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Have bike makers gone mad?

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May 12, 2009
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jmnikricket said:
Wow a lot of you seem to be borderline delusional. You underestimate materials costs, R&D costs, and believe it or not the people making these bikes actually have salaries; sorry if they don't want to work for peanuts.

Production costs for quality carbon fiber are sky high. High modulus carbon fiber (I know most of you think this is just a marketing term, but it actually means something) has to be processed at over 3000 degrees C; you think that's free? High strength carbon fiber can be processed at closer to 2000 degrees C, and the crap you see on ebay probably lower. Not all carbon fiber is created equal, and there is currently a huge worldwide shortage of quality carbon fiber, causing the price to increase even more. The pinarello prince uses a structural aerospace grade carbon fiber. When was the last time you looked at the price tag on the space shuttle? An F1 car? A racing yacht? That's the kind of quality we're talking about here.

Many carbon fiber bikes are made by hand-laying and hand-wrapping individual plies. Imagine taking a bunch of sheets of paper and wrapping them into a bike frame shape. Tell me you wouldn't want to get paid much more for that than tig-welding a steel frame.

Carbon fiber is also a unique material in that its properties are anisotropic. That means that the strength, stiffness, etc change depending on the orientation. This allows for infinitely more possibilities during R&D when compared with steel or aluminum. More possibilities means more thought has to go into it which means more time and money. Of course you can buy cheap carbon fiber frames where the lay up, weave, direction, etc are all very standard and little to no extra thought was put into it. But then you miss out on a lot of the benefits of using carbon fiber in the first place. Maybe you've seen phrases like lateral stiffness and vertical compliance. Again many of you probably pass them off as marketing gimmicks.

To those saying that mountain bikes are much cheaper because they are directed toward "true" riders. Imagine an engineer and tasked with creating a road frame at 850g. Now imagine the same engineer is asked to create a mountain frame that comes in at around 2000g. Sure it's beefier, but with more than twice the material, it better be. And if a section is weak, just throw on some more carbon fiber, and let the frame be 2100g. No one will care.

By the way, if you're still one of those people claiming carbon fiber will break the first time you crash it, you're either a 250 lb monster or you're living in the late 80s.

I could go on for days...

My philosophy on expensive bike parts has always been that I don't want to have my gear holding me back. The only limiting factor I want is my own conditioning. I never want to use the phrase "if I had his bike I could..." So it all comes down to this: is the real world benefit worth the extra money to you? But seriously ragging on someone's gear because it's more than you want to spend is so '90s hipster that it's pathetic. Let them enjoy the sport.

I'll have to respectfully disagree with you on several points. First of all, high modulus, labor intensive carbon fiber does not have to cost twice as much for European frames as their American counterparts. Trek Madone Red series or Specialized Tarmac SL. Are these frames really using inferior layup materials, and less labor? Last I checked, Quick Step was winning the Tour of Flanders and Astana was winning multiple Grand Tours with these bikes. Nope - you're paying for status with European frames. They simply cannot be better, or else you'd have the "Litespeed / Merlin effect," in which early to mid 90s pro racers were repainting Litespeeds and Merlins because they were so dramatically superior to their European steel counterparts. That isn't happening with Quick Step and Astana frames.

Secondly, us mountain bikers DO care about those last 100 grams. I paid twice as much for my Ibis as a perfectly good model that would have weighed 5 pounds more. Ibis charges $300 more for the Mojo SL, the frame itself weighs less than 200 grams less than the Mojo. Are lots of us "wasting money" by saving that little weight? Perhaps. But we do care about that half a pound. It makes a difference when scrambling up a 30% root infested grade, believe me.

I think you missed my point. Mountain bikes cannot sustain the ridiculous status-driven markup that road bikes can. They have the same amount of technology - nay - MORE technology (see my previous post), and for the "absolute best", you pay half the price of a road bike. This is because there is simply a larger addressable market that has more money to spend on status-conscious objects. I believe that market will appreciate the beauty of a $12,000 bike on even a 40km ride, even if they do not ride the bike to it's "full potential". In contrast, the market for people who can appreciate a bike like the Mojo SL / Trek Fuel / Santa Cruz Carbon Blur is much, much smaller. And I think just looking at the prices of these high end bikes compared to high end road bikes indicates that there isn't a large enough market for "status" mountain bikes like there is one for "status road bikes".

