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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

Old 04-05-24, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
But you didnít know that then. Back then, they were perfection.
"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." - Bob Seger, "Against The Wind"
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Old 04-05-24, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
But you didnít know that then. Back then, they were perfection.
tbf, though, folks thought Cambio Corsa was the bee's knees when IT came out.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...the improvements in tooth profile and shifting ramps, workable indexed shifting (that worked quite well), basically the stuff that makes Di 2 possible, was all well in place by 1980. I still have a couple of bikes that use Dura Ace indexed shifting from those years, and they shift flawlessly. 12 cogs on the back ? OK, I'm not even gonna go there.

I'm happy you are happy with your Di 2, genuinely happy. But the technology that makes it possible is all pretty old tech. Some of it is borrowed, like wireless signaling and small servo motors. The stuff that makes it possible on your hi tech bicycle as far as shifting between the gears using a chain as the drive ? That stuff has been around a while. I guess it benefitted from advances in battery tech and miniaturization...but that's not stuff the bicycle industry researched and developed. It's borrowed.
Go back far enough, and define things broadly enough, and there's no innovation at all in the bicycle industry, ever.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Go back far enough, and define things broadly enough, and there's no innovation at all in the bicycle industry, ever.
...I'm simply pointing out, that what's being described as a magical leap in technology, over "the past 20 years", might be less about a leap, and more about personal impressions. I do agree that there are many more proprietary parts now. I don't see that as a tech leap forward, but it does constitute a leap. I'm just less certain of the direction.

If you study the history of technology, there are similar examples that pop up all over the place. It's not always a great march forward. Sometimes we wander off down strange blind alleys. It's more or less self correcting, but there's a price paid for it, nonetheless.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
tbf, though, folks thought Cambio Corsa was the bee's knees when IT came out.
Which is sort of my point. People think bikes today are GREAT! THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN INGENUITY! SOOO much better than they were merely 20 years ago!!

And so they were back then, to those people at the time.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...I'm simply pointing out, that what's being described as a magical leap in technology, over "the past 20 years", might be less about a leap, and more about personal impressions. I do agree that there are many more proprietary parts now. I don't see that as a tech leap forward, but it does constitute a leap. I'm just less certain of the direction.

If you study the history of technology, there are similar examples that pop up all over the place. It's not always a great march forward. Sometimes we wander off down strange blind alleys. It's more or less self correcting, but there's a price paid for it, nonetheless.
You can view it however you like, but there are a lot more qualified engineers employed in the bike industry today. The products are far more specialised and varied across a much broader range of bikes and components. A purist could argue that none of it was needed, but it exists and people buy and enjoy the more sophisticated bikes available today. I prefer riding my modern bikes to the bikes I rode in the 80s and 90s. Mountain bikes in particular are much improved, even from the mid 2000s. Proprietary parts donít bother me as long as they are functional and reliable.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Which is sort of my point. People think bikes today are GREAT! THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN INGENUITY! SOOO much better than they were merely 20 years ago!!

And so they were back then, to those people at the time.
Well, yeah. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this is the absolute best bicycle will ever get. Just that this is the absolute best bicycles have ever GOTTEN.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Well, yeah. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this is the absolute best bicycle will ever get. Just that this is the absolute best bicycles have ever GOTTEN.
Which is exactly what Tullio thought when he invented the quick release and the Cambio Corsa. Technological innovations that were so advanced that they propelled bike prices at the time into the stratosphere.

Or not.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You can view it however you like, but there are a lot more qualified engineers employed in the bike industry today. The products are far more specialised and varied across a much broader range of bikes and components. A purist could argue that none of it was needed, but it exists and people buy and enjoy the more sophisticated bikes available today. I prefer riding my modern bikes to the bikes I rode in the 80s and 90s. Mountain bikes in particular are much improved, even from the mid 2000s. Proprietary parts donít bother me as long as they are functional and reliable.
...said every owner of a Cannondale Lefty fork ever.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Which is exactly what Tullio thought when he invented the quick release and the Cambio Corsa. Technological innovations that were so advanced that they propelled bike prices at the time into the stratosphere.

Or not.
If the internet existed then, someone would have complained about how much these fancy new bikes cost. Without question.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Which is sort of my point. People think bikes today are GREAT! THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN INGENUITY! SOOO much better than they were merely 20 years ago!!

