Hey Industry, I’m Talking To You!

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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:

Picture 1

Nice, eh?

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:

Pure taint pleasure.
Pure taint pleasure.


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.

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

97 Replies to “Hey Industry, I’m Talking To You!”

  1. If you can get the saddle recovered I suggest giving that a shot. It should be a fraction of the price and you would have your choice of materials. I am a little shocked by how quickly we (as a people/society/country) are to replace what can be repaired for a fraction of the price. So far this year I have picked up one of those European er Dutch styled bicycles needing rim strips and air in the tires, a rolling planter for the yard needs two pieces of wood and a few screws, and one of those fancy umbrella’s for the back yard that needed two new spars which I replaced in about an hour (two if you count the two trips to the local hardware store I walked to.)

  2. There is a very good reason you pay top dollar for Fox suspension products-just sayin’.

  3. Which is exactly why I have a RS Reba SL (which I am very happy with, btw) as my last semi-major purchase instead of a Fox. Even at the “you worked for us for a decade, and left on good terms, so we’ll still give you the idustry-bro price” from my old shop, I couldn’t afford the Fox. I’ve accepted that I won’t be buying an XTR equipped bike ever again.

    That said, there has been a lot of trickle-down of technology and quality to the mid range bikes. It might not work for economics, but it sure works for bikes. Look at the quality of bike you get now. A decade ago we would have all been happy to line up at any expert race on the current Stumpjumper Comp ($1900).

  4. This is why I stopped buying stuff new. Except for chains, grips, cables, etc… I buy used. There were lots of ti rail saddles at the bike swap for $20 or less.

  5. We are in the same boat I guess. Too poor as a one income family to re up for a new fork, FOX or other wise. Got the ole’ rigid Karate Monkey (05′ Trophy from the SM100 SS class) rollin’ for the messy early season and it is taking it’s toll on my wrists and upper body. Lots o rocks here in South Central PA. I tell people all the time, “I have nothing to truly complain about………but I will anyway.” Again I think we are in the same boat. Shit could be worse for both of us eh?

  6. Indeed, Buck. It’s a minor complaint, but a complaint nonetheless.

    I was just surprised, that’s all. I got spoiled on EP pricing and all that, so the shock of seeing the prices now was pretty amazing to me.

  7. The bike industry has raised prices like crazy, selling the idea we all need to spend many thousands to buy a good bike. In my HO, they are making cycling into a pursuit of the moneyed classes, taking it farther and farther from the working class roots some of us still remember. If they have their way, cycling will be like polo, a pursuit most people will never have an interest in. Too bad.

  8. Funny you should bring this up…I’m in the same boat. I bought a Racer X two years ago with a Recon on it. A head-on accident around a blind turn saw the end of that one…and I had less than 100 miles on it (something on the other dude’s bike punched a hole in the my fork). So, the bike shop did me right and hooked me up a Revelation for like $250. I didn’t really want or need the travel it had (usually ride rigid ss), but that’s what was offered, so I took it. Fast forward to this year…I am not happy with the bike, and narrowed it down to the weight of the fork (I had the travel cranked all the way down to 100mm, but the bike still felt very sluggish). Bought a slightly used SID for $300…and it made all the difference. Now I’m looking to replace the 2001 Marzocchi that’s on my ti hardtail with the money from the Revelation…anybody wanna buy it? Dual-air, lockout, U-turn 100-130mm travel…not many miles at all. And I will NOT spend more than $350…can’t believe Fox wants 7 bills for their shit.

  9. what about that WB magic 29 that magically blew up during the Tour? The “magic” for me was that all 16 settings felt exactly the same and just as sticky as the next. I have no issue giving an honest review of a product as nobody is paying my ass for advertising space.

  10. Call this complicity between manufacturers and bike shops – the former define ridiculous MSRPs and the bike shops stick to it.

    The other day someone working in a bike shop told me that yes, he thinks $1.50 for a simple stainless steel spoke is fair price. IMHO, we are – more often than not – ripped off.

  11. This kind of crazy crap is why you see so many shop monkeys (current and former) go the way of the singlespeed. Its ends the proprietary this, and the gotta have that..Shit wearing out. Stuff not cutting the mustard on foul weather rides. Broken carbon, broken dreams, leaky forks and sloppy linkage. You learn that at the end of the ride you feel the same, maybe better cuz you can go home, lean it against the wall, crack a beer and watch some puck.. You arent in the garage till 2am fiddle fucking with some ill produced pipe dream invented by some tard that forgot that the bicycle in its simplest form is a thing of beauty.

