Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Cyclists blame "utterly ridiculous bike prices" for brands' ongoing struggles, after Giant's sales slashed again; Visma–Lease a Bike's cursed 2024 continues; Devastated Arsenal fan turns to... Lance Armstrong; Bargain hunting + more on the live blog

Welcome one and all to the Wednesday live blog where Dan Alexander will be bringing you all your Giro updates, news from the wider cycling world and, of course, plenty of the usual silliness
15 May 2024, 07:55
Cyclists blame "utterly ridiculous bike prices" for brands' ongoing struggles, after Giant's sales slashed again
2024 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 AXS - riding 1.jpg

Yesterday, we reported that one of the world's largest manufacturers of bicycles, Taiwan-based behemoth Giant, had reported a 20 per cent slump in sales in the first quarter of 2024, with profits down 38 per cent as a result. Those financials were in comparison with the same months in 2023 when, you guessed it, the numbers were down on the year previous too.

> Giant sales down 20% and profits slashed by 38% as bike industry challenges continue

It's not just Giant of course, the story a now-familiar tale for the bike industry in a post-pandemic world, Shimano also reporting a huge fall in sales for the same first quarter a few weeks ago too.

2024 Argon 18 SUM Shimano Ultegra Di2 - crank.jpg

And while it's worth pointing out that both of the massive names still posted profits during 2023 and the opening months of 2024, albeit significantly reduced, the news has prompted much discussion among our readers and the wider cycling community about everyone's favourite topic... no, not disc brakes... no, not helmets... no, not mechanical vs electronic groupsets... alright, one of everyone's favourite topics... the price of bikes.

Giant pointed to the ongoing inventory challenges in Europe and North America for the challenging picture. In very basic terms, pandemic = bike boom, bike boom = brands purchasing more stock to meet demand, pandemic ends and demand drops = less buyers for said stock, less buyers = stock sitting on shelves unsold. In short, not good.

> Is now the best time ever to buy a bike? What cycling industry turbulence and deep discounting could mean for you

We've seen a few surprise sales in recent weeks as a result, brands keen to shift stock. Specialized slashed gravel and mountain bike prices by up to 50 per cent, while Trek launched a major sale on its website too.

Trek sale April 2024

It's to all that context that the comments began rolling in on yesterday's story about Giant's finances, and boy did more than a few of you have something to say...

The most commonly made point was something along the lines of 'bikes are way too expensive, why would I buy another one if I don't have to?' N+1 blasphemy but probably a very realistic and sensible position for most of us. The other was that bike brands are misunderstanding what customers want...

Dan Birchett: "The equivalent 2024 version of my road bike is £5,400. In 2016, mine was £2,200."

*Big sigh* (their name, not my comment): "It's why I'm still on my 2014 BMC. Yeah, it's rim brakes but the cost of an upgraded bike is prohibitive. I can easily afford the new offerings, but I'm not buying when there's no value."

David Williams: "Maybe the bike industry needs to look at reducing the cost of their machines."

Velo Retro: "I bought a fairly top flight road bike in 1991. Back then it cost around 5 per cent of a decent average salary. I would say that something comparable now, would be nearer 10 per cent. It would be interesting to see some objective data around affordability."

Rich Harle: "Almost as if pretty much every bike business in the country misjudged the Covid boom and overordered. Several large suppliers going bust, and now Giant struggling too."

Recycled-Carbon: "I went on a site the other day and saw a bike for 13k. I laughed out loud and shut the site."

Paul Hilton: "Perhaps they can now start selling bikes without people needing to take out small mortgages for them then? I'd love to get a new one but it's £5k+ for a decent one and £10k+ for a good one. Ludicrous."

Robert Marsh: "Utterly ridiculous bike prices now, plus lots of high tech forcing prices ever higher. Sure, some people will pay a huge premium, but not the mass market."

We could go on, but you get the idea... we haven't even got to the Facebook comments yet...

