dentist bike cover
EDITORIAL

The Dentist in the Room

Reading time

The dentist jokes are a little tired and not very imaginative, but are they accurate? Are any of you Yeti-riding dentists? Closet Orthodontists on SB160s? And why, for example, doesn't Trek or Specialized get the same abuse? Or even Santa Cruz or Ibis, to name just a few?

2023 yeti sb160 deniz merdano62

How are you going to court dentists without carbon wheels, even with top of the line suspension and brakes? Photo - Deniz Merdano

How Much does a Dentist Bike Cost?

The top of the line Trek Slash will set you back 11,500 USD with SRAM T-type, Bontrager Carbon wheels and other house-branded components along with top of the line suspension components. It might even have a no-name headset. The top spec Specialized Enduro Ltd, a great bike that is starting to get long in the tooth, is 17,500 CAD, which works out to about 12,850 USD at current exchange rates but with just plain old AXS, and the frame isn't likely T-Type capable. Once you add some DT Swiss carbon hula hoops, AXS T-Type (XX even!), Factory suspension, and lots of Kashima, you'll have to drop 11,500 USD for the Gucciest SB160. There is an entirely serviceable Yeti-branded bar, but nothing else is in-house. Independent of quality or performance, it costs significantly less to spec products your company has designed and manufactured.

Obviously we are comparing three expensive brands, but Yeti can legitimately be called a boutique firm while the others are more accurately described as mega corporations. Yeti is a mountain bike company. They don't even make gravel bikes FFS. At least not yet.

The closest comparison, company to company, might have been Santa Cruz once upon a time. Having been swallowed up by Pon Holdings, a multi-billion dollar concern, their pedigrees have diverged some. A top spec Megatower costs 11,200 USD. Ibis is still a small niche brand in mountain biking. Their top of the line bike is 11,000 USD.

93622-10_ENDURO-SW-LTD-CARB-BLKLQDMET-LMSTN_HERO copy

If Yetis are dentist bikes, is the Specialized Enduro S-Works Ltd a hedge fund manager bike? A trustafarian bike?

Of course we can dig a little deeper and find some comparisons that are less flattering. Staying on a boutique theme, the top of the line We Are One Arrival 170 would have defiled your wallet by 11,000 Canadian dollars... or 8,300 USD, when I last looked, but currently WR1 is only selling rolling chassis builds which sit between 7,250 and 8,250 CAD, getting you everything except brakes, drivetrain, seatpost and saddle. And considering We Are One was making well-received rims and handlebars by hand in Canada before they made any frames, it's fair to say their "house brand" can be compared to the best products out there. Transition ticks a lot of boxes with their Spire and the top build is 7,000 USD, lacking nothing except carbon wheels. Once we enter the world of direct to consumer brands, things get quite a bit messier. These brands sell bikes that can be legitimately be called high value by comparison, but where Yeti sits in the market, their pricing certainly isn't the most egregious.

You could argue that, while Yeti's top end bikes are in the range of many others, and less than several non-boutique brands, their bottom end remains pretty pricy. The least expensive SB160, for example, is priced at 6,300 USD,* and Yeti doesn't make aluminum bikes. You can get a Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy at full retail for 4,400 USD and it's currently on sale for 3,500.

*like many of these bikes, this one is currently on sale for 5,040 USD but I have used MSRP for ease of comparison

we are one rolling chassis

We Are One's rolling chassis sales model may have been born out of the ashes of the Covid era supply chain fuck up, but it's a brilliant way to get you a bike with most of the good stuff to help you go fast at a reasonable price.

What many of these brands don't offer, and Trek is high on that list, is a min-maxed option like the bike I recently tested: the SB160 T2 Turq* which sells for 7,900 USD. It has top of the line suspension and brakes with a (gasp!) cable actuated drivetrain and, god forbid - aluminum rims! The brakes however are Code RSC and even the tires are well-chosen Maxxis Minions. Most brands will only offer you top of the line suspension and brakes with other top of the line components, like electronic drivetrains and seat posts and carbon rims. The worst examples will force expensive pressure sensors on shocks and wheels for the privilege of being good suspension models. To get the parts that are going to make the most difference to your riding experience, you need to pony up for a bunch of parts that won't make you much faster. They will however, make you much poorer.

*It was called the T1 when I received the bike

The assumption that goes along with this meme seems to be that Dentist bikes are for posers, riders who don't deserve to be on bikes this flashy, which makes the bike's performance irrelevant. Extending this further, someone who buys into this memeification of a bike brand might assume that the potential performance of these bikes is also limited. This, of course, is simply not true. It's not hard to argue that Yeti's bikes will allow a rider to progress as far as they are capable, even if that is the former Enduro World Series (may it rest in peace). I am absolutely certain there are actual dentists, riding Yetis and other brands, who would blow the carbon off most riders who reside anywhere below Richie Rude's lofty perch. And they'd certainly mop the floor with most of the internet warriors snickering at their choice of bike brand. I have met riders from virtually every walk of life who absolutely destroy on a mountain bike and I am certain there are dentists in that category.

Spire Carbon_XO_Ttype_FadeBlack

Transition makes some of the highest value bikes you can pick up at a bike shop, whether you do dentistry or carpentry.

I get it, though. Mountain biking is a sport for the elite. Ask someone working in a sweatshop in Bangladesh how much time or desire they have to ride a bicycle on perilous trails for shits and giggles. The baseline is pretty simple; virtually all of us in the west, and certainly those of us who ride bicycles in the forest for fun, are the privileged few. Of course there are infinite layers within that privilege, from hand-me-down Haro hardtail to S-Works Ltd Enduro, but we all share that thorny, golden crown.