  12. I got one of last years Fox F29 RLC’s, you know, the one with the “legendary travel”? The 120 that only ever got 100 of it’s “legendary travel”? The one with so much stiction, even after a season of riding, it still felt like ass? The one that started making farting noises, 2 hours into our relationship, and had to go back for a rebuild? Yeah, Fox is great at thinking themselves heads and tails above the rest, but I’ll not buy another one. A mid level Rockshox will be far more plush, tunable, and priced where regular folks can afford it (sort of).

    I think we can trace a lot of the uptick in pricing to energy costs, at least for the bulk of the real world products. Stuff like Sram XX, Specialized S Works, etc, is simply designed to be impressive to your other rich buddies. It works no better.

    I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even like to think about costs and pay rates any more. That any human out there is worth 20 million a year, makes me ill. We all go through the same basic motions in life, there’s no one that special, I’m sorry, there just isn’t. Since we’re willing to compensate some folks so highly, it only stands to reason that industries would design products priced to extract as much of that extra cabbage as they can. Those guys don’t care how much it costs, just so long as it’s so exclusive that they will be one of the only guys on the trail with it……

  13. Yep. I’m pretty much on the rigid single speed mountain bike and road bike tip. I cannot stand suspension, front or rear. Yes, I enjoy riding it very, very much. But, I cannot stomach the up-front costs and the back-end maintenance issues. It is expensive as all hell and the shit just doesn’t work for over one season of riding. And, a dually only acts an issue multiplier – now you’ve got it on both ends of the bike.

    Fox makes great products. I’ve owned ’em and loved ’em. But, I can get an entire rigid steel 29’er single speed for damn near the cost of a high-end front suspension fork.

    Bike: http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=unit.
    Fork: http://www.google.com/search?…F29+FIT+RLC.

    And that’s just nuts.

  14. Fuck, the main reason I ride a singlespeed is because I don’t have the coin to buy a groupo and the other shit that is required for gears. I agree, shit is overpriced. Especially when for less than the price of a new decked out mtb bike I can go pick up a new CRF450. And that fucking has an engine! Why should nice italian-made bibs with a comfy chamois run me north of $150? Why is it so damn hot here in the desert come summer time? I just don’t know. Why won’t my son just fall asleep when he’s so dang tired? Instead he just cries and fuses. I just don’t know! Why does he cry and get bent out of shape when trying to take a deuce in his diaper? Personally, I find taking a deuce to be rather comforting. Deep unanswered thoughts by Flo.

  15. @Kaszi

    Re: “getting ripped off”

    There aren’t a whole lot of bike shop owners & employees getting rich off the bike business. Dudes got make profit to keep the lights on.

  16. Doesn’t it seem suspect that I can buy and have installed a fully new suspension for my Jeep for around the same as what this fork would cost? But we’ve done it to ourselves, friends. We’ve time and again purchased the new, the shiny, the more expensive though only marginally better performing because we want to continue the illusion of superiority that such purchases engender. I’ve done it too. But no longer! Instead, I will buy used. I will buy on sale and clearance. If I can’t get it cheap, I’ll repair it or buy the lesser cost part and roll it until it dies! (Can I get a hallelujah people?)

    I’ve been rolling an 05 NRS2 since 06. Bought used. Replaced the stock fork with the same model late 06 due to a manufacturing defect. Replaced the original Rock Shox read shock with a Rock Shox Ario, done the basic maintenance and she still rolls smart. Not the lightest by any means, but the job gets done. Then again, I’m pushing 240 myself, so a light bike ain’t gonna have much of a difference and the patina of age gives some character.

  17. …it IS a dichotomy…bike & equipment prices are sky-high but as has been pointed out, shop owners in general aren’t living high on the hog…

    …you look at some of this gear & think “well, it’s costly ‘cuz it’s complex” but, ya, you start comparing prices to stuff out there in the real world & you again wonder why the bike shit costs what it does…

    …personally, i haven’t ridden a mtb in years…i prefer the simplicity of the cyclo-cross rig…

    …& being an ex-industry guy, i could prob’ly prevail on g-fish (not that he owes me anything) for a deal for the latest n’ greatest but i honestly prefer to keep it simple…

  18. Okay, let’s offer some Additional Information here:

    1. Brick-and-mortar bike shops are getting screwed ten ways to Sunday by online warehouses and the deals that suppliers (including QBP, BTW) cut with them. Online warehouses have 10-20 times the buying power of one little shop, and their retail prices reflect that. Wholesale distros say out one side of their mouths how they’re all about protecting small shops, and then they look the other way and sell mountains of parts to warehouse retailers simply because They Make Money on those high-volume sales. I’m not going into the morality of this because it would be another blog post, and frankly a waste of my time.
    Someday we may see a bicycle retail landscape where MANY of today’s small shops will have closed, more business will be done online, and if you want something fixed you had better learn how to do it yourself because there will be too few bike mechanics remaining in the field to be of ready help.

