Are bike companies becoming like car companies?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are bike companies becoming like car companies?

    Saw this ad today. My initial reaction to it wasn't positive. I have no opinion on Lynskey as a brand, but the idea of "paying off" a bike frame over 4 years seems to be contrary to the experience of riding a bike - isn't it all about freedom and enjoying yourself?

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  2. #2
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    this is nothing new. big manufacturers have had financing options for years. they are just like any other high-dollar item: cars, jewelry, boats, cars, appliances, etc. in this regard. most people cannot afford to pay for any of these things up front, so they finance them.

    I used to work for a Trek dealer and I was supposed to push the Trek card, but I felt uncomfortable doing so because the interest rate was absurd!

  3. #3
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    That idea has "default" written all over it!

  4. #4
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    Lynskey is far from new to that game.

    Typically these sorts of things are really just credit cards of a sort when it really comes down to it.

    I'll agree with you that I'm not willing to finance a bike that I can't pay for outright. However, credit cards are different than the sort of financing you'd use to pay for a car. They can be used in such a way that they don't actually result in debt being accumulated.

    I, like many, built up credit card debt in the first years after getting out on my own. I am in pay down mode on those cards right now, so anything that even temporarily adds to the balance on the ones I have is best avoided. Right now, the only time my wife and I use our credit cards is when paying for business expenses where we know we're getting reimbursed in a fairly short amount of time.

  5. #5
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    Freedom? Sure. looked at the price of TI frames recently?

  6. #6
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    If you can pay off the price of a ti bike in one go, can I be your adopted son?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    this is nothing new. big manufacturers have had financing options for years.
    Alright, in my post I said I had no opinion on Lynskey and I still don't. That said, I can almost forgive the big companies like Trek etc as they are more "Big companies that makes bikes".

    A smaller boutique company like Lynskey is more of a "bike company". I guess it just seems a bit like selling out. Not sure I'd do anything different in their shoes though.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Freedom? Sure. looked at the price of TI frames recently?
    Yes, I just bought one :P
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  8. #8
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    On another car versus bike industry thing, I'm glad the bikes haven't adopted the car model of proprietary parts and service networks. Cannondale has to a degree, but if I want that hypothetical new brakeset from Shimano, I can still sub in a cheap adaptor and now I'm not stuck with Sram, Hope or whatever comes OEM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    If you can pay off the price of a ti bike in one go, can I be your adopted son?
    Never said I could walk out the door and buy a ti bike right now. But if I prioritized it, I could save my money for one. I handled my current bike that way. Set aside money specifically for that bike almost every paycheck for about 9 months (surgery for one of my dogs pushed that back some, but no worries). Bought everything outright. Might take awhile to do that for a ti bike, but it'd happen if I wanted it to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by noot View Post
    Alright, in my post I said I had no opinion on Lynskey and I still don't. That said, I can almost forgive the big companies like Trek etc as they are more "Big companies that makes bikes".

    A smaller boutique company like Lynskey is more of a "bike company". I guess it just seems a bit like selling out. Not sure I'd do anything different in their shoes though.



    Yes, I just bought one :P

    If it helps more people buy their bikes, then how is it selling out?

    I wouldn't want to pay a 10% finance charge for a bike, but I guess its better than the CC rate if you can't afford to pay it off all at once

  11. #11
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    Pay cash for toys.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    Pay cash for toys.
    The cash back deals that CC have is worth putting it on a card. Then pay off the card in full

  13. #13
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    what is the big deal? Lynskey is a custom boutique brand and I am surprised they can offer this for customers, did a bigger company buy them? The option to finance isn't new, larger companies are doing this and have been for a while. I am a bit surprised Lynskey does it as I would have thought they were too small, or their typical customer doesn't need it. But maybe it is a reflection of Carbon devouring the custom Ti market?

  14. #14
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    Since the recent explosion of carbon frames, I don't see nearly the posts on MTBR that goe something like:''Pulled the trigger on my custom Ti dream bike".

    Come to think of it, has there been a 6,000 page thread on MTBR about Chinese Knock-Off direct order Ti frames? If there is, I missed that one.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by noot View Post
    Alright, in my post I said I had no opinion on Lynskey and I still don't. That said, I can almost forgive the big companies like Trek etc as they are more "Big companies that makes bikes".

    A smaller boutique company like Lynskey is more of a "bike company". I guess it just seems a bit like selling out. Not sure I'd do anything different in their shoes though.



    Yes, I just bought one :P
    So "big companies that make bikes" aren't "bike companies?" It's not like they make anything else.

  16. #16
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    They have been similar to car companies for a while now.
    Dealer networks- check
    Proprietary parts that only they can work on or need special tools- check (ie lefty fork, brain shock, many cranks)
    Warranty only at authorized dealers-check
    Financing options -check (most are not from the bike companies but 3rd party financing)
    Haggling on prices -check (Just look around for threads saying if you pay MSRP you got ripped off)

  17. #17
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    I will be one of the odd people out who thinks that bicycle company credit cards are an ok deal. Granted, I would NEVER buy a bike on 10% interest, but I have purchased a couple different bikes on Trek and Specialized cards (ONLY when they have 0% interest). I could swing paying cash, but im weird about my savings account and don't like taking big hits like that, so I just pay them off over the course of their 0% time frame. I will say that 4 years paying on a bicycle seems pretty ridiculous. The longest I have ever taken to pay one off was 9 months.


