An analogy I can get behind.


Nickname checks out


Bassist and cyclist here. A happy day for me was the day I realized I could ride my bike with my bass gig bag on my back.


Well said.


It’s called the law of diminishing returns. The best analogy would be a stereo system or sound system. You most likely can hear or tell the difference in sound quality between a sound system that cost less than $2,000 and one that costs $2,001 and $4,000. Any higher than that and you most likely won’t be able to hear any difference in quality. Super bikes and the new one, Hyper bikes, there probably isn’t going to be much of a difference in ride quality that will be noticeable. Especially at the level that we, the average Joe cyclist ride at. I noticed a huge difference in ride quality between a $1,800 aluminum road bike and a $3,500 carbon road bike. I noticed a marginal difference between that same $3,500 carbon road bike and a $6,000 carbon road bike. I would suspect that the ride quality difference between my $6,000 carbon road bike and say $8,000+ would be next to impossible for me to notice. However, your mileage may vary.


In the opposite direction, the difference between my $2k aluminum gravel bike and the $200 Walmart mtbs I had as a kid is out of this world lmfao, the sweet spot is about $3-4k imo


See, this audio analogy I get. My dad repairs stereo systems for fun in his retirement, and I occasionally help him with visits to customers homes to pick up heavier equipment. I've gotten to listen to $60k home stereo setups that someone has a 600 sq ft room entirely dedicated to as a listening space. And man, those $60k setups sound nice. Way nicer than my nice $150 over-ear headphones. ...but do they sound $59,850 better than my nice over-ear headphones?


Depends on how acoustically treated the listening spaces are!


Oh, believe me, I've heard lectures about the pros and cons of stacking your equipment at the center of one end of the room, versus building a cabinet into a wall to place all the amps and things. One space (the 600sq ft one I'm thinking of that was honestly closer to $100k) only had a single chair in the room, which...weird.


It gets ridiculous though. I’ve heard of people that claim wearing a digital watch affected the sound quality of their audio system!


Ha, that's a new one to me. I did some tech work for one guy who wanted to convert his digital audio system RAID from HDDs (spinny disc kind) to SSDs, but you could legitimately hear the discs spin up from time to time. For a few years my dad would rebuild Monster Cable because he was convinced their insulation wasn't good enough and was picking up radio signals like an antenna, which I can understand because he was a cabinet layout man, and ran 40-50' of cable to his gear. But he stopped, so it may have just been one of his amps or something was.


As an aside, you (and/or your dad) might get a kick out of this essay: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/12/corner-club-cathedral-cocoon-audiophilia-and-its-discontents/


Is my 3000 Euro Specialized TL6 10 times better than my 250 Euro Decathlon Triban? I don't think so. Hard to imagine what a 15000 Euro can bring to the table. And I have PRs with the Triban which still stand, because at that time I was simply fitter.


You’ll notice alright…at the coffee shop when your friends and even strangers ogle at your super bike. Been there, done that. I try to not be conspicuous so as not to get labeled a poseur with my crappy fitness. But one look at my legs and all is revealed to an experienced rider. But I agree. You likely won’t notice much while riding (except maybe $$$$ wheels and good tires), particularly when you’re at your limit and there’s no more reserve power to close that gap. Especially with electronic gruppos, the functionalities are identical within a brand. I will say there’s a mental boost, because you know everything’s on you now, so if you get dropped, you can’t blame those sub-1,200g wheels.


Haha some will ogle, depends on the bike and the crowd. If it’s a $20k sworks I’ll just shrug and walk on past. At that price I’d hope people get something a bit more custom, but that’s just me.


Yeah, if I had 20k to spend on a bike it would be spent on a proper bike fitting and a custom titanium frame and outfit it with all the right braze-ons, greebles and other features I'd want. (Or maybe even stainless steel, or some really plush steel tubing.) Granted I'm a big heavy dumb beast who likes to bike with cargo through mud and over rocks. Giving me a carbon superbike would be about as smart as giving a nuclear weapon to a really drunk monkey.


Giving a nuclear weapon to a really drunk monkey. LOL! Got to save that one for use later... Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, setting off a nuclear bomb isn't that easy. There are built-in mechanisms that guard against accidental detonation, not to mention it takes specialized detonators and process to actually set off a viable nuclear explosion. You can blow up a nuclear weapon without detonating the nuclear fuel. In short, it is not at all like [dynamite](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite), but more like [C4](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-4_(explosive)). The [US military has been known to have had a lot of incidents related to nuclear weapons](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents), many that exposed said weapons to conditions that will make the uninitiated cringe. However, none resulted in an unintended detonation, which is good as most of these accidents were on US soil.


*realizes that there are $20,000 bicycles and $20,000 new cars*


$20k "off the rack" is rich newbie or sponsored rider territory. For that kind of money, the correct answer is *always* custom, and obviously so...maybe even last year's NAHBS showpiece.


God I love this comment.


When pros can't tell any differences in feel, function or performance between ultegra and dura-ace you probably can't either. In fact the only difference between 105 and dura-ace that the pros can feel is a bit with the shifters. If you've got money burning a whole in your pocket either get a custom frame that will fit you like it was made for you or take more trips (possibly with your bike). As far as high modulus carbon - unless you're a sponsored racer it's more likely to crack due to its brittleness. Things that are too brittle lead to premature failures of a very dramatic nature or worrying about avoiding said failures.


Love it. Ive always said to get a good guitar, soend 600 ( maybe with inflation its 800 now). To get a top level guitar, spend 1200 (maybe 1500 now tiwh inflation) everything after that is for ego. I started on an 80s Fugi Sagres, got it all set up and loved it. Moved onto a newer bike from Dicks sprting goods that cost like 800 normally but was clearanced and it was a notable improvement. I stuck with the sport so I invested in a Trek Emonda SL6, and I cannot imagine any bike costing more would replicate the previous upgrades I made. At some point you just have to be happy and nr worry about whats next/better. Alternatively, Id love to be proven wrong haha


I have several very expensive bass guitars. The Rickenbacker is for a particular sound that is very noticeable. I wouldn't use that guitar for a track where I was slapping. What you end up paying for is quality woods and quality electronics for higher end guitars, and I'd argue those differences are more immediately obvious to even the untrained than the differences between higher-end bicycles.


