Why are bikes so expensive – Cycling has always been a fairly expensive hobby, and it seems like bike manufacturers always find new ways to keep prices at a fairly lofty level, as prices only seem to have risen or plateaued over the years.
This is interesting, as, for a lot of sports and hobbies, the decreasing cost of equipment is one of the big things that can help a sport grow and reach new heights of popularity, driving even more profit and consumer savings into the picture.
For some reason though, cycling hasnâ€™t taken this route, and bikes remain quite expensive, especially quality bikes from good brands.
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Now, sure, it’s possible to head to Walmart and pick up a Mongoose or some other bike for a relatively cheap price, but these bikes are relatively low quality and often donâ€™t offer the features and performance that most avid cyclists are looking for.
Even big brands that offer more quality, such as industry names like Specialized, Kona, or Trek only offer a relatively small selection of entry-level bikes, and anything that offers that next level in performance will almost always require a significant investment.
Indeed a lot of quality bikes these days cost as much as a second-hand car, meaning theyâ€™re a significant investment.
To help unpick why bikes remain so expensive, weâ€™re going to look at all the important factors that come into bike manufacturing and pricing, to give you a better understanding of what youâ€™re buying, as well as why cycling can sometimes seem prohibitively expensive.
Quite simply, technology plays a huge role in bike pricing, and unlike many other sports, cycling is in a constant state of innovation, refinement, and improvement.
I mean Iâ€™m sure footballs, golf clubs and tennis rackets all have their share of research and development, but for cycling, there are so many components and pieces of equipment to innovate and iterate that these costs simply build up much more.
Everything from state-of-the-art frame materials, to new geometry and suspension design all cost a lot of money to develop and test, and while this technology often adds considerable performance improvements, it also adds significant costs to new bikes.
The same goes for helmet design and other important elements of cycling, and brands and manufacturers have to mark up their prices to account for these expenditures.
This DIAMONDBACK Mission All Mountain Full Suspension Mountain Bike has all the new technology and features placing it on a hefty price pedestal.
Bikes are made of all sorts of materials from aluminium to carbon fiber, and while some of these materials are cheaper to use than others, it still isnâ€™t cheap to build and design bikes using these materials.
Carbon fiber is one of the most expensive materials that bikes are made from due to its various benefits, but materials such as titanium also command a premium price due to their toughness and lightweight like this Royce Union Lightweight Carbon Mountain Bike.
While desirable, carbon fiber and titanium are specialist materials that are costly to acquire and work with, so these costs are a huge contributor to the price of bikes.
Quite simply, brands mark their products up in price because they offer a guarantee of quality, and getting a reliable quality product is often worth this extra cost.
Yes, it’s possible to get an unbranded bike from a supermarket for hundreds of dollars less than a quality bike brand, but youâ€™re almost certainly going to regret this down the line, both in terms of performance and reliability, as well as the status factor.
Brands also spend a lot of money marketing their products, and this costs money, which naturally means their products will cost a little more to account for some of this cost.
The features of bikes are often key to what a bike costs and this can differ massively depending on the specific discipline the bike is designed for.
Aerodynamics and lightness are key for road bikes, while for mountain bikes it’s all about durability, reliability, handling, and suspension.
These features have a very wide range of different parts that can accommodate the required performance, and as the components and features become higher performance, the cost rises accordingly.
Design is a hugely important part of the process, and this affects everything from geometry and suspension to the purpose of the bike, rider position, and changes to bike design such as wheel diameter, frame shape, and size, as well as gearing and the preferred option by both cyclists of various disciplines and newly developed ideas.
Even in the last 20 years, bikes have changed immensely, with the rise of 29â€ and 27.5â€ wheels, the near abolition of 26â€ wheels, as well as new gearing configurations, and the rise of the e-bike and its associated utility and cost.
As brands attempt to compete with these developments and stay on the bleeding edge of technology, costs inevitably remain high.
It’s called the bleeding edge for a reason, after all, and it may be in part because being on it bleeds your wallet dry!
Purchasing a bicycle with Full Aluminum Alloy Bicycle Disk Brakes ensures optimal safety but can also be a contributing reason why bikes are so expensive.
Supply and Demand
Supply and demand play a massive role in pricing, and this has been seen a lot over recent years as various economic issues have caused manufacturers to struggle with delivering adequate numbers of their products to market.
As supply shrinks, prices go up, and as demand rises, prices also go up. When both supply goes down and demand goes up, it’s a perfect storm for runaway price rises that can see bikes and components skyrocket in price, which can also lead to scalping, which adds to the issue and compounds the supply and demand issues.
The simple truth is that bikes are expensive because there are so many factors that continually contribute to this rise in price.
As you can see above, there are many complex factors that play into bicycle pricing, and many of these are essential to bike development and running a successful bike brand.
The volatility of the supply and demand situation only compounds these issues, meaning that bikes are likely to remain comparatively expensive compared to other sporting equipment for a long time to come.