Is Yeti a brand aimed at consumers with deep pockets? Of course they are. That's not hard to argue, but it's a market that virtually every brand courts heavily.

Which begs the question, are we all dentists?

Tags: Dentist bikes
Posted in: Features, Editorial, Gear

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Comments

craw
+17 Niels van Kampenhout Lynx . fartymarty BarryW Konrad James Heath dhr999 ohio FlipSide chaidach maxc R.bobbby Mungbeanz bishopsmike vunugu Hardlylikely okiecalvin

When I was younger people would look at my fancy high end bikes and say "what do you race of something?" as if that was the only possible justification for having a nice thing that you really appreciate. Bikes are one of the things where the super high end is theoretically attainable to many people compared to the same level in moto, cars, boats, etc. A big difference is that cars and boats are societal status symbols. Bikes aren't really except when it comes to being judged by other riders.

If a rider is riding a top spec Yeti or WR1 but isn't pushing its limit but just f&cking loves riding it who cares? Isn't it great that this person could buy this incredible tech and be excited to actually use it? 

A lot of the readers on this site could probably afford a "dentist bike" if they really wanted to and were willing to make sacrifices in other areas of their lives. Some do. Some don't. Go riding FFS.

Reply

Bikes
+6 Jotegir taprider James Heath Gabriel Barbosa Fozz TerryP

Sure sure.  Don’t you have some x-rays to review?

Reply

craw
+8 Jotegir BarryW Cam McRae James Heath Gabriel Barbosa DanL bishopsmike vunugu

Don't forget your complimentary toothbrush and floss loot bag on your way out. See you in six months.

Reply

DanL
+2 Jotegir BarryW

no stickers? cheapskate
Thanks god my expensive boutique frame is so industrial looking, no one would accuse me of any kind of job that involves fine motor skills

Reply

craw
+6 DanL Jotegir BarryW bishopsmike Hardlylikely hardtailhersh

When I got my Geometron the first thing someone asked me: why would you pay so much to have a homeless person weld your frame?

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DanL
+1 BarryW

"because I'm a pillar of the community, and while we're here, allow me to offer some free extractions, sir"

Jotegir
+8 Andy Eunson GB tashi BarryW Alex Pete Roggeman 2wls4ever rockford

Revisiting this idea later in the day, I find the premise of "dentist bikes" absurd in 2024. There's one group of people out there who, after being at their job for a period of time, collectively all have the nicest stuff on average. On average, better than the dentists. Carbon this, Kashima that, Saint this, top of the line small-batch local production aftermarket that.  Yet this group seemingly gets a pass in the eyes of the mid-spec-riding onlooker. 

It's not dentists....

...it's bike industry folk...

...and most of those guys are broke!

Reply

rockford
0

This is the cold, hard truth here.  Highest spec bikes I see in the wild are rarely ridden by people that paid retail for them. 

The 2-3 "dentist" bikes (or D for short - you sub whatever pejorative in for "D" that you like) I've owned were both acquired while 'on the inside' of the industry, for half MSDP.  They felt like a steal at the time, but then you realize when you go to sell one after a year that people that spend this kind of cheddar on a bike don't do it because it's good value, or even the best bike they can buy.

They do it because they like the feeling of going to a bike shop, slapping a black card on the counter that can take the entire blow - plus installed, tailored Ride Wrap - and getting to feel like a rock star for an hour or two in the shop.  They get good juju from ride buddies and onlookers on the first couple of rides...and then, it's just another bike.  

I'm still on one of the "D" bikes I managed to collect and, now 3 years old, it is just another bike to ride.  Scratched up and an underperforming (electric) derailleur and all.

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tashi
+21 Cam McRae Niels van Kampenhout ZigaK Lynx . HughJass Cr4w Todd Hellinga dhr999 Timer chaidach maxc R.bobbby BarryW Kenny vunugu Alex Velocipedestrian Dr.Flow Andy Eunson slimchances57 rockford

I learned a looooong time ago that there was always going to be someone out there with a better bike that I could out ride (they didn’t “deserve” it) and someone else who can out ride me on their shit heap (do I “deserve” my nice bike?) and that what mattered was that we enjoyed playing with our toys out in the woods. 

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

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craw
+5 Todd Hellinga Timer tashi BarryW Znarf

Imagine a group ride with 5 people. There's usually the one guy the alpha nerd who has the latest stuff, buys new stuff often, has lots of weird esoteric one-off stuff, is thinking about this stuff all the time. There's the guy with the oldest bike just keeping it up to date because he's a min-maxer or is financially constrained or thinks things peaked shuttling his V-Tach up Cypress wearing a hockey jersey (which is awesome BTW). And there's everyone in between who have bikes probably no older than 3 years, well maintained, upgrade regularly when stuff breaks down. And typically who's the best rider and who's having the best time? No way to tell. It could be any of them, all of them.

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hotlapz
+14 BarryW Henry Chinaski Lynx . finbarr lkubica cheapondirt Spencer Nelson Timer HughJass Cr4w Kenny Hardlylikely Velocipedestrian Dr.Flow TerryP hardtailhersh ClydeRide Ante

jesus christ stop normalizing 10k bikes

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stinhambo
+1 ClydeRide

Normalising? There will always be expensive things - cars, watches, houses, cookware, clothes, computers etc. If you don't like it, buy a cheaper model.