FWIW - I also ride on the road, and I think that my experience bears this out. You just don't run across that many people who can really ride mountain bikes fast on technical terrain, but on the road, fast folks are a dime a dozen - just show up for your local club ride and prepared to get smoked.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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people pay more for road bikes coz they want to look good - period. the typical cafe racer in my area is in his 40's. i've met so many of them that have been referred to cycling by their Dr's and are went straight out and spent $3k on their first bike.

if manufacturers can get the $$ they are asking then why shouldn't they?
personally - i wouldn't. Which is why I bought my Fuji Toyota United during a50% sale =)
 
Mar 20, 2009
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Ovidius said:
Anyone who things otherwise is really lost to nostalgia or misses the point because they cannot afford a $10k Road bike. :D

brag about owning a 10K bike. lame! bet your just an average rider too...
 
May 11, 2009
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high prices leaving cycling enthusiasts far behind

I have no issue with amateurs and keen cyclists paying a lot of money for their bikes and cycling gear. It's their passion. Of course they could lose some pounds and that would make a bigger, cheaper difference than saving 40 grams here and there, but that's not the point.

It's like criticising Porsche buyers, most of them will never drive the cars to their full potential, but they appreciate the technology, probably think they're part of an exclusive club and buy in to that exclusivity. The brand represents certain values that they subscribe to, values of craftsmanship, excellence, quality, all that stuff. They're also buying into the history of the brand, and feel like they're participating in that history. The same goes for cyclists and the famous, high end bike brands.

The seriously competitive bike racers might mock the serious amateurs who might only do 200 or 300kms per week, do some local crit racing etc, and yet ride really expensive machines, but we are the people who keep the cycling industry going round and round. We spend a significant amount of money each year on upgrading components, buying new clothing, magazines and DVDs. Our homepage is set to Cyclingnews, and checking the latest cycling news is a little treat we look forward to at lunchtime at work each day. If it were only competitive cyclists, there would be no cycling industry; the cycling industry is built on nuts like us who continue to spend spend spend on this stuff, and finance their next development projects.

My concern is bike manufacturers with their crazy prices are leaving these amateurs and keen cyclists far behind. Price hikes have far outstripped any wage increases any of us have had.

If you think of us, the cycling enthusiasts, as a triangle, there's only been the top portion of that triangle that could afford the cutting edge gear - that triangle is getting smaller and smaller, as fewer and fewer of us can afford the high end stuff, or at least can justify the expense.

The cycling industry better be careful not to leave us all too far behind.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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www.ridemagnetic.com
After all that has been said on this, I really do believe that the bike market will self correct at some point, if we haven't reached a pricing plateau already. If we keep going at the same rate, your favorite pro bike is going to cost no less than 20 grand in 2020. In the meantime, I'm off to the races.:D
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Mar 11, 2009
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It's all simple business people! The cycling industry although it has been around for 100's of years is relatively very young in a business sense and like all boon industries is going through the price discovery model. This means that as long as there is strong consumer demand the prices experiment how high they can go and how much can be drawn from your wallet. Don't be conned, if demand drops so do the prices.
 
May 11, 2009
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Argon Man said:
It's all simple business people! The cycling industry although it has been around for 100's of years is relatively very young in a business sense and like all boon industries is going through the price discovery model. This means that as long as there is strong consumer demand the prices experiment how high they can go and how much can be drawn from your wallet. Don't be conned, if demand drops so do the prices.


Do prices drop when demand drops? Well, that would be true if pure supply and demand were at the heart of the issue. It isn't. Most bike manufacturers set their prices and have agreements with the retailers that they will not advertise their parts or frames below minimums set by the manufacturer. In effect, the manufacturer protects its profits by selling to the retailers, and then the retailers are stuck with the demand side risk of not being able to move enough $6500 Colnago EPS or $5500 Pinarello Prince's instead of $3500 Ridley Deans, all Pro-Tour level bikes.

