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At What Price Point Does a Road Bike Become Unattainable?


January 2023

I watched an interesting video on YouTube yesterday where a very British announcer posed the very question in the Title. The announcer stated there was a 40% 14% tariff* on any bike made outside of the UK – apparently the UK went all Donald Trump on evening up China’s trade imbalance… so if you add 40% on top of a normal bike price I don’t know if that would make them unattainable, but it’d piss me off covering a 40% tariff, though. And, should that have been the case in the US, I’d have thanked God both our old and new tandem are manufactured, made, built, painted, partially assembled, shipped and will arrive at my door step after the final assembly, entirely in the United States (it’s made in Oregon, Eugene, I believe). If you think a single bike expensive, get into the world of top-end tandems! WOW!

Anyway, it’s hard to believe, but now that I think of it, between my wife and I the three main bikes in our stable will all be hand-built in the USA. My Trek 5200, Jess’s Assenmacher, and our tandem.

The question is, though, at what point does a road bike become unattainable? How much is too much?

I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Bikes have gotten a little heavier, so if you want a 16-pound bike, it’ll cost you. They prices haven’t outlandishly for what we get, though. At least, in my personal opinion. I looked at a nice Trek Emonda the other day that was fantastically well appointed for $5,000 with the new Shimano 105 Di2 drivetrain and decent carbon wheels. At 18-pounds, it’s heavier than I’d expect but the price looked quite fair to me… and with the worldwide economic downturn (caused by the way in which Covid was handled by politicians, not just Covid), manufacturers are going to have to start cutting prices to move bikes sooner or later.

One thing is for sure, I’m sure glad I have a full stable. This is a great time for a gravel bike that’ll pull double duty as a road rig with a different set of wheels and tires.

UPDATE: The OMIL pointed out in the comments that he thought the duty on foreign-born bikes was 14%, not 40%. I had to go back to the video and sure enough, the announcer had a bit of a lazy tongue and I misheard 40%… it’s only 14%. Still, that’s an extra $140 per thousand that goes right out the window. That’s a lot better than $400, though!



  1. The Omil says:

    I thought the import duty was 14% – thank goodness I don’t need another bike (yet).

    • bgddyjim says:

      It could be that he was speaking a little muddled… most British accents are quite simple and elegant (I have a friend we call English Pete, lives right down the road), but I think there are some dialects that, when spoken with a lazy mouth, they get a little difficult to understand. I’ll check it out and fix the post if necessary. Thank you!

      • The Omil says:

        You’re not alone – there are some English accents (eg the ‘Geordie’ accent from Newcastle) and dialects that we struggle with too. Regards to English Pete.

  2. unironedman says:

    I wouldn’t mind, but they used to make some great bikes in England, and indeed, still do. Mercian, for example. But yeah, go Brexit 😦

    • bgddyjim says:

      The owner of our local shop apprenticed at Matthews… ;D

      • Dave Talsma says:

        Matt apprenticed for Taylor bicycles, the frames he first made were called Matthews (I have a original decal) I also have the playboy magazine that inspired him into building frames).

      • bgddyjim says:

        ROTFL! Holy smokes, Dave! I didn’t know he apprenticed at Taylor. Thanks, brother.

      • Dave Talsma says:

        Sometime I will show you the Playboy mag with a Taylor pictoral spread that seeded his journey. He has some funny stories about living in a closet and learning from the Taylor brothers.

  3. Uncoffined says:

    That tariff will make it more feasible buy secondhand or keep the old bikes going. It could also push up the price of secondhand bikes.

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