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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

Old 03-21-24, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
In theory, The Market should take care of that - if the price of innovation becomes too great, companies will either cut back on it or go out of business, or both, and companies not burdened by those excessive costs will undercut the market and flourish.
...we've already had several opinions about how this is a luxury market demographic. Luxury items do not necessarily follow market theory in this way. It is true that in spite of Di2, Shimano's profits are way down. But that's a reflection of bicycle sales and inventories at all levels of product. There's this for high end road bikes:
Under these market conditions, the Shimano Group received a favorable reception for high-end models for road bikes as a whole, including SHIMANO 105, and sport e-bike components, SHIMANO STEPS series and other products.

As a result, net sales from this segment decreased 17.7% from the same period of the previous year to 204,986 million yen, and operating income decreased 39.5% to 42,093 million yen.

Originally Posted by PeteHski
Probably more employees and infrastructure today. Shimano seem to open a new facility nearly every year.
Shimano : Summary of Financial Results FY2023-Q2

...if you follow the link to further financial data, you'll see that Shimano's indebtedness outpaced earnings in 2023, and is projected to do so again in 2024, 2025.
This is the data for the company as a whole. Given their circumstances, it would seem like an odd time to be opening new facilities. But maybe they are rolling the dice on the future of sales.
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Old 03-21-24, 10:22 PM
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Doesn't Shimano make more money off of fishing than cycling? How is their di2 fishing reel doing?
I bet high-end fishing equipment just went through a boom-bust cycle just like bikes did.
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Old 03-21-24, 10:31 PM
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High End Fishing tackle is up...

Although the global high demand for fishing tackle cooled down, interest in fishing continued, having gained recognition again as an outdoor leisure activity.

In the Japanese market, willingness to buy new products was strong among long-time fishing enthusiasts, and demand for high-priced products remained firm.

Overseas, while sales in the North American market softened as demand cooled down, in the European market, sales remained strong backed by stable demand.

In the Asian market, sales continued to be favorable supported by the spread of fishing culture and strong interest in fishing, and coupled with the resumption of economic activity, there arose growing momentum for fishing trips.

In the Australian market, the year started with favorable market conditions, however, sales became somewhat stagnant due to slowing demand.

Under these market conditions, order-taking was brisk for the new spinning reels VANQUISH and the highest-end model lure fishing rods WORLD SHAULA LIMITED, and other products.

As a result, net sales from this segment increased 7.0% from the same period of the previous year to 58,027 million yen, and operating income increased 4.5% to 11,843 million yen.
..
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Old 03-21-24, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
Doesn't Shimano make more money off of fishing than cycling? How is their di2 fishing reel doing?
I bet high-end fishing equipment just went through a boom-bust cycle just like bikes did.
Shimano makes about 80% from cycling, 20% from fishing.
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Old 03-22-24, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I take it you have never done any engineering work with carbon? I was mostly addressing people's examples of vintage carbon that wasn't much lighter than contemporary steel frames. Designers were being conservative because they weren't sure there were directions where they could live with lower strength. The benefit of steel is that it's isotropic and the downside is that there isn't much you can do about it. Making isotropic carbon is heavy, much heavier than necessary for bicycles. Look at cheap carbon forks on hybrids for some good examples of this. I'm sorry my post was too subtle or I was unclear. I was aware of what could be done with carbon back then. Everyone knew the trick was designing a structure that used carbon wisely. To be perfectly honest, I was at a loss at what was really safe to do on a carbon bike frame. I was sure I would have to over-build or suffer some failures or both. I'm sure I wasn't alone in this, it's a fundamental problem and you can look at examples of vintage carbon frames to see it in play. A lot of this knowledge is pretty common now, but it wasn't in the early '80s.

As far as analyzing a bike frame well enough to optimize it in any way, my deck of fortran cards was about 3" thick for a flat 6x6 sheet of carbon with various layups. Extrapolate that to a bike frame, and that would be a very large deck of fortran cards. I had to be careful how much I ran it or it would have affected my grade, computer time cost real $ back then.

