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Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 02 2018 9:15pm
by Wolfeman
While looking for a good next bike to electrify I was browsing the web. Looking at various web sites and brands I was blown away by the sky high prices on many bikes. When the hell did it become normal for mountain bikes to have MSRPs of up to $8K??? I rode motorcycles for years and never bought a bike that was more than $4500 (used/like new 1999 BMW R1100RT). People must be smoking something really interesting to shell out that much money for a bike that you still have to pedal and that doesn't have ABS, cruise control, heated grips, electric windshield, etc. Is it just me or does it seem totally absurd for bikes to be that expensive???? On top of that, ebikes with 250W nominal mid drives are even more expensive ($10k). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.... Are consumers really that dumb?

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 02 2018 10:07pm
by Apex
The bike market of yesteryear is gone.
It was split into two markets years ago.
The "Walmart bike" market and the high-end market.
Unfortunately, there isn't much in between.
Because the bottom of the market is saturated with fantastically cheap, disposable bikes, it makes the concept of building a space in the market for quality, midrange bikes look bleak, profit wise.

There is a lot of technology that goes into quality bikes, and boy does it make a difference. But new bikes that are built well enough to be an acceptable foundation for a conversion are simply out of my budget. So I choose to buy used, and apply frugal upgrades when possible. I upgraded my cable-disc and clencher brakes to front and rear hydraulic last week for about $100. Just spent a couple hundred on wheels and tires a couple weeks ago, and the fork is next,... even frugal upgrades add up.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 02 2018 11:25pm
by billvon
Apex wrote:
Jul 02 2018 10:07pm
The bike market of yesteryear is gone.
It was split into two markets years ago.
The "Walmart bike" market and the high-end market.
Unfortunately, there isn't much in between.
I would disagree there. Go into any large LBS and take a look at what's available in MTB's for around $1K. There are some pretty good bikes in that price range with SLX groupsets, dropper seatposts and internal cable routing.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 02 2018 11:57pm
by John and Cecil
I built a decent new 2017 raleigh kodiak full suspension for about $1000 a few months ago. They discontinued them and marked them down. I paid $600 for the bike (with delivery and assembly/setup by beeline) and $400 for a mid drive motor and a small battery. It has an aluminum frame with full suspension, front forks are only entry level, rear shock is a little better and air adjustable, hydraulic brakes, boost spacing with 50mm wide rims and 27.5 x 2.8" mid-fat tires. The cranks were entry level too but they got removed anyway for the motor. It has an 8 speed entry level shimano cassette which is adequate, but that should probably be replaced with a wide ratio rear. I am happy with the bike for street and flat trail riding, it is very stable with the wide tires and I have gotten it up to 40-45 mph downhill and it is well planted and stable at speed - although the brakes are not really up to the task of stopping quickly at speeds over 25mph or so.

It depends on what you are going to be doing with the bike and how light you want it to be. There are some ok mid level bikes out there that can be upgraded to an ebike.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 3:01am
by lionman
8k would be a fairly high end bike, likely used by someone who is riding competitively and/or wants their bike to survive copping a beating on the trails. Look at the cost of some of the high end components. They are stronger, lighter and more durable than the cheaper stuff.

fork - 2k
wheels - 3k
crank set - 1k
frame - 2k (double for some carbon fibre ones)
brakes - 500
headset - 200
handle bar - 300
internal seat dropper - 500
rear derailleur - 350

8k starts to sound about right.

You don't need an 8K bike to build an ebike though, entry level brand name bikes are likely good enough.

Think thats expensive, look at some high end road bikes. You can buy a nice new car for the same price.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 3:35am
by wturber
billvon wrote:
Jul 02 2018 11:25pm
I would disagree there. Go into any large LBS and take a look at what's available in MTB's for around $1K. There are some pretty good bikes in that price range with SLX groupsets, dropper seatposts and internal cable routing.
Agreed. I remember that a basic entry level Cannondale could be had for a bit more than $300 around 1990. Today you can get that with front suspension for $600. The 1990 bike had a solid front fork, did not have disc brakes, and had fewer gears on the rear cog. This is hardly an exhaustive analysis, but after a quick look it seems that with smart shopping you can still get a decent quality bike at a reasonable price.

As for the absurdly high prices - I seem to recall $6000 road bikes back in the '90s when I paid about $650 for my Trek 1400 (that I still have and ride). That'd be a $12,000 bike in today's dollars. There will always be a market for the extreme and for people who value relatively small but expensive differences.