If demand drops enough the 'threat' from the manufacturer becomes moot, because the retailers are not going to be stuck with another loss from next years shipment when they know they no longer have the demand for the bike. If demand collapses quickly enough, the Gucci frame manufacturer risks a catastrophic collapse as the retailers dump the brand. By both charging too much for the bikes AND insulating themselves from the realities of supply and demand, they are actually increasing their risks.

When bikes of similar quality cost thousands less, it is a fairly safe bet that the demand for the more expensive one will slowly erode over time. What does Pinarello or Colnago mean to a new biker inspired by this years Giro? To take the car comparison a step further, this is exactly what happened to American auto makers. As American autos continued to charge the same price, the quality dropped and suddenly Asian models are on the verge of killing two of the 'big' three.

When you couple this with the pending $82 billion in pending credit default, it is almost certain that the demand for these sky high bikes is going to end sooner rather than later. The days of the mass 'botique' splurges are numbered. It would behoove some of the industry giants, no pun intended, to start looking just a little further down the road.

That $500 OEM fram on Ebay? What is to prevent him from selling that 'not so stupid' latin model in the exact same retailers that just dropped Colnago? What is to prevent them sponsoring teams and building up their own reputation with the teams that just dropped Colnago? Think neuvation.

The issue here is that the bike industry has followed the same model as the US housing industry and is headed for a crash. When I upgraded from old steel Pinarello (which I still love) I went with Canyon and paid well under half what I would have paid for a Pinarello, and, the Canyon is the best bike I have ridden (and I have ridden a few). My wife got the Rossetti, with warrantee, at a 1/5 of the price of a Pinarello.

When I see readers wondering at the price of an easily checked $3500 Ridley Dean is defference to a $5500 Pinarello Prince, I see the effects of marketing. I am fairly certain that if Consumer Reports did to high end bikes what they do to cars, that many of the defenders of high end frames would wind up eating their lunch boxes.

As the prices rise, it is a fairly safe bet that consumers are going to want hard data, not just superfluous marketing, to back up their investment.
 
May 13, 2009
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Ford vs Ferrari

Can't agree more...I can not believe how many riders out there believe more they spend on bike the faster they can ride! I race for a bike shop in a small wealthy country that sells Pinarello, I am one of very few riders do not have a Prince or Paris. Don't get me wrong, Pinarello makes beautiful and great bikes, I absolutely love it but I am not going to pay $12k for it. My 7 yrs old 5900 cost $4k, I have done several UCI stage races, 20km/yr training miles and survived a car collision, it is still riding great! I figure if Lance can win 7 TDFs on it, it certainly good enough for me. I am not poor, I do have $12k in the bank but if I spend 3X for a new Prince, I know for sure I will not go 3X faster than on my Trek!

I love to take my bike in to the shop after Sunday ride put it next to all the beautiful Pinarellos. A rider just finish his ride come in to the shop with his new Prince spots the old "Ford" among all the new "Ferraris", he says with a disgust in his voice "Ehhhh....whose piece of junk is this".....I reply back with a smile "it is my piece of junk".....then no reply from him....because he knows the "junk" just dropped his Ferrari 2 hours ago.....:)
 
Mar 19, 2009
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High Parts Prices Too

Custom steel doesn't need to be pricey. Yeah..... the big names with the waiting lists and all get big bucks. It doesn't have to be so. Example here in Ohio. Franklin Frames. Jack Franklin builds lugged, TIG or Fillet brazed frames. I believe his best lugged frame/fork is about $1375. Tig and Fillet are less. He doesn't advertise. His web site isn't exactly feature rich, and his price list is listed, but it's mostly in his head. He does fine work and been at it over 30 years. He HASN'T jacked his prices over the last decade. How about a plug.....http://home.windstream.net/franklinframe/frame.html

Parts.... how about the skyrocketing cost of some parts? I use TA cranks for their length of 185mm. Needless to say their prices have doubled, due to low dollar value they say. What about the prices S and C cranksets these days? Some are approaching $1k.

