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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

Old 04-06-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
But if "faster" is the definition, how much faster are they really? And I don't consider anything done by places like GCN "science". And lacking anything real, in terms of science, I fall back on something like plain old race times. And in that situation, while new "bikes" are faster, the amount they are faster is not as great as one would think. Again, look at my Ironman Kona post. You can also look at stage races and climbing times in the TDF. Now granted, times up Alpe d'Huez in the TDF are dependent upon lots of things, including EPO, but I am always surprised at how fast those old fat farts with heavy steel bikes and just nutty gearing went up those hills. The hell with aero, get me a safe version of EPO.

Modern bikes are expensive because people will pay for them. The shift did not occur today but in 2010. Lots of bikes in 2010 that cost $15,000. By todays level, that would be over $20K. There is a substantial wealth imbalance in the world and the rich are getting much richer and prices should reflect that.

The "performance" of today's bikes are questionably better. The rest is marketing to sell bikes. Nothing wrong with that at all.
That is true and back in 2010 nobody really cared about disc brakes and it was just the very begining of electronic shifting with dura ace di2 7970 introduced in 2009 even before back in 1993 Mavic invented the Mavic ZAP electronic derailleur and later reintroduced an improved version of it the Mavic Mektronic in 1999. If we count how many races were won with mechanical derailleurs against electronic derailleurs , the mechanical derailleurs outranks the electronic ones for their ease of use, longevity and their simplicity of being fixed quickly. Let's not forget
. I don't think that modern bikes perform much better than a well tuned and maintained bikes from 10 or 15 years ago. Some people like to buy new bikes like they buy a new car during a certain period.

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Old 04-06-24, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...not me. I'm still astonished to realize that all the guys pushing modern technological improvements, driven by the desire for increased speed and performance, are actually riding stuff that has been intentionally detuned, for comfort. And using those "improvements", and the research costs behind them, as a rationale for expensive top end toys. I'm here to learn.

I'm happy you're "faster" thanks to disposable income, if "In many cycling "events," faster is by definition "better." All of us want to be our best version of self.
Yeah, sure you are.

But if you were keen to learn then you should know that some bikes are optimised for different parameters. Endurance bikes are generally a little more comfortable than aero optimised race bikes. For ordinary amateur riders like myself, this tends to make them actually faster on longer events where fatigue is a key factor, especially on rougher roads. A pro rider might still be faster on an aero race bike, but Iím a 56 year old amateur so I value a little more comfort. My bike is still pretty quick though. Itís all relative.
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Old 04-06-24, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yeah, sure you are.

But if you were keen to learn then you should know that some bikes are optimised for different parameters. Endurance bikes are generally a little more comfortable than aero optimised race bikes. For ordinary amateur riders like myself, this tends to make them actually faster on longer events where fatigue is a key factor, especially on rougher roads. A pro rider might still be faster on an aero race bike, but Iím a 56 year old amateur so I value a little more comfort. My bike is still pretty quick though. Itís all relative.
...I'm pretty much aware of this. Merckx put out two versions of his steel frames, one just branded with his name, the other called "The Century". Sport touring geometry has been around since way back into the days you have already told me you know little about, in a prior post. I can find the exact quote for you if you want...I certainly don't want to risk arousing the ire of tomato coupe again.

Not sure what you point is here ? We seem to be in complete agreement that everything is relative. I'm only keen to learn stuff that is not solely based on opinion and affirmation. That stuff, opinion and affirmation based "fact", not so much.
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Old 04-06-24, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...I'm pretty much aware of this. Merckx put out two versions of his steel frames, one just branded with his name, the other called "The Century". Sport touring geometry has been around since way back into the days you have already told me you know little about, in a prior post. I can find the exact quote for you if you want...I certainly don't want to risk arousing the ire of tomato coupe again.

Not sure what you point is here ? We seem to be in complete agreement that everything is relative. I'm only keen to learn stuff that is not solely based on opinion and affirmation. That stuff, opinion and affirmation based "fact", not so much.
Right, so then you should be able to relate to the modern day equivalent of those bikes.

Letís be honest though, you are not here to learn anything. You are here only to deride expensive new bikes and argue why you think we donít deserve to be riding them. All this complete bs about not being able to extract 100% of their performance potential and comparing us to pro riders on older bikes is laughable.
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Old 04-06-24, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
Speaking of super high tech advancements, we've went from a multi piece adjustable stem/handlebar system of one material, to a multi piece adjustable system of another material, to a one piece non adjustable system of another material. The best part is, the one piece non adjustable system costs what, 10-15 times the cost of the previous systems. That's some real progress right there.
Ritchey SuperLogic handlebars: $300
Ritchey SuperLogic stem: $250
Total: $550

Ritchey SuperLogic Butano Ridge integrated bar/stem: $599

Huge price difference! /s
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Old 04-06-24, 12:20 PM
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To prevent this thread from shutting down and get things back to the original premise, I believe high-end bicycles are so expensive nowadays due to the following.

