Bike prices..... WTF?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » 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
IMG_20180706_123456.jpg (207.59 KiB) Viewed 1083 times
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.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

billvon   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2846
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by billvon » Jul 06 2018 12:50pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 06 2018 12:39pm
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 failure mode of disk brakes is overheating and either binding, loss of braking or disk warpage.

The failure mode of rim brakes is overheating and loss of tire.

I prefer the former. But others might have different preferences, that's fine.
--bill von

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 06 2018 2:28pm

billvon wrote:
Jul 06 2018 12:50pm
Chalo wrote:
Jul 06 2018 12:39pm
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 failure mode of disk brakes is overheating and either binding, loss of braking or disk warpage.

The failure mode of rim brakes is overheating and loss of tire.

I prefer the former. But others might have different preferences, that's fine.
In my observation of the strongest rim brakes, the failure mode is bending of the fork or frame. There wasn't enough energy in those stops to overheat things, but there was more force than the underlying structure could withstand. That's why I added a bracing strut to the fork crown in the picture above.

It's much easier to add significant thermal mass and surface area to a wheel rim than to a disc rotor. (If that proves to be an issue, which in my experience it hasn't.)

The real advantage of disc brakes is in choice of rim style and wheel size (therefore tire size).

There's no question in my mind, since we're notionally on the topic of bike cost, that you can get more performance for the money with rim brakes. At the high end where cost is not a factor, you can get excellent brakes of either kind. But when you're trying to make a small amount of money result in the best bike, rim brakes are where it's at.
Last edited by Chalo on Jul 06 2018 6:17pm, edited 1 time in total.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

User avatar
neptronix   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 13962
Joined: Jun 15 2010 5:56pm
Location: California refugee living in Utah, USA
Contact:

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by neptronix » Jul 06 2018 2:47pm

I have a $300 roadbike from bikesdirect ( montague )
Honestly, it's a great bike. 2 pounds heavier than a $1000 one. 5 pounds heavier than a $5000 one. Is $4,700 worth -5lbs and some better components to me? hell no.

There are middle ground solutions, and that's sites like bikesdirect, bikeisland, or your local used find from craigslist etc.

But yeah... walk into a bike store and you're gonna pay the 'westerner tax' usually :lol:
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

markz   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7545
Joined: Jan 09 2014 11:38pm
Location: Alberta Canada

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by markz » Jul 07 2018 12:26pm

Trek USA

$419 Trek Verve https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike ... rCode=grey

$360 Trek FX "Best Selling Model of All Time" https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike ... rCode=grey

Some local bicycle stores give you free basic tune ups for life, my local one does and so I persuaded a family member to buy the Trek Verve and return the department store bicycle. Its was an extra hundred bucks but well worth it.

vs

Walmart Online USA

$160 Walmart Schwinn 700c Men's Pathway Multi-Use Bike
$250 Walmart Schwinn 700c Men's DSB Hybrid Bike
$384 Walmart Schwinn 700C Phocus 1600 Men's Road Bike, Matte Black

vs

Bikes Direct
Free Shipping to all 48 states, no shipping to Canada
24 Spd Shimano Deore Disc Brakes, AL Frame Windsor Dover 3 SALE $379
24 Spd Shimano Aluminum +Shimano Cranks Motobecane Jubilee Deluxe SALE $399
Best Shifting Internal 8 Speed Shimano Nexus Most Comfy GELSaddle Motobecane NEW Jubilee 8 SALE $499

2old   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1050
Joined: Jul 19 2014 3:20pm
Location: Socal

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 2old » Jul 07 2018 1:44pm

BD bike has a suspension fork vs rigid on the Trek; Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (standard of the industry) vs rim brakes on the Trek; and superior Shimano drivetrain. Many of the rest of the parts are similar.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 07 2018 2:27pm

2old wrote:
Jul 07 2018 1:44pm
BD bike has a suspension fork vs rigid on the Trek; Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (standard of the industry) vs rim brakes on the Trek; and superior Shimano drivetrain. Many of the rest of the parts are similar.
On the other hand, the Trek includes professional assembly and tuning, plus free follow-up service.

