What confuses you about the mountain bike industry?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What confuses you about the mountain bike industry?

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  mongwolf 9 months ago.

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  • #235939

    Is there anything in particular that confuses you about how the mountain bike industry operates? I’m curious to hear if there’s an aspect that you just don’t understand or downright disagree with.

  • #235964

    Yes. What is truly factory-direct?

    To set it aside first of all, I insist that Canyon and YT are consumer-direct, not factory-direct. They don’t make their frames, they distribute their frames. BikesDirect is the same way, contrary to their advertising, they are a distributor, not a manufacturer.

    Can we as consumers ever get straight to the source without taking a trip to the Taipei Bike Show and talking to a factory rep? I realized that import & export companies which market open molds are also not factory-direct, and they charge almost twice as much as cost of manufacturing just because they have to handle warranty and share the costs of opening molds. For example, I found out that almost all carbon frames actually cost $100-$300 to make before getting shipped from the factory to the import export company, yet import export companies charge $400-$800 when shipping to consumers or brand headquarters, brands charge dealers $800-$3000, and dealers charge consumers $1500-$4500. What is up with all this inefficiency? Can’t there be anything better?

    • #236037

      You can buy unmarked frames or wheels direct from China or Taiwan, you can find on Ebay or other forums….BUT obviously you won’t get any support or warrantee.  Economies of scale and exchange rates dictate US/Swiss/German companies have a hard time competing.  I know Giant makes quite a few frames for other “manufactures.”   Many of the other brands say designed in x country, but actually built in Taiwan.  I have stuck with Cannondale because their support & warrantee is probably the best in the business. I have had many other brands over the years, to include my work bikes, but Cannondale stands behind their products like no other.

    • #236078

      lawmanfl, maybe I can answer some of your questions. 1) Sellers on eBay and Amazon of unmarked frames are often dropshippers, go to Aliexpress or Alibaba and buy directly from the source.  These suppliers provide 2-year warranty, and in my experience they deliver on it (twice now and I’ve had almost 10 frames). Extensive MTBR threads on chinese frames also show that they deliver on warranties, very well, in fact. 2) Giant makes frames for other “manufacturers” because they own a factory in Taiwan and offer Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service, but there are other factories that don’t have a name-brand associated with them that are much larger and sometimes run even better. It’s just like Kenda making Bontrager tires, no different, just more markup on a Bontrager than a direct Kenda tire. 3) The vast majority of North American companies do not have any engineers on their team, they feed geometry, aesthetic designs, and frame specs to the engineers in Taiwan and the frame is designed AND built in Taiwan. Exceptions are Ibis, Specialized, Trek (to some extent), Santa Cruz, and a few boutique brands. Chinese factories prefer to build their own CAD models so they can control the mold opening process–if you don’t have your engineer there to open the mold they aren’t very willing to cooperate. 4) Glad you’ve found a brand that stands behind their products, I’d encourage you to ask reputable Chinese companies how they stand behind their products–they are looking for ways to please, and have amazing confidence in their product quality, I do as well.  My credentials: somebody who tried all of the above.

    • #236420

      budgetbiker- With regards to your 3rd point. Every brand with the exception of a small few has an in-house engineering staff. Only the “companies” that started with a plane ticket and a credit card are devoid of engineers, everyone else does engineering work in-house. Once a product is designed by in-house engineers it will pass to manufacturing engineers at the factory where the dialog starts about manufacturability of the design. Tweaks to the design will be made in order to ensure repeatable production. Design engineers are different than manufacturing engineers. Very few companies(Other than Giant) have manufacturing engineers on staff.

  • #235996

    I fail to understand why so much of the industry is more influenced by racing, when the majority of mountain bikers don’t race.

    • #236038

      They test and improve tech, and the profit margin on the high-end bikes are much higher.

  • #236071

    The wide array of choices of mountain bikes (trail, enduro, xc, recreation, sport, downhill, etc etc) was really confusing to me when I was looking to buy my first bike.

