty clear. And I agree that consumers will not be put off after learning pricing structures - IF the service is there. Plus the teenage ranting of bsg is easy for me to ignore.

However, I for one will think twice before starting a sentence with "You of all people...".
My standard answer...biknben
Nov 10, 2003 7:49 AM
"Shop around at the bike shops. Look for leftovers that fit well and feel comfortable."

At this point, your neighbors can't tell the difference between a Dogma Ego and a Schwinn Varsity. What is a
bike for a beginner? One that makes riding enjoyable!!!

If it's not comfortable to ride, they won't ride it.
Second thatPack Meat
Nov 10, 2003 8:30 AM
Sure way to make sure somebody doesn't pick up riding is to put them on a cheap bike. There are tons of good used bikes out there. That is the way to go for new riders.
re: What advise should I give new riders on a budget?innergel
Nov 10, 2003 8:12 AM
There's nothing strange about newbies not wanting to spend too much money on a bike. They just do not understand the economics of bikes yet. I bet we all had the same thoughts when we were first getting into it. I know I did when I bought my Trek 2300 2 years ago!

I'd do my best to explain the most important things to look for when buying a bike, i.e. proper fit and durability. Tell them how great the LBS was when you first got started and how much they've helped you out with getting setup and fit, regular maintenance, etc. Explain to them the differences in quality in a $300 bike from WalMart and an $800 bike from the LBS. Explain how the $800 bike will ride better and last a lot longer and be easier to resell if they don't like it.

If you are honest about what is realistic to spend to get into cycling, and what the benefits of spending a little extra cash are, most people who are serious will understand and be willing to pay what is necessary. Tell them you'll help them out and that you'll ride with them [on your easy days, of course :-) ].

Trying to compare it to something that they spend a lot of money on, seemingly unnecessary, always helps. Like wine for instance. "Spending $50 for a bottle of wine is crazy. I saw a bunch of bottles at the grocery store for $5."

Many good new road bikes for $500Continental
Nov 10, 2003 8:16 AM
Shimana Sora equipped road bikes are avaible by mail order, internet, and many bike shops (at least in St. Louis). These are very good bikes for beginning roadies. I bought a new Fuji Finest for $450 from a local bike shop, and I see equivalent internet deals all of the time. But my advice for a beginner would be to get a $200 used bike from Ebay or other source. I have no experience with Ibex, but they have a new 2003 Tiagra equipped roadbike with STI for $499 and a Sora equipped bike with downtube shifters for $369.
I recommend shops rather than bikes.dzrider
Nov 10, 2003 8:24 AM
I explain that the touring bikes I ride cost more and I don't really follow the recreational bike market. Then I give my pitch about helmet, shorts and gloves I recommend a good shop near their house. Let the lbs sell them a bike. I think it makes no more sense for a beginner to ride a high end racing bike or a bike for loaded touring bike than it does to race crits or tour on a comfort bike.
Comfort bikes are good for many ridersContinental
Nov 10, 2003 8:50 AM
My wife has a Cannondale Comfort bike and loves it. She rides about 10 miles, 5 times a week, on quiet residential streets. But our neighborhood is also full of comfort bikes that don't get ridden 10 miles a year.
yeah, but I'll wagerSteve_0
Nov 10, 2003 1:22 PM
there are even MORE MTB and road bikes in your neighborhood which are never ridden 0 miles.

the AVERAGE person is best suited for a cruiser or comfort bike. They just dont know it.
Just don't give them spelling adviCe! nmElvisMerckx
Nov 10, 2003 8:50 AM
$1500 Tops....jcpreuss
Nov 10, 2003 11:02 AM
After that, you are spending to simply drop very incremental amounts of weight and the lower you go, the cost goes up exponentially. To wit, there is nothing more ridiculous than to see someone with a $5000 16 lbs bike, riding along with their gut hanging down on the cross-bar (dropping a few pounds around the middle is the best cost savings you can get!).

You can spend $1000-1,5000 on a nice (near) new Trek, Cannondale or Leader Bike on Ebay and have a bike that will do everything the average enthusiast can ask.
Nov 10, 2003 11:47 AM
I have purchsed 3 brand new bikes on ebay from a seller named sprtymama -- all 3 were way below list and one was within the price range you are speaking of. I have seen brand new road bikes go for as little as $250 on EBAY --
Just watch the rating of the seller and do not get in a hurry; you can find any size, any level, at a big discount.
re: What advise should I give new riders on a budget?lemonpeeler
Nov 10, 2003 2:58 PM
We have purchased two bikes from bikesdirect - both were brand new. We were very happy with the value. You can get a nice road bike for $400 from them and I guess from other places online. All the shops around us tell you that you must spend $700 up - which just too much for many people.
It took us a little while (about an hour) to put together the first bike; but on the second one it was less than 30 minutes. I bet you can help your friends and it would take no time at all. Plus it is kinda fun
re: What advise should I give new riders on a budget?jrm
Nov 10, 2003 6:00 PM
I wouldnt tell um what to buy cuz their indivisual enthusism, budget and expectations are going to differ from one person to the next.

Give um the resources to ask more questions and make a decision for themselves. offer to go with um to pick a bike out. But dont make their decision for them.