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  1. #1
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    Whats up with Expensive Bikes?

    Hello,

    I am fairly new to mountain biking and I picked myself up a Trek Wahoo 29er and I have been having a blast on local trails (White clay,Middle run, Fair hill) for those that are familiar.

    Ive read multiple threads about expensive vs inexpensive bikes and still havent found what I am looking for.

    Is the general basis that more expensive $2,000 for example bikes are lighter and also stronger? and that is the reason for purchase.

    I come from doing motorcycle track days and what I have experienced there is it is way more about rider ability then the bike. It really doesnt matter a whole lot what kind of bike someone has because having a high end bike only matters when things get going very fast.

    I am looking to take a rental bike from bike line out on the trail which are higher end bikes and I would like to know what I am looking for to compare it to my wahoo.

    At the moment I just plan to ride as much as possible on my wahoo until I do feel the bike is holding me back.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. So far have been really enjoying browsing this forum.

  2. #2
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    Strong-Light-Cheap Pick 2, goes the saying. If you want strong and light (and who doesn't), you pay more for better material, better engineering and better quality control. Your statement about rider ability is true - most agree that the rider skill and fitness makes most of the difference. But if it wasn't for weight-weenie, bling loving, gotta-have-better-stuff tendencies in most of us, who would fuel the growth of the bike industry? It's not about the bike, but let's face it, a lot of it is.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  3. #3
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    Sti, you're on the right track with regards to just riding the wheels off of what you've already got. I would recommend to keep your eyes open to opportunities for experiencing as many different bikes as you can. Do demo rides if there's one nearby and ride stuff you haven't ridden before or something that doesn't seem like a good match at first. Or when you travel, try to rent something that the locals recommend. I'm speaking from personal experience. My first trip to Moab I rented a 26" long travel bike, per the recommendation of the bike shop, even though I was sold on just riding 29ers. I was blown away as to how well the lil' kids wheels performed with the long travel. I came away from the trip a better and more confident rider and started to look at other bikes differently.

    Be open minded, you may surprise yourself and find a bike that matches your style even before you know what your style of riding is!
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  4. #4
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    The best thing to do is never ride a bike better than the one you have. Once you do, the upgradis bug can, and will, bite hard. But in all seriousness, ride a bike until you feel like its holding you back. That's what I've done and now I hold the SB66 back.

  5. #5
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    What G4A said.... and

    Like most hobbies, the more you get into it, the more cash you're willing to drop for the latest and greatest, to suit your ever expanding "needs". How deep into you get, is up to you and your cash flow. It's a gradual process for most, getting to the point that nothing but the near high-end will do. They do have their advantages in function, weight, and strength... but a law of diminishing returns is also present.

    I started mtbing 20+ years ago on a rigid steel beast, that I paid $300 for. Flash forward to now... 5 bikes (each with upgrades over the other) and easily $10 K later..... and I can't believe, I'm seriously contemplating dropping a whopping $6k on the latest carbon "dream" bike... yet, it's not even the most expensive one, and I don't even race, but I still want one. It's ridiculous.

    Demo a few higher end bikes, and see if the $ is justifiable for yourself.... I doubt you'll regret it, but your bank account might : )

  6. #6
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Also, particular geometry choices tend to be limited and somewhat 'safe/uninspiring' on economical bikes. The longer you ride and gain experience, you will develop your own preferences, which often are only available on higher end bikes/component groups.
    So it becomes easier to rationalize the cost to get something that rides how you like.
    It's like any hobby in that way.

  7. #7
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    Suspension that is lightweight and functions well is expensive.
    Good wheels that are (strong and light) have always been pricey.

    New technology is usually more expensive. Over the years we have seen the evolution of 5-6-7-8-9-10 speed drive-trains that shift better and are also lighter.

    Your Trek is fine for the price but you would notice that the better fork and wheelsets on higher end bikes make them more responsive and controlled at speed.
    The law of diminishing returns hit pretty hard once you have a bike with a good set of wheels and fork IMO... Like tangaroo said, quality is relative to what you are familiar with.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  8. #8
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    I ask this of myself repeatedly but why cant I ever find hobbies that dont require thousands of effin dollars?!!!
    A troll's day:1.Log on 2.Write sh*tty comments 3.Laugh 4.Notice dick is still small 5.Weep openly 6.Have mom make him a PB&J


  9. #9
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Also, some parts make very little difference in your ride quality (or perception of), like hubs, seatposts, stems, and other 'static' parts.
    Others make a MASSIVE difference, (especially biometric ones) , like saddles, handlebars, pedals, grips.
    And the difference in weight and quality of wheels and tires change make a bike go from
    "This bike is SH!t" to "this bike is THE sh!t!" In literally seconds of riding.