Smart buyers of mail-order bikes will take the box to a service-oriented bike shop for proper assembly. This of course has an effect on the total cost of the new bike. My shop charges $70. The eventual cost of not doing it is very much higher.

In the price range we're discussing, any suspension components are usually of such cheesy quality that you're better off with an unsuspended equivalent. One of the most common modifications when my bike shop is prepping a used MTB for sale is to remove the front pogo stick fork and replace it with a suspension corrected rigid fork. This instantly converts the bike from a bouncy, rattly piece of junk into something more acceptable.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

2old   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1050
Joined: Jul 19 2014 3:20pm
Location: Socal

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 2old » Jul 07 2018 10:07pm

The individuals that I'm acquainted with who have purchased BD bikes didn't need to tweak the drivetrain, but then again maybe your customers can't insert a seatpost. Plus, your opinion isn't unbiased.

LeftieBiker   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 566
Joined: Nov 06 2012 1:33am
Location: Upstate NY, United States

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by LeftieBiker » Jul 08 2018 1:00am

In the price range we're discussing, any suspension components are usually of such cheesy quality that you're better off with an unsuspended equivalent. One of the most common modifications when my bike shop is prepping a used MTB for sale is to remove the front pogo stick fork and replace it with a suspension corrected rigid fork. This instantly converts the bike from a bouncy, rattly piece of junk into something more acceptable.
I've been riding EZIP Trailz bikes for about 5 years now, and have three of them. Or maybe four. The bikes are cheaply built, but the forks work fine. They aren't designed to absorb small bumps, so they don't. They do, however, make big bumps and potholes easier to handle. They don't rattle, they just do their job. I do wish they had mounts for disk brakes. I'm just not going to buy a bike with a rigid front end, no matter how the people who sell them spin it. I won't pay several thousand dollars for a front end that makes me wish I was riding my Trailz again.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 08 2018 1:18am

I've assembled more Bikes Direct bikes than I can remember. They're about the same, in terms of what they need out of the box, as the regular retail bikes I build up within the same quality tier. But that means they need help. The hubs and headsets are usually too tight, the wheels haven't been stress relieved and are often dished incorrectly, bottom bracket and cranks not securely tightened, dropouts misaligned, etc. Good bike shops have always been taking care of this stuff for you, so you likely never thought about it.

There's nothing unusual about having to set these problems in order. What's unusual is a mail-order bike buyer who actually does it himself. And those who don't, end up with bikes that quickly wear out their bearings, break spokes, bend axles, wallow out left side cranks, and don't track straight. If that's what you want, you can save a tidy sum buying a mail-order bike. But if that's not what you want, you need to consider the extra handful of dollars it's going to take to have a qualified technician set your bike up-- and also consider that the free tune-up his shop offers with a new bike purchase won't be free for your bike.

Between these things and rectifying some of the cheesier parts choices that the mail order houses make for you, the Bikes Direct bike will need to be more than a couple hundred dollars cheaper than local retail before it saves you any money overall. It can work out in your favor sometimes, but it isn't a sure thing by any stretch.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 08 2018 1:31am

neptronix wrote:
Jul 06 2018 2:47pm
But yeah... walk into a bike store and you're gonna pay the 'westerner tax' usually :lol:
It's true-- when you go to a local bike shop, you're going to deal with employees who are from that area, and have to be paid enough to live where they live. This isn't the case when you get a box drop-shipped directly from a Chinese shipping container. The catch is, if you don't pay a local guy to do what he does, it might not get done at all. You can do your own work on your bike, but only to the extent that you understand what work you need and how to do it correctly.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

Hillhater   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 10137
Joined: Aug 03 2010 10:33pm
Location: Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Hillhater » Jul 08 2018 3:56am

LeftieBiker wrote:
Jul 08 2018 1:00am
....... They do, however, make big bumps and potholes easier to handle. They don't rattle, they just do their job. I do wish they had mounts for disk brakes. I'm just not going to buy a bike with a rigid front end, no matter how the people who sell them spin it. I won't pay several thousand dollars for a front end that makes me wish I was riding my Trailz again.
^^^^+1
Any suspension fork is better than a rigid if you ride roads like ours ....let alone an ungraded trail.
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 08 2018 10:24am

Hillhater wrote:
Jul 08 2018 3:56am
Any suspension fork is better than a rigid if you ride roads like ours ....let alone an ungraded trail.
You can tell yourself that, but it isn't true. In the course of servicing them, I ride lots of bikes with and without suspension, and most of the suspended ones have crappy forks. Crappy suspension makes a bike ride and handle badly. That's why bicycles as we know them were well over a hundred years old before suspension started being a common thing. Crappy suspension was tried, a lot, in the early days of safety bicycles. As bicycle design matured, it almost completely went away because the drawbacks outweighed the benefits. And that's what I observe every time I have to test ride a bike with a cheap suspension fork.