15 May 2024, 15:33
New Aldi shop plans will "undermine only safe cycle route" in city and leave cyclists "filled with horror" – but supermarket chain says proposals "will promote cycling"
15 May 2024, 15:07
BlackBeltBarrister 🤝 road.cc

15 May 2024, 14:55
Jonathan Milan wins his second stage of this year's Giro with another monster sprint

There's no stopping the big man...

Jonathan Milan powered his way to a second stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, thrashing his way past Tim Merlier in the final 100m. The Lidl-Trek rider has a firm grip on the maglia ciclamino points classification and with stage nine winner Olav Kooij out through illness it would take a brave (or perhaps foolish) person to back against the imposing Italian bagging another stage before the end of the three weeks.

Fabio Jakobsen and Team dsm–firmenich PostNL teammate Tobias Lund Andresen were two of the riders to hit the deck in a high-speed crash in the final kilometre. Thankfully everyone appeared to get back to their feet relatively unscathed, bar some uncomfortable-looking road rash and bruises.

No GC changes on the road, although everyone below the unfortunate Cian Uijtdebroeks takes a step up the leaderboard after the Belgian withdrew this morning due to illness.

15 May 2024, 14:11
🚨SRAM unveils new Red AXS groupset 🚨

There's a certain irony given today's live blog discussion (and some of your comments) that SRAM has this afternoon officially unveiled its new Red AXS groupset which it says, naturally, is "the lightest electronic groupset ever"... oh, and it costs more than most of those "decent" bikes you were all mentioning in the comments...

SRAM Red AXS May 2024 (1)

> SRAM introduces new Red AXS

Stu's been testing it for a while now and reckons it's "easily one of the best groupsets out there – if not THE best – thanks to its stunning performance, ergonomics and looks". You can read his full review here...

And if money really is no object and you've been sat there rolling your eyes wondering what all the fuss is about while we've been debating the price of bikes, Jamie's weighed it up against Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 in the battle of the groupset heavyweights... (Or should that be lightweights? You know what I mean)

> 2024 Sram Red AXS vs Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 — Which top-tier road groupset is best?

So, dare I ask, who's tempted?

15 May 2024, 13:47
Your thoughts on bike prices

The price of bikes and the state of the industry has certainly got the comments section talking, from semantic discussions about the definition of a decent bike, through questions about if more versatile models with wider tyres have ended the need for N+1?

2024 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 AXS.jpg

Picking up on a few of the earlier comments about what constitutes, and how much a 'decent' or 'good' bike willl cost, Bowks suggested: "I think people might have a skewed view on what a decent bike is. Earlier this year, I got a 2023 Defy with 105 Di2 for £2.2k. Am i bothered that the cables aren't fully internally routed? Nope!"

Patrick9-32: "And that bike is almost certainly better than what £2.2k could buy you 10 years ago as well! Just because the top end moves up doesn't mean the reasonably priced stuff is getting worse.

"Cyclists really need to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves if the bottom spec Spesh Allez (or seven other big brands equivalent in the same price ballpark) wouldn't actually do what they need... everything else is vanity unless you are racing for a living, and if you are, someone else is paying for your bike so you don't have to care what it costs."

peted76: "It's not helped that 'upgrading' bikes, which was what a lot of people would have done pre the disc revolution which really only took off around Covid time, just isn't possible for anyone still running rim brakes.. so you've a section of people who might have brought a new frame, groupset or wheels.. big purchases.. are left upgrading via the second hand market or making do until the money fairy lands a large wad of available funds in their lap in order to purchase a 'new bike' complete. That's money which has been taken away from the bike industry which would have been floating around in other times."

Zermattjohn: "The bike industry has sold us the gravel bike as the N+1 killer for about five years. So now we all have the one bike that does everything, why would we be thinking of buying another one? It's not just the high prices putting people off, it's the fact we don't need to buy."

fwhite181: "I think this is a good point. Road bikes have got ever more 'hardcore' (and obscenely expensive) and a lot of riders I know have discovered the joys of a bike that'll take 35mm+ tyres in winter, 28s in summer, and do pretty much all their riding. It does rather dent the need to have 3 bikes...

