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  1. #1
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    The High Price of Drop Handlebars

    Though my interest in the fixie/single bicycle has has risen since summer of 2010, it has just recently peaked within the last few months. Thus far I have limited my single speed interest to certain bicycle websites, bicycle catalogues, and visits to bicycle shops. However, in my single speed research, I happened to notice that given practically the same bicycle frame geometry and material, the price may vary depending upon whether the bicycle has a drop handlebar or not. So, if you want a regular conventional fixie or single speed, that generally comes with flat or riser handlebars, it will cost less than just about any Track bike produced by the same bicycle company. That's because Track bikes come with drop handlebars!

    BROUGHAM_RED_2012_SMALL.jpg
    The Felt Brougham (flat) ~ $550

    TK4130_2011_Chrome_Tips_SMALL.jpg
    *The Felt TK 4130 ~ $770

    This same trend goes for the Raleigh Back Alley (flat) vs the *Rush Hour. It also goes for the Jamis Beatnik (flat) vs. the *Sputnik.

    I then revisited older thoughts about how entry level road bikes generally cost more than entry level hybrids. Why is that you say? Well quite obviously, it's the drop handlebars! There's something magically amazing about drop handlebars. As soon as you attach them to a bicycle frame, suddenly the bicycle price spikes to some disproportionate height, that it becomes entirely too difficult to rationalize.

    What's up with the drop handlebars?

    Raleigh

    Back Alley ~ $550

    *Rush Hour ~ $770

    Jamis

    Beatnik ~ $425

    *Sputnik ~ $700

    KHS

    Urban Soul ~ $400

    *Flite 100 ~ $650



    * Means drop handlebars
    Last edited by SlimRider; 07-11-12 at 09:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    The track bike also has fancier wheels and a leather saddle.
    Craig in Indy

  3. #3
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    Things cost what they cost because the seller can get what he asks for his things and people are willing to pay him what he asks. Cost has very little to do with this once the sane businessperson charges a price higher than his cost. There ya go.....
    "Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of the pumpkin"

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    The track bike also has fancier wheels and a leather saddle.

    Yes Craig, but there's no leather seat or fancier wheels on the Rush Hour...

    RA12_Back-Alley_steel-purple.jpg
    The Raleigh Back Alley ~ $550
    www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/back-alley-12/

    RB_2012_Rush-Hour_black-white_LG.jpg
    *The Raleigh Rush Hour ~ $770
    www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/rush-hour-12/

    The Rush Hour Track bike, featuring drop a handlebar
    Last edited by SlimRider; 07-11-12 at 03:21 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dwatson's Avatar
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    Different hubs, tires, fork, pedals,BB and breaks. Don't know if that $200 or not.

  6. #6
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Drop bars are a little tougher to make, but that really doesn't have much to do with the final price of the bike. Drop bar brakes are also a little cheaper as a general rule.

    It looks like it's often cheaper to buy a bike with drops than to buy one with flat bar and convert so the choice is simple if you have a preference.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwatson View Post
    Different hubs, tires, fork, pedals,BB and breaks. Don't know if that $200 or not.
    That's what I noticed on all four bikes. Slight differences in the parts spec. The TK4130, for example uses a cold forged crank where the Brougham uses a hot forged crank. The cold forge crank is more expensive. The Rush Hour uses a better hub, better headset, better tires and better bottom bracket. It adds up.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    "Piqued" or "peaked" depending on your meaning but not "peeked."
    Duh...

    Thanx


    PS.

    "Peaked" was the intended word, even though I do like the word "piqued", better!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 07-11-12 at 12:01 PM.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Just don't look at what Real track race bikes cost.

    Chris Hoy and other top velodrome racers put out a lot more power
    than a cheap fixie would handle.. think Pretzels
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-13-12 at 10:03 AM.

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    What wild conspiracy are you gonna come up with next, Slim?

    The parts list on the Rush Hour is full of upgrades over the Back Alley. Not the whole bike, of course, but every little bit adds up.

    There may indeed be some slotting of the prices, putting the track-style bikes a couple hundred higher to seek a different bracket (and to make the upgrades look more worthwhile).

    Here's another comparison, between my Bianchi Valle and a Bianchi Volpe of the same year (2009 is when I got my Valle). The Valle, a flat bar city bike, was a couple hundred less than the Volpe, a cyclocross bike with the exact same frame. I figured out that it would cost me a bit more to convert my Valle to drops and STI shifters as it would to add fenders, a dynohub, and lights to a Volpe. Either way, the total cost of both bikes would have been pretty close -- close enough that I decided to keep the Valle and convert it instead of replacing it with a modded Volpe.

