Why are bicycles so expensive?

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  • Why are bicycles so expensive?
  • double h
    Member

    Hi folks,don’t hate me for this post but it seems to me bikes with pedals are way overpriced.When i got right into mtb’ing i sold a decent motorbike and a shit load of other tat to buy myself my dream bike.When i lost my bottle a few years later i sold an on one 456 decent spec bike and bought a classic bmw motorbike with the money.
    I know cycling is way fun and totally addictive because i have been there but why the **** are bicycles compared to motorcycles way more dosh.???.When you compare the two it just makes no sense at all.I will now brace myself for any sh8t thrown my direction 😐

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Volume I should think. 0/10

    double h
    Member

    Volume I should think. 0/10??

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Bicycles are produced in lower numbers than motorbikes (at an ‘enthusiast’ level, so ignoring the Honda cub and endless BSOs) so there are less economies of scale. The 0/10 was for the trolling attempt (which 99.9% of ‘why are bikes so expensive?’ threads are)

    double h
    Member

    Ok then,don’t think you are getting the point.no point in going on 🙄

    theflatboy
    Member

    probably mostly to do with volume. i’d give you 0/10.

    Sancho
    Member

    It’s not volumes of production, Im not sure the analysis compared to the motorbike industry is right, its just blatant profiteering.
    I have a couple of shops and I am totally frustrated at the prices im being offered by the distributors, I now spend more with CRC than I do the likes of Madison/Fisher etc as CRC are usually cheaper and deliver FOC without minimum order quantities and they have better stock.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Of course it’s volume. Supermarket BSOs aren’t expensive. Ask Yamaha to only produce 1000 R1s, see what happens to the price…

    Trade prices being a bit high hardly makes it profiteering. If you bought in the quantities that CRC et al do then you’d get better rates. Just look at the multiplier discount you get at Madison for 8 (say) XTR chainsets. Imagine you buy 100…

    lizzz
    Member

    It’s because people will pay. Stuff wouldn’t be on sale for silly prices if there wasn’t people willing to buy it despite the cost.

    Sancho
    Member

    i wonder hoe many R1’s get made compared to say how many specialized Enduros?
    I dont know the volumes so I dont know, but i suspect the bike trade does get the benefit of mass production efficiencies.
    And your trade analysis dosent make sense.
    I can get a better price from CRC for one XTR chainset for example than I can for buying 8 from Madison.
    I can imagine Madison buy more than 8 at a time.
    Another example then, how come On-one can buy giro Helmets from India and then sell them in the UK cheaper than i can buy them from Madison.

    One of the most ludicrous points that I never want to think about too carefully is how my local LBS could charge more for labour than your average major car mechanic, especially when there is a large wage disparity in the two workshops.

    Economies of scale for sure, also if you start comparing like with like a bit more – look at a top end set of Ohlins motorcycle forks or a shock?

    As for labour – your LBS charges how much per hour? franchised motorbike dealers can be £50 – £100 per hour

    Sancho
    Member

    we have a few fixed charges for jobs and labour is about £20/hour
    so not mental.

    £20 a hour is very cheap

    Sancho
    Member

    I think its reasonable.
    we do have some fixed fees but some jobs can take a bit of time and we factor about two and a half hours for a basic service at £45.

    juan
    Member

    Well it depends if you buy your R1 as a whole or bits by bits (in such case it will cost you 4 times the price).
    I actually think motorcycle are more expensive than bike. A panigiale is about 20 grands and a MV augusta full on mag probably even more.
    A scott aspen is barely 400€ mucho cheeper than a yam 125 cc

    I assume you’re comparing a new bicycle with a 2nd hand* motorbike. Hardly the same thing is it?

    *or 3rd / 4th / 5th hand…

    Stoner
    Member

    I always think it’s worth comparing comparative performance in cars when talking about prices.

    Generally speaking most of us a re riding what might be called “high performance” vehicles…if they had engines 😉

    The comparator of, say an spesh enduro, is say, a Scoobie WRX.

