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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my point; I have been riding for several years now…in fact I can not remember not owning a bike, but in the last few years, I have found very little to get excited about in bike design and price range. It seems as though technology is getting incrementally better while price are sky rocketing. Someone please convince me otherwise. I don’t want to be bitter and exclaim that there are not great bikes out there, because there are extremely good bikes like Santa Cruz, Turner, Titus, Ventana. (excuse me if I left some out) I met a guy at the trails the other day that didn’t want to get his brand new $4000 bike dirty. Come ON! Has it gotten to the point that these bikes are so expensive the average Joe doesn’t want to use his new ride for what it was built for. I can’t blame him either, if I just bought a decked out salty I wouldn’t want to ride it either…rather hang it on my wall and look at it like a piece of art. Where are the decently price, hell of a bike, that we can beat the crap out of like the old days? Ok…I’m done.
 

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The high end stuff is completely out of control. The low-middle (say <$1,000) level bikes are better than they ever were. You can get a much better HT today for $500 than you could 10 years ago (unless you want steel which used to be cheap but is so rare now that it's usually expensive - go figure).
 

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I recently got one of boutique bikes. I purchased an Ventana El Feugo (Salty's little brother).

It hasn't seen dirt yet, but that is because I'm waiting for a part, not because I fear it getting dirty.

It shouldn't be like some classic car collectors where they get a great machine and then store it inside, they were meant to be driven - just like these bikes are meant to be ridden. That said, there are <b><i>lots</b></i> of great bikes out there right now. For $1500 you get a very capable XC dually, and often you can even go hundreds less if you plan on upgrading parts later. For hardtails it is even better. My wife got a Rockhopper about 2 years ago, cost under $800 and it has a good component spec and can take some abuse.

Ten years ago there were lots of expensive bikes, same thing five years ago too. If you <b>really</b> wanted to spend lots and lots of coin, there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to help you accomplish it, and that was true 5, 10, and I'm sure 15 and 20 years ago too.

The high end with the latest and greatest, or artistic craftmanship has always been near the top of the spectrum. That won't change, but it does drag the rest of the scale forward too. Stuff that those exensive bikes may start with, can find its way down the line later.

If you really want a cheap bike to abuse... I'd point over towards the singlespeeders and a good steel framed bike.

JmZ


MonkeySweat said:
Here is my point; I have been riding for several years now�in fact I can not remember not owning a bike, but in the last few years, I have found very little to get excited about in bike design and price range. It seems as though technology is getting incrementally better while price are sky rocketing. Someone please convince me otherwise. I don�t want to be bitter and exclaim that there are not great bikes out there, because there are extremely good bikes like Santa Cruz, Turner, Titus, Ventana. (excuse me if I left some out) I met a guy at the trails the other day that didn�t want to get his brand new $4000 bike dirty. Come ON! Has it gotten to the point that these bikes are so expensive the average Joe doesn�t want to use his new ride for what it was built for. I can�t blame him either, if I just bought a decked out salty I wouldn�t want to ride it either�rather hang it on my wall and look at it like a piece of art. Where are the decently price, hell of a bike, that we can beat the crap out of like the old days? Ok�I�m done.
 

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what he said...

trickle down technology makes for great lower end bikes; Dec. 03 I grabbed a Specialized Enduro on clearance for $1049, has the same design as the $5000 works bike or whatever Specialized calls it.

I ride it all over the place, from road to Vancouver's Norshore trails. It's been a great bike and a real eye opener in terms of value: often I ask myself while pedalling 'if I had XTR and trick parts would the ride be better'?

Answer to self: 'marginally' But wouldn't increase the smile a whole lot :D

A better "Pushed" shock would help perfect the rear end ($138) and a better fork would help too, but overall, the value of some lower end bikes is superb.

Just another .02, Jim
 

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The same holds true for computers. I can buy or build an internet-ready machine that my mom would be satisfied with for about $200-$400. That said, I've also spent some serious coin on building my own gaming rigs all with the latest processors, video cards, sound cards, 5.1 speakers, etc.