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hbelly13
+8 Niels van Kampenhout jaydubmah Cam McRae Lynx . Cr4w R.bobbby TerryP slimchances57

I am a dentist. I have four bikes built up by myself and/or with friends assistance from the frame up. The highest MSRP on any of them would be around $5k, but I did not pay that having purchased/acquired everything on sale or used. Retail remains the bastion of schmucks and Xmas shoppers. I have always balked at bikes topping out over $10k. When Santa Cruz dropped their first $10k bike an XTR/Fox/ENVE spec'd Bronson in 2013, I got to ride that exact bike. It was fine, but the additional $5-6K did not improve my experience in any commensurate amount. It is this question that I ask myself regarding anything I consider purchasing. Does any of this matter? No, and I suppose I could be riding on bikes far more expensive, but I prefer simple, durable and economical.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Raymond Epstein

Well said Raymond!

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niels@nsmb.com
+7 Cam McRae ZigaK lkubica Cr4w Abies scarymyth DancingWithMyself

I think the dentist meme shouldn't be taken too seriously but if you do, isn't it really a critique on unbridled consumerism rather than a dig at dentists?

Yes, mountain biking is a luxury activity for the privileged but for those in a position to do it, it's generally a good thing as it keeps you fit and sane, helps make friends, develop skills that extend beyond the bike, connect to nature, etc. Those things are a lot more important than having the latest and best gear, yet that's where a lot of the focus is on in mtb media and in conversations among riders.

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craw
+7 Lynx . tashi bishopsmike Hardlylikely Abies Bern Jotegir

The shame of trying to explain this hobby to someone in the developing world is one you will never forget.

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Bern Jotegir

That is a sobering perspective Cr4w.

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Fat_Tony_NJ
+6 Niels van Kampenhout Henry Chinaski bullit ohio fartymarty 2wls4ever

Ibis makes dentist bikes for sure, but they make aluminum models to keep us scientists riding as well. ;)

Reply

fartymarty
+3 Offrhodes42 Niels van Kampenhout Spencer Nelson

Steel bikes must be Engineers bikes then.  I have three steel bikes and am an Engineer ;)

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DanL
+2 fartymarty Lynx .

I'm a tech person and I like my bikes metal with wire cables and external routing....

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2wls4ever
0

Dentist bike = wheels on the ground

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hbelly13
0

I cannot speak for other dentists, but my wheels are off the ground quite often.

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cam@nsmb.com
0

Like this guy you mean?

Dirt Jumping a Dentist Bike.

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Henry-Chinaski
+6 Cam McRae Raymond Epstein Timer Cr4w bishopsmike rockford

I ride with two dentists: one in Vancouver and the other in Washington State.  They both object to the idea that dentists can afford 10k+ bikes. I think we need to change the reference to orthodontics.

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skywalkdontrun
+1 Raymond Epstein

I mean, my best friend is a dentist, and he can't bring himself to buy a bike that retails over $6k.  Granted, he probably could if he wanted to, he just doesn't want to.

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MNKid
+4 BarryW Jotegir Cam McRae HMBA106

To answer your question, Cam: Yes. In the grand scheme of things, yes, we are all dentists.

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SixZeroSixOne
+4 Lynx . jaydubmah BarryW finbarr bullit tashi Hardlylikely ohio bishopsmike DancingWithMyself

First of all, this article sounds as though someone has yanked Cam's chain one time too many. Out of interest Cam, is "your" Yeti your own personal bike or a test bike loaner?? ;-)

Secondly, part of the "problem" with the ever escalating bike price is that most media outlets (such as NSMB*) rarely test "entry level" bikes, so readers don't really have a baseline to compare the entry levels products against their high level, more expensive siblings. The perception exists that you have to spend $$$ to either buy the high end models or source your own high end replacement components. 

I'm not a gear geek head so don't avidly read all your gear reviews but my perception (rightly or wrongly) is that NSMB is one of the worst offenders. 

Just about every review I've read here complains about some minor, trivial flaw in component choice such that a readers enjoyment of the bike, would be transformed by "only" spending another $$$ to switch said flawed component. Suspension upgrades, angle set headsets, switching suspension linkages, dropper posts 10mm too short or too long, stems 5mm too long/too short....the list is endless! Talk about first world problems ;-)

I get it. This site seems to be occupied by engineers and serial bike tinkerers whereas I'm of the min-max philosophy and once I've bought the bike, it's never upgraded - components usually get replaced with like-for-like replacements when they break or wear out. And my bikes generally last for 5+ years before I consider replacement (and yes, I do earn above average salary so I could buy higher end stuff if I really wanted)

* I miss Andrew Major

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cxfahrer
+2 BarryW Hardlylikely

Didn't know he has his own website now https://meatengines.com/... nice!

As an architect I started with two really expensive MTBs, a Serotta t-max and a Ventana MPFS. With XTR and everything. 

They weren't any better than any other crappy bike of that times (mid 90s). But they looked good and people asked me sometimes about them...

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retrokona
+4 Fozz HughJass Hardlylikely Nick Meulemans

Not to derail the thread but where did Andrew go? Didn’t I read something by him recently?

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Fozz
+5 HughJass bishopsmike Hardlylikely Nick Meulemans Velocipedestrian

I too request this information. His articles resonated with me as a human parent and min/max lifer.

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tobias-wildebeast
+1 hardtailhersh

Bike Mag

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Fat_Tony_NJ
0

That's a loss. Hopefully it works out for him. Great tech articles for sure.

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mikeynets
0

I thought you were joking. I also thought Bike Mag dissolved a few years ago. 

