open topic, for anything cycling related.
This isn't meant to start a flame war, but I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say.
My opinion is that bikes in general are relatively overpriced, particularly because the market is prepared to pay for them. I think the bike market is not dissimilar to the golf market...driven by marketing and a lot of people willing to dish out the moola.
For example, I see this scenario all the time:
Person buys bike for $5k. Does < $250km, sells it for some reason (i.e. moving, injury). Struggles to sell it for $3500, which equates to a 30% loss.
What gives? What has made that bike worth 30% less when it is essentially new?
If a person bought a car for $50k and sold it for $35k a month later, that would be deemed a serious issue. Granted, the motor industry and bicycle industry are very different, but the depreciation factor with bicycles can be very large (especially with higher end bicycles).
In particular I think brifters are very overpriced, same with most of the drivetrain parts such as chains, chainrings.
In light of everything I have said, I will still fork out the money for a bike I want because I feel it is justified by exercise, fitness and fun. I do however think the market is and has been inflated for a long time.
Steel - is - real
Personally no, I don't think so.
But when you sell a bike, even if it is virtually new;
-1 the person buying doesn't actually knwo it has done 250km or whatever, could be 2500 and still look new (cars have odometers which in theory tell you this)
-2 2nd had stuff always looses its value and the more you pay for something the more you loose the instant you buy it (unless its uber rare)
-3 with bikes, even though they are expensive, they are a lot more affordable than cars, so the person buying, why buy a $5k bike second hand for almost $5k, may as well buy a new one, so unless it they can save a chunk of change, why buy second hand and maybe have to deal with some issue an no warrenty.
Cervelo R3, GT Xizang
They're like any commodity. There are cheap ones (unbelievably cheap when you look at what you get per dollar at the bottom end of the market), and there are very expensive ones that are sold 99% on an emotional level (because it makes you feel good) and because people equate price with quality/performance.
That's basically normal in today's society, as soon as a product leaves the showroom it's value plummets. The car industry is actually an excellent example, look at what luxury cars sell for after only a few years, on super expensive thing like a BMW 7 series it can be in the order of thousands of dollars a WEEK . As far as i'm aware most warranties only cover the original owner, so especially with a carbon fibre frame, that could be quite a negative point.
I agree wholeheartedly with you about brifters and chainrings though, it really irritates me that I could get a whole new crankset for only 10 or 20 dollars more than just chainrings.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
Not at all. Bicycles are very cheap.
You can get a new cheap, nasty but effective bicycles for $80
You can get basic functional bikes for $250.
You can a nice reliable bike for $450.
You can a very nice bike for $900.
You can get a top quality bike for $1500.
Paying over $2000 and you really are paying for bragging rights.
While I tend to agree with this, it only applies well if you're only going to buy mainstream models. As soon as you want anything specific, it starts to get expensive.
For example, I need to replace a frame. This time I wanted steel (nothing exotic), disc brakes (because they're better) and a taller head tube (because I don't want to use 5cm of spacers again). Of the ones I could find, the Kona Rove appeared to be the cheapest. So that is $525USD + about $96USD for shipping. So that's $682AUD (0.91 exchange rate). Now it's got a fancy head tube diameter, so that's another ~$50AUD for a basic headset that fits from CRC. So that's a total of $732AUD. Sure, I could get a new Cell Lapa 1.0 currently for $695. While I'm sure it's a nice bike and is probably faster than what I want to buy, it's not what I want. That's the problem with being an enthusiast, you start to develop specific tastes.
I think some bikes are well priced but that there is a lot of ripping off done in Australia. As examples - and yes, I accept that these examples aren't really standard issue - firstly I bought fulcrum racing zeros a few years ago. I paid $1300 give or take including import duty and everything else they threw at me. It was still $900 less than I could buy in aus at the time.
Secondly, last year I bought a new Time frame/fork/stem/bars. At the time I had a choice of buying the 2013 model or the yet-to-land-in-Australia 2014 model. It should be noted that the 2013 model wasn't on special or clearance or anything. In the end, colour decided me (damn girl gene!!). But, I was quoted an additional $2k for the 2014 model - they cited the poorer exchange rate on the Aussie dollar. Now I don't catch the news every day, but I don't believe I missed the Aussie dollar falling 30% as that's how much the price had risen (rounding used because I can't be bothered with a calculator ).
