7 Reasons Why Road Bikes Are So Expensive (The Truth!)

Cycling is one of the most satisfying sports out there. The feeling of joy you get from cycling is totally different than in any other sport.

Unfortunately, many of the best bicycles happen to be very expensive, especially road bikes.

A barrier to entry is around $800 and goes all the way up to $10,000, which is insane to some people who are new to all this.

But why is that the case? 

Why are road bikes so expensive?

Road bikes are expensive due to the increased research and development costs, expensive materials (such as carbon fiber), manufacturing, quality control, and marketing.

Take a close look at my list of 7 reasons why road bikes are so expensive. After reading them, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not buying a road bike is really worth it.

1. Research and Development (R&D)

Let’s dive a little deeper into why road bikes are so expensive.

The first thing on the list is research and development which has a significant impact on the overall cost of your road bike.

Road bikes are very complicated to make. Most people underestimate the cost and time invested in designing and engineering.

It’s really hard to make a road bike that is fast, comfortable, stable, etc all at once.

Maybe you won’t believe me but it takes years and years to develop the road bikes we are riding today.

Putting time into something will always require money. As the famous quote says, time is money.

That’s one of the reasons why every single year we see a slight improvement in road bike space. Nowadays road bikes look incredibly fancy.

Before, all the bikes were looking the same. There weren’t all these different bike types like today. But as humanity progresses, all these things change.

2. Expensive Materials

All these high-end road bikes are made from carbon, and as you can guess carbon is not cheap material.

Additionally, there are all kinds of carbon frames. Some carbons are gonna be more expensive than others.

That’s why all cheap road bikes are made from aluminum.

This is due to the fact that aluminum is a much heavier material than carbon, which means those people with carbon bikes will be much faster than the people with aluminum ones.

Also, carbon helps with vibration absorption. This will highly affect the quality of your ride. 

Although carbon is a clear winner when it comes to which material is better, there is one negative thing about it.

Carbon fiber is very sensitive, which means you must be very careful with it.

You can’t leave your bike wherever you want, you can’t go off-road with it, and you can’t carry heavy stuff on it.

If your budget is tight, an aluminum road bike is completely fine. If you are a beginner it can even be beneficial to practice on the aluminum bike and then upgrade to a carbon one.

3. Manufacturing

The next thing on the list is the manufacturing cost.

This kinda falls under the cost of materials but the process of building these carbon and aluminum frames can be substantially different.

They need to be very precise, which means that the tolerance needs to be extremely low, especially with carbon bikes.

Most road bikes are handcrafted, they need a human hand in the system. Machines are good but they can’t do all the details that a real human can do.

And that’s another reason for higher road bike prices.

4. Quality Control

Quality control is the main difference between cheap and quality brands.

Someone has to visit all these manufacturers and double-check if everything is as planned.

He needs to measure every frame to see whether it fits into the created specification or not. And additionally, check the strength and elasticity of each bicycle.

Which as you can guess is not cheap at all.

As you probably know all road bikes come in different sizes depending on your height. Which requires another hundred employees.

5. Bike Components

Road bikes are really complex, they contain over 25 small components which are really expensive, especially the drivetrain part.

I am talking about the chain, cassette, derailleurs, shifters, brakes, drop handlebars, wheels, etc.

Here’s a fun fact.

Did you know that Shimano has around 70% of the global share in bicycle components. Which means they dominated the market.

They are very reliable and also very expensive due to their name.

6. Marketing

Marketing costs have a big impact on the overall price of road bikes.

It’s simple.

They need to let the consumer know that their new $10,000 road bike is out. These bike companies are spending thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns all around the globe.

From TV and online advertisement all the way to ads on printed bicycle magazines.

You need to keep in mind that cycling is an expensive sport, kinda like golf.

There are people out there willing to spend thousands of dollars just for a little increase in their cycling performance.

7. Additional Costs

This includes every single expense that the company has to make but it’s not listed above.

Which is a building for all the employees, salary for the employees (managers, accountants, customer service, scientists, engineers, etc.)

Also, you need to factor in all the shipping costs.

I hope this article was helpful!

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