Buying a New Trek Bicycle


My thrift store ride & old backpack

Over the last 5 years I have been riding a used thrift store bike in which I bargained them all the way down to $35; the bike lock that needed to be cut off was my bargaining chip.  I originally bought the bike for a couple reasons:  1) I sell things on eBay, why not buy a bike and give it a try 2) I didn’t own a bike 3) lots of really cool FI people ride bikes*

I took the bike for a tune up and of course to get my bike lock hacked off.  I don’t remember the exact numbers originally but $75-$100 to make the bike ride-able seems correct.  Mrs. Even Steven was not exactly thrilled with the costs; I could feel the glare of dislike as she questioned why I just paid a little over $100 for a used bike from a thrift store.  I’m sure she was thinking why not just buy one from one of the big box stores?  I actually did this during my time in Florida, but one small car crash, followed by an angered filled slam and the bike didn’t last past that.

Over the past 5 years I have purchased the following:  a bike helmet, ~$3 from the thrift store, ~$20 bike lock, a couple of new tires and tubes ~$50 probably a high estimate, but these were installed as well so I’m sticking with a higher number for the labor costs.  All in total I have spent ~$208 and that’s putting that number on the high side.  That’s $42 per year, a very small number, all for a little extra transportation.

Why I Bought a New Bike

Over the past 5 years I have been biking more and more.  It all started innocently enough when I lived closer to the Chicago lakefront and took a morning commute to work on the lake path.  An occasional ride to work became a concerned effort to ride to work on Friday’s, especially when the weather was just right.  Last summer I upped my game and began riding a little more often, I was able to ride for an entire week straight to the delight and terror of my ever pedaling legs.  Over 100 miles in and I still like waking up in the morning for the early commute.  In fact, the energy I come with to work after biking through the streets of Chicago as the sunrise approaches the city’s skyscrapers puts a smile on my face.

Surprisingly, the thrift store purchased bike has held up over the last few years.  The bike doesn’t shift the best and in its old age prefers just a couple particular gears.  I have come to learn this by the chain falling off during an occasional gear shift.  Flipping the bike over and getting a little grease on your hands before work doesn’t bother me much, but if I could avoid this dance, I’m all for it.  The brakes, well they work, but let’s hope I don’t have to stop dramatically for any moving vehicles.  In short, the bike works.  I don’t love the bike and I don’t hate the bike, it feels like I own a 1986 Gremlin.

This year I decided to bike even more and with my new debt freedom I wanted to purchase a bike.  Like any super nerdy excel sheet, FI chasing fool I have been thinking about purchasing a new bike for the last 2 years.  My original plan as I looked at bikes was to purchase a new Trek Crossrip which starts at $1,099.  Only a couple of months ago did I make a dramatic shift in price and began looking at the more common Trek FX Commuter bikes, which start as low as $379.  This made more sense for my budget, where I’m riding, and the amount I currently ride.  As I did my research and was asked for my birthday present ideas, I asked for money towards my new bike.  I don’t entirely celebrate my birthday too much anymore, but my parents and my beautiful wife gifted me some money towards the Trek bike cause, no Go Fund Me page needed.  I mean what parent doesn’t want to buy their son a new bike, even if he is in his 30’s!

Purchase Accomplished

Then it happened, I was focusing on my price range and budget for my bike and came across a Memorial Weekend sale at a local bike shop in Chicago.  Of course, this only happened after checking craigslist for the better part of a month to find very little price difference across the board.   I went in the bike shop with every intention to purchase a 2016 Trek FX 7.2 and after asking a range of questions on the different models within the FX series, I left with a receipt and an order to pick up my brand new purchase.  It was that simple.


