Has cycling's expense pushed you to pursue other hobbies or activities?

I know we’re in a pandemic with a supply chain that’s caused all kinds of issues but has anyone kind of moved away from cycling as their prime hobby because of the expense of gear (bikes, components, drivetrain consumables, tires), clothing, entry fees, paywalls (yes, I know…but had to throw it in. lol) etc?

I’ve been a rabid cycling fan and cyclist for a long time and feel fortunate enough to have a solid upper middle class income but have found myself over the last 2-3 years moving away from cycling being my primary hobby because of the expense of everything (e.g. big events are now $200 USD and local races are now $60/day).

I’ve moved toward trail running, backcountry skiing, and nordic skiing since their total costs are lower. And also realizing that all of these expensive marginal gainz the companies are pushing are just that…super marginal and you most likely won’t notice them at all on 95% of our outings on the bike, even on race day.

I still ride of course but with the supply chain issues and increasing cost for things even at the “Ultegra” level has me looking at other ways to get out. Anyone else?

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So if that is your feeling, don’t buy 'em…seems to be a simple solution.

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I’ve actually gotten more heavily into cycling since the start of the pandemic. I can’t say that the cost has been a major issue for me, but I tend to do things on the cheaper side. Most of my gear is rather inexpensive and I usually use things for as long as physically possible. My last new bike was a Canyon factory outlet Endurace with Shimano 105 - I don’t know that I could have brought myself to spend the extra on Ultegra if available even though my financial situation was good.

I agree with you on the marginal gains aspect. All of my riding is solo, so a slightly higher average speed doesn’t actually matter. I’m trying to recalibrate my performance metric to “most fun per dollar” instead of “most speed per dollar” since ultimately that’s all that really matters for me.

I would love do more trail running, but my knee hasn’t really been into it lately. That’s not due to cost though. It’s just a different kind of fun.

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This is actually where I have been trending too! It’s a lot less expensive and I hope the industry doesn’t start trying to marginal gain this part of the sport too. lol …cause they’ll start jacking up prices. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Not just no, but hell no.

I’m also active with my local running club and rugby club, and due to their group-participation nature, I’ve been doing those a lot less and cycling a lot more.

The expense of cycling once you have a bike is minimal, unless you go out and ride organized events on a regular basis. Which I don’t. You can spend as much or as little as you like on clothing, accessories and upgrades.

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exactly this. Tires, chains, lube, and rear cassettes (ie the main wear items that need frequent replacing) don’t cost that much unless you are chasing grams/watts.

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I’ve got my bikes and I must say that I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

The cost of bikes sky rocketing means that I’m actually becomming immune to the idea of N+1.
To get anything better than what I already have would cost an amount of money I just cannot afford.

As noted by others above, the only outlays now are for perishable items.

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Nah, I’m stuck on cycling. I can’t think of any other activity which would give me what I get out of cycling and at the same time would cost less. The expense doesn’t really impact me, but that’s not because I’m wealthy…far from it. I tend to ride a bike a long time before I replace it, so the expense of a new bike or even things like new wheels is spread out over a long time.

The current supply chain mess is a PIA, so I either wait or get what’s already in stock somewhere. Sometimes that means broadening my search for dealers with what I need in stock.

I don’t get, at all, the “premise” that cycling is a problem because of the “expense of everything”–in fact, I see the reasonable expenses of cycling as more of an incentive than anything else. You can spend as little or as much as you want, but you can always cycle, no matter what. I’m not one of the all too frequent poster fanboys here (the “connoisseurs”?), that need to have every new product, whether it be bike, “kit” or indoor trainer, but rather, just enjoy going out and peddling, using the equipment I’ve got, with the friends I have. As such, with the pandemic, I’ve travelled less, and ridden more–way more than ever before–last year I rode close to 15,000 kilometers OUTDOORS, and missed only ten days of riding the entire year (and hell no, I don’t count indoor training as “cycling” or “riding”, rather, just exercise)–so, no, no new hobbies or activities, because I don’t find cycling all that expensive to begin with–quite the opposite, in fact.

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Racing is too expensive for my talents, not paying £40 plus fuel to come all but last. This isn’t a pandemic supply chain issue but more my time issues.

I’m still in love with the bikes just aiming for different goals: bike packing, challenges where I’m competing with myself and things like that.

Might try a MTB race since they’re often over a weekend with a party atmosphere.