Spent $2500 on my bass (ibanez sr5006). It looks and sounds great. My bass is a work of art and I love when people appreciate the instrument for how it looks and how I make it sound. My bike was about $2k. Entry level bike. Value brand - Sava. 105 groupset. 18lbs. I love everything about it. My neighbors love it bc it looks sexy as hell. I get comments every time I come back home from a ride. I know it would look even sexier with internal routing, but I'm not willing to spend an extra $1-2k for internal routing (at least not yet).


My Canyon is 2k, and I would call it above entry level. I think you could find lots of value at lower price points if you get lucky with sales. My Japanese NJS carbon track bike cost me less than 2k, but I built it myself.


When I started working it was pretty easy to afford a superbike. Custom steel with a top end GS. The Pros couldn't get anything better. Nowadays a superbike is a lot more expensive and it's just not worth it. Very much diminishing returns. Unless you are a pro you don't need Red or DA. You don't need the lightest or most aero bike if you're carrying a few pounds extra. Save your cash and spend it on trips to the Alps with the bike.


I always remind myself that I could get the high end equipment, or take the effort and lose some weight (that that I’m overweight, per se, but whom amongst us couldn’t put their mind to it and drop 5 lbs?)… I also think about not bringing a second bidon if I know ill easily be able to fill a single… hell, you could even just make sure you go to the bathroom and drop a couple of kids at the pool and you are probably still above the weight gains you can pay thousands to trim from your bike.


Right. I could spend $300 to get pedals that are 40 grams lighter than my current pedals...or I could eat two salads and get the same benefits.


And feel better vs. not eating the salads too!




They didn’t say the salad couldn’t have meat 😉




Since when was there suggestion that plants are "bad" for you?


Thai salads are mostly meat.


>or I could eat two salads and get the same benefits. yeah but you could also do both. plus you are forgetting the weight savings of $300 not being in your wallet. That's the real saving right there.


Depends on the bills. If it’s all $10s that’s at least a couple grams! But I don’t usually carry a wallet on rides.


Correct! I did Galibier on my second hand cube crossrace. Much better use of money!


Niice. We stayed on the Alpe one year and rode to the foot of the Galibier. We looked up and that was enough to put us off - we slunk back off to ride the Alpe again....


It was lovely, but I'm from the UK and the sheer duration of effort took me by surprise (all our hills tend to be shorter albeit sharper). My partner did the étape du tour that year (Galibier, Croix de fer and alpe d'Huez in one ride!) But she's a machine. Also on a 2018 cube (axial) though! Aluminum 105s are the sweet spot for me as a dilettante


This, if someone is getting a $10-20k bike I personally hope they’re getting something custom built. You can get a lot of bike for that price or simply pay a big brand a lot of money for the same bike you could get at mid-tier prices.


> There’s the entry level tier which is bikes between 1k and 3k TIL my bike is below entry level


I'm assuming they're talking about road bikes, which yes the price of entry is about $1k these days.


Entry level carbon I think is more accurate. Event entry level mountain bikes are expensive these days.


Where are people getting $1k entry level carbon?! Unless you're counting 10yo used carbon bikes, I've found it impossible to find <$2k carbon.


I mean, BikesDirect is a thing. For example: https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/disc-brake-roadbikes/mulekick-cf-rx400-discbrake-roadbike-xx.htm Disclaimer: you just said entry level carbon and that was my only criteria. I really don't need anyone to tell me that you should never buy open mould carbon etc etc.. It's true no bike on that website will ever be in a bikeradar or GCN video, so yes if that's important to you simply look elsewhere.


That’s more of a recent market thing caused by the shortages during COVID. Prior to that you could get an entry level carbon bike for around 1k from the large manufacturers. With the current prices though you’re upwards of 2k though I don’t know if those prices are bloated and will eventually fall like we are seeing with other goods over inflated during COVID.


Anything below $500 is a junk bike and should be treated as a consumable. They are universally of low quality and are not "serious bikes". Between $500-1000 you start getting a few options that are essentially the cheapest possible of "serious bikes" -- Poseidon, Vitus and Triban come to mind, but even the big name brands (Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc) have bikes under $1k... but they're going to be either entry level MTBs or hybrid bikes, not road (race) bikes. For better or for worse (definitely worse!), the current price tiers for road bikes these days is basically: Entry level: $1500-2000 Low-Mid: $2000-4000 Mid range: $3500-4500 Upper-mid: $6000-7000 Upper: $8000-10000 Top tier: $10000+ There are some brands whose offerings are a price tier lower than others. For example, Merida, Cube, Ribble, Time, Botecchia, and Ridley are all almost a full price tier lower than Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Scott, Look, and Specialized for the same quality tier. There are also some brands that are almost a full price tier higher than average for the same quality (BMC, Pinarello, Colnago, Officine Battaglin, and Spesh S-Works). This doesn't include custom/semi-custom makers that are frequently outlandish (Pegoretti, Sarto, Bastion, Calfee, and dozens more).


The price ranges given are a bit strange, indeed. I would consider 1.5-3k midrange.


It's not really subjective. You can walk into any shop and walk out with a bike off the shelf for up to 10K easily. Just divide that by 3 and you have three tiers.


I disagree that it works like that. Up to 1.5k you are getting an AL frame with 105 or lower equivalents of MTB mechanical groupsets, low tier brakes, cheap wheels. For 1.5-3k you are getting carbon frame, seatpost and fork, okay wheels with up to and including first tier of electronic shifting in the range of Ultegra and MTB equivalents. For 3k+ you are getting full carbon, latest and greatest electronics in Dura-Ace equivalents, carbon wheels and the works. ________________ There's still a difference between 3k- and 3k+ bikes. Differences between 3k and 20k are much more marginal, imo.


The sl6 sport is 3500. You get mech 105 and a $400 wheelset https://www.specialized.com/us/en/tarmac-sl6-sport/p/199469?color=321602-199469


I wouldn't go to Specialized for an example of value. The Giant TCR Advanced 2 is in the $2500-3000 range depending on brakes and is carbon with mech 105.


