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Fun "value" of new vs used; is the juice worth the squeeze?

Feb. 10, 2020, 9:01 p.m.
Posts: 241
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Cam's recent saddle advertorial got me thinking about the "value" of buying a brand new bike vs a decent used bike that may save you thousands. Comparing similar style/spec'd bikes, is the extra $3000 to $5000 a brand new bike going to bring you that much more riding satisfaction? Or could that cash bring more smiles in say the form of a week long riding trip somewhere in the middle of winter and a pass for WBP?

I'm not a human in real life, I just play one on the internet. 

Feb. 10, 2020, 10:30 p.m.
Posts: 11165
Joined: June 4, 2008

Don't forget the elephant in the room, brand new direct-to-consumer bike vs. bike-store bike.  $6,000 is $6,000.

Feb. 11, 2020, 3:12 a.m.
Posts: 241
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: ReductiMat

Don't forget the elephant in the room, brand new direct-to-consumer bike vs. bike-store bike.  $6,000 is $6,000.

Yeah, I considered that, but looking at how I put deals together on my new to me previously enjoyed bikes, I still saved a bunch of money. IME with my upgrades this past year, while the newer bikes have been better when I'm in the meat of my riding as long as things are running well - suspension set up properly, tires sorted, etc - I haven't noticed any majorly stunning revelations. This makes me wonder if the extra money is really worth it for the jump in performance. Diminishing return? The things I have really noticed are:

- the improved geometry improving descending and climbing, more so on the climbing but a lot of that is also better frame sizing going from a med to a large. the descending hasn't gotten noticeably better, a little smoother in some instances but that could also be due to larger wheels. to counter that however tho there are a few spots where the older, smaller bike actually worked better. however as Cam noted on my comment in his seat article, I'm still behind the latest wave of geo improvements. if i'd splurged for a brand new rocketship last year might my opinon be different? probably, but I would have only gotten one bike instead of three. I like such a wide variety of riding that one do it all bike would mean making compromises somewhere. do I go with a burlier bike that can handle more thrashing but would be a bit more of a chore for climbing/pedally rides or do I get something more climbing oriented and give up smashability and ended spending more on maintenance/repairs? I've fully bought into the min/max idea and that seems to make used a better way to go. I don't make the kind of cash where spending $15-20K on bikes is a reality in combination with the other things I do.

- brakes are better for sure, but they weren't so bad before that I could say they limited my riding at all except for waaaay back on a set of Hopes that ended up being a nightmare

- dropper post has been awesome for uppy/downy trails. tbh tho i never found it a big deal to stop and drop the seat at the top of a climb, but there are a few trails descents with a climb in the middle where it's really nice to be able to bring the seat up without having to stop. the caveat to that is it's easier on those section and I don't always like easier when it comes to tech climbing (or descending). when you've come to appreciate a certain difficult section and the new bike/gear/trailwork makes it easier, i personally find that to be a loss rather than a gain. at the end of the day the dropper gets a thumb up for sure.

the next big thing seems to be adding cush core, but that's an expense I would have had to add to the price of a new bike anyway so it's kind of a moot point.

Feb. 11, 2020, 7:45 a.m.
Posts: 1956
Joined: Jan. 5, 2010

I've cracked new frames and I've cracked used frames. I've also cracked brake levers on bikes that I purchased used. It's nice to have warranty when that happens. But it doesn't normally happen during ski season, and waiting around for a replacements isn't fun.

If I can find what I want when I need it on the buy'n'sell, I'll go that route. Sometimes the used prices are so close to MSRP that I'll happily get what I need from a shop though. Shop bikes and parts are ready for you to ride. Mid-summer, that means more hours riding and less hours in the shop tweaking a worn drive-train, bleeding brakes, and rebuilding suspension.

My last two bikes, I got exactly what I wanted used. I picked them up in the winter, had time to wrench on them, and saved enough on them to eat the cost of replacing failed brakes, worn-out drivetrains, and the frames when they inevitably fail. This is only because the bikes were each a good deal though. The average buy'n'sell bike does not seem to be a good deal and not every buyer is going to come out ahead buying used over a direct-to-consumer or year-end-blowout from a shop.

Feb. 11, 2020, 7:47 a.m.
Posts: 640
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

i'm highly biased, with a bike up for sale, but i can't believe how many high end bikes linger for sale forever. i have a premo custom build on a 2016 'bike of the year' mtb and i'm selling it for a song.  a 16 Patrol is essentially a current Bronson, but with a nicer build kit and wheels, Vorsprung shock and Factory 36 fork. 200mm dropper. not a nibble for months.  maybe it's not enough of a park sled?