The examples you give have large loads that can be optimized for carbon and have no need to be isotropic Maybe in the early '80s the military was having stuff designed like an F1 car, but not on any of the fighters I worked on. For example, the F16C/D was designed about that time and the only carbon I remember was in the horizontal tails (stabilators) that were essentially just flat plates glued to an aluminum honeycomb. There was probably more, but I never had to fix anything else that was carbon.
They were before my time, but I think those early F1 carbon tubs were relatively simple carbon layups over aluminium honeycomb. Very advanced for the time though.

People who don’t work with carbon don’t usually appreciate the complexity of carbon layups and bicycle frames are actually quite a challenge compared to more slab sided box shapes. The layup design and production quality is everything. The first company I worked for (Reynard Racing Cars) as a graduate engineer in the early 90s produced carbon chassis for F3, F3000 and IndyCar. One of my first projects was testing torsional rigidity of these chassis. Although the F3 and F3000 tubs looked visually identical, the F3000 layup had literally double the torsional rigidity for the same weight. Just from using a different layup design and more expensive unidirectional carbon.

My first carbon bike frame was a 1997 Cadex and that was made from stock round carbon tube bonded to aluminium lugs. Very simplistic, but not a very efficient way of using carbon.
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Old 03-22-24, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Your’re really teasing me with that tiny writing! If you’re around after me, maybe the Cinelli will go your way. Better to someone who appreciates it—for what it is.
Honored. To show it/you the proper respect will need to “double shorts” it to protect my sensitive posterior when pumped to 140psi!
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Old 03-22-24, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Great! Now where's the same thing for bicycles, so we're comparing data with data, not data with anecdotes. Also, link?
Sorry, not here to serve you and your requests. You provide no data for your side of the argument, but those with a different view need to produce everything..... yeah no..... I did see your few very undetailed anecdotes of non-equivalent bike purchases from your personal experience.... and you keep asking me for more data.........

I'll be moving on since it's useless to play this game where you think your opinion is some accepted fact any anyone who disagrees needs to build a case against....
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Old 03-22-24, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Sorry, not here to serve you and your requests. You provide no data for your side of the argument, but those with a different view need to produce everything..... yeah no..... I did see your few very undetailed anecdotes of non-equivalent bike purchases from your personal experience.... and you keep asking me for more data.........

I'll be moving on since it's useless to play this game where you think your opinion is some accepted fact any anyone who disagrees needs to build a case against....
What's my side of the argument, exactly? And what kind of data would I need to support what you think I'm arguing?
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Old 03-22-24, 01:15 PM
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Has anyone actually listened to the podcast? Factor bikes are quite an interesting company formed out of the Norfolk motorsport engineering scene in the UK. I’m not sure how they came about, but Lotus and Lola had composite design facilities in that location. There was a fair bit of composite expertise floating around. I know they now manufacture in Asia, but I think it is their own dedicated factory.
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Old 03-22-24, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Has anyone actually listened to the podcast?
I'm listening to it. Right out of the gate, Gitelis said--in direct answer to the question also posted as this thread topic--and I quote, "If we look at what a bike cost 25 years ago, to what it costs today, I think, you know, if we factor in inflation, bikes cost roughly the same as they cost 25 years ago. Um, just everything cost more. But if we look at the absolute numbers, a bicycle was $3,000 twenty years ago for a premium level bike, and if you extrapolate that across 20 years, a $10,000 bike isn't all that outrageous."

Now, I'm not even going to address the fact that he did something absolutely against the rules around here--he compared "halo" bikes. He might end up on certain members' ignore lists for that sin.

I will say, however, that even using his example, $3,000 20 years ago is only $4,928 today. Less than half of $10,000.
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Old 03-22-24, 01:44 PM
  #236  
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
If I was looking for another bike, I'd buy used; I do have an unlimited budget. Here: profound truth. Watch the whole thing, particularly at 3:30:

Why Are The Best Bikes SO Cheap Now? (youtube.com)
Your shtick of constantly claiming 2# extra due to disc brakes is insufferable enough. There is no need to reference the banana guy into your posts.
Stop it.
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Old 03-22-24, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
I'm listening to it. Right out of the gate, Gitelis said--in direct answer to the question also posted as this thread topic--and I quote, "If we look at what a bike cost 25 years ago, to what it costs today, I think, you know, if we factor in inflation, bikes cost roughly the same as they cost 25 years ago. Um, just everything cost more. But if we look at the absolute numbers, a bicycle was $3,000 twenty years ago for a premium level bike, and if you extrapolate that across 20 years, a $10,000 bike isn't all that outrageous."

