Bike prices..... WTF?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by John in CR » Jul 13 2018 9:45pm

Hydraulic disc brakes may not have as good a feel. Working in the rain is a pretty huge safety edge, but what I like most over any cable pull brake is not having to fiddle with them all the time, and changing pads (which is seldom when you have regen) is quicker for me than adjusting any cable pull brakes I've tried.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by lionman » Jul 14 2018 5:30am

I think this thread has gone way OT.

Disc brakes are not the reason there are $5k plus bikes. It's the accumulated cost of high end components, from frame to the cranks to wheels to gear sets to head sets to forks etc. It all adds up.

You could theoretically replace the high end disc brakes on an a expensive with rim brakes and it would probably reduce the price by 5-10%.

It is difficult to argue that rims brakes are generally better than discs. They may be better suited to some specific scenarios but the reason why they are taking over is that they perform better in most situations.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by MadRhino » Jul 14 2018 5:57am

If course, all the components are reponsible for the high cost of bikes. The manufacturers are pushing the development very far and the newest tech is always expansive.

We don’t need all of this, but some are definitely an advantage when we are building high speed or dirt specific bikes. On the opposite, some older frames and components are better suited to build a powerful bike.

No matter the price of the latest high end bikes in the shops, we can build with a very large choice of frames and components because the bike industry had developed this incredible variety over the years. The used bike market does offer everything we need, no matter what kind of bikes we are building.

Building with new, does make it very expansive to compete with bikes that had been built with careful selection of the best that can be found on the used market.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by lionman » Jul 14 2018 6:12am

The good thing about expensive bike parts is the tech eventually filters down to mainstream price points.

Used market really depends on your location. In the US there is a much bigger market for used bikes and parts. Where I am it would take a long time of continuously scouring online classifieds to find bits you need, and you'd most likely need to buy whole bikes for individual parts. Then if anything breaks it could be harder to find replacements.

The fact is, although there are seriously expensive bikes available new, the low to mid range has plenty to offer at a reasonable price.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Philaphlous » Jul 14 2018 7:29am

I'm amazed after rejuvenating my 2002 trek 800 how many parts need replaced and how quickly the cost can add up. Shoot you think of just a tire.... Tire - inner tube - rim - skewers - bearing/hub and you're already talking $75+ for a decent setup...

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by wturber » Jul 14 2018 11:56am

lionman wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:30am

It is difficult to argue that rims brakes are generally better than discs. They may be better suited to some specific scenarios but the reason why they are taking over is that they perform better in most situations.
This seems to be based on a view often promoted in classical free market economics. I know, I've promoted that kind of view myself. But the reality is that the simple fact that some item takes over some market or niche is certainly not strong evidence that is is the better performing item. The reality is that there can and usually are many other factors at work. Buyers in markets are often wildly irrational. And this is especially true when there are not huge and obvious differences in the performance of the items. The better "mousetrap" does not always win.

What is striking about this brake discussion is the degree of insistence and surety from so many people in the face of almost non-existent objective (well done measurements and studies) evidence. Nobody here presented good evidence on stopping power. I would love to see an objective study using a variety of brakes, a variety of bikes and tires, and a variety of riders. But I've looked and found none (though I found one that is sorta close but 14 years old). My bet (based significantly on the results from that one study)is that the biggest differences will be caused by differences in rider skill.

But no bike manufacturers seem motivated to do such a study. I wonder why? And no consumer safety group seems motivated to do that kind of study. Why not? My guess (other than it being expensive) is that manufacturers don't because they know the differences are generally small and that isn't good marketing fodder. They've done enough internal testing to be sure that their products are "safe" and that's good enuf. And consumer product safety folks don't, because bike brakes of the various kinds typically work well enough for the recreational purposes that 90% or more (made up internet statistic) of bikes are used for. They don't see a problem to solve or an agenda to feed. But those are just my guesses. I don't really know either.

