KTM have some answers

It’s a popular comment under many a new mountain bike story: “you could buy a motorbike for that!” But is this true? If so, why are they so costly?

>>> Is mountain biking cheaper than it used to be?

Mountain bikes are expensive. They always have been. And due to the nature of media and news it’s the newest and most expensive bikes that get the most press attention and get all the headlines. The latest £7,999 carbon jobber, you know the sort of thing. There isn’t much web traffic to be had in stories about the sort of normal £2k full sussers and £1k hardtails that the majority of regular mountain bikers are riding around on.

So part of the reason that mountain bikes cost as much as motorbikes is that… they don’t.

Well, sure some do. But most do not.

You can spend £8,000 on a mountain bike. You can also go mountain biking on a bike that costs £800. The difference in performance and – more crucially – fun experienced will not be worth the £7,200 difference.

This is one of the argument put forward in a recent blog from KTM Industries of all places. In the blog the author, Trevor DeRuisé, writes: “when I first got into cycling, I asked the exact same thing. When the question first runs across your mind, it seems to be completely absurd. One of these things has an engine, a foot of travel in the front and rear, and goes 80mph with the twist of a throttle; while the other has maybe 6 inches of travel and does absolutely nothing unless you pedal it with your own two legs. Why in the world would they cost the same?”

DeRuisé then reiterates our point above. The public doesn’t buy top end motocross bikes (indeed top-end pro race-level motocross bikes aren’t even for sale really). “Every new dirt bike [purchased] is mid level” he explains. These expensive mountain bikes that cop so much flak online for their “ridiculous” price tags are top-end pro race-level machines.

DeRuisé also elaborates on what would happen if pro motocross bikes were available for the public to buy: “What do you think the race bike of Chad Reed, Eli Tomac [yep, son of John], or Ken Roczen costs? While the exact prices are not just listed on the internet for anyone to view, the cost of world class race machines like these go well into the 6 figure range. These bikes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why? Because they not only use the absolute best (and therefore very expensive) materials to craft these incredible bikes, they also have thousands of hours of research, development, and testing that goes into every single part on them to give the rider any advantage they can find over the competition. Again, dirt bikes you’re buying off the showroom floor are a base level.”

The whole gist of it being, mid-range mountain bikes cost between £1-2k and mid-range motocross bikes cost £4-8k. Four times as much.

The very best, bleeding-edge equipment will always cost a lot of money, regardless of the sport. One of the best things about mountain biking is that you, Joe and Jane Public, can get this bleeding-edge equipment if you want it.

The very best thing about mountain biking is that you don’t have to.