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Neither do I. I just can’t see the problem. Especially once the initial investment has been made and the bike (and some kit) is in your possession. Sure, some stuff needs to be replaced, but taking care of your bike means the intervals between these replacements are reasonably long.

Everything else is supplementary. You don’t have to buy new stuff all the time just because it’s new. Just enjoy the ride.

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  1. I’m jealous af of you riding 355 days, that’s impressive, kudos… I think I managed 200 outdoor days and that was often finishing up in the dark or heading out before the sun was up.

  2. 100% agree with everything you just said… I am one of those fanboys who spends way too much money on new shit but I can honestly say that I have never once felt like it was a necessity to my enjoyment of cycling itself rather than just a preference for nice new gear. In my entire lifetime of cycling, there’s never been a time I felt pressured to buy a $10k bike because a $2k bike wouldn’t be good enough for me to enjoy and, in recent years, I’m consistently amazed by just how good entry level and budget bikes are. The cheapest performance road bike in any major brands catalog today is so much better than the bikes I was riding when I started out that it’s shocking if you actually take a minute and compare.

I chalk up the cost sookery surrounding cycling is nothing but the modern fixation upon finding something to complain about directed toward cycling… $200 for a big cycling event is no different than the $200 they charge to run in a big marathon or anything else. Chalk it up to inflation or profiteering or whatever you want but, in the end, cycling really isn’t any better or worse than any other activity once you want to start paying for organized events or racing. I did the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche last year and it was only like $100 to enter and another $15 or so for some regulatory nonsense. Honestly don’t see how the fees even covered the swag they handed out but it was for sure worth every penny.

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Like neoprene knee pads from circa 2006, you should definitely keep them until 2022 so that washing doesn’t remove the stench and your partner makes you keep them in an airtight box when not in the van! That’s making things last!

I have finally relented and gone for the latest and greatest 3do pads.

As others have mentioned, what’s expensive is all a matter of perspective. I find cycling as a hobby (and a way to get to/from work) quite cheap.

For comparison, in winter I snowboard and snowmobile.

To get set up with a snowboard, bindings, boots and gear it’s probably CAD $2,500 to buy all brand new. A seasons pass in my area is about $500. Most of my gear is about 5 to 10 years old. So, averaged out it’s about $600 per year.

On the other hand, snowmobiling is very expensive. To buy a used machine in good condition is about $10,000. Annual repairs and maintenance is about $2,000 or more if you damage costly parts (which happens frequently).

To simply fuel up the machine and get it out for a day is $80 (including gas, oil and other fluids). Load that sled into a truck and go somewhere these days about $100 for the trip. I ride about 15 days a year. A lot of people upgrade their machines about every 4 years. Thus, it’s about $6,000 per year when you average it out. Not completely accurate, but you get the idea.

Snowmobiling especially makes the $1,000 or so I spend on bike maintenance and parts per year (including commuting, which saves on gas and vehicle repairs/parts) seem like a bargain.

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Jeez! I have spent that much that I daren’t stop now. My wife would lynch me. It is now safer to spend more and ride more, so I do.

Aside from the actual bikes, as others have said there isn’t a huge amount of expense unless you want. Most kit apart from bibs lasts almost forever. If cycling was much more popular then safely disposing of unwanted cycling kit would be almost as hard as nuclear waste as their half lives are so similar.

Beyond that you have tyres and chains as most frequent replacements. I don’t count tubes as a cost as I seem to collect and repair more of those than I could possibly use and regularly donate to others. I reckon I spend about AUD$750 per year on consumables. There aren’t that many hobbies which can compete with that on a cost per hour basis that actually interest me.

For me, it isn’t just the active pedalling bit that I get a kick from. I love the maintenance side and will happily spend hours stripping a bike, polishing components and rebuilding it for mates. This little BMX is a typical example; other than a single new spoke, a new pair of brake blocks and a brake cable it cost me nothing to do up but brought me hours of pleasure. I even learned to strip and rebuild a wheel so I could polish the hubs. :sweat_smile:

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My wife is sick and unable to work so it certainly doesn’t go as far being on that one income especially with medical expenses, my income at face value looks great though. I have become far less diverse in how I spend my cycling orientated money than I used to be partially due to how expensive other segments of the sport are.

