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Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!(33 posts)

Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!Mauceri
Jun 28, 2003 11:24 AM
I have a Seven Axiom Steel and have been riding for a little while. I am in the market for a Ti bike and I must say, "Bike manufacturers are ripoffs!"

I looked at Serotta Ti Legend = $3,000 just for the frame.
Seven and Independent Fabrication are a little cheaper.
Litespeed and Merlin a little cheaper than Seven And IF. But you are talking for a BICYCLE FRAME over $2500 for Ti.

What are you actually paying for? Material? My motorcycle frame which is much more material by weight costs a heck of a lot less than these frames.

R&D? Most of these frames are double diamond frames with beautiful welds. BUT! When you are talking about a full bikke with Campy Chorus and Mavic's we can spend upwards of $6,000. If you buy an Ottrott, now you are talking $7,000.

R&D for a motorcycle company is much more expensive as engineers are dealing with engines and much more intricate issues. You can purchase a motorcycle brand new for $7,000. IS Seven suppose to tell me that they put more money in R&D and more money in manufacturing their frames than Honda or Suzuki does? NO WAY!

Somehow the prices have just gotten out of hand and these companies appear to take advantage of this and we are buying into this.

How can something that moves with a throttle and upwards of speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour cost the same as something that needs pedal power?

Am I off base here? I love bicycle riding but when I am pricing a new bike at $5-6K, something tells me that I am getting ripped off!
There is always Chucks BikesSmeagol
Jun 28, 2003 11:30 AM
You can always go with the titanium at Chuck's bikes. They might help you appreciate the nicer frames and the cost. The downtube for the Ti Tsuanmi looks like they took a sheet of titanium and welded it right down the middle after they rounded it into a tube. The weld makes the bike heavier, and it makes it look cheap. You get what you pay for. I will ooo and awe over your bike, while I laugh at the construction of one of Chuck's ti bikes. Plus the service with chuck is pathetic as well. He wouldn't even answer his phone to resolve issues we were having with him.
speaking of Ti Tunamicyclopathic
Jun 28, 2003 3:53 PM
downtube is seamless. Frame is build by Kinesis /big Taiwan OEM mfg/ and of decent quality. I had a chance to build one and frame was ~2.2lbs. While I agree Chuck isn't always easy to get on phone, if I were one man shop I wouldn't be either.
speaking of Ti TunamiSmeagol
Jun 28, 2003 8:00 PM
You must have gotten a different ti frame. The ti frame I saw from Tsunami had a big unsightly weld down the center of the whole downtube. It was the hugest seam on the frame.
Economics 101terry b
Jun 28, 2003 11:46 AM
Nothing is worth what it costs to develop and produce, it's worth what people are willing to pay for it. Worth isn't the term, cost is. That and profit margin. And since there are plenty of people with fat checkbooks willing to shell out big dough for a bike, then the prices will continue to grow. I don't think the idea of being ripped off even comes into play, because we pay the price and pay it willingly.

Now, perhaps the mark-up on these things is obscene, but I don't see the CEO of Seven on Forbes 100 richest Americans list. My guess is that he makes enough to feel like his work is worth it, and he pays his people enough to allow them to think being an artisan is okay. It's pretty simple capitalism - they have an exclusive, desireable product, you have the cash, you're willing to part with it - voila, our economy at work.
Remember...Pet the early 70's?Asphalt Addict
Jun 29, 2003 5:08 AM
Perfect example of basic economic theory and P.T. Barnum promotion. Buy rocks by the ton from the Indian Ocean for peanuts and sell them for $5 each. Now there's a scam. If people are willing to buy...someone is waiting to sell it to them.
Apples and orangesfiltersweep
Jun 28, 2003 11:52 AM
Sure, compare the extremes...

Want me to say "$30,000 for a motorcycle? I could buy a decent CAR for that kind of money- and have room for more people and to carry things around, blah, blah, blah!"

You should be able to buy a decent Ti frameset for $1500-2000.

BTW- if you really want to boost the price, at least get Record rather than Chorus- but I digress...