Do you think that roads were better in the late 1800s and early 1900s than they are now? Were cyclists of the 1980s simply much tougher and more skillful than riders of today?
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

billvon   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2846
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by billvon » Jul 08 2018 10:46am

Chalo wrote:
Jul 08 2018 10:24am
As bicycle design matured, it almost completely went away because the drawbacks outweighed the benefits.
And because bikes got lighter and roads got better. Maybe someday a 1kwhr battery will weigh mere ounces - but as of today, converting to an ebike means the bike gets _much_ heavier.
Do you think that roads were better in the late 1800s and early 1900s than they are now? Were cyclists of the 1980s simply much tougher and more skillful than riders of today?
Nope. They just didn't have decent suspension forks.
--bill von

User avatar
wturber   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1999
Joined: Aug 23 2017 8:52pm
Location: Fountain Hills,AZ
Contact:

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by wturber » Jul 08 2018 11:08am

The thing I'm coming to really get is that e-biking routinely in the 25mph-ish range is not the same as regular biking in the 18mph-ish range. Even with my long history of riding rigid fork bikes for thousands of miles, I'm pretty sure I prefer my crappy suspension fork to a rigid one - despite the handling issues the crappy suspension introduces. But truth be told, I haven't tried a rigid front fork on a 60 lb e-bike. So this is a bit of a guess/extrapolation.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 08 2018 2:06pm

billvon wrote:
Jul 08 2018 10:46am
Chalo wrote:
Jul 08 2018 10:24am
Do you think that roads were better in the late 1800s and early 1900s than they are now? Were cyclists of the 1980s simply much tougher and more skillful than riders of today?
Nope. They just didn't have decent suspension forks.
Neither do most suspension fork riders today.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

LeftieBiker   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 566
Joined: Nov 06 2012 1:33am
Location: Upstate NY, United States

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by LeftieBiker » Jul 08 2018 2:12pm

That's why bicycles as we know them were well over a hundred years old before suspension started being a common thing.
NO, it was because of two things: balloon tires mitigating the hard frames, and the fact that technological innovations often take a long time to first develop to the point where they are clearly an advantage. Cars had lousy suspensions for many years. Putting a suspension on a 19th century bike would have meant doubling the price and adding a lot of weight unless they used short-lived rubber springs. But it was mainly balloon tires that slowed the development of suspension forks for bicycles.

docw009   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1094
Joined: Aug 02 2015 7:43am
Location: Chicago area suburbs.

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by docw009 » Jul 08 2018 2:29pm

Most of the people on E-S eventually learn how to deal with the bike stuff and won't be paying 70 bucks to have it done. Bikes Direct makes sense for them. I could have saved $200-300 on my GT hybrid over my local Performance Bikes franchise and I've never had that bike go back there.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Chalo » Jul 08 2018 2:36pm

docw009 wrote:
Jul 08 2018 2:29pm
Most of the people on E-S eventually learn how to deal with the bike stuff
I know many of them think so. That's why I enumerated a few of the important setup tasks that amateurs almost never do.

