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Why are bicycle tires so expensive?

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Why are bicycle tires so expensive?

Old 04-16-21, 03:33 PM
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Why are bicycle tires so expensive?

I good bicycle tires is almost as expensive as a car tire while using a small
fraction of the rubber used in a car tire.
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Old 04-16-21, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I good bicycle tires is almost as expensive as a car tire while using a small
fraction of the rubber used in a car tire.
Cheap bike tires are cheap, just like cheap car tires.

A $70 bike tire is more like a $300 car tire.
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Old 04-16-21, 03:40 PM
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A lot of the cost is actually transport from the manufacturer to the retailer, and profit by the wholesaler and retailer.
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Old 04-16-21, 03:56 PM
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Volume.

Purchasing Compass Rene Herse tires requires checking with my finance minister before buying. They're practically handmade, and in low volume.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:01 PM
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Hold out for deals, and jump on them. Excel has Conti GP5000 two packs for $89 right now (28mm out of stock). I see other vendors do similar sales frequently enough. No need to pay full retail if you can hit the sale.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:02 PM
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I find bicycle tires, in Canada to be not all that bad, pricewise. Just bought two Michelin 700c x 28mm gumwalls for twenty dollars each, plus 15% sales tax. Sorry, no pictures yet.

In Jamaica, a year or two ago, I shredded my NOS Pasela gumwalls and was forced to buy what I could get in Black River, Jamaica. The set, Compass 700c x 32mm (I ordered 23mm) and, thanks to the bicycle gods, they actually fit my Bianchi. The price, roughly $25.00 USD for the pair. They ride just fine and my guess is that they are darn near bullet proof...


And, just last Fall, I put four new tires on my Honda Civic. Total bill, just over $1000.00.

The point is, I don't really find bicycle tires to be that costly.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:32 PM
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Its where the rubber meets the road, they have to meet a pretty high safety, quality, etc. standard. If you blow a car tire you might crash into something but its not likely to be life threatening.

On a bicycle I think that danger escalates several fold, they are a very thin cushion between us and the meat grinder that is asphalt.

I think they are a bargain especially when I get a good deal on them which is often.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:32 PM
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Ha, I'm the opposite of randyjawa! My first-gen Honda Insight needed four new tires in 2019 and the total came to $129.08. My Ron Cooper will someday need two new tires, and it's easily $142 from Compass René Herse.

But those are the very very cheapest car tires and, er, upper-range-but-not-top-of-the-line bike tires? And I installed both the car and the bike tires myself (lucky I have a friend with a tire machine)!
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Old 04-16-21, 04:47 PM
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What does Pirelli charge for Y-rated bike tires, good up to 186 mph?
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Old 04-16-21, 04:56 PM
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They're cheaper than English lessons.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:59 PM
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At least you can still buy nice tires. Need a C&V appropriate rim to go with that tire? Set expectation level = low.
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Old 04-16-21, 05:02 PM
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Are they charging more now for the XXXL sized clothing?
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Old 04-16-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
Good bicycle tires are almost as expensive as a car tire while using only a small fraction of the rubber used in a car tire.
Well first of all, the US has always had some weird pricing going on. Many models are 2-4 times as expensive as in Europe for example.

Second, the US doesn't have any noteworthy manufacturers of (road) bicycle tyres... or at all really so everything gets imported. There are many high quality car tyre manufacturers though so that can be produced cheaper.
May be Bontrager (Trek) but Panaracer is Japan, Schwalbe is Germany, Continental is Germany and Vredestein is the Netherlands for example. There are a lot of cool mountainbike tyre manufacturers from the US, like WTB, but most of the more interesting ones have them made by Panaracer.

Third, a tariff war started by the former president that specifically targeted bicycle parts. Which might be removed by President Biden but for now is being held up since the trade war is still going on.

Fourth, expect prices to rise because well... everything. (US dollar has lost value, all material costs have gone up at least 10% with rubber even having gone up 50%, hard to find employees and shipping is still 40-250% more expensive, even inside the US.)

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Old 04-16-21, 05:35 PM
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randyjawa
Randy,
Any place you know of with good quality 27 inch tires in Canada?? Don't have at Canadian Tire/Walmart, etc.
I have a Centurion with older rubber and can't replace the tires it has now. Ordering from out of Canada means shipping which adds cost and wait time.
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Old 04-16-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post


And, just last Fall, I put four new tires on my Honda Civic. Total bill, just over $1000.00.

The point is, I don't really find bicycle tires to be that costly.
Must be V rated tires on that Civic.