And so they were back then, to those people at the time.
You keep saying that, but as a young mechanical engineering student back in the late 80s I was already pretty frustrated with the lack of bicycle development at that time. Then in the late 90s and early 2000s I was unimpressed with the mountain bikes on offer. Many of the early carbon full suspension bikes were particularly badly designed. By that point I had enough engineering experience to see what needed to happen and it took about another decade to actually get there. Bike design went from cottage industry to the professional engineering we see today. Shimano started that trend much earlier on the component side, but it took a long time for the bike manufacturers to catch up.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You keep saying that, but as a young mechanical engineering student back in the late 80s I was already pretty frustrated with the lack of bicycle development at that time.
What does that mean, exactly? What frustrated you? You knew bikes could be better, but your crystal ball was on the fritz?
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Old 04-05-24, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...said every owner of a Cannondale Lefty fork ever.
Proprietary parts are not so much a problem for those who can afford to buy a brand new high end bike. They're a problem for people who can only afford to buy a second hand high end bike.

Funnily enough, over on C&V a bunch of us are celebrating someone who's making reproductions of proprietary components - in this case, brake lever hoods from decades ago.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Proprietary parts are not so much a problem for those who can afford to buy a brand new high end bike.
They're pretty much a problem for anyone if those parts brake but replacements aren't made any more. Having to reverse engineer and custom-make proprietary replacement parts is costly.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
They're pretty much a problem for anyone if those parts brake but replacements aren't made any more. Having to reverse engineer and custom-make proprietary replacement parts is costly.
Whoosh!
(The sound of the point going over your head)
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Old 04-05-24, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Whoosh!
(The sound of the point going over your head)
Maybe I was just reiterating yours?
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Old 04-05-24, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You keep saying that, but as a young mechanical engineering student back in the late 80s I was already pretty frustrated with the lack of bicycle development at that time. Then in the late 90s and early 2000s I was unimpressed with the mountain bikes on offer. Many of the early carbon full suspension bikes were particularly badly designed. By that point I had enough engineering experience to see what needed to happen and it took about another decade to actually get there. Bike design went from cottage industry to the professional engineering we see today. Shimano started that trend much earlier on the component side, but it took a long time for the bike manufacturers to catch up.
Yet the Truek Fuel 100 in OCLV carbon or the Cannondale Raven or the GT Lts in thermoplastic or the Scott G Zero in carbon have left an indelibile mark in terms of carbon fiber full suspended mountain bike frames back in late 1990's early 2000's and those frame were fully made in the USA . Just see what a pristine new old stock frame ofthese models costs on the second hand or collector market, a very big amount of money. Older shimano MTB stuff gets pricier each year , yet it is not di2, 12speed but it was bullet proof and made to last and you didn't have the problematic bonded cranks like on dura ace or ultegra.Novelty doesn't always equal better quality or better durability.
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Old 04-05-24, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You can view it however you like, but there are a lot more qualified engineers employed in the bike industry today. The products are far more specialised and varied across a much broader range of bikes and components. A purist could argue that none of it was needed, but it exists and people buy and enjoy the more sophisticated bikes available today. I prefer riding my modern bikes to the bikes I rode in the 80s and 90s. Mountain bikes in particular are much improved, even from the mid 2000s. Proprietary parts donít bother me as long as they are functional and reliable.
Yet the 90's have introduced legendary mountain bikes such as the Specialized Ground countrol, the Specialized FSR S Works, the Giant MCM, the Giant ATX, the Kona Hei Hei, theKona Explosif, the Kona Stab, the Kona Stinky and many more other legendary models from other brands. The 27.5 wheeled MTBs are pretty rare and I steel 26 wheeled MTBs, but you are right reliability is the key and so is durability and accurate shifting especially in harsh conditions. I will never do electronic shifting nor disk brakes on a mountain bike and neither will I have a 29 wheeled MTB. I tried some modern 29 inch wheeled MTBs but didn't like the geometry nor the fact that they didn't have a triple crank and were heavier than my own mountain bikes.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Maybe I was just reiterating yours?
No. My point was that proprietary parts become a problem years later, like when somebody buys the bike from the original owner and then wants the bars higher or a different length stem. THAT'S when proprietary parts become a problem, not for the original owner.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
Yet the Truek Fuel 100 in OCLV carbon or the Cannondale Raven or the GT Lts in thermoplastic or the Scott G Zero in carbon have left an indelibile mark in terms of carbon fiber full suspended mountain bike frames back in late 1990's early 2000's and those frame were fully made in the USA . Just see what a pristine new old stock frame ofthese models costs on the second hand or collector market, a very big amount of money. Older shimano MTB stuff gets pricier each year , yet it is not di2, 12speed but it was bullet proof and made to last and you didn't have the problematic bonded cranks like on dura ace or ultegra.Novelty doesn't always equal better quality or better durability.
They are collectible, but nowhere near as capable as their modern day equivalents.