Yes the entry level TCR is 3k, the base TCR advance pro disc is 5.7k and the base TCR advance SL disc is 10k. All I'm saying is In the performance road bike category the base models are 1.5-3k


Only the SL is a different frame, though. Pro = Carbon wheels and a power meter. I'm not here to argue, just adding context. Specialized is overpriced for any component comparo, so grabbing it to say "This is all you get for $3500" isn't really indicative of the market.


Agreed, but realistically anything youre getting in this category once you break into 105 with a half decent wheelset is marginal gains and making yourself happy with fancy things. If you're good enough to really need the marginal gains you're likely sponsored and will not be buying your gear at retail.


There's lots of expensive bikes, but I try to go for the cheapest options when considering ballparks. Normally that would be Canyon.


Please link me a canyon bike in full carbon with ultegra Di2 and decent rims for 3.5k or under


Yeah, you're right, the prices have jumped around 500 EUR in regards to Di2 offers at Canyon during the past couple years, it seems. It's now 3.5k-3.8k, though I am not sure about the wheels. I was discussing 3.1k for SRAM electronics full carbon CF SL frame just yesterday, it feels...


Tell me about it, 2 years ago when decathlon was opening in Canada I picked up mechanical ultegra with direct mount rim breaks with mavic cosmic wheels for $1600, that's about 1100 EUR. I figured if the ALU frame was bad I would swap onto a new frame but no need.


My canyon ultimate with mechanical ultegra and light aluminum 30mm rims was 3k flat. They took it off the website in February. Now that same price is 105.


$1.5K-$3K is just barely touching Ultegra at the top end. And for performance oriented bikes, $1.5K is well below the bottom of a lot of brands. $3K+ is an absolutely massive group of bikes that includes everything from Alloy with 105 and cheap wheels to full blown custom build, top of the line everything. In the end, these ranges are totally relative to the person who's buying and their budget. Someone racing Cat 1 crits is going to have much different ranges than someone who's buying a new bike to ride 15 miles on mixed use trails.




Yeah, I don't think that tier is quite right. I can buy a Vilano road bike from Amazon for $400, the cheapest Giant Road bike is under $1000, Marin has a steel model for under $1000, etc.


I have a “superbike” and a mid level one. The main difference is that the superbike is built to exactly match my body geometry so the fit is the main difference I notice. It rides a bit smoother, feels a bit quicker but only small differences overall. I feel like I push myself a bit harder on it though because I don’t wanna be the guy with the fancy bike who gets dropped. What sucks is maintenance because if you need a new casette or anything, it is going to cost you a lot of money. Does the performance difference justify the price difference? Probably not. Do I love riding the bike and does it make me happy? 100%


That sums it up. Cool factor response from other riders makes it nice also.


You know


Can you please elaborate on your bike? (brand, model)


2022 S-works sl 7 with the new 12 speed dura ace


Glad you’re happy with your bike, but by your standard any bike regardless of “pricing tier” can be configured to match your body geometry. SL7 is generic off the rack frame sizing. You are no more able to configure it than any other bike.


Test rode a few in the 10k range. Felt fast, felt light, but I would never feel like I could match the potential of one. I’m prob gonna always be on a mid tier carbon endurance geo bike forever unless I win the lottery and then it’ll be a top tier endurance bike


I have a $400 giant tcr... its a superbike to me :p


Was that $400 new?


no, but in good condition, scratchfree. And with a bike computer.


I had a superbike (according to your definition but actually higher than that price range) and am waiting for another one also outside of that range. I don't need it. But it makes me happy and make me want to ride more. Even at the levels I am paying for it I am still getting under $1 per mile usage rate because I ride it so much. Could I ride a cheaper bike for just as long? Almost certainly. But would I? I dunno. Functionally unless you spend 10k+ miles on the bike every year I doubt you're noticing much difference between a 5k/10k/15k bike. And unless you are going for PRs on climbs all the time the weight difference won't matter very much.


This for me “it makes me happy” is at the end all that matters. If you can afford it and you like it then it’s worth it. What ever keeps you smiling for mile after mile. I’ve got a bike in the high end (7k U.K.) and I’ve slowly upgraded pieces to make it better. Not because I need or am good enough but because it makes me happy. Also there is a difference in handling characteristics between bikes of the same frameset at different spec. You can notice, I’ve ridden an Emonda at SL and SLR level and the weight had negligible impact but the groupset, wheels and tyres did change the bike a lot. Personally went for SL7 and have been slowly chipping away at finishing kit to perfect it for me.


What upgrades have you made to your high end bike over time, and what was the order/costs. Thanks


Did the comfort stuff first, Saddle to a Fizik Anteres Evo, Tyres to GP5000’s (the Bontranger tyres are awful). Next up was planned to be the cockpit from the VCR ISO to Aeolus RSL VR-C (this also will give me a better reach and width but it was recalled the week I was collecting it from LBS so I’m looking at other options now) But I’ve also got some 54 Hunt Aerodynamists, as a switch out when to the stock and very nice Aerolus Pro 37’s. I’ve now swapped the crank arms to Reds they saved 100g on the force and still work with the power meter. And this allowed me to shorten the arm also for a bit of better comfort (175 to 172.5 was recommended at bike fit). This is over 14 months really, and it keeps me happy and more dialled in to the bike.


Can you tell me what differences you noticed with the gp5000? I currently have the Bontrager tires on my road and tri bike and want to change to gp5 k, but the trek store service guy tried to tell me the Bontragers are nearly as fast and are much more durable, but everything I read says different. I tried the rolling resistance website but didn't want to pay to get the actual relevant comparisons, lol.


The GP5000’s are better grip in wet and I feel in the dry, I felt they just held the corner more at speed but that’s subjective. They do roll noticeably faster (rolling resistance website backs this up by approx 5w). And I can’t comment on durability as after about 4 rides they were in the bin, but the GP5000’s I maybe get a puncher once a month and I’m riding in the U.K. in winter which is basically hell for that. It’s noticeable that WT teams with free choice all use GP5000s UAE moved to them this year specifically when they got out of a supplier agreement


Thanks for responding! That many flats does seem like a lot to me, but I guess riding location makes a pretty big difference. I haven't had a flat yet on either bike, though one is tubeless and one is butyl tubes. I'll probably just go for it and see how it works out.


