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  1. #1
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    Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    After a great ride yesterday afternoon, about a dozen of us were talking in the parking lot, mostly about bikes and how expensive they are for a relatively simple product. And we started listing all the things you can buy for what a high end mountain bike can cost - let's say $7,000. For instance:

    1. A very capable dirt bike
    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner

    And many other things. It just doesn't seem, when you stand a bicycle next to these other things, that it should cost anywhere near this. Granted, you can get a pretty nice bike for let's say $3,500 but still, it seems like a great bike should be possible for <$1,000 given how little raw materials go into it. Seriously, is a full suspension frame really THAT complicated compared to these other products? And it's not like bikes are even that durable. Forks and shocks need servicing every couple of months if you ride regularly!
    Are you really sure about that?

  2. #2
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    Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    Not again...

  3. #3
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    I think this is the first time this topic has ever been covered. Thanks for bringing up a new thread about this! Let's all discuss it for 6 pages.

    Seriously though, You can get a really nice bike for about $1000 if you look for deals. Quit being a whiny B!@#$.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    After a great ride yesterday afternoon, about a dozen of us were talking in the parking lot, mostly about bikes and how expensive they are for a relatively simple product. And we started listing all the things you can buy for what a high end mountain bike can cost - let's say $7,000. For instance:

    1. A very capable dirt bike
    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner

    And many other things. It just doesn't seem, when you stand a bicycle next to these other things, that it should cost anywhere near this. Granted, you can get a pretty nice bike for let's say $3,500 but still, it seems like a great bike should be possible for <$1,000 given how little raw materials go into it. Seriously, is a full suspension frame really THAT complicated compared to these other products? And it's not like bikes are even that durable. Forks and shocks need servicing every couple of months if you ride regularly!
    Volume

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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    I think this is the first time this topic has ever been covered. Thanks for bringing up a new thread about this! Let's all discuss it for 6 pages.

    Seriously though, You can get a really nice bike for about $1000 if you look for deals. Quit being a whiny B!@#$.
    Never ceases to amaze me how often on internet DISCUSSION BOARDS, people will chime in negatively, commenting that the thread isn't necessary and then criticize the guy opening the thread? If you have no interest or have already participated in a previous topic like this, why not ignore it? How does tossing negativity and insults into the arena help anything? I've personally never participated in a discussion on this site about this. Maybe you spend hours and hours every day on the site, pouring over every thread and tracking frequency of topics ... chill out a little. Why waste your time on a topic you're not interested in? And, what exactly am I "whining" about? I'm simply putting out a comparative question of value. It seems odd to me that a relatively simple machine like a bicycle should cost as much as a snowmobile that has thousands of parts with far more engineering and durability built in than a bicycle.
    Are you really sure about that?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    Volume
    Are you telling me that there are more snowmobiles sold than bicycles?

    Edit: Just looked it up ... appears that worldwide sales of snowmobiles last year was just around 50,000. Sales of bicycles JUST IN THE US was over 13 million.

    Consider that Apple is tracking to sell about 13 million iMac computers this year.

    13 million bikes qualifies as serious volume.
    Are you really sure about that?

  7. #7
    No. Just No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    I've personally never participated in a discussion on this site about this. Maybe you spend hours and hours every day on the site, pouring over every thread and tracking frequency of topics.
    Agree. Here is a convenience link to help;

    Bike pricing has increased 96%, inflation has increased 27%

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Are you telling me that there are more snowmobiles sold than bicycles?

    Edit: Just looked it up ... appears that worldwide sales of snowmobiles last year was just around 50,000. Sales of bicycles JUST IN THE US was over 13 million.

    Consider that Apple is tracking to sell about 13 million iMac computers this year.

    13 million bikes qualifies as serious volume.
    How many of those are$6000 bikes? You could have an identical thread of 'why are bikes so cheap?' I would guess that most of the 13m bikes sold are under $300. There sure as hell are not 13m Yeti carbon sb66 being sold.

  9. #9
    How much further ???
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    Something only costs what people are willing to pay.

    If marketing has convinced you that you need to adjust HSC LSC HSR and LSR settings on your suspension in order to enjoy riding your bike, or you need x wheel size to go faster, or you need carbon this or that to put a smile on your face, and anything less is just horrible and practically unrideable. Then that's your fault.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    How many of those are$6000 bikes? You could have an identical thread of 'why are bikes so cheap?' I would guess that most of the 13m bikes sold are under $300. There sure as hell are not 13m Yeti carbon sb66 being sold.
    Exactly.