Now, I'm not even going to address the fact that he did something absolutely against the rules around here--he compared "halo" bikes. He might end up on certain members' ignore lists for that sin.

I will say, however, that even using his example, $3,000 20 years ago is only $4,928 today. Less than half of $10,000.
Not only is his math on inflation wrong, but $3000 was not a premium/halo bike in 2004. As I posted early in this thread, I bought a Time VX frame in 2003 for $2500. It was in the same ballpark as the Colnago C40 ($3000, if my fuzzy memory serves me). At that time, top bikes were north of $5k. Don't get me wrong. You could get a damn fine race bike for $3k.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Your shtick of constantly claiming 2# extra due to disc brakes is insufferable enough.
It may be schtick, but I've seen the 2-pound weight penalty pop up on at least one other website.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Perhaps you are talking about who frequents these forums. However, go to any competitive event or place where younger cyclists participate, and you see a majority of top-tier bikes. What is your definition of old?
One, yes, when I go to NICA events, I am blown away at the great bikes -purchased by wealthy parents.

But go to any modern gravel event or even any of the gran Fondo's or Crit races, and there are no young people - outside of just the hardcore racers. At a recent large gravel event, less than 5% of the entries were people under 30.

And to the other point above, manufacturing costs in China are low and even lower in places like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where carbon bikes are made. I would bet that if the material's cost $200, the labor adds only about $10-30 in China and $1-10 in those other places.

Again, the benefit of carbon is that you can train women to make it and in Asia, women are paid substantially less than men. This is coming from someone who does manufacturing in China (Shanghai) and are also moving into Vietnam. Not saying this is good or bad, it just is. The crazy thing is that - at least in China- our female workers are substantially better than our male workers.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
I'm listening to it. Right out of the gate, Gitelis said--in direct answer to the question also posted as this thread topic--and I quote, "If we look at what a bike cost 25 years ago, to what it costs today, I think, you know, if we factor in inflation, bikes cost roughly the same as they cost 25 years ago. Um, just everything cost more. But if we look at the absolute numbers, a bicycle was $3,000 twenty years ago for a premium level bike, and if you extrapolate that across 20 years, a $10,000 bike isn't all that outrageous."

Now, I'm not even going to address the fact that he did something absolutely against the rules around here--he compared "halo" bikes. He might end up on certain members' ignore lists for that sin.

I will say, however, that even using his example, $3,000 20 years ago is only $4,928 today. Less than half of $10,000.
$3000 wasn't a Halo bike in 2004. Even 10 years earlier, a Litespeed Ultimate with Record was $4600
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Old 03-22-24, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
It may be schtick, but I've seen the 2-pound weight penalty pop up on at least one other website.
If that were true, then Specialized could make a rim brake version of the S-Works Aethos that weights under 12 lbs.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
It may be schtick, but I've seen the 2-pound weight penalty pop up on at least one other website.
Well since you have seen it on at least one other website, it must be true!
So if I cite some websites, does that then make my claim true? Hmm...well thats a tough one to sort out- how can both be true?

https://www.canyon.com/en-us/blog-co...b24082022.html
You can save up to 500 grams on the total weight of your bike just by choosing rim brakes over disc brakes.

https://www.probikekit.co.uk/blog/gu...s-disc-brakes/
Rim brakes are also considerably lighter than disc brakes. Without a heavy disc rotor or fluid-filled cables, most bikes that come equipped with rim brakes will weigh around 500 grams less than the equivalent disc brake bike.


https://weightweenies.starbike.com/f...m%20brakes.%22
That puts the difference between these two builds at 480 grams, or roughly 1.1 pounds. That's the most realistic estimate we've been able to come up with and it's the one we use when talking with customers, "good rule of thumb, disc brakes will be about a pound heavier than rim brakes."