It always makes me smile a bit when I see some fellow clad in lycra and wearing some team jersey who is riding an expensive super light weight bike while sporting about 20 lbs of belly. If he dropped 15 lbs he'd probably save enough on food (which is actually fairly expensive) to buy a perfectly good $1000 road bike new (or probably $500 used) and would outperform his former self on the more expensive bike, probably feel better, and have thousands of dollars to put away for earlier retirement or something else valuable. But people aren't bipedal computers and we shouldn't be surprised when their behavior reflects that fact. People frequently spend money for reasons that aren't pragmatic or aren't obviously so. That's why companies spend so much on marketing and why most of that marketing is not designed to appeal emotions and not to pragmatic/practical issues. In a world with designer bottled water and $5 cups of coffee, $12,000 mountain bikes make perfect sense.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 6:40am
by Apex
billvon wrote:
Jul 02 2018 11:25pm
Apex wrote:
Jul 02 2018 10:07pm
The bike market of yesteryear is gone.
It was split into two markets years ago.
The "Walmart bike" market and the high-end market.
Unfortunately, there isn't much in between.
I would disagree there. Go into any large LBS and take a look at what's available in MTB's for around $1K. There are some pretty good bikes in that price range with SLX groupsets, dropper seatposts and internal cable routing.
Yeah, for some of us, 1k is not in the budget for a donor bike. In fact, my complete 52v cyclone3000 build was about 1k total to build.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 9:02am
by lionman
1k USD will get you a pretty well specced mountain bike that will be off road capable.

https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/polyg ... ntain-bike

If you are not going to be riding trails then this is overkill for a donor bike.

You get adequate specs for around 500USD.

https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/2018- ... ntain-bike

If that's too much then a quality used bike is a great option.

Links provided are just examples.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 9:55am
by billvon
Apex wrote:
Jul 03 2018 6:40am
Yeah, for some of us, 1k is not in the budget for a donor bike. In fact, my complete 52v cyclone3000 build was about 1k total to build.
Fortunately those $1K bikes later show up on Craigslist for $400.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 11:36am
by wturber
billvon wrote:
Jul 03 2018 9:55am
Apex wrote:
Jul 03 2018 6:40am
Yeah, for some of us, 1k is not in the budget for a donor bike. In fact, my complete 52v cyclone3000 build was about 1k total to build.
Fortunately those $1K bikes later show up on Craigslist for $400.
And the $500-600 ones for $200 and lower.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 12:09pm
by 2old
Check out bikes direct if you think they're too expensive or the Diamondback Release ($2300 retail for a well-spec'd bike with excellent suspension, dropper post and VPP suspension now the patent has expired).

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 12:32pm
by markz
Department Store Bicycle Shaped Objects

Decent brand name used bicycles

www.BikesDirect.com one step up from a B.S.O.

$500CAD is the lowest in the local bicycle store.
Six bicycles in the $9K range
Four in the $10K range
One in the $11k range

four

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 1:02pm
by 2WheelsMovesTheSoul
LOL go to Burning Man post festival. Last year over 5,000 bikes were abandoned.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 1:17pm
by MadRhino
Quality bikes are getting expansive because cyclists are willing to pay, and development does follow their will.

One can still find a robust and reliable bike for a decent price, let’s say under 1 k$, but it won’t have the recent tech innovations. Components vary a lot in price, the very best getting very expansive because competitive cycling does create a demand for better and lighter.

I find building an ebike is best done using a high end used bike. Expansive bikes are suffering a lot of depreciation on the used market, off season especially.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 1:35pm
by wturber
Also, keep in mind what the extra money is purchasing when you buy a more expensive bike for conversion. Saving a few ounces might be (though I expect less than imagined) valuable if you are pedaling only. But If you are going to add 10 or 15 lbs of battery and 5-10 lbs of motor, do you really care about saving a ounces on bike components or the most super-light frame? There may be a few cases where you might (super-light builds). But it usually doesn't matter much at all.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 4:20pm
by 2old
markz wrote:
Jul 03 2018 12:32pm
Department Store Bicycle Shaped Objects

Decent brand name used bicycles

www.BikesDirect.com one step up from a B.S.O.

$500CAD is the lowest in the local bicycle store.
Six bicycles in the $9K range
Four in the $10K range
One in the $11k range

four
Your comment is devoid of any knowledge since you've neither owned one nor know anyone who has. I've known of many instances with their bikes and all have been positive.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 03 2018 6:03pm
by markz
I have owned all up to about $1.5k

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 05 2018 5:12pm
by 81forest
Wolfeman wrote:
Jul 02 2018 9:15pm
Is it just me or does it seem totally absurd for bikes to be that expensive????. Are consumers really that dumb?
It’s just you. I can tell that you don’t ride much, but if you did you’d notice that people are doing things on mountain bikes that were unthinkable even 10 years ago. Everything has changed. And equipment innovation costs money. If you don’t care about pushing your skills and equipment to the edge, then you will be happy on your oilhead RT.

