There are two main elements that make expensive bikes pricey that is the quality of materials used as well as the research & development done in order to optimize the bikes geometry for a specific riding style. Quality components on its own can make the bike extremely expensive for example a high-quality carbon frame costs around $3000, combine that with quality carbon tires which can go for around $2000 as well as extensive research on innovative features & components the bike can end up being quite pricey. As you can imagine cheaper bikes are made of less quality less thought to design as well as less innovative features used but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all cheap bikes are a bad option most cheap bikes definitely provide an incredible riding experience.
Most individuals should go for the cheaper version, those are individuals who ride for recreational purposes or just ride a bike as a mode of transport. If you fall under this category there is simply no reason to spend on an expensive bike, speed isn’t at all necessary for a recreational rider nor is optimized aerodynamics, lighter bike weight or other high-end features. All you need is an affordable bike that is comfortable, durable and simply has the features you require as a rider who enjoys the experience of cycling.
Now if you race or are just an avid rider who enjoys setting personal best records as well as setting goals to improve daily performance then a high-end bike is probably what you need.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two before you decide which one you should go with.
What Makes a Bike Expensive
Higher Quality Materials:
Expensive bikes use high-quality materials typically carbon fiber. Carbon fiber comes in different forms & grades, The carbon fiber on high-end bikes are carefully cared for to produce the best results.
Let’s take a look at bike components & the order in which they are prioritized the most in high-end bikes:
A typical high-quality carbon fiber frame on its own can be worth $3000. This is due to performance, carbon bikes are stiff which stops the bike from flexing when pedaling with high velocity, this enhances performance dramatically, by maintaining speed.
Carbon fiber has also been proven to dampen vibration, this reduces vibration from a rough road surface to be is transferred to the rider’s body.
Carbon fiber is also known to be extremely lightweight, with some carbon fiber frames weighing less than 2 pounds.
Carbon fiber has also been shown to be easily repairable compared to most other materials.
Wheels & Tires
Apart from the frame, high-quality wheels is another important element to an expensive bike. High-quality wheels can cost around $2000 on their own. Expensive bikes typically have carbon wheels for a list of reasons. The first is aerodynamics, carbon rims have proven to outperform aluminum in wind tunnel tests. The aerodynamics in carbon wheels have been shown to substantially reduce drag. So if your looking for speed carbon wheels are definitely the right choice.
Carbon fiber wheels are also much lighter than aluminum wheels and offer more precision when turning due to carbon fiber stiffness.
As mentioned above vibration dampening is an extremely beneficial feature provided by carbon materials, carbon wheels absorb vibrations & do a much better job than aluminum.
Expensive bikes also come with high-quality tires, higher quality tires provide more thread per inch(TPI). the higher the TPI lighter and more supple the tire.
Higher quality bikes typically tend to have hydraulic disk brakes. Hydraulic disk brakes allow you to regulate the stopping power, allowing you to produce the right amount of stopping power needed without fully locking out the wheel.
Higher quality bikes are made with both comfort and performance in mind. Which is why expensive bikes come with titanium saddle railings which keep the saddle lightweight thus reducing the overall weight of the bike as well as providing additional comfort. A higher-quality saddle is typically narrower to hit fewer pressure points and provide the rider with comfort for longer rides.
Research & Development:
More time on research and development has been put into high-end bikes to perform optimally. This involves several tests to ensure the bike meets certain expectations. Wind tunnel tests are done to test bike aerodynamics allowing manufacturers insight on what to fine-tune to enhance aerodynamic positioning of the bike. Testing can even be done to determine bike geometry for comfortability as well as performance for different riding disciplines.
Who Should Purchase A Cheap Bike?
A cheap bike isn’t necessarily a bad option infact for some people it might be the better option. But to clarify there is a difference between a cheap bike & a cheaply made bike. People who ride for recreational purposes or ride bikes purely as a mode of transportation can benefit from cheaper bikes. As there is no need to have the best features all you need is a bike that lasts a decent while providing a good quality ride as well as being fairly comfortable, cheaper bikes can most certainly provide that.
The other category of individuals who should probably go with a cheaper bike is people who want to get fit and ride to get in better shape. There is no added benefit of getting a high-quality expensive bike if you’re simply looking for a bike for health & fitness reasons. An affordable bike that is durable and has specific components you’re looking for will do just fine.
So there you have it, expensive bikes are built with performance, comfort, and durability in mind. High-end bike components are typically made from carbon fiber which is proven to be one of the top materials in terms of performance for bike components. Carbon fiber bike components can be extremely expensive on their own an average carbon fiber high-quality frame can go for an average of $3000 & a high-quality carbon fiber wheelset can go for around $2000. If your willing to pay for these premium features it’s well worth it as you will notice a dramatic increase in performance & comfort. If your an avid bike rider these features may be worth it as it can truly enhance your riding experience.
Expensive bikes also take a long time in the research & development stage in order to meet high expectations bikes must be thoroughly tested and research for better optimization on different areas. With that being said not everyone requires a high-quality bike, cheaper bikes are what most individuals should go for. This includes recreational rider who ride to enjoy the scenery and experience of the ride rather than for performance for & setting personal records. Individuals who are looking to ride a bike as a means of transport mixed in with a healthy workout can also benefit from cheaper bikes as there is no real benefit to having a high-quality bike with the best features for these specific individuals. So hope this gave you a clearer insight into cheap bikes & expensive bikes as well as who can benefit from them, ride safe.