Phil Wood hubs have really jumped up lately. Why? They are made in the USA. Gotta pay for that advertising I guess. Tires? Many cost more than a car tire now. Don't give me the limited supply or manufacture or whatever excuse.

So why are things jumping in price? It's easy to jump on the bandwagon 'cause everyone else is doing it..... and for the time being..... people are willing to pay.
 
Mar 25, 2009
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Pointless argument

Pointless argument. You want the best, be prepared to pay. Don't need the best and the lightest or can't afford it, well rejoice, you'll still have decent gear at a fraction of the price, thanks to the general progress in technology. But complaining that a nicely equipped Prince costs more than 10K is akin to *****ing that a Ferrari costs 200+ K. It's the same in any branch of consumer goods - clothing, cosmetics, electronics, cars, and yes, sporting goods. By the way, I am one of those "jerkoffs" who drives a BMW. Not so much to impress my neighbors, but mostly to impress myself with what a sweet ride it is, and to enjoy it. It always amazes me, what bad rap we get from non-BMW owners. Is it envy, perhaps?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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danjo007 said:
brag about owning a 10K bike. lame! bet your just an average rider too...

I was actually joking. However, this sneer is rather childish. What does ability have to do with owning a 10k bike.

Maybe my ability with money surpasses yours - maybe thats what you should be thinking about.

gree0232 said:
Do prices drop when demand drops? Well, that would be true if pure supply and demand were at the heart of the issue. It isn't. Most bike manufacturers set their prices and have agreements with the retailers that they will not advertise their parts or frames below minimums set by the manufacturer. In effect, the manufacturer protects its profits by selling to the retailers, and then the retailers are stuck with the demand side risk of not being able to move enough $6500 Colnago EPS or $5500 Pinarello Prince's instead of $3500 Ridley Deans, all Pro-Tour level bikes.


As the prices rise, it is a fairly safe bet that consumers are going to want hard data, not just superfluous marketing, to back up their investment.

A couple of things. Colnago and Pinarello are not just a name. They make competative road bikes and have a race heritage to back it up. The only reason demand will drop is if they suddenly do not match the quality of big discounting brands. (Which will never happen).

As for prices - they increased due to a number of reasons. Worldwide demand was one of them. The fact is the price increases were on the back of 10 years of decreasing prices from all parts of the industry. The decision of the Industry to increase prices was mostly due to the monopolies of particular brands who develop most of the worlds parts.

I assure you, this had more to do with increased costs, fears in far east and less to do with demand.

Prices in the cycle industry do drop considerably, quite frequently. Most bike shops have sales that are supported by a lot of the brands. There are very few brands that do not offer promotional stock at different periods through the year. 08 models are vastly cheaper than current models - for this very reason.

To say that cycling and small manufacturers are likely to go bust, this is counter to the evidence in most countries. It is also not comparable to Cars really. Lets face it, the most profitable area for Road bike sales is the 1500-3000 mark. The difference between a Giant, Focus, Canyon and a Pinarello is actually only £200-500. In the Car industry you often see inferior products being sold for more than japanese cars. But we are talking £2k-£10k +++ That is a much more significant difference, that does not exist with Bikes.

That is not to mention that the hard data is actually there. Pinarello's and Colnago's and Zipp wheels etc are better than other bikes etc. The facts are there, the reviews back it up, the races back it up. What more do you want.

Heh, don't Silence-Lotto ride Canyon - the hard data is definately helping them win races! :D
 
May 11, 2009
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Well, there is one problem with affording Pinarello Ferrari status. There is a lot more difference between a Ferrari (with a massive engine alone) and a Ford escort then there is between a Pinarello and its competitors. Are you telling me that a Pinarello Prince is twice as good as a Canyon? Is it 40% better than a Ridely Dean? Is Campy 1/3 better than SRAM?

There is an obvious performance and handling boost that goes along with driving and racing a Ferrari and driving and racing a Ford escort. The engine on a Pinarello or a Trek is the same regardless, and there is certainly not much a performance 'boost' between top level brands.