I'll say that there are a variety of factors contributing to this trend. One major factor is the rising cost of materials, particularly carbon fiber that are commonly used in bike frames. Additionally, advances in technology and design have made bikes more complex and sophisticated manufacture, which drives up the price. Lastly, increasing specialization has created a greater demand for high-end bikes, which manufacturers have capitalized on by producing pricier models with marginal gains in mind regardless of the cost to implement.

The additional expenses required to attain the slight improvements expected from premium bicycles significantly add to the end user's cost, particularly due to the limited quantities involved. It's important to factor in all the tooling and development costs.

I agree that marketing plays a role in these increased costs. However, marketing now focuses on product differentiation through features implemented and unique designs rather than in the past when marketing was primarily focused on the brand and brand reputation.

Dismissing the advancements made in modern bicycles as something the average consumer cannot appreciate is ludicrous. It's a tired argument that suggests things were better in the past, when in reality, progress should be celebrated.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 04-06-24 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 04-06-24, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Right, so then you should be able to relate to the modern day equivalent of those bikes.

Let’s be honest though, you are not here to learn anything. You are here only to deride expensive new bikes and argue why you think we don’t deserve to be riding them. All this complete bs about not being able to extract 100% of their performance potential and comparing us to pro riders on older bikes is laughable.
...if we're at the part where brutal honesty enters the picture, the revelation that the same guys pushing the overwhelming advantages, brought to the contemporary pro race scene by the top end CF bikes, are not actually using them, has provided me with great merriment. So I guess we both got a good laugh.

I can certainly relate. Of the bicycles I ride here most regularly, 2/3 of them are of the slightly longer wheelbase, sport touring geometry you seem to favor.

I just do not understand, personally, why you insist on projecting this idea of "derision" of what others choose to ride onto me. Derision is kind of what you do, in these threads. Although I admit you're not the worst offender.
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Old 04-06-24, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged

Dismissing the advancements made in modern bicycles as something the average consumer cannot appreciate is ludicrous. It's a tired argument that suggests things were better in the past, when in reality, progress should be celebrated.
...do you understand what a "strawman argument" is ? No one has "Dismissed the advancements made in modern bicycles as something the average consumer cannot appreciate." What I have done (I cannot speak for others), is to point out that at least some of the modern tech fans here, are riding on versions of modern bicycles that are more suited to their needs than full race versions. These are people who "appreciate" the full race versions, but have come to the conclusion they hurt their butts on longer rides...or something. I have to be careful not to strawman your strawman.

So they're not sold on the full race versions, in terms of "progress". I'm tired of explaining it, and you'll continue to restate what you believe anyway. The weather is better here today, and it's finally stopped raining. I'll be going out on my own preference shortly. You're on your own for what you want to do.
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Old 04-06-24, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Ritchey SuperLogic handlebars: $300
Ritchey SuperLogic stem: $250
Total: $550

Ritchey SuperLogic Butano Ridge integrated bar/stem: $599

Huge price difference! /s
Same story here:
Black Inc integrated bar/stem $650. (road bike 1)
Black Inc stem $300 + Black Inc bars $300 (road bike 2)
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Old 04-06-24, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Ritchey SuperLogic handlebars: $300
Ritchey SuperLogic stem: $250
Total: $550

Ritchey SuperLogic Butano Ridge integrated bar/stem: $599

Huge price difference! /s
You're quoting the cheapest you can find. Definitely not top level. Plenty of them out there above that $600 price. Just checked A-zon. You can get a Kalloy stem and handlebar combo for about $60. Steel is even cheaper.
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Old 04-06-24, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
To prevent this thread from shutting down and get things back to the original premise, I believe high-end bicycles are so expensive nowadays due to the following.

I'll say that there are a variety of factors contributing to this trend. One major factor is the rising cost of materials, particularly carbon fiber that are commonly used in bike frames. Additionally, advances in technology and design have made bikes more complex and sophisticated manufacture, which drives up the price. Lastly, increasing specialization has created a greater demand for high-end bikes, which manufacturers have capitalized on by producing pricier models with marginal gains in mind regardless of the cost to implement.

The additional expenses required to attain the slight improvements expected from premium bicycles significantly add to the end user's cost, particularly due to the limited quantities involved. It's important to factor in all the tooling and development costs.

I agree that marketing plays a role in these increased costs. However, marketing now focuses on product differentiation through features implemented and unique designs rather than in the past when marketing was primarily focused on the brand and brand reputation.

