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Another Moto vs Bicycle cost camparison

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Another Moto vs Bicycle cost camparison

Old 12-12-23, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12
It is a compelling argument , and one that seems to have no end in sight. I have wondered why some folks have paid that kind of money for a bicycle , but then I look at my vintage road bikes and the same goes, why would I need so many bikes? The answer is because I like them and enjoy the history of each one . The same for the subject in this thread, no justification needed for the guy who wants an expensive MTB …..or an equally priced motocross bike. Their money , their bike.
PErsonally, i have had motocross bikes (the one in my garage as of right now is a non current Honda 450x off road bike heavily massaged for GP style tracks though ) and i have had my share of bicycles that i have invested ridiculous amounts of money in as well

I normally dont question what they cost too much , but as mentioned, was having this discussion with a friend who was cycling heavily for years and bought his son a nice mid level mtb , and now that he has transitioned to motocross was poo-poohing the fact that he spent so much money on a mountain bike for him and the kid when he should have been buying spare parts for the moto instead

My argument to him was that he is going to need a bicycle anyway for training purposes, so at least its a nice one, but until our discussion i hadnt thought too much about why some bikes are so expensive now

What i have been shocked about is the high price of individial components though. Was hanging around at my local cycling social club (bike shop) and the lead mechanic was exclaiming that the cockpit of the gravel bike he was assembling for a customer costs in excess of 1k , with $300 each for stem and post, another few bucks for a stem (Everything was Enve brand ) and i wasnt sure if i was hearing right, but i thought for sure the mentioned price for the seat was around $400 (A specialized product) -- cap it off with fancy $50 bar tape,

I got a little sticker shock, even though i love nice gear.
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Old 12-12-23, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707
Motocross race -- 180 heart rate for 30 minutes plus two laps x 2 while dealing with wrestling a 235 lb 55 hp machine that is trying to buck you off at any given time while surrounded by 20 people going through similar scenarios but also trying to pass you
Wow, you have a hell of a commute!
(I thought NYC was bad)
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Old 12-12-23, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p
as a group - pro motocross riders are among the most fit of all (tested) professional athletes

I actually initially got into bicycling to get in better shape for off road motorcycling

Myself as well. I had big aspirations when i was a teenager and into my early 20's but life , money, support (or lack of), injuries and a sober evaluation of my talent vs. the other locals who actually were making the night program at the big races while i couldnt get out of daytime qualifying caused me to double down on college.
My first mountain bike (A Bridgestone MB-6 ) was bought to stay in shape for MX, but after i hung up the boots, i got my first road bike so i could do some triathlons but realized i liked the bike aspect a lot more than all that swimming and running business . Sheesh , that was over 30 years ago


As i mentioned earlier, i still have an off road rig, but its a non current luxury cruiser compared to a full tilt race machine. A lot of the modifications have been made with the intent of smoothing out and broadening the powerband , rather than making it faster, and an auto clutch is a real energy saver. The suspension however, has been heavily worked over

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Old 12-12-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Wow, you have a hell of a commute!
(I thought NYC was bad)

- i was just describing training splits to prepare for my annual pilgrimage to watch the tree lighting ceremony
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Old 12-15-23, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Sorry to burst your bubble but your S-works frame was made in an Asian factory for under $300 actual cost to Specialized. Their high end models are made in Taiwan by Merida, with a Specialized logo slapped on. Their low end models are made in China.

The $9000 bike in fact cost the dealer only $5000 to buy from the brand. $4000 of your money evaporated straight into the bike shop markup. That's the end of your five-figure carbon marvel fantasy right there.

Out of the $5000 Specialized gets, the majority goes to areas that have zero to do with the bike itself. A chunk goes into shareholder pockets as profit. Another chunk goes into marketing, including pro tour sponsorships. Another chunk goes into business overhead, managers, lawyers, accountants, customer service, distribution. By the time you get down to engineering and manufacturing, you're already scraping the bottom.

And bike brands don't even make the drivetrain themselves. They buy from Shimano and SRAM and only do a bolt on job.

The entire industry is merely a chain of middlemen that takes the equivalent of a $600 retail AliExpress Chinese carbon frame and inflates it to 10x the price. Sure the S-works frame will be better. But how much better? It's not 10x better and it didn't cost 10x more to produce. You're paying 10x the price for emotional benefits. Since these are all actually made by Merida, you might as well save some money, buy a Merida and be done with it.

No doubt the Specialized designers need to get paid. But exactly what can a Californian designer do that a Taiwanese designer can't, that makes the Californian designer deserve multiple times the salary? Nothing. The Taiwanese designer is just as good as the Californian designer, if not better. Most of the world's bikes are made in Taiwan.
You make good points about our current corporate business model - multi-layered profiteering - where greed reigns supreme.

