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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never ridden a mtn bike more expensive that mine, $1500 Trek Liquid 10. Rather humbling, I know. <snif>

Assuming similar purpose bikes right off the show room floor, what are some obvious things when riding that the average rider would definitely notice between a $1500 bike and a $5000+ mtn bike?

I'm just imagining a major difference but I dunno. I keep thinking like how a Toyoto MR2 vs a Ferrari Testarossa (sp?).
 

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Destroy said:
I've never ridden a mtn bike more expensive that mine, $1500 Trek Liquid 10. Rather humbling, I know. <snif>

Assuming similar purpose bikes right off the show room floor, what are some obvious things when riding that the average rider would definitely notice between a $1500 bike and a $5000+ mtn bike?

I'm just imagining a major difference but I dunno. I keep thinking like how a Toyoto MR2 vs a Ferrari Testarossa (sp?).
The usual suspects; weight loss in components. Bigger brakes, better suspension. You may find equal happiness in $1500 vs. $5000. Your wallet would be $3500 lighter if you went straight to the 5 grand option. Over time, you could pimp up the $1500 rig and still be ahead if you sold off parts. Thinking out loud and speaking in general terms. Logic does not necessarily apply to the hardtail with a SID vs. a 5x5 or whatever (I am just out of the loop when it comes to FS/FR stuff). I know when I bought my last bike, I probably could have gotten something comparable for $1000 less, but opted to build something and went with something different than steel or aluminum for the frame material. It's late, I am beer deficient......so there you go, 3 minutes you'll never get back. Sorry.
 

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I personally prefer a less expensive bike (I ride an Ironhorse Yakuza Aniki $950 retail which is about as low on the totem pole that a FR bike gets) I am a broke college student who likes to not run up a super expensive tab on broken parts. I demoed an 07 RM slayer 50 (retail $2800) and to tell you the truth other than it being way more adjustable and having an ability to make it up hills easier (keep in mind its a 6" travel AM bike as opposed to my overbuilt FR frame) I found that it didnt make me any better of a rider, it was more of a luxury. I keep my Ironhorse in Tip Top shape and it works as good as other bikes Ive had and since its not too high up there I can upgrade to better stuff as things wear out.
 

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Think of bike performance and cost as a logarithmic curve, with price on the x axis and quality of performance on the Y axis.

Initially as the cost goes up, say from a 300$ FS XC bike to a 800$ FS XC bike, the performance of the expensive bike is a million times greater than the 300$ bike, even with just a 500$ difference.

Now compare a 1500$ FS XC bike and a 3000$ FS XC bike... The 1500$ bike is already pretty far up the log curve, so its performance is good. The 3000$ bike is further up the log curve at double the price of the 1500$ bike but the performance is only 10% better...a 1500$ difference translates to only a 10% increase in performance.

From a 3000$ bike to a 5000$ bike the difference is even less significant. To an average joe the difference might not even be noticeable. Only a seasoned veteran would feel the benefits at this level.

Obviously the numbers are just hypothetical, but the theory is solid.
 

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What about....

that $5,000 bike 2 years ago that you can now buy for $2,000?? Technology has not changed too much in the past couple of years and this would be a better buy. I saw a 2004 Ellsworth Dare speced to the hilt with top shelf compnennts got for $2,000 recently.
 

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Honestly, not much.

Weight might be the biggest difference. I have a bike that is full XT and one that is Deore/LX and neither shifts any better than the other. At least not that I can feel.

There is a certain "bling" factor to a $5000 bike and I'm not knocking it. I know I spend way more than I have to but in the end, $5000 for a bike is not much money when you consider a low end car is going to go for at least $20,000, maybe closer to $30,000 and taking your Ferrari example, more like $200,000.

So, a really high end bike is one luxury most of us can afford. I just don't pretend that a high end bike is all that much better. At $1500 you have already hit a level of bike that is pretty darn good.
 

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YaMon said:
that $5,000 bike 2 years ago that you can now buy for $2,000?? Technology has not changed too much in the past couple of years and this would be a better buy. I saw a 2004 Ellsworth Dare speced to the hilt with top shelf compnennts got for $2,000 recently.
Used bikes are worth less.
 

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Destroy said:
I've never ridden a mtn bike more expensive that mine, $1500 Trek Liquid 10. Rather humbling, I know. <snif>

Assuming similar purpose bikes right off the show room floor, what are some obvious things when riding that the average rider would definitely notice between a $1500 bike and a $5000+ mtn bike?

I'm just imagining a major difference but I dunno. I keep thinking like how a Toyoto MR2 vs a Ferrari Testarossa (sp?).
Ok, I'll chime in....

Some manufacturers have a line of bikes that span from sub $2k to $5k and use the exact same frame. Cannondale Rush comes to mind. Given that the differences are going to be the components.

