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Upscale Framesets with Base Components -- Why?

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Upscale Framesets with Base Components -- Why?

Old 04-03-10, 06:51 PM
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Upscale Framesets with Base Components -- Why?

Today, I went to perhaps Tennessee's most upscale bike shop, in one of Tennessee's most upscale communities. Very nice shop. Extraordinary bikes. If you want a "cheap" bike from this shop, that means a mid- to high-line Specialized. LOTS of European and American stuff. The average bike is tagged $5,000+ and there were several on the floor at $7,000+. It is to my (non-riding) wife's credit that she didn't act shocked at $10,000 bike prices. This shop has, in stock, all the most amazing carbon and titanium bikes (and some custom steel) you've read or heard about, but never expect to be able to spend your own money to own.

But here was my surprise -- almost without exception, the high-dollar bikes were built using low-line components. Top of the line, exotic framesets built up with 105 and Rival?? Low-line Fulcrum wheels?? FSA's cheapest cranks? They were ALL like that.

Would anyone willing and able to spend $7,000 to $10,000 for a bicycle be willing to have a 105/Rival drivetrain on it? What's the deal? In the entire shop, I didn't see any Dura Ace or Red, Record or Super Record, on any bike. Are they expecting to add a couple thousand more to the price to change out the drivetrain to a more appropriate product? Is this normal practice among upscale bike shops across the country? I was amazed by it.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:00 PM
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The clientele the store caters to are likely not hard core riders, who would know better. They are appealing to select market, and if they are staying in business, must know their market well.

Anyway, more power to 'em. I'll get to buy a like new frame off craigslist in a couple of years for pennies on the dollar.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:13 PM
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I've never seen a bike >$5000 with anything less than Ultegra or an equivalent group set, with at least Ksyrium Elite wheels. Most bikes in that range are going to have DA or Force, higher end Campy on the Euro bikes.
What brand bikes is this shop carrying, if I might ask?
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Old 04-03-10, 07:13 PM
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Anybody who knows a little bit wont get an expensive frame with 105. Thats just nuts. As TJ mentioned, they know who are they selling the bikes at, besides... Probably the margin for them is pretty high also... U can lie to somebody with money who has no idea that way because somebody who knows will go for the frame and get the stuff somewhere else or simply more the parts over.

A pinarello, a colnago or even a ridley high end models built with 105 is just heresy!!! Even with ultegra IT's a SIN!
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Old 04-03-10, 07:19 PM
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At my LBS, they have Supersix frames with Tiagra components in the showroom

Goes to show what people will buy with a little bit of marketing and no knowledge.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BarryJo View Post
What brand bikes is this shop carrying, if I might ask?
Pinarello, Pegoretti, Moots, Lynskey, Orbea, Independent Fabrication, Bianchi, Specialized

All, except the Specialized, was heavily weighted at the high-end of each manufacturer's lineup. Beautiful stuff.

I only remember seeing one (1) Ultegra groupset -- and it was on a Specialized! No Force. No Chorus.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:36 PM
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Well, sometime there just isn't enough money left over for things like brakes...
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Old 04-03-10, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Pinarello, Pegoretti, Moots, Lynskey, Orbea, Independent Fabrication, Bianchi, Specialized

All, except the Specialized, was heavily weighted at the high-end of each manufacturer's lineup. Beautiful stuff.

I only remember seeing one (1) Ultegra groupset -- and it was on a Specialized! No Force. No Chorus.
This calls for Botto's burning money jpeg.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:39 PM
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Because people buy bikes by frame. They probably make more money by saving money on components.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:47 PM
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I would never go below Ultegra on a high end frame and I really don't get any of this. That being said, I am really very impressed with the Ultegra 6700 stuff on my new Scott, I've been riding only Dura Ace for 20 years. No compromise in quality, function or appearance in the new Ultegra group. A few grams heavier perhaps. But 6700 appears to deliver maximum value in a mid priced group.
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Old 04-03-10, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
...But 6700 appears to deliver maximum value in a mid priced group.
glad you've discovered something others have known for a while now. also the heavier Ultegra crank probably wouldn't have snapped like your DA did some time ago.

I predict, soon you're back on Reynolds 531 steel..
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Old 04-03-10, 08:02 PM
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I never liked Ultegra until the 6700 stuff came out. I don't think I would have gone for a bike with Ultegra had they not updated the components, but I like the new design. And it sure works well.
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Old 04-03-10, 08:04 PM
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Maybe they want the bling from a frame, but are freds and don't really need anything more than Tiagra.
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Old 04-03-10, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
I would never go below Ultegra on a high end frame and I really don't get any of this. That being said, I am really very impressed with the Ultegra 6700 stuff on my new Scott, I've been riding only Dura Ace for 20 years. No compromise in quality, function or appearance in the new Ultegra group. A few grams heavier perhaps. But 6700 appears to deliver maximum value in a mid priced group.
I agree, all around (except that I had been riding Dura Ace for just a few years).

After we left, even my (non-riding) wife said, "Why didn't you say something?" It was amazing to see such lust-worthy framesets defiled by attachment to entry-level components. Like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa -- and about twenty of your other favorite masterpieces.