    2. Recent events in south and southeast Asia — including earthquakes, tsunamis and various other environmental catastrophes — are forcing prices on certain good through the roof. Rubber is in short supply (due in part to the flooding that happened last summer and fall, which killed off a lot of younger rubber trees before they could produce). Oil prices are going up, up, up — and petroleum is in a LOT of what goes on a bike. And keep an eye on high-end Shimano and Nitto, as both of these lines are manufactured in — yup — northern Japan. Prices on Ultegra are already up by margins of more than 20% since Japan’s woes began.

    And kids? We’re not done yet. As evidenced by the spate of tornadoes in the south and midwest, Mother Nature is throwing one helluva hissy-fit. This could get worse before it gets better.

    3. SRAM parts — particularly all-metal stuff like cassettes — once enjoyed relative freedom from tariffs. No more. As of this month, those tariff protections in Taiwan and China ended, meaning that the prices of all-metal components will go up so that the consumer will help absorb the cost of the tariffs. Ka-CHING!

    4. Back to oil: As gas prices go up, so will the cost of getting everything to market. Sorry. When governments begin to subsidize the cost of bicycle ownership the way they currently do with automobile ownership, then spoiled Americans (and other first-worlders) will get their nicer bikes and components at something resembling “reasonable” prices. Better yet, let’s end the subsidies for automotive transportation instead, and see what happens then.

    As we used to say back in high school: money walks, bullsh*t talks and small change rides the bus.
    I’m grateful I can still afford bus fare.

  19. I ride a 1999 Trek 6000 that I bought at a yard sale for $10 in a well-to-do part of town. Its a womens model but luckily the red white and blue color scheme seems more patriotic than feminine. It was my size and the geometry is exactly the same as the mens. I swapped the short bars, small grips, and tiny toe clips with spare parts from my bin and have ridden it for thousands of miles. Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to ride an XTR equipped carbon rig with all the bells and whistles, but it’s hard to imagine the smile on my face being that much wider than when I ride my bike that was had for the price of a decent 6 pack of beer.

  20. You know… When I started riding back in 94-95ish I recall being able to buy a decent jersey and a decent pair of bibs for well under $100. Now every jersey and pair of bibs I see is over $100 EACH. When did this happen?

  21. Something to do with them being made of petroleum, and those who control the supply being shady characters who want us to die. Or so I am told.

  22. I believe this dismay/contempt over the pricing structure of a hobby might just be the beginning of legitimate strife coming to a town near all of us in the not too distant future.

    Keep you Psalms handy, or believe that David Burn was right when he said it’s the same as it ever was. Either way, if the bike can survive, Pfaff is probably the smartest one of us all.

  23. It boils down to one thing, the death of the middle class.IF YOU ARE POOR or rich and if you think the middle is still an option, I hope you are pulling down a Mill or 2 because if you look at the people running things they don’t care about anything less than that. The system is so fucked now everything that is done now makes it worse. People are just hanging on. I was a quality carpenter, now I’m lucky to get wages that I started with 25 years ago. How much is a pickup truck, 50k plus.who can afford that now. I just ride and hope nothing breaks. Good luck out there.

  24. Beth is 100% correct…

    But let’s take it one step further. These big publicly owned manufacturers, distributors and engineering firms are LEGALLY BOUND to pursue profit on behalf of their stock holders. If they don’t pursue profit, if it can be proven that in any way they aren’t maximizing revenue, they will end up on the receiving end of a class action law suit… that they will lose.

    Why do SRAM XX and Fox forks cost so much? Sure, there is a shit-ton of R and D… Sure, there is an ass-load of advertising and promotional costs… Sure, materials and fuel prices are rising every day (thanks in large part to the three wars we are fighting right now… Don’t get me started on that…) But the real reason that prices are so high is that people are willing to pay those prices. If I am the CEO of a company that makes widget A, and keystone mark-up on widget A is $50, but people are willing to pay $55, and I don’t charge $55, I’ll get sued… And I’ll lose and have to pay a settlement to my stockholders based on the money I didn’t make them.

