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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

Old 03-20-24, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
That, Mr. Jockey, is the ultimate expression of temporal chauvinism. Thank you!
No, actually. Quite the opposite. But I understand that someone who likes to GO slow while FEELING like he's going fast would not get that.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:37 PM
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I'm 60 y/o with 3 usable bikes and no cars with zero plans on buying another bike or vehicle the rest of my life.
With one exception: a cargo e-bike for my 80th birthday that can burn rubber on the MUP.
Aim low, spend less.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
No, actually. Quite the opposite. But I understand that someone who likes to GO slow while FEELING like he's going fast would not get that.
Ooh, a personal attack about a completely different discussion? I thought you were above that.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Sure, we sold higher-end bikes. Even the Schwinn shop sold a Paramount to a college student working minimum wage at Radio Shack (me) and at the high end shop I worked at. Not so much at the college town shop.

(Did I mention I was able to get a Paramount on a part-time retail salary? How many kids can do that today?)

Oh, and in America 40 years ago, pretty much every family had two cars. At least. It wasn’t unusual at all.
In America 40 years ago, 48% of households had 1 or 0 cars.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Ooh, a personal attack about a completely different discussion? I thought you were above that.
It's not a personal attack. It's exactly what you told us multiple times. You like skinny tires at high pressure because you say it makes you FEEL fast, and you don't care if it's slow. Don't blame me for correctly characterizing you based on your own posts.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
That, Mr. Jockey, is the ultimate expression of temporal chauvinism. “Bikes are better today than they were in the past.” Thank you!
Ah, now you're misquoting. What I said was that a midrange bike of today is better than the halo bike of 35 years ago in every OBJECTIVELY MEASURABLE way - they're lighter. They're more aerodynamic. Their wider gear ranges allow more cyclists to climb steeper grades without exploding knees. Their brakes are more powerful. Their wider rims and tires allow a more comfortable ride.

Those are objectively measurable things. They're not ALL of what a bike is, or what it means to the cyclist.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:50 PM
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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

.
...because the people that make and sell them have targeted an income demographic that is happy to pay whatever the going price seems to be. As has already been state, not all modern bikes are expensive. Only the ones marketed to a certain, relatively small, user demographic. That small segment of the marketplace has followed the economics of all luxury products. I can find sunscreen that costs quite a bit, too, relative to the regular stuff.

CR tests include 71 products from 24 brands, ranging in price from 58 cents to more than $26 per ounce.
https://www.consumerreports.org/heal...​​
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Old 03-20-24, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
It's not a personal attack. It's exactly what you told us multiple times. You like skinny tires at high pressure because you say it makes you FEEL fast, and you don't care if it's slow. Don't blame me for correctly characterizing you based on your own posts.
What does this have to do with the present discussion?

Oh right. NOTHING.
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Old 03-20-24, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
What I said was that a midrange bike of today is better than the halo bike of 35 years ago in every OBJECTIVELY MEASURABLE way - they're lighter. They're more aerodynamic. Their wider gear ranges allow more cyclists to climb steeper grades without exploding knees. Their brakes are more powerful. Their wider rims and tires allow a more comfortable ride.

Those are objectively measurable things. ...
...in short, they are way too good for the needs of someone like me. Im the small world department, my ride today was on an 80's Paramount (so 40 years old).
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Old 03-20-24, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...in short, they are way too good for the needs of someone like me. Im the small world department, my ride today was on an 80's Paramount (so 40 years old).
I'm saving my 80s bikes for when the roads are reliably dry. And I'm really looking forward to when my 1989 Schwinn Circuit back with its new (to it) fork, and I can build it all up with some late 80's goodness - full Shimano Sante kit. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.......
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Old 03-20-24, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Your temporal chauvinism is striking. Truly.

You realize that in 1989 the Kestrel (and similar bikes) were as cutting edge and as high a performance bike you could get at the time?
So you should be happy that you can buy a relatively cheap modern bike with much better objective performance. No need to worry about $17k pro bikes
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Old 03-20-24, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
What does this have to do with the present discussion?

Oh right. NOTHING.
But "temporal chauvinism" - that's really on topic.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So you should be happy that you can buy a relatively cheap modern bike with much better objective performance. No need to worry about $17k pro bikes
But I like pro bikes. So I’m kinda SOL there.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
.
...because the people that make and sell them have targeted an income demographic that is happy to pay whatever the going price seems to be. As has already been state, not all modern bikes are expensive. Only the ones marketed to a certain, relatively small, user demographic. That small segment of the marketplace has followed the economics of all luxury products. I can find sunscreen that costs quite a bit, too, relative to the regular stuff.
For $26/oz, it better apply itself, and give me a nice massage in the process.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
But "temporal chauvinism" - that's really on topic.
The word “modern,” used here to distinguish from the non-modern, or the old, is even in the topic title. So yes, I’m on topic.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
But I like pro bikes. So I’m kinda SOL there.
It appears that you like pro bikes limited to 1980s technology and engineering. You don’t even like modern bikes, so their cost shouldn’t be an issue for you.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
.
...because the people that make and sell them have targeted an income demographic that is happy to pay whatever the going price seems to be. As has already been state, not all modern bikes are expensive. Only the ones marketed to a certain, relatively small, user demographic. That small segment of the marketplace has followed the economics of all luxury products. I can find sunscreen that costs quite a bit, too, relative to the regular stuff.
What the discussion reinforced was that expensive bikes are that way because they are expensive to build. Halo bikes are more than just luxury products they also have a performance aspect to them which helps justify the cost to the buyer. There will always be premium products in every category for those who prefer the best for various reasons, whether it is for status amongst their peers, the self satisfaction of accomplishing a goal or the appreciation of the performance advantages. Cycling is great because it is one of the few interests where the top tiers are still affordable for the average middle class person. Try that with cars, motorcycles, audio/visual equipment, watches and so on.

