Brand hierarchy

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Posted: Nov 19, 2022 at 2:39 Quote
Probably opening a can of worms here, but interested to hear other people's thoughts on this?

Following on from the new Yeti SB140 discussion/debate/brawl I was thinking about my own views on what the brand hierarchy in mountain bikes is.

To be clear I'm not talking about how good (or bad!) one brands bikes are to ride relative to another, but more about perceived specialness. In my case "specialness" is due to perceived quality, blinginess (good looks) and rarity.

In short which brands do you think, are most likely to get other riders on the trail looking and asking questions.

I've recently bought a Specialized Stumpjumper Evo. I've come from a 2017 YT Jeffsy. To my mind a Specialized bike is a bit more "special" (pardon the pun!) than a YT bike in the brand hierarchy, and, indeed prices seem to reflect that...

Just to reiterate, I'm not saying that all Specialized bikes are better to ride than all YT bikes, merely that the brand has a bit more cachet to me.

Where things get tricky for me is comparing Specialized to the other large competitors such as Scott, Giant and Trek.

In my mind, Specialized have always been a bit more "premium" than the other three. I've been lucky enough to own a Scott and a Trek in the past, and I think Giant also make great quality products, but I've always considered them a bit more "value" than Specialized. However a quick look on their respective websites tells me that this isn't necessarily the case.

So, what do you think? Outside of ultra rare super bikes (Unno, Pole etc) do certain brands have more cachet than others?

Is a Yeti more special than a Santa Cruz? In my mind they are, due to rarity and their unique suspension (without looking gopping!).

Where do the mass manufacturers stand relative to each other?

Just to start, I'd say in descending order:

Boutique

Yeti
Evil
Santa Cruz

Big manufacturers

Specialized
Orange
Scott
Trek
Giant

Value

YT
Vitus

Budget

Calibre
Boardman

So am I right, am I wrong? Really interested to see other people's perceptions of this.

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 14:49 Quote
You think Santa Cruz are boutique?!

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 14:52 Quote
Everyone's perception of what is "special" will be different. I think most people will say whatever their current bike is is the most special, whether that's a Specialized or their Calibre.

Personally, I don't think a single one of the manufacturers on your list is "special", they're all off the peg mass produced bikes you see everywhere

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 16:27 Quote
100% agree. We are all suspect to marketing but try to see through the BS and buy a product that offers quality at value you can live with. Having something “different” matters to people as well I suppose. No poser wants to be like another poser Wink . The smaller the production the less likely you are to run into a copy cat. Owning a bike is like the highlander… there must only be 1 on the mountain Wink . Happy trails.

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 19:45 Quote
I think your definition of boutique is different than mine. Some of the latest reviews are of "boutique" brands. I am eyeing the Reeb SST as it gives me the same level interest I had with my first Santa Cruz back in 2001. I have been on SC since, but I am wanting something different now. Life is short and time to try something different. To me, it is kind of like the bike or brand having "soul". Made here, by hand, almost art worthy. Means something.

Your list seems arbitrary to me. The shear # of manufacturers makes this nearly impossible.

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 22:55 Quote
I'd swap the 'boutique' for most expensive then I just see a random list of bike's descending in price order.

YT, Vitus and a few other brands are good value because of the direct to consumer aspect.

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 23:20 Quote
I'd be interested to see a list of how many warrenty claims each manufacturer has, PPM obviously.........................
then factor in price, value
That would be my "brand hierarchy"

yeti would more than likely be dead last.. Razz

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 23:43 Quote
TimMog wrote:
You think Santa Cruz are boutique?!

I think so. They’re expensive, they don’t make any “value” bikes?

Posted: Nov 22, 2022 at 23:45 Quote
TimMog wrote:
Everyone's perception of what is "special" will be different. I think most people will say whatever their current bike is is the most special, whether that's a Specialized or their Calibre.

Personally, I don't think a single one of the manufacturers on your list is "special", they're all off the peg mass produced bikes you see everywhere

Fair point.

Is it only ultra rare super bikes that you’d view as special then?

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 0:01 Quote
I totally agree that it’s arbitrary. Different people value different things which is good. Just interested to hear other people’s thoughts is all.

Also agree there are too many brands to be exhaustive.

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 4:50 Quote
I think an Atherton bike would be a questions/ looks magnet anywhere in the world

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 5:16 Quote
Santa Cruz is just as mass produced and sold as Specialized, they are not boutique. When speaking of boutique, the consideration of 'rarity' and 'one off' are mentioned within definitions. Think of boutique clothing stores, things you don't find at your local mass franchise store... Santa Cruz does not check those boxes.

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 8:25 Quote
Pyres wrote:
I think an Atherton bike would be a questions/ looks magnet anywhere in the world

Yep. I've only ever seen one in real life, and it was being ridden by one of their mechanics

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 8:45 Quote
BarneyStinson wrote:
Fair point.

Is it only ultra rare super bikes that you’d view as special then?

Well, yeah. Not even necessarily super bikes, just stuff you don't see every day.

Put it in car terms. A Ford Focus is not special. A Ford GT40 is very special.
A Volvo XC90 is not special. A Volvo 850R is.
A Ferrari 488, I'd argue, isn't special. A Pagani Huayra is.

Posted: Nov 23, 2022 at 9:18 Quote
TimMog wrote:
Pyres wrote:
I think an Atherton bike would be a questions/ looks magnet anywhere in the world

Yep. I've only ever seen one in real life, and it was being ridden by one of their mechanics

Rumour has it that there aren’t many more than that “in the wild”?

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