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Road bikes: Why so spendy?

Old 07-26-04, 04:58 PM
  #1  
rykoala
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Road bikes: Why so spendy?

Why do road bikes cost so much more than "mountain" bikes? I've asked this at every LBS I've talked to. Responses range from:

- Higher quality components
- lower production numbers
- costs more to build
- they just do

So, will someone tell me WHY? Seems like an entry level MTB is around $300 or less but for an entry level road bike, its at least TWICE that.

So what is the deal? I want a newer road bike at some point but the prices have scared me away.
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Old 07-26-04, 05:08 PM
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You're obviously not in the right shop if the cheapest road bike is $600. I don't know about the States, but over here in England a beginner roadie can be had for as little as £150, that's less than a hundred bucks! Granted it'll have downtube shifters and crappy wheels and drivetrain, but if you want full Sora or Xenon components you only have to find another £100 or so. If I were you I'd get my Yellow Pages oput and find some more bike shops, and get a wider range of opinions; you're sure to find something for $300, if not less.
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Old 07-26-04, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonny B
I don't know about the States, but over here in England a beginner roadie can be had for as little as £150, that's less than a hundred bucks!
Your coversion is off. £150 at todays exchange rate is $275.90. Entry level road bikes at LBS's (here in the US) generally start around $500-600.
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Old 07-26-04, 06:24 PM
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I think a lot of it comes from the emphasis of weight + strength. It costs money to make a bike 20lbs or less, but still stiff and strong. Also, the component groups for roadbikes typically do cost more than the comparable mountain groups. For example, Tiagra STI's are $80 ea I believe, and the lowest end decent STI lever (Sora sucks). The cheapest decent roadbike I have seen here is the Schwinn Fastback which is a really good deal at $499.
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Old 07-26-04, 06:29 PM
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And that is exactly why there are much more cheap mountain bikes on the road than roadies.
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Old 07-26-04, 07:06 PM
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5-600 bucks isnt bad for an entry level roadbike. Road or mtb,you get what you pay for,or how much you let the lbs screw you.
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Old 07-26-04, 10:58 PM
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IMHO, it only has to do with the market. In the 1980's cheap road bikes were all around. Mountain bikes were just becoming popular at that time. I paid ~$175 for my POS Performance brand 10 speed in circa 1985. From about 1990 to about 2002 (?) road bikes fell from general popularity and became sort of a nitch market, while mountain biking became very popular. Bike manufacturers started making cheaper mtn bikes for the "general cycling public" because thats what the public wanted. Those individuals who were still roadies were willing to spend big dollars for good bikes. In the last few years though, I've noticed prices on road bikes coming way down, from the thousands to only a few hundred. It's a cyclicle sp? market, so to speak. Prices on road bikes will keep coming down. In fact I'm sure that soon the "marts" will once again start carrying sub $100 road bikes

I sure this has someting to do with the Lance Armstrong phenomina. It was funny this week to watch so many people riding around on their 15 year old speed "racing bikes". I'm sure they dragged them out of the garage in responce to our national hero. Oh well, more power to them.
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Old 07-27-04, 05:09 AM
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If you want some sticker shock go look at recumbents. You can be over a grand in a heart beat, and some of those are still cosidered entry level.