My experience is that any good brake system can be made to work well enough for uses on roads at speeds 30mph and below. And from that standpoint, most people buying used bikes for electrification need not worry a whole lot about the kind of brake system the bike has. Any of them can be brought up to a good enough level of operation. [ I did that decades ago with my 16" wheel folding department store Dahon that I'd "hotrodded" with taller gearing (it can burst over 30mph and cruise at typical road bike speeds). New (but not expensive) Weinmann side pull calipers, extra heavy duty (I think 2mm) brake cable and housing from mountain bikes, some heavy duty mountain bike alloy levers, and Aztec brake pads. It could stop fast enough to be scary on that short little frame. Of course, I never objectively compare its stopping distance to my road bike. Who does?] But modifications and parts replacement costs money. So the condition of the brake system is probably more important that the type of brake system from a cost standpoint.

Now someone might complain that settling for "good enough" is sub-optimal and weak. Well, absent some good testing data, I don't know how you can settle for anything else ... cuz you just don't have the data to know with any high certainty. You are left making your own experienced based , biased, and highly subjective best guess and/or the experiences, biases and guesses from others.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by MadRhino » Jul 14 2018 1:41pm

The only measure of braking quality is average braking distance. Average braking distance can be inproved with constance, modulation, and ease of control. That is where good hydro disc brakes are best. ANY brake should have braking power to lock a wheel, if that was of any interest. Those who are obsessed with braking power, are likely to be up for a washout.

Anyway, each of us have our own performance requirements. It is useless to pretend that our own does suit another.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by John in CR » Jul 14 2018 3:07pm

MadRhino wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:57am
If course, all the components are reponsible for the high cost of bikes. The manufacturers are pushing the development very far and the newest tech is always expansive....
That's not why they're so expensive. They're only so expensive because enough suckers are willing to pay that much since they hold the belief that high price reflects quality. Cyclists are generally a pretty gullible bunch (bike helmets are proof), so the prices reflect it more.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 81forest » Jul 14 2018 6:04pm

John in CR wrote:
Jul 14 2018 3:07pm
MadRhino wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:57am
If course, all the components are reponsible for the high cost of bikes. The manufacturers are pushing the development very far and the newest tech is always expansive....
That's not why they're so expensive. They're only so expensive because enough suckers are willing to pay that much since they hold the belief that high price reflects quality. Cyclists are generally a pretty gullible bunch (bike helmets are proof), so the prices reflect it more.
Yeah, just a bunch of suckers! You nailed it! The ONLY reason that some bikes are expensive is because people are stupid! It must be nice to have such an authoritative knowledge of not just bike tech, but cyclists in general. A lot of people might think that your statement just sounds cynical and cranky, but I'm sure you make your statements with first hand knowledge. You must race bikes, and win all the time on a Walmart bike since there's zero difference.

Here's an interesting proposition: the most expensive bicycle technology is driven by racing. People win races on equipment that works better; and many new and innovative designs are coming right out of that process. Does it mean we all need the same stuff that the pros ride? Of course not! I would never want Di2 on my road bike, even if I could afford it. But it would be a ridiculous presumption for me to say that "the only reason that high end road bikes now come with Di2 drivetrains is because people are suckers."

What is the problem with people wanting to spend a ton of money on stuff that maybe won't directly benefit them in a practical way? Life is short, and fancy bikes are a totally emotional purchase. If a 65 year old dentist who could stand to lose a few pounds wants to buy a $12,000 Serotta because it makes him feel good, what do you even care? That bike is going to be worth $2200 on ebay in a few years, and someone like me is going to snatch it up!

Image

The photo above is one of my favorite bikes (and my favorite person). We took it for a nice 55 mile spin through the Snoqualmie River Valley and Cascade foothills this morning. It was top of the line in 1992: Santana commissioned a special tubeset for that frame from Columbus. It cost Santana a ton and they only did it for a couple of years because of the cost. The bike also has a super-rare Campagnolo ergopower tandem group that I have never seen complete on any other bike. Finally, the frame has the most beautiful fillet brazed joints; and tons of cool little features. It rides awesome, and to me it is a work of industrial-art. But listen to this: some sucker was willing to pay about $4500.00 for it in 1992!!! What a fool! I picked it up on Craigslist (in serious disrepair) for $400. That must mean the original owner was stupid, but I am really smart! Right?

On a side note, one of the few things I added to the tandem were v-brakes, using a "travel agent" cable-pull gadget so they will work with those Ergo levers. Had a couple of opportunities to confirm how well they work today: fantastic!

