The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?

Apr 1, 2020 at 9:37
by Brian Park  
Art by Taj Mihelich


Normally the spring is a hectic time in the mountain bike media world—endless travel for trade shows and races and press camps. But this year is different, and we're all staying close to home. So, just like every other group of cooped up millennials, we're kicking off a podcast.

Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the Pinkbike editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

That said, we're all sick of hearing about Coronavirus, so for this first episode we're skipping the news and kicking things off by jumping straight into a discussion about value bikes. What did we learn from our Field Trip to test inexpensive bikes? Why are some bikes so expensive? Where should product managers be putting their resources? What are the best parts to upgrade?

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.


THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 1 - WHY ARE BIKES SO EXPENSIVE?
April 2nd, 2020

Levy, Kaz, & Brian have a frank discussion about value in the bike industry.

Let us know what you think! What topics would you like to hear from us on? Would you be interested in a video version? Do you enjoy it this candid or should it be more scripted?


245 Comments

  • 145 2
 Reason No1: because people buy them
  • 14 1
 1 and only
  • 5 0
 Boom!
  • 12 3
 @JaumeAmoros: I'm completely aware that compared to, let's say, motorcycles, MTBs tend to have the economy of scale against them, as well as having way more optimized components in terms of materials and processes. But it is like that because that's what the market demands
  • 17 27
flag RoadStain (Apr 2, 2020 at 5:59) (Below Threshold)
 How DARE these people, who in general are SMB folks (at some point) make a profit, pay bills and even hire staff. That is ridiculous how just because capitalism creates wealth we have to pay more for a product than we want....they are almost as bad as the diamond industry, almost.
  • 18 7
 @RoadStain: The problem isn't that they're making money. It's more the margins. I'm also fairly certain that they'd be even more profitable if they made the sport more accessible but what do I know...
  • 21 0
 @DangerDavez: I don't think there's a problem in them making money at all, this even considering that the margins are that high at all (which I highly doubt).
No brand is holding you at gunpoint forcing you to buy that 10k Specialized Enduro.
Right next to the Enduro are those amazing Vitus and Honzos, recently teste here at PB
  • 9 1
 @Arierep: Im moreso looking at the component and accessoriy manufacturers. They are the ones charging an arm and a leg.
  • 13 0
 @DangerDavez: Accurate statement. In the past, Ive looked at Giants financial statements (Giant is the only publicly traded company I know of). And they were pulling very small profits. Bikes are expensive to manufacture and ship. Not to mention the amount of middlemen there are at each stage eating up costs. Giant even manufactures most of their parts in house, and they still have baby margins.
  • 10 0
 @DangerDavez: do you state that out of actual knowledge of the component industry manufacturing processes and supply chain or because of the perception that things "feel" too expensive?

Let's look at a pair of Hope pedals, let's say at $150. Hope manufactures in house, with significant overhead from facilities and a lot of machine tools. They also have to pay their employees an UK level wage, as well as UK level taxes. This, while only manufacturing, AFAIK, and selling for their name brand. They also need to include some features to get market differentiation, which also increases costs. Then you have their margin, and then again resale margins.
  • 12 0
 I'd say a big part of it is due to the high rate of innovation in the bike industry. If we compare bikes to motorcycles, then it's pretty clear to see. In the mtb industry, almost every product on a bike will be upgraded every year. By that I mean Fox will release an upgraded fork, your dropper will be new for this year, the brakes will have a new lever adjustment they didn't have last year, etc... Almost every product improves every year, and as consumers, we have to pay for the R&D at all of these companies. In the motorcycle industry, styling and some structural things change, but the majority of products on the motorcycle are the same for several years. So less R&D that you have to pay for.

Also, making things light and still strong is very hard. If dirt bike product companies were as devoted to lightness as companies in the mtb industry, I'm sure you could cut the weight of a dirt bike down by 30%, but at a 3-4x price jack. For mtb lightness is necessary, for motorcycles it's not
  • 2 0
 @almostsendy: Good points, but paying for that rate of turnaround (yearly) is the problem with price. The industry doesn't have to do it this way but it's convenient and makes money and you have to keep up with the Joneses. At some point, a company could take the product they've got (if it's good) and run with it for a long time while still maintaining some R&D and jump in with their new product when they deem it significant and polished enough. Ex: SRAM, run 12 speed eagle for 3 years. Then come out with 10 speed eagle that's polished and lighter. Bonus, the longer you hold one product, the more time you have to work out the kinks in the next one.
  • 3 6
 @DangerDavez: You are in N. America. There is a simple solution. If you do not like something do not buy it.
  • 5 12
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 2, 2020 at 8:31) (Below Threshold)
 @DangerDavez: They’re just too greedy. There’s no reason to sell a frame that couldn’t cost more than $300 dollars To manufacture in China in the UK for £3500. We’re constantly ripped off in this industry if you don’t believe me why do you get last years bikes for nearly half price when all that’s really changed is the paint job and slightly cheaper components.
  • 6 0
 Remember there's a time Pinkbikers want 26. Bike companies made some 26" bikes. No one buys the 26" bikes.They learnt a lesson.
  • 4 1
 economies of scale.
  • 11 2
 @thenotoriousmic: right...
Because that 300$ frame manufactured in Asia goes to Europe or the US by teleportation and sells by itself...
Because every cent someone charges over the manufacturing cost is attributable to "greed"...
Because last year's frames and bikes that are sitting around don't take any warehouse space and respective costs and will sell just as well this season, no need to move them on...

Don't get me wrong, not implying that's your case specifically, but I'm amazed so many times the people asking for higher base wages, more regulations and more state programs that demand higher taxes (not making any judgement about those, not getting into politics here) then are the same screaming that something they want is too expensive because of "greed"
  • 30 0
 Probably an unpopular opinion around these parts: people who think there is some massive price gouging conspiracy in cycling probably have (1) no real design experience, (2) never tried to fabricate anything substantial, (3), never examined in detail the overhead cost to support both of these things in-house or farmed out.

Not to mention procurement, testing, logistics, legal and insurance needs, or the relatively small market size of the sport among plenty of other actual, real-world considerations...
  • 3 1
 @Arierep:

and i rarely even see those 10k bikes. even though it seems that everything is so expensive there are tons of riders on 3k bikes, not to mention real budget bikes much cheaper. yeah i still see plenty of yetis. we're shown the top of the line but most users aren't on them. margins are irrelevant without the context of volume and cost of doing business which most of us don't know. the margins that i've seen don't seem that high in general especially as most people i know in the sport aren't making fistfulls of cash.
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: hope cast the stuf in asia and they just finish it in uk, they do most of te stuff in uk but brakes, hubs and few things more they do it like that, if you wanna i will be happy to share more info with you
  • 2 0
 @patch92:

man the genius is in the d2c where they have the potential for higher volumes and make a higher margin selling to us directly than to a shop. some say d2c prices are increasing now that those brands have built an image, proven their bikes, and have a customer base, but look at how much value is packed into the $3k Jeffsy with a full carbon frame. more impressive are the traditional brands that are attempting to compete. SC offers a bunch of aluminum bikes still which is awesome tho not specced as well, and Ibis has a high performing alu bike with nice squishers at $3k.
  • 5 0
 @thenotoriousmic:

ripped off? that's just everyone's choice. some people value that shiny turquoise frame w/ gold slippery coating on the shock. I don't so no sweat off my sack. so many high performance aluminum frames around the 2k mark as a good starting point to a build. or complete bikes at that price that are multiple times better than the 2k bikes from the 90's that i lusted after when i started riding (and having tons of fun on a $500 bike). this sport is as expensive as you want it to be.
  • 1 0
 ...and want to show them
  • 3 0
 Because the #1 reason you are in business is to make money
  • 2 6
flag RoadStain (Apr 2, 2020 at 12:23) (Below Threshold)
 @Twowheelsjunkie: See, now you are just a selfish jerk. Now, send me your address and I will send you some propaganda from Stalin, China and maybe even N. Korea to let you see how things should be.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer @brianpark Hope you see this one. I'm so glad you brought up the drivetrain question. Yes, you can get cheap 9 speed drivetrains that are wide-range and they work. And they can have a clutch derailleur. Specialized actually specs MS Advent on a couple bikes. Not sure if anyone else does. I run Advent on my nice (only) mountain bike and it works fine. It's a good, race-worthy drivetrain that's not too heavy either. 11-42 drivetrain and I'm running 32 on the front. If you want the stupid granny gear, put a 28 or a 30t on the front, but you don't need it. Big thing I'd like to see addressed is why we need 12 speeds in the first place. Box does 11-50 on their 9 speed so it is possible.
  • 2 0
 Dentists!
  • 4 0
 Anyone who says margins on bikes are too high or prices in the bike industry are attributable to “greed” probably has no idea what the margins actually look like or what it costs to manufacture and sell something. I’ve worked in bike shops and in the greater bike industry and can tell you for a fact that many of those who complain about prices make more money than 90% of the employees at their favorite bike brand
  • 3 0
 Bike shop owners in SA make more money than lawyers at the moment. Big guys like Specialized and their concept stores are coining it, some smaller boutique shops too.
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: I am SO glad there is an educated [on the topic] voice of reason among these comments. I could not agree more with every statement you have made so far. Spot on.
  • 1 1
 @almostsendy: I agree completely. Add that R&D are USA & Europe ENGINIEERS with 1st world live levels and bikes are made in China. They have to change things every year to keep their high level jobs. That every year "improvement" is fake. BUT we are eager to pay a kidney for 30 grams less...and they know it...
  • 2 0
 @bodynaut: No offence intended and maybe I'm misreading your post, but you seem to be the poster child for my earlier comment. The average product lifecycle for something like a bicycle frame (which requires significant upfront design, build, and test) doesn't have a major overhaul every year because its impractical from an engineering perspective. Small MY to MY tweaks are one way to address feedback but something that's a huge lost concept on average consumers is that developers cannot constantly iterate over an existing design and expect to offset the cost of investing in a platform's creation. This is really the crossroads of engineering and business. As an engineer, I would love to constantly improve everything I work on but it is not financially feasible to do so. Since product dev is a profit center (pretty much the sole one in cycling co's), eventually we have to move on to the next thing to keep business flowing, which takes a lot more time than again, most consumers realize.