    Volume as in high end bikes. Not cheap walmart specials.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    13 million bikes qualifies as serious volume.
    Yeah, but the percentage of those that are "high end mountain bikes" is probably extremely small -- like 1%.

  12. #12
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    Let's eat Ted
    Let's eat, Ted
    Remember, commas save lives

  13. #13
    I ride bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Never ceases to amaze me how often on internet DISCUSSION BOARDS, people will chime in negatively, commenting that the thread isn't necessary and then criticize the guy opening the thread? If you have no interest or have already participated in a previous topic like this, why not ignore it? How does tossing negativity and insults into the arena help anything? I've personally never participated in a discussion on this site about this. Maybe you spend hours and hours every day on the site, pouring over every thread and tracking frequency of topics ... chill out a little. Why waste your time on a topic you're not interested in? And, what exactly am I "whining" about? I'm simply putting out a comparative question of value. It seems odd to me that a relatively simple machine like a bicycle should cost as much as a snowmobile that has thousands of parts with far more engineering and durability built in than a bicycle.
    It never ceases to amaze me that people get their feelings hurt over a jab on an internet forum.

    Comparing apples to chickens is not a good comparison.

    Value, is what the public is willing to pay.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    Something only costs what people are willing to pay.
    ding ding we have a weiner!!! you sir get a cookie.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmbraceTheHate View Post
    Exactly.

    Volume as in high end bikes. Not cheap walmart specials.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2
    My town has got about 7 bike shops, an REI and a Wal Mart. In the bike shops, bikes costing >$1,500 are AT LEAST 3 times more than the others. And at least 1/3 of the bikes in those shops cost >$2,500. REI has plenty of bikes well over $1,500. You can talk about Wal Mart all you want, but I rarely, if ever see those bikes being ridden on the roads or trails where I live. I do see a lot of >$2,500 bikes however. I see more >$5,000 bikes on the trails than I see Wal Mart $300 specials.
    Are you really sure about that?

  16. #16
    How much further ???
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    ding ding we have a weiner!!! you sir get a cookie.
    I'd like chocolate chip please.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  17. #17
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    I like expensive bikes. Does that make me weird?

  18. #18
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    Here's an interest video about the costs of bikes. Although this video has to to with weight savings and the bikes are rod bikes, but it should apply to mountain bikes too:
    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NF4MIEkIBZs?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    It never ceases to amaze me that people get their feelings hurt over a jab on an internet forum.

    Comparing apples to chickens is not a good comparison.

    Value, is what the public is willing to pay.
    My feelings aren't hurt, certainly not on an anonymous internet forum. Just stating an observation that it seems odd that a person would click into a topic they're not interested in, read it, click in and post a comment that it's a waste of time. That seems odd to me.

    And, comparing the cost of a bicycle with a motorized dirt bike is not apples to chickens. Just saying. The bottom line is there must be a tremendous amount of inefficiency in the chain of design to production to generate the kind of prices we see in bike shops today. Consider the fact that in a typical Tour De France stage, you've got 200+ riders, all on $10,000+ bikes that are all worked on EVERY DAY by the best mechanics in the industry and in any given 110 mile stage 10-20% of them will have some kind of mechanical problem. We're talking about road bikes on smooth paved roads here -- 120 miles just after an A-1 mechanic has set it up with the highest end, most expensive parts in the world. Think about that. Something's kinda screwy about that. It's almost as though the industry itself is pushing a product that is fragile, needs constant adjustment and replacement and has a very low durability component.
    Are you really sure about that?

  20. #20
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    Re: Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    My town has got about 7 bike shops, an REI and a Wal Mart. In the bike shops, bikes costing >$1,500 are AT LEAST 3 times more than the others. And at least 1/3 of the bikes in those shops cost >$2,500. REI has plenty of bikes well over $1,500. You can talk about Wal Mart all you want, but I rarely, if ever see those bikes being ridden on the roads or trails where I live. I do see a lot of >$2,500 bikes however. I see more >$5,000 bikes on the trails than I see Wal Mart $300 specials.
    Ok ok I get it. You live in the rich area of town.