Feb. 11, 2020, 9:22 a.m.
Posts: 1172
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

Posted by: JBV

i'm highly biased, with a bike up for sale, but i can't believe how many high end bikes linger for sale forever. i have a premo custom build on a 2016 'bike of the year' mtb and i'm selling it for a song.  a 16 Patrol is essentially a current Bronson, but with a nicer build kit and wheels, Vorsprung shock and Factory 36 fork. 200mm dropper. not a nibble for months.  maybe it's not enough of a park sled?

Its an XL and its 27.5.  Thats going to be a tough sell at anytime of the year in my opinion.  29ers are hot, 27.5 is not right now.  Maybe once spring rolls around you will have better luck!

Feb. 11, 2020, 9:55 a.m.
Posts: 140
Joined: March 14, 2017

650b is going to be a tough sell or bike that just got a redo like the Enduro....  tough sell on the 17-19 Enduros.  Lucky to get $3500 on a SWorks

Feb. 11, 2020, 11:18 a.m.
Posts: 1313
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Posted by: JBV

i'm highly biased, with a bike up for sale, but i can't believe how many high end bikes linger for sale forever. i have a premo custom build on a 2016 'bike of the year' mtb and i'm selling it for a song. a 16 Patrol is essentially a current Bronson, but with a nicer build kit and wheels, Vorsprung shock and Factory 36 fork. 200mm dropper. not a nibble for months. maybe it's not enough of a park sled?

I rode my Wreckoning 29 and demo'd 27.5 Transition patrol at Retallack last summer. Have to say I had more fun on the patrol. The smaller wheel felt snappier and agile, my Wreckoning just wants to go straight. Miss having a 27.5 park bike.


 Last edited by: Brocklanders on Feb. 11, 2020, 11:19 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Feb. 11, 2020, 1:21 p.m.
Posts: 1071
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

New bikes being significantly better is pure marketing hyperbole imo.

Granted, the difference between 27.5 and 29 is drastic, (in both good and bad ways).

The difference with metric shocks, GXP BB's, boost axles, etc etc? Imperceptible.

I'm a habitual bike demo'er, I've still never ridden anything as fast as my embarrassingly outdated 2016 Reign.

Feb. 11, 2020, 1:37 p.m.
Posts: 4856
Joined: Nov. 25, 2002

if you have the disposable income, shiny new carbon swaddled 5 figure superbikes are certainly nice, but for most people, the benefit over a carefully curated & well maintained (modern) used bike is minimal. certainly not worth trading off going into debt or curtailing adventures. and "contemporizing" used bikes is kinda fun. upsize, add offset bushings or headset, freshen up a few bits, etc. lots of potential out there for relative bargains.


 Last edited by: xy9ine on Feb. 11, 2020, 1:37 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Feb. 11, 2020, 4:40 p.m.
Posts: 241
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Hepcat

I've still never ridden anything as fast as my embarrassingly outdated 2016 Reign.

I've heard some comments along a similar vein before and it really makes one think about how much bike fit can impact your riding.

Feb. 11, 2020, 5:42 p.m.
Posts: 1071
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Posted by: xy9ine

...for most people, the benefit over a carefully curated & well maintained (modern) used bike is minimal. certainly not worth trading off going into debt or curtailing adventures. and "contemporizing" used bikes is kinda fun. upsize, add offset bushings or headset, freshen up a few bits, etc. lots of potential out there for relative bargains.

And upgrading older bikes with obselete standards can be dirt cheap. Last year I bought a top of the line non-boost Lyrik for pocket lint.

Feb. 11, 2020, 9:57 p.m.
Posts: 343
Joined: May 11, 2018

It's great to hear about so many people able to wrench and maintain a used bike to like new performance. Personally, I love putting my own scratches on my bikes. There's nothing like unboxing your new frame and building it up into the wee hours of the night. This being said, I haven't paid full price for a bike in over two decades. There is never anything so new and shiny that I just have to have the latest and greatest the moment it hits the market. I am happy to get an end of season special. Amazingly, the used bike market is so strong that I often get a used bike price on a new rig. My evil insurgent was 5K with an XT group. 

As for the 27.5 vs 29 \ old vs new geometry arguments, my buddy and I both have two year old 27.5 euro bikes (RM slayer and my evil) and we both bemoan that when it's time to replace them we are sad to know that we won't be able to find anything that rides like our old biker do. It's true the new bikes are smooth and fast but their only easier to ride, not more fun to ride. 

My advice, save yourself a bunch of $ and go find a 2017 27.5 euro bike on the buy and sell and have yourself a blast!

Feb. 12, 2020, 2:27 p.m.
Posts: 130
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Recently bought a new bike for my 50th. I gotta say with a 78° seat tube angle, it's a game changer on the climbs!!!!

Most likely my last new bike though.

Feb. 12, 2020, 4:14 p.m.
Posts: 241
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Ouch

Recently bought a new bike for my 50th. I gotta say with a 78° seat tube angle, it's a game changer on the climbs!!!!

Most likely my last new bike though.

What were you riding before?

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