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Expensive road bike helmets, a marketing scam?

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Expensive road bike helmets, a marketing scam?

Old 10-24-14, 04:44 PM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
You just LOOKING at the exterior of the product? From that perspective, a department store "road" bike looks much like a Specialized S-Works road bike with different paint to the untrained eye. The department store bike costs $150.00 and the S-Works costs $10,000.00+

I think you would be surprised at the actual difference between an entry level helmet and a top end helmet if you saw them cut into tiny pieces exposing the unseen engineering most of which you (or I) would not understand.
No, what gave you that impression? I wouldn't comment without at least a little research anyway.

The different materials, design and functional enhancements appear to me to be relatively small variations.
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Old 10-24-14, 04:51 PM
  #127  
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OK, something I know: hardcover books cost more than paperback books, why? Same information...

If I produce 10,000 paperbacks, I can sell at a retail price much lower than if I do a 3000 print run. For a 256 page trade paperback, am I ripping people off at 14.95? If I charge 22.95 instead, for the same book, is that a scam? The difference is printing 4000 copies vs 1500 copies based on demand...
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Old 10-24-14, 05:18 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I think you would be surprised at the actual difference between an entry level helmet and a top end helmet if you saw them cut into tiny pieces exposing the unseen engineering most of which you (or I) would not understand.
I think the sheep who are proud of being fleeced would be most surprised to learn that the reason the alleged costly unseen "engineering" is unseen is because it exists almost entirely in marketing hyped fantasy.
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Old 10-24-14, 06:28 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I think the sheep who are proud of being fleeced would be most surprised to learn that the reason the alleged costly unseen "engineering" is unseen is because it exists almost entirely in marketing hyped fantasy.
Prolight: 190 gms
Giro transfer: 310 gms

People pay hundreds of additional dollars for a group set that is 50 gms lighter than the next...
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Old 10-24-14, 07:04 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
OK, something I know: hardcover books cost more than paperback books, why? Same information...

If I produce 10,000 paperbacks, I can sell at a retail price much lower than if I do a 3000 print run. For a 256 page trade paperback, am I ripping people off at 14.95? If I charge 22.95 instead, for the same book, is that a scam? The difference is printing 4000 copies vs 1500 copies based on demand...
No, not a scam. But the cover price of hardcovers has as much to do with windowing as with publishing costs.
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Old 10-24-14, 08:39 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
Prolight: 190 gms
Giro transfer: 310 gms

People pay hundreds of additional dollars for a group set that is 50 gms lighter than the next...
Does this spending behavior contradict my comment about the fantasy of alleged high costs of incorporating unseen engineering, "I think the sheep who are proud of being fleeced would be most surprised to learn that the reason the alleged costly unseen "engineering" is unseen is because it exists almost entirely in marketing hyped fantasy."
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Old 10-24-14, 08:55 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
"...the alleged costly unseen "engineering" is unseen is because it exists almost entirely in marketing hyped fantasy."
I have been waiting a long time to find proof that you are full of turkey stuffing. Go out and purchase a $40 helmet and a $300 helmet and cut them up yourself. I'll reimburse you if you honestly don't see anything different going on between the two of them.

The fact that you don't believe the differences are significant is irrelevant to the fact that huge differences in materials and manufacturing process to put them together are vastly different between those two helmets and this will be as plain as day if you cut them up.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:31 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I have been waiting a long time to find proof that you are full of turkey stuffing. Go out and purchase a $40 helmet and a $300 helmet and cut them up yourself. I'll reimburse you if you honestly don't see anything different going on between the two of them.
Keep on waiting. The issue is not differences unless there is any credible evidence of a correlation between those differences and a much higher cost of incorporating them in the product.

The issue is the relationship (if any) between costs/expenses of producing expensive road bike helmets (including whatever huge differences in materials and manufacturing process you believe they possess) and the final sales price.
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Old 10-24-14, 10:00 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The issue is not differences unless there is any credible evidence of a correlation between those differences and a much higher cost of incorporating them in the product.
Are you implying that there is some kind of worldwide conspiracy between helmet manufacturers to fix prices so they can all maximize their profits on high end helmets? Well established economic principals would show that COMPETITION keeps prices DOWN. Your "no credible evidence" theory might float if there were only one giant company controlling some helmet cartel. In fact, every helmet manufacturer is trying to keep costs as low as possible due to competition. They also want to attract customers based on credible benefits to purchasing their brand over the competition.