I also miss Andrew's pieces for NSMB.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 mikeynets

We miss him as well but happy he's found a place at Bike, which was recently resurrected after being mothballed by a previous ownership group.

velocipedestrian
+2 Cam McRae Kyle Dixon

Specifically the gear section, and Meatengines.

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flattire2
+4 Lynx . Andy Eunson HughJass BarryW Hardlylikely bishopsmike

Motocross market is X times bigger and has only 5x manufacturers.  Does MTB really need 100x unique frame makers churning out similar product?  Would manufacturers sales volumes go up, and prices come down if the MTB industry wasn't so crowded?  10x fewer manufactures selling 10x more volume would help.  Right?

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g-42
+2 Timer BarryW

Yes, there are a lot of MTB brands - but not actually a lot of manufacturers. Most frames are supplied by only a handful of factories.

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andy-eunson
+1 BarryW

Yes but if a brand is ordering twice as many units from one factory they pay less per unit. If say Santacruz orders 10000 29er 150 travel frames for x dollars per frame and Intense does the same, if the two companies joined forces to form Santatense and now they order 20,000 such frames, they can negotiate a better cost.

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Timer
+1 Hardlylikely Jotegir BarryW

5 companies is too few for proper competition. Collusion far too easy. 

Prices wouldn’t come down, there would just be less choice for consumers and the difference goes into the pockets of shareholders (aka the 1%).

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ReformedRoadie
0

But I can get an Orange, White or Red KTM now!

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tashi
+3 Timer Hardlylikely hardtailhersh

Yes, FFS, mountain bikes are luxury toys for rich people. The differences between “dentist bikes” and “practical bikes” and the arguments about the people who ride them are irrelevant, unaware bourgeoisie nonsense.

When riding through poor countries I’d be asked how much my Cross-Check was worth. I’d say $500 and they would still be blown away. I can only imagine embarrassingly out of touch and stupid a discussion differentiating between a $12k toy bike and a $17k toy bike would seem to someone making what the global norm is.

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Timer
+3 BarryW bishopsmike Hardlylikely

There is a difference between toys for people rich on a global scale and toys for people rich by the standards of the richest countries on earth.

I think it’s perfectly fine to criticise bike companies for catering to the top 10% of the G7, instead of at least the middle class

For a while, at least over here, biking wasn’t a cheap sport but nowhere near luxury. Getting into riding cost roughly the same as getting into fencing or ice hockey. Luxury was horse riding, sailing or any kind of motorsport.

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tashi
+3 Cam McRae Hardlylikely hardtailhersh

The way I grew up, fencing and hockey were expensive sports. 

The difference between them and skiing and equestrian was irrelevant, they were both out of reach, just like the difference between an “reasonably priced” bike and a “dentist” bike doesn’t matter to people without the money to afford either.  This is all a bunch of rich people trying to differentiate between themselves by wrapping themselves in a brand identity while being clueless to how rich they really are.  “I don’t drink Starbucks, I’m not fancy, I drink Tims”

The difference is immaterial.

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Timer
-1 hardtailhersh

I don’t get that argument. Do you mean that we should just stop caring about anything that happens in developed countries because some countries are much poorer?

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tashi
0

Nope. Not sure where you got that idea from.

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Timer
0

Because as I understand your previous post, you are arguing that it doesn’t matter at all if bikes cost 500$ or 50000$ because a large share of the world population wouldn’t be able to afford either?

This doesn’t seem like a sensible argument to me, but maybe you meant something different.

babyzhendo
+3 Cam McRae bishopsmike Hardlylikely

I’m guilty of seeing some bikes and commenting on them being dentist bikes, but typically it’s more dramatic than simply just being a Yeti or any other brand. I’m talking full matching anodized everything, exotic suspension and carbon everywhere, $400 5DEV stems, etc. It does so happen that some companies like Yeti, but also certainly Specialized, are often the target for such egregious over-blinging. “Dentist” is just an unfair shorthand for the guy who appears to have walked into a shop with a blank check and said “greetings I would like to buy your finest bicycle for mountain cycling”

For what it’s worth, I’ve ridden several of the latest Yetis and they’re exceptionally good from a performance perspective. But for those of us who like to recycle parts from old builds, their $4,800 US asking price for a frame-only does deserve some measure of heckling.

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pete@nsmb.com
0

That is the price of admission for a carbon frame these days. Yeti is by no means an outlier. Santa Cruz, Transition, Trek, Specialized, Ibis, etc...they're all around 4500 US. I agree that it's a lot, but it's not a Yeti thing. Manufacturers don't want to sell frames only, and they're priced accordingly.

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LWK
0

When brands routinely price base level complete bikes not much more than the corresponding frameset then yes, your last sentence is obviously correct.

Equally obvious is that Yeti is at the extreme end of this practice.  A Trek or Ibis carbon frame is ~$3900USD. Stumpjumper EVO is $3,400USD.  Even SC Megatower frame is only $4,049USD.  So Yeti is $800 - $1,400 MORE. And in Canadian pricing it goes from extreme to extremely ridiculous - $6,800 for an SB165 frame when I looked a year ago.  compared to ~$5K for a Trek Slash.  

Maybe we have different definitions of "outlier" but a ~40% higher price (CAD) certainly meets my definition.

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dcaf
+2 LWK Andy Eunson

You can get a carbon Transition Spur NX build for $3400US, sell the cheap drivetrain and wheels, and you have a carbon frame plus some useful bits for under $3000.