Its also amazing how much money you and many others seem to think is made in cycling, especially by engineers. There is a reason I no longer work in the bike industry, lets leave it at that.
  • 3 0
 They go and manufacture in China because it's cheap labor, then turn around and sell them for high profit claiming tooling as their excuse! They won't make them in US because people here are lazy, and want to get paid like they did something and claiming immigrants taking their jobs....the jobs they did not want to do in the first place...cleaning toilets, sweeping floors, washing dishes, picking strawberries, mowing lawns, working at McDonalds, Burger King, 711!
  • 1 2
 @drivereight: Just today I fired a girl for applying for unemployment from her work computer.....I guess she ran the numbers and the Govt will pay her more than we will....see, win win (other than the fact she will not try to get another job, we certainly will not be a reference).
  • 2 0
 @drivereight: What f*ck are you on? Engineering design and manufacturing are two completely different enterprises. Calling bike companies lazy for pushing production overseas only signals how out of touch you are about the scale on which Asian industry eclipses our own (i.e. readily able to produce in volume with minimal investment and lead time). Domain irrelevant, there is a reason manufactured products produced stateside are almost invariably and proportionately more expensive and its not purely CoL.

No one outside of the big 3 are getting rich in the bike industry.
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: Yeah you’re right. You only get ripped of if you want a certain colour or a certain brand name in a certain colour. There’s always loads of deals and reductions. That being said though bikes are getting more expensive and the specs are getting worse.
  • 2 0
 @almostsendy: They (dirt bike companies) can get the weight down...and you're right the cost goes up nearly as much as 3x the price...a pro's race bike is CRAZY expensive...and also up to 30 lbs lighter (the weight of a whole MTB) in some cases!
  • 115 7
 Bikes aren't expensive. Plenty of fantastic mountain bikes for $1500 USD or so. The problem is we all want to drive Ferrari's and Lamborghini equivalent bikes because they're sort-of within reach for alot of people. Why are cars so expensive? Why is wine so expensive? You can say the same thing for any product when you are looking at the high-end version of the product. Bikes are fine. What other sport can you run out and buy basically 99.9% of the exact same bike as what the top-level pro's are riding for often less than $10k? Try to do that with a motorcycle, car, etc. and you'll be looking at several hundred thousand dollars in some cases. Your $50,000 Mustang or Audi isn't 1/3 the car that you see a pro racing on a track, but your $3500 mountain bike could damn well give a pro a run for its money in the right hands.
  • 7 1
 True story!
  • 29 1
 Exactly. Most of us can not afford our dream car. We can however afford our dream bikes.
  • 2 4
 but most of us is not pro. we are regular joe's and, maybe some dentists
  • 10 1
 @kilazilla: regular Joe’s & root-canal Joey’s
  • 23 6
 After having given this some real thought for a long long time I disagree. Comparing things with motors to bikes is a tough sell for me. You're paying for the motor in cars and motos. With bikes you have to bring the speed. As for other sports, take skiing. No motor, you can buy what the pros have. Will it make you faster? No not really, but maybe a tiny bit. Is it similarly a ton more money for marginal gains? Yes. Don't compare biking to sports with motors when it comes to cost and performance. Bikes ARE expensive. The thing that the industry misses (this part somewhat like car manufacture) is optimizing value. They're optimizing what they think is performance and then making it shiny so we'll spend more. Totally a fair strategy don't get me wrong, but I wish it weren't the case.

The drivetrain example really bothers me. Some people seem to be trending toward something desirable. Let's make 11speed! Let's make 12 speed! Do you need those speeds? No. Do you want the range? Yes! Okay, if you can do 11-50 with 10 speeds, do that. Why? Lighter, can probably make it cheaper, can probably make it last longer. Do it. Industry: Here's a gold 12-speed drivetrain. Why? Why does every silly aspect of the company need to be updated every year? To have more excuses for charging more? Oh, we HAD to have this inconsequentially better product which required re-tooling our entire process and making new molds plus new graphics and materials. No, you could've stayed the same and offered the consumer a very similar product for the same price. Oh what's that? There wouldn't be a new incompatible part? Oh no!

I'm being a bit facetious but I'll stand by my point. If you're a service-providing company the story isn't "Oh, well the new year rolled around so we had to buy all new machinery so our service will now cost 40% more." It's more like "Well, we need to charge X amount to pay our necessary staff and pay off this nice equipment that is necessary to provide our service to the quality which people expect." What we aren't getting in the bike industry is 1.The quality we want 2. For the price that's reasonable. Why? Rich people. It's a rich sport, just like skiing is. A good fraction of the market will pay more for silly stuff so the market caters to that consumer because they can. In the process, a lot of other stuff gets overlooked. It's just about where the values are for everyone and mine (and I feel some other people's) values don't line up. Wow I've been wanting to rant about this. Thanks for bringing the discussion to the table.
  • 3 1
 Not too mention high end bikes depreciate very quickly...1 year old top of line bikes=$4500 ish.
  • 6 5
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: I totally agree.

And the top end bikes are not like Farraris and Lambos. That’s some B.S. the bike industry tells us to get us to spend more on them.
  • 1 0
 see, yupstate gets it?!
  • 6 2
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:

i love how the highest end cassettes are the ones that wear out the fastest..... at $400 a pop. sick brah, your cassette is so light. yeah drivetrains are a good example of silliness but holy crap you can piece together an slx 11 speed drivetrain for cheap as hell. add an xt shifter and you've got a great setup for 'cheap'.

with some of my friends our bikes are worth more than our cars and we're okay with that tradeoff. not rich, just prioritize our passion and lifestyle appropriately.
  • 3 1
 The difference in production and development costs between a Golf and Lamborghini is also a lot larger than between a Fox Performance + SLX and Factory + XTR specced bike.
  • 3 0
 @WasatchEnduro: 2900 miles and going strong on my $400 cassette. Wash, dry lube, last.
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: In some ways you are actually agreeing with me but just stating it a different way. Cars are not the only/best example, there's tons. The point is not that every incremental change or "enhancement" is always worth the cost, it's that they are there and you aren't always forced to pay for them to have a "good" or "great" bike. I'm not running 12 speed, my cassette isn't gold, nothing on my bike is electronic and I have an awesome bike (several actually).

So cars have a motor, remove them from the discussion then. Use my other example...wine. Are there not $5 bottles of wine? Are there not $5,000 bottles of wine and everything in-between? In almost all industry there are super high-end, fancy products that you may or may not think are worth the cost; bikes are no exception.
  • 1 2
 @kilazilla: And, so that means that I cant have nice things? I am not a chef but I have great kitchen knives. I am not a race car driver but I have a 700hp twin turbo car....I am not a pro MTN bike rider, but, my bike could feed a kid every day for 20,000 days. I am such a terrible human.

