Seb Stott's recent article calling out five things that the industry could do better
, from suspension set-up guides to proportional sizing, got us thinking about other ways the bike business could improve. Today's show sees Brian, Kazimer, and I call out ourselves for not reviewing more mid-priced bikes, talk about how everything runs on credit, and we get into riding videos, compatibility, supply chain issues, and standards (of course). We also wonder if bikes really are too expensive, or if you're getting more bike for your bucks than ever before.
What is the mountain bike industry doing a good job of? And how could the industry improve?
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 171 - WHAT COULD THE MTB INDUSTRY DO BETTER?
March 8th, 2022
Prices, compatibility, supply chains, standards, riding videos, and more.
Featuring a rotating cast of the 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.
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Just because the bike has been sold shouldn't render it invalid.
If you think you require all the latest and greatest to "enjoy" mountain biking, then you're spoiled.
I'd 10/10 times take a $2k bike today than even a $3k bike from 1993.
I found a Rootdown frame and moved the parts over. All in for $2300 and I don’t see anyone having more fun than me on the trails.
Alu frame, XT 2x, alu narrow wheels, external dropper, and one of the worst "modern" forks.
I just bought a Capra Core 4 AXS. Same exact price: Carbon frame, Factory 38/X2, Code RSC, X01 AXS, etc.
Yes bikes have gotten more expensive, but I have to agree that it seems to be mostly the top end. And the bikes now are way more capable.
If you adjusted the Trance X for inflation it would be much more expensive than the Capra.
Old school geo totally turned me off to Mtn biking for over a decade.
If you’re mad that you can’t afford a top of the line bike any more, that’s a different question.
Make wheel sizes obsolete, and finally stop comparing e-bikes with mountain bikes. They’re not the same, they have a place, but they’re fundamentally different.
:AcceleratedTrailDeg has entered the chat
No doubt there has always been etiquette bias, but it's got strong legs at the moment - looking forward to that Podcast.
2) Standardize motor mounts. That way if and when one company fails or just fails to supply parts when needed riders can move over to another. This will also fall under see 1) above. I've gone on about this before but I think the Husqvarna Extreme Cross e-bikes with their universal adapter plates are the most future-proofed frame out there. I'm not as sure if the newer Mountain Cross ones also have the same feature still.
As a general example, FOX goes as far as to remove public facing service manuals/ won't supply them when asked, discontinues service seal kits for their suspension after 5 years-ish, and discontinues the proprietary tools to conduct service/ won't provide the specs to have them machined. Their solution is to have some availability of their current offerings with retro active compatibility. It's not great, but not terrible.
Brands such as Santa Cruz and Rocky Mountain currently have a decent selection of publicly available product information and proprietary replacement parts (pivot bolts & bushings, hangers, etc) dating back over two decades. The RM element platform has pivot bolt/ bushing support back to 1997. Thats not bad in my humble opinion.
With FOX I've had a different experience. I can put in the serial number for 8 year old products and get information albeit the parts are harder to come by. I'm impressed by the modularity and innovation of some of the aftermarket suspension service shops that can retrofit a lot of older FOX stuff - although the cost can start to approach replacement prices.
Geometry has stabised since 2016 and anyone can afford one good set of tyres a year.
Low cost riding can be done, to a point at least.
I'm no die-hard CL guy, but I've never had any issues over many wheelsets. It's a perfectly good option, and the carriers on the XTR/XT rotors make for a stiff and stable rotor.
2. Announce the advent winners
3. Don't quiet quit but talking about F1 in the podcasts
4. Stop incremental "improvements" with substantial price deterioration
5. Stop over tiering product lines with marginal cost/performance differences
1. Regarding helmets, I get wanting to wear the helmet of your choice, but that decision should be based on the terrain you’re riding. I have noticed that GMBN is terrible for wearing the helmet/gear that matches the bike, regardless of terrain. XC bike on a World Cup DH track, Lycra and an XC helmet, DH bike on the same trail, full face, goggles, long sleeves/pants etc…
2. On riding videos, anything that just shows riding is great. Neko’s ‘Renegades of Funk’ ride in one of his Frameworks episodes is a video I could watch again and again. And even though i just criticised them for helmet/gear choices, GMBN’s video when it’s just the presenters out for a ride with no stupid challenge or ‘test’, those are the best and make me want to get on my bike.