Production volume is probably the dominant factor. Bike tires need to be more accurately constructed.
when I bought a Sienna van in 2006, the rim size, aspect ratio and width was odd. First set of replacements, were near $200 each, every set after has been cheaper than the last. Bunch more units in operation that take that size.
Old VW beetle tires used to be Cheap, now Expensive!

if you want to complain about tire prices, look up tires for a Bugatti Veyron. the price is down, now $42,000 per set of 4.
Like tubulars, they are glued to the rim.
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Old 04-16-21, 05:37 PM
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Old 04-16-21, 05:45 PM
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Vintage Schwinn

What you say might be true to a point (trying to look cool versus realistic usage). I am amazed when I see tires over $100 a piece and I wonder who buys them??

But, if the choice is $20 Vittoria Rally tubulars that die after 500 miles, 25 miles from home (usually in a sudden rain storm on a back road with no cell reception) or higher cost tires that last a few years but cost $50, the professor is getting my cash!

Besides, with cutbacks in education the poor man needs a side gig just to cover his rent.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
Bicycle tires are very inexpensive relative to the high quality product that you get in the typical price range of $10 to $60 per tire..
First, I'd like to know where I can buy an adult-sized bike tire for $9.99, regularly.

Secondly, to the OP's point, $60 is about the cost of some China rubber for a '90s Toyota Corolla. Are you saying $120 for a pair of bicycle tires is "inexpensive?"

I'm seeing prices close to $23 for Sunlite/Kenda/CST EA3 tires out there. That's banana-peel rubber for English 3-speeds that ought to be no more than $9.99.

Heck, I can get far superior Michelin World Sports (yet, they're not as light or fancy as Panaracer Col De La Vies, but they're certainly better than base Kendas) in the same size, from BikeInn for $17, plus shipping from the NL. If I buy in bulk, I can still come out better buying the better rubber and having it shipped a third of the way around the world.

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Old 04-16-21, 06:27 PM
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I find chain reaction to have great clearance deals and if you stock up over 100, shipping is free.

I would love to say I go to the LBS, but they seem to be high at the moment, and not in Colorado Rocky Mountain way...
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Old 04-16-21, 06:40 PM
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As other folks noted, most of the cost of bicycle tires is in R&D, labor, marketing, shipping, etc., not so much in materials. And there's less volume of sales than motor vehicle tires to compensate so bicycle tire costs remain relatively high.

Another factor is the pandemic, which interrupted manufacturing and distribution from China and neighboring countries for awhile last year. And trade disputes and counterproductive trade policies such as tariffs. Or other economic factors in manufacturing countries. Costs have risen for many consumer goods since January 2020. That may settle down again later this year.

Same with running shoes, my other "tires." There's no way it costs Nike, adidas, Saucony, Hoka, etc., upward of $200 to make a pair of long distance running shoes with a bit of carbon fiber springy stuff. (I'll give Nike some leeway for their high end shoes with fancy balloons and springs, which are probably tricky compared with carbon fiber plates). Or above $100 for the running shoes with simpler tech. That's why I wait until shoes are discontinued and buy from Ross, Marshalls and other discounters for around $30 or so.

With sporting apparel, and fashion in general, there's a huge fashion appeal that's very temporary -- maybe 3 months before an item is out of fashion; or, with athletic shoes, "obsolete" and replaced by the Next Big Thing in the same old thing. I have zero fashion sense and don't care whether the stuff I sweat in and get dirty is this year's fashion or three years out of date.

That occasionally happens with bicycle tires. I've bought some excellent tires for a fraction of the original price by waiting until the tires were discontinued new/old stock sold through online discounters.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:47 PM
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Old 04-16-21, 07:04 PM
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Once in a while, if I’m buying other things from the big online retailers like Nashbar/Performance, I’ll throw 4 or 6 of the cheapest 700c tires in my cart to use on future flips. Last time they were $10 each, I believe, and for that money I got a wired on black, very narrow tire that seemed hard as hell with about 30lbs of pressure. That’s fine for the Boston are college student commuter, but no way, no how I’d put them on bikes I’d actually want to ride. As is true in many things, you get what you pay for.
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Old 04-16-21, 07:19 PM
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For $90...

...you can get tires to last for months to a year. For $900, you can have fun alongside Charlie Sheen for a few hours. You choose...
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Old 04-16-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
I'd like to know the meaning of life.

Anyone? Anyone?
The answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is 42, if that helps any. Of course it helps if you know what the question actually IS.
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Old 04-16-21, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Hold out for deals, and jump on them. Excel has Conti GP5000 two packs for $89 right now (28mm out of stock). I see other vendors do similar sales frequently enough. No need to pay full retail if you can hit the sale.
I keep an eye on Excel too. Just got a 2 pack of 25 mm Continental Sprinter tubulars for $98
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