"The prohibitive cost of a 'decent' new bike isn't helping. Nor the fact that Decathlon (Van Rysel) have now thoroughly demonstrated that most of the cost of top-flight bikes from 'big names' is hype, not necessity. And the groupset market really should've matured into a good set of generics by now — the 5800-series 105 was about all the tech most people needed, but we're now being gouged for one more cog, 10 fewer grammes, microseconds-faster shifting. Please just make good stuff affordable. Shimano's entire product development cycle seems to be about locking out the patents and blocking competitors, not delivering good value products to customers. Rant over..."

Right on cue, mark1a was on the scene... "There's no such thing as 'too many bikes'."

That's better, although as perce pointed out, there is such a thing as "too many bikes I really like but can't afford"...

Life's a lot more straight forward for NickSprinck... "For me it is a lot more simple, despite their name, Giant don't sell bikes big enough for me..."

15 May 2024, 13:32
"If you want to get more people out of cars, you need to offer more": Rail company slammed for banning bikes on trains at peak times, as cyclists brand policy "a step backwards"
15 May 2024, 10:37
Meanwhile in west London...

Amid speculation Jeremy Vine might have made a career change, the BBC and Channel 5 presenter confirmed it wasn't him BUT he has met the penny farthing pedaller before...

"This isn't me, but I've met this distinguished gentleman," he explained on social media. "I asked him why he was wearing a single black leather glove on his right hand. He said, 'If champagne is served, it stays colder for longer with the glove.' Not eccentric at all."

15 May 2024, 09:39
Bargain hunting

All this talk of bike prices has got some of you sharing your efforts to build a top-class ride for a fraction of the cost.

DISCLAIMER: we've called this 'bargain hunting'... your significant other might question whether spending four figures building a bicycle is an effective penny-saving exercise. Be warned...

First up, Ed "cobbled this together from second hand and some Chinese carbon. 7kg and cost around £1k including di2."

road.cc bike price comments (@3WheeledCoffee/Twitter)

[@3WheeledCoffee]

Si did similar, "Put this together from second hand. Under 7kg and a rapid machine. Well under the extortionate price of new bike prices."

road.cc bike price comments (@Simon_DCFC_ryan/Twitter)

[@Simon_DCFC_ryan]

Jesus Jones: "Got this as a brand new frame, then hit eBay for some NOS Roval 32/50, and an entire DA 9100 groupset. Overall cost — less than a third of an equivalent disc brake setup. Total weight: 6.19kg."

road.cc bike price comments (@jesusjonesband/Twitter)

[@jesusjonesband]

webbierwrex: "Using the Cyclescheme voucher for parts and some savvy shopping I got a new 12-speed 105 mechanical Super Six Evo with Zipp 303s wheels for £2k. Yes, it's still a lot of money but it's a lot of bike too. People complaining about bike prices...maybe don't buy a brand new bike at full RRP? P.S. I don't run a car and actually do cycle to my work place."

Of course, all this discussion is very centred around fast carbon road bikes, there is plenty of fun, utility and value to be had elsewhere and ultimately the joy and practicality of riding a bicycle isn't limited by whether it's got 105 or is made of carbon. Ride what you want, when you want, just enjoy it. Preaching to the choir over... but hey, you can't blame us for wanting to look at some sexy bikes this morning... 

15 May 2024, 09:30
Arsenal fan takes Manchester City's likely impending title victory well... summons he who shall not be named...

That'll be in reference to the alleged 115 Financial Fair Play charges against Manchester City, none of which relate to doping, that the club strenuously denies and is fighting. Anyway, good to see football fans taking an interest in cycling...