Dismissing the advancements made in modern bicycles as something the average consumer cannot appreciate is ludicrous. It's a tired argument that suggests things were better in the past, when in reality, progress should be celebrated.
An additional factor: as in many other categories (the example of the highest-performance cars comes mind), the machines that require the greatest investment in high tech are the ones that are bought in the smallest numbers. Some of us might consider the benefits resulting from the investment to be pitifully minimal, especially in the case the most expensive bicycles, and the return on that investment is likely fairly minimal, too, but I don't see that the companies making the bikes have much choice.

They could hire Grant Petersen to help them back away from the high-end market, maybe, but doing so didn't work out particularly well for Bridgestone.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
An additional factor: as in many other categories (the example of the highest-performance cars comes mind), the machines that require the greatest investment in high tech are the ones that are bought in the smallest numbers. Some of us might consider the benefits resulting from the investment to be pitifully minimal, especially in the case the most expensive bicycles, and the return on that investment is likely fairly minimal, too, but I don't see that the companies making the bikes have much choice.

They could hire Grant Petersen to help them back away from the high-end market, maybe, but doing so didn't work out particularly well for Bridgestone.
Is this the Thomas DeGent thread? When I saw the word Bridgestone, the first thing that came to mind was the Firestone/Ford disaster.

My company uses GM work vans. Before that crisis, they came with Firestone tires. Those were good tires. After that, it was expensive Bridgestones, or another brand.

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Old 04-06-24, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...if we're at the part where brutal honesty enters the picture, the revelation that the same guys pushing the overwhelming advantages, brought to the contemporary pro race scene by the top end CF bikes, are not actually using them, has provided me with great merriment. So I guess we both got a good laugh.

I can certainly relate. Of the bicycles I ride here most regularly, 2/3 of them are of the slightly longer wheelbase, sport touring geometry you seem to favor.

I just do not understand, personally, why you insist on projecting this idea of "derision" of what others choose to ride onto me. Derision is kind of what you do, in these threads. Although I admit you're not the worst offender.
My bike doesnít have ďsport touring geometryĒ. I also donít ďpushĒ high-end modern race bikes. As you say, I donít even ride one but all of the tech on my current bike is directly derived from them.

I do however have a low tolerance for the complete bs a vocal minority (no vast hordes have been mentioned, except by you) of the vintage guys often spout when they are very much deriding newer bike tech. At that point I simply defend the newer tech. You wonít find me on the C&V forum harping on about how I think new bikes are superior. But it doesnít seem to work in reverse. For example at the moment Iím fed up of hearing about how amazing tubular tyres are and just a few posts above we now have proof that electronic shifting must be garbage because of some 4 year old viral YouTube video of a pro having a problem with it.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
You're quoting the cheapest you can find. Definitely not top level.
BS. Ritchey SuperLogic are some of the best components on the market. The major brands offer integrated cockpits in the same price range.

Originally Posted by seypat
Just checked A-zon. You can get a Kalloy stem and handlebar combo for about $60. Steel is even cheaper.
So what? Low-end, old tech stuff will always be cheap. High-end, new tech stuff will be expensive. This is not surprising.

The "high-end integrated bar + stem is way more expensive than high-end but separate bar + stem" observation is BS.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
That is true and back in 2010 nobody really cared about disc brakes
I did actually because I had been using disc brakes on mountain bikes since around the turn of the century. When I got back into road biking in 2019 I was pleased to see disc brakes were now available on road bikes too. It was one of the first tick boxes on my road bike shortlist.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
BS. Ritchey SuperLogic are some of the best components on the market. The major brands offer integrated cockpits in the same price range.



So what? Low-end, old tech stuff will always be cheap. High-end, new tech stuff will be expensive. This is not surprising.

The "high-end integrated bar + stem is way more expensive than high-end but separate bar + stem" observation is BS.
Here's my statement again. I didn't say anything about quality levels good or bad. I'm not even the one that established the time frame discussed in this thread. One of you guys did. Tell me exactly what is it about my statement as it is written that isn't true. I can easily find stem/handlebar combos examples under $50. I didn't even say anything about price in this statement, except that the newest system was way more than the systems it replaced. The point of my post was to point out that going from an adjustable system to a non adjustable system was not a high tech advancement. Rather, it was to point out that it's not an advancement at all no matter the price.

Speaking of super high tech advancements, we've went from a multi piece adjustable stem/handlebar system of one material, to a multi piece adjustable system of another material, to a one piece non adjustable system of another material. The best part is, the one piece non adjustable system costs what, 10-15 times the cost of the previous systems.

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Old 04-06-24, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
An additional factor: as in many other categories (the example of the highest-performance cars comes mind), the machines that require the greatest investment in high tech are the ones that are bought in the smallest numbers. Some of us might consider the benefits resulting from the investment to be pitifully minimal, especially in the case the most expensive bicycles, and the return on that investment is likely fairly minimal, too, but I don't see that the companies making the bikes have much choice.