    Granted, if you're not disciplined with money then you should definitely stay away from them...

  18. #18
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    It's so easy for even small firms to partner with banking entities who already have similar programs that can be easily re-branded - so I wouldn't be concerned about that as a trend.

    The whole 'selling on finance' thing is frustrating for those of us who are economically literate, but that's an opt-in type of thing at worst.

    I think dan4jeep nailed the key aspects - the big brands have been trying to push the concept store approach which creates make locked dealer networks, and that's the biggest downside.

    The fundamental modularity of bikes rescues the rest of that, and prevalence of 3-D printing and cheaper machining will continue to alleviate problems there. Fortunately, bikes also can't withstand the needless high-dollar lard-on effect of trim levels that cars can do (I mean seriously, why is it still an added cost item to have a CD player with Aux In jack, or USB ports inside a car? Who pays $1800 for a navigation system that is made obsolete by a smart phone before it even gets integrated into a car design?).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    So "big companies that make bikes" aren't "bike companies?" It's not like they make anything else.
    To me, the big companies are different. A company like Trek is driven by making money primarily, and they sell bikes to do so. Innovation occurs not because they want to ride better bikes, but because they recognize that they need to do so to stay relevant and sell bikes.

    Obviously all companies need to sell product to make ends meet, which is why even boutique brands sell lower end stuff. But to me, pre "sellout" bike companies are those that still care more about bikes than making money selling them.

    I could be way off though - opinion?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by noot View Post
    To me, the big companies are different. A company like Trek is driven by making money primarily, and they sell bikes to do so. Innovation occurs not because they want to ride better bikes, but because they recognize that they need to do so to stay relevant and sell bikes.

    Obviously all companies need to sell product to make ends meet, which is why even boutique brands sell lower end stuff. But to me, pre "sellout" bike companies are those that still care more about bikes than making money selling them.

    I could be way off though - opinion?
    I see what you're saying, but I think it's oversimplifying a bit. The people in charge at those big companies are likely more interested in making money, but the people they employ to accomplish that probably do care more about bikes than making money selling them.

    There is a place for passion; that is undeniable. However, those "pre-sellout" companies won't be around long if there's no business acumen to keep the lights on.

    I'm curious where you would draw the line between a "big company" and a "pre-sellout" company. Or is it just varying degrees along the spectrum? How would we classify a company like Santa Cruz? They seem to be driven by passion and the desire to make better bikes, but what about the Dutch conglomerate that actually owns the company? I would wager that Pon Holdings is mostly looking at the bottom line.

    Good discussion, either way.

  21. #21
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    Who cares how people pay for their stuff?
    None of my business whatsover.

    Nor does it really matter whether the a company makes a bunch of bikes, or a bunch of money, or not. If the product works for you and you like it that's all that counts.
    Even though these days I usually ride bikes that are unavailable for purchase by the general public and can only be sourced through secret bro-handshake arrangements, I have no problem having fun on cookie cutter bikes from big companies. Ride's a ride.
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  22. #22
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    I use credit cards cash back and 0% financing on bikes, and other things also. Why not use other people's money for free, and leave mine to gain interest. Four years to pay off a bike? No thank you. Twelve months no interest? Sure.


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  23. #23
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    10% interest rate? Maybe buying a mountain bike isn't the best idea if you need to take out a 4 year loan at used car interest rates.

  24. #24
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    You are aware that Lynskey make Ti frames for a load of other bike companies right? They are not small by any means and Ti is not cheap, think it's a good marketing tool for them, but 10% compounded is a lot of extra $$ over 4 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by noot View Post
    Alright, in my post I said I had no opinion on Lynskey and I still don't. That said, I can almost forgive the big companies like Trek etc as they are more "Big companies that makes bikes".

    A smaller boutique company like Lynskey is more of a "bike company". I guess it just seems a bit like selling out. Not sure I'd do anything different in their shoes though.



    Yes, I just bought one :P
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  25. #25
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    I would considering financing high dollar bike over a period of less than 6 months at minimal interest, but financing a bike over years does not sound like a sound financial decision. It feels like predatory move on the part of bike companies, much like the most of the credit industry in America.
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  26. #26
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    I realize this is unsolicited advice, so take it or leave it.

    Best advice I got from my Grandpa is this: There are only two things in life worth financing, your mortgage and your retirement.
    I would add a third thing worth financing: a college education.

    *If you can, and do, pay a credit card bill in full each month, then it isn't financing.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    I will be one of the odd people out who thinks that bicycle company credit cards are an ok deal. Granted, I would NEVER buy a bike on 10% interest, but I have purchased a couple different bikes on Trek and Specialized cards (ONLY when they have 0% interest). I could swing paying cash, but im weird about my savings account and don't like taking big hits like that, so I just pay them off over the course of their 0% time frame. I will say that 4 years paying on a bicycle seems pretty ridiculous. The longest I have ever taken to pay one off was 9 months.