15 May 2024, 09:01
Visma–Lease a Bike's cursed 2024 continues — Giro d'Italia GC hope Cian Uijtdebroeks follows team's sprinter Olav Kooij in abandoning race through illness
Cian Uijtdebroeks (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

[Zac Williams/SWpix.com]

From 2023's extraordinary three Grand Tours in a year, numerous Classics and some of the most prestigious week-long stage races, to now in 2024 a cursed spring beset with injuries and crashes (most notably incredibly serious ones involving Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert), leading to a Giro where half your riders are forced to abandon. It's been a rude awakening for Visma-Lease a Bike this season, god bless Marianne Vos and her perennial success for keeping the victories ticking over.

> Jonas Vingegaard won't start Tour de France "if he's not at 100%", says Visma-Lease a Bike boss

Of course, it's all relative. Many a team would be ecstatic with Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (both the men's race and women's), Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Dwars door Vlaanderen (both editions), a stage of the Giro, Amstel Gold women's edition and two stages of the Vuelta Femenina.

Still pretty successful in anyone's book, but without the major spring victory Van Aert and his superstrong back-up would have hoped (perhaps expected) to finally deliver this year. Crashes, injury and illness hampered Van Aert, Dylan van Baarle, Christophe Laporte and Jan Tratnik at various points during the spring, the team's bad luck continuing into the Giro, Cian Uijtdebroeks joining Olav Kooij in exiting the race with illness.

Cian Uijtdebroeks Tirreno-Adriatico 2024 (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

A team statement this morning broke the news:

The Giro will have to continue without the biggest smile of the peloton. We regret to announce that Cian Uijtdebroeks is forced to abandon the race. Cian did not feel well the past days and after yesterday's stage, he fell ill. We wish you a speedy recovery.

With Robert Gesink and Christophe Laporte having already left the race, Kooij and Uijtdebroeks' illness mean Visma-Lease a Bike are down to four, Edoardo Affini, Tratnik, Attila Valter and Tim van Dijke soldiering on as a quartet.

15 May 2024, 08:49
Take a look at Tadej Pogačar's tricked-out Colnago V4Rs... (one bike brand that's definitely not struggling)
2024 Giro d'Italia, Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates, picture by Zac Williams-SWpix.com © SWpix.com (t-a Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (6)

> Take a look at Tadej Pogačar's tricked-out Colnago V4Rs

While we're on the topic of industry news, Colnago bucks the trend of negative news stories, the Italian bike brand last month reporting that business is booming since it received Abu Dhabi investment, with sales "more than tripled". That Abu Dhabi investment sounds quite handy, where can I get me some of that?

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

66 comments

Avatar
Jeffreyhoare | 2 months ago
0 likes

Top end bike costs have gone up significantly since covid and although there has been cost inflation if you look at the differential in bike prices you can see that some bike manufacturers are engaged in price gouging. An example of this is the Trek Madone SLR6 Gen 7 RRP €8,199 euro and the SLR7 Gen 7 RRP €10,999. The only difference between the two is the Groupset - 105 Di2 and Ultegra Di2. The difference in price between the two groupsets is a fraction of the €2,800 charged. Then there is the SLR9 with Dura Ace and a RRP of €14,699. It has slightly better wheels, a different saddle and the groupset. The cost differential for these does not total €3,700. Bike manufacturers might not be making huge profit margins but I would suspect that its as much to do with the amount of money spent on sponsorship and advertising than any recent increase in manufacturing costs.

Avatar
james-o | 2 months ago
0 likes

"Nor the fact that Decathlon (Van Rysel) have now thoroughly demonstrated that most of the cost of top-flight bikes from 'big names' is hype, not necessity."
 

Read this above. It's not hype, it's commercial reality that as soon as you have a retail or distrbutor margin (or both) prices have to go up to make that work.

If you want the only bikes you can buy to come from massive retailers who can operate on supermarket style margins with greater buying power and lower route to market costs than the vast majority of the industry - sure. Decathlon really are an outlier and that's how they're replacing smaller retailers and brands, just like CRC and Wiggle did. Be careful what you wish for (and I'm not saying they're not good products, Decathlon are very good at what they do - too good in some ways).