  10. #10
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    I was speaking to a gentleman yesterday who I bought a Thule rack from. He summed up the situation pretty well. All the competitive bike companies need to release a "new" model every year. This "new" model doesn't even have to be new, it just needs to be marketed as new with some small "advancements" to last years edition. With those new advancements comes a 6-7% higher price tag, and so the prices just rise and rise every year.

    The thing is if a company doesn't come out with a new model (or at least an "improved edition") then they are left in the dust.

    This summary of my/his view of things isn't as well put as how the other gentleman said it because he was more knowledgeable about the bike market than I am, but its the general idea of it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sti2.5ldohc View Post
    Hello,

    I am fairly new to mountain biking and I picked myself up a Trek Wahoo 29er and I have been having a blast on local trails (White clay,Middle run, Fair hill) for those that are familiar.

    Ive read multiple threads about expensive vs inexpensive bikes and still havent found what I am looking for.

    Is the general basis that more expensive $2,000 for example bikes are lighter and also stronger? and that is the reason for purchase.

    I come from doing motorcycle track days and what I have experienced there is it is way more about rider ability then the bike. It really doesnt matter a whole lot what kind of bike someone has because having a high end bike only matters when things get going very fast.

    I am looking to take a rental bike from bike line out on the trail which are higher end bikes and I would like to know what I am looking for to compare it to my wahoo.

    At the moment I just plan to ride as much as possible on my wahoo until I do feel the bike is holding me back.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. So far have been really enjoying browsing this forum.
    I know we're supposed to get all conciliatory and sooth your ego by telling you that the bike doesn't matter but the more you pay for a bike the better bike you will get.

    As long as the point of mountain biking is to enjoy the ride and not just point the cheapest, most generic piece-of-crap down the trail there is no drawback to spending some real money on a bike. I had a 2008 Wahoo that I got my start on and while it was a nice bike for the money and I really enjoyed it, I can never go back to it.

    As to the bike holding you back, it's more complicated than that. I have a Krampus and a singlespeed Ninerone9 and both of them "hold me back" but not because they are cheap pieces of crap that rattle themselves to pieces on the trail.

    Technology and high quality bikes are part of the sport and people should spend on bikes whatever they can comfortably afford commensurate with how much they actually like to ride. As I've said before, I seem to spend big chunks of my salary on things I don't really want to spend it on (taxes, insurance, gas for the car, and etc.), why zero in on the one thing I actually like to spend money on?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahmwern View Post
    I was speaking to a gentleman yesterday who I bought a Thule rack from. He summed up the situation pretty well. All the competitive bike companies need to release a "new" model every year. This "new" model doesn't even have to be new, it just needs to be marketed as new with some small "advancements" to last years edition. With those new advancements comes a 6-7% higher price tag, and so the prices just rise and rise every year.

    The thing is if a company doesn't come out with a new model (or at least an "improved edition") then they are left in the dust.

    This summary of my/his view of things isn't as well put as how the other gentleman said it because he was more knowledgeable about the bike market than I am, but its the general idea of it.

    And yet, mountain bikes have improved drastically, even when compared to bikes ten years ago. There is some progress being made, after all.

    Sure, there's a lot of marketing but the bike companies are not selling bad products. I have a few Specialized bikes, for example, and they are fantastic bikes worlds ahead of what I got started on.

    There might not be a lot of difference between the 2013 and 2014 Stumpjumper FSR but there is a huge difference between the 2010 and the 2014.

  13. #13
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    Or am I the only one on this forum who is unashamed to spend money on bikes and cheerfully and unapologetically rides his 49-year-old stocky self on "too much bike."

  14. #14
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    Sounds like the OP is asking the main difference between from one that would cost $2000+ to one that doesn't. A company will usually have a line of bikes with the same frame but offer different component options that will determine the overall price of the complete bike. One example is the Airborne Hobgolin.

    Frame Price: $880.00
    Frame with SRAM X7, Elixir 3 brakes and RS Reba RL Fork: $1750
    Frame with SRAM XO, Elixir 9 brakes and RS Reba RLT Fork: $3000

    There are other component upgrades from the wheels, tires to the chain. But every little improvement cost money. Most beginners to even intermediate riders probably wouldn't feel the difference on the trail. The added money does attribute to a lighter bike, but unless you're out there racing or you just have money to spend, then there just isn't a need for the top end components for weekend riding and something like the X7 will more than do.

