LPT: If it's the last one you're ever going to get...get the best.

It's tricky with hobbies. Cycling is a good example because the ceiling of what you can spend is limitless but there is also a large enough barrier of entry to what you should at least spend that it still winds up being a bit of a decision. The challenge comes from the fact that 'low-end' and 'entry level' can be really bad, so bad in fact that they actively discourage you from wanting to use them and directly impede your ability to enjoy the activity. This is true of bikes, it's true of a lot of hobbies. But sometimes the high end isn't high end because it's necessarily 'better' it's high end because it is specialized and the trade-off is that it actively requires a higher skill set to really get the most out of and properly utilize. So sometimes you have a beginner try out a piece of 'pro' equipment and it is just like having to learn everything all over again because the experienced user has it set precisely for how they like it and they have a deeper and more developed skill set to maximize its usefulness. So locating the sweet spot that encourages usage by making the thing enjoyable enough to help a person learn that doesn't break the bank can be a challenge in any hobby or sport or activity that requires a lot of gear.

Which is where it gets tricky and also becomes an 'us vs. them' in a sense as you will do your research but every brand is actively working to convince you that they are the best or if not the best then at least the most appropriate for you or the 'basically just as good'. On top of that you have brands that will sometimes(really most times if we're honest) eventually come to leverage their reputation to sell low-end equipment that doesn't really deserve their brand name and pass it off as 'just as good' or 'great for beginners' or whatever when it might be kind of crappy despite looking extremely 'the best' on paper.

It's an easy dilemma if you're considering Walmart vs. dedicated bike shop(or instrument shop or whatever) but it quickly gets complicated too, is the point.

/r/LifeProTips Thread