Do you think bicycles are too expensive

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby mikgit » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:03 pm

No its true, with a downturn in the aerospace industry inb the late 80's all those little companies had to find somnething to do, and so comes all the CNC parts for mtb's. Someone did a write up in a magazine a coupel of years ago, but I can't remember the company.

But some of the more well know ones still around today are Thompson bars/posts etc , Hope discs/hubs and Middleburn cranks.

But it was more the purpelk Cnc craze of the early 90's that gae the out of work engineers something to do. Oh and Titanium...
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by BNA » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:17 pm

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Dragster1 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:17 pm

Some interesting facts
1986: Kestrel is formed from a group of Trek employees together with aerospace materials experts,
1986: Kestrel's first bicycle, the Kestrel 4000 road bike, is released, featuring all-carbon, fully aerodynamic frame design
Kestrel pioneered carbon fibre frame design with the world's very first all-carbon bicycle frame in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel_USA
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby human909 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:22 pm

mikgit wrote:No its true, with a downturn in the aerospace industry inb the late 80's all those little companies had to find somnething to do, and so comes all the CNC parts for mtb's. Someone did a write up in a magazine a coupel of years ago, but I can't remember the company.


I don't doubt somebody did a write up. But with 10% fact, 40% exaggeration and 40% fabrication you can make a great article.

In a similar fashion I could argue the road bicycle technology surge was due to the arms industry. (I'm not kidding here.) Who do you think were the experts in making lightweight and extremely strong steel tubing 100 years ago?

Dragster1 wrote:Some interesting facts
1986: Kestrel is formed from a group of Trek employees together with aerospace materials experts,
1986: Kestrel's first bicycle, the Kestrel 4000 road bike, is released, featuring all-carbon, fully aerodynamic frame design
Kestrel pioneered carbon fibre frame design with the world's very first all-carbon bicycle frame in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel_USA


I could list numerous gun manufacturers who also dabbled in bicycles.

Oh... And guess what those Wright brothers who started this who "aerospace" business were doing before getting into flying contraptions? ****
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby mikgit » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:45 pm

Well it was more an interview with someone that was basically our company was going under as allt he contracts diessappeared, so we looked around for something else to sell, figured we could make crazy expensive bits and sell them to cashed up cyclist, and walla! then a few years alter sold the company to some big company. Just can't remember, something liek Onza or control tech or ringle or something...

Dragster1 wrote:Some interesting facts
1986: Kestrel is formed from a group of Trek employees together with aerospace materials experts,
1986: Kestrel's first bicycle, the Kestrel 4000 road bike, is released, featuring all-carbon, fully aerodynamic frame design
Kestrel pioneered carbon fibre frame design with the world's very first all-carbon bicycle frame in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel_USA


Not sure that is right...it was a bunch of enigneers at aegis making tennis rackets were contracted by Trek to design/make bikes. Some guys left to make monoquoce frames, the rest stayed at aegis .
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Dragster1 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:44 pm

mikgit wrote:Well it was more an interview with someone that was basically our company was going under as allt he contracts diessappeared, so we looked around for something else to sell, figured we could make crazy expensive bits and sell them to cashed up cyclist, and walla! then a few years alter sold the company to some big company. Just can't remember, something liek Onza or control tech or ringle or something...

Dragster1 wrote:Some interesting facts
1986: Kestrel is formed from a group of Trek employees together with aerospace materials experts,
1986: Kestrel's first bicycle, the Kestrel 4000 road bike, is released, featuring all-carbon, fully aerodynamic frame design
Kestrel pioneered carbon fibre frame design with the world's very first all-carbon bicycle frame in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel_USA


Not sure that is right...it was a bunch of enigneers at aegis making tennis rackets were contracted by Trek to design/make bikes. Some guys left to make monoquoce frames, the rest stayed at aegis .

Yes everybody claims to of made the first cf bike lot of contradictory articles. Even Trek could claim it as they contracted (Aegis/Graphite Technology engineers) to develop a cf frame for them.
Last edited by Dragster1 on Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Duck! » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:25 pm

Calvin27 wrote:Like I said, I don't mind price differentials, as long as the technology trickles down. For road bikes, I don't see much of this (except di2). But for other disciplines (MTB, CX, fat etc) benefits are awesome.