I see you keep harping on about the Shimano HT crank bonding problem as if it justifies your rose-tinted view of the past. If you step back and look at the bigger picture you will see that mountain bikes have come a very long way since the 1990s.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Proprietary parts are not so much a problem for those who can afford to buy a brand new high end bike. They're a problem for people who can only afford to buy a second hand high end bike.
40 years.
...you don't want to steer this into a discussion about repairability or product life cycle. Because the conversation quickly turns political. I'm having trouble picturing a bike with proprietary parts (regardless of frame material) from 2024, still being ridden and enjoyed as a bicycle in 40 years. Or even 30 years. I realize that today's CFRP frames "will last forever", but usability as a bicycle is one of my own criteria for success in this realm.

I understand that PeteHski doesn't care about this, he just goes on to the next replacement bike. I would just find that to be a difficult thing to do, personally. And it has nothing to do with available discretionary income...I'm lucky in that respect. It's just the way I was raised by Depression era parents. If someone could make a convincing case that proprietary headsets, seat masts... just about anything on a standard high end bicycle...was a great leap forward in technology, I might be inclined to listen. So far, all I'm hearing is that they are evidence of a vast number of engineers, hired by the industry, to come up with answers to problems that nobody thought were problems.

The idea that the past 20 years has seen some sort of moon shot project in advancing bicycles is entertaining, but I remain unconvinced. Which is fine by me. I never thought the bicycle industry needed to cure cancer anyway.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
No. My point was that proprietary parts become a problem years later, like when somebody buys the bike from the original owner and then wants the bars higher or a different length stem. THAT'S when proprietary parts become a problem, not for the original owner.
...some guy just ran a thread in here about how he was gonna have to pay an extra $180 for a seat mast that would make his brand new Trek fit him. This was a brand new purchase. Pay to make the bike fit ?
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Old 04-05-24, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
Yet the 90's have introduced legendary mountain bikes such as the Specialized Ground countrol, the Specialized FSR S Works, the Giant MCM, the Giant ATX, the Kona Hei Hei, theKona Explosif, the Kona Stab, the Kona Stinky and many more other legendary models from other brands. The 27.5 wheeled MTBs are pretty rare and I steel 26 wheeled MTBs, but you are right reliability is the key and so is durability and accurate shifting especially in harsh conditions. I will never do electronic shifting nor disk brakes on a mountain bike and neither will I have a 29 wheeled MTB. I tried some modern 29 inch wheeled MTBs but didn't like the geometry nor the fact that they didn't have a triple crank and were heavier than my own mountain bikes.
None of those bikes are anything like as capable as their modern day equivalents. You are literally living in the past. Itís pointless even talking about it really.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
They are collectible, but nowhere near as capable as their modern day equivalents.

.
...capable of what, exactly? Are you taking more air these days than pro riders did in the late 90's ? If so, at your age, my hat is off to you, sir.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...you don't want to steer this into a discussion about repairability or product life cycle. Because the conversation quickly turns political. I'm having trouble picturing a bike with proprietary parts (regardless of frame material) from 2024, still being ridden and enjoyed as a bicycle in 40 years. Or even 30 years. I realize that today's CFRP frames "will last forever", but usability as a bicycle is one of my own criteria for success in this realm.

I understand that PeteHski doesn't care about this, he just goes on to the next replacement bike. I would just find that to be a difficult thing to do, personally. And it has nothing to do with available discretionary income...I'm lucky in that respect. It's just the way I was raised by Depression era parents. If someone could make a convincing case that proprietary headsets, seat masts... just about anything on a standard high end bicycle...was a great leap forward in technology, I might be inclined to listen. So far, all I'm hearing is that they are evidence of a vast number of engineers, hired by the industry, to come up with answers to problems that nobody thought were problems.

The idea that the past 20 years has seen some sort of moon shot project in advancing bicycles is entertaining, but I remain unconvinced. Which is fine by me. I never thought the bicycle industry needed to cure cancer anyway.
I'm pretty sure we already went through that thoroughly pages ago. The thing is, bike companies are in the business of selling NEW bikes, not second hand bikes.
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