They could hire Grant Petersen to help them back away from the high-end market, maybe, but doing so didn't work out particularly well for Bridgestone.
Perhaps another Factor (get the pun!) why the price increases have outstripped inflation (which is the same for almost all top tier consumer goods) is that BITD materials development costs were born by the suppliers to the framebuilding industry. Reynolds, Columbus, Vitus absorbed the cost to develop their new tubing and amortized that development over their massive customer base, same with the lug suppliers. Yes present day manufactuers purchase carbon, but layup, molding and engineereing costs are all bourn by the manufacturer. Take Specialized top tier road bikes, presently we have Aethos, Tarmac and Roubaix all with unique design/performance parameters as well as each size within each model, having unique layups and molds. Each of these models ride substantially different and provide a very different user experiance. Would there be a measurable difference in time to complete a 40 mile ride probably not a lot, however the ride would be noticably different. My choice is the Roubaix and for long rides it is amazing.

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Old 04-06-24, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
BS. Ritchey SuperLogic are some of the best components on the market. The major brands offer integrated cockpits in the same price range.
That is true I have a ritchey headset on my kona MTB and it is a top notch quality product
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Old 04-06-24, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
Here's my statement again. I didn't say anything about quality levels good or bad. I'm not even the one that established the time frame discussed in this thread. One of you guys did. Tell me exactly what is it about my statement as it is written that isn't true. I can easily find stem/handlebar combos examples under $50.
The "current system" is integrated bar & stem.

A "previous system" is separate bar & stem.

The difference in cost between this "current system" and the "previous system" is minimal, as demonstrated.

Therefore, your claim that there is a 10-15 times difference between "current system" (integrated bar & stem) and "previous systems" (separate bar & stem) is disproven.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The "current system" is integrated bar & stem.

A "previous system" is separate bar & stem.

The difference in cost between this "current system" and the "previous system" is minimal, as demonstrated.

Therefore, your claim that there is a 10-15 times difference between "current system" (integrated bar & stem) and "previous systems" (separate bar & stem) is disproven.
But it's not between the first 2 piece adjustable system which was/must be included in the equation according to the time frame established. You can't leave that out at your convenience.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
. At that point I simply defend the newer tech. You wonít find me on the C&V forum harping on about how I think new bikes are superior. But it doesnít seem to work in reverse. ....
...is there some confusion about which forum we are in ? This is "General Cycling" Maybe you would be less irritated over in the Road Forum ?

For example at the moment Iím fed up of hearing about how amazing tubular tyres are and just a few posts above we now have proof that electronic shifting must be garbage because of some 4 year old viral YouTube video of a pro having a problem with it.
...I thank God in his heaven that I no longer need to ride tubular tyres, and deal with their issues. As for electronic shifting, I don't think it's garbage. I just don't find it to be a huge technological leap. So there must be other people contributing to this.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
The point of my post was to point out that going from an adjustable system to a non adjustable system was not a high tech advancement. Rather, it was to point out that it's not an advancement at all no matter the price.
One of my road bikes has a separate alloy bar and stem. The other has a carbon integrated bar/stem. While the latter is considerably more expensive (not because it is integrated, but because of the completely different materials and manufacture) it is significantly more comfortable to use. I feel a lot more road buzz from the alloy bars, even with thicker cushioned tape. Itís a bigger difference than I expected.
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Old 04-06-24, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Ritchey SuperLogic handlebars: $300
Ritchey SuperLogic stem: $250
Total: $550

Ritchey SuperLogic Butano Ridge integrated bar/stem: $599

Huge price difference! /s
Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Same story here:
Black Inc integrated bar/stem $650. (road bike 1)
Black Inc stem $300 + Black Inc bars $300 (road bike 2)
...and I'll never need to adjust them !!! /s
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Old 04-06-24, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
One of my road bikes has a separate alloy bar and stem. The other has a carbon integrated bar/stem. While the latter is considerably more expensive (not because it is integrated, but because of the completely different materials and manufacture) it is significantly more comfortable to use. I feel a lot more road buzz from the alloy bars, even with thicker cushioned tape. Itís a bigger difference than I expected.
...try wider tyres. That's what I do here. It goes without saying, that the one thing most flexible between your hands and the road are your tyres.
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Old 04-06-24, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...try wider tyres. That's what I do here. It goes without saying, that the one thing most flexible between your hands and the road are your tyres.
One has 32 mm tyres (alloy bars & stem) and the other has 30 mm tyres (carbon integrated bar/stem). They both ride well, but the carbon bars are simply better. If I was going to keep the other bike I would upgrade the bars as I think itís worth the cost.
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