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Where we are in 2020 and the cost of road bikes

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Where we are in 2020 and the cost of road bikes

Old 12-13-20, 01:31 PM
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AcesHigh007
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Where we are in 2020 and the cost of road bikes

I purchased a Cervelo S3 in 2014 and had a very pleasant experience. The retail price was $4k, I received a good discount and I felt good about my purchase. Now I am looking for something between road/gravel bike and am astonished at the prices for what companies are selling. To continue with Cervelo, their Caledona base with Di2 is $4500. For $4500, the base model comes with alloy stem and bars, doesn't have integrated cockpit, crap wheels, and has an alloy seatpost. It is the $6500 Caledona 5 Di2 that has these features and even still, the wheels/hubs leave a lot to be desired.


So $6500 to feel like I am purchasing a bike in the food chain where I was in 2014?


Total out of the door in 2014 was $3600. The Caledona 5 Di2 would be $7100. I'm seeing this across the board. Trek selling $6500 road bikes that have alloy bars/stems, low grade saddles and questionable wheelsets.


This seems the equivalent of walking onto a BMW lot and seeing a base 3 Series is suddenly $75000. Am I missing something here?
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Old 12-13-20, 02:02 PM
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The funniest part is you can get a custom frame decorated with great wheels and all the parts you desire for a similar price. Di2 drives it up about $1K, fwiw.
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Old 12-13-20, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
Am I missing something here?
You're cheating your own comparison by incorporating the discount. The market is in a much different state right now than it was when you bought the 2014 bike. And $4000 in 2014 is about $4500 in today's USD.

The $4500 Caledona is not "the base spec." The lowest spec is the $2900 105-equipped version.
There's also a $3500 variant spec'd with mechanical Ultegra. Considering that your 2014 bicycle was not spec'd with Di2, it's arguable that the closest comparison in the Caledonia's lineup is actually the $3500 mechanical Ultegra variant. Compared with your 2014 S3, this variant does lack a carbon aero seatpost and has less-fancy wheels with a shallower section, but it's also pitched as an allroad bike and is $1000 cheaper when considered in 2020 USD.
The $4500 variant also lacks these things compared with your S3, but that's because they're specifically hitting you with a big penalty for Di2, which your S3 does not have.

I'm confused as to why you think that the $6500 Caledonia 5 variant with e-shifting and an integrated cockpit is at the same spot in the food chain as your S3, which came with neither of these things.
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Old 12-13-20, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I'm confused as to why you think that the $6500 Caledonia 5 variant with e-shifting and an integrated cockpit is at the same spot in the food chain as your S3, which came with neither of these things.
It also lacked hydraulic disc brakes.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
Am I missing something here?
I would say you are missing the ability to fairly compare bikes.

Don't compare mechanical to di2 first off.
Secondly, an integrated cockpit is hardly a clear upgrade. It can be beneficial for some and frustrating for some.
Third, a carbon stem and bars can be nice, but hardly necessary. A carbon stem is often negligible in 'improvement' vs nice alloy stems.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:50 PM
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I agree that the comparison is off the mark, but that doesn't mean that all current prices are justified either. I never buy a prebuilt bike. You'll get some parts that are not what you want.

These days, I look for bargain frames from a few years back. My most recent purchase was two Cinelli superstar disc brake frames from 2017. The two cost the same as one 2021 model. I don't see any changes other than the available paint schemes.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:52 PM
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Faulty comparison, as Di2 is not at all comparable to the mech groupset you got on your 2014 Cervelo.

You got me curious, so I had a look at the wheelset on a $6500 Trek road bike. If you think that wheelset is "questionable," then... I think you are a bit crazy.