Lest we push the Ferrari model too far, understand that Pinarello bikes are not cutomizable to people, which bikes produced by IF and Parlee are, and that customization can bring a bike total upward of $20K. The truth is that Colnago, Pinarello, Canyon, Trek, Specialized, Time, Look, Giant, Ridley, BH, Focus, and De Rosa use the exact same techniques to build their products. The $3,000 difference between the resulting products is an effect of marketing and marketing alone.

Indeed, if I could get a Lamborghini for $100,000, why would I pay $200,000 for a Ferrari? Paying 'more' for a quality is a given, paying as much for 15 pounds of shaped carbon as you would for at least a 1,000 pounds of shaped steel and an internal cumbustion engine there is an obvious dissasociation between the price of the former product and the reality of what it is.

Would it be jealousy that caused me to look askance at you as I passed you in a similar high end sports car at half the price on the high way? Is cycling, the bike only, about the exclusivity of a Ferrari?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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The price of bikes is one thing, I don't really care as I am completely happy with my Argon 18 that I got for around 4 1/2 K about 2 years ago and won't be in the market for a long time, but what really drives me mad is the cost of all the other necessites that have ballooned with the cost of bikes. Take knicks for example, a few years ago you could get a good quality pair for around $60-100 now you are looking at $250+ grrrr.
 
gree0232 said:
Lest we push the Ferrari model too far, understand that Pinarello bikes are not cutomizable to people, which bikes produced by IF and Parlee are, and that customization can bring a bike total upward of $20K. The truth is that Colnago, Pinarello, Canyon, Trek, Specialized, Time, Look, Giant, Ridley, BH, Focus, and De Rosa use the exact same techniques to build their products. The $3,000 difference between the resulting products is an effect of marketing and marketing alone.

Indeed, if I could get a Lamborghini for $100,000, why would I pay $200,000 for a Ferrari? Paying 'more' for a quality is a given, paying as much for 15 pounds of shaped carbon as you would for at least a 1,000 pounds of shaped steel and an internal cumbustion engine there is an obvious dissasociation between the price of the former product and the reality of what it is.

Good points. These days I only buy custom frames. I find it hilarious custom stuff often costs less than mass produced frames, many of which are manufactured in Giant's Chinese and Taiwanese factories. Take the price of whole top end bike, subtract off the cost of the wheels and the components to find what you are paying for the frame. Then compare to what you can get custom made.

That is my only issue. This stuff about buying the equivalent of a Ferrari is crap. It is just a demonstration that the buyer did not know he could have bought something much more unique and exclusive, often for a cheaper price.Iinstead they went to their local bike shop and proved they are a chump by buying the most expensive bike the shop had. The fact that bike makers try to market around is that beyond a certain price point, and that price point is not all that high, all bikes pretty much handle and perform the same.

The actual Ferrari is already dealing with a large number of sports sedans that cost much less, often much much less, but have equal or nearly equal performance and are more practical. At the same time every other guy with a few bucks and some spare factory space is making their own boutique exotics.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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gree0232 said:
Well, there is one problem with affording Pinarello Ferrari status. There is a lot more difference between a Ferrari (with a massive engine alone) and a Ford escort then there is between a Pinarello and its competitors. Are you telling me that a Pinarello Prince is twice as good as a Canyon? Is it 40% better than a Ridely Dean? Is Campy 1/3 better than SRAM?

There is an obvious performance and handling boost that goes along with driving and racing a Ferrari and driving and racing a Ford escort. The engine on a Pinarello or a Trek is the same regardless, and there is certainly not much a performance 'boost' between top level brands.

Lest we push the Ferrari model too far, understand that Pinarello bikes are not cutomizable to people, which bikes produced by IF and Parlee are, and that customization can bring a bike total upward of $20K. The truth is that Colnago, Pinarello, Canyon, Trek, Specialized, Time, Look, Giant, Ridley, BH, Focus, and De Rosa use the exact same techniques to build their products. The $3,000 difference between the resulting products is an effect of marketing and marketing alone.

Indeed, if I could get a Lamborghini for $100,000, why would I pay $200,000 for a Ferrari? Paying 'more' for a quality is a given, paying as much for 15 pounds of shaped carbon as you would for at least a 1,000 pounds of shaped steel and an internal cumbustion engine there is an obvious dissasociation between the price of the former product and the reality of what it is.