Source : ShareTheMeal is an app from the World Food Programme that enables people to "share their meals" with children in need. It costs US$ 0.50 to feed one child for a day.
  • 1 2
 @jrocksdh: Where? I have seen used Tri bikes go for twice that.
  • 2 0
 @RoadStain: A used TT bike for 9 grand? Was it 15 grand new?
  • 1 0
 @sunringlerider:
And if it is a SRAM cassette you can replace just the aluminum cassette cog when/if that wears out before the rest.
  • 4 1
 @yupstate: I totally get where you're coming from, however this may be a more nuanced issue that first inspection reveals. Putting it into words is hard. I'd say it still varies from the wine situation. In wine, you can get a $6 bottle and you can pay well over $100. Totally. Then there are the fringe bottles that are insane. Keep in mind throughout this discussion that analogies are inherently flawed. Let's say your average good bottle of wine is $20. You give almost anyone that $20 bottle and they wouldn't be able to tell the difference from a $120 one. Hell, even most "experts" have a hard time. More importantly, some people like the taste of cheaper wine better. People don't like cheaper bikes more because they can tell the difference.

Bikes aren't all about perception. If you've got a new, $2000 bike, it's not going to perform as well as a properly specified $6500 one. It's going to be worse in just about every way, and anyone could tell. The really big thing is, once companies have gone through the paces of making the higher end products, they only cost a little more (if any more) than some of the mid-level offerings. The big problem is that companies have a "comprehensive product line" if you will. We've got a new damper that costs less to make but works better? Oh shit, gotta make it more expensive than the last one. In contrast, you could instead have a bike company have two items in their lineup. Get rid of the super-cheap option that still needs the same tooling but uses shittier materials (looking at SX Eagle [it might work, but GX is better]) because the materials really don't add much to the cost in the specific case. Bring GX down below NX prices and call it a day. Maintain your super-high-end pay-for-bling scenario. I'm not saying get rid of that. I guess what it comes down to is that smart design doesn't cost more. You don't pay for geometry (except incrementally over time). Why pay for a derailleur that's worse when it doesn't cost any more to make than one that's an industry standard? Yes, there are real differences in price but I feel that the point is communicated this way. Wine is still a bad comparison, sorry. If you want to compare crazy nice bikes to wine, compare a bike that's gold-plated and signed by Lebron Jacuzzi to a bottle that has the Queen's lipstick on it or something. This is a really fun discussion and I quite enjoy the stupid remarks I'm making, so if you took the time to read this dumb text block keep 'em coming.
  • 6 0
 Over the years I found myself defending ~$5k bike purchases to my wealthy, but thrifty, grandparents. They didn't have as much to say when I would point out that I had more on-going appreciation for my bike over multiple years, than they did for their Lexus within days of purchasing it. Not to mention the fitness biking provides.

To your point - it's fun to be a part of a sport where your average person can afford world class equipment.
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: If a component is developed that costs less to produce and works better, we on the consumer end of that equation are never going to know the truth about it, so it's virtually impossible to verify your statement--however, I don't doubt that it has happened here and there. I gave you a +1 for your spot-on insights related to Sram NX, GX, SX. The naming apparatus there is horrible, and frankly I'm not 100% sure I even know which one sits where in that lineup...that's not even considering XX1, XO, XO1, whatever else. >>I'll pay Shimano the compliment that they have kept it simple in the naming department, and the practice of trickling down tech has been great to the point where I'll happily ride a Deore der/shifter and have few complaints. Can you compare and contrast those two companies and their development practices within the industry? Whereas your point stands about Sram, perhaps we can say it is balanced out by the likes of Shimano, or maybe even Box? [My next build is getting Box 9 drivetrain, I gotta try it!].
  • 2 0
 @mikealive: Stoked you're hyped on drivetrain shenanigans in a similar way (I think). I'm no expert (except for in the PB comments of course) but I'll talk about this forever when given the chance. Clearly Sram did us a huge favor by making 1x a mainstream thing. That's the kind of first-principles thinking we need. They then proceeded to give us more and more speeds instead of again asking "What do we really need and want?" This I think was silly. I also think Sram is actually ahead of the game when compared to Shimmy. Sram has the compatibility thing between groups pretty locked-in and seems like with eagle they really are striving for something that works well for a long time which is admirable. Like Brian (or maybe MK) speculates in the podcast, the actual change in materials especially for something like a drivetrain from cheap to mid-range probably doesn't change as much as R&D and re-tooling costs. The idea then is, get rid of the cheap stuff and make the mid-range the low end because it costs basically the same. In Sram's case I'd say ditch SX and GX. Don't put eagle on a bike that's super cheap, but do make GX cheaper and put it on cheaper bikes.

I was going to write more but then I got bored and decided to rant about drivetrains in general instead. You'll see me comment this same thing over and over in the future and you'll get very annoyed.
*10 speed drivetrain
*11-48 cassette->no, it's not unreasonable, yes you can do it
*Make 2 versions only
*Make them compatible
*Make one $200, medium weight (Cassette, chain, shifty)
*Make one $600, light weight (Cassette, chain, shifty)

Man, I just want it to be about people buying your stuff because it works the best and less about buying the new fancy thing because you can. Sorry I lost my trajectory in this comment stream so quickly.
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:
I'm with you. One of these companies should just develop a 2 price point 10 speed range and then let all the tech from the fancy stuff trickle down to it. 11-48 is totally possible with 10 speed. 10-50 is possible especially if you allow a funny big jump into the highest gear, and view the 50 as the bailout.

With current Shimano stuff their 11 speed shifters will shift the 12 speed derailleurs perfectly, from my understanding. It makes doing a wide range 11 speed system super easy, and potentially shift with no compromises.
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: Valid point. However, many yt chanels that do equipment reviews start to highlight this fact. They say openly that e.g. xtr is super light and rocket-science-ish but will wear faster than SLX or XT.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: Very interesting about the Shimano situation. So potentially that would allow someone to run 11sp wide-range shift/cassette/chain and only have to pay the premium for 12sp der? That sounds like a fun compromise for the time being.

I was thinking 11 or 10-48 (or even just 46) on the 10 speed to reduce pie-plate-weight and structural issues. I feel as though that range is never needed unless you're riding your MTB on the road, downhill, which I heard is a sin anyway. I'm well good with just my 11-42 and 32 in the front 9 speed, but I could see if you did a bunch of all-day climbing how a 30 in the front would be nice. So the range I think with 11-46 has gotten to the point where it's all even any racer would need. If you're a watt-house, slap a 34 (or 36) on the front and be good forever. If you're a weak person like me, put a 30 (or even 2Cool on the front and never worry about your top end because you aren't the kind of rider who is going to miss it. This is my main problem with feeble eagle anyway. The 12 speed is dumb but the range is also not needed. Sure, it's nice or whatever but people don't know that they would rather have SLX 11-46 10 speed that's lighter, cheaper, and shifts better. I wish we could have wide range 10 speed. Key: Fewer speeds, less weight; fewer big rings, less weight. Or, more durability for same weight. And weight by the way does matter to people. That NX drivetrain really is heavy. It works fine, but it is heavy. Another big deal for me would be having to replace a $110+ derailleur when it gets frigged by a tiny stick. It all adds up. I'm just spewing thoughts left and right at this point.
  • 1 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:
After looking it up, it also appears that 10, 11, and 12 speed Shimano are all cross compatible. So you are in luck. Just run the 10 speed shifter if your choice and then throw a range appropriate derailleur on there and you are set to go. You can then pick up a 11-42 Sunrace cassette for $50 that only weighs 360 grams and have a pretty sweet set up. The Chinese brands like Bolony and ZTTO make huge range cassettes up to 11-50 10 speed, that struggle if run with 10 speed derailleurs, but apparently do much better when using range appropriate derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:
SRAM is only compatible between 11-12, so dreams of a 10 speed wide range is more complicated with them. I do like how SRAM has more cross compatibility between the road and mountain stuff though, with my 105 shifter moving an XT derailleur I had to use a Tanpan to get them to play nice.
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:
Okay I went down this rabbit hole...
So there are several people saying SRAM 11 speed shifters will shift Shimano 11 speed derailleurs as well. So with the previously mentioned compatibility that should mean that Shimano Dynasys (10,11,12 speed) anything, will work with any SRAM X-Actuation(11-12 speed). I think that means I have something to try tonight #1: run my XT M8000 derailleur with my X1 shifter. Also means you could do some cool crossover stuff in general.

