Better bikes for cheaper?

A recent economist article pointed out a new purchasing pattern surrounding netbooks.  It would seem that computers, for most normal use, are now getting cheaper instead of more powerful.  Perhaps we’ve reached the pinnacle of what is (currently) required for 90% of the world’s users (web browsers, email, photos, youtube).  A small number require the processing power of FinalCut or Autocad, but not many.

In a similar vein over even just the past 5 years, bicycles have exploded forwards in terms of advances in aerodynamics, weight, stiffness, strength, suspension, and drivetrain capabilities.  And over that same timeframe, as is common in the bike biz, the trickle down of the best of these features have massively improved the quality of mid-range and entry-level bikes below them.

I wonder if we could be on the cusp of an enthusiast price softening, where it now costs less than ever before to buy a bike that is, by nearly all measures, truly fantastic?  Years ago, Keith Bontrager said to me that “there weren’t many bad bikes made anymore”.  It seems this is only becoming more true.  Compared to the declining quality of products in other industries, yet again, the bike industry gives us a reason to feel like we’re doing something good for the people out there who actually ride bikes, and enjoy riding.

Written by chris in: General Musings |


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    Chris, excellent point and very encouraging! This trend is possibly the most powerful ally we have in changing the public perception that cycling is "expensive", "elitist", and the like. This is such an exciting time to be part of the bike industry. To quote Fossil Fool @ Rock the Bike, "Bike Culture Blowin’ Up!.

    Comment | January 26, 2009
  • But would you (or let anyone in your family) ride a 100$ bike sold/assembled by Walmart?

    Comment | April 21, 2009
  • for sure no, a $100 bike from walmart is still, and likely will always be, unsafe at any speed. My point is that a $800 bike today is a massive leap forward from what an $800 bike was only 5 years ago. The price of entry into this sport, as a *sport*, has come down a lot. And hopefully, the narrowing gap between walmart and bike shop prices will convert more people into cycling as a sport, rather than owning bikes as garage filler.

    Comment | April 21, 2009

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