    It’s not just Fox. It’s their publicly held suppliers and distributors that are screwing us over.

    Personally, I love Fox forks. They’re butter. But unfortunately, in order to ride them, stay married and still be able to sleep at night, I have to bypass my LBS and buy used… And I HATE cutting my LBS out of the equation.

    Rant over. Gotta go wash baby bottles and clean the kitchen.

  25. I’m with you guys. Expensive doesn’t equal fun, it’s all In the eye of the beholder. I have made it a personal mission to have more fun than folks who ride squishy, $5000 Ti bikes. Good for you, look at my big, shit-eating grin. I think I even buy the beer more often than they do, too.

  26. “…burn…” ???…burn is what we think we feel…

    ‘byrne’ is the guy who reminds us it’s “…same as it ever was…”

    …& this guy ‘pfaff’ ???…isn’t he the guy that rides a girls bike ???…

    …hey, don’t worry, pfaff…we’re all actually envious of your ‘score’ but you did so damn well, you need to be ridden about yer ride…

    …just kinda sayin’…

  27. Gypsy has it right, there are two types of pricing mechanisms: cost-based or “willingness to pay.” I might guess that most leisure goods are priced on willingness to pay with the occasional price hike related to “an escalation of costs”, which never seem to work in the opposite direction. Bikes are not alone, the entry price to any adult pastime is about the same. you need at least a grand to get a decent bike, skis and related kit, or golf clubs for that matter (so my dad tells me). my point is that some marketing dudes have figured out how much people think is reasonable to spend on toys for big people and that is where the pricing structure comes from.

    I might speculate that the recent price jumps in bike stuff is driven largely by the same forces that created the housing bubble in Arizona, for example. Access to consumer credit in the west has inflated people’s willingness to pay just like access to mortgages was the catalyst for the stupid high prices during the housing bubble. So while Beth lays down a pretty bullet proof argument as to why things might go up in the future, I conjecture that opposing forces might be at work, as people continue to get credit crunched. what a bunch of pleasant trends to consider.

  28. Saddle on TT bike cost 80 Euros.
    Price of exact same replacement saddle 4 years later 180 euros.
    Will I buy said saddle? NO.
    Will I find another manufacturer without a cigar, top hat and dollars in his stare? Yes.

    It’s the entry price of a race plus transport, rather do that.


  29. @ bikesgonewild, with that flippant comment that you so casually typed, my whole world has come crashing down. The mountain bike that I once loved is now relegated to a deep dark corner of my basement where it’s true WSD identity will live on only as a repressed memory in the mind of it’s one time faithful companion. I hope you’re happy with yourself. I however am emotionally distraught beyond belief. So long Trek 6000 WSD, our unnatural love has come to an end at the hands of an anonymous commenter with a continuing, liberal overuse of the ellipsis. I knew this day would come but I couldn’t imagine it would end like this. Farewell.

  30. @Barry – Exactly. Well stated. If we, as a user group, lowered our willingness to pay, the manufactures would have to follow our lead.

  31. …pfaff…gosh, lemme buy you a beer n’ maybe you’ll feel better…

    …so, lemme ask…you got any bikes for sale, like real cheap ???…like maybe $10 real cheap ???…just wonderin’…

  32. access to light, sweet crude is why we invade countries; without it, we would all be riding bikes made locally.

  33. There is no cost too high when it comes to looking cooler than my “friends”.

  34. …then why do you bother to “wade through”, dickhead ???…

    …nice to see your meaningful contribution…

  35. …& btw, ‘reverend dick’…when i go to your website to see what exactly it is that you have to contribute, i’m thinking the intellectual prowess you & your amigos exhibit by drawing penises on each other really doesn’t leave a lotta room for you to whine about others…but that’s up to you, ya ???…

    …i may not always have gems to offer but it’s interesting to be called out by the likes of you…

    …i’ll repeat the message i left on your doorstep, “…glad you’ve got a kid to raise & ride with & help keep you centered or you’d REALLY be one sad cocksucker…”

  36. I’m a little late, but Beth + 1!

    The art of bicycle maintenance has been devalued in this country. And it’s a damn shame.

  37. hm, I notice that much to the concern vis a vis the cost of shiny bits seems related specifically to mountain biking. Once I got done gagging down the price of Dura-Ace, my road bike has cost me only three or four chains and a dozen tars in the last five years. Keep the rubber side down, lads.

