How Much?

by 44

This article might be a good few years old, but the message is still similar. The quality of the components and bikes we buy now are way better than a few years ago, don’t you think?

I’ve noticed more and more complaints along the lines of “HOW MUCH?” about the price of bike parts,”You could buy a car” etc.

It’s true that especially in the last couple of years there have been price hikes which have been more to do with the power of the pound and dollar, but I think things are still good value – possibly better than they’ve ever been.

I can imagine a lot of you are already think that I’m talking bollocks or that being in the privileged position that we are at STHQ we are too far removed from the day to day to know what’s what price wise. That may be true but we need to wander back in time.

Back in 1996 at the bike shop I worked at, a pair of Rockshox Judy DH’s were around £600.00. For that you got elastomer 80mm of undamped suspension (well damping as we know it ) and we could sell those all day. After, you were sold a pair of White Brothers hard body cartridges and a pair of springs for another £200.00 so they’d go up and down.

..and check out the reviews..

They’re ace! They’re Shit!

If you adjust for inflation, Rockshox at today’s prices would be £840.00 and the cartridge and springs would be another £280.00!

So looking at the fork market today, A pair of Rockshox Lyrics U-turns are £799.00. For that you get a 170mm fully adjustable fork that has real damping, proper internals and you can adjust them to pedal uphill as well as down.

Propbably something closer to the old Judy would be a SID. How much? £639.00 for 100mm of travel that weighs 3.27 pounds. That’s just one example of one brand of forks.

I remember my first full suspension bike was a GT LTS 2. It was £1799.00 with canti brakes Rockshox Indy forks and a very basic Rockshox coil rear shock – it never got full travel as the nylon bushes were so useless. It didn’t stop and flexed more than a Mastercard. Before a year had gone by I had the bearing kit (which you needed to make the thing work), V brakes and a pair of Bombers, which were astronomical at the time.

That’s £2500.00 now. I’d probably go and buy a Specalized Pitch or equivalent and take the bike on holiday with the change.

So yes things seem to be expensive – but view it in the whole and bikes are still ace value for money ;]

Comments (44)

    There = They’re


    I’m sure these products weren’t made in the volumes they are today though
    and how much were grips in these halcyon days of yore?
    were they £30 minus inflation = £22?
    what I don’t remember from yester-year, and what really boils my widdle, is that just because items are classed as a consumables then bike shops put a premium on them. inner tubes for a fiver, powerlinks for £3, brake blocks/ pads for £15
    and just because it’s good business and because people will pay that, doesn’t make it right

    You are talking bollocks. Bikes, the same ones we buy here, are 25% cheaper in Spain. We are being ripped off in the UK, end of.

    Thanks for the eloquence Stevie – I imagine stuff in Spain has been cheaper the last couple of years with the strength of the euro to pound, and i’m not here to defend the bike industry – I was just trying to make an equal comparison with the UK market 14-15 years ago and now. £3.00 for a powerlink seems ok as well, how many do you need! – Brake pads are another thing- from my previous expereince as an IBD margins on pads were better than bikes but then you also had tons of stock siting there a lot doing nothing trying to keep pads for all the major manufacturers and year models… I Bet my old IBD Still has 4 bolt rotors and f bolt rotors and coda pads – and the old hayes and the new Hayes etc ;].

    were judy DHs really £600? surely not…

    “position that were in are to far removed ”


    What makes 1996 of particular value as a standard against which to compare todays prices? If you compare them to a few years ago, say 2008, todays prices seem vastly worse value for money, what if you compare them to 1896? Pick any year you like to get the result you want.

    Maybe its that we have less available cash now than in 1996 making things seem more expensive…

    Soma_rich is on the money…average income in the uk increased by only 2% last year, whilst inflation has reversed it’s decline and is now over 3% (I think). Price rises have consistently outstripped wages meaning that the amount of disposable income people have to spend has over time been falling in this country.

    We need an equivalent of the CPI/RPI for bike parts! So what should go in a typical bike part shopping basket?

    On the bright side bikes now work and offer a level of comfort (hence descending speed) and lack of maintenance only dreamt of 15 yrs ago. In 1996 I was having to take RST elastomer sprung forks apart every time it rained. These days (different forks) it’s an annual service if they’re lucky. Do we really want to go back to elastomer sprung forks or worse still stems and cantis? I’m not keen.

    totally agree – if you don’t like the prices, don’t buy the kit. market competition will take care of all that, if things really were a rip-off then companies would be undercut by competitors making the most of the situation. plus, no-one needs £600+ forks, it’s a want. i have loads of fun on complete bikes that cost less than that.

    soma rich, agreed, the UK is generally a poor-value place to live / earn a living these days.

    like enjoying simpler bikes, there is a less-is more attitude that takes care of this lack-of-cash-for-material-wants ‘problem’.

    “companies would be undercut by competitors making the most of the situation”


    Yes really. Unless the bike industry was operating a fairly illegal monopoly.

    anyone want a pair of mk1 manitou? dual travel – 30mm in the cold and 45mm in the summer lol

    “£3.00 for a powerlink seems ok as well, how many do you need”
    CRC do them for £1.33 a pair (posted), EBC used to do them for 99p a pair
    Some people can really get through them (myself included, though its getting less)

    What Chris S said, compare stuff to 2008 (early-mid), I know the £ has dropped loads, but the change in prices over a relatively short amount of time makes the high prices so much shocking

    In 2008 prices were cheap, so when you compare today’s pretty high prices with 2008’s pretty low prices things look worse than they are. So you get madness like people thinking this year’s Pitch Pro is bad value because they remember when you could get one for a grand. It was basically theft at a grand, at £1500 it’s still great value.

