and what should the frame be made out of?
One thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is that a lot of the people that buy the most expensive bicycles are sometimes the people that don't actually use them anywhere near to their full capabilities. By default the most expensive bicycles you would find in a LBS are race bikes, either road or mountain. People that buy these bikes really don't NEED them. People that buy these bikes WANT them. A small fraction of race bikes are sold to racers. I think people confuse needs and wants. These are people that perhaps have had some success in their life, may be well healed or simply have disposable income and they want to reward themselves with a top end top quality bike. These people show at up bike stores knowing what they are looking for. These people are not racers of any note, these people are not professional cyclists, these people are professionals in other walks of life. The FACT is they have money and like cycling so can afford to drop big $$ on cycling.
Are they capable of riding that new Splesh S-Works Tarmac to it's full capabilities? NO. Are they able to beat everyone up the mountain on their new S-Works Epic? Absolutely NOT!!! Are they capable of beating everyone down the mountain on their carbon S-Works Enduro? Not a hope of that. Are they having the times of their lives. A resounding YES! They come back to the store grinning like butcher's dogs. Do you think I stood out on the street going "psst hey mister, want to come in and buy a carbon race bike? Then when I get them into the store I put my 'Saleman's Voodoo Curse' on them and make them spend twice as much as they wanted on something they didn't need because salespeople hold so much power over normal people. Come closer your getting sleepy my darling. I believe it's called "pulling the wool over the eyes of an unsuspecting public". Actually it's more like "giving the public what they asked for."
Are there advantages to these top line bikes that entry level bikes don't have? Absolutely. Do the people that purchase and ride these bikes have the skill to exploit these advantages? Sometimes. Generally though they are just enthusiasts that like you and can afford high end gear. More than being able to afford it they have made the choice to spend money on cycling.
At the other end of the spectrum cycling still has a poor mentality surrounding it. It's only natural. Cycling can be a really inexpensive form of transportation. For some people it's not about recreation it's how they get around. I'm talking about people that ride bikes out of necessity. People that simply can not fathom the idea of spending more than $199 over at wallyworldmart. And in between these two extremes are all of the people that have there own belief systems. Belief systems based on THEIR own past experience.
Since this hybrid forum is relatively new I think it's unique in that how much someone should spend on a hybrid is a topic of discussion. It's not this way on other established subforums. Over in the SS/FG or Cyclocross forums for example the question would be more like "What's the best bike for this amount of money? People will make recommondations for any given price range. Here when someone asks that question they are given answers like "If your going to spend X amount you should really get a road bike", "It's not worth spending more than X amount on a Hybrid. This is where people have arbitraily put price caps on hybrids based on their personal belief systems. You don't need this, you don't need that. Yet need has nothing in the world to do with it. No one NEEDS more than just a basic bike to ride. People WANT to ride nice bikes.
Somehow though because of the hybrid's ultilitarian back ground there still is this belief in place that states 'a hybrid rider does not deserve top shelf components.' The hybrid rider certainly does not deserve a carbon fibre frame. So instead of our riders that bought those top fite road and mountain bikes I want to illustrate two examples of hybrid riders from the unsuspecting public that I know.
1. Lives in a city of a million people that has 400 kms of unshared paved path and a further 200 kms of shared pathway (shared with motor traffic). Ex pro hockey player, does not have tons of spare time so wants a bike he can ride as soon as he walks out his door and wants comfort and speed. Loves pounding the pavement hard. He trains when he rides. Thought about buying a road bike but went with a hybrid instead. He's not really interested in hitting the open road or transporting his road bike by car somewhere to find a good spot to ride. Likes the riding position that the combination of flatbar, longer head tube and longer hybrid geometry 400mm front fork provides. The frame has to be carbon. This is his alone time and he KNOWS what he WANTS. Buys a Specialized Sirrus Pro... List price $2299.99 CDN. http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...Sirrus&eid=121 . Absolutlely is in love with his bike. Within a month he puts on a set of Mavic Elite wheels, Vittoria Rubino Pro 700/23 tires and a pair of Avid Single Digit Ultimates brakes and Avid Speed Dial SL levers. I'm sure he's not finished with mods yet. His Sunday morning training ride is a 110 km criss cross of the city. Tries to beat his last time everytime. Absolutely fell in love with his bike and cycling. His very favourite part? Standing on it and passing people like they are standing still on some of the big hills around town. He freakin puts the hammer down. The bike is a source of pride and joy for this guy.
Does he need this bike? Is this too much bike? Is this what you would ride? Actually it does not matter what you would ride?, what's most important is what he wants. He is not an idiot. He can read the interweb, he can see the data. He wants an experince. He knows full well what the difference between his needs and wants are. Thinks he cares about stiffness tests? Does he care about all the scare mongering about crashing? Was anything hidden from this guy and was he some how coerced into buying this bike. He spent close tp $3000 CDN. If he had spent $1499.99 on this... http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...=39272&eid=121 would his experience of his bike be the same? He is totally happy with his purchase.