Done for now, might order a silly Chinese Cassette 11 speed and see if my X1 shifter will shift a slx 12 speed derailleur on one of those well. Then obviously use a YBN chain so that there are no components that are recommended to work together by the manufacturer.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: This is amazing. Excited to hear how this goes. I was always under the impression that with the move to higher numbers of gears the pull ratios would change as well but maybe the companies aren't as satanic as I thought. This is hilarious, and you should try to get Ryan Palmer to see this if it works.
  • 1 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:
I just wish I got along with Shimano shifter ergonomics or I would definitely tryout a 10 speed shifter running a 12 speed derailleur. But I actually want really big range so not a biggy for me, actually really nice to be able to run a great piece like an slx derailleur with a shifter I get along with, like my X1 shifter.
  • 52 1
 Oh good I said “rear fork”. That’s just great.
  • 5 1
 @brianpark: ...said the bishop to the choir boy.
  • 1 0
 Subscribed but not available yet.
  • 3 0
 @Maverick18T: Which platform do you use for your podcasts? We'll try and get that fixed as soon as possible
  • 2 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Hey there, at the moment its not showing up on the Google Podcast app.
  • 2 0
 @subwaypanda @maverick18T Ok thanks guys, we're looking into it and I'll let you know when its resolved
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: I'm not showing results on Google Play or Stitcher.
  • 1 0
 why is that response NOT IN CAPS?
  • 2 0
 @subwaypanda @Maverick18T They should be sorted for you now
  • 2 0
 @Samuel-L-Jackson: dont you mean "said the motherf*cking bishop to the motherf*cking choir boy"?
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: I'm still not having any luck with Google podcast
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite:

Apple is up and running, thanks!
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite:

Hey guys, I generally listen to podcast over a loud speaker at work since I’m usually in the shop by myself, with your current microphone setup Levy’s quite muffled compared to Brian and Mike. I’m can only hear 2/3rd’s of the conversation clearly. Not a huge deal I’ll just listen to it on the way home, but just a heads up.
  • 37 0
 As an avid podcast listener and someone who spends way to much time on Pinkbike, I'm psyched to see Pinkbike enter the podcast world!
  • 14 0
 Thanks! We'll try to keep them interesting.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: 2 Suggestions. 1) A same bike, different price points comparison. Low-end model of bike vs. mid-range vs. high-end. Where is the sweet spot? What are the differences? Its would be interesting. 2) For the next road trip that compares bikes, choose somewhere other than the West. Maybe for an XC shoot-out, pick the East or (better yet) the Midwest. Spread the love around.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Hi Mike, thanks for starting a podcast. I have 1 hr commute everyday and Podcasts are a life saver. There was a real lack of entertaining podcasts about mtb (notable exception to Kendal vs. Kendal). Please don't give up on this idea to soon, it takes a few months for a new podcast to grab traction, and remember to always ask for 5 star reviews to float your podcast up in the feed recommendations. I start work again on Monday, so looking forward to your show.
  • 15 3
 economics 101 and all that supply n demand stuff, cuz we're suckers to pay that much. you can get a whole dirt bike for almost the same price as some enduro and DH rigs --- and those have real horse power not watts like the silly Ebikes. motocross products are often cheaper than bike products --- I can sell MX boots for less than some XC shoes and there's like 10 times more material, gloves.. same.. clothing..same.... even helmets can be cheaper or same price even though they're much more material lubes --- same thing -- motorcycle and auto products are way cheaper than bicycle products same thing applies to all sorts of products we often pay waaaay too much money for-- fishing, golf, tennis boating, camping... the only thing that's common.. it's all made in China.. that needs to stop for about 20 years
  • 7 2
 While I agree with some of your points, I have always thought that its difficult to compare complete mtb pricing to moto pricing because of the (massive) economy of scale difference. Mtbs are a niche sector of the bike industry and within that niche there's the even smaller DH and enduro niches. Point being that Kawasaki sells a metric sh!t tonne more motos that say Specialized sells mtbs. Kinda like a Maxxis Assguy costs more than some car tires - that's because the car tire company sells millions of those tires versus the thousands of Assguys maxxis sells, so they can offer a volume "discount ". Its a little more complicated than that I'm sure, but that's the general idea.
  • 6 0
 @jackalope: Know why Tri stuff costs so much? Easy, because the demographic on average can afford to pay it.
  • 11 0
 @RoadStain: It's because Triathletes are all clinically insane.
  • 2 1
 @RoadStain: yeah I agree with the idea that a lot of mtb products (like Triflow) cost more than they really should. Reminds me of my boating days when a lot of "marine" branded products cost twice what the landlubber analog product was. Sometimes there was a meaningful difference, but often times there wasn't any at all other than the price.

Anyway, my main point about economy of scale was related to mtb completes compared to motos. Having said that, Guerrila Gravity seems to be taking a big bite out of high end carbon frame market by offering a bad ass frame for 30% less than most big brand frames.
  • 1 1
 Take Maxxis and Kenda.... both make all sorts of tires.. ouch.. a bike tire costing as much as an auto tire when auto tires are 100 times more material. eco 101?
  • 3 0
 The good old moto vs mtb comparison flaw: people compare a showroom stock moto to a pro level race mountain bike. The moto is comparable to an NX level build mtb.
Compare the price of what the actual AMA pro motocross racers are riding to a $10k mtb. The estimations are the AMA pro bikes are around $50k (or more).
  • 2 1
 @jackalope: So, maybe Guerrilla creates a market correction in prices...but, to think that Giant, Trek, Specialized and a few other HUGE players are not chatting in the background is simply foolish. COLLUSION!!!!!!!!

I do not care if you are Specialized, Renthal, Chris King or a one-off custom builder hipster who wreaks of bong water. It is in the industries best interests to keep margins where they are. At any case, "keystone" is LONG LONG past thanks to on-line resellers (we can blame Wild Bill for that, way back in the day with 1-800-FLY-BIKE, Nashbar and Performance).
  • 3 1
 @RoadStain: I'm not sure if all the big brands are colluding on pricing, but I will say that a lot of their frames are made in the same factories. But you hit on the real answer - just start buying Guerilla Gravity bikes and force the big brands to rethink things or, as Specialized if fond of saying, they die Smile
  • 2 5
 @jackalope: Guerilla will not offer me the warranty support, nor the purchasing power of a total package like Specialized....the Smaller companies also do not have the depth of protections as the large companies do.

For instance, try to find a current helmet that is 'not' MIPS. None of the big players are going to produce non-mips due to legal liability (valid or not). Same as the QR case some years ago and on and on and on. There is a reason that many smaller companies do not "build" bikes (the LBS does). Simply, liability (how many of us take off reflectors before the first ride???)
  • 2 1
 @RoadStain: Can't really comment on the helmet and reflector issues, but I can say that GG's complete builds compare quite damn nicely to Spesh or really anybody - especially since you can often times customize your "OEM" build with GG. I will suggest that they're warranty policy and response is as good or better than the usual big brand warranties. And when it comes to warranties, I would much prefer a bike be designed so that it likely never need a crash replacement warranty. I don't give AF how good say Trek's warranty is if the damn bike keeps breaking.
  • 2 0
 @BikesNBites: it's more than the amount of material used... You also have to factor in how many they sell...
  • 2 0
 @jackalope:

and good on Norco for offering the Optic frame/shock for 2300. Not 'cheap' but going with an alu rear end helps keep it in line with some full alu performance frames. i like this competition. also i hope GG is staying busy, they're doing great work.
  • 14 0
 That was fantastic!
  • 10 3
 Slight tangent --- I used to sell Santa Cruz because it was one of MADE IN USA options I sold at the shop along with Dean, Ellsworth and Mountain Cycle. I sold three SuperLites to these guys who were doing some long, epic race somewhere and they wanted a MADE IN USA brand... made the deal, special ordered three of them, all in the same color. bla bla bla... I get the bikes, open one of the boxes ... put the bike in the stand, the first thing I notice is the MADE IS TAIWAN sticker on the BB shell... I'm like WWWWHHHAAAAT?!?!?! since when? sorry, SC, did I miss the memo? whenju move production to Taiwan and why the F am I still paying the same price because clearly you made the move to reduce production cost, there is no other reason. The guys settled to the SC's anyway because they didn't have time to get something else but, had they known in advance, they would have bought a Dean or Ellsworth
  • 10 5
 Never understood why where something was made was such a big deal to people. The best stuff is the best stuff. Where it made is irrelevant.
  • 6 3
 @tomhoward379: not to my friends and neighbors who make stuff right here at home.
  • 6 2
 @RobKong: but what if my, or other people’s, friends and neighbours make something better? Most people buying a (country that they live in) made bike or whatever aren’t buying it from their friends or neighbours. In the example above, the customers want to support an ‘American’ brand (owned by a Dutch company) but are complaining that the brand is making more money by outsourcing manufacturing. Make your mind up.
  • 6 0
 @tomhoward379: At that time, SC went from (just a guess) about $20 an hour employees to about $5 an hour employees. Material costs were likely cut in half. They were saving hundreds per bike and they weren't cheap to start with. They did keep the employees, not like other companies that did that. But the WHOLE thing with SC was "Made in the USA" and that was in the price and why they weren't cheap. It was their campaign for years. Then one day, made in Taiwan... Why pay the old price for something that was now 1/4 the price? It pissed off everyone, not just a few. My local bike shop dropped SC for a few years because the price margin didn't change and they were in the top 10 for SC sales worldwide!! It was actually funneled back into product development, which worked out. But at a time when US companies were going overseas and people were losing jobs, it was punch in the balls that the savings weren't passed along to the people, people that lost their jobs to the same business practice. I owned 3 before that and to this day still don't know if I will buy another because of that. Just didn't sit right with me. Sad because my SC's were awesome bikes.. I still have a USA Chameleon that sees some use, when I'm feeling #26er, after 19 or so years...
  • 3 0
 @oldschool43: So they kept all their employees and used the extra money for product development, which seems to have served them pretty well, as well as their dealers, not sure about the US but shops that stock SC here aren't short of customers. More money is going to Americans, with them selling made in Taiwan frames than when they were made in 'Murica.