'bent Brian
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Old 07-27-04, 12:19 PM
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Yeah even cheap recumbents are very pricey. But that is a serious niche market. Seems like road bikes would be less of a specialty. OH well. I'll just keep my eyes open for a used one, when the time comes!
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Old 07-27-04, 01:18 PM
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One of the bigger drivers of increased road bike usage has been the popularity of
the tri/biathlete phenomena in the '90s. A standard DF road bike with the top tube
parallel to the road has to be made in 7-8 frame sizes to accomodate a rider height
range in adults of 5' to 6' 6". The slope tube ATB, and now slope tube DF road
bikes now becoming popular can cover the same range with 4 frame sizes. The
increased manufacturing setups and LBS stocking costs mean the parallel top
tube frames will be somewhat more expensive than an equivalent ATB bike. In the
early '90s 8-9 ATB bikes were sold for every road bike. Now the ratio is not by any
means reversed but when comfort type bikes are factored in most adults will opt
for a road version over an ATB after a few spins around the parking lot on knobbies.
Steve
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Old 07-30-04, 07:00 PM
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I read bents are excellent road bikes. In fact they are probably better on the road than " Road Bikes"
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Old 07-30-04, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shokhead
5-600 bucks isnt bad for an entry level roadbike. Road or mtb,you get what you pay for,or how much you let the lbs screw you.
Yes, all LBS are out to screw you.
We also make sure bike companies don't produce less expensive road bikes and keep the price of gas high.
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Old 07-31-04, 07:11 AM
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You used all,not me. I dont blame a lbs for selling the wrong bike to someone. They are out to make money like any other business. They have tried to do it to me and i've watched it happen to others. Its the sales people and the owner might not even be aware of it. I guess i tried to say was you might only need a CD R600 but they will get you out of the store with a R1000,no different then a car lot.
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Old 07-31-04, 10:49 AM
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Actually I just read in Bicycle Retailer that road bikes account for 30% of the market and MTB's count for 38%, so the whole theory about mountainbikes outstripping road sales is out the window I guess. 8% marketshare difference will make little, if any, impact in the pricing.
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Old 07-31-04, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by seely
Actually I just read in Bicycle Retailer that road bikes account for 30% of the market and MTB's count for 38%, so the whole theory about mountainbikes outstripping road sales is out the window I guess. 8% marketshare difference will make little, if any, impact in the pricing.
Can you provide a link to that report... I don't recall seeing it but would certainly like to read it.
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Old 07-31-04, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by seely
Actually I just read in Bicycle Retailer that road bikes account for 30% of the market and MTB's count for 38%, so the whole theory about mountainbikes outstripping road sales is out the window I guess. 8% marketshare difference will make little, if any, impact in the pricing.
I believe that figure is for sales this year, or last. The industry has yet to catch up to demand for inexpensive bikes. I'm not sure where "hybrid/comfort" type bikes fit in, but they must also account for a good amount of the market. Do you have a link to that article?
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Old 08-01-04, 02:06 PM
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Saw a £200 entry level road bike in Costco today (in Scotland)........... looked like a Taiwanese aluminium frame and fork, full (cheap) shimano group, including STI -type shifting.

Any good reason why they couldn't sell that bike for $300 in your neighbourhood? I realise that Costco don't sell the same stuff in all their markets........
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Old 08-01-04, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by seely
Actually I just read in Bicycle Retailer that road bikes account for 30% of the market and MTB's count for 38%, so the whole theory about mountainbikes outstripping road sales is out the window I guess. 8% marketshare difference will make little, if any, impact in the pricing.
Sorry to be impatient...

I spoke with a friend today who read this article in the latest hard-copy version of BRAIN and the data represented the market share in dollars spent, not units sold. Unless they included an average unit cost, you cannot extrapolate the market share by units sold. If you are curious what the real data looks like relative to bicycle sales and market share, try this: http://nbda.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=34

You'll note that in 2002, based on sales data from the 19 largest bicycle manufacturers road bikes accounted for 5.3% of the market while mountain bikes still held the top spot with 33.8% of the market. Average unit cost was represented as $450 for MTBs and $1,195 for road bikes. This data reaffirms the original poster's premise that road bikes, in general, have a higher unit cost than mountain bikes than it does for anything else.

Last edited by livngood; 08-01-04 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 08-01-04, 05:08 PM
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My entry level mtb was $500.00.
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Old 08-01-04, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by livngood
Sorry to be impatient...

I spoke with a friend today who read this article in the latest hard-copy version of BRAIN and the data represented the market share in dollars spent, not units sold. Unless they included an average unit cost, you cannot extrapolate the market share by units sold. If you are curious what the real data looks like relative to bicycle sales and market share, try this: http://nbda.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=34

You'll note that in 2002, based on sales data from the 19 largest bicycle manufacturers road bikes accounted for 5.3% of the market while mountain bikes still held the top spot with 33.8% of the market. Average unit cost was represented as $450 for MTBs and $1,195 for road bikes. This data reaffirms the original poster's premise that road bikes, in general, have a higher unit cost than mountain bikes than it does for anything else.
I think it means roadies want better bikes then mtb because those are based on sales and we know lots of mtb are more and even more road bikes are less.
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