I get your point, but how many people actually ride $7000 bikes? Most of us would be quite comfortable on less than half that. I ride with a guy who rides a Seven Ti/carbon mix- but his brother owns a shop... he's actually NOT that fond of its ride.

Also- regarding your motorcycle metaphor- we really don't buy a bike "by the pound," but rather inversely by weight ;)

Less is more... much, much more!
Compared to a similar motorcycle, it's the same..Dave Hickey
Jun 28, 2003 1:20 PM
Sure you can buy a $7,000 motorcycle. You can also buy a $400 road bike. A Seven or other high end frame is more like buying a custom motorcycle for $30k-$50K.
you don't need to spend thatLC
Jun 28, 2003 1:56 PM
I have 2 carbon fiber, 1 Ti, 1 AL, and 2 steel frames. Paid a lot of money for some of those frames, but my favorite to ride is one of my steel frames and not the expensive one either...the one I found in the trash so it was free! It is old (70's or 80's?) and it is heavy, but because I like the way it rides and it fits so well I am probally faster on it than any of them. If I put my race wheels on it, then it can still go as fast as any of my bikes. The only time I feel the frame is holding me back is in a crit race where the long wheel base makes cornering tricky, or in a up hill TT where the extra weight matters. Do you really think that spending all that money will make you faster or even more comfortable, or maybe it is in the legs and brain?

I think you are getting ripped off. Don't let the bike lust get you, like it apparently got me ;) all the frame needs to do is keep the components and wheels from flying apart. The difference between the heaviest frame and the lightest frame these days is about 2 lbs, but the diference in cost is $$$$! It is up to you and your legs to make it go fast. If you have some money to burn then spend it on components and wheels.
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!SeamusAD
Jun 28, 2003 2:58 PM
First, you can only be ripped off if you are forced to pay an inflated price for a product or service. Forunately, we as bike consumers have a choice in regards to what we buy and if we buy. Although many of us need to ride, we dont really need to ride.

Second, your use of exclamation points and caps tells me that you are serious about the sentiments you express. I would therefore discourage you from buying a high-end, expensive frame. Feeling that you have been ripped off, you may not enjoy it. You certainly don't want to be bitter towards your bike.
Sticker ShockWalter
Jun 28, 2003 3:03 PM
When I first got into bikes (mid70s) you'd have a hard time spending more than $1500 off the LBS floor if you tried. The "$1000 bike" was spoken of in almost reverential terms.

That bike then was European, or maybe a Schwinn Paramount, and certainly Campy NR. It weighed about 21#.

Time, bikes, and monetary values have change. I've seen $1000 disparaged on this board as not enough money to get a "decent" bike. Of course bikes today are 3# or more lighter and there's alot of choices esp. with frames but bike msrp has outpaced inflation big time. People are convinced something is better and they can afford it so they buy it. The "ooh" and "aah" factor is something people have been willing to spend money on for a long time too.