My new Trek bike & old backpack

My purchase included the following, not including Chicago’s insane amount of sales tax:

  • Trek 7.2 FX $450
  • Water bottle cage $20
  • Kickstand $15

Afterwards I poked around the website I realized I had totally forgot to look at the discounts and coupons they offered……what kind of crappy frugal personal finance blogger am I???  The good news was I called the next morning and talked with Jake, not the guy from State Farm, who knew exactly what I was talking about and said he would add everything on the accessory list to my bike.  Thanks Jake.  Here’s what was included, for free I might add:

  • Seat pack– for little items like a wallet or keys
  • Frame pump-Perfect I don’t even have a bike pump
  • Water bottle and cage– I decided to stick with the upgraded water cage on this one-I think I missed out on the water cage credit which I believe would have been around $7
  • Helmet-$20 They did offer a basic helmet, but I already have one and wanted something a little more comfortable and preferably not one from a thrift store.  $20 off not bad

Because of a monsoon of rain when I was supposed to pick up my new treasure and ride home, I came back with our SUV** and threw my bike in the back.  Funny enough my main man Jake was the person who grabbed my back from the back and explained everything.  He explained everything from adjusting the seat, explaining the quick release and brakes, and anything extra that popped up in my head at the time.  Then I was hit with some more good news, he handed me my Trek manual and the offer to have a 90 day check in with the bike to make sure everything is working properly after you stretch out the gears and brakes.  Then to sweeten the deal, you actually get 2 more tune-ups over the next 2 years for free, a $90 maintenance package.



I have my bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously that’s how I felt.  I came home and rode the bike around my neighborhood while it was still light out, it was great!  The only thing I needed to do was purchase a bike lock.  After reading reviews and horror stories around the internet I had pretty much had me convinced that I needed a lock the size of the house so the potential thief would move and pick someone else’s bike to steal.  Although based on my riding patterns, 90% of the time my bike will be in my house or locked up at my work where we have a security guard checking people in and out along with appropriate bike racks to safely secure my ride.kryptonite bike lock

That of course still didn’t stop my endless indecision to buy a lock.  My guess is I put in a solid 2 hours of indecision before I added anything to my Amazon cart, then another 30 minutes asking myself if I made the right decision.  Since I have had my thrift store bike I have only had a cable combination lock, mostly I had the feeling that they would pass on my bike entirely whether I had a lock or not.  Final decision time came and after a small gift card from taking an online survey, I landed on the Kryptonite Lite 6 shown here, originally $60, knocked down to $50 with the gift card.  I even received the bike lock the same day with our Amazon Prime account ($99 per year).


What the Bike means to Me

Over the past 5 years I have enjoyed my thrift store bike ride and maybe I will sell it or rent it out in the future, but it feels great to have a new bike. The Trek bike is great and the ability to enjoy my financial freedom  and purchase something I have been truly wanting over the last couple years brings me to a level of satisfaction that I’m growing to love.

The bike has meaning behind it.  This bike is the past 2 years working overtime, skipping a vacation, bringing a lunch to work, selling on eBay, using my tax refund for debt, and riding a $35 bike to work.  It’s about taking every last cent and putting it towards a student loan or money I owed my parents.  It’s the hours I took running numbers on my spreadsheet looking for ways to pay off my debt that much faster.  Today some of these same decisions that I made to cut costs actually provide more happiness than I could have imagined.  In the same way when I ride my bike it gives me a financial happiness that I would have not expected.  I hope everyone reading gets that same feeling in the near future, share the financial happiness with someone you know or the internet both I’m sure will appreciate it!

* Although originally I didn’t think riding bikes was a realistic financial savvy method of transportation, hater I tell you

**Certainly some irony picking up a bike with a gas guzzling SUV.  We rarely the SUV since we are in the city and take public transportation 5 out of the 7 days of the week and sometimes more.


One of the biggest reasons I am enjoying my debt freedom is because I made the decision to track my finances.  I encourage you to know where your money is going and sign up with Personal Capital using the link above, if you are already tracking your money this is for you also .  Once you understand what you are spending your money on, this puts you in financial awareness mode and will lead you to start making the financial decisions on the best places you want your money to go.

17 Responses to “Buying a New Trek Bicycle

  • Awesome! My wife and I bought new Trek bikes a couple years ago and love them. We haven’t ridden them as much as we want over the last year or two but after a good tuneup this year, I have started going for a ride Saturday mornings with the goal to bike my 18 mile commute at least once this summer. Congrats on getting the bike and having the freedom to do it 🙂

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      Thanks Thias, it’s a slow progression in biking and getting comfortable and enjoying the ride. The great thing about your bike is it will be there whenever you decide to take a ride!

  • Please remember that bike helmets need to be replaced after a few years because the material that protects your brain degrades over time.