Can we buy bikes at a competitive price? Yes, but we can also buy really expensive ones if we choose.
I don't really care how much a bike costs as I'll ride one for as long as I can, but what I can't abide is the seemingly unfair cost of some items compared to other countries.
i think bikes are crazy cheap now. the 2-3k price point is crazy value imo.
ask yourself, would you pay more than $3500 for a bike advertised as such, when the rrp was $5000? If you feel its a good deal, then bicycles for you all of a sudden got even cheaper.
There are a couple of factors at play here... One is that although cycling is kind of an "in thing" over here, on a global scale we're a relatively small player in the market. As such, the importers who buy the stuff from the manufacturers can't negotiate deals quite as sweet as those in much larger markets. Then you factor in freight costs.... X amount of freight spread over fewer pieces means a greater proportion is factored onto the price at the next level to recoup the cost. On low-volume European-sourced frames this becomes quite significant. Then there's the supply model here, where brands are largely supplied by a single distributor. With no competition on supply of any one brand, pricing can be whatever the importer sees fit.
Then there's the exchange rate thing..... Mid-2013 (just in time for the arrival of '14-model stuff) our dollar started looking a bit shaky, so the importers started making pre-emptive moves on pricing, perhaps with the plummetting dollar in '08-'09 still in memory. It turned out the dollar didn't drop as much as was anticipated, but we haven't had any corresponding corrections to pricing.....
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
Bikes are definitely a luxury item.
If you compare the material, energy and technology that goes into producing a bike compared to a car -cyclists are being ripped off big time!.
Human 909 said ""You can buy a "new nice reliable bike for $450. or $56/kg. You can buy a new Toyota corolla for $20,000 or $20/kg.
It gets worse when you start comparing tyres
I tend to agree with OP. Comparing to motor vehicles, specifically a Falcon or Commodore, these cars are only made in Australia (with a handfull exported) wheras bicycles generally are a global production (with some small differences in colours and components for some bikes destined for Oz) and therefore going on production volume bikes should be cheaper.
You can buy a BSO from K-Mart/BigW/Target etc for around $150 that on paper are well specced (MTBs with disc brakes and suspension, road bike with Shimano groupsets etc). Yes these components are very cheesy and of poor quality but they are still similar in shape and size to "good" components and made a lot of times in the same country so high labour costs shouldn't be a factor (like Ford and Holden claim make them uncompetitive to manufacture in Australia).
Bicycle tyres are a rip-off, especailly when you compare the amount of rubber in a bike tyre compared to a car tyre. A decent road bike tyre such as a Conti or Michelin can retail in a LBS for $100 or more, car tyres of various sizes can be purchased for around the same price.
Comparing bikes to cars is pointless. Any bike beyond 2000 bucks rrp (any bike) is a race bike. You might commute with it, just like commuting with a WRX. But that's not the purpose of the bike.
Race vehicles are naturally exxy because the diminishing returns aren't important anymore. Would you put Red or Apex on your race bike? Race models cars cost a lot more than a corolla, even the 6speed rolla was 30k vs 21k.
I think bikes are cheap but only compared to similar hobbyist items. For riding to work, POBSO style, my madone 5.2 is waaaay exxy. But for racing B grade? Nope.
Yes, bikes are expensive - but the top level stuff is costly. Nothing more you can do about it if you want a top level one. I wouldn't pay any more than $6K for a bike. That price gets you something pretty amazing.
Bike tyres on the other hand, those are a particular irritant for me. My favoured Conti tyres are quite expensive. Either buy them online to save, or buy locally (to get them sooner) and spend a small fortune.
But other stuff is similar, top level helmets or cycling gear, you pay for it. You want a Kask Bambino helmet, you are looking at between $400-500 regardless of where you go, same with other similar aero gear. For the average person, not worth it, but for someone at the top of their game, they'll go for those.
I think the bike market currently only caters to two types, those who want to pay bargain basement prices for substandard bikes, and those who want to pay top dollar for bikes of marginally better quality. You can pay $80 for a Kmart "bike" or pay $2000+ for a "decent" LBS road bike. Even an entry level LBS commuter is $600. There seems to be an enormous gap between $80 and $600 that should be catering to people who want a cheaper but reliable bike, which is a shame because this is really the largest market. Sure a couple of these companies exist, but cycling would be much more popular if more of these existed.
