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.