Whenever we discuss bikes costing more than a couple of grand, a subset of commenters (bless their scratchy cotton socks) pipe up with the following lines, without fail…
“Modern bikes are rediculously [sic] overpriced”
“£3000?!! My motorbike cost less than that and I DON’T HAVE TO PEDAL OH THE LOLZ”
“idiot u could buy a car for that”
Now, these are all valid points, ones that bear closer examination. So let’s examine them, in order.
1. “How much??!”
2. “Modern bikes are rediculously [sic] overpriced”
No one is holding you down and forcing you to buy the latest and greatest bike kit, indeed there’s a lot to be said for choosing proven technology that the passage of time has rendered more accessible and reliable (*cough*SRAM road discs *cough*).
By reporting on the latest developments in the world of bikes we hope to inform and perhaps even to entertain, but our doing so is in no way a criticism of your existing possessions, nor an attempt to undermine your confidence in them. If you’re happy with what you’ve got, that’s just peachy.
3. “£3000?!! My motorbike cost less than that and I DON’T HAVE TO PEDAL OH THE LOLZ”
Ok, let’s look at it like this… For most of us, motorbikes and bicycles are fancy toys. They can be quite useful to get places, but the odds are we choose them over the more mainstream alternatives (cars, walking, dog sleds) because they offer us something special – a sense of freedom, the thrill of working in harmony with a beautifully engineered mechanism, or that fizzy feeling in your genitals. (You should really get that looked at by the way.)
Fancy toys are a luxury and as such, they don’t warrant a strict cost/benefit analysis. In terms of part-count or engineering complexity, motorbikes are clearly far better value than bicycles. They have engines for God’s sake, with fancy electronics and clutches and gearboxes. By comparison even the most sophisticated bicycle is childishly simple. But both are absolutely wonderful, technological marvels that the common man or woman can enjoy.
4. “idiot u could buy a car for that”
Here’s a bicycle:
It costs £2500 / $3300. It weighs a little over 7kg in total, and the frame alone is well under a kilo. It has some of the best shifting kit on the market, and if you gave it to a pro, they could go win a race on it tomorrow without changing anything at all. Here’s the new car you can buy for that much money…
Just kidding! There isn’t one. You could have an 11-year old Peugeot hatchback though. Hey, it seats five times as many people as the Scott…The point is, this kind of money buys you an amazing bike, and a distinctly average (or quite old) car. Even spending less than half that amount on a bike gives you some fantastic options, and the best cyclists in the world compete atop machines that cost less than a modest family automobile.
Really, this is about priorities. Angry commenter #4 doesn’t understand how someone could possibly choose un-motorised entertainment over the motorised variety given sufficient funds to do either. But cyclists all over the world make that choice every day. Hell, half of the staff of BikeRadar own bikes worth more than their cars.
Like any other hobby-related expense, buying a bike is rarely a wholly rational undertaking. If eye-wateringly expensive racers are the only thing that sets your pulse racing, you should probably get one of those, and you should ignore the shouty people on the internet. Ride what makes you happy, but above all, just ride.