Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Why do bicycles generally come in so few colorways?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Why do bicycles generally come in so few colorways?

Old 10-23-18, 03:07 PM
  #1  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Why do bicycles generally come in so few colorways?

I come from a background of competitive paintball. It's a flashy sport that enjoys it's bright colors as much as cyclists seem to do.

What confuses me about switching over to cycling is the extreme lack of color options when buying a bike of any quality. Whether you're getting a $500 bike or a $5000 bike you're probably only going to be offered 1-2 (MAYBE 3) options. Now that might make sense for professionally sponsored riders who most likely get custom wraps/paint to match a team or sponsor but I'm confused as to how this is justified for mid-range and "low-end" bikes.
To clarify, in paintball you're hard pressed to find a marker at any price point that isn't released in 5-10 new colorways every single year. These are from smaller companies, selling items of roughly the same value, and with what I am assuming is much less overhead while operating in a much smaller market.

In a market where everything "looks the same" you would think that companies would be doing everything in their power to differentiate from their competitors.
Is there something I'm missing or is this a common complaint shared by others in the industry?

Also, if you're going to make some ridiculous comment about how I shouldn't be worried about the color of my bike or paintball marker then just go ahead and hit the back button lol. I know it doesn't make me a better player/rider and you're not enlightening or impressing anyone with your wisdom rhetoric.

Last edited by Smokeage; 10-23-18 at 03:10 PM.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 03:45 PM
  #2  
wingless
Senior Member
 
wingless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Florida
Posts: 343

Bikes: 2011 Trek 1.2 + 2016 Trek 1.1 H2

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 16 Posts
Welcome to the forum.

Look on this as an opportunity. Combine paintball and bicycling onto a new sport. Imagine the opportunities and the fun awaiting that venture. It won't be limited to just the new color options.

One advantage to limited frame colors is that identification of the model year is very straightforward by examining the paint job and the color versus year offerings.
wingless is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 03:47 PM
  #3  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,097
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1761 Post(s)
Liked 1,022 Times in 614 Posts
It costs more to produce more colors, and needing to keep more colors in stock in all sizes can lead to more unsold leftovers.

That is my guess anyway.

So most companies are going to make one color a “safe” color, and maybe one other color that changes periodically.

Or in some cases the different build levels get different colors.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 03:49 PM
  #4  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,036

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1500 Post(s)
Liked 455 Times in 270 Posts
When I had my own shop I hated anything that came in sizes or colors. It seemed like I never had in stock the exact one that the customer wanted.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 03:50 PM
  #5  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
It costs more to produce more colors, and needing to keep more colors in stock in all sizes can lead to more unsold leftovers.

That is my guess anyway.

So most companies are going to make one color a “safe” color, and maybe one other color that changes periodically.

Or in some cases the different build levels get different colors.
The only thing you said that doesn't directly translate to the paintball industry is the need for sizes which obviously wouldn't be an issue with a paintball marker. I wonder if that in itself is a big enough thing to prevent cycling from doing more options?

I guess I'm mainly surprised that paintball, being so much smaller of a market, manages it somehow while cycling has not.

Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
When I had my own shop I hated anything that came in sizes or colors. It seemed like I never had in stock the exact one that the customer wanted.
Responded before your message popped up but I guess it really is the need for sizes that makes it such a big issue for cycling.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:16 PM
  #6  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wingless View Post
Welcome to the forum.

Look on this as an opportunity. Combine paintball and bicycling onto a new sport. Imagine the opportunities and the fun awaiting that venture. It won't be limited to just the new color options.

One advantage to limited frame colors is that identification of the model year is very straightforward by examining the paint job and the color versus year offerings.
Somehow I missed your reply when I responded to the other two haha. Thanks for the welcome!

That's a very good point about model-year. I have actually already relied on that when I was looking at some used bikes.

Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
This is sadness. I have never bought a bike that is my first color choice. It's always been: "I hate all the available colors...which one did I dislike the least."

I reckon the reason is the cost of setting up multiple colors in the factory. It's probably much much cheaper to setup to spray a 10,000 bikes all of one color. Than have 10 colors colors for 1,000 bikes.
I'm literally in that exact same boat I really like the Trek FX-3 but the colors are horrendous! Luckily I stumbled across the Cannondale Quick 3 in that amazing Green but it's just been so frustrating trying not to feel like I'm settling. I thought about just getting it painted/coated but I don't want to spend $300+ to have it done professionally and it just wouldn't feel right pulling out some spray paint lol.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:20 PM
  #7  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,097
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1761 Post(s)
Liked 1,022 Times in 614 Posts
How much do these items that are available in 5-10 colors cost?

Are these the paint balls or the guns?
Kapusta is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:27 PM
  #8  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,458
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 903 Post(s)
Liked 407 Times in 282 Posts
I think it just boils down to inventory, and how much stuff has to be marked down in the fall. On the other hand, stuff that's cheap, such as bar tape and bottle cages, come in all sorts of colors.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:35 PM
  #9  
Rajflyboy
Banned.
 
Rajflyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Carolinas
Posts: 1,293

Bikes: Orbea

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 917 Post(s)
Liked 203 Times in 169 Posts
Go out and get some dirt on it and it won’t matter anymore. Ride it like you stole it. Give it some charachter with grips and some other add ons as mentioned here. Ride ride ride and don’t sweat the colors (unless you are trying to pick up girls with your bike)
Rajflyboy is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:36 PM
  #10  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
How much do these items that are available in 5-10 colors cost?

Are these the paint balls or the guns?
Guns haha. Even $200 markers come in ~5 options. High end guns will usually be released with 5-6 new color combos every year.

Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I think it just boils down to inventory, and how much stuff has to be marked down in the fall. On the other hand, stuff that's cheap, such as bar tape and bottle cages, come in all sorts of colors.
I still think most of that translates straight to paintball haha. After reading the first couple replies it seems like my main oversight was not thinking about different sizes and I'm thinking that's going to be the major cause of this difference.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 04:38 PM
  #11  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Rajflyboy View Post
Go out and get some dirt on it and it won’t matter anymore. Ride it like you stole it. Give it some charachter with grips and some other add ons as mentioned here. Ride ride ride and don’t sweat the colors (unless you are trying to pick up girls with your bike)
I knew somebody had to make the comment hahaha.

I will counter with "Look good; Play good"
Even if you don't buy into that logic I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to be 100% happy with a purchase as large as this.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 05:10 PM
  #12  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,212

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3634 Post(s)
Liked 72 Times in 42 Posts
How many sizes do paintball guns come in? How big is a paintball gun in storage waiting to be sold versus a bike? While I know paintball guns can be pricey, what is a mid-level gun cost versus a mid-level bike? Back when I was playing, a top level gun might have been approaching a grand, a price point you aren't much past entry level in cycling. When I look at paintball sites now, I'm seeing a whole selection of guns that haven't changed much since I last played in the mid-00s, not an industry considerably based on a new iteration of a model every year.

Most bike shops don't even stock all bikes in all sizes. It becomes much harder to stock a dozen colors in those sizes, risking unsold inventory at the end of the year. Simply put, unsold inventory has to be discounted at the end of the year, bikes frequently change geometry and specs. Much easier to only offer one or two choices of color.

Not to mention, I see you can still get the Tippmann A5 in any color you want, so long as it is black
jefnvk is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 05:17 PM
  #13  
Smokeage
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 26
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
How many sizes do paintball guns come in? How big is a paintball gun in storage waiting to be sold versus a bike? While I know paintball guns can be pricey, what is a mid-level gun cost versus a mid-level bike? Back when I was playing, a top level gun might have been approaching a grand, a price point you aren't much past entry level in cycling. When I look at paintball sites now, I'm seeing a whole selection of guns that haven't changed much since I last played in the mid-00s, not an industry considerably based on a new iteration of a model every year.

Most bike shops don't even stock all bikes in all sizes. It becomes much harder to stock a dozen colors in those sizes, risking unsold inventory at the end of the year. Simply put, unsold inventory has to be discounted at the end of the year, bikes frequently change geometry and specs. Much easier to only offer one or two choices of color.

Not to mention, I see you can still get the Tippmann A5 in any color you want, so long as it is black
Cost of storage is also something I hadn't thought about. But I think you have your price points in paintball a little low haha. Angels and Autocockers were pushing ~$2,000 in the 90s. These days it's roughly the same but with a much larger mid-range selection (much like cycling).

I see your point about the A5 but I counter with the Azodin Kaos 2

For the record, I am conceding that product sizes (and now probably storage too) are leading factors in the differences between the two sports.
Smokeage is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 06:54 PM
  #14  
ColonelSanders
Senior Member
 
ColonelSanders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 3,943

Bikes: 2017 Surly Troll with XT Drive Train, 2017 Merida Big Nine XT Edition, 2016 Giant Toughroad SLR 2, 1995 Trek 830

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 30 Posts
The manufacturers must be concerned that people are too particular with colours and are afraid that if you make a bike "Red", too many people don't want a red bike, ditto if you replace "Red" with "Yellow" or whatever colour.


Sadly this has lead to all sorts of blacks and greys dominating and it is getting to the point that I would put off buying a bike, in the hope that a non-black or non-grey colour will come out that I like.


For me the colours that will never go out of style are those like British Racing Green, Dark Blue - Navy Blue, Deep Reds like that found on the Thorn Sherpa or the colour Trek call "Viper Red".


I also like a white bike with striping using the above colours too, yet one really struggles to find bikes with these colours now being sold.
ColonelSanders is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 07:09 PM
  #15  
downhillmaster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 1,120
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 661 Post(s)
Liked 397 Times in 208 Posts
You said competitive, paintball, and sport all in the same sentence lol.
downhillmaster is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 07:22 PM
  #16  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 28,823
Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12536 Post(s)
Liked 4,665 Times in 2,405 Posts
Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
You said competitive, paintball, and sport all in the same sentence lol.
FTW!