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mikeynets
+2 Lynx . Timer

I have a Banshee for all the reasons you mentioned and more: frame only seems to be their preferred model, incredible value, great performance, adaptability, and good looking to boot.

Yeah, not carbon. To me, that's an additional feature. And nowadays, except for XC frames, the weight delta between carbon and alu frames is not that big, not that I'm counting grams anyway.

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lacykemp
+3 Jotegir Lynx . Todd Hellinga

Brand affinity is fascinating to me. We go HARD for the brands we love even if it isn't always the best product. I think that may be the point you're missing here, Cam. It's not always about the bike. People may not even realize how much their brand loyalty comes into play when making a purchase like this. Mountain biking is more than a sport for many people. It's a lifestyle. How do you want to show up and be seen? That's where some companies (Yeti, Transition, for example) win. 

Also, I am stuck on one thing: why do we care so much? So what if someone rides a $12,000 bike? They probably ride with plenty of people on that $4,000 bike and everyone is having a good time. Expensive does not equal better. It just doesn't. I could sit here and list many parts that are at the top of their category in price, but sit squarely in the middle in performance. Congrats, marketers, we did it! We made people believe that this stuff is the best choice, even if it doesn't offer the best value. 

And that's the power of brand.

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Jotegir
+2 BarryW Cam McRae

I'm a great example of your first paragraph. I am probably one of Rocky Mountain's harshest critics down here in the comment section of NSMB, but it's only because I have a high level of brand affinity, I care about what they do, and I want them to do well. I own two of them right now, and my next bike is between a Norco Optic (because I am fascinated by what is going on there) and big surprise, another Rocky Mountain. 

It's all about personal choices, right? I'm a member of a professionally regulated association that's there with the dentists and doctors as far as stereotyping high end bikes goes. At a glance, my bikes fit the bill too. What doesn't fit the bill is when you see my rat bagged 21 year old car sitting in my reserved parking spot beside what everybody else drove to the office. And you know what? I'll meet my friend and colleague at the trailhead where he parks his new BMW and pulls his $4000  CAD bike out of the back. And then we go ride the same trails together at similar speeds and levels of skill. 

Remember kids, gold anodization is worth at least several hundred dollars more than the identical performing black or silver equivalent.

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SpencerN
+1 Jotegir

Are you me? Bike value of ~2x car value? (and I used to own an Optic before it was stolen)

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Timer
+2 tashi Lynx . cheapondirt ClydeRide

I could't care less what people spend on their bikes. IF the ridiculous pricing spiral by the "dentist" brands didn't artificially anchor bike prices in general at sky-high levels. So that even mid-spec aluminium bikes are now in the 6k+ price bracket.

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andrewbikeguide
+2 BarryW cheapondirt

Based on volume of sales I would describe Yeti as a 'small' manufacturer. We Are One are boutique.

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daithi
+2 Cam McRae Hardlylikely

> What many of these brands don't offer, and Trek is high on that list, is a min-maxed option like the bike I recently tested; the SB160 T2 Turq* which sells for 7900 USD. It has top of the line suspension and brakes with a (gasp!) cable actuated drivetrain and, god forbid - aluminum rims! The brakes however are Code RSC and even the tires are well-chosen Maxxis Minions. Most brands will only offer you top of the line suspension and brakes with other top of the line components, like electronic drivetrains and seat posts and carbon rims.

And gated behind carbon frames. Drives me insane. Look at the Stumpjumper Evo Comp for example (Spesh are getting ragged on in the comments which is not my intention, I was just considering this bike a little while ago so it's fresh in my mind).

St Evo Comp Alloy: $5,300 ($3,800) CAD.
St Evo Comp Carbon: $6,500 ($6,000) CAD.

You'd think from the naming convention that Carbon is the only difference, but once you dive into the spec sheet... At least you get the same suspension but there are other cuts.

Brakes? Code R vs Code RS
Drivetrain? Full NX vs GX Shifter, Derailleur, Cassette, NX Chain, X1 Crank

You want the GX drivetrain on an alloy bike? Well step right up to the $7,000 ($6,500) Elite Alloy.

Ibis are guilty of it too. Compare the GX Ripmo to the GX Ripmo AF, or the SLX Ripmo to the SLX Ripmo AF. The Carbon comes with better suspension (Float X2 Factory and 38 Factory vs Bomber Z1 Coil, Bomber Air) when everything else is equal.

I'll never be able to afford a top of the line bike. I don't need wireless shifting, shock telemetry, AI lockouts or Kashima bling. Saving 1-2k on an alloy frameset over carbon should be an easy choice for me but then they make their alloy build full of compromise so you look to the carbon as being "better value" anyway.

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tashi
+4 Lynx . BarryW Timer Hardlylikely

Welcome to pricing strategy - you over price the top-end “value” option, aggressively price the affordable “high-end” option and now the high-end option looks like a “good value”. Consumer buys it, feels “smart” about their purchase, manufacturer got an extra $1k of revenue for the cost of the parts upgrades.

