If a person wants to go out there and get any type of bike that provides the bare minimum, they can find a used one for pretty cheap.
However, it starts to go up in price quite a bit when looking at beginner options, all the way to professional setups. Very quickly, the cost of a bike can get over $1000, and become much closer to a car than most would like.
In the downhill biking industry, this is especially true. One of the biggest holdups as far as downhill biking taking off is connected to the overall expense of the hobby.
A lot of people can’t get past that sticker shock, and they do not really want to get into the whole world of downhill biking because of it.
A lot of factors go into the expense of a downhill bike. The high-end models are made of premium components, much like other leading options from companies specializing in mountain, road, gravel, and other types of bikes.
The lack of competition, size, innovation, and more also play a role in downhill bike cost.
1. The Cost of Innovation
Innovation in the bike world is always happening at a faster rate than most people realize. Every single year, companies are pushing each other to come out with an option that serves potential buyers in a variety of ways.
All of this research and time spent coming up with innovative ways to make the downhill biking community pleased comes at a cost, which plays a factor in the sticker price.
Every single company is pushing to get to the point where they have a true hit in the downhill community. Companies know that if they can get to a point where they are offering something truly new and faster than any other company, they have a chance to really dominate in this area.
It is something that a lot of companies are striving for, because there is nothing better than having early control of a growing market.
There is so much as far as expenses are concerned and getting a brand new downhill bike off the ground. There is money spent on designing the bike, producing all the different components, production cost, and more.
Innovation particularly matters with downhill biking because there is so much room to grow. Even though it seems like the current crop of bikes are outstanding, there are always companies looking to push the envelope a little bit and see where it takes them.
2. A Growing Niche
When any new type of bike discipline starts to really take off, It takes a little bit of time for there to be some significant buildup.
Many people see downhill bikes as being more and more expensive than other options, and that simply comes down to a lack of competition.
There are only a few companies that are making outstanding downhill bikes at this point in time. Since the industry standards have not been set just yet, companies have to charge more money to make more money in the end.
There is less inventory, so the profit margins are not quite as high as other bikes. The money talked about above with innovation also adds up in a hurry, contributing to the higher cost and some minor growing pains along the way.
It would not be surprising in the slightest to see that this industry will really start to take off in a few more years when prices go down.
It is not that companies want to necessarily rip customers off, it is just that they have no choice but to keep prices relatively high. There is a lot that goes into the bike, and being in such a niche market brings some of those pricing negatives.
3. Hard To Create Budget Options
Since a downhill bike is such a specific type of option for riders, it is becoming very difficult to put together something that will fit on a budget.
That is why there is no real downhill bike budget option out there, compared to those looking for a mountain, road, or hybrid bike.
Even the cheapest, entry-level downhill bikes are still expensive because of this. There is simply no way to make a safe downhill bike that is extremely affordable.
People will always have to pay a bit of a premium, or they will need to use something different from a downhill bike.
Think about how a downhill bike is designed. The frame is heavier, there are stronger components, and more material goes into a downhill bike than just about any other option.
Even when attempting to go for the cheapest solution possible, there is still some cost involved.
4. Protection Costs Money
On top of buying a brand new downhill bike, people will also need to purchase plenty of protection to stay safe on rides downhill.
At the very minimum, this means a high-quality downhill bike helmet (Top 5), but a lot of riders will wear additional protection so that they can withstand a fall if it happens.
Knee and elbow pads are pretty standard in downhill biking, as well as gloves. When wearing gloves, it helps with grip as well as protection.
No one wants to take a huge spill and try to break their fall with their hands. It is pretty natural for someone to go ahead and try to do this, but at the end of the day, it can lead to a lot of damage.
The final reason that contributes to the price of downhill bikes is the fact that there is a growing demand that is becoming harder and harder to satisfy.
Companies are still somewhat reluctant to get into the downhill biking niche, but those who have are finding it difficult to keep up with demand.
They can only produce so many bikes at a time, and with limited options out there, riders are willing to pay the premium price to get something they want.
The COVID-19 pandemic actually helped out the downhill bike community, as it was a safe way to get some exercise. Bike sales in general shot up because of the pandemic, and downhill biking companies were often sold out of their most popular options.
They are just now getting back to full strength as far as production is concerned, so that might help bring prices down at some point.
Demand is always going to play a role in how much a bike, or anything for that matter, costs. It is certainly frustrating for some people who are looking to find a great deal, but that is one of the downfalls of jumping into a sport that is trending up.
How To Lower The Cost Of A Downhill Bike?
If a brand new downhill bike just will not fit into a budget, there are other solutions out there that a person might be interested in. It might not be the perfect solution, but it can get riders out there to see if going downhill is actually what they enjoy.
6. Buying used
The used market for downhill bikes is still a little bit hit or miss. That is because there are usually not many on the market, and those that are need to be properly examined before spending a lot of money.
Since downhill biking is still relatively new, people are not selling off their bikes in large quantities. Some are selling off their bike if they had a pretty nasty crash, which could have compromised the bike somehow.
Make sure to ask as many questions as possible to ensure that the bike did not suffer any major damage. It is usually pretty easy to spot upon closer examination, but it is always up to the potential buyer to check for themselves.
The good news is that if a person does find a used downhill bike in good condition, they can save considerable money.
All bikes will lose value as soon as they are used, and it is not uncommon for people to sell off their used options for 50% of what they spent or even less.
7. Renting a Downhill Bike
Since downhill biking is only possible in certain areas, it might not make that much sense for a person to buy an expensive downhill bike and own it 12 months out of the year.
Instead, going to a specific location and renting a downhill bike can save some money without purchasing the lowest option.
Plenty of companies in hotbed regions will rent a downhill bike for a pretty reasonable price. For less than $100 a day, a person can get a high-end option that comes with all the bells and whistles one could ask for.
The cost can start to add up if a person rides a downhill bike pretty consistently, but those getting that type of riding in should probably look to purchase in the first place.
Not only does renting save money, but it can save time as far as transporting a bike to a different location. Some people find it very difficult to get their bike to a location where they can enjoy downhill biking, which eliminates having to throw it into a car.
Will The Prices of Downhill Bikes Ever Go Down?
Every single year, downhill biking becomes more affordable for the average rider. That is great news for any industry that is trying to carve its spot.
The only way that downhill biking will grow is if it becomes more affordable, and allowing people to have more access will help out.
It could take a few years to get to that level, but it is moving in the right direction. People should pay attention to how fat bikes became more and more affordable as time went on, as they went through a similar phase just a few years ago.
Those who are into downhill biking now should not wait, as there are some exciting options released on a pretty regular basis. The good news is that as more and more time goes on, this will only get better and better.
There will always be the option of selling a current downhill bike for an upgrade later on if a person still feels like they are very much into the sport.