    A scott carbon scale race machine, more like a ferrari.

    A Storck = Koenigsegg

    456 = Ford Focus

    Halfords BSO = Trabant.

    Jeff Jones = Caterham Seven

    The relationship of low volumes and specialised engineering stands for bike prices as for cars.

    IanW
    Member

    125ml of bicycle dot 4 oil £5.99.
    125ml of car dot 4 oil £1.90

    Same stuff, same bottle, different sticker, different market.

    Sancho
    Member

    I buy a lot of my fluids etc from the auto distributors now anyway so trying to keep servicing prices down for lubes etc.

    jambalaya
    Member

    Volume is one big factor I think and also the absolute sticker price, its harder to make profits on low cost items easier on higher cost items. The other comparison is complete bikes vs components, we all know the story about how much a car would cost to build out of “spares”

    tracknicko
    Member

    to counter the dot 4 thing.

    can of coke £1. 2 litres of coke in morrisons. £1.

    volumes, packaging. volume etc.

    and so on

    i personally think bikes are cheap.

    Stoner
    Member

    we all know the story about how much a car would cost to build out of “spares”

    It was calculated that you could build a brand new Austin Healey 3000 from all the spares in the AH Spares catalogue…for about £250,000 😉

    jamesco
    Member

    You can buy in to bikes at any price point to suit your needs and pocket, I am pretty sure that like all hobbies and interests we spend way above our actual capabilities and waaaay more than we spend on work related expenses where we all tend to be much more hard headed and cost concious.

    IanW
    Member

    If someone sells you a can of coke (take away)for £1 they are taking the ****. Also afraid the volume thing doesnt stack up, bikes are mass produced components hung on degrees of mass produced frames.

    Globally Trek, Giant, etc have all the volume required to benefit from scale.

    Busineses do not like to leave any money on the table and in the UK there is still a lot of diposable income especially whilst MTB remains the new golf.

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    I think itsalso supplychain and related to oligopolys/duopoliesthat exist.
    If you are making a car then you have a very compact, squeezed supply chain,with multiple no namecompanies able to bid for the supply of individual parts (ok the likes of bosch escape this to some degree).
    Now look at bikes…
    The number of fingers in the pie as separate brands is massive:
    suspension…well that will be fox or sram taking a cut.
    drivetrain…erm well shimano or sram
    Contact points has more players and that why saddles and bars and stems can be had cheaply.

    We demand as users subcomponents from brands we trust. We pay this price for known quality and length of technical support (compare with CODA OR Specialized own brand stuff which will leave you high and dry for spares a few years down the road).
    The price of drivetrains astounds me…..£300 or more for a friggin crankset. £300 for dura ace shifters….here is where the money is creamed off.

    Overall though, bikes at normall levels are cheaper than ever….£500 buys more now than it did in 1992 when I started.

    mojo5pro
    Member

    I agree with OP. Prices for mountain bike related stuff seems very expensive. Sometimes it’s hard to keep it in perspective as the prices just seem to be the norm and what’s expected. But when you look at £2500-£3000 for a decent brand full sus and £230 for a gravity dropper (just a spring and pulley system) and approaching £100 for a pair of flat pedals..well it seems hard to justify.
    Same goes for all the additional stuff.Buy mountain bike branded lubes and tools and then compare to pretty much the same products at a car or DIY shop and see the price difference.

    Sancho
    Member

    http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/giant-and-merida-expect-chinese-sales-growth-this-year/012857

    I think the volumes in the bicycle industry are comparable to the motorbike industry if this is anything to go by.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    I think the supply chain has a lot to do with it.

    Thats the reason that any company that adopts a more direct model (Canyon, On-One and the like) immediately looks like good value compared to other brands that are supporting a dealer network.

    ahwiles
    Member

    ..when you look at £2500-£3000 for a decent brand full sus…

    £1300:

    bargain.

    mojo5pro
    Member

    Yep, fair point. Having said that, how many people outside the MTB world would think £1300 for a bike is a bargain! Just goes to show how inflated the prices in general are.