You must also recognize that if it weren’t for our unending corporate greed, China, Taiwan and many other nations in Asia would look nothing like they do today. And we the people, pay for a good part of it, directly and indirectly. It’s not all bad, at least it have some beneficial consequences to a few billions of people.
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Old 12-15-23, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Compare [Honda Super Cub 125cc] to any name brand ebike. Hard to justify the ebike other than from an environmental perspective.
Dang. When you put it like that ... It's even hard to justify on the environmental, when the baseline is a Ford F-150 ...

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Old 12-15-23, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
What is incredibly high tech about stock motocross dampers and suspension? Also how expensive are the forks/shocks on a stock $9k MX bike vs Factory Works pro level? Genuine questions.
A little late to the party but kudos to you, sir, for using cheese to chalk for comparison. Apples and oranges have been shown to be the same.

That said, everyone seems to be dancing around the wrong comparison. A $9000 mountain bike is what competitors at the highest level use for races. A $9000 motorcycle is closer to a HellMart bike than it is to a top level competitive motorcycle. A better comparison would be of the $9000 Honda motorcycle to a Specialized Hardrock ($650 or about a 13:1 ratio). I don’t know for sure but I would estimate that an elite level motocross bike would probably be in the same ratio or about $115,000. That is likely the cost that the company has to shell out for the motorcycle. If you could by one…which is highly unlikely…the cost would probably be north of $200,000.

The $9000 mountain bike (or any other high level road bike) is a relative bargain. Motor sports enthusiasts can’t really go out and buy the same equipment as elite athletes can. We cyclists have almost always been able to buy the same bicycle as the highest level competition athletes can ride.
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Old 12-16-23, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
A little late to the party but kudos to you, sir, for using cheese to chalk for comparison. Apples and oranges have been shown to be the same.

That said, everyone seems to be dancing around the wrong comparison. A $9000 mountain bike is what competitors at the highest level use for races. A $9000 motorcycle is closer to a HellMart bike than it is to a top level competitive motorcycle. A better comparison would be of the $9000 Honda motorcycle to a Specialized Hardrock ($650 or about a 13:1 ratio). I don’t know for sure but I would estimate that an elite level motocross bike would probably be in the same ratio or about $115,000. That is likely the cost that the company has to shell out for the motorcycle. If you could by one…which is highly unlikely…the cost would probably be north of $200,000.
The "works" bikes ended around 1985. The AMA has production bike rules so the frame, swingarm, engine cases, and other major parts and geometry must be production based.
Aftermarket parts are allowed which a privateer could also buy. Where bigger expense comes in is when small parts are hand made for a particular rider and team engineers spend time developing and making stuff.

If you took a top rider and put him on a dialed--in bike purchased from a dealer he would do quite well. Same as a team bike? Maybe not but in some cases the bike doesn't make that much difference.
The suspension is a bigger issue than the engine, especially in the 450 class.
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Old 12-16-23, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
The "works" bikes ended around 1985. The AMA has production bike rules so the frame, swingarm, engine cases, and other major parts and geometry must be production based.
Aftermarket parts are allowed which a privateer could also buy. Where bigger expense comes in is when small parts are hand made for a particular rider and team engineers spend time developing and making stuff.

If you took a top rider and put him on a dialed--in bike purchased from a dealer he would do quite well. Same as a team bike? Maybe not but in some cases the bike doesn't make that much difference.
The suspension is a bigger issue than the engine, especially in the 450 class.
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But, isn't this whole discussion then fairly idiotic to begin with? If that AMA organization has production rules, the motorcycles that are being compared to top end mountain bikes aren't anywhere near as good as they could be. At the same time the cycling industry doesn't (yet) even need production rules because $9000 for a top end racing machine is peanuts.

If we forget motorcycle production rules, like in motogp, the prices go up a bit (to millions) and that $9000 best of the best mountain bike suddenly isn't comparable any more.

Also one thing that always interests me with motorcycles is how many frame sizes are available for a given model. I've understood it's usually not many.
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Old 12-16-23, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
The "works" bikes ended around 1985. The AMA has production bike rules so the frame, swingarm, engine cases, and other major parts and geometry must be production based.
Aftermarket parts are allowed which a privateer could also buy. Where bigger expense comes in is when small parts are hand made for a particular rider and team engineers spend time developing and making stuff.
It’s the “hand made small parts” that are the important bits of the race bikes and what adds to the expense as well as unavailability of those parts to the consumer. One of the guys even says that they keep the tweeks to the engine secret. The motorcycles in the video aren’t $9000 production bikes nor are they going to perform like a $9000 production bike.