Not everyone gets it right, but it certainly seems like they made the right decision to me. All that extra product dev will mean that the made in Taiwan bikes will be better than made in America bikes would have been.
  • 2 2
 I'll admit, off topic and rambling...I'm with you ---- back then... I didn't really care too much where the product was made as long as it was good. Ha.. I remember seeing one of those "HOW IS THAT MADE" shows and they were at the Marin factory... I didn't see any little Chinese kids running around.. go figure.
..... Lots of USA brands are MADE IN CHINA and they're really nice and worth every cent we buy them for even if it seems high, the price... for SC though, it's like they went on the sly, moved operations to China without telling anyone... I had a lot of people miffed about that. I had to do some damage control with some people soon as the news hit.. Back then, buying MADE IN USA was still a big thing. Currently, take Transition for example.. they were always made in ROC and they're pretty damn popular but, still cheaper (basically) than SC and several MADE IN USA brands. They even did a video of them traveling over there where they set up the factory...... Back then, I sold K2, KHS, Marin, Iron Horse and Fuji for the light weight nubbies who didnt care where things were made,, just didnt want to pay an arm and a leg for a quality bike.... I did Mountain Cycle, Ellsworth, Banshee, SC, Turner, Dean and a few other blingy brands for the folks who knew a thing or two about bikes and were willing to spend the cash for that added bling factor. People really were wiling to pay more for MADE IN USA... I think the only brand I had problems with was Intense.. QC with them was absolutely horrible that I wouldnt even carry the brand. I had a lot of repairs on them though.. Lots of them had serious issues. Funny Quote: we were having major issues with an Intense frame. the tail end wasn't built right, it was off, way off,, off like 5mm's so we couldnt set it up right. sent in the tail for warranty, couple months later, we got the replacement... it was not only sent in the wrong color, it still didnt fit right.. we sent that back.... same deal, ~2 months later get a new tail and this time, it was square edge tubing not round edge like the original. Keep in mind, every time we called to check on status, it was like starting over with a new conversation... OK, so this time, at least it fit and we could set up the frame correctly.... talking with some guy at Intense about it and all the problems.. he says to me: "well, that's what you get for buying American".... I was floor'd.. the customer sold the frame and moved onto a Transition Tr250, paying far less than what he paid for the Intense. Getting back on topic.. I dabble a little with MX products selling products sold through Oneal. Im always baffled the prices I pay for MX vs bicycle. Huge differences sometimes
  • 4 0
 @tomhoward379: not really. The UK as well as the EU and North America have fairly robust worker protection laws.They also have strong environmental laws. Those things add significant costs to a product. Anodizing for example is really expensive because of the rules about treating effluent among other things. Not so in China.Seeing a river turn purple when factories change their tanks is not unusual.
All that air pollution in China also comes because their power generation rules are so lax. That power is being used to make products for us.
The best stuff may be the best stuff, that I agree with, but where it's made has a big environmental impact.
  • 6 0
 @nonk: As someone who works in the wastewater industry, what you said X 1,000. The reduced labor costs are one thing, but the costs saved from not having to comply with legit pre-treatment processes and even downstream treatment at a legit wastewater treatment plant (assuming they even one, or if they do its a trickle filter system from the mid-50's) is substantial.

FWIW, I think SCB are made at their own plant in Vietnam, which even if true, doesn't really change the points you made.

Anyway, what you pointed out is one of many reasons why Guerrilla Gravity gets all my bike frame money.
  • 4 0
 @tomhoward379: Im afraid that is wrong. Where its made is relevant on many levels. It may be the best, but will your purchase and the liquidity you place into the economy benefit your country and by virtue you, your family and quality of life or a country with limited social or democratic rights and a history of human rights abuses.

Will your purchase aid in funding to support military juntas, or unsustainable environmental outcomes, or propagate national debt reliance to other countries with values not consistent with progressive society, expose you and your current quality of life to be subject to trade, foreign exchange or economic risk.

This is the second part of the offshoring strategy that corporates have followed that we are now paying, and is presented as due.

If the industry was serious it would have an international standard and sticker readily presented for the purchaser mandated on point of sale describing energy and resource consumption, environmental attributes and local content %.....
  • 1 0
 @gonzoracing: Why is everyone assuming I mean the Far East when taking about not buying from the country I/they live in? I don’t think Germany has any plans to turn into a military state (though, admittedly, they have form... ;-) ) The Swiss are unlikely to turn into an environmental wasteland any time soon. America is a pretty big polluter, and I certainly don’t agree with a lot of their political decisions, perhaps I should boycott them?
  • 9 0
 Wow, starting a podcast during this time... You gonna give yourselves bangs and get a sourdough starter too?

:sighs, subscribes:

Can’t wait to listen Smile
  • 1 0
 50 grams of water 50 grams of whole flour. every day
  • 3 0
 Sorry I can't hear you over the sound of ordering 'Flour Water Salt Yeast' and participating in a celebrity sing-along.
  • 7 0
 Subscribed.

To be honest coming from someone who does composites for the aerospace industry I always wonder how bikes are so inexpensive. If we had to design, manufacture, and assemble em where I work I bet we would charge something like $45k each.

Don't get me wrong $3000 to $6000 for a bicycle is ALOT of cash but it really is impressive what the industry does with relatively small resources. I have a lot of respect for the people building great product at small to medium size businesses and making money while doing it.
  • 2 0
 wasn't that long ago (late nineties, early 00's) that MTBs were really hit and miss. Huge pedal bob or kickback, suspension that stiffens up and steepens up on rough stuff, stuff that just did not work, and so on. That's the bike industry equivalent of a plane breaking up on takeoff.
  • 3 0
 That's because the government is your client and you don't need to cut costs!
  • 1 0
 @jwdenver: If Carbon Fibers had dreams and what not...being a bike would be akin to being a homeless crack bum as compared to being in aerospace.
  • 2 0
 @jwdenver: that's not been my experience.
  • 12 2
 Banks and governments have ruined the financial system.
  • 7 0
 Finally. Thanks for putting this together - perfect team for a podcast. I’ll listen every week - already listened to this one and enjoyed it.
  • 9 0
 eMTB is the new golf
  • 3 0
 road biking has been the new golf for decades
  • 3 0
 Great you've launched a podcast guys, I've downloaded it on Spotify already and hope this stays a regular thing when you're allowed out to play again! Hope we see (hear) RC on there too.
I hope you keep plugging other podcasts on your homepage, they need all the support they can get - the more biking podcasts out there, the less shit my commute!
  • 1 0
 Yeeeeewww thats what we like to hear!
  • 1 0
 I just launched shredders and shakers, would love your listens!
  • 2 0
 Absolutely we'll get RC on soon, he's got all the stories. And of course we'll keep posting some other good podcasts like we do today.
  • 6 0
 Have you guys not heard of the Box Prime 9 and 8 Speed drivetrains? They would be perfect for budget bikes!
  • 2 0
 Fair, we should have mentioned them. I'd love to see more of those drivetrains in the wild, but getting OE spec is hard. I imagine a lot of product managers are reluctant to put something on that shops might not have replacement stuff for, and I have no idea if Box's pricing is as competitive on the OE side as it is for MSRP.

Also, I'm sure there's a volume discount if you buy all-in with a component brand—so if you spec one brand's brakes and drivetrain you might qualify for deeper discounts total than if you cherry pick the line.
  • 2 0
 This is the comment I was searching for halfway through when they were talking about specs.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark:
I thought Shimano got in pretty big trouble in the 90's for doing what you are talking about. Making companies buy the entire groupset or not getting the best deal.
  • 3 0
 @MeloBikeCO: there are all kinds of legal things I'm not qualified to comment on, but I'm pretty sure volume pricing ("if you spend $1M with us, we'll give you a bigger discount than if you spend $500K") isn't an issue.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark:
Oh, I'm sure there is volume pricing going on for sure. I just remembered a lawsuit, perhaps filed by SRAM, that allowed them to get into the OEM market with gripshift in the mid 90's.
  • 1 0
 are they?

I remember being initially excited by the idea of them, when they came out was underwhelmed by the specs.