No need to argue about general "credible evidence" that ANY helmet does much good (so we don't end up absorbed by the New Helmet Thread) as none of us know for sure if any helmet will protect anyone against anything. But there are physical differences between cheap and expensive helmets and established economic principals paint the rest of the picture regarding any technical widget for sale on an open market. Companies also have reputations at stake. It's not all that hard for independent testing folk to call them out if they are full of $**T. So they can't afford to be full of $**T even once. This is credible enough for most of us.
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Old 10-25-14, 12:43 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Couldn't this entire argument be boiled down to "High Priced X - Is it a scam, and what kind of fools pay that kind of money, anyhow?"
Nah, because i wanted to know about higher end product having material being taken away thus making it lighter, and the marketing people selling the product as being lighter and instead of saying it has less material, they just say it has more air vents.
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Old 10-25-14, 07:58 AM
  #136  
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In bicycles, lighter = more expensive. This goes back at least to Reynolds 531 butted, ie thinner, tubing vs mild steel, probably earlier than that.

And of course the profit margin will be higher on the higher end product, that's the case with anything.

Hard to believe this is even an argument.
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Old 10-25-14, 08:22 AM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
Hard to believe this is even an argument.
+1
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Old 10-25-14, 08:30 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post

All of which is to say that unless you have the manufacturing and accounting data in front of you for the retailer AND manufacturer, you really don't know what products are more or less profitable for a company. Even that data can be suspect based on internal politics and management motivation. As an example, look at the film industry. It is nearly impossible to tell how much a film really cost.
This is true in the sense that you can't make sweeping statements about it. You can't list a feature dump and say, "producing these features is why it costs so much".

But there's more than one way to skin a cat and you can make some inferences. The real question, re-framing the OP question, is "are the expensive helmets more like common goods, luxury goods or veblen goods?" We don't really need to know the manufacturing costs, distribution costs nor any supply side costs to look at that.
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Old 10-25-14, 08:44 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
... But there are physical differences between cheap and expensive helmets and established economic principals paint the rest of the picture regarding any technical widget for sale on an open market. Companies also have reputations at stake. It's not all that hard for independent testing folk to call them out if they are full of $**T. So they can't afford to be full of $**T even once. This is credible enough for most of us.
Bicycle Helmets for the 2014 Season a pretty good site with objective evaluations.

They note that all helmets in the USA meet minimum safety standards.

They cast doubt on the efficacy of "soft layers"

Claims of rotational protection due to surface material are disputed.

They refer to a Consumer Reports testing, calling out all but two helmets for not testing out above average.

They recommend against using weight in the purchasing decision, as almost irrelevant.

Of the new and expensive "aero road" helmets, they determined that changing the head angle by two degrees disrupted the aero gains.

They call out the aero road helmets on the covered vents.
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Old 10-25-14, 09:06 AM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Are you implying that there is some kind of worldwide conspiracy between helmet manufacturers to fix prices so they can all maximize their profits on high end helmets?
No, I am implying that helmet merchandisers are able to maximize profits by pricing expensive road bike helmet based on the economic axiom that "a sucker is born every minute," as well as "a fool and his money are soon parted."

Note: See the Helmet Thread sticky for more information on the application of these axioms as it applies to helmet promotion in general.

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Old 10-25-14, 09:41 AM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
No, I am implying that helmet merchandisers are able to maximize profits by pricing expensive road bike helmet based on the economic axiom that "a sucker is born every minute," as well as "a fool and his money are soon parted."

Note: See the Helmet Thread sticky for more information on the application of these axioms as it applies to helmet promotion in general.
I can agree with both of those cliches. However, what you have not factored into your judgement is the fact that THINKING you have an edge by cutting weight off of your bike, gear, or belly actually GIVES YOU a psychological boost and a resulting physical boost in performance. Or at least does not create a negative psychological scenario.