    Granted, if you're not disciplined with money then you should definitely stay away from them...
    Absolutely. Zero percent interest is free money. The last car I bought not only did I get a good deal but they offered zero percent interest on the loan (I have good credit).

    Why would I even pay any money as a down payment? The cost of borrowing is zero so, as to not sink a large chunk of my liquid assets into the car, I elected to pay it back over four years.

    I could have paid cash for the car, actually, but this makes no sense at zero percent interest if you're like me and plan on driving a new car until it wears out.

    I bought a Lynskey frame on credit. Just for laughs. I paid it off in the interval where the interest was zero percent. It was an MT29. Very nice frame.

  28. #28
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    I agree with other posters on here when they say how irrelevant it is how others pay for their bikes. Nobody's situation is perfect, and if you think it's worth financing a bike as you would a television or engagement ring then that's your business and there isn't anything wrong with that. Retail financing is a strategy to get more people to purchase their products, right or wrong. Some people buy $8,000.00 atvs and dirt bikes, and there is no negative stigma associated with Honda or Yamaha factory financing, so why is there any issue with our sport?

    When you talk about bike companies attempting to be more like car companies I agree with that, with one suggestion for them (and bike shops as a whole): Where are the trade in programs? When you buy a car, you trade your old one in towards your new one. Where is that logic in the bike industry. If we are talking about making it easier to own high priced bikes, this is an overlooked area.

  29. #29
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    The lbs in my town will put your old bike up for sale when you buy a new one from them. Not a trade in but I think it's a good move.
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  30. #30
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    My biggest problem with the ad is that if I saw it out of context, I'd have no idea what they're selling. Something I can ride? Hmm...what could that be? Car? Motorcycle?

    If it didn't say "ride" I'd think that was an ad for a jewelry maker.
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  31. #31
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    OK so change my name to Ol-Necro-Marin.
    Cars in the U.S. of A are considered a necessity. They aren't but that's beside the point. Second, you can still buy a new (albeit garbage) bike for around a hunnert bucks. The cheapest new car is one where financing is necessary for most Americans. When the average cost of a new bike becomes 2/3 of the average American income, well, the bike market won't exist. I'm one who won't finance a new bike purchase. And I'll never buy anything like the frame mentioned in post #1
    DAMN THE MUD, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlMarin View Post
    OK so change my name to Ol-Necro-Marin.
    Cars in the U.S. of A are considered a necessity. They aren't but that's beside the point. Second, you can still buy a new (albeit garbage) bike for around a hunnert bucks. The cheapest new car is one where financing is necessary for most Americans. When the average cost of a new bike becomes 2/3 of the average American income, well, the bike market won't exist. I'm one who won't finance a new bike purchase. And I'll never buy anything like the frame mentioned in post #1
    i will likely regret revisiting this thread, but just want to point out that financing consumer purchases has been around for a long time—even bikes.

    I recall growing up when my mom put purchases on Lay-away, where you paid installments before receiving the product.

    it can be easy to overreact but this stuff is optional. and for those looking for high quality bikes at a discount—shop new old stock clearance
    or used.

    why is someone so obsessed with Lynskey to go the financing route? I
    do not know, but it is their money.


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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    i will likely regret revisiting this thread, but just want to point out that financing consumer purchases has been around for a long time—even bikes.

    I recall growing up when my mom put purchases on Lay-away, where you paid installments before receiving the product.

    it can be easy to overreact but this stuff is optional. and for those looking for high quality bikes at a discount—shop new old stock clearance
    or used.

    why is someone so obsessed with Lynskey to go the financing route? I
    do not know, but it is their money.


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    I agree completely. Many people finance the latest new smart phone. After all we do live in a credit card society. The main point of my post is the perception of cars being necessary. Face it, not a swingin' phallus here 'needs' a car. Move to 50 miles away from work? That's a choice, not a necessity.
    That plus the fact that you can indeed buy a bike that will get you to and from for the aforementioned 100 dollars means a Lynskey and the like are luxury items. Rich people buy Jags and Ferraris when a Prius would do the job. Same can be said for a bike that runs into 4 figures and beyond
    DAMN THE MUD, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

  34. #34
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    The bikes I’m looking at all cost more/are worth more than my car...so if I’d finance the car...why wouldn’t I finance a bike. Priorities, I guess.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlMarin View Post
    I agree completely. Many people finance the latest new smart phone. After all we do live in a credit card society. The main point of my post is the perception of cars being necessary. Face it, not a swingin' phallus here 'needs' a car. Move to 50 miles away from work? That's a choice, not a necessity.
    That plus the fact that you can indeed buy a bike that will get you to and from for the aforementioned 100 dollars means a Lynskey and the like are luxury items. Rich people buy Jags and Ferraris when a Prius would do the job. Same can be said for a bike that runs into 4 figures and beyond
    Fair enough, but for me and the vast majority of America cars are a necessity, or the ability to travel with the same flexibility provided by the automobile.

    There are a few spots in the country where one can have similar flexibility without a car but those are easily the exceptions.


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    I would never spend this much on a bike.

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