Rides per dollar – the real value of a quality bicycle



Sometimes a customer experiences ‘sticker shock’ at the bikes we have for sale in the shop. It’s not just our shop of course – this happens in every bike shop, because for a decade there’s been two very obvious price points when it comes to buying a new bike. Customers who go into a bike shop looking for a cheap new bike don’t find one.

I often simplify this issue with a question: Would you buy cheap cupcakes if they were being sold in a shoe shop? Probably not.
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room – cheap chinese bikes.

For the sake of this argument, I’ll put all of the cheap bikes in a single pile – Kmart, Big W, Anaconda, Supercheap Auto – and of course eBay. We’re talking about all of the bikes that you can buy from anywhere that isnt a bike shop. All of these bikes are made to an absurdly low price, without any of the quality you need from a machine that controls your safety. And who put it together? Was it an experienced technician, or a teenager after school?

As consumers, it’s completely reasonable to go through a value-for-money rationalisation. If you plan to ride infrequently, then pay less – right?
What doesnt come into these considerations is the lifetime cost of the bike – what we call Rides per Dollar.

If a bike cost you $100, and you rode it 20 times, then it cost $5 per ride. Would you pay $5 to ride a bike once? Probably not! But this is a very real scenario for many riders who use cheap chinese bikes to begin cycling. The bikes is incorrectly fitted, under equipped, poorly assembled and just never works properly. The brakes are weak and squeal loudly, the gears don’t shift correctly, the lights don’t work. There’s no-one to talk to in the store and having it fixed under warranty is impossible.
And don’t take it to a bike shop, because they won’t work on it – we certainly don’t.

If you find someone who will repair it, they’ll charge $80/hr to fix all of the small problems, and there goes $50-$70. Plus they’ll offer no warranty, because the parts the bike is made from are so cheap that they’ll fail in just a few rides. You’re disapointed, and next time the bike fails you’ll stop cycling. If you rode it 20 times, it cost you $7.50 per ride!

So you decide to sell it, but cheap chinese bikes have no residual value – it cost $100, and so second-hand it’s worth nothing, because no-one will pay you $50 when they can buy a new one for only $50 more. No sale, and it goes in the next council clean up pile.

The cheap bike is never cheap, and they end their short lives at the tip.

At CBC, we sell Cannondales, Eddy Merckx and Millfield bikes. All are made to very high quality standards with high quality components, and are assembled by trained and experienced technicians.
We’ll sell you the bike that’s the right size for you.
Every bike we sell is backed by the manufacturer’s warranty, right here in our store.
We’ll service your bike to ensure a long, trouble-free life. If you have a problem we’ll know what it is, and repair it to new.
Your bike will retain high residual value, and we will trade it in on your next bike.

Your $1000 Cannondale will last you ten years. If you ride it twice a week, the cost per ride comes down to about $1.20 when you add some service and maintenance and include the residual value.

In comparison to the $7.50 per ride cost of the ‘cheap’ bike, it’s easy to see where the real value of a bicycle lies 🙂

Call us at the shop on 02 4909 8492 – we’re happy to answer your questions.