By the way: I get a kick out of these people who come to bf and create new accounts just to ask "which bike should I buy." In other words, people who come here ONLY to get some advice, not to offer anything. And they are asking a question that, in the end, only THEY can answer. But this is a new one -- creating a bf account just to ***** about the price of a bike. Classy.
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Old 12-13-20, 08:29 PM
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There is nothing wrong with alloy bars, stem and seat post. They are not necessarily a budget option at all.
I would agree that bikes do seem to be more expensive though.
Not sure if it is because disc brakes cost more to produce, or they have bumped up the margins somewhere.
Also less discounting doesn't help either.
Basically seems like you are about 1 tier down for the same money as a few years ago.
i.e, what would of got you Ultegra now gets you 105.
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Old 12-13-20, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
There is nothing wrong with alloy bars, stem and seat post. They are not necessarily a budget option at all.
I would agree that bikes do seem to be more expensive though.
Not sure if it is because disc brakes cost more to produce, or they have bumped up the margins somewhere.
Also less discounting doesn't help either.
Basically seems like you are about 1 tier down for the same money as a few years ago.
i.e, what would of got you Ultegra now gets you 105
.
On my "anything goes" custom bike that was built last year, I went with alloy for the stem and bars, and would've actually preferred it for the seatpost. Alloy cockpit components are generally lighter (at least not heavier, typically), and you don't need to strip everything down to examine them after a mishap in the garage or a crash.

And today's 105 is at least as good (likely better) than last-generation Ultegra. (That's not speculation -- it's exactly what I have hanging in my garage on two of my bikes.)

But why are we bothering? The OP came here to complain -- and now that he's got it off his chest, he probably won't be back.
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Old 12-13-20, 09:58 PM
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I'll make this simple since the question is multi-faceted and I don't feel like explaining everything.

Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra - $5000
Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra Di2 - $6500

The only differences are Di2 and a different saddle. But the saddles are virtually the same price.

So why $1500 upgrade for Di2?
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Old 12-13-20, 11:06 PM
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because di2 is awesome......or not....its up to you to justify to yourself the cost difference for di2...When I got my Domane with di2, it was a gift to myself and I did not care about the cost....I wanted it. I have put 2 kids through college, spent un-godly amount of money on a arts and craft room for my wife and I decided it was my turn....screw it, I want it, I am buying it.
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Old 12-13-20, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
because di2 is awesome......or not....its up to you to justify to yourself the cost difference for di2...When I got my Domane with di2, it was a gift to myself and I did not care about the cost....I wanted it. I have put 2 kids through college, spent un-godly amount of money on a arts and craft room for my wife and I decided it was my turn....screw it, I want it, I am buying it.
Ultegra Di2 groupset can be purchased for less than $2k. Ultegra groupset can be purchased around $1k. Why is Cervelo charging $1500 more for Ultegra Di2? We can probably agree Cervelo isn't paying street price for these groups. They are getting some mass discount. So not only are they not passing along a small incentive to spend more money, they are bizarrely gouging on higher end models.

My point is that gouging seems to be pervasive throughout all the levels of pre-configured bikes for all manufacturers. This was not the case in 2014.
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Old 12-13-20, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
I'll make this simple since the question is multi-faceted and I don't feel like explaining everything.

Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra - $5000
Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra Di2 - $6500

The only differences are Di2 and a different saddle. But the saddles are virtually the same price.

So why $1500 upgrade for Di2?
This is nothing new. They have always charged a premium for Di2 on built up bikes.
More than you would think by comparing the groupset prices.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
I'll make this simple since the question is multi-faceted and I don't feel like explaining everything.

Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra - $5000
Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra Di2 - $6500

The only differences are Di2 and a different saddle. But the saddles are virtually the same price.

So why $1500 upgrade for Di2?
That was your question/point in your original post??
It costs more because theybcan charge it.

If you don't like the cost, then buy the cheaper bike and buy di2 then install it yourself and sell the mechanical group.
You win then.

...or buy a different bike.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
I agree that the comparison is off the mark, but that doesn't mean that all current prices are justified either. I never buy a prebuilt bike. You'll get some parts that are not what you want.

These days, I look for bargain frames from a few years back. My most recent purchase was two Cinelli superstar disc brake frames from 2017. The two cost the same as one 2021 model. I don't see any changes other than the available paint schemes.
DaveSSS, what happened to your two Colnagos?
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Old 12-14-20, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
That was your question/point in your original post??
It costs more because theybcan charge it.
But I thought everyone was broke and needed government subsidies to pay the rent and buy bread? Meanwhile $7-$15k carbon road bikes are flying off the shelves so quickly that manufacturers can charge higher prices on the premium models. Something doesn't add up.
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Old 12-14-20, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
But I thought everyone was broke and needed government subsidies to pay the rent and buy bread? Meanwhile $7-$15k carbon road bikes are flying off the shelves so quickly that manufacturers can charge higher prices on the premium models. Something doesn't add up.
Don't go this route, man.
There are 330mm people in the US. Many will do great during this pandemic while many others will struggle simply because they happen to work in an industry affected by reduced in person visit.