  38. I just did the ultimate wrong and bought a Chinese carbon road bike. This is mentally killing me…I tend to pride my bikes as made in Merikuh. A Dean. A Titus. A Milwaukee Bicyle Co. singlespeed. But talk about pricing you can’t beat. $430 on Ebay for a Pinarello clone? I’ll have the whole bike built for less $$ than my custom steel singlespeed cost. There is the very definition of competition AND capitalism…coming from a communist nation. If I’m a big bike company, I’m more than a little concerned. I’ve got three other friends that have done the same thing…and one of them OWNS a bike shop.

  39. my Scott CR1 Trophy Bike was fabricated in China, and it seems to be an excellent machine.

  40. You are talking my language (without the deeper sadness kind of brotherhood I just read about in Gnome’s post).

    My 1998 ride desperately wants to be left alone on a bike hook while I purchase a replacement but the prices are just shocking, even at kind pricing. I’m seriously thinking about buying a new steel hardtail frame from a smaller builder and a complete aluminum Chinese/Taiwanese bike to serve as a parts donor. There is no logic in the fact that this route is MUCH cheaper than just buying the steel frame and its associated build kit from the same source.

    BTW, I have a WTB Silverado on each of my proper bikes (one each – road and mtb); I cannot find any real difference between the expen$ive Ti-railed and affordable Fe-railed versions. Both are very nice and are separated by something like 10 grams. Save your bread and buy the steel version.

    Also, your very last fork ever just may be an open bath oil-and-spring Marzocchi (if you can find one). Twelve years plus, but only one wiper/seal and an oil change every couple seasons.

    Anyhow, all of this is shallow after reading the aforementioned post by Gnome.

  41. Ha…defoliant…I’ll be rocking my 2001 Marzocchi on tomorrow’s ride!

    Jonny – I’ve been refering to it as Chi-talian.

    Mikey – I’m guessing you paid more than $430 for that Scott, right? That’s the point.

  42. I have 3 bikes currently: 20, 24, & 26 inch wheeled machines of destruction. All single speed, hard tail, and my Manitou fork on the mtb is at least 6+ yrs old and I bought it off of a buddy for 100 bucks at the time.
    But I’ve also spent some time on the other side of the fence with a Kona Stab Dee-Lux full on DH rig. And after a season or so, the never ending cost of maintaining and riding just got real old.
    Less is definitely more for me nowadays, the less moving parts the better.

  43. The argument about customers being WILLING to pay less usually ends with: well, why don’t you do something about it?

    And what is that something? Usually a letter to manufacturers. Those letters then get ignored, unless there is a bulk of said letters, and even then, they usually get ignored. So how does one implement change, even on such a small scale (in the grand scheme of things, bike component prices are fairly small)?

  44. Mmmmmm open bath Marzocchi, the first “real” fork. Takes a beating and keeps on keepin’ on. Simple to service too. As they age you should try a slightly heavier oil to adjust for the wear on the damper. I wish they still made the good stuff like that……. in a 29″ version. As a side note, a little Mother’s Aluminum Polish on the crown brings back the bling look. Chicks dig it. Just kidding, they really don’t.

  45. If people by cheap(er) bikes, manufacturers will create & retailers will stock those cheap(er) bikes. Someone must be buying the candy, or else it wouldn’t be there.

  46. …sometimes they build a better mousetrap but other times they just kinda ‘bling’ or ‘gee-gaw’ out the same ol’ mousetrap in order to sell more of ’em…& of course they usually raise the price…

    ‘new’ can be fun but it doesn’t always mean ‘better’

    …lotta folks on this site have both the intelligence & the ability to know the difference & see through the bullshit…

  47. “Mikey – I’m guessing you paid more than $430 for that Scott, right? That’s the point.”

    sfb— I bought the Trophy Bike fully-assembled, fitted and custom kitted at one of the best LBSs in Pugetropolis. So yeah, it cost more than $430, but it’s been perfect for ~8000 miles. No complaints. (Except for the weather— today I was out on a steel bike with disc brakes and fenders.) Keep the rubber side down, brother.

  48. D2 @59, write a letter with your wallet. Companies don’t care what you think, only what you buy or and this case, don’t buy.

    Big Johnny @ 61 who’s buying the candy? go to your local MTB race and have a look at what the beginner, middle-aged “professionals”

  49. Barry, agreed. My comment was more tongue in cheek. The candy is offered at the marketplace because the candy sells. I know just what you’re talking about, I’ve seen it at the MTB and road races. I’ve heard it described as “all horse, no cattle.”