    Next time try a little harder and search.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmbraceTheHate View Post
    Ok ok I get it. You live in the rich area of town.

    Next time try a little harder and search.

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    I challenge you to go to any lift served (Whistler, etc.) and count how many Wal Mart specials are coming down the mountain? Show up at any of the better mountain biking trailheads and count the number of Wal Mart Specials vs. >$1,500 specialized bikes. Go out to anywhere USA where road bikers get together and go on group rides and tell me how many of those road bikes cost less than $1,500. Seriously, people buy their kids bikes at Wal Mart, but the bikes you see being ridden on the road and trails are typically pretty nice bikes.

    How many of the people you ride with are on bikes that cost <$1,000???

    I could buy a VERY NICE electric guitar, an amplifier a bunch of effects pedals and a computer recording setup for what a high end road bike costs.
    Are you really sure about that?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    My feelings aren't hurt, certainly not on an anonymous internet forum. Just stating an observation that it seems odd that a person would click into a topic they're not interested in, read it, click in and post a comment that it's a waste of time. That seems odd to me.

    And, comparing the cost of a bicycle with a motorized dirt bike is not apples to chickens. Just saying. The bottom line is there must be a tremendous amount of inefficiency in the chain of design to production to generate the kind of prices we see in bike shops today. Consider the fact that in a typical Tour De France stage, you've got 200+ riders, all on $10,000+ bikes that are all worked on EVERY DAY by the best mechanics in the industry and in any given 110 mile stage 10-20% of them will have some kind of mechanical problem. We're talking about road bikes on smooth paved roads here -- 120 miles just after an A-1 mechanic has set it up with the highest end, most expensive parts in the world. Think about that. Something's kinda screwy about that. It's almost as though the industry itself is pushing a product that is fragile, needs constant adjustment and replacement and has a very low durability component.
    It was a joke dude, chill out. We are obviously on the forum to discuss things.



    You could say the same thing about Motocross bikes that are worth over 100k. Those have to be worked on after every race.
    Or formula1 or MotoGP. Millions of dollars are put into those cars and bikes, and they still need full maintenance after every race, and they still have failures during races.

    If you want to compare top end, leading edge of development products like a $10k bike, at least compare it to other top end products.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post

    You could say the same thing about Motocross bikes that are worth over 100k. Those have to be worked on after every race.
    Or formula1 or MotoGP. Millions of dollars are put into those cars and bikes, and they still need full maintenance after every race, and they still have failures during races.

    If you want to compare top end, leading edge of development products like a $10k bike, at least compare it to other top end products.
    It doesn't matter if you're talking about a $300 wal mart bike, mid level $2,000 bike or a high end bike. They all are relatively fragile, need constant maintenance and are anything but bullet proof. Perhaps a SS is, but that's a tiny fraction of what is on the road. Consider the complexity and durability of a snowmobile. How many miles it can go with no service. How much punishment the suspension takes. The miles, the electronics. By comparison, bikes are far less complicated and a lot more fragile. I ride my bikes almost every day and do most of the maintenance myself. I would say that pretty much every other week, something on one of my bikes needs attention. I've got a couple of high end bikes I got used and a couple in that 1-2 thousand range as well.
    Are you really sure about that?

  24. #24
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    I spend less in maintenance over a year on my mtn bike than I do from one track day on a motorcycle.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    I could buy a VERY NICE electric guitar, an amplifier a bunch of effects pedals and a computer recording setup for what a high end road bike costs.
    I'd rather have the bike. To compare also to the other items in your earlier post (list copied below), I'd also rather have the bike than any of those items. That's the value to me, and why I pay the market rate (with what I hope are intelligent shopping choices) the expenses related to my chosen recreational activity.

    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner

  26. #26
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    Re: Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    I'd rather have the bike. To compare also to the other items in your earlier post (list copied below), I'd also rather have the bike than any of those items. That's the value to me, and why I pay the market rate (with what I hope are intelligent shopping choices) the expenses related to my chosen recreational activity.