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Jotegir
+2 BarryW Tehllama42

Just for fun, I'm going to write out all of the bikes ridden by people who are part of self-regulated professional associations that I know personally* and can think of off the top of my head:

Dentist 1: We Are One Arrival

Dentist 2: Trek Fuel Ex 8**

Lawyer 1: Pivot Switchblade; Pivot Firebird

Lawyer 2: Specialized Turbo Levo

Lawyer 3: Norco Fluid A1**

Lawyer 4: Rocky Mountain Altitude, expensive edition

Lawyer 5: two 2018  Rocky mountain instincts, a 2019 Aurum HSP, a 2023 Deviate Claymore,  and too many old frames to mention

Lawyer 6: Yeti SB 120 

Engineer 1: Trek Supercaliber; Rocky Mountain Element

Engineer 2: Santa Cruz Tallboy; Santa Cruz Megatower

Engineer 3: a constantly revolving door of bizarre gravel machines

RN 1: We Are One Arrival; Transition TR11

RN 2: Santa Cruz Bronson

Doctor 1: Yeti SB 140

Doctor 2: Yeti SB 140

Doctor 3: Devinci Spartan

Doctor 4: Specialized Enduro; Specialized Epic

When I sold bikes for a living, I always thought that Rocky Mountain was the Canadian Yeti as far as appealing to "those guys". I suspect that this is largely driven by the shops in your area. We do have a Santa Cruz dealer, but compared to the sea to sky, you see far less Santa Cruzes per capita in the interior than you do elsewhere. I'm sure it helps that our town's "premium" shops have focused the above list. 

*Yes, I know a decent number of professionals.

**Dentist 2 and Lawyer 3 are holding it down for camp "you don't need to spend a lot of money to shred"

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tashi
+2 Cam McRae lkubica

None of the dentists I know ride mountain bikes any more, they’ve switched to gravel to avoid the risk of injury that could rank their practice.  🤷

(And enduro motos, but we don’t Talk about those)

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Jotegir
+2 BarryW Kyle Dixon

Ride gravel to avoid ruining my practice? Absurd. Why did I become a professional if not to buy cool stuff and ride sweet trails?

To mis-quote the ideal role model, I want to lead a dope life and do dope shit.

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Hawkinsdad
+2 Cam McRae Hardlylikely

My fear of dentists dates to age 11 when a one-eyed dentist, who ironically had horrible breath, stuck a needle through my cheek whilst trying to freeze my gum. I'm a therapist with a penchant for nice bikes. I chose my SB140 from a shootout in Bike Mag. It was the right bike for me and I've ridden the hell out of it in the past four years. I drive a ten-year-old Tacoma and have few other extravagances except for a predilection for BC craft beers. It cracks me up to see young guys who drive beater vehicles with 10K+ bikes on the back. They've got their priorities straight. My attitude is that I don't care about the cost, as long as it gets someone out enjoying the mountains and forests. I certainly don't miss the stuffiness of tennis or triathlon culture and I laugh off the ridiculous references to dentists and Yeti bikes.

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syncro
+2 Velocipedestrian Kyle Dixon

I object to people spending big dollars on bikes but not contributing to trail maintenance or trail orgs in some way.

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fartymarty
+1 ClydeRide Cam McRae jaydubmah

Cam - Is this not just another one of the many stupid memes from the Pinkbike comments section that has filtered into mainstream mtb?  DC and looks like a Session are others that immediately come to mind.

Ride what makes you happy and don't judge others for their choices (You do You).

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Kenny
+3 BarryW ZigaK jaydubmah bishopsmike Andy Eunson

Yes. Tired and not really accurate is part of the charm of many memes. Is Cam over 40? 

The whole article reads like an older person feeling confused about what memes are (sorry cam).

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kos
+2 Henry Chinaski Lynx .

I like cartoons. I bet I would love these "memes" you speak of. Please tell us more! :-)

Side Note: Based on my LBS's experience to date, Transmission is an upgrade only for those who don't know how to shift. Or enjoy standing on their RD.

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jaydubmah
+1 BarryW

I think you nailed it about the meme’s Kenny :)

Personally, I find the PB comment section like a slice of life. I’ve read stuff that is insightful, made me laugh out loud, roll my eyes, made me angry , etc. - and I can appreciate the memes for what they are.

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cam@nsmb.com
+3 taprider Velocipedestrian hardtailhersh

lol! Over 40? That’s hilarious.

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andy-eunson
+1 Metacomet Todd Hellinga bishopsmike

The reality is, people that believe the "dentist meme" are really saying: "I can’t afford that and I wish I could so I’ll just criticize it instead to make me feel better". Not all that dissimilar to the retrogrouch who pines for those Rossignol 7s skis, or the 1990s Off Road Toad when they are really saying;" I wish I was young and strong again". 

It’s kind of a reverse hype, reverse or anti marketing. The dentist meme that is. Steel is real makes me wanna puke. I’ll bet if I whack you in the head with an aluminum version of the same thing it’ll hurt the same. I’ll bet a carbon frame makes a lousy boat anchor. The belief that mass produced things are of lesser quality than so called artisanal stuff is nonsense. There are good and bad factories as well as artisans. The other day someone on a vintage bike site asked why Klein bikes are highly regarded. Those were the "dentist bike" of that era. They were shite and poorly regarded by anyone that actually rode one in anger because the failed regularly. 

People like to generalize to make themselves feel better about their own choices. Be happy with what you have or do something about it. Don’t criticize others because you’re jealous. At the same time don’t think you’re better than others because you have that "dentist bike". Judge their character, not their possessions.

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xy9ine
+2 Andy Eunson Todd Hellinga

oh man, i pine for a fillet brazed ORT - to hang on the wall, not ride (eww).

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dubxion
+1 Cam McRae

Kudos on mentioning the min/max options on builds to spec where people would, in many cases, end up upgrading, like brakes and suspension, then stick with reliable, cable-actuated SLX or GX, solid hubs, and price-point consumables (cassette, chain, grips) and reliable cockpit. I'm still very smitten with cable-actuated shifting levels from both big brands (XT and X01 personally), and the builds seem to end up being 1lb/.5kg and $thousands less at those levels compared to XX1 SL Tranny level w/ electronic dropper for (arguably) more reliability and (inarguably) cheaper replacement.