    That’s one of the interesting things about the sport of cycling – you can buy just what the pros ride (almost, generally, pretty much). You can’t do that in NASCAR.

  50. What a bunch of hypocrisy. Welcome to the game that most of us Schmucks have been playing for years. While you were getting your EP’s, we have been paying full price or maybe 10-20% off for already overpriced bike parts at the LBS. Why do you think people use online sites now? When you can get the same fork for $250 less online, you damn straight should buy it then spend the extra buying other crap made in the People’s Republic of China. It’s all crap!!!! Will you actually enjoy your ride more? I guarantee you’ll forget the difference way the new fork rides in less than two months then want the next new fork or bike. Is it going to make you faster or win Leadville? Probably not. Let’s face it, cycling is so full of elitists (and whether you believe it or not, YOU ARE) that drive the prices up. Let the Doctors, Lawyers, and CEO’s buy all the 14 lb. bikes and I’ll enjoy dropping them on a 20 year old steel frame with down tube shifters. I say REVO-“F”ing-LUTION. Duct tape that old fork and suck it up. Drop a turd in a letter and send it to QBP, TREK and the like that muscle the LBS’s.

  51. Interesting thread r/e the bling/candy whatever and the economics behind it.
    The economics seem pretty simple to me. Some stuff is priced stupid because some folks will pay for bleeding edge. It seems there’s a current of thought in this thread that this is inappropriate and to the detriment of the larger community, and I don’t buy it.

    I’ll put it out that probably 95% of the folks that have commented have at one or more times splashed out on some part/group/frame/fork that was much more than was necessary to do the job. Maybe most of the time that same person watches the nickels, cuts through the bullshit and makes pragmatic decisions, but every once in a while.. you splash out. You know you do.

    and thats all the industry needs to support the top tier bling.
    95% of the people 5% of the time and a very very few of the people all of the time.

    You (we) can rail against the perceived injustice of an investment banker showing up for a cat nuthin’ race plastered with logos in a language he doesn’t recognize on a zillion dollar carbonium radvelo but what’s the point. That dude is a blip, and in a couple years some lucky punter is gonna pick up that carbonium radvelo off craigslist for a song and we’ll all applaud.
    Worth mentioning also that the top tier shit often pays the overhead of development and design costs for good shit that trickles down to the mid level stuff in a couple years for more reasonable prices.

    So, next time you see Fred out there on the bleeding edge Wunder bike or rockin’ the four digit$ fox fork, ask him how he likes it and quietly to yourself, thank him for fronting the cost of being the test bunny for new cool shit.

  52. our LBS is one of the only shops in cincinnati that has affordable bikes. we have high end shops here that are reeediculous. our shop caters to the middle class. im proud to say i race CX on a 500.00 redline.

  53. Is there a reason the bike tire costs as much as a car tire? Its…greed that makes the world go round…

  54. @66 Trailer Park: I got an EP because I worked for it. That doesn’t make me spoiled. I’ll buy whatever goddamn parts I want to buy.

    And I don’t think it’s a mystery why people shop online. Never made that argument, but don’t come down on the LBS; they’re making shit money too. They have to charge the prices they do, or they won’t stay open. Then what will you do when you need that tube in a pinch, or need that fork overhauled for the race but have no fucking clue what the difference is between a seal and a bushing?

    You may dismount your high horse any time now.

  55. D2: My stallion is named “Righteous Anger” and I may be thrown from my steed but here it goes.
    “I’ll buy whatever goddamn parts I want to buy.” Great, then companies can determine their margins.

    “They have to charge the prices they do, or they won’t stay open.” Agreed, my argument was toward the lack of options of the LBS to not use the wholesellers and also bike companies that try to put a full nelson on the shops to demand they stock a specific product. It does happen.

    “Then what will you do when you need that tube in a pinch, or need that fork overhauled for the race but have no fucking clue what the difference is between a seal and a bushing?” In this situation, what I am actually buying is time and a service. That is different. Could I fix it? Sure. Would I rather pay someone who is a kick ass wrench to do it faster, sometimes and I truly have no problem with that.

    It seems the real culprit is our affluence. A fork should not cost what I paid for an entire tricked out bike 15 years ago. >300% inflation???? It also translates to other industries such as healthcare and this IS my bigger problem because it is intertwined.