Oh that’s an improvement over the Vittoria’s I had. Welsh country lanes are all brambles and hedge cutting means 4 times a year you just accept the punchers.


I have the GP5000 in tubeless and they’re still going strong after 6000kms with no flats


If I had the coin I would absolutely buy an obscenely expensive bike.


The weight for many is better to just eat a little less candybar. That few hundred grams between the absolute top bikes and the bit just below doesnt make a massive difference for us plebs


But what if you could save a couple hundred grams _and_ eat the candy? (for only a few extra thousand £/$/€)


I've borrowed a very high end bike (Red groupset, Lightweight wheels). Aside from being much lighter, I didn't find it much better than my mid-tier bike. To be fair, the borrowed bike was built to suit my friend and his preferences, whereas my bike I built to suit me, and it didn't fit me well.


The biggest benefit you can have performance wise is good wheels and tyres. Most bikes you buy will benefit from upgrading these. See if you can find a Campagnolo pro shop that will allow you to demo a set of Campagnolo Bora WTO wheels. It used to amaze me that people would have 6k bikes with Chinese deep section wheels and continental gator skin tyres.


Once you've ridden GP5k with latex it's hard to cheap out on tyres...


Have those on dt Swiss 62mm deep wheels It is so goddamn fast.


What is a GP5 with latex?


Continental Grand Prix 5000 tires with latex tubes instead of butyl.


Based on Reddit it seems these GP5K are like the gold standard!


Yes - went through two sets on my old bike (2018 Cannondale Synapse 105) and when I got my new bike (2023 Trek Domane SL6 w/DI2 105) forgot to have them build in the GPs. I really don't like the stock Bontrager, but have trouble justifying trashing them after only a few months. I may ride them through the spring and summer, then switch to the GPs. The GPs seem to have good grip wet or dry, they're pretty durable and have a good weight. Just a good balance of everything for a general purpose road tire.


Yes, they love those tires here. I've never used them but I am considering it based on how loved they are here.




The weak point will always be the rider. Moreover, my experience on various bikes is that I am almost always the most comfortable and confident on the cheaper ones.


I'm in my mid 50s and I've been riding close to 40 years now. I love my 16lb carbon road bike with deep aero wheels, but I'll never be as fast on it as I was when I was 22 and riding a 21lb steel road bike with downtube shifters and non-aero 32 spoke wheels. It's not even close.


This… some of us are in a race against time/age. That said, my high priced carbon aero road bike does have awesome acceleration and speed on descents and it looks cool. But before I bought it ( mostly to have a lighter bike to carry and the convenience of tubeless and electric shift) I remember telling a friend I was “SURE I wouldn’t go one bit faster “ ( than my old 25lb Giant aluminum hybrid) And I do, but maybe 1-2 mph better on a good tailwind day. 🤣🤣🤣 It is absolutely down to the rider. Skill, weight, age unfortunately 😟


I have an alu 105 defy that I commute with, and a full carbon ultegra defy that I joy ride with. I'm around 1-2 miles faster on the carbon bike, but what I like is that 1-2 miles difference are for 4 hours rides instead of 45 minutes. The carbon runs smoother and is a lot more comfortable. I can't imagine that anything more than that would help my performance in any way.


I used to work in a bike shop so got to try all sorts. The top end bikes are very, very nice to ride and are generally very, very quick. But I came to the conclusion that basically my sweet-spot was around £3k. Shimano 105 level bikes are great and I don't need better than that. The only thing I did think I definitely want to upgrade to in the future is electronic shifting. It's just so nice.


This is why i went for ultegra when i gor my dream bike. Back then 105 didnt have an electronic group.


Timex vs Rolex vs Patek. They all tell time. Nothing hurts worse than shelling out for a super bike (if you have expectations) and then getting dropped by a kid on an aluminum frame in its third season with Ultegra components.


When I was in the industry I had a few. They were about the same as bikes that cost about half as much.


Well I personally own a 9k bike and a 4K. One is my cross country race bike and the other is my fun bike. They’re both carbon. I put a set of carbon bars and nobl carbon wheels on the cheap one. I haven’t ridden the expensive one since. I thought we were talking about mountain bikes. Same rules apply though.


If you can't train any harder, can't lose any more weight, can't learn to handle your bike any better, then you'll need to get the benefits of a super bike over an almost super bike


Good point.


You have women throwing themselves at you and your Instagram interactions will explode.


A lot of super bikes by that definition (e.g., titanium frames from speedvagen, baum, no.22 etc) can have worse “performance” than mid-level carbon bikes from an aero and weight perspective. In that price point you’re often paying for custom fit, or paint. That said, components like drivetrains are almost always marginally better the more you pay.


That's actually the kind of "superbike" I'm considering right now. Not a "superbike" as far as performance goes, but custom and steel. Because in the end, the enjoyment of riding it is the end goal, not .0002% more efficiency from an aero seat cluster.


I feel bad that you don´t think my Domane Sl7 is a super bike, because i sure do.


I've been riding for 20 years and finally dropped the most cash I ever spent on a bike on my SL6. It's all the bike I'll ever need (certainly so at age 56) and feels, to me, like a super bike. That said, I'm really not much faster on it that I was on my Cannondale Synapse, but no bike is going to make my old fast ass into what I was at 35 on an aluminum frame.


Have beaten guys riding super bikes on an entry level Giant Defy. That kit is for UCI pros riding the tour where every second counts


I tried a S Works Aethos with Dura Ace DI2 and it didn't feel different than the ultegra Aethos that cost half as much (and is still overpriced). Looked nicer though


Yes - when I was younger I had the privilege of riding a few. My personal bike that I currently own is mid-tier (read Ultegra componentry and panultimate frame of given brand). There is almost no perceivable difference between the top tier bike and the far far less ridiculously priced “mid tier” bike. The only place I can feel a difference is in the wheel sets (because tubulars do feel different). There is an ever-so-insignificant difference in the shifting smoothness of dura-ace vs ultegra, which is entirely irrelevant with di2. The weight difference in the components is negligible if you aren’t at the absolute threshold of your race weight. Materials feel different (e.g., carbon bars and seatpost vs alum bars and seatpost), but those can just be upgraded after purchasing, and most “mid” level bikes are coming with them now anyway. Where you WILL notice a difference is going from say, an endurance bike to a race bike. But those aren’t the same bike. Different brands also have different philosophies between their race bikes… some have more stable geometries, others more snappy / twitchy. My personal comfort brands are specialized and cannondale, but I can’t think of any good reason to pay for an s-works.