I consider the boutique bikes equivalent to the $5000 Alienware or Falcon computers - they are for the serious "hobbyist" who can afford to fiddle with the latest and greatest technology. The truth is, great deals can be had in both areas as long as you're willing to look around, do some of your own maintenance and be willing to upgrade things slowly as more cash comes your way.
 

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ChipAllen said:
The same holds true for computers...... I consider the boutique bikes equivalent to the $5000 Alienware or Falcon computers - they are for the serious "hobbyist" who can afford to fiddle with the latest and greatest technology.
I don't know if thats equivalent. Who's gonna spend $5k on a computer, but not use it because they're afraid it's gonna get dusty or a virus?

As the original poster said, the guy "didn’t want to get his brand new $4000 bike dirty". Hardly a serious hobbyist. More like a serious poser.
 

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tlg said:
I don't know if thats equivalent. Who's gonna spend $5k on a computer, but not use it because they're afraid it's gonna get dusty or a virus?

As the original poster said, the guy "didn?t want to get his brand new $4000 bike dirty". Hardly a serious hobbyist. More like a serious poser.

I understand what you're saying here. I was speaking about today's pricing and marketing of things in general.

Obviously ,"Mr. Clean" is someone we've all seen or know and is too busy waiting for his photo op to get dirt on his bike. I'll have to confess that I'm pretty meticulous about keeping my ride in good shape and will keep it sparkly between rides. One day, one of my friends said my bike was "creepy clean". Rest assured though, it sees plenty of mud here in the Pacific Northwest.
 

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I agree to a point. The SC Heckler has come down in price recently when SC began having the frame made in Taiwan. Good deals can be had on boutique bikes like the Yeti 575 also. The Kona Dawg has a good price point as well.

Yes, most upper end bikes are priced off of the charts so to speak. I was probably most surprised when the new 6" Specialized Enduro line came out. I was seriously thinking about getting one until I saw the pricing. The Higher end Enduro Pro and Expert are priced higher than many boutigue brands, which is ridiculous considering Specialized is a mass producer of bikes. New design or not the price is crazy.
 

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I agree to a point...

MonkeySweat said:
Here is my point; I have been riding for several years now, in fact I can not remember not owning a bike, but in the last few years, I have found very little to get excited about in bike design and price range. It seems as though technology is getting incrementally better while price are sky rocketing. Someone please convince me otherwise.
I don't agree that there hasn't been much to get excited about in the last few years. In fact, I can't really remember a period of time that was more exciting in terms of new technology for mountain biking. Stable platform shocks, stable platform geometry, inertia valves, on the fly travel adjustment, disc brakes, lightweight high volume tires, etc. The list goes on and on. You can get a disc brake equiped 5"+ travel all mountain bike today that is nearly as light and pedals as well as an xc racer did just a few years ago.

MonkeySweat said:
I don't want to be bitter and exclaim that there are not great bikes out there, because there are extremely good bikes like Santa Cruz, Turner, Titus, Ventana. (excuse me if I left some out) I met a guy at the trails the other day that didn't want to get his brand new $4000 bike dirty. Come ON! Has it gotten to the point that these bikes are so expensive the average Joe doesn?t want to use his new ride for what it was built for. I can't blame him either, if I just bought a decked out salty I wouldn't want to ride it either, rather hang it on my wall and look at it like a piece of art.
I would agree that prices have started to get exorbitant. I fell into the same trap myself. During the first ride on my new $4000 bike I found myself walking through technical sections that I would normally ride for fear of scratching or denting my new bike. However, the new bike syndrome didn't last all that long, and I'm happy to bomb through anything now. However, it's not just the initial cost. It seems that durability has really gone downhill lately and people seem to accept it, which does seem odd. Tales of bottom brackets lasting less than a year, shock bushings and suspension bearing a few months or even weeks, forks and shocks that fail after a few rides, frames cracking in the first year, brakes that need constant maintenance, etc. are far too common. I've given serious consideration to switching hobbies. Not because I can't afford mountain biking, but because the same amount of money buys you a lot more in other hobbies. For the cost of a mountain bike, you can get a pretty nice sport bike these days, and you most likely won't have to replace nearly new components every couple weeks.