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 81forest » Jul 14 2018 6:14pm

lionman wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:30am

It is difficult to argue that rims brakes are generally better than discs.
But boy have we seen some really good efforts in this thread! :lol:

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by MadRhino » Jul 14 2018 6:44pm

John in CR wrote:
Jul 14 2018 3:07pm
MadRhino wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:57am
If course, all the components are reponsible for the high cost of bikes. The manufacturers are pushing the development very far and the newest tech is always expansive....
That's not why they're so expensive. They're only so expensive because enough suckers are willing to pay that much since they hold the belief that high price reflects quality. Cyclists are generally a pretty gullible bunch (bike helmets are proof), so the prices reflect it more.
Well, about half of the price of a bike is retailer profit and transport. Manufacturers are taking profit according to volume: Average bikes are big series and manufacturers are not taking much profit on each, but small series of high end bikes are the result of big investments in development, design, racing teams... So they have to take a big profit to cover their expanses with a small number of units selling.

Of course, fashion is for a good part of cyclists choices, but few are willing to pay the top of the line pro racing bikes. Those who do, are paying 4 times the real cost of their bike.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 81forest » Jul 14 2018 6:48pm

wturber wrote:
Jul 14 2018 11:56am
lionman wrote:
Jul 14 2018 5:30am

It is difficult to argue that rims brakes are generally better than discs. They may be better suited to some specific scenarios but the reason why they are taking over is that they perform better in most situations.
This seems to be based on a view often promoted in classical free market economics. I know, I've promoted that kind of view myself. But the reality is that the simple fact that some item takes over some market or niche is certainly not strong evidence that is is the better performing item. The reality is that there can and usually are many other factors at work. Buyers in markets are often wildly irrational. And this is especially true when there are not huge and obvious differences in the performance of the items. The better "mousetrap" does not always win.

What is striking about this brake discussion is the degree of insistence and surety from so many people in the face of almost non-existent objective (well done measurements and studies) evidence. Nobody here presented good evidence on stopping power. I would love to see an objective study using a variety of brakes, a variety of bikes and tires, and a variety of riders. But I've looked and found none (though I found one that is sorta close but 14 years old). My bet (based significantly on the results from that one study)is that the biggest differences will be caused by differences in rider skill.

But no bike manufacturers seem motivated to do such a study. I wonder why? And no consumer safety group seems motivated to do that kind of study. Why not? My guess (other than it being expensive) is that manufacturers don't because they know the differences are generally small and that isn't good marketing fodder. They've done enough internal testing to be sure that their products are "safe" and that's good enuf. And consumer product safety folks don't, because bike brakes of the various kinds typically work well enough for the recreational purposes that 90% or more (made up internet statistic) of bikes are used for. They don't see a problem to solve or an agenda to feed. But those are just my guesses. I don't really know either.

My experience is that any good brake system can be made to work well enough for uses on roads at speeds 30mph and below. And from that standpoint, most people buying used bikes for electrification need not worry a whole lot about the kind of brake system the bike has. Any of them can be brought up to a good enough level of operation. [ I did that decades ago with my 16" wheel folding department store Dahon that I'd "hotrodded" with taller gearing (it can burst over 30mph and cruise at typical road bike speeds). New (but not expensive) Weinmann side pull calipers, extra heavy duty (I think 2mm) brake cable and housing from mountain bikes, some heavy duty mountain bike alloy levers, and Aztec brake pads. It could stop fast enough to be scary on that short little frame. Of course, I never objectively compare its stopping distance to my road bike. Who does?] But modifications and parts replacement costs money. So the condition of the brake system is probably more important that the type of brake system from a cost standpoint.

Now someone might complain that settling for "good enough" is sub-optimal and weak. Well, absent some good testing data, I don't know how you can settle for anything else ... cuz you just don't have the data to know with any high certainty. You are left making your own experienced based , biased, and highly subjective best guess and/or the experiences, biases and guesses from others.
Agree with a lot of this. I can't find any objective testing either, but Global Cycling Network made what I consider a really good attempt at a test, with results that certainly surprised me. Granted, they are roadies, and the results only apply to road bikes on pavement. But at the end of the day, they concluded that caliper brakes are actually faster (although by a tiny margin) than disc brakes on a road bike. Most of this comes down to the added weight of disc brakes. So disc brakes are not always "better" or faster; but that is not the statement that got me all riled up some five pages ago. The statement was that rim brakes provide more stopping power, and that statement is simply false.