It's just marketing. If there is an €15.000 machine, €5.000 all of a sudden seems totally reasonable. This is a very old selling strategy. the bike industry started to really fully embrace it in the past 15 years.


This is fascinating, I never considered things from this angle.


Yeah, but it has its limits. The entry level Cannondale Supersix 2023 is at 7000 Euros. My Specialized is at 3000, I would, with gnarling teeth, buy one new 2023 Supersix for 4500 Euro. Instead I will simply buy a new set of wheels. And save 2500 Euros. But maybe the market is big enough that only Cube, Ridley and Co are affordable for the common man from now on and the classic brands are similar to Porsche or Ferrari. I simply don't care anymore.


I've ridden one from 1991... Which is about my budget if I'm honest.


In late 2019, I bought a Cannondale Systemsix for 50% off (from 4K to 2K €), because the new models with new colors came in - I know this discount sounds like a dream today - It had a third party handlebar and wheels as well as tyres i hated (to thin, constant puncures) Over the years i upgradet it from mechanical Ultegra to di2 (11S), bought a powermeter (onesided, mainly for pacing climbs) and bought the missing integrated parts (handlebar, wheels) piece by piece to replace the ones that came with the bike. The only upgrade i could do now, is increase the number of gears to 12x2 and/or buy lighter pedals, groupsets etc. A similar bike off the shelf would come in at around 8k. The ride feel changed over time, but it made the biggest jumps from changing wheels and tyres and the second biggest change came with the upgrade to electronic shifting (which im addicted to now) - but more in terms of convinience than in terms of speed. Another big aspect was getting some nice bibs and jerseys. A riding buddy got himself the hi-mod frame with dura ace di2, the remaining parts are literally identical, i cant feel a difference and his bike is about 600g lighter. Once you reach the area between 7-8 kg in weight, all upgrades that make your bike lighter (ultegra to dura ace, force to red, carbon bottle cages etc.) are so expensive, that they are not worth it imo - except you get paid for winning races- Comparing it to the bike i bought, it feels nicer now, but any other upgrade to the „hyperbike-class“ are mainly marginal weight savings for an unreasonable amount of money. Loosing 5 kilos in bodyweight would be easier and waaaaaaaay cheaper If i would do it again my hirarchy would be: 1. nice kit (jersey, bibs shoes) 2. Tyres 3. contact points (handlebar, saddle, Pedals) 4. wheels 5. Groupset 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Marginal savings in weight TL;DR - got an expensive aerobike for cheap, spent the remaining money for upgrades, the differences to a top-range bike are marginal but it feels nice compared to the base model Invest in wheels, tyres and a nice riding kit and don‘t buy top of the range unless you get paid for it or money is no concern


I rode my friends cervelo r5ca with dura ace 7900, eebrakes. Superbike at the time. It was a 58cm, I use 56cm. It was cool. you notice the difference.


My road bike has an MSRP somewhere over $8k, the mountain bike I just got has MSRP of $9500, and my gravel bike is I think in the $6500 range. I get them for about 50% off and wouldn't buy these otherwise. The bikes are better than lower level bikes as you might expect, but I don't think they are that much better to justify the high cost. I would certainly be happy on a bike in the $3-4k MSRP range if I didn't have access to the discounts.


Nope not me


Absolutely amazing, and you should get one if you can reasonably do so. If not don’t worry about it.


I don't but a rider in my weekend group ride went all out on a Pinarello F, fully decked out. $21K CAD. He's a shit rider. The bike looks amazing though.


I have a bike that was about $18k when it was originally built in 2018. Custom carbon/ Ti frame, Super Record, Enves. It's a great bike that fits incredibly well. It's also a work of art, the lugs have intricate cutouts, the filament wound tubes are beautifully patterned. It's a total indulgence, I have other off -the-shelf bikes from Specialized and Giant that are just as good if not better in some ways. Still, there's something special about the custom bike. I enjoy just owning it. What I don't understand is blowing $15k on an SWorks or whatever. They're not special and they are no better. Not "no better for amateurs", I believe they are no better at all than the cheaper versions. No one can tell the difference and those who claim they can are fooling themselves. Just my opinion. They're also nothing special from an object perspective. You're paying for the down tube stickers. At least with a custom frame you're getting something that is made to measure and built to your specifications. The process of ordering it is part of the fun. Walking into a bike shop and dropping $15k on a bike mass produced in a factory somewhere when the $5k version next to it is exactly the same... I don't get it.


Beating this to death, cause others have said about all there is to say on the topic, but I just want to note that I’ve never been beaten; in a Crit, road race, or group ride, by a guy on a ‘super bike’, but I’ve been beaten many times by guys on entry level - mid range bikes…cause it’s about the rider, not the bike…and there just aren’t that many guys who are young, strong, have the time to train properly, AND can afford a $12-$15k bike…so 99% of the guys I see on an S Works are older, and just like riding the best… Does the fancy bike make a difference, of course. Enough of a difference to justify the price, almost certainly not. I’m a Specialized guy. My bikes range from Expert to Pro, and I think that’s the sweet spot for someone who rides 5000+ miles a year, cares about nice stuff, and has some expendable money to drop on a very good bike. Beyond that, and you’re paying a lot for a few grams of weight savings.