As PeteHski pointed out there’s not much that can be added nor much that needs to be upgraded to the $9000 mountain bike. Anyone could take the $9000 Honda and make it into a team bike…the teams do it all the time…but that’s not longer a $9000 motorcycle.

If you took a top rider and put him on a dialed--in bike purchased from a dealer he would do quite well. Same as a team bike? Maybe not but in some cases the bike doesn't make that much difference.
The suspension is a bigger issue than the engine, especially in the 450 class.
If you took a top ride and put them on a production bike and had him race against a team bike, it would make a huge difference.

It’s still not valid to compare a high end team bicycle to a low end production motorcycle. One really is cheese and the other is chalk.
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Old 12-16-23, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It’s the “hand made small parts” that are the important bits of the race bikes and what adds to the expense as well as unavailability of those parts to the consumer. One of the guys even says that they keep the tweeks to the engine secret. The motorcycles in the video aren’t $9000 production bikes nor are they going to perform like a $9000 production bike.

As PeteHski pointed out there’s not much that can be added nor much that needs to be upgraded to the $9000 mountain bike. Anyone could take the $9000 Honda and make it into a team bike…the teams do it all the time…but that’s not longer a $9000 motorcycle.



If you took a top ride and put them on a production bike and had him race against a team bike, it would make a huge difference.

It’s still not valid to compare a high end team bicycle to a low end production motorcycle. One really is cheese and the other is chalk.
I was trying to point out that the difference isn't as great as you have said. You can see this at the races. You have higher paid team riders competing against private teams. As in bicycle racing, the rider is the biggest difference. Sure, a factory team will spend a lot more on the bike and the rider, but the production bikes are quite good and much closer to the top tier than they were back in the days of "works" bikes.

A mud race or other difficult conditions can even things out.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
But, isn't this whole discussion then fairly idiotic to begin with? If that AMA organization has production rules, the motorcycles that are being compared to top end mountain bikes aren't anywhere near as good as they could be. At the same time the cycling industry doesn't (yet) even need production rules because $9000 for a top end racing machine is peanuts.

If we forget motorcycle production rules, like in motogp, the prices go up a bit (to millions) and that $9000 best of the best mountain bike suddenly isn't comparable any more.

Also one thing that always interests me with motorcycles is how many frame sizes are available for a given model. I've understood it's usually not many.
There are no frame size options. The bikes are adjusted/modified as best as possible for rider weight and preferences.

You're right, comparing a mtb to a mx bike is ridiculous.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
I was trying to point out that the difference isn't as great as you have said. You can see this at the races. You have higher paid team riders competing against private teams. As in bicycle racing, the rider is the biggest difference. Sure, a factory team will spend a lot more on the bike and the rider, but the production bikes are quite good and much closer to the top tier than they were back in the days of "works" bikes.

A mud race or other difficult conditions can even things out.
You are still missing the point. I would bet dollars to donuts that no one is out there winning elite level races on a $9000 showroom fresh MX motorcycle. People are out there winning elite level mountain bike races on $9000 showroom fresh mountain bikes. They probably aren’t winning those same races on $600 Specialized Hard Rocks, however.

“A frame, swingarm, engine cases, and other major parts” leaves a lot of room for add-on parts and add-on costs. I assume that by “engine case” that means the external parts. The internals…the important bits for making the motorcycle go fast…aren’t production. Same for suspension, gears, transmission, etc. All of added parts have to be added to the cost of the motorcycle for comparison and, as with bicycles, the frame is a pretty small part of the cost of the bicycle.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by big john


If you took a top rider and put him on a dialed--in bike purchased from a dealer he would do quite well. Same as a team bike? Maybe not but in some cases the bike doesn't make that much difference.
The suspension is a bigger issue than the engine, especially in the 450 class.
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I think you have to separate the marginal gains from the cost of developing and producing high-end, low production volume parts which enable those marginal gains.

Whether or not the cost of marginal gains is worth it to any individual rider is a personal and budgetary choice. But the costs involved are usually very real - rather than mere profiteering as some suggest. The vast bulk of profit comes from the higher volume production gear anyway.

Having worked my whole career in professional motorsport I know how expensive it is to design, develop and produce any high end parts in low volume. A $9000 mtb is peanuts really and is unlikely to make the manufacturer filthy rich. A $9000 MX bike might represent great value for money, but it is produced to a pretty strict budget in the same way as say a $2000 MTB would be ie it will be full of parts that could potentially be upgraded at very significant additional cost.

