Many riders are turning to high-end biking equipment. Bicycling isn’t as simple as balloon-tire bikes anymore.
Respectable road bikes for touring bicyclists can start at $700. Mountain bikes for younger riders can cost $800 and more. High-end hybrid and fitness bikes for riding groomed trails can carry price tags of $400 and more.
Certainly you can buy bicycles for less, and many people do. But these days, bicyclists are pedaling away on better-quality bicycles from higher price ranges.
“It’s not real uncommon for us to sell a $2,000 road bike,” said Ernie Lehman, owner of Ernie’s Bike Shop stores in Massillon, North Canton and New Philadelphia. “A mountain bike, $1,200 to $1,500. Hybrids on the high end, $800.“You typically can go up to $4,000 or $5,000,” he noted, adding that this year his stores have sold 15 Trek Madone bicycles ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.
What are you getting for your dollars?
“You’re getting better frame materials. At the high end, they’re using carbon fiber. Really light and really strong,” said Lehman.
“All the components are upgraded. Better wheels. All the shifting mechanisms are more precise and will last longer.”
High-end mountain bikes will have hydraulic disc brakes, and often front and rear suspensions that riders can fine-tune.
Road bikes might have a shoe-and-pedal system that allows riders to pull up on the pedal, as well as push down.
But, don’t put away the checkbook once the bicycle is bought. Lehman is finding that those who spend more to obtain high-tech bicycles usually will seek quality accessories, as well.
“They’re going to spend $100 for a nice helmet. … They’ll want to be set up so they can change a flat. A tool kit’s going to be $50 to $75. … They’ll have several pair of riding shorts. Good riding shorts will be $100. Jerseys, they’re going to be $80, and for gloves, they’re looking at $30. … For a decent pair of sport sunglasses, they’ll pay $60 to $200. … And they’ll have a bike computer; it’ll be $70 to $150. That’s almost a necessity. You don’t want to ride if you can’t count your miles. What’s the point?”
Lehman smiled when he rattled off the list of “extras.”
“Everybody likes to spend money. Everybody likes to shop,” said Lehman. “If you get into bicycling, there’s a long way you can go with it. You can really grow with it. It won’t get boring.”
But he said pricey bicycle purchases signal more than just conspicuous consumption. Buyers of high-end bicycles also are offering evidence of an avid interest that likely will not die the death of a cheap bike.
“That’s one of the most discouraging things — when you sell a bike and the person never rides it. What we’re seeing now is that people are buying better bikes, and they’re using them.”