In short, how much should I pay attention to what linkage is on my next bike, when I can upgrade the shock?
Something the bike manufacturing industry could do better: 1) manufacturing closer to end user, 2) less trail skidding in marketing videos, 3) frame parts more easily purchased online (pivots, etc.)
The thing is, there's a huge variety of terrain. From my back door I can ride rolling cross-country trails, trails with techy slow speed singletrack climbs, and yes, all sorts of steep, rowdy descents as well.
Does someone in Iowa need a bike with a 63-degree head angle and 180mm of travel? Probably not, but that's why companies have different models in their lineup for different uses.
I was expecting the price to be way over the retail price of the complete bike but it turned out to be around 1000 dollars cheaper?
So I think that the price on high end bikes is not based on what they cost to manufacter but rather what people are willing to pay.
Did the same thing on a mid priced bike but it turned out to be way more expensive to buy as a framset and parts.
You talked about affordable bike reviews. let's chat about entry level reviews? I got into the sport on a base rockhopper that I immediately took to a downhill trail and my right leg has never been the same, hah!
But seriously, so many times we get messaged by friends saying "hey, what should I buy just to get the hang of this MTB thing". At that price point, you're don't have much. But, is it the Trek, GT, Giant, Specialized, Norco, etc. What's the best bang for buck to get someone out on a trail with you before they make the move to that mid-tier range or fathoming why you'd spend the money on a 2k - 3k bike?
We look down on those bikes all the time, but that rock hopper got me to justify a Roscoe, then that roscoe got me to justify my IBIS and i'm in the best shape of my life at 41 years old.
- Fabrication is what the industry does well. Really well. What else do you own in sporting goods that is as well made as a new trail bike?
- The industry is terrible at technical advancements. The AXS derailleur and chain driven cassette are space age buggy whips. Non-integrated and round dropper posts? Seriously?
- Standards... Wasn't the universal hanger a "shot heard round the world?"
And Brian, I get what you're trying to say about "walled gardens" and interest payments, but these ideas reveal a limited understanding of engineering design and economics. Hmmmm...
Its also hard to fathom how the same carbon frame bike can range from $5000-$12000 (Comp to S-works for example). Are the "better" components really that much more expensive to develop and produce? The price range on the same bike shouldn't double!
So, for what you are proposing to really work, you would need component factories in each country to supply that country.
Experiment? How long does something go on before it's no longer an "experiment"? (Disclaimer: I'm not an economist or CEO of a large corporation so my knowledge of how to keep costs low and profits high is lacking.)
2) I won't necessarily speak for Specialized, but with some manufacturers, within a given range of bikes in the same family, the frame dimensions and geo are the same but the type/quality of carbon changes. So, it may be fair to say you consider the bike overpriced, maybe even double, but it's not just because of upper-tier component choices. (Disclaimer: this is allegedly happening as I'm not an industry insider or engineer at Specialized or BMC or the like. I am subject to their promotional literature.)
Meh... the multiple (usually 2) carbon layups manufacturers offer are just another way to charge more... its hardly different, and hardly more expensive to manufacture... you could argue having 2 processes is more expensive than a single, same with the SX vs XX1, Rythem vs Factory, etc. Why make the low end stuff? Do we need an SX shifter? Does the SX shifter really cost less to produce than a GX? Because it provides a low bar to exceed and charge more to do so.
Just curious, what should SRAM do about their chain manufacturing? Should it be in the US, or should each country independently, but also collectively, disallow international businesses to exist? Or, should each country make all of their bike parts in their country, for their country?
If I want fox elite, I might not want axs xo components, I’d be happy with gx/slx.
I think @privateerbikes nailed this
$5000 for a 2023 Yeti SB160 frame is crazy madness, right up there with the S-Works line. The industry will find out the hard way.
I work at a construction company that purposefully recruits ‘builders’ rather than spreadsheet people. But we all wind up as at least part time spreadsheet people in the end.
I don't have an ebike currently, but know I will likely get one in the near future because of overuse injuries and not riding as much. Right now, Midpeninsula won't allow them at all, yet they have some of the best trails for ebikes because of really steep climbs. Only Santa Clara County trails and possibly Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority trails (might want to double check).
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