Bikes and their msrp are a factor of successful marketing and economics. If consumers change their habits msrp's will change too. That's what makes the world go 'round.
What about golf clubs and tennis rackets?Spoke Wrench
Jun 28, 2003 3:11 PM
Golf club prices pretty well match bicycle prices perfectly. You can get a perfectly useable set of golf clubs for about $400.00 or $500.00, but if you want the good stuff you'd better be prepared to pay a lot more.
Reality check: D/A Litespeeds are about $3500...Bruno S
Jun 28, 2003 4:36 PM
Don't look for prices over the internet, go to a large dealer and talk with them. It's somewhat like buying a car. An entry level (Tuscany or Siena) Litespeed with DuraAce and Opens sells for about $3500 at the most.
Agreed: It's holding the sport back in a way2300 Edmontonian
Jun 28, 2003 6:50 PM
Many younger people are interested in the road biking, but the price of road bikes is so high they never get to try it.
And to those of you who would say go for second hand, well newbies wouldn't really know what would be a good bargain, and the fact is, in places where road biking isn't very popular like edmonton, the only bikes you can for under $300 are those 80s bikes for $30 which are even more discouraging.
I'm 17, and it took me 3 years to save up to get my trek 2300, cause I didn't want to settle for less.. I still needed my parents to pay some, and those 3 years I excelled with my $450 mountain bike which worked great, time which I could've and would have loved to spend road biking. There are 4 teenagers along with myself who are all somewhat interested in road after being mountain for so many years, but none of them except me actually own a road bike, so it's difficult for me too in a way cause I end up mountain biking sometimes just to be with friends when I would rather be on the road.
Not only are road bikes expensive but the accessories as well, in edmonton there are NO second hand shoes or pedals available, so there's extra cost.
All that considering here in Canada, prices are much higher than in the US..
Agreed: It's holding the sport back in a wayxcandrew
Jun 28, 2003 8:42 PM
Actually, it seems to me that if you are looking at comparable quality bikes, mountain bikes are more expensive because of the suspension forks. I have a nice Tange Prestige '93 Stumpjumper with a leaky fork and parts are not available for the fork anymore (at least locally). It would cost me a significant fraction of what I paid for the bike initially ($700 on sale) to upgrade the fork now, and it would probably be too long for the frame. Maintenance for the forks look expensive too ($100 every couple of months?), which is why I've never serviced mine. Hey it works (kind of) and I don't have the necessary tools or parts - I have fixed up bikes since I was a kid, but never got around to figuring out the suspension.

A $450 road bike wouldn't be all that nice unless you found a good used one, agreed, but it wouldn't be worse than a $450 mountain bike. There is no doubt a problem of availability for inexpensive road bikes nowadays. Seems like people are willing to buy cheap mountain bikes because they can use them anywhere (or people looking for a cheap bike choose a mountain bike because they are the "standard" now), but want to spend more for a road bike...
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!xcandrew
Jun 28, 2003 8:15 PM
I don't know why you are drawn to such expensive frames if you think that they are ripoffs. My feeling is that those types of bikes are pretty much for rich middle-aged people with a lot of money to spend, which is good for them - I don't really care. You really don't need to spend much to get a bike that won't put you at a significant competitive disadvantage in a race, or that will last you a long time. I've never spent more than $700 on a bike - my road bikes: ~1970 road bike that I used in jr. high and high school (free). I loved it, very sweet riding, but I destroyed it in a crash. Next up was a $500 Miyata 912 in mid-'80s that I used in high school until it got stolen out of the garage - it was really nice especially for a high schooler. 1986 Trek 1500 ($700 on sale). I had to warranty the frame a couple of times (Trek, I'm sure, eventually made this line of frames reliable), but it is still my current bike. I had no thoughts that it kept me back at all in races when I raced as a junior and in college... 21 lbs was not at all heavy then. A comparable bike now would probably be a little lighter, less than $1500 and would be just as raceworthy.

The bikes that you are admiring are more like art - and you pay accordingly.

If you don't need the hyped up frames, I've heard tons of praise for Habanero Ti frames, at $700, with full customs available for $1000. (Do a google groups search in

If you don't really need a Ti frame, and want it manufactured in the U.S., there are lots of very fine, well regarded raceable steel frames available for less than $1000... Gunnars, Strong racing, etc. The frames that I am drooling over now are made by Jeff Lyon and are about $800 or so for a custom. (Tipped off to him on one of these message boards.) I have no desire at all for a more expensive frame.

As for parts, the Centaur group has all the functionality as the Chorus at only about 1/3 lb more in weight. The bearings in the hubs are the same, they use bushings instead of bearing in the levers, but experienced mechanics have found them to be no less durable or smooth (search for for discussion), etc. Shimano groups are functionally good too.