    Oh sure, I could have wailed about the Volpe being priced too high because it had less stuff on it (no fenders, dynohub, or lights?! OMG!), but when all the parts were counted up, they were priced completely correctly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    What wild conspiracy are you gonna come up with next, Slim?

    The parts list on the Rush Hour is full of upgrades over the Back Alley. Not the whole bike, of course, but every little bit adds up.

    There may indeed be some slotting of the prices, putting the track-style bikes a couple hundred higher to seek a different bracket (and to make the upgrades look more worthwhile).

    Here's another comparison, between my Bianchi Valle and a Bianchi Volpe of the same year (2009 is when I got my Valle). The Valle, a flat bar city bike, was a couple hundred less than the Volpe, a cyclocross bike with the exact same frame. I figured out that it would cost me a bit more to convert my Valle to drops and STI shifters as it would to add fenders, a dynohub, and lights to a Volpe. Either way, the total cost of both bikes would have been pretty close -- close enough that I decided to keep the Valle and convert it instead of replacing it with a modded Volpe.

    Oh sure, I could have wailed about the Volpe being priced too high because it had less stuff on it (no fenders, dynohub, or lights?! OMG!), but when all the parts were counted up, they were priced completely correctly.

    Nice hearing from you, my friend!

  12. #12
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Slim,
    Don't you have an older Nishiki? Why not convert it to your ss/fg? Cheapest option - just wheels 'n' go.
    Phil

    Seems overpriced to buy any of these bikes, at least to me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    +1. If you have an olde Nishiki with horizontal dropouts buying one of those bikes is silly. The Nishiki will look better and be way cheaper.

    Wheels for $118 shipped

    It doesn't say what width the cogs are but if they're 1/8" then you'll have to buy a new chain also. They're easily had for $8-10 on the low end, though.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Slim,
    Don't you have an older Nishiki? Why not convert it to your ss/fg? Cheapest option - just wheels 'n' go.
    Phil

    Seems overpriced to buy any of these bikes, at least to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    +1. If you have an olde Nishiki with horizontal dropouts buying one of those bikes is silly. The Nishiki will look better and be way cheaper.

    Wheels for $118 shipped

    It doesn't say what width the cogs are but if they're 1/8" then you'll have to buy a new chain also. They're easily had for $8-10 on the low end, though.
    Thanks guys!

    However, just thinking of altering my Nishiki in any manner or form, activates my gag reflex muscles.

    I'd never do it...

    I think what I need is another bike!

  15. #15
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    You don't need to alter your Nishiki's frame in any way. You might consider altering the rear wheel a bit (add about 3mm spacer to each side), but even that's not totally necessary.

    More bikes is always fun, though.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

  16. #16
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    ^^^

    It's not irreversible, it's inexpensive, and it converts a bike that already fits. I would do it in a heartbeat if I wanted to ride a fg.

    BTW, the fg option is a good one. The ss bike makes no sense to me, but that's just me.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    ^^^

    It's not irreversible, it's inexpensive, and it converts a bike that already fits. I would do it in a heartbeat if I wanted to ride a fg.

    BTW, the fg option is a good one. The ss bike makes no sense to me, but that's just me.
    Yes Phil! So I've heard!

  18. #18
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that for road bikes it may also (aside from any other equipment upgrades) have a lot to do with the fact that drop bars and brifters pretty much go together these days and brifters are just hellishly expensive compared to any other kind of shifter usually found on a hybrid.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    I'm thinking that for road bikes it may also (aside from any other equipment upgrades) have a lot to do with the fact that drop bars and brifters pretty much go together these days and brifters are just hellishly expensive compared to any other kind of shifter usually found on a hybrid.
    Well the bikes in question or SS or FG. So that's one more beautiful hypothesis shot to hell by ugly fact.

  20. #20
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Well the bikes in question or SS or FG. So that's one more beautiful hypothesis shot to hell by ugly fact.
    I actually bothered to read the initial post made by SlimRider which read in part: "I then revisited older thoughts about how entry level road bikes generally cost more than entry level hybrids. Why is that you say? Well quite obviously, it's the drop handlebars."

    The only thing you've 'shot to hell' here is your own credibility as anything other than a smartass.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Well the bikes in question or SS or FG. So that's one more beautiful hypothesis shot to hell by ugly fact.

    Annoying...

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