The quality of these sorts of threads leaves a lot to be desired these days.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 07:29 PM
  #17  
mtbikerinpa
Shimano Certified
 
mtbikerinpa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 1,845

Bikes: 92 Giant Sedona ATX Custom

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Look at the automotive industry. Lexus/MB/Audi etc. I never noticed until my parents lived in Singapore for a while. The Asian cultures are driven by the need to blend. If you do not blend in certain cultures you can have reprocussions. Therefore, the black car or white care are neutral and considered to be safe and empowered at the same time rather than being odd or counterculture. A great deal of our industry comes from that region so it doesn't surprise very much that it follows. However, the other trend I observed having started into the sport in the mid 90s boom of colors(GT, etc) is that when carbon fiber became popular it was also popular to leave it bare to show it off. Carbon black became a sign of development and bright became left behind. Even what wasn't carbon was painted to look like carbon in some cases(silly). In cities drab is the thing to have for obvious reason. If you are paying big bux for something, make it less of a catcher.

That said, I never stopped liking bright blues or yellows. My mtb's last paint was to look like a 2001 Gt team and it's next is going to be Mustang Grabber blue with accents. Colors are trending back slowly. The new Trek catalog(I work at a trek dealer) actually has some colors this year like 'VOLT' green and 'Radioactive' yellow.
mtbikerinpa is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 07:44 PM
  #18  
JAJ830
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: NE Georgia
Posts: 3

Bikes: Specialized Sequoia Expert, Giant Trance X0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I suspect that paintball bits and bobs are injection molded plastic where colors can be blended before molding. Different colors ould even be blended during molding. Bicycles, on the other hand, have to be finished (painted or otherwise) after the build.
JAJ830 is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 09:42 PM
  #19  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,097
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1761 Post(s)
Liked 1,022 Times in 614 Posts
Maybe bikers just don't care about having a whole mess of color options. Even back when bikes were often more colorful and varied (like the 90's), most models only had one option, or a couple at best.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 10-23-18, 10:14 PM
  #20  
kimguroo
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Multiple color production costs are much higher. That’s the biggest reason and sometimes unpopular colors do not sell well then Forced to have additional discounts. Also majority of people are attracted to bike prices more. Color is almost last thing to consider.
kimguroo is offline  
Old 10-24-18, 06:47 AM
  #21  
Kovkov
Senior Member
 
Kovkov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 376

Bikes: 1957 Alpa Special, 1963 Condor Delta, 1967 Tigra Sprint, 1977 Oltenia, 1987 Mondia, 1965 Staco de luxe, 1969 Amberg

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 113 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 36 Posts
That's why i ride vintage bicycles. They used to come in a lot of colors. Tigra offered some 25 different colors in 1978: https://k-i-n-g.ch/wp-content/uploads...ar-katalog.pdf
Kovkov is offline  
Old 10-24-18, 06:52 AM
  #22  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 28,823
Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12536 Post(s)
Liked 4,665 Times in 2,405 Posts
So go custom if it bothers you.

(Gratuitous photo of my one-of-a-kind, custom-blended ceramic glaze finish omitted.)
indyfabz is offline  
Old 10-24-18, 06:58 AM
  #23  
ridelikeaturtle
Senior Member
 
ridelikeaturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 1,048

Bikes: Bianchi Ti Megatube; Colnago Competition; Planet-X EC-130E; Klein Pulse; Amp Research B4; Litespeed Catalyst; Fondriest Squadra Corse; Trek Y11

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 482 Post(s)
Liked 282 Times in 165 Posts
Originally Posted by wingless View Post
...
Look on this as an opportunity. Combine paintball and bicycling onto a new sport. Imagine the opportunities and the fun awaiting that venture. It won't be limited to just the new color options.
...


That's exactly what it looks like the original owner did when they had my wife's 1987 Cannondale custom painted at the factory.
ridelikeaturtle is offline  
Likes For ridelikeaturtle:
Old 10-24-18, 07:07 AM
  #24  
shoota 
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,230
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1418 Post(s)
Liked 251 Times in 187 Posts
Originally Posted by Smokeage View Post

I'm figuratively in that exact same boat I really like the Trek FX-3 but the colors are horrendous! Luckily I stumbled across the Cannondale Quick 3 in that amazing Green but it's just been so frustrating trying not to feel like I'm settling. I thought about just getting it painted/coated but I don't want to spend $300+ to have it done professionally and it just wouldn't feel right pulling out some spray paint lol.
I'm assuming this is your first adult bike?

I don't think the color will matter too much because like most people that buy a hybrid it will get ridden for about a month and then hung up in the garage. I'd recommend getting a fun bike to ride (and it may come in a better color too )
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird
shoota is offline  
Old 10-24-18, 07:09 AM
  #25  
shoota 
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,230
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1418 Post(s)
Liked 251 Times in 187 Posts
Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
That's exactly what it looks like the original owner did when they had my wife's 1987 Cannondale custom painted at the factory.
OMG that is the best vintage 'dale I've ever seen. Incredible!
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird
shoota is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.