I think if I spec out a bike completely with all my favorite stuff, it would come out to about $2000.
$2k price pointweiwentg
Jun 29, 2003 9:00 AM
yeah, the $2k price point is a good one. the problem is not need ... it's want.
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!Juanmoretime
Jun 29, 2003 3:04 AM
Check out They are selling a Zion frame with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork full Ultegra for $1755. The frame is built by Litespeed and is the same as their old Arenberg model or Excel Sports Macalu Ti. I owned one of these frame and ut's great frame from the money. It's staight tubes so it's slightly heavier. It was a great climber and excellent descnding bike. Read the review on this site under the Litespeed Arenberg. $1800 delivered to your door for an excellent US built titanium frame is a steal.
A little perspective here:Alexx
Jun 29, 2003 6:26 AM
Firstly, it IS possible to spend $30k on a motorcycle-just look at some of the top-end Harleys and BMW's. I'm sure most ou us would find it hard to justify spending such amounts of money on a motorcycle, but, hey, people do everyday! How's $100k on a Ferrari sound? Expensive? Sure, but overpriced? Thousands of people don't think so.

So, in the end, what you are doing here is comparing the equivalent of a Ferrari to the equivalent of say, a tricked-out Hyundai coupe when you compare a serrotta to a typical rice-burner bike.

Also, don't underestimate the cost of working with and welding titanium. It is probably harder to construct a titanium than it is to make one with ANY other material-CF included.

Keep in mind, also, that there is a certain exculsivity in owning a top-line machine of any type. If a bike costs $7k, well, it can probably be had for $5k at the end of the season, or whenever the current favorite manufacturer changes. Wait a year, you san have it for $3500.

Also, my last point is this-the cost of lightweight bikes increases exponentially as the weigh goes down. In the end, you can spend $2k, and get a bike that is 95% of what that $7k bike is, and will only weigh a few ounces more (maybe even 1 lb. more).
if price is an issue...DaveG
Jun 29, 2003 10:17 AM
then why are you looking at such high-end, exclusive frames? The bikes you listed can command those prices because folks are willing to pay for exclusivity. Its very posible to get a great bike for a lot less if status is not the issue.
Cars are way over-priced. The cheapest Rolls made costs . . .djg
Jun 29, 2003 11:04 AM
What's your point exactly? That custom built bikes with an extremely high level of finish quality cost as much as a fast mass market motorcycle (and much, much more than the average bicycle)?

If you don't want to pay extra for super fine welds, don't. If you don't feel that custom is to your benefit, don't pay for that either. A good race worthy road bike (or extended tour worthy touring bike) from a quality builder or manufacturer can be built up for quite a bit less money than you are talking about. Indeed, for quite a bit less than half the money you are talking about. But if you'd rather have a motorcycle, buy a motorcycle.
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!Mauceri
Jun 29, 2003 3:31 PM
The point of my post is simply that a bike that requires the use of "pedal power" to move, should not even be in the same ball park in price as a mechanized bike.

I love to purchase anything that is well made. Money is not really the issue. I am well off (not rich) and I insist on paying for quality. BUT, I just think that Research and Development and the Manufacturing process involving motorcycles is much more expensive.

Yes, you can spend $50K on a motorcycle, but you can spend $6K on a great Honda that will last an easy 100K miles.

I guess I just can't see how these companies can justify the cost. Like I said, NO WAY do they spend the money on R&D and manufacturing that Honda pays. So what gives?

I am well aware that I can buy a less expensive bike. I spent $3K on my SEVEN AXIOM STEEL and I love it. But $5K on a bike...Crazy.
re: Bicycles are not over Priced!spankdoggie
Jun 29, 2003 5:38 PM
I paid $5700 for my Serotta. I don't think it was overpriced. I had lots of fun with the guy who sold it to me. I like riding the bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, and stuff. I am not a serious rider, but I enjoy the quality of the bike. Pretty cheap price to own the "best" in my opinion.

There are lots of great bikes in the $1000 range now, but $1000 now is like $500 a few years ago. You need to factor in the inflation.

don't be bastards,

Three words, "Economies of Scale" nmMel Erickson
Jun 29, 2003 6:17 PM
BTWMel Erickson
Jun 29, 2003 8:48 PM
How many motorbikes have Ti or Carbon frames and how much do they cost? Ever look at the welds on many motorcycle frames? A motorcycle main frame probably costs less, in both materials and time to produce, than a bike frame. Wheels are mass produced in great numbers. Cost is in the motor.
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!loki_1
Jun 30, 2003 8:13 AM
Many would feel the $3k you spent on your bike was crazy and you got ripped off. Everyone has their own price point.
Road Frames -vs- Full Susp. MTB Frames...asphalt assault
Jun 29, 2003 6:07 PM
What kills me is that you can get a high end, 4 bar link suspension MTB frame for saaaay...$2300? There's a lot more TO a suspension frame and we're talking "cutting edge" technology here.