It's staring you right in the face in road bikes.... Aluminium frames. Little more than 30 years ago, aluminium was the pinnacle of the market. As the manufacturers learned to work around its limitations, and develop more durable alloys, the material became more affordable, to the extent that it is now the mainstream frame material. Carbon has followed the same path, but to a lesser extent due to the high tooling costs. Manufacturing processes have evolved too, so even a modern entry-level carbon frame is far superior, yet more affordable than the early offerings from Kestrel, Look and all the others who lay claim to being the pioneers of carbon frames. Even 10 years ago there were not all that many frames built with a monocoque front triangle - most were still tubes bonded into lugs.

There has been plenty of trickle-down in the component sector too.... from solid cranks across the board, to hollow arms at the top level only, now down to mid-level gear. Likewise splined & oversized bottom bracket spindles have made their way to all but the cheapest levels... "Outboard", and by extension press-fit bottom brackets (the latter allowing wider, therefore stiffer frames)..... integrated dual-control levers..... indexed shifting of any sort.... multi-gear clusters..... All of this has found its way from the highest level down to entry level as the years have passed. New technology is expensive to implement, and at first makes up a small portion of the market, so it is limited to the higher sector, at high unit cost. As the technology becomes established manufacturing with it becomes more affordable..... More units produced means lower unit cost required to recoup the investment in the technology.... What was once high end niche market becomes mainstream.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby RetroPilot » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:59 am

AP81 wrote: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.

Thoughts?


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).

happens all the time. It might be a serious issue but they learn a hard lesson that anything is worth what anyone is prepared to pay for it divided by or minus how long you are prepared to wait. Chances are they picked a model car which wasn't moving very easily anyway, and for some reason also paid 'sticker price" as they say in America. Whereas everyone who called when they listed it a month later had some idea of the real state of play.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:45 pm

human909 wrote:In a similar fashion I could argue the road bicycle technology surge was due to the arms industry. (I'm not kidding here.) Who do you think were the experts in making lightweight and extremely strong steel tubing 100 years ago?

IIRC engineering history tells me that bicycles were actually the prime motivating factor for an enormous amount of technological innovation in the late 1800's which (as you say) later fed into other industries like aircraft, motor vehicles etc. Lightweight steel thin wall tubing and lightweight tension spoked wheels were basically developed for bicycles. Not much call for thin wall tubing in the armaments trade or in a pre-motorisation army, especially in a world that still had plentiful and cheap wood.

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby human909 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:01 pm

WyvernRH wrote:IIRC engineering history tells me that bicycles were actually the prime motivating factor for an enormous amount of technological innovation in the late 1800's which (as you say) later fed into other industries like aircraft, motor vehicles etc.

Agreed. The cross pollination across all these industries was rife.

WyvernRH wrote:Lightweight steel thin wall tubing ..... were basically developed for bicycles. Not much call for thin wall tubing in the armaments trade or in a pre-motorisation army, especially in a world that still had plentiful and cheap wood.


*COUGH* GUN BARRELS *COUGH*

Guess what Orbea was doing for 90 years before making bicycles? Or what about Miyata?
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby rokwiz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:02 pm

human909 wrote:Oh... And guess what those Wright brothers who started this who "aerospace" business were doing before getting into flying contraptions? ****


Human, Your a genius, didn't I originally say that. :wink: Keep reading.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby RonK » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:18 pm

Dragster1 wrote:
mikgit wrote:Well it was more an interview with someone that was basically our company was going under as allt he contracts diessappeared, so we looked around for something else to sell, figured we could make crazy expensive bits and sell them to cashed up cyclist, and walla! then a few years alter sold the company to some big company. Just can't remember, something liek Onza or control tech or ringle or something...

Dragster1 wrote:Some interesting facts
1986: Kestrel is formed from a group of Trek employees together with aerospace materials experts,
1986: Kestrel's first bicycle, the Kestrel 4000 road bike, is released, featuring all-carbon, fully aerodynamic frame design
Kestrel pioneered carbon fibre frame design with the world's very first all-carbon bicycle frame in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel_USA


Not sure that is right...it was a bunch of enigneers at aegis making tennis rackets were contracted by Trek to design/make bikes. Some guys left to make monoquoce frames, the rest stayed at aegis .