    Premier Icon brant
    Subscriber

    There are ways to reduce costs – such as direct distribution methods. Honda makes bikes, Honda UK sells bikes…

    But I would counter that there are weight issues with bikes that mean that technically they are extremely advanced. Motorbikes don’t have to worry (too much) about 2 or 3kg here or there, or the suspension absorbing some power. On a bicycle, those issues make a huge difference.
    That’s not to say that those issues aren’t important on a motorbike, but the weight saving and material optimising levels on bikes that we see, are, as Mr Stoner says, are Scooby WRX level, ish…

    For instance… motorbike frames don’t, in general, use butted tubing, for instance. Only the most boggo level bike would use all plain gauge tubes.

    1. Cheap Credit (just look at houseprices) – the more money there is in the system, the more prices will increase
    2. Bike to work schemes
    3. Increased demand maybe?
    4. Increased cost in general – oil, metal, transportation between countries)
    5. More technical bikes – more R&D by the companies

    It’s probably a mix.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Also look at the materials used,

    Mountainbike frame, 4130 CrMo is considdered cheep. IIRC Ducati used to (Pre 1199) make their super dooper top of the line limited editions from the same steel’s you considdder mid-market on an MTB, the rest were comparable materials to BSO’s.

    And in reality a new enduro motor-bike is ~£6k, an enduro push-bike is £4k at the most (Ok, you could spend more, but most people would wince at spending half that), £2k for an engine? Sounds about right.

    6. Marketing – we are believing the hype and want to spend the money.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    And your trade analysis dosent make sense.
    I can get a better price from CRC for one XTR chainset for example than I can for buying 8 from Madison.
    I can imagine Madison buy more than 8 at a time.

    You misunderstand. If you buy 8 of an item from Madison, you may get 10% off the basic trade price. Now imagine you buy 100 of them (as CRC will do), you’ll get a significantly better price, so CRC are able to sell them on cheaper.

    It’s not that Madison are ripping you off, it’s that CRC are taking advantage of selling higher volumes at a lower margin, and you are able to capitalise on that.

    Or they’re getting their parts elsewhere, which is obviously the case in some (but not all) circumstances.

    Brant’s point about technology is reasonable too.

    Some vaguely interesting, slightly out of date stats here. Suggests just under 2m >20″ wheel bikes sold by IBDs in the US in 2010, at an average price of $524. Seems pretty reasonable to me. What’s the average price of a new motorbike?

    shooterman
    Member

    I agree with the OP as well.

    While I can see how very niche manufacturers may have high production costs, I can’t see how companies such as Specialized or even Santa Cruz don’t benefit from economies of scale.

    Has anyone else noticed that prices rose sharply after the start of the current recession?

    juan
    Member

    Plus don’t forget that usually for motorcycle things don’t change every years. In the MTB industry, if one design has been here for more than a couple of year, people start to take the p1$$, say it’s crap etc etc.
    When it come to warranties, we are much better off than motorcycles. Break your frame on a YZ450 and ask for it to be replace under warranty, then look at the bloke in front of you laugh his ass out.
    The supply chain is very inmportant as well. As njee said CRC probably don’t go through the official channel of distribution. To sell a yamaha you have to be a yamaha employee from an official yamaha importer etc etc. Only brant and Cy on here sells the bikes they “make”. So plenty of different things, but on the over all I don’t think bike + bike parts are more expensive than motorcycles ones.

    Lawmanmx
    Member

    they charge more because they know We are stupid enough to fall for their marketing and lust for debt … the sooner we stop buying at their (OBVIOUSLY SILLY PRICES) the sooner they will drop, i mean £5000 for a bluddy pushbike PERRRLEASE 🙄

    i only buy anything new if its on sale, nearly all my stuff is second hand.

    Premier Icon brant
    Subscriber

    Only brant and Cy on here sells the bikes they “make”. So plenty of different things, but on the over all I don’t think bike + bike parts are more expensive than motorcycles ones.

    it’s terrifying the number of people i’m agreeing with on here now.

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