    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner
    Exactly, it is about priorities.
    I own a $700 refrigerator, but my bikes are $6-7K. Each.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    I ride my bikes almost every day and do most of the maintenance myself. I would say that pretty much every other week, something on one of my bikes needs attention.
    What kind of attention? Is it mostly just adjustments here or there? If that's the case, you're doing something wrong.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post

    You could say the same thing about Motocross bikes that are worth over 100k. Those have to be worked on after every race.
    Let's make it even easier ... How about a $5,500 Kawasaki KLR entry level dual sport. I could easily get on that bike and ride it from California to Florida and back, hit a bunch of off road stuff and I guarantee you the chances of having anything serious go wrong with the mechanicals is almost nil. Oil the chain, change the oil and keep on trucking. My mountain bike needs shock, suspension and fork servicing every 300 miles!!! 500 miles on real trails on a mountain bike and it's going to need some ATTENTION, I don't care how high end it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    Or formula1 or MotoGP. Millions of dollars are put into those cars and bikes, and they still need full maintenance after every race, and they still have failures during races.
    It's laughable to compare the technology in a high end road bike with a Formula one race car. Derailers haven't really changed that much since I was a kid. I guarantee you that if you put Nairo Quintana on a road bike that let's say Lance road back 15 years ago, he'd still be crushing it on the Tour. Put a formula one racer in a car from 1999 and see how they'd do on the circuit. The R&D dollars going into high end car racing is light years beyond what goes into bike racing and the technological improvements, especially with road bikes, has been minimal over the last 15 years. Mountain bike suspension has definitely come a long way over the last 15 years so that's a little different situation.
    Are you really sure about that?

  29. #29
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    Re: Why are nice bikes so frigging expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    I'd rather have the bike. To compare also to the other items in your earlier post (list copied below), I'd also rather have the bike than any of those items. That's the value to me, and why I pay the market rate (with what I hope are intelligent shopping choices) the expenses related to my chosen recreational activity.

    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner
    Exactly, it is about priorities.
    I own a $700 refrigerator, but my bikes are $6-7K. Each.

  30. #30
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    It takes expensive engineers and expensive technology using expensive materials to make one of these expensive bikes.
    count your blessings

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzer16 View Post
    It takes expensive engineers and expensive technology using expensive materials to make one of these expensive bikes.
    More engineers, sophisticated tools, sophisticated manufacturing processes and R&D than goes into a computer or smart phone? A TV? A motorized dirt bike? A Snowmobile? A nice stereo sound system?

    Bottom line is, bikes, especially road bikes, are extremely simple machines. Mountain bikes are marginally more complicated with shocks and pivots on the suspension.
    Are you really sure about that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Let's make it even easier ... How about a $5,500 Kawasaki KLR entry level dual sport. I could easily get on that bike and ride it from California to Florida and back, hit a bunch of off road stuff and I guarantee you the chances of having anything serious go wrong with the mechanicals is almost nil. Oil the chain, change the oil and keep on trucking. My mountain bike needs shock, suspension and fork servicing every 300 miles!!! 500 miles on real trails on a mountain bike and it's going to need some ATTENTION, I don't care how high end it is.



    It's laughable to compare the technology in a high end road bike with a Formula one race car. Derailers haven't really changed that much since I was a kid. I guarantee you that if you put Nairo Quintana on a road bike that let's say Lance road back 15 years ago, he'd still be crushing it on the Tour. Put a formula one racer in a car from 1999 and see how they'd do on the circuit. The R&D dollars going into high end car racing is light years beyond what goes into bike racing and the technological improvements, especially with road bikes, has been minimal over the last 15 years. Mountain bike suspension has definitely come a long way over the last 15 years so that's a little different situation.
    The point is, when you start talking about "halo" items, the costs increase in logarithmic fashion. Motorcycles, cars, bikes, wine, guitars, headphones, etc.

    These are all major luxury items. People have preferences. In america, people have lots of money. For many people 10k is nothing compared to the amount of enjoyment they get out of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    I spend less in maintenance over a year on my mtn bike than I do from one track day on a motorcycle.
    I've got a BMW F800GS. Bought it with about 5,000 miles on it. I've put 7,000 miles on it and in that time I've changed the oil twice, cleaned the chain 5 times (oiled it every 300 miles or so) and wash it maybe every 500 miles or so. That's it.

    My mountain bike, that I ride at least 4 times and 60+ miles every week for maybe 35 weeks a year needs to be washed, and lubed every week or it makes all kinds of creaks and groans. About once a month the derailer starts sounding clunky and needs some kind of adjustment. The recommended fork and shock servicing would be about every 6 weeks for me, wheels need truing every year and the suspension pivots are gonna need attention pretty much every year.