Link to the CGN video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0hKMgUEku4

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by John in CR » Jul 14 2018 7:28pm

MadRhino, if the bike shops are making more profit on a sale than a car dealer does, then they're thieves as much as the manufacturers.

81forest, I never said that higher quality and R&D don't justify higher prices, but that has little to do with the price of bikes in the upper half of the price range. I also never said that being a sucker means they're stupid. As far as people feeling better about themselves after purchasing material things, yeah there is something wrong, and that's just one of the negative aspects of the widespread materialism infecting today's society.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by boytitan » Jul 14 2018 7:37pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 06 2018 12:39pm
billvon wrote:
Jul 06 2018 12:14pm
[...]and retrofitted front disks (because at >1KW you really need front disks.)
People keep saying this, and it keeps being untrue. At high speed you need good brakes, not necessarily disc brakes. Some, not all, disc brakes are good. Some, not all, rim brakes are good. But I will say this-- the strongest rim brakes are stronger than the strongest disc brakes. Why wouldn't they be? They have much larger rotors with much higher heat capacity.

The best bicycle discs anywhere can't touch these rim brakes:
IMG_20180706_123456.jpg

If you're retrofitting disc brakes to a bike that didn't come with them, before first trying quality brake pads and a booster arch, you must be determined to spend more money than necessary to have worse wheels and probably worse braking too.
Chalo that looks like one expensive and hard to find rim brake set up...Define cheaper.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 81forest » Jul 14 2018 7:56pm

John in CR wrote:
Jul 14 2018 7:28pm
MadRhino, if the bike shops are making more profit on a sale than a car dealer does, then they're thieves as much as the manufacturers.

81forest, I never said that higher quality and R&D don't justify higher prices, but that has little to do with the price of bikes in the upper half of the price range. I also never said that being a sucker means they're stupid. As far as people feeling better about themselves after purchasing material things, yeah there is something wrong, and that's just one of the negative aspects of the widespread materialism infecting today's society.
Well, you did say "the ONLY reason they're so expensive..." is because of gullible suckers.

I don't know enough about the nature of human desire to say if its right or wrong, and I don't know enough about "classical free market economics" to say whether or not a thing's ability to fetch a higher market price is based on actual value. I just want to ride as often as I can, and mountain bikes (in particular) are more fun to ride than they've ever been because of fairly radical suspension and materials innovations.

There is a tendency in any DIY community, and it reminds me of the story "the Emperor's New Clothes." Everyone wants to be the boy in that story, the one who refuses to be tricked or misled about the Emperor's new clothes. All of the townspeople are just suckers, but the boy sees the truth: the emperor is actually naked!

But I think expensive bikes are a little more complicated than the bike industry/emperor trying to trick us. Hand built and custom bikes for instance.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by MadRhino » Jul 14 2018 8:32pm

John in CR wrote:
Jul 14 2018 7:28pm
MadRhino, if the bike shops are making more profit on a sale than a car dealer does, then they're thieves as much as the manufacturers.
...
Yes, my example is for a country where the bike business is seasonal. When a dealer has 3 or 4 month to sell bikes, but need to pay 12 month of rent and taxes, this type of commerce does command high markup. So we can’t blame a bike shop in a winter city, to make a high profit for the short time he can sell bikes. And, car dealers are making a lot of money with after sale services.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 15 2018 12:24am

boytitan wrote:
Jul 14 2018 7:37pm
Chalo that looks like one expensive and hard to find rim brake set up...Define cheaper.
The brake and arches cost me maybe five bucks in materials, though to be fair it did use some scrap I had lying around. The fork crown and stem which are part of the overall system used bigger pieces of metal and cost more.

Because there were no V-brakes at the time I made it, it was inspired by the Marinovative Cheap Trick brake, but scaled up.