    Lets say you fall from your new bike and fracture your shoulder. Well, then you come to me and I look at the x-ray, tell you the obvious, give you a sling, and tell you to follow up with an ortho surgeon. Your bill comes 3 weeks later and it is 3K. I can tell you I get less than 10% of that bill. Where is the rest going? As far as I am concerned, I am well compensated and can pay my ridiculous student loan, but you see a 3K bill. Was your service worth 3K. Hell no and I even believe that.

    That is the bigger issue I struggle with. My wrath was a combination of one person going to Mexico to affordably have a tooth pulled and the cost of a Campy cassette I had to buy to fit the grupo that I purchased over 10 years ago, and your rant about the industry. It is indeed ALL CRAP!!!!! (BTW The cassette was 20% of the cost I originally paid for the group. Needless to say I bought a Miche and it works great.)

  56. “It seems the real culprit is our affluence.”

    Don’t worry. If we travel a bit further down our current economic path and have the same assclowns at the wheel, affluence will NOT be an issue.

  57. sfb – I started trying heavier weights the second season – purchased very cheaply from a motorcycle shop! I have to say the bushings still have most of their original coating but I can’t really tell if the damper is wearing, although the grey-metallic oil that drains out at the irregular servicing might be telling me something.

    buck – I too want a 29″ version for hardtail duty (don’t want full sus anymore on midwestern trails).

    Plan A: sticking with 26″ and reusing the ’99 (’00?) Z1 BAM. Note: I immediately sold the SID that came on the bike and installed a “better” Manitou Ti-SX which turned out to be a complete POS (blown cartridge). Manitou was kind enough to take blame and send a replacement which I sold with uncut headtube for Marzocchi funding.
    Plan 2: Going full rigid 29″.

    All purely hypothetical until some cash starts flowin’.

  58. Supply & demand. Obviously someone is buying all those Fox Forx because it’s pretty rare that you see them on sale, anywhere. Sure, I’d love to have one but I’m not going to pay $750 for a fork because that would be over half of what I paid for my Racer X.

    Speaking of Titus, I was able to buy my Racer X for $1400 new because they over-produced for 2009 and then bought the farm in 2010. I know they got bought but who knows whether there will be any warranty coverage for existing frames in the long term.

    I’ve just learned over the years to wait for big sales if I want something nice. You may not always get exactly what you want, but it’s the best way to get stuff cheaply.

  59. Motherfuckers keep trying to reinvent the God damned wheel. Just roll the motherfucker, I say.



    Now get off my lawn.

  60. Buut it’s got the Kashima Coating!

    Seriously though, a great reading thru the post and comments. We’ve all overpaid for stupid shit wether it be beer, bikes or broads. I don’t fault Fox for having expensive products, or anyone that can afford to buy it. I just buy a 100mm coil/oil Marz for a buck fifty brand new. that’s just where im at these days.

    I get sick of seeing $5,000 bikes in every dirtrag review. Maybe it’s cuz I cant afford that shit right now. If I had the money would I buy a titzed out TallBoy, probably hell yes. Put it on top of my Porsche SUV and tour Idaho for a few mos. Well that shit aint in the cards at teh moment. it’s 11y/o hondas and ghetto fab ss’s for this kid.

  61. “overpayed for broads”? Said “I do” almost thirty years ago. Son, you don’t know dick about overpaying.

  62. I’m all about old cars and old bikes, if that’s what gets you through. I like good parts, but I have mostly old parts. Like everyone else. I’d like to replace my fork because I’m tired of overhauling it and it feels like a pogo stick at the moment, but a Fox ain’t in my future at that price.

    Ride your bike. Good. Capitalism=big problem that ain’t going away.

    Bottom line is, my chafed inner thigh wants a new saddle and my wrists, shoulders, and neck want a new fork. Fuck me, right?

  63. I’m afraid I’m at a loss. What is this “Di2” of which you speak of?

  64. Got friction thumbies on the ’91 HooKoo. Got barcons (friction, natch) on my light touring bike. Running ol’ skoo Suntour Edge with downtube shifters on this old lugged Specialized Allez I scored for twenty bucks at a thrift shop. Got a Crosscheck, a Monocog and a 1976 Raleigh Supercourse, all fixed gears. At no time have I thought that their respective drivetrains have inhibited me from riding the where I want, how I want, as fast as I want. Your mileage may vary.

    And not to be a smartass, but what happens when (not if) the electronics poop their drawers?

