I’ve liked just about every bike I’ve ever had enough to keep it for more than two years, but I like changing things up even more… In fact, to that point, my last three road bikes have been Domane SLR’s. One second gen and two third gen’s, I’d still be on the first third gen but for a careless driver pulling into me. So I wound up buying both a new road and mountain bike in 2020 but, thanks to Covid delays and injury recovery time, the new Domane only just arrived in August so I’ve only managed to put 2500 miles on it at this point. Bought and sold both a Diverge and a Caledonia 5 while I was waiting without losing any money on either since they were quick flips and resale value is crazy high right now. But, if you keep a bike more than a couple years you take a bigger hit on resale so might as well keep it four or five years at that point. I’d rather buy an $11-12k bike for $7-8k and then flip it for $5k and drop another $3k out of pocket getting another $12k bike for $8k every couple years than wait longer and only get $1-2k back from my old bike every 4-5 years… I ultimately end up spending the same amount of money whether I’m dropping $3k every two years or $6k every four years, but this way I wind up riding newer bikes and other people out there are getting bikes that were out of their price range new without them being old enough to be a retired generation with obsolete equipment.
I’m sure if you or I were the kind to buy a bike new every 1 to 2 years, then resale value of the bikes would come into play. I buy bikes with the intention of riding them for a long time; any bike I buy could be my “forever bike.”
The reality is that bikes are a depreciating asset. If you want to marry yourself to that asset until it’s value bottoms out entirely, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some folks want to be married, some enjoy dating… different strokes for different folks, there’s no right or wrong approach. That said, I think you guys misunderstood, I’m not buying based on resale value. The industry sets a 3-5 year window for product refreshes and releases and I’m not keeping one longer than that to deal with maintaining a retired product line. Annualized, the replacement cost for me is going to effectively be the same at 4 years that it would be at 2 years so there’s really no incentive to keep a bike for the full product cycle. I replace bikes often precisely because the experiences I have on the bike are more meaningful to me than the bike itself. I’d rather constantly be out riding newer equipment that needs minimal maintenance and has less chance of failure rather than working to keep an older bike rolling or trying to hunt down replacement parts… and over the years, I’ve found 2 years to be the sweet spot where I’m not just throwing money away chasing new bikes. If I was paying full retail and losing 60% of value over two years instead of 35%, I might see it differently but I’ll cross that bridge when I lose my bro deals. There’s plenty of bikes I look back on fondly but I’ve never replaced a bike and found myself regretting it.
TLDR: If you want to be married to the bike, that’s totally ok, there’s no right or wrong way to do it… but I prefer to be married to the ride, irrespective of the bike. Swapping bikes more frequently keeps me riding more and maintaining less and two years seems to be the sweet spot for doing that.
What about setup costs? Each new bike must be setup as closely to the previous one.
Personally, I could never replace bikes like that unless I were pretty wealthy, and at that point, I wouldn’t even factor cost at all. Calculating/rationalizing it would be a waste of my time.
There are exactly zero bikes setup with way I want - with the correct crank length, chainring sizes (except when triple was more prominent), handebar width, stem length, cassette range, tires, saddles, etc. Each new bike requires so much trial and error for me that I find the time required to get the bike to ride the way it was meant to be ridden and the way I want it to be ridden that this cost alone would keep me from replacing them so quickly.
I can’t help wondering what kind of punishment you’re putting your bikes through to be replacing so much on a 2-yearly basis. My CAAD10 is 7 years old, and I’ve replaced the ass-hatchet saddle almost on day 1; expendable items like bar tape, chain, tires on a reasonably regular basis; and I got new wheels as a birthday present a couple years back. Other than that, the bike is stock. I can’t think what else you might go through to make buying a whole new bike pencil out.
Not having a go at you, just trying to get my head around the process. If new bikes every 2 years is your way, have at it.
There really is no setup cost… I’ve been wrenching on bikes for 20 years so I’m not paying anyone to setup my bikes. I can have my fit reasonably dialed in, have any parts I’m changing swapped, cables and hoses trimmed, steerer cut in a half hour or so on most bikes, unless they’re super integrated in which case it may be an hour or two tops. Then maybe a few small tweaks out on the road to fine tune fit. There’s no monetary cost moving setups from one bike to another, and the time cost is minimal. The parts I remove like wheels or saddle get put in a bin to go back on the bike when I sell it. Not much to it really.
Punishment? None… not sure what you’ve read here that makes you think my bikes are getting punished.