MonkeySweat said:
Where are the decently price, hell of a bike, that we can beat the crap out of like the old days? Ok, I'm done.
What is your definition of "decently priced"? Mine keeps shifting. I paid $300 for my first mountain bike, and that seemed like a lot. Then, the next bike was $1500. At the time, I couldn't imagine spending more for a bike. However, I put another $1500 in parts on it a year later because it was "too heavy" (replacing a fair number of perfectly good parts). The next bike was something like $4500, but I justified the cost because it was the "last time". Yeah right. Two years later and I'm looking at spending another 4k to 5k yet again. However, this time I am having a hard time justifying the cost, thus my consideration of taking up a new hobby instead (and slumming it for a while longer with my two year old mountain bike).

As far as decently priced bikes go, there are still some decent bargains out there. Iron Horse seems to pack quite a bit of value and technology into their bikes. Schwinn has gone even farther into the "budget" category. However, even these bikes probably wouldn't be thought of as cheap by the typical non-cyclist. I suspect that even spending as much as $500 on a bike would seem absurd to the average person. I think part of the problem is that suspension technology has progressed to the point that we are riding much faster over much rougher terrain than was previously possible, and inexpensive parts just won't hold up in those conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Let me clarify, I am by no means talking about a $500 bike. I don't mind spending $2000 or more, but for that amount it better be a dang nice bike. My point is that the market seems to have become more diluted with bikes that were thrown together to hit a profit margin...and we buy it! Take Ellsworth as an example and the amount of complaining you hear from that forum. For the price, it should be the best bike you have ever ridden. Then again, maybe I am being too hard on them. I am only expecting a bike that can hold up under some aggressive XC riding. I realize that I am 6'4" 215 on my light day. I am basically dissatisfied with the bikes in the $2000-3000 range and feel I now need to buy a bike for my riding level that is well above $4000. I have spent at least that in the last year on my two bikes and am now looking for a third. We are all slowly turning into roadies. Soon we will all be shaving our legs (which I have done, purely for vanity) and making fun of the poor kid who is still riding an old hardtail and having the time of his life.
 

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You will always get diminishing returns on high end stuff. The difference between a $800 and $2000 bike will be much bigger than the difference between say a $3000 and $5000 bike. For high end stuff you pay a massive premium for a small improvement in most cases.
 

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tim_54321 said:
You will always get diminishing returns on high end stuff. The difference between a $800 and $2000 bike will be much bigger than the difference between say a $3000 and $5000 bike. For high end stuff you pay a massive premium for a small improvement in most cases.
I agree completely.
Diminishing returns.
My first “real” bike was a $1000, 2000 Rockhopper Pro hardtail. It was perfect at the time. I could do beginner races, ride everywhere, and keep up with my buddy on his Stumpy Comp.
I sold that for my current ride which cost me a bit over $3000 CDN to build. I thought I was crazy, my wife thought I was nuts, but I told myself this would be the last bike I buy for a long time.
Well, now I’m drooling over the Blur LT and we know how much those cost.
Did my Klein make me a 3 times better rider than my Specialized? No.
Is the Blur almost twice as good as my Klein? Probably not.
I would say that $1000 today buys you an excellent entry level bike that you could race (beginner), whereas years ago, you wouldn’t get nearly what you could get today for the same money.
The only problem is when we all want the latest and greatest. Bikes like Ventana, Turner, Maverick, SC etcetera all cost mucho dollars as they have the latest greatest designs and specs.
You can buy an amazing bike for $2000 which most people would think is the best in the world. It will do everything “well” but not be the “best”. You have to pay to play to get the best. .
 

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To put it in car terms...

The $200 bike is the used Civic. Not the greatest but runs and does the job.

The $500 bike is a new Civic. Better, a few newer and nicer toys, but still function über alles.

The $1000 bike is a loaded Civic. Lots of nice toys, but pretty much same performance.

The $1500 bike is a RSX/Celica. Sporty, but not much greater than a Civic in stock form.