When I look at golf clubs, I am amazed at how much they cost. It’s just a stick with no moving parts! Same with other high-end equipment for sports that I do not play or understand. But it would be pretty to ridiculous for me to conclude that “consumers just must be that dumb.”

Yeah, it’s just you.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 05 2018 6:41pm
by wturber
My experience is that pricey gear in general is not purchased by those folks who are excelling and pushing the limits (deep experience in photography and table tennis - limited experience in road bikes). Some excel and push limits for sure. But typically they are a minority and frequently they don't have the very best stuff. If I extrapolate this to bicycles, I'm left assuming that a LOT of these purchase are "dumb" in the sense that the buyer doesn't get much practical benefit from the things that make them expensive. OTOH, if it makes them happy or feel good for other reasons, then maybe it isn't "dumb" so much as it is that their priorities are merely aligned differently than mine.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 05 2018 7:40pm
by 81forest
wturber wrote:
Jul 05 2018 6:41pm
My experience is that pricey gear in general is not purchased by those folks who are excelling and pushing the limits (deep experience in photography and table tennis - limited experience in road bikes). Some excel and push limits for sure. But typically they are a minority and frequently they don't have the very best stuff. If I extrapolate this to bicycles, I'm left assuming that a LOT of these purchase are "dumb" in the sense that the buyer doesn't get much practical benefit from the things that make them expensive. OTOH, if it makes them happy or feel good for other reasons, then maybe it isn't "dumb" so much as it is that their priorities are merely aligned differently than mine.
Good perspective, and definitely true to the extent that the pros and elite riders are not paying that full msrp. But all you have to do is sit at the top of a double diamond run at any mtb Park to realize that this is not table tennis!!

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 05 2018 10:13pm
by wturber
81forest wrote:
Jul 05 2018 7:40pm
Good perspective, and definitely true to the extent that the pros and elite riders are not paying that full msrp. But all you have to do is sit at the top of a double diamond run at any mtb Park to realize that this is not table tennis!!
I'm able to see that mtb downhill riding and table tennis aren't the same from the comfort of my living room. The first thing I notice is the mountain bikers don't have paddles. Jumps right out at me!! Not really sure what your point is there.

My point was/is that many people buy pricey gear because they like to emulate their "heros", like to have the "nicer/nicest/rare/unique" things, aren't willing to objectively look at the cost/performance-benefit of the pricier thing, and so forth. This is pretty much the case regardless of the activity.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 05 2018 10:54pm
by LeftieBiker
What I noticed while shopping for a ~$2k road e-bike was that when you got above $2500 or so you started to lose features. You know, little things like any suspension at all, a throttle... I just couldn't see buying a $3500 bike that would make me long for my $300 EZIP.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 06 2018 7:00am
by motomech
I buy slightly used mountain bikes, that are "like new" for about half the MSRP. People buy mountain bikes, try it out one or two times and realize how much work it is and park them in the garage.
I prefer 26" wheels for my hub motors and as far as mountain bike riders are concerned, 26" whl.s are obsolete. Tires are a big part of ebiking and 26" offer the best selection and value.
If yesteryears trail bikes are a little porky, it matters little to me when I'm adding 40 Lb.s of motor(s) and batteries. I like the upright riding position and smooth ride a full suspension MTB provides, not to mention techy bling of the shock, linkage and other alum parts.
In my opinion, used mountain bikes are the best value in Ebikes.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 06 2018 8:16am
by grindz145
What you're describing is a bit more like an $80k Bimota, rather than a 16k BMW. A decent road bike costs around $1500 brand new. These bikes do exist but they use technology which is far beyond the point of diminishing returns.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Posted: Jul 06 2018 12:14pm
by billvon
motomech wrote:
Jul 06 2018 7:00am
I buy slightly used mountain bikes, that are "like new" for about half the MSRP. People buy mountain bikes, try it out one or two times and realize how much work it is and park them in the garage.
I prefer 26" wheels for my hub motors and as far as mountain bike riders are concerned, 26" whl.s are obsolete. Tires are a big part of ebiking and 26" offer the best selection and value.
Very true. Older 26" bikes are often:

-Steel
-Cheap
-Rim brake

Many of my conversions have been older 26" MTB's with rear V-brakes (to avoid the issues of dealing with reduced clearance for disk calipers) and retrofitted front disks (because at >1KW you really need front disks.) All front forks come with caliper mounts now, and cable disk brakes are dirt cheap.

For my next one I am actually looking at a 27.5" MTB just because tires are becoming more available, and I wanted to try out the larger wheel.