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Why are Modern Bikes So Expensive?

Old 03-21-24, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I've known the term for a long, long time.
Iím sure you have.
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Old 03-21-24, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Based on the examples provided in this thread, it seems that bikes are both more expensive, and not more expensive.
Yes and no.
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Old 03-21-24, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I'm sure you do.


You seen to be a very binary thinker. Yes/no, black/white, valid/invalid. Instead, realize how the comparison is complicated by not only technological improvement, but even more by the fact that you're looking at the extreme end of the bell curve of bikes - a small segment of the market, not the market as a whole. You seem to want to make that comparison a stand-in for the entire market, which is questionable at best.
The point is, no comparison whatsoever will be accepted. No matter what level of bike I try to compare, the comparison will be deemed flawed. It doesnít matter.

To be expected, I suppose, when attempting a discussion with the faux alpha males that seem to make up the majority of cyclists.

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Old 03-21-24, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
The point is, no comparison whatsoever with be accepted. No matter what level of bike I try to compare, the comparison will be deemed flawed. It doesnít matter.

To be expected, I suppose, when attempting a discussion with the faux alpha males that seem to make up the majority of cyclists.
Because, lord knows, it's not like you were acting in any way like them.
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Old 03-21-24, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Because, lord knows, it's not like you were acting in any way like them.
Exactly. Thank you.
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Old 03-21-24, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
The problem with your paraphrase is that it's not correct, and thus not a paraphrase. See also "straw man argument".

Koyote made the basic point in post #8 on this thread - technological improvements over time complicates direct price comparisons - they're not the same product.
Please clarify the great difference between Fact 11r and Fact 12r carbon, or Dura Ace 11 speed Di2 and Dura Ace 12 speed Di2. How are these different products? We as consumers are paying a tremendous premium beyond inflation for these technological improvements. I fail to see how these have caused greater jumps in price than any prior shift to a slightly lighter and stronger carbon fiber, or adding one more gear to the rear cassette. Aero carbon frames were already a thing 10 years ago, Specialized had the Venge and over 10 years and multiple new generations they merged the aero with the light weight.

If there are actual R&D costs behind these increases then bike companies have been extremely inefficient at making improvements or theyíre simply throwing too much money at gains that are minuscule for anyone but elite pro tour riders.

Letís look at another industry, automobiles, which if anything have had much more new technology implemented in the last 10 years than bikes.

2014 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Navi: MSRP $30,045
2024 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Hybrid: MSRP $34,540

15% increase in price against 31% inflation despite the R&D of engineering a hybrid drivetrain, numerous safety technologies, vastly improved cabin tech, increased raw material costs, etc. Auto sales have not exploded since 2014 so the cell phone volume of sales argument is out. Somehow they kept price increases below inflation rates, while the bike industry more than doubled it.
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Old 03-21-24, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I don't think this was so much about Cinelli as about the bike industry in general, which seems to have been pretty stagnant from the mid-50s till about 1980.
...if that's really your overall impression, you ought to read (or re-read) Berto's book, "The Dancing Chain"

Originally Posted by PeteHski
Based on my experience working for decades in high tech engineering R&D, that statement in bold is almost certainly untrue. I would bet good money that the R&D resources at a leading bike manufacturer are way more expensive than they were 30 years ago, both in labour (engineers) and equipment.
...in that same book, Berto states that Shimano had a company policy in the 70's and 80's, that 10% of the employees should be engineers, and 10% of revenue devoted to R+D. 10% is a pretty significant number, for R+D. It's how Shimano eventually took over the components market, at all levels. It's how they finally (after a couple of false starts) came up with indexed shifting that worked so well, it made everything in competition with it an also ran for about ten years. But I have no idea what percentage of revenues they devote to R+D currently.

Suffice it to say, practical, workable, indexed shifting and the longer cage rear derailleurs that accompanied it made the mountain bike a reality. And the technology, up through and including brifters, is what made Di2 possible.

People take a lot of stuff for granted as a starting point. There's a lot of prior technological innovation that made the current shifting systems possible.
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Old 03-21-24, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Please clarify the great difference between Fact 11r and Fact 12r carbon, or Dura Ace 11 speed Di2 and Dura Ace 12 speed Di2. How are these different products? We as consumers are paying a tremendous premium beyond inflation for these technological improvements. I fail to see how these have caused greater jumps in price than any prior shift to a slightly lighter and stronger carbon fiber, or adding one more gear to the rear cassette. Aero carbon frames were already a thing 10 years ago, Specialized had the Venge and over 10 years and multiple new generations they merged the aero with the light weight.

If there are actual R&D costs behind these increases then bike companies have been extremely inefficient at making improvements or theyíre simply throwing too much money at gains that are minuscule for anyone but elite pro tour riders.

Letís look at another industry, automobiles, which if anything have had much more new technology implemented in the last 10 years than bikes.