I’ve no argument whatsoever with your approach with surfing the wave of new releases … you like having new bikes and enjoy riding new stuff frequently and that suits you. That said, I don’t think your point about maintenance of older bike/parts product lines holds. I am currently almost 15 years and around 80k miles on my main bike and maintenance has basically been replacing consumable items (tires, cassette, bar tape). Not surprisingly, my taste in handlebars and saddles have changed so those have been swapped numerous time as well. And I did have a couple of rims fail and also replaced the drivetrain about 25k miles ago (but that was really to trickle down that to a secondary bike). But all this is trivial quick stuff and certainly did nothing to keep me from riding more. Again, I have nothing against your approach but don’t think justifying it based on the burden of maintenance really holds water.
So, in 2012 I was riding a Foil with SRAM Red 10sp mechanical… find me a new Red 10 front or rear D or lever. After that I went to an SL6 Tarmac on Red22… same issue today. Only an atypically long run for 9100 series Dura Ace has kept it current across the next three bikes and it’s being shown the door now and mechanical bits are already getting harder to find.
And I’m not saying a maintenance burden is the reason I average a two year rotation, but it is the reason I don’t keep a bike beyond the release of the next generation bits. It’s the unfortunate reality of bikes that there’s extremely little long term support. I can find a p-pump for a 30 year old 5.9L Cummins in twenty minutes, but good luck finding a ten year old Dura Ace shifter assembly for your road bike or replacement linkage for an Iron Horse Sunday. Keeping a bike 4-5 years isn’t likely to leave me high and dry often but, since the money works out pretty much the same, there’s just no incentive to keep it much longer than two years. That’s all I’m saying… and I’m not suggesting at all that it’s a plan that works for most of even many people.
I understand and appreciate the dilemma of most manufacturers not making parts available for older products. I know there are regulations in the auto industry that compel manufacturers to make enough “extra” parts to provide years (8 or 10 iirc) worth of parts based on anticipated consumption rate. Big auto companies have gigantic warehouses devoted to storing “old” parts and while I don’t thing regulation is the answer, I wish the bike industry would at least take a hint from that approach. However, at risk of blowing up another oft debated topic, I need look no farther than Amazon to find a Campagnolo Record 10 speed shifter body to replace the one I bought in 2006 (and while they have since moved on to 12 speed, 11 speed shifters are also readily available). And if worse came to worse, I could just spring for a new set of 12 speed shifters, rear derailleur, and cassette and be happily on my way after a couple of hours in the garage.
Again, I respect your approach but just wanted to offer a different perspective on maintainability.
I don’t think the confusion here has much to do with profit margins, depreciations and so forth–that may concern some, but apparently, not many. Rather, I think what surprised some here is that many bicyclists are naturalists of a sort, concerned about the environment, sustainability, and the ecological footprints the bicycling industry leaves on the landscape, where it seems at cross-purposes to treat bicycles as a kind of disposable income–even the fact that other people are now using them doesn’t really justify the initial dents on the ecological mainframe–it certainly doesn’t level the playing field.
The other argument, that bikes somehow become obsolete, really doesn’t hold up under careful scrutiny. I own 5 bikes–the oldest is more than 20 years old, the newest is just over 7–all assembled from used parts I have sourced from here and there around the globe. All are running perfectly, all are mechanical, and all parts that might be needed to keep them running can be easily sourced–but, just to be sure, I do have back up spares to keep them running pretty much for as long as I’m alive.
You’re right, we all can do whatever we want, follow whatever protocols we wish, but there are ramifications that extend past ourselves as individuals, and out into the world, such as it is, where some of us have greater and in some cases, lesser, concerns over those ramifications, where some are more active than others in taking positive and constructive steps towards limiting the environmental impact on the world around us. To each his own. Enjoy the ride.
Reid Granite 2.0: acquired as a touring bike, rode across Europe, did duty as a kiddy trailer puller for a couple of years, now just a super commuter with dynamo lights, front and rear racks, fenders, etc
Lekker Amsterdam Elite: city bike with CVT IGH, fenders, integrated lights, porteur rack, etc
2004 Giant TCR: mostly trainer bike, but taken out for sunny cruises
2019 Norco Search XR A 105: Aluminium 2x gravel bike with 700C wheels
2019 Norco Search XR S1: Steel 1x gravel bike with 650B wheels, wide bars, dynamo lights, full frame bag setup
Surly Big Dummy: Cargo bike (kids count as cargo)
2021 Giant TCR SL Disc: fast/light rode bike, just bought frameset and about to swap groupset and wheels from previous TCR
Thank you for that bit of comedy… truly solid work.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but literally nothing about cycling nor the industry is sustainable or ecologically positive… and nothing about me reselling bikes frequently contributes in any way to increasing the already negative impact of cycling on the environment, it simply puts used bikes under people looking for used bikes.