  65. …joe…differences of opinions on other subjects aside, here’s s bit of trivia for you…

    …i had a hand in designing a lot of the original equipment on that ’91 hoo koo…if you bought it second hand, some of it may have been changed but it came with a ‘trail tail’ saddle, ergonomic fisher logo-ed grips, the original asymmetrical toe clips (a right & a left) & on the frame itself, that little brake cable noodle behind the seat cluster & those shaped ‘bullet stop’ cable stops were all mine…prob’ly some other stuff i can’t think of right now…

    …but hey, i use electricity every day so we’re even…

  66. The brazeons are cool. That noodle thingie-Genius. The rest, not so much, at least for me.

    First thing to go was the long stem and flatbar. Even then I was abit arthritic. Shorter stem and risers helped immensely.

    The thing had a boinger fork. Rockshocks quadra or something. Yellow, it was. And I hate squish.

    So I replaced it with a Tange rigid. Suspension corrected for 80 mm travel, and the boinger was-what?-63mm? Or 50, maybe. Which choppered it out some. Alot more muscle to negotiate tight trails, but wonderful on the open road. A backroad tourer was born.

    The final fix was the Gripshift. Woulda been okay if the front was friction, but it was indexed. No good. I gots to have the ability to trim.

    So I built it up with a Deore front, some random der in back (lower end road Shimano if memory serves) and get this-Drop bars. I figured Jacquie makes ’em look good so what the hell. Used Barcon shifters in friction mode. It was almost starting to feel like something an old man could ride.

    Launched a chain and tweaked the derailer hanger, so it sat on the back burner for awhile. I just got done installing risers, a Tektro high-profile canti in front (gots to have fender clearance, Clarence) and Suntour friction thumbshifters. It’s getting tuned and adjusted as I type this. Probably I will install the rack and panniers from my Crosscheck. This will be the bike to take me where my fixed gears can’t, me being old and arthritic.

    And yep, I bought it used maybe six years ago. Think I paid a hundred bucks. Just looking at that frame with the stickers that say “triple butted true temper”, “made in USA” and “designed in California by Gary Fisher”-Well alls I knows is this is a bike I will grow old(er) with. And if you had a hand in designing it, I’ll thank you on every ride.

  67. And bgw? You can get mad at me, buddy. It’s cool. Heck, even Mrs. Joe could scalp me at least three times a week. Just don’t stay mad, okay? Life’s too short.

  68. bit the bullet, bought a fork….

    I’m out…just a statistic for the pricing lords now.

    If you’re ever in State College check out Freeze Thaw Cycles. Given all the spiel about old parts (JOE) I’m sure you and JW would fall in love.

    Keep On Peddlin’

  69. I was just kidding. I wouldn’t ride Di2 either, unless I was a pro and got it for free.

  70. …joetheelectricion…& when i say “…check…”, what i mean is that as long as mrs.joe keeps sending me that monthly check that she pays me to humor you, well gosh, how can i stay mad at you, ya ???…

  71. She figures it’s cheap at twice the price if it keeps me out of her hair awhile, knowwuddimean?

  72. …hurben…speaking of cycling equipment, i just arranged to buy a very sano allsop softride beam road bike for an extremely decent price from my buddy ‘sully’…this isn’t the version i’ve been riding with straight bars & the mtb stem but a polished aluminium frame, set up with tt/tri bars which i’ll replace with a shallow drop road bar…

    …already toying with the idea of setting it up as a one-speed…maybe somewhere down the line, add a flip-flop rear hub & ride me some fixed…hmmm…

    …gonna be interesting, either way…

  73. D2, I got a Reba race SL from a shop. It was an upgrade orphan (can’t see why) that will find a good home in my stable. I swear that I’ll be better to this one that the last one. The SS has made me lazy with regular love to the ole’ steed. I’m gonna change muh ways.

  74. Hi BGW,

    I look forward to seeing a picture of the finished article, except that these bikes are never quite finished, are they?

    I liked the one you were riding, with the Frankenstem & the Seat mount, (more details on that please), it’s a classic example of a Softride.

    The idea of a Softride single-speed is interesting, maybe I’ll use one of my spare frames as a winter project, (yes it’s that time of year down here).

    As an aside, I went up north of Auckland yesterday to a small coastal town that was hosting a Classic VW show.

    Beautiful, fabulous bugs & kombis, like a Woodstock on wheels & all these 50+ year olds wandering around going I remember..

    You could almost see the ghost of John Muir smiling.

    Take care out there my friend.
    (& you too, Sparky)