Image

This predecessor to today's linear-pull brakes was, of course, much less expensive and much more effective than the discs available at the time.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by CyclistPro » Jul 15 2018 7:21am

I also think that the electric bike is too expensive right now. I'm 100% sure that the profit margins of the manufacturers of E-Bikes are at least 50% higher than the profit margins on the conventional bikes. Of course, I can't prove it right now. But we will see a decline of the prices of E-bikes in the upcoming years.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Scotty T » Jul 15 2018 8:05pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 15 2018 12:24am
But if you take a set of $20 Tektro or Shimano linear pull brakes, add a $12 set of salmon Kool Stop pads and a $3 Chinese booster arch from eBay, you'll have more gross braking power than just about any disc brake you can name.
Power is nothing without control. I know which one works better in a real world situation riding a bike down a hill in anger, I know which one will put less fatigue on my hands.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by markz » Jul 15 2018 8:12pm

CyclistPro wrote:
Jul 15 2018 7:21am
I also think that the electric bike is too expensive right now. I'm 100% sure that the profit margins of the manufacturers of E-Bikes are at least 50% higher than the profit margins on the conventional bikes. Of course, I can't prove it right now. But we will see a decline of the prices of E-bikes in the upcoming years.
The p.o.s. generic bike frames that the countries spit out then slap on generic motors and cheap controllers then advertise the same "kit" as 250W to the UK crowd and 500W tor 750W to whomever wants them. Then throwing in some rejected and wonky a.f. batteries would be a healthy margin for sure! Then the fork bends while the battery goes on fire and your bendy plastic brake levers melt your rock bottom cost V-brake pads and the cheapass seat bends because us North Americans are fat (yes including me). Sondors anyone?

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Baron » Jul 15 2018 11:41pm

Not sure if it's been mentioned yet but I always find the best deals on pinkbike.com buy/sell, during the offseason around the winter months.

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Jul 16 2018 12:49pm

While watching the Tour De France the other day one of the young announcers , who was pro racing just a short while ago, was saying he likes how the Disc Brakes feel and start working much faster on the down hills than the rim brakes that was used on the Race bikes just a year or so ago on the big tours .

He said that the first corner of a down hill in the races he was in was nerve racking in the fact that the rim brake did not do much at all but just slow him down a little , meaning not enough . He is now a Fan of Disc Brakes on Road Bikes.
so on an electric bike you can see how important they are ... unless you ride very slow.

From personal experience the first Road Bike I ever bought was about 8 years ago, the first thing I noticed was the lack of braking power, I adjusted the brakes, even put in new Dura Ace brake pads , and still they were pathetic compared to my Mountain Bikes with Disc Brakes.
My first conversion ... Sold

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=71378&p=1077497&hil ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 16 2018 1:18pm

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Jul 16 2018 12:49pm
While watching the Tour De France the other day one of the young announcers , who was pro racing just a short while ago, was saying he likes how the Disc Brakes feel and start working much faster
You understand how sponsorship works, right? Whatever the sponsor is selling at this moment is THE BEST EVER version of whatever it is.
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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by billvon » Jul 16 2018 1:29pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 16 2018 1:18pm
You understand how sponsorship works, right?
People pay you money to use their stuff if you win a lot of races.

Of course, first you have to win a lot of races. Which is why so many TdF racers are switching to discs. Some reasons, from Bicycling Magazine:

Winning. Stage winners for the TdF are starting to win on discs. Racers like to win, and they emulate the people who do so.

Availability. Large sponsors now have disc brakes available. So if your team uses only Campy parts (due to their sponsorships) now there's an option.

Weight. Lighter and lighter discs are now available, and can now both hit weight limits (i.e. there is no benefit to going lighter) and be lighter overall than rim brakes.
--bill von

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Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 16 2018 1:41pm

billvon wrote:
Jul 16 2018 1:29pm
Chalo wrote:
Jul 16 2018 1:18pm
You understand how sponsorship works, right?
People pay you money to use their stuff if you win a lot of races.

Of course, first you have to win a lot of races. Which is why so many TdF racers are switching to discs.
What the sponsor is trying to sell does not have to be better. The sponsored racers only have to say it is. Racers who have enough dominance to say no to that stuff on their own bikes, often do. Famously, Lance Armstrong used a titanium Serotta frame painted as a Trek, and insisted on Look clipless pedals rather than those from Shimano, his sponsor. Shimano made a special run of Look pattern pedals to solve that problem.

The point is, don't trust racers when they tell you what works. They are contractually obligated to be shills whether they like it or not.
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