No need to make some trite comment like that. It doesnt look good and quickly locks threads.
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Old 12-14-20, 02:19 AM
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To the OP: Say, are you new to America? Just arrived in the Western world? Never before seen capitalism?

Here is a sound business proposition: "Charge what the market will bear."

That means, "Set the price as high as you can but just below where people won't buy stuff."

Actual value of the product has no importance. Perceived value is everything (you didn't think people spend billions on advertising for nothing, did you?)

How about the concept of "Supply and demand"? Market conditions make a difference---if an object is scarce, or is perceived to be scarce, people who can, will pay more money.

How about this: bikes are a luxury item. The people in America for whom bikes are Not a luxury item, buy those bikes at Walmart. The rest of us are buying toys, or exercise equipment, or both .... stuff we Choose to buy. Such people typically pay more for what they think will give them the lifestyle they desire.

As for prices being "justified"? You know what "justifies" prices?

Sales.

If you think the bike costs too much, don't buy it. But so long as enough people Are buying it, to the seller, the price is "justified." It is fair, it is correct.

Check out that whole "Invisible hand of the market" idea: The market self-regulates because supply and demand and available income and discretionary income, production and transport and sales cost, all balance out----charge too much, and people don't pay it, and you have to lower prices. Charge too little and you cannot cover cost of operations and go out of business.

Right now bike sellers are losing volume due to the CCP virus, but supply is low for the same reason, so not only do they Need to sell at a higher price to offset reduced sales volume, they Can sell at a higher price because of increased demand driven by low supply.

Any of this making sense?

Again---if You feel the prices are "Too High"---Don't Buy the Bike. That is what lowers prices. But---your power to lower prices only goes so far. Get too cheap, and if we all get too cheap, bike companies will go under. We will All be buying bikes at Walmart.

But I don't think that there is much danger to the bike industry. People want bikes, and people have been paying a quite a lot for bikes for quite a while You complain about the $6500 bike today, but you paid $3600 six years ago? Because you allowed yourself to get gouged in 2014, the bike companies are sure they can gouge you even more in the time of the virus. And a lot of people are willing to pay.

Shoot, I haven't bought a bike since 2017, and my main ride I built in 2015. I don't see a lot of major tech breakthroughs in the past several years that make what was a really excellent bike in 2015, any less excellent in 2020. Disc brakes .... but I don't need them on my lightweight bike (I don't live in the mountains) and I have them on my rain bike. Electronic shifting is supposed to be a big deal---but I have Ultegra 6800 and it is pretty much as good as mech shifting gets already, so I don't see where my entire riding experience will suddenly, exponentially improve with DI2.

I really don't see Any reason to buy another bike. I am a bike Rider, not a bike collector. The whole mentality of "Buy bling, upgrade, buy a better model every time the manufacturers introduce a new bell or whistle" is exactly why bikes cost so much---so many people indulged their desire to acquire. Bike manufacturing and bike parts manufacturing profits increased because people got caught in the "I must have the Latest and Greatest" mentality. Seller saw suckers, and prices climbed---and will keep climbing. Because you will eventually break down and buy the next Shiny Thing™ at some inflated price. And then .... prices will go up even higher.

As far as the political stuff---that makes you look .... well, I will retrain myself. Suffice to say, if you cannot understand business, learn or leave it be. If you cannot control your impulse to follow the deities of advertising which tell you your perfectly good six-year-old bike Must Be replaced, pay up and man up--quit whining about the choices you have made. And if you really don't think bikes are worth the money---a purely personal decision---don't buy another bike.

Sorry I don't share your outrage. While you typed your post, and while I typed mine, how many children were molested? How many women were raped? How many people died of curable diseases because they could not afford medicine? How many starved to death in a world where millions of tons of food are discarded daily? How many people were tortured or murdered for their spiritual beliefs?

There are plenty of reasons to be outraged. Having to pay a little more than you like for a new toy .... not so valid a cause for outrage .... but that is just my opinion.