So 'up to 500g', '480g', and 'around 500g' are listed above. That means 1-1.1 pounds difference.
Actual builds with specific weights that show the actual rim vs disc difference have been provided to the guy in prior threads, but he ignores and continues to repeat the same stuff over and over.
My prior post really was just meant to criticize the poster for referencing a Durian video, to be clear.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
$3000 wasn't a Halo bike in 2004. Even 10 years earlier, a Litespeed Ultimate with Record was $4600
Take it up with the guy who said it.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
$3000 wasn't a Halo bike in 2004. Even 10 years earlier, a Litespeed Ultimate with Record was $4600
But something like an S-Works with Durace was $4300 in 2001. Would be about $7500 today. Inflation does not get you to $15,000.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Take it up with the guy who said it.
It seems to me that genejockey is just confirming your point about the guy's numbers being mixed up.

He might be right about the inflation of 2004 halo ($5k+) to 2024 halo ($10k+), but the $3k number he uses in his example makes a mess of the point he's trying to make for people who are checking his math.
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Old 03-22-24, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
But something like an S-Works with Durace was $4300 in 2001. Would be about $7500 today. Inflation does not get you to $15,000.
More factors go into the cost increases of products besides just inflation, including simple capitalism. If people will buy that bike for $15k (and they do), then Spec will sell it for $15k.
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Old 03-22-24, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I take it you have never done any engineering work with carbon? I was mostly addressing people's examples of vintage carbon that wasn't much lighter than contemporary steel frames. Designers were being conservative because they weren't sure there were directions where they could live with lower strength. The benefit of steel is that it's isotropic and the downside is that there isn't much you can do about it. Making isotropic carbon is heavy, much heavier than necessary for bicycles. Look at cheap carbon forks on hybrids for some good examples of this. I'm sorry my post was too subtle or I was unclear. I was aware of what could be done with carbon back then. Everyone knew the trick was designing a structure that used carbon wisely. To be perfectly honest, I was at a loss at what was really safe to do on a carbon bike frame. I was sure I would have to over-build or suffer some failures or both. I'm sure I wasn't alone in this, it's a fundamental problem and you can look at examples of vintage carbon frames to see it in play. A lot of this knowledge is pretty common now, but it wasn't in the early '80s.

As far as analyzing a bike frame well enough to optimize it in any way, my deck of fortran cards was about 3" thick for a flat 6x6 sheet of carbon with various layups. Extrapolate that to a bike frame, and that would be a very large deck of fortran cards. I had to be careful how much I ran it or it would have affected my grade, computer time cost real $ back then.

The examples you give have large loads that can be optimized for carbon and have no need to be isotropic Maybe in the early '80s the military was having stuff designed like an F1 car, but not on any of the fighters I worked on. For example, the F16C/D was designed about that time and the only carbon I remember was in the horizontal tails (stabilators) that were essentially just flat plates glued to an aluminum honeycomb. There was probably more, but I never had to fix anything else that was carbon.
Due to metals being isotropic (learned a new word today, thanks) it's apparently not trivial to make a carbon frame that''s both stiffer and lighter than an aluminum frame. Possible yes, but requires some thought for the layup since every carbon layer only gives you stiffness in one direction. But I suppose that's also the advantage of carbon.

I think the wings of the F/A-18 (a,b,c and d) were largely made of carbon fiber.
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Old 03-22-24, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
More factors go into the cost increases of products besides just inflation, including simple capitalism. If people will buy that bike for $15k (and they do), then Spec will sell it for $15k.
I think when you get into Halo products, higher price is less of a problem for the buyer than it is a source of pride.
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Old 03-22-24, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
But something like an S-Works with Durace was $4300 in 2001. Would be about $7500 today. Inflation does not get you to $15,000.
That would be if we were talking about a true comparison however as I stated before not only do you need to factor in inflation but also the increased costs associated with the additional features engineered into the new product.

Originally Posted by Eric F
More factors go into the cost increases of products besides just inflation, including simple capitalism. If people will buy that bike for $15k (and they do), then Spec will sell it for $15k.
If you like to use simple capitalism where is the “Invisible Hand” the brings the market to equilibrium? There is no indication that these top tier bikes are bringing in substantial profit for anyone involved.
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Old 03-22-24, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I think when you get into Halo products, higher price is less of a problem for the buyer than it is a source of pride.
Valid.
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