    I doubt I’ll get on board with the FI biking community. Bad accident as a child scarred me for life and my city is just not safe for bikers. Thank goodness for public transportation.
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Joining the Yakezie ChallengeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      Yeah I got yelled at by Mrs. POP when I mentioned this awhile back about my bike helmet, so finally I’m listening. I just need to find a cool sticker for the helmet also very important. I said the same thing for other reasons on biking a few years bike, but to each their own on biking, public transportation, etc because in the end we are all looking for a less expensive way to travel from point A to point B.

  • Great job! I’m all for things that encourage you to ride more, even if they cost a little more money. I can’t extol the benefits of cycling enough, regardless of perceived risk—MMM covers it nicely :). Any increase in riding is great!

    Taking advantage of the 90-day check is highly recommended because it will almost certainly need some adjustment by that point. Maybe even go earlier if the shifting is irritating you.

    I’m actually working on the “how do I pick up a bike by using a bike” problem and hope to share something by the end of the summer. Though I don’t have a solution for monsoon!
    Mike recently posted…Book Review—Zero to One by Peter ThielMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      Yeah the ride has been great so far, I might adjust the seat a little and I just noticed a click in the 18th gear, little stuff so far but will probably get it checked out by the end of the month.

      I want to see the video of this picking up a bike with a bike, please! As always great talking with you Mike.

  • Great story. I’m glad you finally got your bike and that you are happy with it.
    Catherine Alford recently posted…An Amazing Way to Capture Life’s Sweetest MemoriesMy Profile

  • That’s a great looking bike. I’m all for buying a new bike if you get plenty of usage from it to justify spending the $$$’s. I had a Giant Cypress DX (hybrid) for 10 years that I rode a lot. It was a great bike that was built tough and I took it on long 100+ mile rides often as well as around town. After all those years, several broken spokes a bike seat shredded, and actually two tires worn out (the ribber/tread was actually thinning and gone) it was time for a new bike. I have to say I like your bike. A few years ago I went for the Trek 7.1 FX and love it. It’s a step up from the Giant and I’m happy with the buy. No doubt it will be with me at least 10 years and it’s a great ride. Thanks for sharing.
    DivHut recently posted…Market Your Knowledge: How To Make Money by TutoringMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      That’s great that you were able to ride the Giant for so long, sounds like a great bike. Yeah we are riding buddies with our Trek FX series purchases. I mean with all of my extras that were added on it came to about $600, if I’m able to ride for 10 years, $60/year is well worth it in my book. Cheers to riding!

  • I didnt realize you biked so much! That new bike is like a benz compared to your old one. Congrats! You know $450 really isnt that much for a bike like that. The last bike I bought was for $600. Its a mountain bike and i still ride it now but I really do need to get a road cruiser for city riding.
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…Top Lessons Learned After One Year Of Blogging + Yearly Blog Income ReportMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      I think biking is growing on me, brings me back to getting outside and enjoying fresh air. Going from my $35 thrift store ride, I think everything is going to be considered expensive. In the grand scheme of things you are right not bad at all. Might as well get out there while it’s nice out!

  • A $400 bike is still cheaper than a monthly car payment for a “dream car.” And Trek means quality as others say, buying one from a big box store is great if you want to cancel you gym membership as you will be peddling harder than with a Trek or other high-quality bike 😉
    Josh recently posted…A Man’s Review of Nely Galan’s “Self Made”My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      5 months ago

      Very true indeed. Cancelled my gym membership awhile ago, I rely on my Siberian Husky to keep me in shape for the most part. Yeah this summer should be good, try to put in around 60 miles a week should be about right.

  • 5 years on a thrift store bike??? I am so impressed, and feeling guilty about my Scott road bike sitting in my garage that I could definitely use more, and which cost way, way more than either of your bikes. I should probably sell it, given our $560k in student loans we are trying to pay off (and blogging about it! but it really feels like a family member, i love it so much.

    High five for biking to save $$!

  • I just picked up a Giant Escape 3. I’ve also spent about $100 on a helmet, water bottle, cage, bike lock, pouch for under seat, and phone holder. I love it so far. I’ve ridden it every day I’ve had it. Congrats!

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