    Of course, when you're comparing a $2000 bike to one that would cost $300 from Walmart, then there is a much bigger difference than just the components. Most reputable bike companies have a line for everyone, from beginner to pro with a price range that can appeal to wide range of people. While other companies are pairing their best selling frames with less expensive components to widen that range, such as Ibis who equips some of their Mojo line with X-Fusion shocks to help lower the price.

  15. #15
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    When saving few seconds count, and you are riding at above average joe level, that is when 10k bikes make sense.

    Too bad there isnt a logical way to lease a bike like how one can lease a car.

  16. #16
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    Whats up with Expensive Bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    The best thing to do is never ride a bike better than the one you have. Once you do, the upgradis bug can, and will, bite hard. But in all seriousness, ride a bike until you feel like its holding you back. That's what I've done and now I hold the SB66 back.
    ^^^ This. You'll know when your capabilities have outpaced the bike technologies. People also switch for comfort. I purchased a full suspension bike because my back was hurting on a hard-tail.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  17. #17
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    When saving few seconds count, and you are riding at above average joe level, that is when 10k bikes make sense.

    Too bad there isnt a logical way to lease a bike like how one can lease a car.
    There is...it's called selling it within a 2 year timeframe.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    .... and I can't believe, I'm seriously contemplating dropping a whopping $6k on the latest carbon "dream" bike... yet, it's not even the most expensive one, and I don't even race, but I still want one. It's ridiculous.
    ^^^This is hilariously true!

    For the OP - I spent a pretty good chunk on my bike and it doesn't even have suspension. That's ridiculous!
    But it's what I want. It's not made to win races. It's to have fun.

    For a complete bike, you will probably get your $$$-worth out of a higher end bike, but you will still end up customizing it a little bit.
    If you ever find out what you really want in a bike and you build a bike, you will bypass the initial cost + upgrades path and go straight to the final result, but maybe at the same cost in the end. Either way, you will have to pay for the form (or the bling) and the function to get exactly (or close to) what you want. The demand and the variety is there to keep anything from being sold "cheap".

    I have never heard anyone say "I wish I hadn't spent so much on that bike." They've said "I can't believe..." or "My wife's gonna kill me..."

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  19. #19
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    My truck cost less than my last bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty $anchez View Post
    My truck cost less than my last bike.
    You must have a crappy old truck even if your bike was expensive.
    But if you close your eyes it becomes so easy to see

  21. #21
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    Re: Whats up with Expensive Bikes?

    +1 sanchez, though my truck ain't much of anything, my 29er ht is worth well more than my truck.

    But my wife doesn't know it hehe cause i bought bike for frame so was all entry lvl components when purchased then upgraded everything to the way I wanted. Was smart money wise cause could have gotten more bike for same price but it was fun and its "me"

    Op- all these guys got it right. Bikes to fit specific needs. Whether its mental or actual. In some cases higher end parts make a noticable difference but 1 lb in bike weight means crap most of time unless its in the wheels/tires. Whole rotational mass thing. 1 Lb off a fork helps a tad and usually means better quality overall. Beyond that everything else is bling and weight weenie stuff.

    All comes to if your happy and have fun, then that's what you need. If your riding needs have hills and long distance, a good set of wheels and tires will make things better do to less weight to have to turn. If your trails have heavy rooted and rocks, a bit more fork travel or fs would make trail a bit smoother ride. And those thing mean money spent.

    Ride what you like and how you like, beyond that nothing else matters!

    Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk 2
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    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sti2.5ldohc View Post
    Hello,

    I am fairly new to mountain biking and I picked myself up a Trek Wahoo 29er and I have been having a blast on local trails (White clay,Middle run, Fair hill) for those that are familiar.

    Ive read multiple threads about expensive vs inexpensive bikes and still havent found what I am looking for.

    Is the general basis that more expensive $2,000 for example bikes are lighter and also stronger? and that is the reason for purchase.

    I come from doing motorcycle track days and what I have experienced there is it is way more about rider ability then the bike. It really doesnt matter a whole lot what kind of bike someone has because having a high end bike only matters when things get going very fast.

    I am looking to take a rental bike from bike line out on the trail which are higher end bikes and I would like to know what I am looking for to compare it to my wahoo.

    At the moment I just plan to ride as much as possible on my wahoo until I do feel the bike is holding me back.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. So far have been really enjoying browsing this forum.
    It's not that different from motorcycle trackdays, to be honest. Your entry level bikes are analogous to an old Kawasaki Ninja 500: you'll have fun to be sure, but after a short while, you begin to notice that the suspension is crap, it doesn't turn very well, it takes a lot of energy to accelerate and overall, it's not that fast. You find that the missed shifts become irritating, as do the cheap parts that seem to break every so often.