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Old 12-14-20, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
I'll make this simple since the question is multi-faceted and I don't feel like explaining everything.

Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra - $5000
Cervelo Caledenia 5 Ultegra Di2 - $6500

The only differences are Di2 and a different saddle. But the saddles are virtually the same price.

So why $1500 upgrade for Di2?
Try again:

DT Swiss E1800 32 Spline (budget, place-keeper wheels) vs Reserve 35mm DT370 (carbon rims, DT Swiss hubs)





Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
Ultegra Di2 groupset can be purchased for less than $2k. Ultegra groupset can be purchased around $1k. Why is Cervelo charging $1500 more for Ultegra Di2? We can probably agree Cervelo isn't paying street price for these groups. They are getting some mass discount. So not only are they not passing along a small incentive to spend more money, they are bizarrely gouging on higher end models.

My point is that gouging seems to be pervasive throughout all the levels of pre-configured bikes for all manufacturers. This was not the case in 2014.
See above. So what was your point, again?
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Old 12-14-20, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AcesHigh007 View Post
Ultegra Di2 groupset can be purchased for less than $2k. Ultegra groupset can be purchased around $1k. Why is Cervelo charging $1500 more for Ultegra Di2? We can probably agree Cervelo isn't paying street price for these groups. They are getting some mass discount. So not only are they not passing along a small incentive to spend more money, they are bizarrely gouging on higher end models.

My point is that gouging seems to be pervasive throughout all the levels of pre-configured bikes for all manufacturers. This was not the case in 2014.
As a professional economist, I have thought long and deeply about this...And I'm not sure that such a thing as "gouging" even exists. After all, we live in a market system, in which transactions are voluntary. If you willingly pay the price, you obviously found the transaction worthwhile; if you don't find it worthwhile, then walk away. But if you are going to claim that something called "gouging" exists, you've picked the wrong market, given that the market for new road bikes is very competitive. With so many choices, it's unlikely that any particular manufacturer's pricing is far out of line with all of the others', or with the production cost plus normal profit.

Oh, and as WhyFi has pointed out, your claims about these two bikes aren't even accurate.

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Old 12-14-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Try again:

DT Swiss E1800 32 Spline (budget, place-keeper wheels) vs Reserve 35mm DT370 (carbon rims, DT Swiss hubs)







See above. So what was your point, again?
I was going to make this same point, it’s Di2 and wheels for $1500
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Old 12-14-20, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If you willingly pay the price, you obviously found the transaction worthwhile; if you don't find it worthwhile, then walk away. But if you are going to claim that something called "gouging" exists, you've picked the wrong market, given that the market for new road bikes is very competitive. With so many choices, it's unlikely that any particular manufacturer's pricing is far out of line with all of the others', or with the production cost plus normal profit.
Oh, get on with you and your intelligent, informed, clearly stated information. We don't need no stinkin' facts--We Are BF!!!!!
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Old 12-14-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by phrantic09 View Post
I was going to make this same point, it’s Di2 and wheels for $1500
Seems like a pretty damn reasonable upgrade cost to me.
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Old 12-14-20, 08:54 AM
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I am surprised at the degree to which consumers here are bending over backwards making excuses for bike manufacturers.

It is very much true that bike prices HAVE escalated significantly over the past 5-odd years - and that's not factoring in the current COVID-fuelled spike. You could get a very nice mid/upper end carbon bike with Ultegra for around $3000 at one point. How common is that these days?

To the question about re being new to America or capitalism: capitalism also works on the consumers trying to get the best price that they can for their products.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
It is very much true that bike prices HAVE escalated significantly over the past 5-odd years - and that's not factoring in the current COVID-fuelled spike. You could get a very nice mid/upper end carbon bike with Ultegra for around $3000 at one point. How common is that these days?
When I bought my first road bike 10 years ago, the going rate for a 2nd-tier CF frame, 10sp 105 and place-keeper wheels was $2k. Currently, most manufacturers (I've only checked with Trek, Spec and Giant, but would imagine that most are similar) are selling their 2nd tier carbon (which is better than top tier from 10 years ago), 11sp hydro disc 105 for $2200-2500. That seems totally reasonable to me. Giant is one of the few manufacturers offering a rim brake 105 model, and it's currently going for $2050.
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