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xy9ine
+4 Niels van Kampenhout Cam McRae Lynx . Andy Eunson

as much as some may gripe about the state of the industry because 5 figure superbikes are seemingly prevalent, i think we're actually in a really good place in terms of bottom up hardware refinement - where you can put together solid builds considerably cheaper that give up little in terms of meaningful real world performance. exotic bits are nice, but steeply diminishing returns, etc.

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Jotegir
+1 Lynx .

Great example: the Norco Fluid A2 was on sale in the fall for $3,200 CAD I am certain I could have a great time on one with no modifications whatsoever bar pedals and shall we say health-related touch points. It's absolutely going to be heavier than what I'm on now but after a couple turns, the descents will likely feel about just as good. It's probably dollar-for-dollar better than a comparably priced used formerly 5 figure superbike.

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Lynx
0

100% agree Perry, a "basic" Deore 12spd equipped bike rides and shifts so good these days compared to what that same "level" spec would have 15 years ago, it's not funny, I'd even go so far as to say as well, if not beter than XT spec from that time. I think you started being able to ride Deore spec'd bikes and have really good performance about when 10spd came in, but the trickle down effect seems to have accelerated in recent years, or maybe it's that years have just passed so fast recently, but man I wouldn't refuse a nice Deore built bike with Performance suspension.

One thing I REALLY don't understand these days is why anyone would go for a GX/NX build over Deore 12spd, honestly don't. Cost upfront is normally about 10-15% cheaper and then down the road when you have to replace a cassette, you can get 3 or 4 Deore cassettes for the price of as GX, all for a weight increase of something like 50-60g, doesn't make any sense to me what so ever AND IMHO Shimano ergonomics is way better.

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andy-eunson
0

Perry has nailed it. There are two kinds of inflation when it comes to bikes. Basic inflation and inflation from more features or better materials. When I worked at West Point in the early 80s, the best mountain bike was the Ritchey Annapurna at around $2000. For that amount of money today you’ll get a far better bike. I think people sometimes simply think they had the best bike that cost X and the best bike today should also cost X. It’s not always reasonable to compare a bike from today at whatever level to a bike from ten years ago from the same level.

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ShawMac
+1 Cam McRae

I think Yeti should embrace the dentist meme in their marketing with some cartoon teeth or something.

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Polymath
+1 Lynx .

I don't know where the money is in bikes these days.  They charge it because they can and the market allows it as someone actually pays it.  I remember when a TOTL high end frame and shock, hand welded in the USA (think Foes Fly) at $3000 CDN was expensive.   My 2006 Fly was purchased when the CDN dollar was almost at par, and that was a bonus.......but today, there is no way the bikes should cost as much as they do, and especially so when you consider bike manufacturers get OEM discounts on the parts from SRAM, Shimano, Fox, Rock Shox or whomever.  And with advancing technology and manufacturing, the costs should be going down, not up.

So who's the fool?

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blacksheep
+1 Cam McRae

I have 3 yetis in my stable, but I do my own dental work.

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ClydeRide
0

It seems like this is going to be the article where people come out of the woodwork and vilify journalists for writing about expensive bikes.  Is that necessary?  Expensive bikes exist.  They'll continue to exist for obvious reasons.  If you think people buy expensive bikes just because someone "normalized" them or that their existence somehow anchors pricing higher for mid-range bikes, I have an oceanfront villa in Tucson that is available for sale.

Ride what you want to ride.  Quit worrying about other people.

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tashi
+5 Lynx . BarryW Timer cheapondirt ZigaK

If you DONT think that high priced items anchor prices for the rest of the model range than I have a bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in.

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XXX_er
0

" Which begs the question, are we all dentists? "

i don't think so and no body is making anyone spend a lot of money on a bike, my dentist rides a Rocky E-bike.

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alexdi
0

The top tier bikes cost more because the money is there. If you're on the pointy end of the income inequality graph, $2K and $15K might as well be the same number. It'd be silly not to fleece such an overstuffed sheep. Porsche will paint your wheels for $1500. Why shouldn't Specialized (or Yeti) charge the same for a carbon layup four ounces lighter?

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Lynx
-2 BarryW chaidach Jerry Willows tashi ohio dhr999

I'll straight up chime in and say that SpecialED (yes, not a fan in the least) are WAY overpriced, mass produced frames that people who have way too much money, that don't know better and want to just go into a bike shop and buy "the best" which in their mind, is the most expensive bike in there - as you said, lots of in house brand products and absolutely fvcking ridiculous prices. Yeti's on the other hand are for those who have more of a clue, but similar situation money wise and no, they don't really deserve the schtick they get. I'll just leave this deserved meme right there :-p

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craw
+8 Jotegir skywalkdontrun Niels van Kampenhout tashi BarryW Nick Seavello Spencer Nelson ohio

You say mass produced as if these bikes don't all go together the same way in the same few factories by the same people using the same materials. I'm sure Specialized make more, Santa Cruz makes fewer and Yeti fewer again. So what? The fact that Yeti probably produces the fewest doesn't necessarily make them somehow better. There's just your perceived difference in the types of people who gravitate towards these brands which is more a function of brand recognizability than any other actual measure.