Would it be jealousy that caused me to look askance at you as I passed you in a similar high end sports car at half the price on the high way? Is cycling, the bike only, about the exclusivity of a Ferrari?

http://www.bugatti.com/en/veyron-16.4.html

http://www.ducati.com/en/bikes/my20...UIHSIV1?family=Superbike&model=SBK1098RBAY-09

http://www.rolex.com/en/index.jsp#/...ter-ii/diamonds-yellow-gold/M116758SARU-0001/
 
Mar 31, 2009
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it is a high price

Pinarello's being made in china http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmwOHELPp0A for those who haven't seen it,:eek: How italian does this seem to you, does that look like Latin..;)

Used to be sponsored and it's the local bike shop who make a fair bit to start. probably controlled by the supplier, but if you looked at a typical carbon frame set costing 2.4k then the bike shop will get it for 1.4k, they have to pay vat, but they claim that back, passed onto you. that's how they give youu 10% and you'll notice they have a BM

looking at the BMW viewpoint a bmw tech trains for years and an M tech even longer, how long did the guy train to glue your pinarello together?

all carbon is not equal - Colnago's EP, C50 etc carbon is made by ATR in italy unlike the cheaper now under licence cristalo. if you look at the compression in a colnago carbon EP steerer tube and compare it to say a specialized carbon steerer you would be shocked

I'm aware that the design factors in the cost the testing etc, and for some suppliers that's part of it, unless you buy a tube set provided by deda and then your testing is in the tube costs.

overall as the UCI are banning more bikes this year you may as well order a nice steel frame with plain wheels as it won't be long before they ban the zipps too as a fuselage form fairing is the devil:D my classic real pinarello traviso is looking better every day:D
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Ovidius said:
That is not to mention that the hard data is actually there. Pinarello's and Colnago's and Zipp wheels etc are better than other bikes etc. The facts are there, the reviews back it up, the races back it up. What more do you want.

Heh, don't Silence-Lotto ride Canyon - the hard data is definately helping them win races! :D

Please show me the hard data? Better than what, and how so?
Race results mean nothing, you can stick a juiced up rider on anything and they'll win.

Anyone who thinks that a Pina or Colnago is somehow better though has simply bought into the whole marketing thing. It will help with resale though.

Yes bikes are too expensive. The retailer will often have a 50% or more mark up on top line bikes, so will the distributors. Once everyone takes their cut (including government taxes), the $10000 bike is really only worth $3000.
 
Data? Evidence?

There really is no hard data on the vast majority of claims that builders are making. It is not rocket science to have a test rig that can measure stiffness and the transmission of vibration from the dropouts to the seat post and head tube. The testing of various components can be done easily as well. Most builders and component makers do this in house. What is needed is an independent tester that can provide unbiased info to consumers.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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How about instead of the word stiff a hard number!

I'm not saying they whould brag about how high or low a number they get but a reference point for us so anyone needing a frame for a particular use can buy something that is right for them. As opposed to having to buy one and then determine it after building and riding.

Again, I know choice of components, bars, stems, wheels and what not will have an effect but at least you could get one part (the frame) determined on at least that factor with a reference number on stiffness.

Yet, again, stiffness in the BB area, chain/steat stays and torsional of the front triangle.

A freaking reference number! :eek: I guess its too much to ask for :confused:
 
Apr 1, 2009
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I don't know, it seems to me you want a number to show you what is the best ie stiffest. But there are so many other factors and fit may be the most important to everyday cyclists anyway. Ride magazine from Australia does a great job comparing frames for stiffness if your interested int hat sort of thing maybe the best teckie write up I've seen.

As far as price of bikes go I have to say I use to work in a bike shop back in the late 80's and most bikes were in the $1000 to $1500 maybe a few exotics that were more then that like a Cinelli or a Colnago but none of the local racers were on them. On the other hand, I have, for most of my life had a bike that cost more then my car, sadly this has changed even with a the new bike, which is the most expensive bike I have ever owned. If you ask me there are worst things to spend money on like jewelry for example! thank god my wife doesn't like that s***!