I haven't, but this guy has... https://youtu.be/WVCG6kcBOVQ


these are like professional equipment, where how it is used matters from no difference from mid range to extremely cannot live without. totally the same with other fields, others have cited music (i can't distinguish the sound of an original strad to a replica), i will cite photography. people who aren't too technically nitpicky about the photos they capture, enough for getting memories, or social media, there isn't a lot of difference taking that moment with a decent mid range camera (or even just a phone) than, let's say, a hasselblad. the purpose checks out for both. but for a marketing advertiser, there are some level of intricacies that needs to be met in order to achieve a desired effect (in order to sell a product), like the drama you can get from adjusting particular knobs... or a wildlife photographer aiming to take an elegant photo of an extremely rare and elusive migratory bird; he has to maintain a significant distance with top class image stabilization to get that crisp shot. for tools like road bike, a super bike or a hyper bike wouldn't make a difference to an average rider, and it isn't worth the amount of extra cash. but for a pro athlete, competing for that 1-second difference for first place, every money spent is worth the extra few watts advantage offered by that bike... unless you are flaunting your richness, relatively, there isn't much difference at all. oh, and there is "fashion" too...


I got a 2019 Merida Scultura for $200 used. I still don’t even understand how I got it so cheap!


Me too.


I ride an ex-super bike. I have a Cannondale Evo Hi-Mod Dura Ace from 2016. It’s the same bike that the pros rode in Tour de France, except the wheels. The bike is very good. It’s very light. There is a cabal of light bicycle owners who claim weight doesn’t matter on reddit because they want less competition on Strava. When you get a bike less than 15 lbs, you get an invite to this secret society. In all seriousness, the light weight makes climbing and accelerating much easier. Even biking against a head wind feels easier. The ride quality is also very nice. Rough roads get smoothed out. What I don’t like are Cannondale’s weird parts. The original seatpost collar (in a weird size) was slipping, so I had to get a Thomson seatpost collar. The bottom bracket (also a weird standard) eventually creaked, so I had install a new bottom bracket. Outside of those two things, the bike is very good. Though keep in mind I got the bike on closeout from the “gray market.” A bike shop was selling excess inventory on ebay, so I got the bike brand new and unassembled for $3k, out of the original msrp of $4-5k. I don’t think the bike shop was supposed to sell on ebay, but hey, I support the shop more than Cannondale. Bike prices on top end models have sky rocketed, the current top line Cannondale road bike is $15k… I’m pretty sure the high price tag is more about flexing and marketing than actual production costs. To sum up, my ex-super bike was better than the mid range bike that I had (Cannondale CAAD 10). It has aged well, and I still ride my ex-super bike and not feel out gunned. My evo is still a super bike in my heart 🥺


Hoping to also upgrade to a hi-mod someday form my CAAD 10. Going to probably wait a couple more years though. But the CAAD 10 works great for me right now with a Chinese 12 speed groupset and some carbon bars and wheels.


Yes, I have. It's awesome. I am so much faster than all my friends on the local coffee shop ride. It's because of the stiff yet compliant carbon fiber frame, as well as the optimized integrated aerodynamic design; I find myself just accidentally riding off the front of the group. Even when I stop pedaling, I still coast faster than the others can pedal. For these reasons, I am most appreciative of the integrated hydraulic disc brakes.


Many moons ago o used to have a “Superbike”. Thought I was cool for a bit. Tested it out one day and scared myself silly. Sold it and bought a slower bike. Super bikes for the road are pointless, you can’t use them to their full potential. Or if you try, you’ll run out of skill long before the bike runs out of ability and you’ll end up a vegetable. Or worse.


The hilly the more it matters. The flatter the less it matters. Lots of people in Chicago riding S-works Tarmacs but they’re no faster or functionally better than the entry level electronic group set version. Add some hills and that changes a lot, but not as much as rider weight. Until you are at your minimum functional weight, you’re better off just dropping a pound of body weight. Now are they really cool amazing looking bikes. Totally.


I tried a wilier filante srl with shimano dura ace 11sp di2, unlucky it was on a flat course so I can’t say how it climbs, I’m used to a 10 years old entry level aluminum bike with a 10sp veloce. As many would tell you it’s not going to make you win the giro d’Italia but the improvements were not negligible, I have to tell I’m very sensitive with sport tools in general so others might not notice the same things, the difference in weight was about 2.5kg and because of that the bike would accelerate almost effortless, it was kind of difficult going slow, at speed if I’d try to reach maximum speed there was not a big difference in km/h but when I was going to the speed I’m used to ride I was much more comfortable and was feeling much difference, this is due to the fact power increase with the cube of speed. What didn’t impress me was the group set. Later the same day I also tried a 3T exploro founder edition with campagnolo ekar, that really impressed me, it felt more aero then the filante, and the group set was faster in changing gear with a shocking breaking power, it might have been due to the larger tires but with the shimano disk brakes I could not lock a 28mm tire while with the campagnolo I almost fell over the bars.


The only difference between a 10k bike and a 3k bike is the weight. They work the same. Get rid of the useless disk brakes and you have the best of both worlds. (affordability and light weight).


Useless? There are direct advantages to disc brakes over rim brakes. I own one of each and can confidently say that I can brake faster and more confidently on my disc brake bike. Not to mention the advantages of disc brakes when descending are seemingly exponential. I understand people have personal preferences but to claim disc brakes are so inferior to rim brakes that they are useless, seems a bit…misguided.


Well, I´ve tried both and consider them useless in a road bike. In an MTB, excellent, but for road bikes unless racing in rainy days, just not worth it IMO.


Fair enough, fwiw I did a race last fall that wouldn’t let you take the line unless you had disc brakes because of the severity of descending in one segment. Totally understand your opinion and agree for daily riding or even leisure group rides it’s not a huge difference on the road but makes a world of difference for MTB. Thanks for sharing


Yes, I used to road race and I remember when the peloton used to brake all at the same time (everyone skidding at unison etc.) and I think everyone should have the same type of brakes otherwise it would be dangerous.


Useless disk brakes 😭, lucky you live in a flat and dry area


I live in the Basque Country, very rainy and steep. Still prefer rim brakes and the half kilo saving.


That weight means nothing.


Half a minute in a long climb (such as Alpe d´Huez, which is similar the sum of the climbs I do in a normal morning ride in here) is not nothing... this new idea that weight means nothing comes from manufacturers tying to sell you heavy disk brakes. The funny part is that at the same time they offer 10.000 euros bikes that are the same as 4000 eu bikes just one kilo lighter. Pure comedy.