Yes everybody claims to of made the first cf bike lot of contradictory articles. Even Trek could claim it as they contracted (Aegis/Graphite Technology engineers) to develop a cf frame for them.

What is certain however, is that Greg Lemond won the 1989 Tour de France on a carbon fibre Look KG 86. Frame and fork were first manufactured by French aerospace company TVT for Look in 1986.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby rokwiz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:08 pm

Yes, Look carbon were way ahead of their time. That unusual recessed headset, adjustable stem combo on later models. Then there's "Kirk Precision" full cast Magnesium frame (1986). By 1980's, 1990's standards looking back it seem like there's more bang for your buck now.
The technology has filtered down to a price.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Ross » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:26 am

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby barefoot » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:10 am

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby djw47 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:38 am

RetroPilot wrote:
AP81 wrote: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.

Thoughts?


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).

happens all the time. It might be a serious issue but they learn a hard lesson that anything is worth what anyone is prepared to pay for it divided by or minus how long you are prepared to wait. Chances are they picked a model car which wasn't moving very easily anyway, and for some reason also paid 'sticker price" as they say in America. Whereas everyone who called when they listed it a month later had some idea of the real state of play.


Doesn't a brand new car lose something ridiculous like 30% of its value the minute its driven out of the salesroom?
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby AP81 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:46 am

djw47 wrote:
Doesn't a brand new car lose something ridiculous like 30% of its value the minute its driven out of the salesroom?



Absolutely not.

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby barefoot » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:57 am

AP81 wrote:
djw47 wrote:Doesn't a brand new car lose something ridiculous like 30% of its value the minute its driven out of the salesroom?


Absolutely not.

It loses a heap of value, but not quite that much. Some cars maintain up to 70% of their value after 3 years.

Another thing worth considering is discounting. It's not uncommon to see bike shops with "25% off all bikes" signs, especially when they're trying to clear stock before next year's models arrive. If you shop around, you can sometimes get a new bike for as little as half the retail price.

By comparison, you will never see that level of discounting on a car. It would be unusual to get as much as a 10% discount on a run-out model.

That's bound to be influence by margins - car dealers would make a much lower % margin on a car than what a bike shop makes on a bike [1]. You can't cut what you don't have to start with.

tim


[1] I'm not begrudging bike shop owners their margin. There are not many wealthy bike shop owners out there. I don't subscribe to the "support your LBS" charity-buying philosophy, but I acknowledge that what a bike shop does sell needs to be at a price that can pay the owner's bills
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby TonyMax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:08 am

stanzarallyman wrote:The way I look at it, the $100 is VERY expensive and the $2,000 bike was VERY cheap. Context is everything.

...rear tyres $460 for 160km...

Yes if you want to look at context you can figure how much your bike is "worth" in any number of ways. I look at it this way:

My Reid Falco has cost me 22.5c for each km I've ridden on it assuming $0 resale value if I ever offload it.
My Bianchi hasn't been ridden yet (I'm still recovering from surgery).

I'll have to do significantly more km on the Bianchi to get it down to a pittance per km like the Reid is, but that's my plan. By the end of this year I should have it down to the sub 50c/km level and end of next year to the same level as the Reid, but I plan to keep it for at least a couple more years after that.

Things are only worth what people are prepared to pay, everything is for sale for the right price, supply and demand determine price points etc. etc. and value for money is a wildly varying subjective term :).
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby kenwstr » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:47 pm

Of course they are too expensive.

I just bought a new 9kg alloy road bike 11 speed Ultegra for over 2k. My old bike is a 1972 MS steely done up as a road trainer and weighs 16 kg w/o bottles, toolkit etc. I bought it 2nd hand for $80 in 1980.

The difference in performance is < 10%.

How much is < 10% worth to you?