A Box 1 prime 9 cassette is every bit as expensive as a X01 eagle speed cassette, and the Box 2 is somehow heavier than an NX Eagle cassette for the same price with 3 fewer sprockets, and uses the same driver. I guess the Box 3 saves $25, but at that point I'd rather just have a GX 11speed @ 60% of the weight and only $15 more than the Box 2 or NX Eagle.

The prime 9 seems good for a 1x retrofit of a bike you already have, but I don't think it offers much other than the simplicity of 3 fewer gears or a handful of dollars for new builds/bikes.
  • 4 0
 Yooo, so DH bikes make my life good. I’d make a car payment on them if I had to. You can’t bring your money with you when you die, so you might as well ride siiiick bikes and shred til your dead.
  • 4 0
 Thank-you Pinkbike!!!!! for being creative and producing rad content during these challenging times when everything's getting postponed or cancelled and many of us can't ride..... Rock on you guys!!!!
  • 5 0
 Given the exercise, health benefits, fun, strength rewards, etc.... they are actually quite cheap.
  • 4 2
 The market average price is set by the big companies business executives that get paid xxx% of average employee.
Small companies – if they were smart – could team up and sell bikes at much lower cost. But that is tricky. Because you need to have the press on your side. And the press would really piss off the big advertisers if they pushed a competitor that could get their client out of business.

What they learn in business school is "how to drive up prices to justify your outrageous paycheck".
Inflate the product, make debt, and then crash the market.
Make money now – who cares about the future. Executives will get jobs in other industries, workers will still find jobs but they will be "grateful" they get paid same salary as 10 years ago. "At least I have a job".

These are the basics of US economy. Rich get richer, poor get poorer.
Then you wonder why there is a recession every ten years – where public companies receive free tax payer money.
The current economy crisis was about to happen without coronavirus. Corona is just used as a bonus to make it more legitimate and checks bigger.

Right now the cycling industry is saturated.
People are not buying e-bikes as they expected. People are tired to buy a new bike that feels outdated after one season. 650b, fat bikes, plus 27, plus 29, plus 26, enduro, rally, downcounty, upcountry, middle country, boost, megaboost, more rake, less rake, two calipers. four calipers, three calipers etc.

The cow was milked. There are no new consumer to be added. They even turned into the older age market with ebikes to get new people in.

Good time to buy used (as always) – I just got a USD 3500 Santa Cruz Blur, barley ridden for USD 1300. It still had plastic pedals and reflectors from the store.
  • 4 0
 Growth based economy. It's not enough to have last years profits. Profits must be up sales must be up year after year.
  • 1 0
 @reverend27: exactly. They all know it is not possible to keep the bubble growing. Despite flooding countries with “refugees” which only scope is to provide no-rights cheap labor and to be the new consumers. And when everything collapse, they get free tax money. Keep going like this, in 40 years “first world countries” will have the exact same social settings of “third world countries”.
  • 4 0
 How expensive would cars or dirt-bikes be if they totally redesigned them every year and changed all the SAE standards whenever they felt like it?
  • 2 1
 MICROSPLINE HATER....why do you hate progress?
  • 2 0
 Because the price is based on the price of the hammer the builder wants to use. Raw materials can be found for pennies on the dollar compared to the MSRP. Steel and aluminum have about the same price point. Carbon and titanium have about the same price point, and expensive preparation before it can be produced. It's the markup.
Some small brands with overseas manufacturing price their bikes very reasonable, like Cotic and Transition. I always question the other brands, like Evil and Yeti. The arguement could be R&D, but it's likely licensing of suspension design. I would guess the material and labor cost is nearly identical, usually in the same factory. The amount of employees, which would account for markup, Evil and Transition are miles apart... In the wrong direction. Evil is cool and I would love to have one, but Transition is more about the ride, not the money, based on price. If that makes sense. $2000 spread 3 ways or $1000 spread 10 ways. Can argue units sold, blah, blah, blah.. But still..
Don't want to step on toes, but that's how I see it.
  • 2 0
 Is this even a question?

1. It's a yuppie target demographic.
2. There is a component duopoly (near monopoly on high end stuff until recently). At some point the margins for what bike manufacturers got for reselling the components bolted on to their frames exceeded what they were making on frames (after discount incentives to spec the entire bike with SRAM components). Then of course the price of frames only (if the option was even still made available) had to go WAY up because you can't have other people sourcing components and assembling complete bikes for less than what you're charging.
  • 2 0
 While I will agree that bikes CAN be expensive, they don't have to be...
After 10+ years working in the industry I have had the opportunity to ride a lot of high end bikes, road and mountain. Even so, I am totally satisfied riding ~$4,000 alloy mountain bikes. Most brands strike a balance between performance and value at that pricepoint that, in my opinion, is an ideal price-to-performance ratio for the majority of people that ride hard and expect their stuff to hold up.
Is it flashy? No.
Is it functional and affordable? in my opinion, yes.
So long as bike companies continue to offer great options at this pricepoint, I won't ever complain about them trying to peddle $10k+ bikes to dentists.
  • 2 0
 Hi Mike, are they really? I paid A$7k for a WC used Foes with all the trimmings immediately following Cairns in '96-97.

I would pay A$7k for a top spec Pivot off shelf in '20.

Any assessment of money relativity over time would say race quality bikes have decreased in relative price.

What is hidden in the price comparison is strategic national interest, gutting of the manufacturing with flow through benefits of local manufacture, and the now inevitable significant decline on western world quality of living standards as a result of measuring sustainable industry in a year by year basis on terms margin and growth %.

Price is a relative function not of income, but % unemployed.
  • 3 2
 Too many manufacturers + huge potential performance.

- If you only had 3 manufacturers economies of scale would bring pricing down (assuming they don't form some kind of illegal consortium to keep prices high and actually compete against each other of course)

- High end bikes have huge potential performance levels (just because most of us don't use it, doesn't mean it isn't available) people often compare MTB to a motorcycle, take a look a motorcycles suspension internals, you will have to fit aftermarket £1k internals to bring forks damping upto the standard of a £6k MTB and they still wont have near the same performance to weight ratio / performance regarding the chassis - same with many other parts like handlebars, stems etc etc.
  • 3 0
 Bikes have always been expensive, if someone could come along and make the same product for less, they would have done so by now.
  • 2 1
 Bike are so expensive because cost of sales and marketing.
Marketing - media events, press briefing, advertising (digital and print ), media video and sponsorship.
Sales - regional managers who manage bike shop relationships, markup by bike shops to either cover overhead or make profit.

Other factor that affect cost research and development and part spec.

If you compare direct sale bikes versus dealership bikes you will typically see 20-50% reduction ride off cost for comparable spec bikes. Though you won’t have a relationship with a local bike shop who could help you down rode deal with warranty or other issues.
  • 2 0
 What is funny, how much interest there is on this forum about what is sponsoring who....then, they complain about the profit margins at retail (not knowing if the company is profitable at the end of a year)
  • 2 0
 The average cost of design / marketing, sales and product development in the bike industry is very low. Can't think an industry with lower wages. A comparable video would cost one extra "0" in a different industry.

They capitalize on the fact young (and some older) people rather work doing something they like than getting more money for something they do not like.

Direct sales it has been around for ages and it is an interesting business/marketing model... in particular for bikes. Who doesn't want to ride the bike before buying it? The only real savings are the reseller markup. They probably spend more money on advertising etc. They are not much cheaper unless you pay full price at the shop. The only companies that offer higher prices product for much lower quality are the usual ones... They generally start with "S".
  • 1 0
 I disagree, come at me brah.
  • 1 0
 @RedRedRe: I dunno. If you look back at the days of Nashbar, Performance and Colorado Cyclist - mailing a catalog, the shipping and printing were most of the cost of the business. Now, some morbidly obese idiot in his mothers' basement keeps a website up. You get some editorial content from a hipster in the shop or a customer (real or not) and you can email that to every person on earth in seconds. Sure, not free - not at all the cost of mailing and 800 numbers. Plus a tax savings that will vary state to state (I once staved $30k buying a car in tax alone by registering in the right place).

Saying a company does $X million in sales does not at all infer a margin of profit. Frankly, most LBS I have been in for the past ten years only give me MORE reason to purchase things online (just yesterday a local BigS LBS said 2-4 weeks to repair a shock on an under warranty bike - MFG who we called said "Huh? Four days, mail it to us!!! - X-Fusion, awesome customer service!!!!). So, while the owner of that bike WAS a fan of the LBS...not many LBS even attempt to be a "VAR", or Value Added Reseller. Only the VAR will exist soon enough.
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: I agree with what you say, in particular about bike shops. Regarding the rest, I was referring to companies like YT and Canyon.
A mail catalog back then would cost.. let's say 5k... Most of the advertising was done by costumers word of mouth and recommendations. Do the catalog and run a couple of magazine ads (which was monthly but people could see your name on the magazine any time they opened it – even after years).