    I got my first "10-speed" when I was a teenager 30 years ago. My road bike that I ride today, which is a nice bike, is, when you really compare the two, very, very similar. Sure, my current bike has a stiffer frame, lighter parts, wider gearing and such, but it really hasn't changed much in terms of real innovation. For such small innovation, it's remarkable to me how much the prices have increased.
    Are you really sure about that?

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    your kidding yourself if you think the quantities are remotely the same. A bicycle is kind of a design nightmare. You have people who want exactly the right ride quality to weigh less while being able to do larger drops and survive worse wrecks.

    Look at the carbon bikes from a decade ago to now. you think that development happens for free?
    count your blessings

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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    The point is, when you start talking about "halo" items, the costs increase in logarithmic fashion. Motorcycles, cars, bikes, wine, guitars, headphones, etc.

    These are all major luxury items. People have preferences. In america, people have lots of money. For many people 10k is nothing compared to the amount of enjoyment they get out of it.
    Just to be clear, I love bikes and biking. I ride a lot of miles and have gone through a number of bikes, it's definitely one of my lifelong passions. Just when I compare it to my other lifelong passions (electric guitars/recording, skiing, surfing, motorcycles), the improvements and innovations to bikes over the years have been minimal compared to these other areas. A relatively delicate and fragile derailer is still the heart of the drivetrain (I do have a rohloff though and wish it would work well with a FS bike, but it just doesn't).

    I know how to work on bikes and my son and his friends bring their nice bikes over to my garage every week for adjustments and tweaking. i have years of experience at how much constant cleaning, lubing, tweaking a frequently ridden mountain bike needs in order to run smoothly and quietly.
    Are you really sure about that?

  36. #36
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    When I walk into a bike shop to purchase a bike, I look for the HIGHEST price tag and empty my wallet.

    I'm compelled to do so as to feel gratified and excepted by society as an accomplished citizen who looks to excel

    I ride with the anticipation that other rider's will ask what I paid for my bike so I can verbally unload this enormous $$$$$$ on them......everyone goes WOW your so successful.

    If you see me on the trail, I'll be the guy in full Cannondale spandex with un-scared legs just admiring my bike. An absolute testimonial to success I am

    Still hearing the echo's of " nice bike, dude your so cool " I reply with a arrogance .... YUP !!! paid cash.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Just when I compare it to my other lifelong passions (electric guitars/recording, skiing, surfing, motorcycles), the improvements and innovations to bikes over the years have been minimal compared to these other areas.
    Today's mountain bikes ride and perform noticeably better than those from the past. Does an electric new guitar today play much better than one from 10 years ago? I don't know surfboards, but are the markedly different from a decade ago?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzer16 View Post
    your kidding yourself if you think the quantities are remotely the same. A bicycle is kind of a design nightmare. You have people who want exactly the right ride quality to weigh less while being able to do larger drops and survive worse wrecks.

    Look at the carbon bikes from a decade ago to now. you think that development happens for free?
    The bicycle industry didn't somehow "invent" carbon fiber technology and are, in fact, relatively small consumers of it. The real R&D, the expensive stuff, being done to create it is being done by other industries. A bicycle frame is a very simple thing when you really look at it. Look at a racing bike frame from 4 years ago to the bikes of today and the changes are minimal. The training, diet, supplements, doping programs have changed a lot, but the bikes, the geometry, the drive trains ... they're still very similar. A carbon frame is what ... 1-2 lbs lighter than a good aluminum frame? Big whoop ti do. That does not translate into a gigantic performance advantage. A small one, maybe. It's nothing like the innovation that went into giving motorcycles, over the last 35 years the kind of suspension and horsepower improvements we see. For $10,000, the cost of a high end tour level bicycle, I can get a street motorcycle that will go safely over 150mph with infinitely more technological improvements over the last 25 years than road bikes have experienced.