2014 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Navi: MSRP $30,045
2024 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Hybrid: MSRP $34,540

15% increase in price against 31% inflation despite the R&D of engineering a hybrid drivetrain, numerous safety technologies, vastly improved cabin tech, increased raw material costs, etc. Auto sales have not exploded since 2014 so the cell phone volume of sales argument is out. Somehow they kept price increases below inflation rates, while the bike industry more than doubled it.
Do you have actual data? Or is it all this anecdotal stuff?
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Old 03-21-24, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I'm sure you do.


You seen to be a very binary thinker. Yes/no, black/white, valid/invalid. Instead, realize how the comparison is complicated by not only technological improvement, but even more by the fact that you're looking at the extreme end of the bell curve of bikes - a small segment of the market, not the market as a whole. You seem to want to make that comparison a stand-in for the entire market, which is questionable at best.
Entry level and mid-tier bikes are just as bad. 10 years ago, a Specialized Allez Sport was $930, now it’s $1,800. 94% increase, or triple inflation for the same period.

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Old 03-21-24, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Do you have actual data? Or is it all this anecdotal stuff?
What data do you want? Those are actual prices. Also feel free to provide any facts to back up your view, since thus far you’ve given zero.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for new cars are 20.33% higher in 2024 versus 2014 (a $6,099.61 difference in value).

Between 2014 and 2024: Cars experienced an average inflation rate of 1.87% per year. In other words, cars costing $30,000 in the year 2014 would cost $36,099.61 in 2024 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.71% during this same period, inflation for cars was lower.

Last edited by NumbersGuy; 03-21-24 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Added full auto industry data from USBLS
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Old 03-21-24, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
So if the sales volume of a particular product is holding steady year-to-year, that mean the price trend of this product will need to outpace inflation?

Interesting theory.
It depends on how much the product and demand for the product changes over time. Thatís why inflation is best measured by products that donít change very much. But even then consumer price indexes are corrected for product improvements over time.

In the case of top-tier bikes there are far more resources involved in producing them today. It is no longer a cottage industry. So it doesnít surprise me if the halo products are outpacing inflation. But at least the second and third tier versions of those halo products are less than half the price because of the increased sales volume.
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Old 03-21-24, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Do you have actual data? Or is it all this anecdotal stuff?
ITíS A STRAW MAN! RUN!

Barring that, post the Jennifer Lawrence gif. Man, she was cute.
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Old 03-21-24, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It depends on how much the product and demand for the product changes over time. Thatís why inflation is best measured by products that donít change very much. But even then consumer price indexes are corrected for product improvements over time.

In the case of top-tier bikes there are far more resources involved in producing them today. It is no longer a cottage industry. So it doesnít surprise me if the halo products are outpacing inflation. But at least the second and third tier versions of those halo products are less than half the price because of the increased sales volume.
What resources are being used today that werenít being used 10 years ago? The percentage increase in bike prices is across the board from entry level all the way up to the top tier bikes. A lot of these bikes have not changed a tremendous amount. Disc brakes are the one significant change, but looking at a bunch of the lower tier models that still offer rim and disc options, that price delta is not nearly enough to explain the massive increases.
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Old 03-21-24, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
None of the folks I ride with are prone to making fallacious arguments.
Are they prone to making arguments where you have to whip out the Jennifer Lawrence gif on your phone that you show to all like sharing pics of your grandkids?
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Old 03-21-24, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
What resources are being used today that werenít being used 10 years ago? The percentage increase in bike prices is across the board from entry level all the way up to the top tier bikes. A lot of these bikes have not changed a tremendous amount. Disc brakes are the one significant change, but looking at a bunch of the lower tier models that still offer rim and disc options, that price delta is not nearly enough to explain the massive increases.
Probably more employees and infrastructure today. Shimano seem to open a new facility nearly every year.

Despite these ďmassiveĒ price increases over the last 10 years, my 2014 Specialized Enduro cost exactly the same as my 2019 Canyon Neuron and the 2024 version is only slightly more expensive and has electronic shifting. Same tier level bikes. Road bikes are more expensive, Iíll give you that. But if you keep away from top tier level builds itís not so bad. I only paid £2k for my 2019 Giant Defy and my 2022 Canyon was £4,500 with a second tier build.
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Old 03-21-24, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Please clarify the great difference between Fact 11r and Fact 12r carbon, or Dura Ace 11 speed Di2 and Dura Ace 12 speed Di2. How are these different products? We as consumers are paying a tremendous premium beyond inflation for these technological improvements. I fail to see how these have caused greater jumps in price than any prior shift to a slightly lighter and stronger carbon fiber, or adding one more gear to the rear cassette. Aero carbon frames were already a thing 10 years ago, Specialized had the Venge and over 10 years and multiple new generations they merged the aero with the light weight.

If there are actual R&D costs behind these increases then bike companies have been extremely inefficient at making improvements or theyíre simply throwing too much money at gains that are minuscule for anyone but elite pro tour riders.

Letís look at another industry, automobiles, which if anything have had much more new technology implemented in the last 10 years than bikes.

