Prices of transmission systems and bicycles: Why are some bicycles so ridiculously expensive? Is it the transmission systems?

I started this on the Pinion vs. Rohloff page, but it is useful for other gear systems too, so I will expand this over time.

In discussing the differences between various systems, you obviously also need to look at the cost to decide on buying one or the other. I think last year already I had seen some some prices in ads on a sales site where bike shops advertise with bikes of 6000-9000 euros as if that is normal. That made me think: "What the fook is going on with these ridiculous prices? Are these people insane?".

I didn't think about it when going to the bike shop, I just wanted to try out any Pinion bike to see how heavy going shifting is compared to the Rohloff speedhub with which I now have a lot of experience, but this aspect came back when we came to the price. It turned out that the bike with Pinion P1.18 on which I made a test ride costs 6800 euros without even a dynamo hub and lights! The bike as I rode it with a SON28 + Edelux 2 and Schmidt taillamp is about 500 euros more, so EUR 7300 in total. WTF? Obviously I wouldn't choose this dynamo hub nor headlamp as I like neither, but I mention this combination for the total price it would give, which just seems ridiculous. But is it ridiculous? Is it about inflation, have I missed something the past years?

The answer is: No, that is not about inflation. I will look at some examples and expand this section as I dig up more.

So I decided to look at some historic prices and current prices of bikes and hubs to check for inflation, and do some more comparisons of all the transmission systems for price of components.

In progress: Prices ca. 2010 vs. 2023:

Gear system price in 2010Price in 2023Price hike:
Rohloff hub ca. EUR 900 ca. EUR 1150ca. +28%
Pinion P1.18 ca. EUR ? ca. EUR 1440?
Pinion C1.12 ca. EUR ? ca. EUR 940?
Alfine 11
(mechanical shifting)
ca. EUR ? ca. EUR 350?
Alfine 11
(Di2)
ca. EUR ? ca. EUR 700?
Nuvinci N360 ca. EUR 400 ca. EUR 370
(Replacement: Enviolo Trekking)
ca. -8%

And various other parts:

Part price in 2010Price in 2023Price hike:
Edelux ca. EUR 140 ca. EUR 170
(Replacement: Edelux 2)
ca. +21%
SONdelux dynamo hubfrom ca. EUR 220 from ca. EUR 255ca. +16%

Around 2010 you could buy a bike with Rohloff hub for about 2500 euros. An exception was for example the Cannondale Touring Rohloff which was about 3500 EUROs. Taking a common/average inflation of 4% from 2010 to 2023 would give a factor of 1.04^13 = 1.67. But costs have not increased that much for many bicycle parts. as you can see with for example the Rohloff speedhub. The Cannondale Touring would with that inflation number would cost ca. EUR 5800 today, however it includes the expensive headshok front fork and a sprung seat post, whereas the testbike I rode didn't have any suspension fork, nor a suspension seatpost. Neither have a dynamo hub/lighting. Both have good saddles. Bikes for EUR 2500 in 2010 would now cost EUR 4200 from the inflation figure. But I will look a bit at actual costs to see what happened.

I will also look at some examples of bikes you can buy today, as a lot of the cost is related to some specific components, such as belt drive.

A relative bought a bike with 8 speed Alfine hub and belt drive, and let's take such a bike as a starting poiint to see what a bike with P1.18 could cost on the low end: The bike is the Sensa Cintura, with Alfine 8 and trigger shifter, for ca. 1350 euros. This has a Gates CDN (cheaper than the CDX) belt drive. Add a Pinion P1.18 for 1440 and you get 2790 euros. Add stuff here and there that is a bit better and you get to a bit over 3000 euros. I do see some German brands with Pinion C1.12 bikes for just under 3000 euros, so I think below 4000 euro complete with lighting should be possible for a P1.18 bike. I have seen some bikes from German brands with P1.18 for ca. EUR 4500 when I looked around on the net. So that is a figure that is still high but as the P1.18 itself is very expensive, it seems somewhat reasonable for the rest.

Comparisons with some other brands

Van Nicholas (titanium frames)

Van nicholas offer the Deveron, a bike with titanium frame and P1.18 from EUR 6200. The frame is about EUR 2150, add P1.18 (EUR 1440) rear wheel (EUR 150?), front fork (EUR 300?), front dynamo wheel (e.g. with DH-S501, EUR 180), gates belt (ca. EUR 80) + cog + belt ring (ca. EUR 300), + headset + handlebar, grips, brakes (EUR 300 max), tyres (EUR 50-150), and with DIY I think you can build it for around 5000 euro with top quality components and a titanium frame as opposed to a (much cheaper, built in Taiwan IIRC, not in the Netherlands) aluminium frame.

Koga

Koga is another expensive Dutch brand.

Going to the signature selector pages to customize a touring bike, with Rohloff hub, belt, lighting (Shimano dynamo hub and B&M lights), BySchultz suspension seat post, Suntour NCX suspension front fork, Shimano XT disc brakes, I get to about EUR 5500,- They don't seem to offer bikes with Pinion (they did have at least one in the past, not sure why they don't offer them any more) but considering the price difference betweem a Rohloff hub (+ bottom bracket and crank, which is included with the Pinion) and Pinion, 6000 EURO for a fully equipped bike should be possible. And that is with a dynamo hub, lighting, high quality suspension seatpost, suspension front fork instead of fixed seat post, standard fork, no dynamohub/lighting, from a fairly expensive brand. 7300 therefore is far too much for any brand.

Conclusion about comparisons

My conclusion is that bikes from certain brands such as Santos in NL are just ridiculously overpriced.

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