Like most people, I compromise a little and ride a $4500 MTB. The performance is close enough to a $9000 MTB as to make very little real world difference. In my case some of that saving comes from a direct sales model (Canyon) and the rest from using second tier components produced in higher volume and cheaper production methods.

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Old 12-16-23, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
There are no frame size options. The bikes are adjusted/modified as best as possible for rider weight and preferences.
Mostly because the motorcycle doesn’t need to be a different frame size. The rider isn’t the engine and just sits on the motorcycle. Bicycles have frame sizes to optimize the crank stroke for the rider.

You're right, comparing a mtb to a mx bike is ridiculous.
Yes it is. The mountain bike is the bargain.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
A little late to the party but kudos to you, sir, for using cheese to chalk for comparison. Apples and oranges have been shown to be the same.

That said, everyone seems to be dancing around the wrong comparison. A $9000 mountain bike is what competitors at the highest level use for races. A $9000 motorcycle is closer to a HellMart bike than it is to a top level competitive motorcycle. A better comparison would be of the $9000 Honda motorcycle to a Specialized Hardrock ($650 or about a 13:1 ratio). I don’t know for sure but I would estimate that an elite level motocross bike would probably be in the same ratio or about $115,000. That is likely the cost that the company has to shell out for the motorcycle. If you could by one…which is highly unlikely…the cost would probably be north of $200,000.

The $9000 mountain bike (or any other high level road bike) is a relative bargain. Motor sports enthusiasts can’t really go out and buy the same equipment as elite athletes can. We cyclists have almost always been able to buy the same bicycle as the highest level competition athletes can ride.
I understand the comparison somewhat, although yours is a bit overblown. The $9-10k dollar showroom MX bike would be more comparable to a higher-end MTB frame with only mid-level suspension and componentry like Sram NX/GX or Shimano SLX/XT. For 1/2 the price, an air-cooled trail bike with very low tech suspension is more comparable to a entry-level, name brand hard tail. The craptastic Walmart bike would probably be comparable to the ubiquitous chicom pit bike.

You can go race a MX National on a mostly stock moto, I've had friends that used to do it. They weren't winning, but that's just because the very elite are insanely good. Very minimal work went into the motors, as only a handful of pros even need more power than a stock 450 provides. Suspension was production suspension just sprung/valved for them.

One caveat to my argument will be in regard to the 250f motors. By the very nature of having a smaller motor/less power, it's an expensive proposition to build a competitive 250f, as they are trying to extract all the potential of that engine.

You get out of MX and into offroad racing and the disparity is even smaller. On a previous dirtbike I owned, I pretty much built a replica of what the factory team was racing, while keeping a very modest budget.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I think you have to separate the marginal gains from the cost of developing and producing high-end, low production volume parts which enable those marginal gains.

Whether or not the cost of marginal gains is worth it to any individual rider is a personal and budgetary choice. But the costs involved are usually very real - rather than mere profiteering as some suggest. The vast bulk of profit comes from the higher volume production gear anyway.

Having worked my whole career in professional motorsport I know how expensive it is to design, develop and produce any high end parts in low volume. A $9000 mtb is peanuts really and is unlikely to make the manufacturer filthy rich. A $9000 MX bike might represent great value for money, but it is produced to a pretty strict budget in the same way as say a $2000 MTB would be ie it will be full of parts that could potentially be upgraded at very significant additional cost.
I wouldn’t say that a $9000 motorcycle really is an equal comparison to a $2000 mountain bike. It would depend on the bicycle and how the comparison is made. A $2000 hardtail is a hell of a hard tail. A $2000 dually is kind of a meh dually. A $600 entry level mountain bike would be a better comparison.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I wouldn’t say that a $9000 motorcycle really is an equal comparison to a $2000 mountain bike. It would depend on the bicycle and how the comparison is made. A $2000 hardtail is a hell of a hard tail. A $2000 dually is kind of a meh dually. A $600 entry level mountain bike would be a better comparison.
The numbers are a bit arbitrary, but I meant like-for-like full suspension MTBs at different tier level builds. The $2k version might have an alloy frame and 3rd or 4th tier wheels and components. But functionally the same ie same geometry, suspension travel etc.
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Old 12-16-23, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider

You get out of MX and into offroad racing and the disparity is even smaller. On a previous dirtbike I owned, I pretty much built a replica of what the factory team was racing, while keeping a very modest budget.
I presume you didn’t have any of the factory overheads to worry about. How did you achieve a factory replica at a modest cost?
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Old 12-16-23, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
You are still missing the point. I would bet dollars to donuts that no one is out there winning elite level races on a $9000 showroom fresh MX motorcycle. People are out there winning elite level mountain bike races on $9000 showroom fresh mountain bikes. They probably aren’t winning those same races on $600 Specialized Hard Rocks, however.