The $2000 bike is a Mustang/Camaro. Sporty, with decent performance.

The $2500-$3500 bike is a Corvette/NSX/Viper. Sporty and top of that company's performance line, but there are still "better" cars out there. More car than I could ever really drive to be honest.

The $3500+ bike is a small run production car. Could be anything from a top end Porche, Mercedes SLK, Saleen, Noble, whatnot. High performance, exclusive, and not many people have one. Can I drive one of these to their limits? Without a doubt, no.

The $ amounts are guess, but the analogy is pretty close.

Noone will really <i>need</i> an expensive bike short of racing, but is it really about need? I was very happy with my sub $2000 Jamis. The ride was great, the parts were great, but the fit wasn't exactly right, sold that, and even the next bike because of it. A boutique bike had the right fit, so that extra bit made a difference to me.

The Jamis and the Rocky were both great performing bikes, and if my new bike performs 'just' as good I'll be happy. If it's better, it might fall into the Corvette or Ferarri league, it might be able to handle so much more than I can throw at it. Which is fine by me.

And I'd like to address the durabilty issue. If you are on the bleeding edge of technology - bikes, cars, computers, then things break more often. If you want to put together a durable bike - it isn't that tough. It might not be the cheapest stuff, latest toys, or it might not be the lightest stuff out there, but there are lots of durable parts out there. The reviews here are great at pointing out which parts are not. If I wanted to, I could go to the shop today and purchase a $1500 bike that I could leave stock and ride for several years without issue, but unfortunately for me I suffer from Upgraditis, and I won't blame the bike for <i>my</i> problems.

My tips in shortest form.
Buy the bike that fits right.
Ride.
Ride.
Ride.
Replace only as necessary.

Now if only <b><i>I</b></i> could follow them too. ;)

JmZ

MonkeySweat said:
Let me clarify, I am by no means talking about a $500 bike. I don't mind spending $2000 or more, but for that amount it better be a dang nice bike. My point is that the market seems to have become more diluted with bikes that were thrown together to hit a profit margin...and we buy it! Take Ellsworth as an example and the amount of complaining you hear from that forum. For the price, it should be the best bike you have ever ridden. Then again, maybe I am being too hard on them. I am only expecting a bike that can hold up under some aggressive XC riding. I realize that I am 6'4" 215 on my light day. I am basically dissatisfied with the bikes in the $2000-3000 range and feel I now need to buy a bike for my riding level that is well above $4000. I have spent at least that in the last year on my two bikes and am now looking for a third. We are all slowly turning into roadies. Soon we will all be shaving our legs (which I have done, purely for vanity) and making fun of the poor kid who is still riding an old hardtail and having the time of his life.
 

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JmZ said:
And I'd like to address the durabilty issue. If you are on the bleeding edge of technology - bikes, cars, computers, then things break more often.
Do they? I'm not sure. Maybe they do, but I really haven't noticed it. I'm trying to think of an example outside of mountain biking, and I can't think of any. Software for new hardware is notoriously buggy, but that's a bit different, because you can get updated software without any additional cost. If I bought a new car, I certainly wouldn't expect it to break down several times (or fail completely) in the first few months or weeks. The same goes for a new motorcycle (or anything else I can think of). Can you think of an example outside of mountain biking?

I know that weight is part of it. Trying to build parts as light as possible is going to sacrifice some reliability, but it's not just light weight parts that are failing. Technology is certainly part of it as well. But, should the companies be releasing unproven untested technology to the consumer (at a very high cost no less)? I guess I think that the bleeding edge stuff should be tested by the sponsered racers who don't have to pay for replacement parts (but, I suppose they don't really want failures either). Shouldn't something marketed and sold for trail use be well tested and reliable? Expensive yes, but unreliable no (racing parts are a different story). It used to be that when I bought a bike or bike part I expected it to last for several years. It's starting to get to the point now, where I just hope it lasts through the season.

