Mountain bikes are expensive!

So recently I’ve been in the market for a new mountain bike. But I balked at the idea that a mountain bike can cost as much as motorcycle or a small car. The one I am interested in was over $3000! Back when I first go into riding…mmm about 15 years ago, a thousand dollar bicycle was crazy! Ya I know that there’s innovation and inflation and etc that come into play. But being the Brother on a Budget (BOB) that I am, I find it hard to let go of that 3 grand for a bicycle. Most people will say that it’s an “investment” into their health and etc. Yes true and I agree with that. But it’s still a lot of money out of my pocket.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, there’s been a 42 percent decline in bike shops since the industry’s height in 2001-Outsideonline.com

Ok so this may sound like a poor guy’s rant, which it is. But I can’t help see the correlation to the decline in bike shops to the price of the items they sell. My first mountain bike…well let’s think about this for a moment, but if I go way back to the 80s, a decent mountain bike was roughly $200, sans any type of suspension. My first mountain bike as an adult set me back $300, it was a Gary Fisher Tarpon with a front RST shock. When I bought that bike I remember walking around the shop looking at the bikes that were around $1000 and thought “damn that’s expensive!” Fast forward to 2018 and geez…$3000 for a entry-mid range mountain bike. What sucks is most people can’t afford that so they either go one of two ways. The first option is to not buy a mountain bike because it’s so dang expensive. The other is to finance a mountain bike. For me, I don’t want to go into debt for a hobby. So the guy that doesn’t buy a bike, he’ll just walk away and not even get into it. Or he may even buy a lower end bike that can do the job, but it may not give him the best experience.

Oh one other option is to buy used. Craigslist is chock full of used bikes at a bargain. With that in mind, a sale is being taken away from a shop…because it’s cheaper. I know that many LBS’ use the argument that if you buy local, you support local. Plus they may even give you a discount on your purchase or throw in a helmet and water bottle.

Truthfully I’m all about supporting your LBS if you’re budget conscious. Here’s why, let’s say you are looking at a $3000, the mark up on that bike can range anywhere from 35%-40%, so if you ask your sales man, they may give you a discount. Let’s say they give you a generous 20% discount, they’re still making a 20% profit on your purchase. That means the $3000 becomes $2400 and the LBS still makes a decent amount of money on you. Some shops will even sweeten the deal by giving you accessories. It makes sense to buy from a shop, right? But I digress to the matter at hand is that bikes are expensive! Personally, if I didn’t have the disposable income to purchase the bike I mentioned, I probably wouldn’t even consider getting it.

Another aspect to this that some may not have even thought about would be the kids…What about the kids? How are they going to afford to get into mountain biking especially if their own parents can’t afford it. So what will happen is these kids who can’t afford the bike, they’ll just keep playing Minecraft or start eating Tide Pods because they’re so bored and have nothing else better to do.

So that’s about it. I think I’m tired from ranting. I’m going to have a beer.

About the author

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).