OTOH, the sales attention was PERFECT in this place. Three or four different guys asked me or my wife if they could help us. Once we said that we were just looking, they left us alone. When they saw us leaving, they said something. Uncommonly good judgment in that regard.
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Old 04-03-10, 08:25 PM
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So while you were in the shop why didn't you ask them?
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Old 04-03-10, 08:37 PM
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Well, if the bikes are current year production bikes check the mfg. web site and see if it's supposed to come with a higher end group. If it is then the LBS switched components, or built the bike up (doubtful), because as was said, the clientele doesn't know the difference. The LBS owner can then either "upgrade" the bike for a nominal fee or sell the stuff on Ebay and maybe make a nice profit. I don't know for sure but if the bike should be production but isn't then there's something creative going on.

I know at the local Specialized shop by my house the dealer is free to swap parts on past years models. Whatever they have to do to move product. It's a volume game and I don't fault them one bit at doing what they have to do. I'd like them to be open when I need some tubes.
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Old 04-03-10, 08:45 PM
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I got a better frame and wheels by compromising on the components. To me it's a compromise worth making.

I bought Ultegra SL (so not that low) on a bmc ProMachine with Mavic ESs.

I think Ultegra is the sweet spot on Shimanos range.

Would DA make me faster or 105 make me slower? hell no.
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Old 04-03-10, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Pinarello, Pegoretti, Moots, Lynskey, Orbea, Independent Fabrication, Bianchi, Specialized...
Could it be that those bikes were demos? As-new, the performance difference between 105 and Dura Ace (not Di2) won't be too significant and the bike shop can save money that way. High-end bikes like those listed usually sell as framesets, so if a customer likes a particular frameset, the shop can then build up the new purchase with something more aligned with the expensive frame.

If you were so curious, why didn't you ask?
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Old 04-03-10, 09:34 PM
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Because people want to be able afford that high-end bicycle/frame seen elsewhere on the cheap... it is either form before function or the brand-name/price blinding them to the imperfections of the package.
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Old 04-03-10, 09:47 PM
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This had to be Gran fondo in Bell Meade area. That place blows. The vibe in that place is just not relaxed whatsoever. To rich for my blood kind of store for sure. Ive been in once and it wasn't a great experience that's for sure.
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Old 04-03-10, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rollin View Post
I got a better frame and wheels by compromising on the components. To me it's a compromise worth making.

I bought Ultegra SL (so not that low) on a bmc ProMachine with Mavic ESs.

I think Ultegra is the sweet spot on Shimanos range.

Would DA make me faster or 105 make me slower? hell no.
Correct.
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Old 04-03-10, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by electrik View Post
Because people want to be able afford that high-end bicycle/frame seen elsewhere on the cheap... it is either form before function or the brand-name/price blinding them to the imperfections of the package.
Ditto that. And besides, generally speaking, the lower the price, the higher the volume. Bike brands know what price points they need to hit in order to achieve a rough guesstimate of sales. They also know what profit margin they need to maintain to keep the lights on. From an avid enthusiast's point of view, putting Tiagra on a high end frame is a joke; but to a shop working with just another customer, maybe it's a different story.
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Old 04-03-10, 10:59 PM
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I'd pick Rival over Ultegra... just saying. But cheap cranks, etc.... probably cos people dont know, as has been said already (although you'd expect someone who is buying a $5k+ bike to have that much knowledge).

I can, however, see the logic of cheap wheels. It is possible that a lot of people who get a top end bike already have nice wheels - so adding an inexpensive pair makes sense as they can be used as training wheels and dont add much to the price.

V.
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Old 04-03-10, 11:04 PM
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Cheap wheels make the MSRP of the bike lower, and ultimately I want to pick out my own nice wheel set anyway.
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Old 04-04-10, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Today, I went to perhaps Tennessee's most upscale bike shop, in one of Tennessee's most upscale communities. Very nice shop. Extraordinary bikes. If you want a "cheap" bike from this shop, that means a mid- to high-line Specialized. LOTS of European and American stuff. The average bike is tagged $5,000+ and there were several on the floor at $7,000+. It is to my (non-riding) wife's credit that she didn't act shocked at $10,000 bike prices. This shop has, in stock, all the most amazing carbon and titanium bikes (and some custom steel) you've read or heard about, but never expect to be able to spend your own money to own.

But here was my surprise -- almost without exception, the high-dollar bikes were built using low-line components. Top of the line, exotic framesets built up with 105 and Rival?? Low-line Fulcrum wheels?? FSA's cheapest cranks? They were ALL like that.

Would anyone willing and able to spend $7,000 to $10,000 for a bicycle be willing to have a 105/Rival drivetrain on it? What's the deal? In the entire shop, I didn't see any Dura Ace or Red, Record or Super Record, on any bike. Are they expecting to add a couple thousand more to the price to change out the drivetrain to a more appropriate product? Is this normal practice among upscale bike shops across the country? I was amazed by it.
If they're charging that much for bikes that have lower end components then that's a rip off since you can get a high quality frame equipped with the best components for that much elsewhere. 105 and Rival are good gruppos but not if I'm paying DA or Red prices for them.
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