    Design "nightmare?" Bikes are very simple machines. They come in 4-5 basic sizes, are easily adjusted with a switch of stems, seatposts and handlebars to exact body types. 3 different wheel sizes is a design nightmare??? Are you kidding?
    Are you really sure about that?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Just to be clear, I love bikes and biking. I ride a lot of miles and have gone through a number of bikes, it's definitely one of my lifelong passions. Just when I compare it to my other lifelong passions (electric guitars/recording, skiing, surfing, motorcycles), the improvements and innovations to bikes over the years have been minimal compared to these other areas. A relatively delicate and fragile derailer is still the heart of the drivetrain (I do have a rohloff though and wish it would work well with a FS bike, but it just doesn't).
    If you look at what technologies and improvements that have really taken off in the past few years, its pretty significant. The tapered head tube, thru axle, dropper seatpost and drivetrain (2x10, 1x11) are all pretty dramatic improvements. Then you look at the geometry of bikes. Head tubes are getting slacker while seat tubes are getting steeper in higher travel bikes which to me, is a game changer. They're closing the gap for people that are in between an XC and All Mountain bike.

    It is an expensive hobby? Absolutely, but so are most hobbies. If you're into the hobby, then its a small price to pay. Would you rather have a super nice mountain bike or a Gibson Les Paul Custom? Both will run you around $4000.

  40. #40
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    Just when I compare it to my other lifelong passions (electric guitars/recording, skiing, surfing, motorcycles), the improvements and innovations to bikes over the years have been minimal compared to these other areas.

    those things have seen larger improvements in the last 10 or 15 years? I don't know much about those other things but i would imagine they don't have the same kind of subtle tweaks that bikes do. Think about how much you notice a saddle adjustment of 2 mm or a heavier tire in the rear.

    Now design a full suspension carbon frame from the ground up. Ride the prototype for a while and make your changes. Do that last step a few more times. Now you have to price it to cover the costs of R&D while turning a profit and paying a sales and marketing team to show these advances to the world.

    I'm not saying that some of what you see if just last years stuff wrapped up in new paint but with so many new models coming out year after year I think the price is justified. If you have the money and the lighter bike is worth the extra 3k go for it. You can have just as much fun on the less expensive bike, but it wont be the same quality.
    count your blessings

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
    It is an expensive hobby? Absolutely, but so are most hobbies. If you're into the hobby, then its a small price to pay. Would you rather have a super nice mountain bike or a Gibson Les Paul Custom? Both will run you around $4000.
    I bought my first electric guitar in 1980 - a beat up Gibson Les Paul Deluxe -- for $800. In 25 years I have replaced the frets once ($175) and one volume pot ($30). I've played it thousands and thousands of hours and I could sell it today in a heartbeat for $2,500. Good guitars appreciate in value. Bikes depreciate QUICKLY. I've bought and sold a number of guitars over the years and have often made money on them. That's never happened with a bike, at least not to me.
    Are you really sure about that?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Good guitars appreciate in value. Bikes depreciate QUICKLY. I've bought and sold a number of guitars over the years and have often made money on them.

    How much do those smart phones appreciate in 25 years? Flat screen Tv's? Refrigerators? Snowmobile??? Sell your bike for god sakes, everyone has their own priorities.

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    7,000? Good bikes are 1,500 to 3,000 max, don't need all that fancy stuff. Buy last year's model from someone way richer than you with 8 rides on it. And marry a smart IT engineer like I did to support you. She loves my good looking legs too. Expensive hobby, you should try bourbon.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    I bought my first electric guitar in 1980 - a beat up Gibson Les Paul Deluxe -- for $800. In 25 years I have replaced the frets once ($175) and one volume pot ($30). I've played it thousands and thousands of hours and I could sell it today in a heartbeat for $2,500. Good guitars appreciate in value. Bikes depreciate QUICKLY. I've bought and sold a number of guitars over the years and have often made money on them. That's never happened with a bike, at least not to me.
    So you're saying that in 34 years guitars haven't changed at all? Or is it that Les Paul Deluxe have a sentimental value to someone?

    A free market will tell you exactly what a bike is worth. Find me the Bike that is as good for half the money and ill buy it from you.
    count your blessings

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    I challenge you to go to any lift served (Whistler, etc.) and count how many Wal Mart specials are coming down the mountain? Show up at any of the better mountain biking trailheads and count the number of Wal Mart Specials vs. >$1,500 specialized bikes. Go out to anywhere USA where road bikers get together and go on group rides and tell me how many of those road bikes cost less than $1,500. Seriously, people buy their kids bikes at Wal Mart, but the bikes you see being ridden on the road and trails are typically pretty nice bikes.

