February 6, 2005

    Hi there. I have been cycling for quite a while. I’ve organized a budget sheet for myself and I want to know how much is considered reasonable to spend each year on my mountain bike. I can do basic stuff like change brake pads, cables, etc. I would be grateful for any info.

Andrew F.

    If that mountain bike sits indoors all year, zero. A dumb joke, I admit—but it illustrates an important point: How much you spend annually on maintenance depends directly on how and how much you use it. But I can give you some guidance.
    Some people use their mountain bikes for recreational, off-road cycling and nothing else. Others use mountain bikes for transportation—cuz mountain bikes have wide tires that forgive the sharp objects and bumps endemic to urban and suburban roads.
    Let’s say you use that bike for transportation. According to one bicycling fact source, the typical annual cost to operate a bicycle for the average commuter falls between $20 and $300. To narrow that down, take the example of some folks who ride their mountain bikes for transportation and push them hard: bicycling police officers in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. They say they spend an average of $100 annually per bicycle on maintenance.
    (Your e-mail address implies that you live outside the U.S.; to convert from the U.S. currency amounts I’ve presented click here.)
    If you use that mountain bike purely for recreation, I’ve got another way to help decide on a budget: Figure your annual disposable income (what you don’t need for food, housing, and other such necessities). Then write down everything else you want to spend money on, like bicycling, motion pictures, and fact-finding trips to the U.S. Prioritize these items, then divvy up the money.
    And if you don’t use your mountain bike for transportation, I suggest you think about it. With the right accessories you can replace many expensive motor-vehicle trips with cheap bike trips. With the money you’d save you’d have plenty more to spend on your bike.

Mr Bike

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