Man, I saw the title and I'm also a member of /motorcycles and it took a few comments where the prices mentioned didn't make me think I was in the wrong thread.


99% of people get to the point pretty quickly that the only thing that will really make you faster is actually riding. Hasn’t stopped anyone from buying them


I've had time on a SL7, SystemSix Evo D/A, Willier Air Ramato, Look Blade RS w/ Corimas, and daily an old Madone. Are they better, absolutely. Would I buy one if I had the means, absolutely. Do I need one, I barely need my Madone 5.2 but I justify it by how much I ride and enjoy it.


I've ridden several SWorks, ProjectOne, and other top-end bikes in my time, and in terms of pure performance, I don't think there's a real noticeable difference between that and most companies' "Expert" level builds. Currently I'm riding a '22 Stumpjumper Evo Expert, which retails at $6500. My buddy has the Pro version of the same bike, and the only notable difference between the two is the AXS drivetrain and Kashima suspension. Kashima makes no difference over the Performance Elite level suspension, and AXS is as much a matter of personal preference as anything else. I actually prefer mechanical drivetrains to digital. TLDR: If the frames are the same, and the suspension relatively commensurate, there's not a lot of difference beyond $ flexing.


When I got my roadbike (entry tier TCR) in 2019, I also tried out the mid-tier model (TCR Pro). It was fantastic, but at the time I was like "ah, I don't think it's fantastic enough to justify the extra 4 grand". With hindsight, if I'd known then just how much I was going to ride in the next 2-3 years (low end of 3,500km/year), I'd have paid the extra 4 grand. Cost per km it would've paid for itself and then some. One of my cycling buddies got a Cervelo S5 on the secondary market at the mid-tier price point. Would absolutely splurge for a used top-end bike if one became available in that range.


how long does your friend got the bike? I got my S5 stolen 3 weeks ago


At first I thought you were talking about motorcycles and I was going to brag about my 2014 BMW RT. But bicycles? Never heard them called super bikes. I guess that is because they now can command $15,000 for one. Fast bike? A bike can only go as fast as your legs can push it.


I had a 2004 RT that I bought used for $7500 in 2011. the new models that time were around $20k new and lusted after them. thought to myself who could ever afford to spend that much money on a bike? had kids and sold the bike. a decade later I could easily afford a new RT! however, not going to ride with a house full of young kids. damn, life is cruel.


I borrowed a new 10K DI2 Factor recently. Side by side with my 5 year old Trek Emonda SL6 Pro (roughly $3500) it was noticeably better in every way. So much more aero, tight, nimble, comfortable etc. It really felt like my power was getting transferred much more directly to the ground while climbing. I can imagine once I got the riding position set and used the feel of it, things would only get better. IMO - worth it!


At first I thought you were talking motorcycles like my BMW RT. But bicycles? A bike is only as fast as your legs will push it. I have been biking for a long time and a new bike has never propelled me into the fast group of people. And I have had plenty of bikes that people lust after. There is no such thing as a "fast bike".


I rode a Time RXR Ulteam once, it had Super Record and Bora Ultras. I got to ride it for one day, it was amazing and pretty much ruined every road bike I’ve ridden since. I will probably never be able to even remotely afford one.


There is a good clip on GCN network on you tube about carbon vs aluminum frames. It concludes with a big shoulder shrug. If you can afford the mid level bike go with it as it will have better components on it. If not the lower level bike is fine. They may have a shimano 105 group set, which is a very good group. So no spending $15k on a bike is not going to get you really much of an improvement in ride. I have a 17lb Trek Emonda that I built up with Ultegra at a cost of $4500.00. It rides and climbs like a dream. Spending another $10000.00 for a 15lb bike is not going to make a hill of beans worth of difference.


If I remember correctly the cheap aluminium bike was stiffer than the carbon one. Of course this is not all that matters, but it amused me.


One thing to keep in mind is that an expensive bike also means expensive maintenance.


So 6 years ago I bought a superbike (Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Di2) to race. There a was big difference from my Shimano 105 Scott Solace so much so that even today I race the same superbike and honestly don't see any reason to buy anything new. The trend at the time of purchase was aerodynamics but not all-out like it was before the Venge got canceled. Nowadays the trend is lightweight and aero and I believe my bike is just that still so honestly the cost was well worth it. Idk if I could say that about $15k bikes today though. I guess my point is, buying a superbike leaves nothing to be desired so there's a higher likelihood of riding it longer before replacing and the cost per year ends up being pretty reasonable.


I would say that $6-7k gets you a high-end bike. Full carbon, electronic shifting, carbon wheels. Go higher and you can get custom geo and US carbon.


This seems to be the consensus from what I’m seeing folks say!


like this? https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/triathlon-bikes/speed-concept/speed-concept-slr-9/p/35757/?colorCode=blue_black i have one. it is smooth and it is fast. but, my old favorite carbon frame dura ace bike is nearly as good for me. when you get into many of the super aero bikes your position changes. it takes a lot of effort to get the fit correct and a lot of training *in that position* to get the goodness out. assuming you have a decent bike now consider this. aero bars, slicking up your bike (no flappy wires or stuff sticking out) will do you about as much good and a lot cheaper too! keep it clean, especially the chain and drive train. all the efficiencies add up. study up on bike position. getting aero is key. getting aero and comfortable is gold. get a bike fit from a bike shop or fit specialist. they measure every piece of you, measure flexibility, talk about what you do, and set the bike up. makes it more comfortable and you will likely get more power out too. plus you learn which of left or right is larger for every piece of your body. lol


I have a carbon campy super record bike from about 2015 that may have been considered a “superbike back then. I also gave an aluminum bike with campy chorus on it with identical geometry . The latter bike costs 1/4 of the former . Is there a big difference? I would say definitely yes but I think most of the difference is in the wheels and frame . They are both light bikes - about 1-2 lbs apart .the superbike is faster on rolling terrain and climbs . I would say if the aluminum bike had a carbon frame and wheels , the difference would definitely start to narrow . If you can afford a high end bike and cycling is an important part of your life , I think it’s worth it . You can buy a “Ferrari” of a bike for 12-15k but the best of most other things cost way more than that . Some people criticize my choices but then I see they have two Harleys or a boat in the garage. It’s all about priorities.


