On Trend: Cheaper Mountain Bike Gear?

Mountain bike brands are starting to address value-conscious consumers with more affordable bikes, components, apparel, and accessories.

We hear from readers all the time: mountain bike gear is just too expensive! There are often some pretty legit reasons for why the best gear costs what it does (look for a story on this topic soon), but this year at Interbike, I was able to find several affordable products on display.

This aluminum-body pump from Wren costs just $24.99.

photo: Jeff Barber

A few years ago, a torque wrench for shop use was generally priced at more than $100. Now, mountain bikers can get a portable torque tool like the one from Lezyne picture above with all the bits they need, for less than $50.

While our culture tends to be one of tossing things out when they’re broken, new products like tire plugs are becoming more popular, promising to help mountain bikers get more life out of their gear.  A tool and five plugs from Lezyne costs less than $10, but could mean the difference between buying a new tire and salvaging the one you have.

The Osprey Savu hip pack. all photos: Jeff Barber

Singletracks published a hip pack roundup earlier this year where the average price was around $70. Even the least expensive pack in the group cost more than the new Osprey Savu, which is set to retail for just $55.

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Mountain bike clothing and pads are becoming more affordable as well. While some of these items haven’t been officially announced yet, at least one company is planning a collection of bike jerseys priced under $30.

photo: Matt Miller

661 showed off the new Reset helmet, a full-face which starts at just $99. For an extra fifty bucks, mountain bikers can add MIPS protection.

Buy the 661 Reset from Amazon

photo: Matt Miller

Leatt neck braces are an important piece of safety gear, though for many years the price has been out of reach for younger athletes. This year the company introduced its most affordable version yet, price at $249.

photo: Matt Miller

Carbon wheels are becoming more commonplace too, and as a result prices continue to drop. Bontrager kicked the carbon wheel price wars off just last year, pricing their entry-level set at just $1,200. Soon, other brands like Reynolds followed and we’re seeing others like FSA adding new offerings at a similar price this year.

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Even mountain bikes are becoming more affordable, at least relatively so. A few years ago, it wasn’t unusual to see top-of-the-line bikes from the major brands priced well above $10,000. Now, even the most expensive bikes generally stay under ten grand, even with high-end wheels.

New materials like Allite Super Magnesium promise to bridge the cost and performance gap between aluminum and carbon for building mountain bikes.

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Is mountain biking cheap now? Absolutely not, but we’re starting to see brands recognize that mountain bikers are looking for a better value.