Why are bike expensive???
1. the technology and research that goes into bikes takes time and money.
2. there's also testing that has to be done to ensure the frames and components are strong enough to handle what they are ment to.
3. cheap bikes are heaver and have more robots making the parts.
4. you can expect to pay someone that makes light weight components or does alot of research to ensure the carbon is stronger and lighter minimum wage. that would be outrageous.
If you do your research then you can get bikes that are new but older models for a reasonable price. I have never bought a current model bike, i have just waited for it to be an old model when the shop tries to clear it for the new model (with only a colour change). 99.99% of shops will have a clearance sale when new models come out, if you decide to get a upto date model bike ie 2014 bike in 2014 then you might realise that the only change from the old model would be the colour or minor component (brakes, tyres etc).
there is no point buying that year model when last year model has most of the same stuff except for a colour change.
I've often thought the same thing. I can remember when I was in my teens (90s) there seemed to be a fairly steady progression from bso (£100ish) to cheap bike (£100-£250) to fairly decent entry level stuff (sweet spot around £300 iirc). I dont know if it is still the case over there or not. What is most noticeable to me is that BSOs have got ridiculously cheap, much cheaper than they used to be. Added to that the fact that most cheaper bikes apparently have to at least pretend to be an mtb and thus have useless suspension. I think these two factors explain the gap somewhat. Also, the value sweet spot seems to be in the $1000-$1500 range which is too high really.
The flip side to that is that you also know where to compromise if the budget is tight.
I think one of the great things about cycling is that you don't need a lot of money to get started, even if you want to do it competitively.
I agree with the several posts that say bikes are very good value. Between $1000-2000 are some fantastic bikes.
I have and would again pay more than that but that's my choice. I certainly wouldn't go "top of the line" and buy a $10k road bike - I don't see value there. It's all a personal choice and perspective.
I don't think there is any problem if the quality of bikes trickles down.
The value part of the question also changes depending on discipline. Comparing a 10 year old top of the range bike with a $1000 bike now:
-MTB: Suspension forks standard, hydro discs, clutch mec, through axle (29ers - trolling haha)
-Road bikes: Not much, maybe improved shifters, lighter wheels, a thousand bottom brackets that improve stiffness by 2000%. Di2 and carbon is out of the price range.
From a personal value perspective it would make more sense to put money into a road bike because it will last longer. However, from an industry perspective, ultra premium prices are better if it means that it enhances and further develops the technology. All it means is that someone is subsidising the improvement of technology.
I think bikes are fairly priced, with reservations. What is wrong is the marketing department has too much influence on businesses. Things like deliberately dumbing down equipment so that you can segment is stupid, it annoys customers, it makes the production line less efficient. This happens with shifters that are purposely disabled, cranks that for no known reason have unnecessary excess material and introducing ridiculously ugly paint jobs to force upsells. These things are expensive because, they take marketing money to think up and then cost you precious time and energy when riding!
Specialized Secteur Expert
Kona Hei Hei DL
I think there is an unreasonable expectation that the BSO from Kmart should have a progression to the entry level road bikes... you pay for labour, frame, parts and wheels with a bike. A quality RD costs more than a BSO because a lot more effort goes into making it. The BSO weighs 15kgs if it's lucky. They can afford a lot of manufacturing defects at that weight. They can afford bad labour as well, or just use a machine. Junky steel bearings aren't going to run better if they are torqued to 15Nm or 20Nm. Tolerances can run wide because it doesn't matter.
The good bike has someone who knows what they are doing checking it, parts that will not tolerate poor adjustment, a frame that will fail if torqued poorly, but weighs 2 kgs instead of 10... The difference between cheap and exxy is huge now, it wasn't the case before. In an era of downtube shifters, there is a difference but the user is adjusting the trim etc, not the bike.
I looked at the latest top line Cervelo in my lbs, I really liked the bike and wanted it but couldn't part with $12000 for a bike. I would say you could get them down to 11 but still. I would say there would be cyclist more keen than me that are willing to pay that. I may wait until one sells for a good price second hand.
Since the market is prepared to pay for them, surely this is an oxymoron.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
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