“A frame, swingarm, engine cases, and other major parts” leaves a lot of room for add-on parts and add-on costs. I assume that by “engine case” that means the external parts. The internals…the important bits for making the motorcycle go fast…aren’t production. Same for suspension, gears, transmission, etc. All of added parts have to be added to the cost of the motorcycle for comparison and, as with bicycles, the frame is a pretty small part of the cost of the bicycle.
As I'm sure you know, in bicycle road racing the machine itself is a very small part of the equation. You could take a top rider and switch bike brands and the results would be similar.
A cross-country mtb is a bit more important as a machine than a road bike but it's still just a bicycle and the fittest rider will usually win, although xc courses are getting more technical. Would Nino Schurter still be a 10 time world champion if he had to ride a lower tier bike? Probably.

Supercross is not MotoGP. Supercross riders are extremely fit, elite level athletes. The handling skill and endurance of the rider is more important than raw horsepower. Sure, the bike makes a difference but the top teams have a lot more than just the bike.

Privateer rider from France led the points in MXGP in 2009 on a year old bike. Of course, one of the factory teams signed him up right away.

Rick Ryan was the first-ever privateer to win a supercross main event and he overcame a challenging race track and a painful knee injury to do it.

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Old 12-16-23, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I think you have to separate the marginal gains from the cost of developing and producing high-end, low production volume parts which enable those marginal gains.

Whether or not the cost of marginal gains is worth it to any individual rider is a personal and budgetary choice. But the costs involved are usually very real - rather than mere profiteering as some suggest. The vast bulk of profit comes from the higher volume production gear anyway.

Having worked my whole career in professional motorsport I know how expensive it is to design, develop and produce any high end parts in low volume. A $9000 mtb is peanuts really and is unlikely to make the manufacturer filthy rich. A $9000 MX bike might represent great value for money, but it is produced to a pretty strict budget in the same way as say a $2000 MTB would be ie it will be full of parts that could potentially be upgraded at very significant additional cost.

Like most people, I compromise a little and ride a $4500 MTB. The performance is close enough to a $9000 MTB as to make very little real world difference. In my case some of that saving comes from a direct sales model (Canyon) and the rest from using second tier components produced in higher volume and cheaper production methods.
I've been a MX and SX fan since 1971, or so. I also owned 4 MX style bikes and rode for 10 years once or twice a week. I understand there is a huge investment in development of things.
When you buy a new motorcycle you have to make changes and adjustments depending on what you want it to do. This has always been the case and some machines require a lot more work than others. I bought a new Yamaha YZ490 in 1984 and did work to the suspension to make it work and to the engine to make it smoother. This thing had mediocre power compared to other open class two-stokes but was still plenty for me. My previous bike, a 490 Maico, had a lot more power but that was more than I could use, except in a straight line.
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Old 12-16-23, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I presume you didn’t have any of the factory overheads to worry about. How did you achieve a factory replica at a modest cost?
Outside of Factory KTM and Husqvarna, the offroad(not MX or SX) race bikes are pretty run-of-the-mill. In my case it was a Beta 300, I started off with the raced edition version of that bike, so I was already 1/2 way there with suspension. The same forks that they were racing in Endurocross and other offroad racing at that time, I even had the suspension tuned by the company that was doing their suspension at the time. I got the special Fox shock from a team that was running that brand of bike, but the shock used to be available to the average consumer.

Other odds and ends...simplified the messy Italian wiring harness. I've got a lathe and milling machine in my shop so I do my own machine work. I also do my own port work. The rest is all bolt-on stuff. I didn't set out to necessarily build a replica, but my preferences and what the race team was choosing, happened to be much of the same stuff. In the case of the factory Endurocross bikes, the biggest major difference was probably the gear box...they were running 3 speed gearboxes at the time. They weren't even special gears, just stock gearboxes with 1st, 5th, and 6th gears removed for weight savings IIRC.

I'm not going to say it was a cheap bike, but it was far from being unobtainable. If we're talking about factory AMA MX/SX bikes, then those are a bit different story. Things like brake calipers, engine mounts, triple clamps, electronics, engine internals, are truly factory stuff and not stuff that us average schmoes can acquire. Suspension is usually A-kit type suspension that you could buy for several thousand $(although some is factory.)

I'd still say that a stock showroom MX bike for $9k, compares much closer to the factory ride than it does to the entry level air-cooled trail bike. So I think the point that a previous poster made, comparing the $9k MX bike to a Walmart bicycle, is a false comparison.
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