That said, I’m glad you enjoy riding 5-20 year old bikes and wish you and the high horse you ride along with them all the best.
Let’s see. More than I need and not as many as I want. I suppose that’s true for most of us. Here’s the list in reverse order of acquisition:
2020 Venge Pro. When Covid hit I had an uncontrollable urge to buy a bike. We still got the Spec team discount, so the Venge was a deal. I love this bike; it’s my racing bike for Crits and flat courses.
2017 Felt FR1. Wonderful bike. I put Campy Bora One 35mm wheels on. It’s a perfect bike for climbing races. Built up with Campy rim brake/mechanical group.
2016 Giant Trinity Advanced Pro. My TT bike. Great price, nice features, horrible adjustability. I picked up an Enve 4/Chris King front wheel and a Zipp tubular rear disc.
2015 Roubaix. Nice bike. I use it for commuting and bad weather. I wish I had waited and gotten a real gravel bike. I think about selling it about 1/month but never get around to it.
2009 Cervelo R3. I built this up from the frame with the Campy Eurus wheels and Chorus/Record drivetrain. It’s a rocket. I mostly use it on the trainer now.
2009 Spec Tarmac Pro. This bike is also Campy mechanical, with Fulcrum aluminum wheels. It waits for me in France, where I go 2x/year except during pandemics.
?? Gary Fisher Piranha. My only mountain bike. It weighs as much as a loaded tank. It’s with my son in grad school in SoCal. He mostly leaves it in his closet and hangs his clothes off it.
??? Novara Touring Bike. I bought this thinking it would be a good touring/bad weather bike. It’s too heavy for bad weather and I don’t do any touring. It now sits idle with a doggie trailer hooked on the back, except for the 1-2x I take the dogs in the trailer.
2006 Trek 5200. An Ultegra triple crank, Ultegra aluminum wheels. My other son has this one, and last I saw he left it out in the rain and it was not in good shape. My son swears he’s fixed it up, but I’m not traveling cross country to NYC to confirm.
2003? Giant TCR. Aluminum frame, Bontrager wheels. Also in France, waiting for one of my sons to say he wants to go for a ride there. Not holding my breath.
You have a tendency to ignore the obvious, make new digs without addressing obvious inconsistencies (such as the fact that very few parts for older bikes are unobtainable) but really, give it a rest. My post was not against you or your actions, but simply expressed the confusion that I and others here have with a model of usage that differs from our own, with essentially economics as the mainstay of your argument, where in simple terms such an argument falls completely flat when posed against a rider who maintains a bike for five, ten, or twenty years–no amount of figuring will get you to beat what is essentially zero (outside of basic maintenance) cost to enjoy close to maximum benefits for a well-maintained bike–of just about any age.
And, if one suggests that repurchasing the same product ten times compared to maintaining one, two or a few, in the same 20 year period has no environmental impact, using the basic logic of “well, if I didn’t do it someone else would” (your “enabling” the less fortunate by selling them your used bikes)–then, perhaps, the laughs on you–no?
But, please, again, enough already–you’ve answered all our questions to the best of your abilities, you have made your reasons clear, and you’re obviously not anxious entertain counter positions–so keep buying your bikes, keep the less fortunate on wheels, and enjoy the ride.
Stribe Allroad titanium 2021
Cervelo r3 disc 2019
Pub beater 2021
Trek Cronus cx canti 2012
Bullitt Larry vs harry (standard with no motor) first production bacth
Look 585 Team 2006
Raleigh randonneur 1980 something
I recently bought a NOS Red 10-speed rear derailleur for my 2012 R230. $100. Nothing has been replaced on that bike, component-wise, and it all works fine… that’s one benefit of having too many bikes: you can only ride one at a time, so things last longer. I only bought the rear derailleur because it seemed like a good deal. I have no use for it. Ha. All of the rest can be found if you look. You can generally find whatever you need. Or, if you want to plan ahead, buy spares when you buy you bike new, or at least before the spare parts go away. I recently did this for some linkage parts on my FS MTB.
I think the current media BS - including CT - about not being able to find OMG anything is ridiculous. Parts are out there. You just have to put in some effort.
That all said, I get your point. But really, who cares. They’re bikes. They’re supposed to be fun, and fun means different things to different people.