2. Late forties, used to be a fairly active and and enthusiastic mountain bike rider in a previous life before marriage and children. Coincidentally he lives in the same city as guy # 1, surprise surprise. He is mostly interested in riding on the bike path just like #1 except his real purpose to riding on the paved pathway is to get him to the many kms of singletrack that is connected by the path all throughout the city. Thought about getting a mountain bike again but at 6'4" never really felt comfortable on a 26" wheeled bike. Does not need or want the extra heft of a 29er. The ride to get to the singletrack is all on pavement, he wants something in between. Buys a Specialized Crosstrail Pro... List price $1599.99 CDN. http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...strail&eid=125 . The only model in the Crosstrail line that uses M4 aluminum like Splesh's Rockhopper. He ALWAYS wanted a bike that was a mix of Shimano XTR/XT drivetrain components but could not afford it until now. Before he took the bike home all of the drivetrain and shifters were swapped to XT, including a trekking crankset, the derailleurs were changed to XTR, changed the tires to a slightly smaller 700/38 Specialized Crossroads. Lives to ride this bike from his house in the core of the city to the singletrack spread out around town. He's got bills and responsibilities and feels he will never do any hardcore mountain biking again. Does not need or want to risk injury at this stage in his life. Total advocate for cycling and the shop. Got exactly what he wanted. Does he need front suspension? Did he need XT/XTR components? If he had not upgraded his bike would his experience of his bike be the same?
Where did this artificial price ceiling come from concerning hybrid bikes? Is the way these two bikes are being used any less valid than someone that buy's a high end road or mountain bike? Who exactly are the judges able to tell someone what they want is wrong for them. It's from the poor mentality still surrounding the bicycle industry. If you've been following along in another thread I've so much as been accused of being part of a conspiracy to sell unsafe bikes to an unknowing public or at the very least be so stupid that I'm brainwashed by these companies, don't know ****e about bikes or that I fully don't disclose the inherent dangers of riding a carbon bike to potential customers. OMG! Really? Chill out.
It does not matter where you go or what you talk about there will always be those that try and come along to p on your parade. The 2 bikes described above don't fall into some people's narrow view of what a hybrid is so they display all of this data to show you scientifially how much of a fool you are. No one needs anything more than what they have. You should not want what they haven't got. WATCH OUT it's unsafe what YOUR doing!!!! It's okay actually because I know who these people are, I've met them personally. I know who they are but they don't remember me. We've ran into each other on many occasions.
They are friends of new riders that come to the store looking for a bike. They brought them along because they are 'experts'. The truth of the matter is that they've owned a couple of bikes and they read everything they can find on the interent. They are there to insure that newbie does not get ripped off by a shady bike salesman, psst meister want to buy my bike? What actually happens is that the 'expert' usually disagrees with everthing the sales person says and they deflate the new rider excitement. The store they are in carries brand S & R and they'll throw out some stupid question about a specification on brand G to test the salesperson knowledge. Then they go and try another store and the same thing happens again. By the time the new buyer gets a bike it looks like a near clone of the 'experts' bike with one important difference. It's not quite as not quite as good as the 'experts' bike, after all why would a newbie need something as good as an 'expert'?, they are just starting out. A typical long term bike shop employee is someone that lives and breathes bicycles and the only way to surround themselves with bikes on a daily basis is to work in a bike shop. You will meet them at various stages in their career which of course coincides with how much knowledge they have at that moment. What could a person like that possibly know compared to the 'expert' that has ridden a couple of bikes and reads everything he can find on the internet? I know them because they are easy to spot you just have to listen to what comes out of their mouths. The reason they don't remember me? Everywhere they go they treat salespeople with mistrust and disdain and it shows on their faces. We recognize them. They are affectionately referred to as lot lawyers on car lots all over North America. They always know more than anyone else and have data to back it up.
When someone comes to the hybrid forum and asks "what is the best hybrid for $2000?", why is the first response given you don't NEED a $2000 hybrid, here's the data to back up my position, buy a road bike, suspension is useless, carbon is useless on a hybrid etc etc. The 'Experts' are the first to show up and discourage and deflate the new bike riders. Watch it happen at BF live.
Who here has written the rules and the guide lines used to determine how much money some one should spend to have their fun? Before the finacially less fortuneate get all upset I'm not in any way saying that you need to throw large amounts of money at a bike to have fun. You know what though?, it does not hurt. People with money to spend should be able to join in our fun. One less car and all that. I sell bikes for a living by choice. I sell fun to people. They spend freely. I have the best job!! It's kind of sad really that people actually think there would be any other motive for a bike sale person other than to put someone else on a bike. This is a good thing! I have absolutely no shame or regret in selling people expensive carbon fibre bicycles.