Sunday, December 5, 2010

How much is this hobby costing me?

I was just reading the comments on one of Velouria's recent posts over at Lovely Bicycle. The topic was budget bicycles and whether it's better to buy something cheap or something used.  That got me thinking about my bike projects and how much they've cost me, and honestly, those are numbers that are best not thought about.  I probably have $1500 into my Schwinn's build, for example, and it's worth maybe $500 on eBay, if I'm lucky.  The Motobecane was a gift from my friend Steven, but I've probably got $500 into that in components and accessories.  Probably more.

Then there are the girls' bikes.  Juli had three bar/stem/lever setups on her Fuji in the two seasons she rode it.  Two of these required new parts, each to the tune of $150 or so.  Then the bike itself cost $300 or so, shipped, and there are cages and the rack and the saddle bag and her Brooks saddle to consider, not to mention the upgraded front derailleur, brakes, tires and tubes, cables and housing, and the cranks and pedals.  $1000 all-in wouldn't surprise me.  Two seasons!  Now, it's true that Ava will be on that bike for a couple of seasons, herself (maybe even 3), but it's going to cost me $5-600 to get it ready for her, once I'm done cannibalizing it for Juli's Schwinn, and getting it repainted.

Then there's Juli's Schwinn.  The frame was cheap, and the fork was, too -- $200 total, I think, with shipping.  The cranks, derailleurs, shifters and brakes were all on-hand or cannibalized from the Fuji.  The headset, stem and bars were new for this build -- that's $100 or so.  The wheelset cost me $200 for the parts and $250 for the class!  And I've got another $300 in miscellaneous components in there, too -- 650B tires and tubes, kickstand, cable stops, hangers, the brake pulley thingy, etc...  I'm guesstimating here, but that one is quickly inching towards a thou as well, even without the wheelbuilding class costs factored in.

On the other hand, I'm not exactly cutting corners on any of these bikes.  My taste in components and accessories tends towards the expensive, and I always seem to end up paying way more on eBay than I can sell the same parts for when I move onto something new.  And the only money I spent on my Schwinn this year was for a new wheelset (crash) and the fenders and saddle bag I bought for my trip to Italy.  So apart from the crash and two purchases for a specific purpose, I pretty much just rode it.  All it needs right now is a replacement big ring, to replace the one ovaled by baggage handlers.  Likewise, the Motobecane got a little spend early this season, as I sorted it out for its intended role, but very little over the summer (bar tape).  It shouldn't need anything to get me through next season -- maybe tires, depending on how much the rollers chew those up this winter.

Anyway, I guess the answer is that as hobbies go, this one hasn't been particularly inexpensive for me, and that most of that spend is impulsive on my part -- discretionary, not mandatory.  I think one of my New Year's resolutions will be to spend no more than $100 each on the Schwinn and Motobecane in 2011.  I'm sure it's possible -- the question is whether I have the discipline to stick to it.

Juli's Schwinn is looking more and more like a bicycle, by the way.  I'll write more another time, but it has wheels and tires installed, and is awaiting transplant of the drivetrain and control levers.  This is good fodder for the coming Christmas school vacation.  Then we can cable and tape it, and it'll be roadworthy, and ready for a test ride and its final accessories!

All for now,


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