A great example of this comes from elite pro riders. If there were no rules regarding bikes or equipment and the RIDERS could do whatever they wanted with their gear, virtually every one of them would ride buck naked, strip handlebar tape off their bars, toss helmets in the bin, drill holes in every component, and ride bikes made of cellophane and balsa wood. None of this nonsense would make them one mph faster according to any known physics, but they would BELIEVE so, and then it is so. A positive mental attitude and the notion that you have done EVERYTHING within your power to shave weight and go faster makes you faster (by making you happier and giving you confidence).

Well worth bumping up from a $40 helmet to a $250 helmet for many who compete on their bikes. Not to mention the added comfort from more vents, less weight, and a custom fit.

So if it actually helps the suckers and fools by making them happy and more confident, who are we to say what the value of this should be? Even P.T. Barnum might agree that he made lots of people happy.

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Old 10-25-14, 10:50 AM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Bicycle Helmets for the 2014 Season
They recommend against using weight in the purchasing decision, as almost irrelevant.

Yeah...extra weight on your head is irrelevant.


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Old 10-25-14, 10:55 AM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Well worth bumping up from a $40 helmet to a $250 helmet for many who compete on their bikes. Not to mention the added comfort from more vents, less weight, and a custom fit..
And for me:

1. More vents == comfort.
2. Less weight == comfort.
3. Custom fit == comfort.

And it should be noted that the retail price is typically far higher than the discounted actual price. Few people pay full price for these helmets...
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Old 10-25-14, 12:13 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
Yeah...extra weight on your head is irrelevant.


"Almost" irrelevant is what they said, which although surely right you failed to understand the point.

Whether or not you agree with that, or anything else on the site, they are independent testers which called helmet manufacturers on their BS. I doubt that Specialized, or Bell, or any other helmet makers particularly care.
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Old 10-25-14, 12:24 PM
  #145  
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I've used that site as a resource, I think you're over selling it "called helmet manufacturers on their BS". Most informed buyer knows helmets sold in the U.S. meet the same safety standards...

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
"Almost" irrelevant is what they said, which although surely right you failed to understand the point.

Whether or not you agree with that, or anything else on the site, they are independent testers which called helmet manufacturers on their BS. I doubt that Specialized, or Bell, or any other helmet makers particularly care.
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Old 10-25-14, 12:34 PM
  #146  
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Let's put some perspective in all of this, I think (notice this means it's just my opinion) the sweet spot for a helmet for most riders that offers enough ventilation, quality straps, foam, and outside covering is around $100. Anything much over that price and you gain very little, anything under that price and you lose a lot in terms of quality of the materials and ventilation.
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Old 10-25-14, 12:48 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
No, I am implying that helmet merchandisers are able to maximize profits by pricing expensive road bike helmet based on the economic axiom that "a sucker is born every minute," as well as "a fool and his money are soon parted."

Note: See [strike]the[/strike] ANY [strike] Helmet Thread [/strike] forum on BF for more information on the application of these axioms as it applies to [strike] helmet promotion [/strike] bicycles in general.

There, fixed that for you. No need to thank me, I live to serve!
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Old 10-25-14, 01:51 PM
  #148  
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A few grams lighter weight helmet WILL NOT make you a world class cyclist. But your wallet will be lighter.
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Old 10-25-14, 02:12 PM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
No, I am implying that helmet merchandisers are able to maximize profits by pricing expensive road bike helmet based on the economic axiom that "a sucker is born every minute," as well as "a fool and his money are soon parted."

Note: See the Helmet Thread sticky for more information on the application of these axioms as it applies to helmet promotion in general.
You are misinformed.

Must be a ton of wealthy sucker fools in your mind that are eager to spend cash on helmets with fantasy specs.

My Bell Commuter helmet was 28 and is a piece of crap.

My Giro Air Attack was not 28 and is is not a piece of crap.
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Old 10-25-14, 05:50 PM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by ricebowl View Post
I've used that site as a resource, I think you're over selling it "called helmet manufacturers on their BS". Most informed buyer knows helmets sold in the U.S. meet the same safety standards...
I wrote "They note that all helmets in the USA meet minimum safety standards." as context for the Consumer Reports that only two tested helmets were "above average".

I would disagree that "most" informed buyers know this, but it's not important IMO.

Do you think that all my points were overselling it, or just that one?
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