On the racing side I really don’t like spending more that 50-60 bucks for a road race or going out of my way to travel to races. I like being able to race extremely aggressively and feel like if I had to spend 100-200+ bucks on race entry I’m going to be thinking about not getting dropped and having a decent numerical finish instead of just having fun and trying to get into/start breakaways.

Unlike many competitive cyclists I’ve met I grew up pretty poor. On cars I’ve done engine swaps, suspension rebuilds so maintaining my bike stuff isn’t a challenge. I find most people will jump at a chance to replace equipment that can easily be repaired if it’s a few years old similar to how people justify buying new cars every 3 years because of new safety tech, fuel economy, or some other ridiculous excuse. I did look at buying a new MTB since I have a $1100 Crave from like 6 years ago, holy crap, MTB stuff is insanely expensive decided to just get a motorcycle which was like half the cost of a mid level full sus-XC bike. Still find it crazy for less than 5 grand you can get a motorcycle built in Japan, Austria, or Germany, doubtful you’re getting a full road bike made in those countries for even double that kind of money.

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So, this is a pet peeve of mine… this comparison is just so bad and so misleading.

If you spend $12,000 on a bike then you’re buying a race ready, fully capable race machine that’s virtually identical to the bikes raced by the most elite professionals. When you spend that $12,000-13,000 you can ride the same bike that Tadej Pojacar or Aaron Gwin or Nino Schurter rides to victory… and you can use it day in and day out with little maintenance and drama.

If you spend $12,000 on a motorcycle, you’re getting something that is a tiny, infinitesimal comparison to what pro’s are riding. A pro supercross bike will run you $80,000-$100,000 easy and that’s before you start to factor in laborious maintenance with reduces service intervals and significant upkeep costs. A pro superbike will run you $150,000 easily, with highly competitive teams fielding custom jobs that run into the millions… and the closest you’ll ever get to that as a consumer would’ve been dropping $80,000 on a BMW HP4.

…and all that aside, I’m not sure what bike you’re buying for $5,000… My R1250RS was over $25,000 out the door and I’m virtually certain that there isn’t a bike they offer that’s even under $10,000, let alone $5,000.

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This is a bit more mtb focussed but along the same lines…it’s from an interview with Gear Patrol.

Chris Cocalis is a legendary figure in the tiny sphere of bike dork-dome. He’s the CEO of Pivot Bicycles and before that ran Titus Bicycles, pre-2000. He’s a serial inventor and great at mountain bike suspension interface. Or, simply put, he’s a whiz at making mountain bike frames that pedal efficiently, feel lively on descents and steer intuitively. It’s the most complicated part of building [mountain bikes]

Cocalis says that it’s not fair to compare cars and bicycles — or even motorcycles and bicycles — because the bike world innovates on a pace that’s a lot closer to that of iPhones than that of motorized transportation. New bike designs and bike components debut annually. Meanwhile, you can look at the suspension parts on a car, and they’ve gone virtually unchanged for years. Car body styles iterate about every three years, but engines might remain the same for a decade or more.

Also, car parts aren’t built to anything close to the surgical perfection of many bike components.
“Look at a Fox 40 or Fox 36 fork. They cost $1,000, yes, but the tolerances are works level.” Meaning, they’re manufactured to move with a far higher level of precision than you’d find from, say, a standard fork on a typical consumer-level street moto — and, of course, at a fraction of the weight. Cocalis says if they weren’t, you’d feel the difference. In a car, there’s distance between your hands and what’s going on at the wheels and rear end, but on a bike, you’re far more sensitive to the minute play in suspension. A rider can feel any slop as it robs them of power. “As with any precision product, it takes a lot more effort and cost to get that nth extra degree of performance, and the noticeable performance gain that comes from a bike over $6,000 is a relative bargain.”

When Cocalis shows someone one of Pivot’s $10,000 mountain bikes, he’ll hear some people scream, “I could buy a motorcycle for that!” Which, he agrees, is true. “But does any motorcycle with a carbon frame, carbon wheels and suspension components on par with what comes on a high-end mountain bike even exist? Yes, it does. It’s called the Ducati Superleggera V4. It matches up quite well — and it costs about $100,000.”

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I know SFA about motorbikes, but that list looks to me to be the equivalent of the “top road bikes under $1000” that we regularly see on every cycling website. Comparisons with a $5,000 bicycle would be way off the mark. Even a $5000 Ebike, while it wouldn’t go nearly as fast, would have the advantage over all those of never having to go to a gas station.

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