    How many of the people you ride with are on bikes that cost <$1,000???

    I could buy a VERY NICE electric guitar, an amplifier a bunch of effects pedals and a computer recording setup for what a high end road bike costs.
    I COULDN'T AGREE MORE!!!!! whenever I'm in the nicer part of Anytown, USA nobody is driving a crappy car and everybody has new siding on their houses!
    go to your average suburban public park that isn't designed for mtb and most bikes there are <$500. it's all relative to where you're looking and what you're looking for. if you like a certain bike, you're more inclined to notice it. if you're in an area of higher income you're going to see higher income products i.e. bikes/cars. go to an impoverished area/inner city/ghetto/etc.... probably a higher % of people who own bikes, with an avg cost much lower than the bikes at whistler.

    you could argue cars are getting cheaper because of the technology available in a $12,000 Kia just as easily as you could argue they're getting more expensive because a new Bentley is $300k.

    and as other have said 10x over, something is only worth what somebody will pay for it. if nobody ever bought a bike for $5k, no bike would cost $5k.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Today's mountain bikes ride and perform noticeably better than those from the past. Does an electric new guitar today play much better than one from 10 years ago? I don't know surfboards, but are the markedly different from a decade ago?
    Guitars, amplifiers, effects and recording equipment, as a result of the innovations from analog to digital have changed dramatically. Bands are literally recording albums on ipads these days. Surfboard sizes, thicknesses and designs have changed a great deal over the decades but I'd say it's probably comparable with mountain bikes in terms of frame and suspension. To be clear, I do think the biggest innovation in cycle design over the last 35 years has been mountain bike suspension/frames. That has changed a lot.
    Are you really sure about that?

  47. #47
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    and as other have said 10x over, something is only worth what somebody will pay for it. if nobody ever bought a bike for $5k, no bike would cost $5k.[/QUOTE]

    ...and nobody would be riding a bike as sophisticated as what is now available.
    count your blessings

  48. #48
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    ^ true. it's people's willingness to spend money on bikes that has allowed the industry to progress to where it is. pencil technology hasn't changed much because who the hell wants to spend $50 for a pencil. but if there were a market for it, there'd be some really nice pencils for sale

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    After a great ride yesterday afternoon, about a dozen of us were talking in the parking lot, mostly about bikes and how expensive they are for a relatively simple product. And we started listing all the things you can buy for what a high end mountain bike can cost - let's say $7,000. For instance:

    1. A very capable dirt bike
    2. A high end refrigerator
    3. A high end computer + high end phone + printer + iPad + a full year of phone and internet service
    4. 3 nice large flat screen TV's.
    5. Replace the engine on your car
    6. At least 7 very nice firearms
    7. An entry level small travel trailer
    8. 2 sets of nice skis/boots/poles + very nice ski clothes and accessories
    9. Kayak + Tent + all necessary camping gear + fishing pole
    10. Snowmobile
    11. Waverunner

    And many other things. It just doesn't seem, when you stand a bicycle next to these other things, that it should cost anywhere near this. Granted, you can get a pretty nice bike for let's say $3,500 but still, it seems like a great bike should be possible for <$1,000 given how little raw materials go into it. Seriously, is a full suspension frame really THAT complicated compared to these other products? And it's not like bikes are even that durable. Forks and shocks need servicing every couple of months if you ride regularly!
    It's really a very simple answer. We are willing to pay the price. Simple supply and demand. As long as there is demand at the price they are charging, they will continue to charge that much. There is no reason for them to charge $1,000 for a bike when just about as many people are willing to pay $5,000 or more for it. If nobody was willing to spend $5,000+ on a bike, nobody would be selling bikes for that price.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzer16 View Post
    So you're saying that in 34 years guitars haven't changed at all? Or is it that Les Paul Deluxe have a sentimental value to someone?
    .
    Believe it or not, guitars haven't really changed that much, but amplifiers, effects, recording and electronics in general has. The original 3 guitar designs (Stratocaster, Telecaster and Les Paul) are still, 60+ years later the most popular styles by far. There are some very innovative guitars but they serve a pretty small segment of the market. Guitarists tend to be very image conscious and I think the old school designs just "feel" right for some reason. But, the analog to digital innovation has been major.
    Are you really sure about that?

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