    Then you move up to a $2000 dollar HT bike, which is a lot like a Suzuki SV 650. Yeah, it costs more than the entry level bikes, but it's a lot lighter, handles better, shifts well and turns telepathically. You might upgrade the suspension a bit, add some better components to the driveline or lighter wheels and be really happy with it. You can even take one racing and do quite well with one if that's your thing...

    That is, until your new riding buddy takes you to a mountain bike lift park and you start hucking big jumps and hitting technical terrain. Then you might start looking at FS bikes in the $3500 range, which are not unlike your 600 cc supersports. They're a lot faster and have better suspension and driveline components that let you handle more technical terrain, hit bigger jumps and ride all day without a sore kiester or parts breaking from riding hard.

    You might stay at that level and be perfectly fine, a lot of people do. However others, get the racing bug really bad, or maybe they just have the money to spend on fancy pants carbon fiber bikes with high-zoot suspension, ENVE wheels, XX1 groups in the like. They need or want the latest and greatest to maintain their competitive edge, or just look the coolest at the trailhead. These bikes are not unlike a BMW S1000RR, for the people that ride them, they're worth the investment, but not everyone needs one.

    The main difference between mountain biking and trackdays is that for a year's trackday budget, you can buy a really nice bike, race a whole season on a mountain bike, tear up as much single track as you like, have just as much fun and still have money left over for a few dates with your significant other. Try that with motorcycles!
    Last edited by Gigantic; 07-23-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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  23. #23
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob View Post
    You must have a crappy old truck even if your bike was expensive.


    It's kinda old, not so crappy though. Detroit Lockers in both ends and really flexy suspension to crawl the local waterfalls.

  24. #24
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    Thanks to firearms, I've long since gotten past the notion that I can triple the value of my truck just by storing a hobby item in it. My current bike merely doubles the value of it, but it's money well spent to me.

    Sounds like you were where I was before this bike - I had just bought and subsequently comprehensively ruined a DB Overdrive29 in about a week (hooray for PerformanceBike's return policy), but I was trying to figure out the answer to one question before I committed to this rabbit hole:

    Where is the line where diminishing returns in performance start, and how much do I need to spend to have a reliable bike that does what I want.

    Obviously that's a variable and individual question - me being 225lb, coupled with my seeming inability to restrict my riding style to the limitations of the hardware I'm on, the second half of that question meant spending more money than most would need; but it really got me thinking where I'd start to see diminishing returns if I was starting to spend big money. To me it seemed obvious that a $10k bike is nowhere near twice as good as a $5k bike, and still probably less than twice as good as a $3k bike; but I had just made myself some conclusive evidence that spending less than $500 on a bike was utter crap, and the $1000 bike was more than twice the bike available for $600.

    I think there's a good gap between $2000 and $2500 where the durability is adequate, and there are some smart choices between features and weight (there are some great, light XC bikes, and some impressive travel bikes that come in a touch heavier), and after that the diminishing returns seem to really kick in. So far with the only couple dozen test rides I was able to put together before settling on my bike, I found there was usually ONE step where the quality went up to where I really felt anything less wasn't as good of a value.
    The rear cassettes, as soon as the bike in question went to the 10-spd rear cassettes (Deore or better Shimano; the SRAM 1030 w/ X7 or better RD) the bike just rode better throughout the gears. As soon as the brakes were Shimano Hydros or the second step up Elixirs, the brakes were competent, but could be modulated efficiently. Stuff like this was worth the time spent test riding (advisory notice - don't do this much test riding until you're prepared to spend a couple grand after making a decision), because I was able to figure out what spec of stuff I felt was necessary. I wound up with a slightly cheaper bike (with stuff like Fox Monarch R rear shock - it's not great, but if I ignore the plushest setup it's competent - the SRAM 1030 11-36t cassette is durable and awesome, but really heavy by comparison) but it still ticked those boxes where I stopped seeing a proportional or better improvement in the riding characteristics of the bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sti2.5ldohc View Post

    what I have experienced there is it is way more about rider ability then the bike. It really doesnt matter a whole lot what kind of bike someone has because having a high end bike only matters when things get going very fast.
    A great rider on a 10 year old $500 bike will smoke an average rider on a brand new $5000 bike.

    Yes, skill > gear. To a point.

    Take that same great rider and let him ride the new bike and he will never want to touch his old p.o.s. again. How much value do you place on enjoyment and comfort? How much better of a rider can you become when you ride a bike that you have more confidence in? How much can you improve your conditioning when you ride more just because its FUN, not because you need to train?

    Buying an expensive bike to try out mountain biking is pants on your head retarded. Buying an expensive bike to RIDE when you love to mountain bike is nothing short of amazing.

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