JmZ said:
If you want to put together a durable bike - it isn't that tough. It might not be the cheapest stuff, latest toys, or it might not be the lightest stuff out there, but there are lots of durable parts out there.
Yeah. It is definitely possible to put together a reliable bike, at most any price point. However, it also seems to be surprisingly easy to put together a very expensive and very unreliable bike.
 

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I think we agree more than we disagree.

My brother is into the computer stuff pretty decently, and he's had hardware failures. Normally on the latest and greatest. Sound cards, video cards, motherboards, monitors, bunches of stuff.

For most cars, I'll agree, but how many people won't buy a new car the first year introduced? I'm one of them. I have not looked, but would not be surprised if most recalls come out for the very beginning (or end, end for different reasons though) of a product's life cycle.

Everything should be product tested. Product testing is only part of it. Rock Shox, Manitou, Zocci or Fox can make a perfect design, but if their factory screws up tolerances when they produce the part... it doesn't matter. It would have passed initial review, but until failures appear it may not be able to be fixed. I really can't say how wide spread and thorough R & D and product testing is in the industry, I'll defer to someone who actually may know. I hope it is as extensive as you want, but I wouldn't guarantee it either.

And I'll agree that most bikes and parts should last for several years, and more than a season. I'll grant that cables, tires, cassettes and chains are disposable items, but my frame, wheels, shocks should not be one season items.

The industry has been through at least one shake up before where we lost a bunch of small companies, some where their stuff was good, some where it wasn't. I would not be surprised if it happens again if a company continually puts out unreliable or failing product. Those companies shouldn't last. It might sound like an idealist viewpoint, but hopefully it is correct too. :)

Trick is to find those bikes, at any price point, and at reasonable weights, that can survive my abuse for a few years. I hope that <b>I</b> have succeeded. ;)

And getting back to the car example... there have quite a few cars out there that have cost well over $50K that have not proved reliable. People didn't stand for it, and overall quality has improved. I don't think bikes will be much different, if on a sligtly different timetable.

JmZ

Backmarker said:
Do they? I'm not sure. Maybe they do, but I really haven't noticed it. I'm trying to think of an example outside of mountain biking, and I can't think of any. Software for new hardware is notoriously buggy, but that's a bit different, because you can get updated software without any additional cost. If I bought a new car, I certainly wouldn't expect it to break down several times (or fail completely) in the first few months or weeks. The same goes for a new motorcycle (or anything else I can think of). Can you think of an example outside of mountain biking?

I know that weight is part of it. Trying to build parts as light as possible is going to sacrifice some reliability, but it's not just light weight parts that are failing. Technology is certainly part of it as well. But, should the companies be releasing unproven untested technology to the consumer (at a very high cost no less)? I guess I think that the bleeding edge stuff should be tested by the sponsered racers who don't have to pay for replacement parts (but, I suppose they don't really want failures either). Shouldn't something marketed and sold for trail use be well tested and reliable? Expensive yes, but unreliable no (racing parts are a different story). It used to be that when I bought a bike or bike part I expected it to last for several years. It's starting to get to the point now, where I just hope it lasts through the season.



Yeah. It is definitely possible to put together a reliable bike, at most any price point. However, it also seems to be surprisingly easy to put together a very expensive and very unreliable bike.
 

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MonkeySweat said:
I am only expecting a bike that can hold up under some aggressive XC riding. I realize that I am 6'4" 215 on my light day. I am basically dissatisfied with the bikes in the $2000-3000 range and feel I now need to buy a bike for my riding level that is well above $4000.
"For my riding level". What does that mean? Do you need the $4000 bike to be able to do something you currently can't? For XC, spending a lot mostly gets you lighter weight. Nobody "needs" XTR unless they're a high level racer. Don't buy a $2000 frame if you're worried about cost. Cheapest is buy a complete Specialized/Giant etc. Or find a $1000 frame. At Pricepoint a Rock Shox Reba SL is $330, and complete XT kit/XTR rear $900. A Superlight frame/shock is $900. So there's a light 4" XC bike for $2130 plus assembly. That's a better deal with better stuff than I could get 4 years ago, and prices are a little higher anyway with inflation.
 
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