The design of road frames is pretty basic and hasn't changed much over the years like MTB has. I can't understand why a simple, rigid frame is so expensive either...gotta' have it though!
You are not serious, are you?Len J
Jun 29, 2003 6:22 PM
Let me get this straight, Let's say that I'm a bike manufacturer who has, through time, effort and making a product that people really like, and maybe some innovation, managed to build my reputation up to the point where not just a few people, are willing to buy my frames for $2,500, or maybe $3,000 each. Should I sell them for $700 because that's what you think a bike frame should cost?

How about joining the rest of us here in the real world? It's called capitalism and it hinges on supply and demand. If I were to offer a bike frame for $3,000, no one would buy it. You know why? because no one know me, no one knows wether I build a POS or the best bike ever made, so who is going to bet $3,000 on me? Now if I'm Ben Serotta or Richard Sachs or Tom Kellogg or Bill Holland, someone who has supplied incredible quality and innovative bikes for years, someone who has gotten better and better at giving High end bike buyers exactly what they want, well I suppose if you measure thier success by Richard Sachs 18 month waiting list, or by the fact that 10 years after it was introduced the Serotta's Legend Ti is still their #1 selling bike, then I guess they are pretty successful.

If you don't think a bike is worth this kind of money, then don't buy it. There are plenty of good bikes out there for less money. But R & D costs (or any costs for that matter) have no relationship to sell price. Sell price is strictly a function of what a buyer is willing to spend. If the Serotta Legend was "overpriced", I suspect that Ben would be out of business.

Richard Sachs may be the greatest living frame builder, yet if I were to buy into your argument, How dare he charge $2,500 for one of his custom steel frames (especially one that i have to wait 18 months for)!

Come on back to the real world.

re: 2300 Edmontonian-Good pointOverhill
Jun 29, 2003 6:35 PM
Many of us can afford a decent bike, whether a bargain for $1700 or a "work of art" for $5000 plus [because we're old?]. But what about the 15 year old who would like to race, and whose parents can't spend even 400 or 500 for a road bike. I don't blame the manufacturers, but this is a problem for the sport
Re mid 1970's prices: the bargains were the Peugoet PX 10 and the Gitane Tour de France--all Reynolds 531, with Simplex and Mafac, for about $325. And this was practically the same bike that won the Tour, with Thevenet. Even with inflation I think its harder today to afford such a bike. I would like to see the sport open to a broader base of participants in this country.
thanks overhill (nm)2300 Edmontonian
Jun 29, 2003 10:21 PM
It happens in all sports...loki_1
Jun 30, 2003 8:31 AM
Parents who have the means spend whatever it takes to give their children the advantage. This, in addition to the expendible income of people who just want the best drives up the cost of these bikes. I agree that a kid on a $5000 bike that his parents bought will have a technical advantage over a kid on a $300 bike (or the one who saved for his/her own mid-range bike), but I bet the latter will have a better appreciation of the sport, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing their own (and not their parent's) goals achieved.
re: Bicycles are WAY Over Priced!Ken
Jun 30, 2003 12:28 AM
Check out this site.
Bikes? What about SKIS? Or bike TIRES?cory
Jun 30, 2003 8:34 AM
A neighbor of mine is a 100-day-a-year skier, former member of Rossignol's demo team, and we argue about this all the time. He gripes about a bunch of cheap steel tubing brazed together costing $2,000, and I ask why a board with the tip turned up costs $500.
The thing that mystifies me is the cost of bike tires compared to cars. I can buy a tire that will carry my 3000-pound mini-pickup 40,000 miles at 85mph for about $50, or one that will carry my 20-pound bike 1000 miles at 22mph for $45. Toss in the difference in the amount of materials, and SOMEBODY'S making a killing.