Avatar
Veganpotter | 2 months ago
0 likes

Bikes are so much better for the money now. My $12k Seven from 2006 has been relegated to lifelong trainer duty after buying a $5k Domane that's a significantly better bike. Also, a cheap road bike was $750 in 2005 and I'm amazed that there are still road bikes under $1000 nearly 20yrs later and the newer version is a much better bike than that $750 bike in 2005

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to Veganpotter | 2 months ago
0 likes

Veganpotter wrote:

Bikes are so much better for the money now. My $12k Seven from 2006 has been relegated to lifelong trainer duty after buying a $5k Domane that's a significantly better bike. Also, a cheap road bike was $750 in 2005 and I'm amazed that there are still road bikes under $1000 nearly 20yrs later and the newer version is a much better bike than that $750 bike in 2005

My 2014 felt Z5, was 8.2kg, came with shimano 105 (10 speed at the time) £1500. Absolute joy to ride. What carbon frame 10 speed bike can you get for that money now?

Avatar
mark1a replied to wycombewheeler | 2 months ago
1 like

wycombewheeler wrote:

My 2014 felt Z5, was 8.2kg, came with shimano 105 (10 speed at the time) £1500. Absolute joy to ride. What carbon frame 10 speed bike can you get for that money now?

10 years on, this for £100 more and better brakes:
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/road-bike-ncr-cf-tiagra-blue/_/R-p-332106

 

Avatar
cyclisto | 2 months ago
4 likes

My bicycle is well now in it's second decade and the plan is to go with it as much as possible. It is though quite versatile, and I am always open to parts upgrades, usually used where there are some good deals. Yes it is super slow, it was super slow when bought too, but it is sturdy and if you aren't paid to ride, I don't see the reason to buy an expensive bike.

Avatar
DoomeFrog | 2 months ago
0 likes

I don't think they thought this video through.  Looks like a good reuse of underused space

https://youtu.be/bhgRd6f5d3c?si=bA_GHPZQKO6tB-R4

Avatar
lesterama | 2 months ago
2 likes

When I returned to racing in 2017, I bought a low-end carbon 105 bike for £800, then splashed out on a Merckx with etap for £2.5k at the end of the season. Yes, the current crop is better, but no way am I going to pay current prices for a bike with a seriously ugly current groupset.

Avatar
peted76 | 2 months ago
7 likes

It's not helped that 'upgrading' bikes, which was what a lot of people would have done pre the disc revolution which really only took off around covid time, just isn't possible for anyone still running rim brakes.. so you've a section of people who might have brought a new frame, groupset or wheels.. big purchases.. are left upgrading via the second hand market or making do until the money fairy lands a large wad of available funds in their lap in order to purchase a 'new bike' complete.  That's money which has been taken away from the bike industry which would have been floating around in other times. 

Avatar
james-o | 2 months ago
4 likes

"I wonder, anything to do with a decent bike costing £10K?"

That's just veblen goods pricing. A very decent bike is much less than half that. or are we at a point where expectations of 'decent' now includes min Ultegra Di2 and carbon wheels and integrated bar and stems? 
Just having full carbon frames and forks plus discs puts the prices up over where things were 10 years ago. The only reason to pay £10k is keeping up with an image or something like that? 

Avatar
john_smith replied to james-o | 2 months ago
2 likes

Quite. A couple of grand or less will get you a very, very decent bike.

Avatar
eniaessem replied to james-o | 2 months ago
4 likes

Well, If we take a Shimano 105 class alloy bike from 2020 to now we see a near doubling in price. All pricepoints have been affected

Avatar
john_smith replied to eniaessem | 2 months ago
1 like

bike24 are offering aluminium bikes with 105 for under 2k euros.

Avatar
Veganpotter replied to eniaessem | 2 months ago
0 likes

Sure if you aren't comparing a 2020 mechanical 105 bike to a new mechanical 105 bike

Avatar
james-o replied to eniaessem | 2 months ago
0 likes

Bike pricing doubled in 4 years? That's just not true across a representative cross-section of the market at any price level. Yes they've gone up but nothing like that much. 