Nowdays people search for everything online. Old and young. You need to have a strong online presence. You need to buy ads on industry websites in order to have good reviews and plug your product. The bigger companies have "press release camps" which are a paid vacation for the press. Running a site is going to be at least 20k a year (Hosting, developer, designer, photographer, retoucher etc), promo videos have a cost as well... just the travel expenses as people working on it do not get much if anything (including most pros).

A very small operation can get by with small resources, but I was referring to the Direct to consumer gimmick of brands that sell the whole bike. The opposite model example is the specialized failure. Fist they force stores to buy 100'k of their junk (clothing, components tires saddles etc) and they force them to drop all other brands. Once the stores shut down, they already made a profit. I am not sure how any shop owner could have fall for it, but I have a couple of ideas.
  • 1 0
 @RedRedRe: YT does not have a bike that interests me...no XC @ 120mm...seriously. Never looked before just now.
  • 4 0
 Guys need check some podcast "Why are good microphones and preamps so expensive"
  • 2 0
 Agreed. We've got some work to do on production.
  • 3 0
 Let's checkout this podcast, after the Covid19 effect... and while we're at it... check the brands that will prevail! Hard times are just at next corner
  • 1 0
 Mike mentions several times in this pod cast and the reviews that he was surprised by that these lesser expensive bikes have "current" geometries. It doesn't make sense to me why that would be a surprise. I would think geometry would be one of the easier things to copy/borrow from more expensive frames. There is no additional cost, outside of possibly manufacturing set up, to adjusting angles and geometries. I think that would be the easier thing to address.
  • 1 0
 Great podcast, please keep them coming!!! Love the how candid it was, but would like less F bombs so I can listen to it around my kids without worrying. I love hearing you talk about the differences between all of the components.
  • 1 0
 While i would agree - geometry is a king, and most entry level component are rideble to some point, from my experience top of the line components are more pleasant to ride, last longer ( I’m talking about few years of constant riding)

The most worst part of entry level bikes is typically brakes an tires, so typically entry level bike will require grand of uprades during first year of riding

The best part of entry level bikes, they have awesome geo which make them nice platform for the upgrades
  • 1 0
 How many bike brand... and only 2 suspension manufacturer and 2 transmission manufacturer for OEM. This oposite situations do not create good competition for customers. With too mutch competitor, the bike compagny cannot product their frames with large volume and negociate the components at the lowest price.
In a other hand, with only 2 competitors, Sram, fox and shim find a confortable situation and the final customer cannot find the best solution (technique and price)
  • 1 0
 Regarding dentist bikes, these are the purview of the wealthy, and have what economists call ‘Veblen good’ characteristics. (They also offer the highest profit margins for the bike co.). From Wikipedia:
Veblen good
A Veblen good is a type of luxury good for which demand increases as the price increases, in apparent contradiction of the law of demand, resulting in an upward-sloping demand curve. A higher price may make a product desirable as a status symbol in the practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. A product may be a Veblen good because it is a positional good, something few others can own. Veblen goods are named after American economist Thorstein Veblen, who first identified conspicuous consumption as a mode of status-seeking in The Theory of the Leisure Class. A corollary of the Veblen effect is that lowering the price decreases the quantity demanded.

Another aspect, relating to the above, is the iPhone X marketing ploy - a massively expensive XX1/XTR bike ‘positions’ customers to buy the next level down iPhone 8 (eg XO1/XT, or even X9/SLR - such better value). But not the iPhone 5s (alivio/deore ) - that’s daggy.
We just suckers for the bait n switch.
  • 1 0
 Late to the comment party but consider:

The Bike industry foolishly operates like the fashion industry with annual model releases and prebookings required across a plethora of brands, models, levels, size and colors. In this model there is inevitable surplus/shortage situations and significant clear-out/inventory costs. This is why clothing has big markups at each change of hands - you know a good portion of what you just bought will never sell at full value.

Too many hands in the pot and restrictive trade agreements.

And, most importantly, we have a grotesquely warped view of the bike "market". The average pinkbiker is part of the upper crust of the market... the vast majority of bike sales are mass produced and, relatively, very high value. Even the value bikes part of the current field test would be considered premium by the majority of bicycle owners.
  • 1 0
 So I had a gentleman in my shop today to get his wheelchair repaired (this happens from time to time) and he mentioned that the chair that I was working on was $15000.00! I was blown away, he commented that some of the parts were carbon fiber and made for a very light chair. This made me think those $12000.00 S-Works road bikes have WAY more engineering and overhead that is going into the design of them. think of this if you need a wheelchair, you NEED a wheelchair, we think we get taken advantage of?
  • 1 0
 On the topic of making the geometry the same between the beginner bike and the expensive one, how many beginners would want a long, slack bike?
For riding really basic, slow, flattish trails do you want a steep seat angle that puts a lot of weight on your hands? Steep seat angles, long and slack front ends are only a benefit when you're on interesting trails, and you put up with them everywhere else because the interesting trails are the ones you care about
  • 1 0
 7 years ago i bought a brand new santa cruz nomad frame for 900, today the ''frame'' has double in price.Pretty sure the inflation hasn't been up that much in the same amount of time. Not sure why that is really but i've decided to vote with my money and keep riding my old bike. The change of all those standard is making biking more expensive for everyone, thats for sure
  • 1 0
 Thanks, this was quite entertainingSmile

But seriously, what I think you guys got wrong is that there are definitley entry-level 2000$ trail bikes out there that are worth keeping and upgrading. The conventional wisdom of not bothering with upgrades on entry level bikes was all based on the fact that these bikes were mostly outdated and mostly didn't adhere to modern standards. Well, that changed drastically over the last couple of years - nowadays even many 2000$ bikes will have progressive geometry, metric suspension, boost axles, wide rims, tubeless ready tires, dropper posts, etc. Its just not true anymore that these are generally sub-par and that therefor upgrades would be unreasonable or not worth it.

Here's a small list of entry level trail bikes for around 2000$ that stick to the modern standards and that I'd consider worthy of keeping around and upgrading: Norco Fluid FS, Commencal Meta TR, Merida One-Twenty, Polygon Siskiu T, Marin Rift Zone, Focus Jam, Fezzari Abajo Peak, Cube Stereo 120, GT Sensor, Cannondale Habit
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy You guys have been consistently mentioning that the Recon forks are poorly performing. Are they so poorly performing that it would be worth 500.00 to replace it with a Marzocchi, which appears to be the cheapest fork worth its money? After owning a 15 ish years old full suspension bike I absolutely love my 2800.00 Salsa Horsethief. What I don't know is better is definitely not holding me back so far (but the shifters are pretty non-ergonomic). Thanks...
  • 5 0
 GEOMETRY PODCAST PLEASE
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer - you can only go so far with geo on beginner bikes as they wont ride aggressively enough for a slack HA (and corresponding long rear). It also means the SA is limited by the length of the rear (F/R balance). Optic geo would work but anything more progressive is going to feel dead.
  • 2 0
 We have a big video coming up on this one as well Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Awesome. Keep em coming.
  • 3 0
 I get why R&D adds cost, but that doesn't explain Specialized which just rips off everyone else's ideas. That's free.
  • 2 0
 That was great! Keep it up!
Tim Horton's or local bakery?
Trail bike or Enduro bike for the average Pinkbike reader?
The future of Downcountry?
Candid is good.
Cheers!
  • 2 2
 YT Industries is the solution to this problem. The company was founded on the idea that bikes shouldn't be out of reach for most people-especially younger people w/o dentist incomes. I would've never been able to afford an LBS bike w/ a high end build.

Now I have a YT that cost me $4,000 less, has the same or better components as an LBS bike, and absolutely fking rips.

YT for life. Change my mind.
  • 2 0
 Warranty?
  • 2 0
 They seem like a great value for the market that they are going for. I was a little interested in the original shorter travel Jeffsey, but it had a pretty short front center. In YT's defence it was that funny moment where, in 3 years, all the XL bikes grew an inch or two more reach. Then it got a lot longer travel and now they don't make a bike that holds my interest.
  • 1 1
 @RoadStain: absolutely not an issue. It's actually quicker in most case-- as you explained above with your example of the the LBS incorrectly telling your friend it would take weeks to resolve a warranty request--because YT just tells you to send the relevant parts directly to the manufacturer. E13 turns around warranty claims light years quicker than any LBS. Got a capra w/ SRAM? Call SRAM. Fox? Send it to fox.

LBS' DO NOT STOCK REPLACEMENT PARTS--especially not spare frame parts.

I dont know why people fail to grasp this. You often get extra long responses from the LBS b/c they're backlogged with requests and will take a few days to a few weeks to even submit your warranty request to the manufacturer.