2014 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Navi: MSRP $30,045
2024 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan Hybrid: MSRP $34,540

15% increase in price against 31% inflation despite the R&D of engineering a hybrid drivetrain, numerous safety technologies, vastly improved cabin tech, increased raw material costs, etc. Auto sales have not exploded since 2014 so the cell phone volume of sales argument is out. Somehow they kept price increases below inflation rates, while the bike industry more than doubled it.
This debate is not about whether the advancements in new top of the line HALO bikes are worthwhile or warranted. That has been flogged to death and will continue to do so for decades to come until those who remember cycling from the 70ís and 80ís age out of the sport.

Your are being disingenuous when comparing the bikes which are 10 years apart. Nothing between the bikes can be transferred over, all of these changes had to be engineered, prototyped and put into production with new materials, molds ect. And all of these costs have to be amortized into the new bikes final selling prices along with inflationary increases as well. Stop with the stupid mass market comparisons such as cell phones and cars the economyís of scale make those comparisons irrelevant.

Frankly I don't understand your point we all agree these high end bike costs have increase faster than inflation where we differ is that increase can be traced to increases in overall production costs not some mysterious rip off machine which operates in the background pocketing the differential. Bike manufacturers are not the type to be living the life of billionaires with homes in Monaco, flying in private jets and spending the summers on super yachts in the Mediterranean instead bordering on profitability. From small custom builders to Giant there are all average at best for return on investment.
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Old 03-21-24, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
This debate is not about whether the advancements in new top of the line HALO bikes are worthwhile or warranted. That has been flogged to death and will continue to do so for decades to come until those who remember cycling from the 70ís and 80ís age out of the sport..
I look forward to reading your posts in 10 years! What the hell is a HALO bike anyway?
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Old 03-21-24, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
I look forward to reading your posts in 10 years! What the hell is a HALO bike anyway?
I hope you are still here with me! Should still be riding, probably on the latest tech. Hopefully you will still be on your Cinelli.


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Old 03-21-24, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
What data do you want? Those are actual prices. Also feel free to provide any facts to back up your view, since thus far youíve given zero.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for new cars are 20.33% higher in 2024 versus 2014 (a $6,099.61 difference in value).

Between 2014 and 2024: Cars experienced an average inflation rate of 1.87% per year. In other words, cars costing $30,000 in the year 2014 would cost $36,099.61 in 2024 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.71% during this same period, inflation for cars was lower.
Great! Now where's the same thing for bicycles, so we're comparing data with data, not data with anecdotes. Also, link?
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Old 03-21-24, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Are they prone to making arguments where you have to whip out the Jennifer Lawrence gif on your phone that you show to all like sharing pics of your grandkids?
Nah, that's pretty much limited to a few folks here.
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Old 03-21-24, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I hope you are still here with me! Should still be riding, probably on the latest tech. Hopefully you will still be on your Cinelli.


Youríre really teasing me with that tiny writing! If youíre around after me, maybe the Cinelli will go your way. Better to someone who appreciates itófor what it is.
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Old 03-21-24, 08:09 PM
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And I thought a halo bike is the one you get in heaven. But the price is the ultimate.
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Old 03-21-24, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
A top-of-the-line Kestrel 4000 with full Dura Ace sold for $2,700 in 1989. Adjusting for inflation, that would be $6,757.10 today.

For the Kestrel with Campy C-Record, the price today would only be $7,507.00.

And the Kestrel came with pedals...

A Specialized Tacoma SL8 with Dura Ace Di2 sells today for $14,000.00. A Pinarello with Campy Super Record is $17,250.00. Pedals extra.

I don't know enough about modern bikes to even know if these models are the top of the line. Are they? Or are the top of the line models even more? Are you really getting $10,000.00 worth of "better performance?"

Have bike prices gone up? Sure seems like it to me.
You're paying for cutting edge technology and yes it is expensive but compare that to a similar wrist watch...no comparison...sports car...no comparison...boat...same...snowmobile...atv...etc etc etc
If you want top of the line stuff you pay through the nose.
But you can buy a nice Timex, Honda, Toyota, etc etc etc and get something very nice for a much more reasonable price.
It doesn't work imo to compare prices from 40 years ago to today...it just doesn't make sense.

You can buy a very good quality bike at a reasonable price and you don't even have to work hard to do it...
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Old 03-21-24, 08:24 PM
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1997, I bought my Ritchey for $2000, marked down from $3000 because it had 8 speed Dura Ace as 9 speed was coming out.

2007, I bought a 2006 Bianchi 928 Veloce for $1600, marked down from $2700 because it was last year's model.

2020, I bought a 2020 Canyon Endurace for $2400, no markdown at all.

So, the CF bike with the discs was actually the lowest MSRP of all, even after 23 years.
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Old 03-21-24, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
As far as CF not being as strong as steel .... or a CF frame needing to weigh as much as a steel frame to bear the loads ... I have to think your professor was not a great designer or engineer, or just not up to speed ... I do not mean to cast aspersions, but just think about what we actually know about the strength of CF compared to steel by weight.
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.
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