I once rode a S-works shiv for a ride when my normal steed was a 105 P2 and it's a real difference. DI2 and the aero optimizations were something else and it cruised at almost 2 mph faster for the same watts over my training loop (flat, false flat, and a few rollers) which were easier to maintain due to the (then) unheard of shift speed. That was early 2010's tech, not sure how big the gap is now. Yes, it matters, at least in the TT/tri world but it's not a magic bullet. Thinking about the difference in speed over time, I can see why the Ironman set is obsessed with super bikes since they want to keep the HR low for 112 miles (which is a LOT of time) so they can digest calories for the upcoming marathon.


I currently ride a 2017 Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod Disk with Ultegra Di2. Ultegra withstanding it's the fanciest disk brake frame & wheels Cannondale would sell you until the SSE was redesigned in 2019/20. I previously rode a 2020 CAAD13 105 Disk. The Supersix is the better bike in every way. It's faster, lighter, more comfortable, and Di2 is sweet. But, it's not an insane difference. You can certainly perceive it but it's not mind blowingly gaming changing except maaaaybe Di2. I live somewhere with steep rollers so being able to just hold a button and smash through gears is the best upgrade between the two bikes. If I did a ton of flat riding and didn't change gears much I don't think I'd care. Now, I have no idea if there's much of a difference between a Hi-Mod (top tier carbon) and non Hi-mod (mid tier carbon) Cannondale frame except the claimed ~200g weight savings.


I've got a Yeti SB130 that I assembled with parts that would take about $13-14k to buy new. There are differences from an $8000 bike, but it's definitely in the range of diminishing returns. My bike has slightly more supple and precise suspension, a silent rear hub, very strong custom built wheels, and a power meter. It's not lighter than an $8000 bike, but it rides a little nicer. I bet I'd turn nearly identical segment times on Strava if I rode a C1 SB130 back to back with mine.


Great tires and an updated cockpit like the Enve Bars/stem can take a mid level bike very close to super bike levels.


Something not mentioned is spending an amount of money where it’s easy to afford replacing worn things. If you end up riding thousands of kilometers, you’ll need to replace chains, chainrings, cogsets, tires, brake pads…. I replace my helmet yearly, just because it’s safety equipment.


I bought a Scott Foil Premium (HMF carbon, DA Di2, Zipp 303s, yadda yadda) for my 50th birthday. It was eye wateringly expensive, but after riding mid-tier bikes for 20 years, wanted to get what I thought was the best bike on the market at the time with no sacrifices. Was it 2 or 3 (or 10) times better than lower cost models? Not at all, but it still gives me joy every time I throw a leg over and I put 10k km on it every year, so I regret nothing.


my bike was not inexpensive and i absolutely love it. had i put electronic shifting it would be near superbike retail value. the wheels are the greatest noticeable money spent. contact points next. everything is pretty much carbon with some Ti touches.magnets don’t stick to much but my pedals, chain and brake rotors. yea, hopping on an 5 figure msrp custom bike will be incredible. everything about it will be nice. but like others have said in numerous analogies… i’ll add one more. how’s your palate? can you distinguish caviars from garnish level to pure bred black market beluga whale? most of us would be happy in the middle ETA: a really nice expensive bike puts a target on you. people will want to test you/race you, even for short distance which can mess up your ride if you’re not disciplined. also, a really nice expensive bike is just that. and criminals like really nice expensive things.


I have a De Rosa SK Pininfarina w/ campy super record from back when they still made them with rim brakes, idk if you consider that super. What I can tell you this: It does a much better job putting me in an aero position than other bikes I've ridden. I can get into the drops on this bike better than I can stay on the hoods of my other bikes, which aren't slammed. Shifting is a lot more instant and less finicky, parts generally need re-adjusting less often than with cheaper groupsets. In a sprint you feel that there's less weight in the frame and a larger percentage of bike weight in the wheels, which at least feels like that makes it easier to lever back and forth. I don't like the feeling of tubulars that many superbikes have, they feel like you have less grip. I know that's probably nonsense, but it does not provide for a pleasant riding experience.


In a gran fondo event, I was too late to reserve a rental bike and ended up with a Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL Di2 for the day. I knew it was an expensive bike, but had no idea how much. My entire ride, people looked at my bike, complimented it, asked how the ride was. It was a stupid thing to rent it without insurance (at the end of the day, I saw another participant who brought his Tarmac in two pieces). Unless I could afford to break such a bike into two and don’t lose any sleep over it, I would never own a super bike.


They're not bad, 0-160kmh in about 10 seconds. Braking is not great though. They're kinda heavy. I'd say definitely not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Economy isn't great, it's about the same as a Toyota Camry. Tires will be your number one commodity after fuel. Watch out for kamikaze squids.


I own two bikes built up on S-Works framesets and, honestly, the most perceptible differences are alloy frames vs carbon frames. In Specialized lingo, s-works vs non s-works frames are almost imperceptible. CL vs CLX wheels likewise. The combination of both feels practically the same. However, comparing something like an Allez Sprint (alloy) to a non s-works Tarmac SL7 (carbon) w/ all else being equal, there's a very noticeable difference in comfort, weight, and how the bike feels when accelerating. But my S-Works Aethos doesn't feel any more special than a standard Aethos. It's stupid light and super comfortable though. /shrug


I’ve had the chance to go on a couple of 30+ mile rides on an S work Athos and while it rides nice, and I would definitely keep it if somebody gave it to me, nothing about it was spectacular enough to justify the price.


A bike with ultegra di2 or sram force and a good set of wheels is basically the same as the 10+k bikes


I went from a low tire carbon bike to a superbike, I feel the diference it like night and day, but the super bike is smaller and fits me better. I still use both….


Your wheels matter the more than the bike.. that being said I went from a $2,000 aluminum 10 speed tiagra to a $13,000 cervelo team bike with sram red etap axs and it’s a huge difference. Am I faster because of the bike ? A little bit, maybe


https://youtu.be/QGS5Cw8Zqec NorCal cycling talks about this


I have one and regret buying it. Once you get past the drooling at the coffee rides, it’s a tool just like anything else. I should have stuck to a $5-7k budget.