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Longevity versus performance, kind of...

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Longevity versus performance, kind of...

Old 03-24-17, 08:33 PM
Mobile 155
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
There is an interesting marketing psychology at play here that was adopted years ago by the car industry. Put the glitzy, higher performance car on the floor and have the motoring magazine test it and glowingly praise its performance, and all the punters will stream into the dealership to look and dream, then see they too can own the same brand, albeit not even the same model and spec.

Top Gear and The Grand Tour do the same thing. They deride anything that is cheap and nasty in their eyes, and get their kicks doing drifts on a closed converted airfield circuit in cars that many of us only might have dreamed of.

Now it's happened with bikes. Gone are most of the small, intimate bike shops, replaced by the glitzy one-brand showrooms will rows and rows of CF bikes at diffferent grade levels. Read Bicycling's recent test of a bike, and you go have a look, pick it up and see if it does in fact weight next to nothing. But that bike down there is cheaper, and gee, so tempting. A push in that direction by a sales person, and hey presto, you are out the door with a brand new bike (likely CF). And how many people you know say they bought a bike because they (a) like the colour scheme or (b) just like the look of it, while mechanical performance is secondary?

When bikes shops went that route and glitz, I think they signed their own death warrants. The issue with both the States and here in Australia, is that there is a greedy middleperson who is imposing significantly stringent rules on pricing and stock levels. Plus many sales people get so wrapped up in the hype, they cannot discern that the bike they want to sell you is impractical for your purposes.

So, many customers are not getting what they actually want. And I suspect that CF frames are significantly cheaper to mass produce than welding metal frames.

That might be one of many reasons but with our age in this forum we should be able to remember it was the customer as much as anyone else that signed the death knell of US bike production. In fact the the founder of Rivendell was as responsible as anyone else while working for Bridgestone. Yes people are often pointed in a direction of what the dealer has rather than what might work for the customer best but then, getting what we think might be best may be easier said than done.

That being said I took the question to be if we have experienced the major bike frame materials and styles of bikes does material longevity mean all that much to those that are, shall we say, more than middle age? I have asked myself the same question and honestly I can't remember thinking about how long the material of the frame might last because i have learned the parts are often consumables. Yes I have put on many miles a year of almost all of my bikes. And to be absolutely honest the frame material is way down the list to comfort and ride to the addition of a good saddle, wheels and tires, seat post and sometimes a fork.

So to me it is simply a matter of what bike is easier to ride out of our valley over our mountain and maybe down to the beach? If that bike was made of Bamboo as I have lusted after a Calfee a bike shop I used to got to had on display, that would have been my pick rather than my CF Tarmac. As far as sales people go I grew up with the term Caveat emptor pasted to my head. I have heard the argument that the old school or old material was good enough back in the day and it should be good enough today. They debated the idea when I got into sailing, wood versus Fiber Glass. Golf, Steel versus Graphite, CF more or less. Even tennis when I started had wood frames, not sure they even make them anymore.

Still you have a point in the the TDF is coming up and you can bet the bike shops will sell people a lot more bike than they will need after the race. But looking at garage sales I would say, selling the average American a bike is selling someone something they more than likely aren't going to use, no matter what it is made of. IMHO.
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