Contrary to common belief, cycling is not a cheap sport. At least, not if you're interested in full-suspension mountain bikes and enjoy riding hard, technical trails over and over, faster and faster. Aside from the initial outlay which can be anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, there's the maintenance to deal with, the inevitable replacement of worn out parts (most commonly the rear derailer, chain, and cassette), the desire to upgrade, and also the money spent fueling your vehicle to get to all of those exotic destinations one likes to ride. Case in point, one of my absolute favorite loops is only about 12.5 miles in length, takes about just over two hours to ride (including a lunch break), and requires over two hours of driving in the car each way to get there.
Like I said, this isn't a cheap sport. So it is with great satisfaction that I report to you that the road bike I purchased today is very cheap. Not only was the bike a tremendous value, but I also purchased it primarily for training purposes, which means that I won't be driving all over the place to ride it. Also, road bikes hold up a lot longer than mountain bikes do. This of course assumes I avoid cars, potholes, and other immovable objects encountered on the street environment.
The new bike is an 2005 model Scattante R-660, which is one of Performance Bike's in-house brands. And as much as I would like to give my business to the local family-owned shops (not to mention have a bike that doesn't scream "newbie"), sometimes a deal comes along that is just too good to pass up.
Here's what the bike came with:
- Easton lightweight aluminum frame with carbon seat stays and carbon bladed fork.
- Ultegra groupo, 20-speed with a nice 12-25 spread cassette to make up for the lack of a triple chainring.
- Carbon seatpost with an adequate Selle Italia seat
- Truvativ crankset
- Kronos wheels with relatively low spoke count and bladed spokes.
- Kenda 700x23 tires
The bike was retailing for $1849 this time last year. Late last year I saw it on sale for $1199 and started thinking about getting it. It went on sale this week (limited stock) at $999. For those unaware in what bicycle components retail for, the Ultegra groupo (transmission and brakes) alone is worth over $900.
Now this is where it gets even better. I almost didn't buy this bike because the kid I dealt with at the shop last night was a total prick. Far more interested in bragging about what he rides and treating me like I had never seen a bicycle before to actually take an interest in the customer. I realize that this is still a pretty lackluster bike, but it's still a grand out of my wallet. I don't need some kid not yet old enough to have a beer talking to me like I didn't know how to ride a bike. So today, when I went back to get properly fit for the bike, I was all set to request a different salesman if I had to. I didn't, and the guy who helped me was awesome. While we were talking I casually mentioned that I almost didn't come pick it up because of the guy I dealt with last night. He right away knew exactly who I was talking about and said he had sensed that he was starting to turn off some customers. I returned from my test ride to find him talking with the store manager about the other employee (who wasn't there today).
So I get everything adjusted right on the bike, I get new Ti/Mg pedals, some bottle cages, a couple of spare tubes, and a bicycle computer that measures cadence as well as speed, distance, etc. And I go to pay for everything.
The pedals were on sale about 30% off and the manager gave me an additional 50% off the sale price. He then gives me about 50% off the bike computer and knocks some additional money off the cages and tubes, which were already on sale for about 40% off normal price. Then he totally blows me away and says that they're going to cover the sales tax on the bike. Factor in the 10% back I get in store credit for being one of their "club members" and I'm out the door for under a grand with everything listed above, plus the clothes I'll pick up when the coupons arrive next month. If I were to throw the frame in the garbage and move all of the components over to a nicer frame, I'd still be saving money.
But I'm not going to. Because once I get my legs back under me, it's going to be awfully fun to drop people riding their multi-thousand dollar bikes, knowing that mine only cost $900. The bike matters; but the rider matters more.