It's always better to avoid middlemen whenever possible. Deal direct with the companies that make the products.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: rumor has it that they've got a short travel trail bike in the works.
  • 1 0
 @moroj82:
That would be great, to have another option available, it will likely be pretty rowdy, and I hope still pedal well.

Now I remember, they showed some shots of it in the "Live Caged" clip they just released.
  • 1 0
 It’s all a big conspiracy, man. It’s the rich man exploiting and butt raping the wallets of the poor man, man. It’s the bloated and greedy corporations feeding off the needy and underprivileged starving masses.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer You guys really aren't making it easy on a guy that's been eyeballing the Meta TR 29 since it was released, but who's also trying to be fiscally responsible.
  • 1 0
 Good podcast...field test videos were great too
Can we have a topic of importing bike to Canada from direct dealers (US & Europe)? end cost, foreign exchange etc..
I think LBS ends up way better in this situation
  • 1 0
 Great podcast guys, came across really well and good genuine dynamics (with a bit of conflict which also adds credibility).
Heaps of good info too, not just silly banter. Keep it up.
  • 3 0
 Welcome to the podcast world PB!
  • 4 0
 Sick, podcasts rule
  • 3 0
 Video or it didn't happen
  • 2 0
 give it another few weeks of lockdown and no one will be able to afford food, let alone a tesco bike
  • 1 0
 If I get it right, e.g. a cheaper heat-treatment process for the brakes would be a bigger step then the next iteration of cutouts and coolingfins...
  • 2 0
 I haven't listened to the pod, but I still want to comment using my ignorant opinions, is that cool?
  • 4 0
 Giv'er!
  • 1 0
 Nice work fellas! I like that Brian kept the Mikes in check. Regarding resin only rotors... "But what would you give up?" Nice reality check.
  • 2 0
 I could never be a product manager. Such a hard job.
  • 1 0
 Remember when new 5:10s where literally half the price they are now? ...08/09. Miss those days. Over £100 for shoes is mental.
  • 3 0
 WIDE RANGE 8 or 9 SPEED!!!!
  • 2 0
 Has anyone bought a bike Jersey lately. They cost $75 to $100 for a shirt with pockets.
  • 1 0
 rabble rabble rabble
  • 1 0
 Box prime 9!!! Box literally designed exactly the drivetrain you're describing. Beefy, inexpensive 9 speed with wide range. Don't forget about box like we forgot about dre
  • 5 3
 Because Dentists need to ride too.
  • 1 0
 Are bigger bikes really better? Matt Walker on a medium this week really made me feel comfortable in my own skin. LOL
  • 2 0
 That is quite the dick shaped microphone.
  • 3 2
 I'm good with whatever the cost is. If I can afford it, I'm in. If I can't, I'll go play soccer.
  • 1 0
 you can't play soccer while socially distancing.
  • 1 0
 @moroj82: Correct statement for today. I was speaking long term Smile
  • 2 1
 R&D and marketing budget for e-bikes pushed the prices of regular bikes. Prove me wrong.
  • 1 0
 Box sells the box three prime-9 for $200 with a 11-50 cassette which is similar priced to SX eagle
  • 1 3
 There is MASSIVE MARGIN in the bike industry these days. One only needs to look at Evil's new office to see that. People are getting paid well, especially on the west coast, and they are willing to pay a lot of money for their bicycles. I think this virus is going to be quite a shock to the system and bike prices are going to come down significantly.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a few bike company employees got their feelers hurt by my comment.
  • 1 0
 So, you never really answered the question... seems like a rushed Covid-19 lockdown project...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy .. call it the "PB and Jam podcast" Different jam on your PB sandwich every week and comment on that too!
  • 2 0
 great pod! keep em coming.
  • 1 0
 Levy, is that really a microphone "shaking" at you? Looks like something you can catch a virus from...
  • 1 0
 I'm so lucky i got my 2019 kona process 153 used for 1600. I just shouldn't of dropped 2k more into it lol.
  • 2 1
 Supply and demand and greed
  • 1 0
 Podcast: yay!
Video version: meh.
Text transcript: yes please!
  • 1 0
 Not showing up on Google Podcasts.
  • 1 0
 At last!! Thank you for doing this!
  • 1 0
 Great work guys, but I don't think I could ride a foetus
  • 1 0
 Ripmo AF is proof that bikes don't have to be unreasonably priced.
  • 1 0
 Because bike companies are greedy capitalists that are wannabe hippies.
  • 1 0
 Whole lot of moaning going on.
  • 1 0
 How much does geometry cost?
  • 1 0
 love the podcast listen to them studying before midterm.
  • 1 1
 "Please speak into the mic...."
That rendering though?
  • 1 0
 Pinkpod > Pinkcast
  • 2 0
 Noted Smile
  • 2 1
 Greed.
  • 1 4
 Greed. If your local bike shop owner drives a Porsche--that may be a part of the problem.
  • 3 0
 The old adage is that the best way to end up with a little money from owning a bike shop is to start with A LOT of money. It isn't that untrue, either.

I've seen plenty of shops where the owner is driving the shop van around. It also tends to be the habit to start at the MSRP of the product and sell it for less, not mark things up based on demand, like car companies do. Margin is generally decent, but most shops simply don't move the kind of volume to be a good ownership proposition.

It's been incredibly rare for me to see someone working in a shop who couldn't make more money moving out of the industry. I've worked alongside a few race mechanics and franchise owners who've done well enough for themselves, but unless you have a monopoly over an entire city/riding area, you're not gonna be raking in the big bucks.
  • 1 1
 @C0yotekid: Depends, A guy who pays his mechanics only $10 an hour...charges double plus 10% and drives a porsche. So, f*ck off with your theoretical hardwork bullshit.
  • 1 0
 @parkourfan: The guy I'm talking about bought out the other shops---so he does have a monopoly. Also came from a super wealthy family.
  • 2 0
 @C0yotekid: I'll add.....He can drive a porsche if he rebuilt it with his own hands.....He doesn't get to lease a new porsche every 2 years and up charge everybody for his GREED.
  • 3 0
 @kymtb0420: That'll do it, but you still have to run an adequate shop to not lose customers.

I worked directly under the owner of a franchise who had a g-wagon. Every time we pulled up to a race, mechanics would stare and the first words out of his mouth would be "I swear I got that before I got into the bike business." Great neutral support vehicle to drive around, I'll say that much.

These guys are far, far, into the minority. You should be able to find out pretty accurate payscales on how much a trek shop owner, GM, and sales/mechs make online. For most owners who have one shop, it's very common for them to be there for most of the time to keep things running, as they simply can't afford to live off of the profits AND afford payroll for another operations manager to be there 60 hrs/week.
  • 1 0
 @kymtb0420: Lease on a boxster is selling a couple extra hybrids/week at one of his stores. It's not all that terrible, unless he's got something stupidly nice.
  • 1 0
 @parkourfan: His last was a porsche cayenne....oh and I forgot to mention...he has that v10 gullwing mercedes in his garage.
  • 1 0
 @parkourfan: I agree....but this is the way our country's business culture has been going for years. You may live in a mtb friendly area---but I live in a city fill of Jeff Bezos wannabes and Trump supporters. We have so little choice from restaurant's to bikes that's it's almost comical. We have one of the bigger BMX tracks (Derby city) in the country and the bike shop guy that I'm talking about doesn't even have a race bike on any floor of his 5 bike shops. Want a DJ---we'll order one for you--it'll be here in 2 weeks. Want something other than an entry level bike??? wait 2 weeks.
  • 1 0
 @kymtb0420:
At least he has good taste, and if he came from money it sure isn’t the bike shop funding his lifestyle.

I don’t have a problem with it as long as he’s not gouging over manufacturers MSRP for the small stuff or anything wild for service.
  • 1 0
 @parkourfan: He doesn't gouge...but he don't come off the price at all. 2900 retail and you have 2800 cash....I'll be right back--I have to go get the owner to OK this. 9 times out of 10--you're paying 2900. When I worked there...one of my guys charged 20 dollars (roughly) for a handlebar and it was 11 dollars (roughly) on JBI. He made me call the guy in the office and have him call the customer in front of us and tell him the new price of roughly $24. You can call that what you like...but to me--that is just plain as greedy. Also..leaves the shop at 78 degrees in the summer. Makes us wear pants...no shorts allowed.
  • 1 0
 @kymtb0420: definitely micromanagement and I feel for you, but it isn’t too wild. Insisting on more than a keystone for a cheap replacement handlebar and having you call up the customer is pretty dumb though.

The longest-lasting shop close to me has survived by charging MSRP with a year end sale, only hiring good people, and gouging on service. Not the greatest for the customer, but there’s something to be said for ensuring that you get a professional experience, even if it’s a bit more clinical than the wheeling, dealing, mom and pop feel - if it ensures you stay in business and can weather the storm.
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