  

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to james-o | 2 months ago
0 likes

In 2017 I bought a full carbon framed bike with discs for £999....  The only compromise was Tiagra not 105.

Bike inflation is newer than 10 years...

Avatar
stonojnr | 2 months ago
4 likes

So bike sales are down recently compared to previous years, almost like everyone bought the bikes they wanted 3-4 years ago.

Can't think why, can you ?

Avatar
manonbike replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
0 likes

I have to agree. Limited supply & high demand was interpreted as a new normal for bike manufacturers. They invested heavily in capacity. It was a blip. Add to that the recent stream of innovation (disc brakes, electronic gears, tubeless tyres), making new bikes more expensive and older bikes obsolete. Who wants to fork out £5k, knowing the next best thing will make your new steed worthless??

Avatar
Patrick9-32 | 2 months ago
4 likes

Cyclists really need to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves if the bottom spec Spesh Allez (or 7 other big brands equivalent in the same price ballpark) wouldn't actually do what they need... everything else is vanity unless you are racing for a living, and if you are, someone else is paying for your bike so you don't have to care what it costs. 

Avatar
squidgy replied to Patrick9-32 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Last bike I purchased at the beginning of COVID lockdown for the reduced price of £750 ..I actively downgraded it from R8000 gearset to R7000 when a certain online retailer started to shift old stock. I got some money back and lost no functionality whatsoever.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Patrick9-32 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Utterly irrelevant point because the Allez is vastly more expensive than it used to be too...

 

Avatar
Hirsute | 2 months ago
5 likes

Psychos inspired by the social media or just psychos.

//pbs.twimg.com/media/GNnIHsPWkAAu53-?format=jpg&name=medium)

Avatar
john_smith replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

Nice. Russia's got Putin, France has got the scum who murdered the prison guards yesterday, and we've got these delightful characters.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

Quite.  Mustn't grumble...

Avatar
mitsky | 2 months ago
0 likes

Presumably RCC will be doing a piece on this...?

"London transport: Call for ban of 'floating' bus stops"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-69001698

Avatar
Kendalred replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
3 likes

Yeah, saw that one when trawling the news page. Strange that the Beeb open this article up to commenting, when so few other news articles are. Almost like they know it'll become a seething mass of anti-cycling hysteria - and looking at some of the comments, they got their wish.

Avatar
NotNigel replied to Kendalred | 2 months ago
3 likes

It seems a common thing for the BBC news to only open up comments on articles that get the public's backs up...e.g. when reporting in quick succession, separately, all the energy companies 'record profits'.  It's almost like there is an agenda to widen the divide.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
1 like

A little more (not much deeper) in comments over on:

https://road.cc/content/news/government-considering-ban-floating-bus-sto...

Not sure exactly what road.cc would cover though? (Punch and Judy comments, probably - but there are people having nuanced discussions about this e.g. I believe RNIB has been working others to have a reasoned look at solutions.  Be great if they could find what if anything that has suggested, as a counterpoint to "fighting over scraps").

Avatar
mitsky replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
1 like

Ack.

Did realise there was a piece already.  4

Would be interesting if there was a sensible analysis of the NFB's clip on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/nfbuk/status/1787211980027101194

Avatar
Patrick9-32 replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
4 likes

mitsky wrote:

Presumably RCC will be doing a piece on this...?

"London transport: Call for ban of 'floating' bus stops"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-69001698

The government: "We are going to do absolutely nothing to move towards slowing climate change in any way. Please continue to consume as much as possible or the system will literally fall apart around us." 

Gammons in the comments of every article they don't agree with: "But disastrously the Whitehall blob and woke political class has surrendered to the aggressive eco agenda and lobby so now we all have to suffer the consequences of such activism which only suits a gobby minority."

Pages

Latest Comments