As a general rule, I try not to do too much bitching about the industry, since I have, technically, been a part of it and reaped many benefits from it. I stopped working in a shop back in October and have since been a member of the real world, so I’m making some observations as of late that I could never see before.
For example: I have realized the recent absurdity of component pricing.
I am in the market for a new fork, and I have my eyes on this puppy:
Let’s talk for a moment, you and me, real nice-like, up close.
The last time I bought a fork new, I employee-purchased a Rock Shox Reba for about $200. That Reba has served me well, but it’s about at the end of its life, so I thought I’d look into the hype constantly swirling around Fox forks. I had one back in the day, liked it okay, but the seals kept exploding, so I got rid of it (to be fair, I got rid of the entire bike, not just the fork).
But hell, everyone raves about them, so I figured it would be good enough for D2…until I looked at the prices.
Now, I get a good deal at the bike shops here in town in most cases, and the owners are always generous. But when I looked at that price list, I could not believe the numbers I was seeing. Has fork technology REALLY progressed so much that this is what a fork should cost? As a man who has been elbow deep in just about every fork out there, I can assure you the answer is no.
So no fork for D2, at least not until I take out a second mortgage (which, I’m told, necessitates a FIRST mortgage. Damn).
Okay, onto other components. Definitely need a new saddle, so here’s the rundown of the situation:
I rode a Selle Italia Prolink for years and loved it. The cover has now started to peel, so I figure, hell, I’ll just get another one! Most comfortable saddle I’ve ever owned!
So I flipped through the ol’ QBP catalog and found my guy:
I looked at the price, and this is what I saw:
Selle Italia Prolink………$ Fuck That
So I’m still rocking the ripped saddle right now.
I bring this up not just to bitch (though that’s partly the reason), but to point to a trend that extends far beyond just the bike industry. I mean, hell, I paid $70 to fill my tank with gas yesterday, so honestly, why shouldn’t the bike industry cash in on what is sure to be another boon of a summer for them?
Let’s not forget everyone else who has been riding all along, though. Here in Flagstaff, the price of a home is so high the locals can usually not afford to buy one because folks from Phoenix and San Diego want second homes here, most of which stand empty most of the year. A boon for Flagstaff? Sure. But what about the rest of us who make our living here and help keep this place going? You know, us, who fix the tourist bikes, serve the tourists food, mix up a nice gin and tonic for those thirsty tourists every night?
All I’m saying is it’s easy to alienate those who are most loyal to you when you just chase the dollars. By all means, chase those dollars, but at the end of the day, perhaps you should come back and hang out with the rest of us, since we like you so much.
I love those products above, and I single them out only because I am interested in owning them. I would gladly ride them…but not if I (and every other customer) is taken for a ride instead of riding.
Keep bikes accessible to people. They’ll be more likely to ride them.by