    Also, the non-uniform standards in parts often makes working on the bikes difficult.

  • #236073

    Brief stop yesterday at the Toronto international bike show  as I have done many times over the years . Seemed to usually be a good way to bring in the bike season and maybe find a bargain on a part I needed, but now I ride as much in the winter as the summer.     Along with the expected numerous bike store venders clearing out their old stock at higher than on line prices , there was a major push of e bikes (motorized vehicles) for all occasions . I am aware that it’s becoming a major segment of the bike market but it’s seemed to over power many of the displays.

    Minimal  showings again from local Ontario bike builders or new products , I did not see any booth with a Fat bike display and what’s new , expecting to see representation from -ride Fat bike and other Ontario supply stores that we purchase from .

    It seems to be more of a location for a quick pickup of a brand name bike with various levels of parts at an ok price for your average consumer.. with some exceptions.

    kudos to the bike hockey players and bmx riders

    I’ll probably have to head to Interbike to see what I’m looking for .

  • #236086

    Why are stock wheels always total shit? (Even on the higher end bikes)

    • #236160

      Totally agree with Nick Helper. Putting shitty “stock” wheels on bikes that are labeled “Trail” or “Enduro” is a joke. At least offer “stock” wheels that can handle more than 1/2 a season doing what the bike is built and marketed to do.

  • #236089

    Confusion is the first step towards understanding.

  • #236111

    “Is there anything in particular that confuses you about how the mountain bike industry operates?”

    For me, it’s been they “classification” of types of bikes.  Had it figured out easy enough when things went from “it’s a mountain bike!”, to XC’s and DH’s, with a sub category for rigid, hard tail and full suspension.  Now… there’s XC, all mountain, downhill, free ride, enduro, dirt jump, park, trail, fat, etc., etc.  Some would throw beach and urban into that mix.  Compound all of those with rigid, hard tail and full suspension, then by male/female, then by power assist (electric)/non power assist, and pretty soon each rider can have their own class of bike! 🙂  While there are technology and design differences, a lot is marketing… and can be confusing.

    • #236323

      Fred Cook:  It’s all about the suspension & intended use.  I would find out where you want to ride first, and what type of riding before I would buy a bike.  If you want to do dirt roads or hiking/multi-purpose trails a hard tail/cross country bike with 90 -100mm shocks are great.  Steeper drops, rock gardens, and longer rough riding a all-mountain/enduro is better with 120-160mm shocks.  Fast down hill/Summer Ski Slopes and you may want to go with a down-hill set up.  If you want it for simple exercise and around the park and neighborhood, a $500-800 hard tail is all you need.  Even some of the hybrids are better if you are sticking to more street.

      $2,000-3,000 seems like a sweet-spot for the best value. Carbon usually bumps it up a thousand or two for the same model.   If you buy last year’s model or a 2 year old-stock you can save a couple thousand $$….or buy a bike on Craig’s list or E-bay that someone thought they liked but never rode.

      Good luck!

  • #236558

    Im new to mtb so everything is confusing to me. I have been riding bmx forever and decided to give it a shot. The lack of a standard has been killing me so far.

  • #236570

    Stock wheels, mediocre tires and narrow handlebars on new bikes (though the latter is changing finally).  If wheels and tires are the most important components on a bike, then why stock a bike so poorly?  Unless there is some behind the scenes agreements … … hmmmm.  Let’s hope not.

    Also when we only had one wheel size, I found it much easier to compare and narrow my choice of preferred bikes by just reading about the geometry and specs.  Now my preferred list is much longer, and it is hard to rank those preferred bikes with much certainty.  Now more than ever, you need to test ride bikes before purchasing.  And I find myself watching more bike videos by “regular” riders to see what they say about certain bikes, especially videos of guys who ride similar terrain as I ride.  It is also helpful to watch videos that compare models.  But there certainly is a lot to wade through out there now.

  • #236571

    Well said Stixxs.

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