    Some things are better just now than they were a few months ago, Shimano frinstance.

    “Look at what you get for your money now” seems a disingenuous argument, what you got then was as good as the rock shox etc could make at the time, same as always. Cars and pretty much everything else is the same, trickle down trechnology and that. A better comparison would be cost of XT in 96 vs cost of XT now, purely cost not performance (which will always be better)

    But the basis of your argument is probably right, we’ve been spoilt with low prices last few years – I just hope stuff “seems” cheaper again soon.

    The late 90s are a good time to compare because that is when the pound last had the same value relative to the dollar.

    I also like the fact that stuff works a lot better now although Manitou have tried very hard to reverse the trend.

    Agree about ’08 being a bit of a Golden year! We’ve all been spoilt rotten!

    What I miss is the entry level bikes of old. You could go out and get a rigid steel HT with a full shimano group for about £350 and it would be light, reliable and brilliant.

    Sure you could probably coble an On One together using the classifieds and come in on that budget, but why aren’t there more off the peg bikes like that? I dread it when a friend wants buying advice at that budget these days.

    Agreed gary, for most people a £350ish rigid vbraked bike would be better than a heavy hardtail (or god forbid a FS) with duff suspension and cruddy disc brakes.

    What goes up,must come down! eventually…

    what i miss is the ability to fix/service everything at home.

    The old 1999 Z2’s i had could be stripped down and bushings replaced at home for not much money, as could Maverick SC32 forks. Modern equivalent needs sending away for an expensive service.

    This is fine initially, but after a few years its not worth getting it done and stuff just get thrown away.

    I’d much prefer slightly less performance in favour of ‘maintainability’ but theres no choice!?

    what people forget when comparing bikes & parts to cars is that the quality has increased with technology advancements in the former. most if not all the advancements in car technology is how they are put together – as quickly and as cheap as possible. this creates cheaper cars (relative to 10 years ago say) that generally just fall to peices!

    You’re quite right. Bikes were really cheap for what you got a coupel of years ago, and they’re still reasonably good value.

    And modern suspension technology is very, very good.

    But £27 for a pair of grips (and race face ones at that) or £100-plus for a stem?

    Some bike parts are clearly subject to a secret stupid-person tax that we haven’t been told about.

    Oh, and people in Spain earn less – they need their bikes to be cheaper!

    We’re the biggest bike gear whores in Europe, probably (have never been to Germany).

    Chapaking – you need to go to Eurobike to see the German bike Whores! There mental!

    You arent factoring in the “new tech” price premium…80mm elastomers were pretty bling back then so you cant compare the two…this makes me sound illiterate..I’m not…just have a tiny keyboard and eyestrain!
    I hope you get what i mean!

    I think its a good attempt to explain things but even just looking at responses here I dont think any amount of number crunching will compensate for the fact people feel they aren’t getting value for money and that perception is very hard to overcome.

    oh and I would have lost teeth to get those judys! I think that desire and downright excitement about kit has perhaps dissipated over the years?

    damn the lack of edit/my ability to think before typing!

    what bikes are cheaper in spain? i lived there and still bought kit from the UK, mate came back to the UK to get his bike too

    Wow! Don’t come to France then! Here, in France, it’s cheaper for me to buy online in Germany or the UK, even after shipping. France must be the most expensive place for luxury goods!

    Also, not to be too cynical, but this has been written by “Admanmatt” the Advertising Man Matt that is – it may be in his best interest to keep the consumers content with the advertisers price structure of their products….

    It wouldn’t be terrible subtle would it?

    It wasn’t. The prices they charge can not be justified unless they were hand made.

    Thank god for trickle down technology.A good case in point is the latest Deore group.Chainset is now external BB,with long lasting rings,brakes are very good,probably work aswell as SLX or XT though it is a bit heavier.But funcionally its not far off.

    Yes prices are higher than 2008,but there`s some very good budget kit around so that you don`t have to compromise on performance.

    Though ,Shimano consumables prices are a complete rip off.It`s ridiculous that you can buy a new chainset for less than the price of new rings and bb or that Shinmano pads can be £20-25 a oair when aftermarket ones are £10.

    I found the receipt for my first Mount Vision the other day £1490 3rd Jan 1997, it also appears to show a set of XT PD 747 pedals for £99.99 but that can’t be right.

    “Back in 1996 at the bike shop I worked at, a pair of Rockshox Judy DH’s were around £600.00”.

    Ok so in 1996 Rock Shox’s top of the range DH fork (as used by Nicolas Vouilloz in World Cup races) the Judy DH was £600.

    In 2010 Rock Shox’s top of the range DH Fork costs £1299.

    Matt – Still think that’s a good example to prove how cheap bike stuff is today?

    its when the service on your car cost the same as the service on your bike, that sucks, 2 tires for the car cost as much as 4 bike tires,should be 8 tires, shimano is just stupid money now on wearing parts.
    Agreed forks are better value for money but the thing that bugs me is the consumables (wearing parts) are just stupid money now.

    The expensive stuff is expensive, the cheap stuff is cheap, buy the cheap stuff if you want to, but don’t expect it to be quite as good as the expensive stuff. Seems simple to me.

    @jim the saint

    if inflation was steady at 5% per year over the last 14 years
    £600 * ((1 + 0.05)^14) = £1187.96
    so not to far off the mark really..?

    oh my colleague tells me it’s closer to 3% so maybe not then

    600 * ((1 + 0.03)^14) = 907.55

    The Office for National Statistics state that the average UK inflation figure for the last 14 years is 2.54%

    By using the inflation calculator here
    £600 in 1996 is worth £754.40 in 2010

    Bike tyres are one of the most important bits of your bike! When you look at the cost of them compared to volumes of car tyres there good value.

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