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rnayel
+9 skywalkdontrun Andy Eunson Cam McRae Fozz Jerry Willows Nick Seavello ohio dhr999 HughJass Alex D chaidach

I don’t agree. The bike S keeps pushing the r&d needle forward. The current Enduro came out in 2019 and is still current geometry wise except perhaps for seat tube angle, 5 years later. Not many other brands set the bar like that. They tend to lead many categories and have everyone else follow. The current stumpjumper evo reignited the adjustable headset cup trend, that two years later everyone is doing. I frame storage , same thing. They had first mass produced bikes with a burrito box, now everyone is doing it. 

I understand your criticism but I don’t think that it’s as bad as you imagine. 

As for overpriced. Yes. Everything is overpriced because price is based on what people will pay/ what the market with bear and not as a factor or manufacturing cost.

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skywalkdontrun
+4 Fozz Jerry Willows Nick Seavello ohio

You obviously haven't ridden a Specialized lately.  They're a big company, sure, but they balance their offerings in a way that "boutique" brans like Yeti don't.  Sure, Specialized has SWorks bikes that are just as bling (if not more) than anything Yeti makes, but they also offer those same models in more approachable trims, so someone doesn't have to spend $6500 to get in on the ground floor.  Compare the base-level Yeti (https://yeticycles.com/bikes/sb140/buy) with the LTD Stumpjumper EVO (https://www.specialized.com/us/en/stumpjumper-evo-ltd/p/218302?color=352720-218302) and you tell me that the Yeti is a better purchase.  The Yeti retails for $300 less than the EVO, and you get G2 brakes!  The EVO is a MASSIVE step up in suspension and brakes, and that doesn't even touch that you'r egetting an AXS drivetrain, which may or may not be a big deal for you.  It's not Yeti's top-end models that make them bougie, it's what it costs to get in the door.

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cam@nsmb.com
0

I’m not sure if that is addressed at me (since it wasn’t posted as a reply) but if it is, I believe I gave a similar example in my article, even using a Stumpy EVO. I certainly didn’t tell anyone “Yeti is a better purchase.”

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Bikes
+1 ohio

Didn’t have to work for their money?

There are some big assumptions in here which is ironic to say the least.

Probably best to be open to any brand.

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zigak
0

TBH, the lower portion is redundant

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ShawMac
+3 BarryW Jerry Willows Nick Seavello

I used to hate on Specialized for a lot of the same "big corporation blah blah" reasons. But then I started to buy their tires and other components, and you get a hell of a lot more for your $ than a lot of other brands. I started to change my tune. They often have deeeep discounts to take advantage of. I just got a Gambit helmet for $200CAD.

The My only fault for them is they don't have a female athlete on their Gravity team.

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Lynx
+3 chaidach BarryW DancingWithMyself

The problem is that they're the Miscrosoft of the bike industry, in my eyes, Mike Synard ran the business just like them for years and that has put a permanent stain on them for me. It started with learning how he started by buying a Ritchie, taking it to Japan and then having it copied to produce the first StumpJumper, no royalties to Ritchie, nothing - disgusting SOB.

Then all the litigious BS going after small brands/companies for "infringing" on "their" trade names, small brands/companies producing not bikes, but frame bags and other such stuff not actual bikes, which came to a head and end when they went after Cafe Rubaix in Calgary for using that name, a small bike shop, mainly focused on wheels. They did their usual shit, but the owner didn't cow to the heavy handed threats, instead he posted it to social media and the shit storm that ensued was the ultimate Karma. Turns out that they didn't even "own" the name in N.America, but were being let to use it by Dorel and they made that ASSHOLE Mike Synard fly up to Calgary, in person and deliver an apology to the owner of said shop.

As to their tyres, I have that there's been a massive improvement with the new T stuff, but after my past experiences with them and their business model, doubt I'll give them a shot. My experience with their tyres went like this....bought a Purgatoryback in the 201*, price was very good compared to my usual Maxxis, weight about the same, managed to get in 2 easy XC rides on smooth terrain, then took it on my usual sort of rides out on our coral, one slip on the rocks, tyre sliced almost clean in 2, sent it back for their replacement program, gave the replacement to someone, never used them again.

Yes things seem to have been improving the last few years, especially since Synard got the boot, but for too long they rested on their patent of the FSR design, saying they were innovators, but never were, just like MS, they just bought out creative peoples ideas, they produced shit, flexy bikes and tyres.

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LoamtoHome
0 dhr999 chaidach

Specialized make great bikes and products.  S-WORKS is pricy but they offer great value in lots of products.  Loic, Finn and Charlie do ok on them.

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253Nick
+9 Michael Fitzgerald Jerry Willows LWK Andy Eunson dhr999 Cam McRae cheapondirt Lee Lau Pete Roggeman

Ugh— Be better. There are so many other ways to share you’re not a fan of Specialized rather than dropping the ‘iz’ in Specialized. Context, I’m a full time classroom teacher with two daughters who have had the “Special Education” label attached to them as a result of speech therapy. Every year I end up supporting a handful of students who get have that term thrown at them as an insult by peers and it breaks my heart. I doubt any of my student are here reading this, but it’s just not needed. You can critique the Big S for many a thing without resorting to insults.

With all that said, if you’re going live by that meme you’re missing out. Specialized’s tires are downright a steal here in the US, and have been all I need anymore. We picked up a Levo for my wife last year and it’s been revolutionary for her to ride with me for more than 5 miles. Specialized shoes /inserts were a game-changing for my foot pain and it’s all I ever ride anymore. If someone dropped no-strings attached money on my lap, I’d be running the nearest shop to see if I could make an Epic 8 EVO frame work for me.

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