Your suncream example is silly and not relevant as this is not a performance based product but rather just a branding exercise. It would be best not to discuss what era of cycling was heavily based on branding alone.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It appears that you like pro bikes limited to 1980s technology and engineering. You don’t even like modern bikes, so their cost shouldn’t be an issue for you.
1990s too.

Not to put too fine a point on it, what I like personally—or you, even—has nothing to do with the thread topic.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
So it’s okay to compare two lower- mid level bikes from two different eras, but not top of the line models?
Originally Posted by genejockey
Well, first off, that was in answer to a different question - what's the cheapest, rideable road bike you can get today? But, yeah - comparing two bikes of that level makes more sense than comparing "halo bikes" from different eras, because that's where most cyclists will start.
To be fair, genejockey was addressing my specific point about the cost of entry. That would mean we're comparing entry level bikes, and I think the $315/$800 comparison is fair.

To be fair for the OP, they only seem to mention "top tier" bikes. My point was just pontificating on the subject on the side.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Sure, we sold higher-end bikes. Even the Schwinn shop sold a Paramount to a college student working minimum wage at Radio Shack (me) and at the high end shop I worked at. Not so much at the college town shop.

(Did I mention I was able to get a Paramount on a part-time retail salary? How many kids can do that today?)

Oh, and in America 40 years ago, pretty much every family had two cars. At least. It wasn’t unusual at all.
I agree times have changed. I too purchased my first top end bike from money earned delivering newspapers it was a Raleigh Professional for $580, you couldn’t do that today for a S-Works Tarmac for example.

But are the two bike comparable andI would say not. Both are effectively batch made however the Raleigh was made with non proprietary materials and techniques and very simple components. Reynolds tubing, standard off the shelf lugs and dropouts and existing manufacturing jigs. The S-Works on the other hand is basically fully custom build unique to this brand and model with hundreds of thousands of development and tooling costs which need to be amortized into the bike.

Now add to this was entry level bikes such as the Peugeots and Gitanes of the 70’s these were reliable durable bikes which could be used for decades. Try that with the Walmart and Costco entry bikes of today, they are junk.

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Old 03-20-24, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
1990s too.

Not to put too fine a point on it, what I like personally—or you, even—has nothing to do with the thread topic.
Again,
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Old 03-20-24, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
1990s too.

Not to put too fine a point on it, what I like personally—or you, even—has nothing to do with the thread topic.
I was just addressing your previous flippant post about liking “pro” bikes. Pro level gear in all sports inevitably becomes more expensive as things progress. Bikes are no exception. Chasing cutting edge marginal gains is expensive.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I agree times have changed. I too purchased my first top end bike from money earned delivering newspapers it was a Raleigh Professional for $580, you couldn’t do that today for a S-Works Tarmac for example.

But are the two bike comparable andI would say not. Both are effectively batch made however the Raleigh was made with non proprietary materials and techniques and very simple components. Reynolds tubing, standard off the shelf lugs and dropouts and existing manufacturing jigs. The S-Works on the other hand is basically fully custom build unique to this brand and model with hundreds of thousands of development and tooling costs which need to be amortized into the bike.

Now add to this was entry level bikes such as the Peugeots and Gitanes of the 70’s these were reliable durable bikes which could be used for decades. Try that with the Walmart and Costco entry bikes of today, they are junk.
I don't know that I'd compare Peugeots and Gitanes of the 70s with Walmart and Costco bikes of today. It seems to me there were a whole lot of bikes below the Peugeots and Gitanes. I owned one of them, and I can't even remember the brand. You used to see them, being ridden to work by workers at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder - the handlebars flipped up to put the brake levers at the top.

So, another way of looking at it is, "Why Are Modern Bikes So Cheap?".
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Old 03-20-24, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
My understanding is that some carmakers enter into multi-year deals with parts supplies where the cost per part keeps dropping.a few percent each year. The logic is that the supplies will surely find some efficiencies each year as they are making all these parts.

Buying a new bike is a combination of three things - a frame you like, a good deal (negotiated by the manufacturer) on a complete set of parts chosen, and a bunch of non-factory service (assembly, etc) that gets done at your local shop.

I continue to feel like people in the "good old days" could build highly affordable bikes themselves by shopping for deals on parts. Over the years, the manufacturers wised up to this and designed bikes that can accept fewer and fewer parts.
This reminds me of a guitarist I used to know. Whenever he had trouble figuring out the chords to some song he wanted the band to cover, he'd say, "They deliberately made it complicated to make it hard for guys like us in cover bands to play it."

Nope. They wrote it that way to compete in the marketplace.

And bike companies don't do what they do to make it hard for us to put bikes together from the frame up. That's not remotely on their radar. They do what they do to try to stay a step ahead of their competition. They're certainly not stopping any of us from buying a frame from QBP or Rivendell and building it up with friction down tube shifters.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:48 PM
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Peak bike occurred just before the pandemic, the metric being most bang for the buck. For around $2,200 you could get a Giant TCR KOM with Shimano 105 and a full (good) carbon frame and adequate wheels. Weight: under 17 pounds. Double that and you could have got Ultegra Di2 and better wheels, and drop a pound.

The pandemic caused supply chain issues which spawned price increases. And for the first time in 50 years, general shortages helped the bike industry exercise some market power, because at every level of the industry you could simply charge more with no negative customer backlash or price elasticity response.

Post pandemic, disc brakes have added at least $500 to the cost of every road bike, as have aero features. Neither of which are a worthwhile tradeoff to most road riders. The extra 2 pounds of ballast and extra cost just isn't worth it.
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