Don't get me wrong, I could have gone cheaper but I wanted to feel good about my new bike so splashed out way more than logic would dictate.
I did this knowing what I was getting so I'm not disappointed by the 10% thing. Just illustrating that in reality the difference is smaller than most seem to think. Mostly this is because my old bike has much better though cheap tyres than when it was newer and therefore performs much better than it ever has before. The point of all this is the simple fact that most of today's performance improvement simply come down to better tyres and weight reduction. Also I look at the complex manufacturing of parts on the old bike compared to the modern simplicity. Like the old front derailleur which is all separate pieces bolted together with little sleeve spaces etc. The 2014 Ultegra derailleur is a single piece of stamped out sheet metal folded with clever origami and riveted at a single point. It must be 10 times cheaper to manufacture than the old part in relative terms.


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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Calvin27 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:06 pm

Ok enough dabbling on. The only way to find out is to apply a cyclist version of the 'Big Mac' index. Take a typical bike from bianchi (worlds oldest bike company) and find some prices, match to some index (median/mean wage) and voila.

I'd wager that bikes are cheaper now.

On the topic of tech transfer, I'd like to make one comment. My Shimano hubs sound strangely similar to my fishing rod!
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Duck! » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:42 pm

Or does your fishing rod sound like your hub? :wink:

[Useless trivia]
Shimano began making bike bits more than 40 years before diversifying into fishing bits. They also predate Campagnolo by a decade or so. [/useless trivia]
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby sankari » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:00 am

Calvin27 wrote:Ok enough dabbling on. The only way to find out is to apply a cyclist version of the 'Big Mac' index. Take a typical bike from bianchi (worlds oldest bike company) and find some prices, match to some index (median/mean wage) and voila.

I'd wager that bikes are cheaper now.


What you're measuring is actually largely masked by the rise in real wages. A better method would be to be perform your same test using a series of other goods, such as watches, cars, and computers, how the prices of these goods are matched to the median wage over time. You will no doubt find that these have become much cheaper over time than the bike. Compare an even larger basket of goods, and you'll find bikes are probably one of the most expensive items.

What's more, the typical watch, car, or computer has seen much more technological advancement over the years than the bike.
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Nobody » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:30 am

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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby Ross » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:42 am

Keep up Nobody, I posted that link in this thread 2 days ago...
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Re: Do you think bicycles are too expensive

Postby barefoot » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:11 am



He proposes and answers a fairly obvious question:
TFA wrote:That said, I can't shake the feeling that everyday riders are slowly being priced out of the sport we all love so dearly.
...
I've seen a growing backlash in response to this pricing trend: prospective buyers who are more willing than ever to pass over a major label in favor of going factory-direct (since few companies actually manufacture their own stuff); upstart no-frills labels that promise comparable levels of performance but at far more reasonable prices


That's about it.

There's very expensive bikes for people who want to spend the money, and there are much cheaper bikes for people who don't want to spend the money.

You don't _need_ the pinnacle of bleeding-edge high-end gear. That end of the market is driven by the amount that a small minority are willing to pay. They are willing, so they pay, and it's quite irrelevant to the rest of us.

And that's just in "competition"-spec road bikes. We all know plenty of people who ride $10k bikes who would be blown away in a race by other people who ride $1200 bikes.

BSOs are another matter altogether. They're insanely cheap.

Compare to other markets that I've dabbled in over the last few years.

A good high-end pram will sell for upward of $1k. They are made of gaspipe steel tubes (probably lower spec than gas pipe), rivetted in to moulded plastic lugs. The wheel bearings are junk - I replaced the shagged bearings on a well-worn Mountain Buggy pram with SKF cartridges for about $20, and it was immeasurably better to push. The pivots are just steel pins, with nylon bushes if you're lucky. I've seen kids bikes selling for $30 that are better built than these things, and the $200 dual-suspension MTBs you can get from Big W are head and shoulders better.

My daughter uses a wheelchair. Her chair is a bit specialised for positioning, but in essence, it's still just a welded Al frame with a couple of wheels attached and some pivots. Again, compare against a $200 BigW dual-suspension MTB. Hell, compare against two of them, to get the wheel count right. It's no better built than $400-worth of BSOs... but it cost $9500 (no, it's not motorised, that's just what they cost).

Bikes are cheeeeeeeap.

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