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Are Bikes really both cheaper and better today?

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Old December 4th 19, 03:13 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andre Jute[_2_]
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Default Are Bikes really both cheaper and better today?

On Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 12:49:42 AM UTC, AMuzi wrote:
On 12/3/2019 6:09 PM, Andre Jute wrote:
Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, would roll over in his grave at the prices of bikes today

No, he would not.

Diversity is a desirable quality of any market.

D'you mind? "Diversity" is a weaselly Democrat Party talking point. The good conservative standard English word is "choice". See for instance Chalo's use in another thread today.

(Manufacturers stop making whatever doesn't sell profitably,
in short order!) A healthy market with constant innovation
and/or improvement is NOT the G.U.M Store.

I gave up shopping at the GUM when they painted it the same sick-up yellow as the Lubiyanka across the street, headquarters of the KGB. (Also, my friends were making snarky comments about a revolutionary with a company jet flying to Moscow for the shopping, so I decided to become a capitalist instead.)

Meanwhile your basic go-to-work lightweight from 1971 at
$95[1] is equivalent in cost to $603.65 today[2] but for
half that, $299, you get a clearly superior, lighter, longer
lasting machine[3]. Any LBS bike at $600[4] in 2019 wipes
the floor with the best professional machines of that era
(which were $300 to $400 then, mostly)

[1] Basic 'ten speeder'; British 3-speeds were $30 to $40 then

Right on. A British workman, 20-odd years earlier, when cars were still directed to export markets rather than permitted to be sold at home, would have had to save perhaps six months to buy a decent Humber or Raleigh bicycle. This is what I was thinking of when I made my comparison. With what, I'll explain below.

[2] https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/
[3] Not a Famous Name Italian race bike but improved in
every way from a Gitane Gran Sport and so on.
[4] Better service and prep than 50 years ago generally.
Andrew Muzi
Open every day since 1 April, 1971

Okay, Andrew, you have some good numbers. Very impressive piece of work that. But I was really thinking more about the bikes of the tourers I know, which start around the STG2000 pound level, or three grand and heavy change if you want a Rohloff. Or Jay's latest bike which was $1500 according to a post from him today (and which most of the cyclists I know wouldn't consider usable until up-specced at considerable cost). Or my Gazelle Toulouse Dutch commuter, loaded only a little for some luxury touches and better components, which cost over Euro 800, then over a thousand USD, to land here around the year 2000. Or pre-loved BMW money for a bike from Paramount (the faux "mixte" I priced on this forum as more expensive than many an upmarket German custom bike) or from Grant Petersen's Rivendell works. Compared to these, I thought my Smover, which was offered for 1300 or 1400 Euro on the Continent, with everything electronic including a fully automatic Di2 gear change and active electronic suspension, and special wheels from Keith Bontrager, -- as I was saying, I thought that was really good value for the money. These are very useful bikes but utilitarian? On Bentham's terms? I don't think so.

Of course, we're all much richer now, so the goalposts have shifted. But it is comforting to know that a genuine workman can now buy a really good bike for less than a week's earnings instead of around ten weeks' wages.

Andre Jute
First catch your workman

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