Here is what you get with a $1500 bike:
Good frame
Lower end fork and possible lower end shock
Lower end shifters and drive train
Lower end wheels, hubs, tires
Lower end brakes and levers
Lower end, heavier components
Savings of $3500 to use toward a nice vacation and a few upgrades.

Here is what you get on the same frame of a $5000 bike:
Good frame
Top end fork and possible shock as well (some are the same shock across the board)
Top end shifters and drive train (shifts better, holds up better, much lighter)
Top end wheels, hubs, tires (lighter, stiffer, stronger)
Top end Brakes and levers (better modulation, lighter, more adjustable)
Top end lighter, stronger components (seatpost, stem, handlebars, saddle, headset, etc)
A $5000 bike with a lot of bling that makes people woo with envy.. Sorry, no vacation and not much need for upgrades....

If you are talking about your average $1500 bike against some other $5000 with different frames or manufacturers, I don't even know how to start comparing. There can be a vast sea of differences from what the frame is made of to stiffness, lightness, and everything in between.

If you have to ask the differences, chances are you don't need a $5000 bike. Get one that reflects the kind of riding you intend or want to do and go for it. Get a lower end bike that uses the same frame on the top end bikes. Ie.. I got a Yeti 575 with the Enduro package which has the same frame as the 575 with the Pro package. The only difference is the components. Those can be upgraded.
 

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Great debate. I often lose sleep over this. Seriously though. . .

Toyota MR2-Sweet little car, brand new turbo about $25,000
Ferrari Testarossa-Bad-ass car, brand new about $200,000
(Seriously, these are the most up to date cars you could think of?:D )
Anyhow-You will have fun in the Toyota. If you drop $100,000 into your MR2, you will own the road (and be super-stealthy!) It's kinda the same thing with bikes. That X-Y performance curve was a great example. If you ride a $1500 bike, that is a really nice bike by any standard. To go from a $1500 bike to a $5000 bike you are only getting higher end components. Is there are differnece between a Rockshox Tora 302 and a Reba World Cup? Absolutely. Is there a difference between Sram X7 and XO? Absolutely. All of these differences add up. We are bikers, this is our hobby, and we love to blow money on it! Will a $5000 bike make you a better rider than your $1500 bike? Probably not. Will you notice the difference? I say. . .Definetly. You may notice the brakes work better, or the fork may have more adjustability, or the derailleur feels crisper. Whatever you notice, you may end up upgrading on your bike. And that's where the madness begins. . .
 

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Destroy said:
What would one notice between a $1500 vs. a $5000 bike?
You would notice it's tougher to pay the bills for the next year!

Like most folks have said, you generally get much nicer parts (fork, shifters, brakes, etc) when you drop 5K. A lot of times you can get a nearly identical frame for $1500 as you can for the $5K version, but it will be lacking on equipment. If you're newer to biking, get the cheaper version of the same bike frame and upgrade parts as they wear out or you decide they're not worthy.
 

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I'm not an XC rider so much, so I doubt I would notice much of a difference between a $1500 XC bike and a $5000 one (aside from the stuff already mentioned). However, once you move into the FR/DH arena, there are big differences in that range. Generally speaking you will find stronger, better designed bikes with better performance due to the higher quality parts and materials. I am, of course, speaking in generalities. There is definitely a diminishing returns thing going on though. For me, FR /DH bikes start getting really good at about the $2500-$3000 mark (The IH Yakuza is a notable exception, being a good bike for less; the Elsworth stuff seems to be an other exception, being some not so great stuff at higer prices (FLAME ON, I'm sure))
 

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I like the comment about the frame- get a bike with a good, light frame and good geometry (if price is an issue, there's no sense in getting carbon or TI), decent shock/forks, and hydralic brakes. After that, if it's possible to get Deore/LX instead of XT/XTR, RockShox Reba SL instead of RockShox Reba Race World Cup and save $2000, I'd say suck up the extra 2lbs and go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well after reading all this, I certainly would love to try a $5000 mtn bike and see if its worth it or not. Doubt any bike shop would demo one though. Heck, don't think there is a LBS in my area that would even carry a bike in that $$$$ range without a deposit down to purchase one.

Are there any national events where the average Joe could go and test ride a $5000 mtn bike?
 

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superlightracer said:
Think of bike performance and cost as a logarithmic curve, with price on the x axis and quality of performance on the Y axis.
Excellent point. The old rule of thumb was a $/g. So, you to let's say $1500, and from there on out it requires 1 US dollar to loose a gram in weight. Clearly, you start to burn $900 for every 2 pounds you want to shed from the bike. This is really a simple model and applies to new goods. Need some fine print ;)
 
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