All the time, I have to work with bikes that were needlessly ruined because they were used extensively without ever having been properly set up.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

billvon   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2846
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by billvon » Jul 08 2018 3:55pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 08 2018 2:06pm
Neither do most suspension fork riders today.
Which is a great reason to get a good suspension fork.
--bill von

Hillhater   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 10137
Joined: Aug 03 2010 10:33pm
Location: Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by Hillhater » Jul 08 2018 7:49pm

Chalo wrote:
Jul 08 2018 10:24am
Hillhater wrote:
Jul 08 2018 3:56am
Any suspension fork is better than a rigid if you ride roads like ours ....let alone an ungraded trail.
You can tell yourself that, but it isn't true. In the course of servicing them, I ride lots of bikes with and without suspension, and most of the suspended ones have crappy forks. Crappy suspension makes a bike ride and handle badly.
Technically , you may be correct, but "handling",..like lycra, clip in pedals, disc brakes, dropper seat posts, ceramic bearings , etc etc... Is more relavent in cafe chat, or bar stool discussions, than it is to the average rider commuting to work or hacking along a fire trail on an Ebike. Most cyclists dont know how to ride properly..gear usage, seat position, watching for road surface changes,.. even basic balance, ..so "handling" refinements are not high up the list of priorities.
A cheap sloppy suspension fork that helps with rocks pot holes , kerbs, etc, can save pinch punctures, bent rims and often even a crash.
Sure, its better to have a good fork, even if only for that bar stool chat advantage, but anything is better than rigid for an Ebike.
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

81forest   100 W

100 W
Posts: 105
Joined: Jun 11 2018 12:14pm
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by 81forest » Jul 09 2018 11:28am

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.
I agree with your points about suspension and bikesdirect, but strongly disagree about the idea that rim brakes can work better, or even as well as discs. It’s just wrong, and the proof is all over the place, from motorcycles to tandems.

As discs became better and more affordable maybe 15 years ago, some of the big players in the tandem industry valiantly tried to make the same arguments you are making: rim brakes are actually using a huge rotor, with better heat dissipation, and they just need to be set up properly to work just as well, or even better than discs. Never mind that when your rim is wet and/or covered in grime, you lose a ton of braking power. Or that when your rim goes out of true, your “rotor” is now warped. Or that the pads have to travel farther to contact the rim, so you lose modulation at the lever. Or that when your rim overheats on a long descent, your tire can explode off the front rim and annhilate you and your stoker. It happens. That is why tandems used to often come with a secondary “drag brake”. Thankfully, almost all high end tandems now feature disc brakes.

Magura came out with a really cool hydraulic rim brake in the 90s, i rode and raced with them for awhile and they worked great. The idea did not last, because they don’t hold a candle to modern hydraulic discs. Neither does that bizarre vintage thing pictured above, that looks like it weighs three pounds and is operated by a cable.

This is a myth that needs to be busted. If disc brakes were not superior, then they would not be used in almost every performance application when extreme stopping power is required. Even Luddite roadie cyclists are beginning to accept discs in their super lightweight racing bikes.

Rim brakes can be adequate, but discs are better. Way, way better.

User avatar
tomjasz   10 GW

10 GW
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mar 29 2014 1:45pm
Location: Out riding, MN USA
Contact:

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by tomjasz » Jul 09 2018 1:34pm

My Reynolds 531 frame, Campagnolo equipped, pretty much the state of the art, is $2,787.33 in 2018.
Everyone I knew went nuts or thought I was for buying a $450 bike! I bought a second one because none of my dates had decent bikes.

I do not miss sew up tires!
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

User avatar
tomjasz   10 GW

10 GW
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mar 29 2014 1:45pm
Location: Out riding, MN USA
Contact:

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by tomjasz » Jul 09 2018 1:36pm

81forest wrote:
Jul 09 2018 11:28am


Rim brakes can be adequate, but discs are better. Way, way better.
You are not taking into account the really crappy discs on so many bikes. BTW I have 26" discs.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

User avatar
wturber   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1999
Joined: Aug 23 2017 8:52pm
Location: Fountain Hills,AZ
Contact:

Re: Bike prices..... WTF?

Post by wturber » Jul 09 2018 1:41pm

81forest wrote:
Jul 09 2018 11:28am

Rim brakes can be adequate, but discs are better. Way, way better.
For some applications, probably so. Long downhills on a tandem would be one such application. But in general, its hardly true. Quite frankly, I wish I had rim brakes on my e-bike. The squealing of the discs is driving me crazy. And sure, it is a solvable problem (that will cost me $$). But it is a problem I never had with rim brakes. And what I really should do is reconfigure so I can run regen/e-brakes. Horses for courses folks.
Last edited by wturber on Jul 09 2018 1:56pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

Post Reply