Since when did cycling become a sport for the wealthy? Looking at things in a logical way, I can't help but to comment on my observations. Being at the bike races over the years there seems to be one common denominator with the field sizes. The Masters fields always draw the most riders, while the junior fields can barely draw a dozen riders. Is this by accident? I personally think the sport of cycling is pricing itself out of existence. With the average family barely able to make ends meet, how can they afford to get involved?
Let’s do a simple price comparison. An S-Works Venge Sagan Superstar frameset costs $4500. A Suzuki GW250 complete motorcycle costs $4099. The Frameset of a bicycle costs $400 more than a complete motorcycle! Keep in mind this is just a bare frameset. If you wanted to purchase the complete bike, you are looking at well over 10k. For the same price as a new bicycle you could easily buy a certified pre-owned C-Class Mercedes!
Let’s logically look at the frame to see if we can justify the price. Is it made out of some magical material? The answer is no. It is made from carbon fiber that has been around the aerospace and automotive industries for decades. To take this one step further, there is an industry standard chart for Carbon Fiber. Toray Carbon is considered the standard for Carbon Fiber. High tensile strength Toray T1000 is considered top of the line for strength standards. Surely a frame that costs $4500 must be made from the best stuff right? After all, most of the high end Italian framesets advertise that they incorporate the Toray T1000 into their framesets. The answer to this question is I don’t know. The S-Works claims to use Fact 11R carbon fiber in their frames. The only problem is there is no reference to 11R carbon in the industry standard charts. I would think that if they used the best stuff, they would advertise it like some of the other manufactures do? So logically, the material is not what justifies the price.
Could R&D justify the pricing? The answer to this question is also no. Do you honestly think that more R&D went into a bicycle frame than a complete motorcycle? You would be foolish if you thought this. Having to meet durability standards, and regulations all over the world the motorcycle wins this battle easily.
Maybe the aerodynamics built into the frame justifies the pricing? I would also have to disagree with this one as well. The motorcycle most likely went through all the same aerodynamic testing as the frame, and possibly even more. In today’s day and age, almost all of the aerodynamic, and structural testing is done through finite element analysis computer software. The benefit of using these programs is to save on design and durability testing costs! In theory this would help lower the price.
I know it doesn’t look good for the price justification of the frame yet, but what about the pro rider that rides this frame? I’m sure his sponsorship money has more to do with the pricing than anything else. How does this benefit you? To put it bluntly it doesn’t. If you are getting dropped now on your current bike, chances are you will also be getting dropped on this one. Sagan was winning races on a Cannondale for years before switching bike manufactures. If he started riding a different frame next year, chances are he would also win on that frameset too. He is a genetically gifted athlete who will win on any frame he rides, and truth be told, this frameset will not change your genetics.
I have nothing against the mentioned bike manufacturer, and actually think they make a great product, but I have a big problem with the rising costs. They are not alone; almost all of the manufactures are charging ridiculous prices for their equipment. As long as people keep handing over their hard earned money, this trend will continue to get out of control killing the growth of the sport. For me, I’ll pick up something used for a fraction of the price, and spend the money I saved on something nice for myself.
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