Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive?

The popularity of mountain bikes is rising each day. And mountain biking is finally making a comeback! However, one thing that is pretty certain about mountain bikes is that they are not cheap!

But the real question is, why are mountain bikes so expensive? Well, we had the same thing going on the back of our heads when we were trying to get some mountain bikes for our team.

So, as a team of writers passionate about riding bikes, we dug a bit deeper into the topic. And you will be surprised to know that things are not as simple as you might have thought. There are a lot of things that dictate the buying price of one of these two-wheelers.

Well, we will describe those things in this article. So, keep on reading if you want to know all about the topic!

History of Mountain Bike

MTB bikes first made their appearance in the biking industry in the 1980s. Ever since then, they have evolved substantially. They are no longer seen just as a good alternative for a regular bike. Instead, they have their own standards.

The mountain bikes are built for a purpose. That is to offer stellar performance on most types of terrains, including the harsh ones. And even though there was not that much variety available in the past, plenty of discipline-oriented design is available now.

16 Different Types of Mountain Bikes

As you might have noticed, we have mentioned that a wider variety of discipline-oriented designs is available for MTB now. And before we go into describing what makes the costs high, we would like to give a brief idea regarding the different variants.

  1. Trail Riding

These mountain bikes are specially designed for riding on rigorous singletrack paths. They will offer the speed that you require to set new records. And the components that these will utilize will be capable of handling the harsh nature of the challenging singletrack trails.

  1. Hardtail

Hitting jumps, goofing off, and riding street trials are among the famous activities that a regular mountain bike rider does. And the hardtail MTBs are the best type of mountain bike for these purposes. These have a durable build quality and can take on rough terrains without any issues.

  1. Full-Suspension

Otherwise known as FS, full-suspension mountain bikes are designed for a plethora of learners and use. They will flaunt two individual suspensions on the front and a shock on the rear. And these are capable of absorbing shocks and impacts from bumpy and rocky roads efficiently.

  1. Single Speed

As the name suggests, the single-speed MTBs will have a single rear drive gear and one chainring on the front. Basically, there will be no need to worry about changing the gears while riding these. That makes the whole riding experience simple and straightforward.

  1. Dual Slalom

The dual slalom is a pretty old design. It is a racing discipline that requires two racers riding in two separate identical tracks. And the MTBs that are designed for this will usually focus more on speed. As the courses are generally short, these bikes try to keep the frame light as that will increase the speed.

  1. Four Cross

Also known as mountain-cross, the four cross bikes are relatively new. As the four-cross tracks are more like BMX tracks, the mountain bikes of this category will be more like BMX bikes. However, there will be some key differences, such as the tires and the components.

  1. Dirt Jumping

Unlike some of the other variants of MTB available, the dirt jumping bikes are exceptionally light. The lightweight nature of the cycle allows the rider to jump higher. Also, these are great to gain an exceptional amount of speed in a short amount of time. However, these do not have shocks on the rear.

  1. Trials

These mountain bikes will have a specialized frame to let the rider pass through tough and challenging obstacles quickly. And as the rider needs to lift the front wheel often, these frames will have most of the weight on the back. Also, the frames are reasonably lightweight in comparison with the other variants.

  1. FreeRide

People also call the freeride bike a downhill bike. These bikes are designed for versatility. There are different gear ratios, which allows the rider to easily climb and ride through the uphill and downhill tracks. And the seat is closer to the center of the bike, ensuring a normal posture while riding the bike.

  1. MTB Touring

The touring bikes will have a design that will make it easier to go on multi-day rides. These will have storage options, which will let you carry all the essential things with you.

  1. Fatbiking

As you might have expected, the fat bikes get their name from the fat tires. These fat tires are capable of riding on snow and sandy terrains. Also, the rims of these bikes will be reasonably wide and large. They will even offer a smooth ride on a low ground pressure terrain.

  1. SingleTrack

The singletrack terrains will usually have the same width as a regular bicycle. That is why these bikes need to have narrow wheels. Nonetheless, the wheels do have adequate tires to tread through the rough mountain terrains easily.

  1. BikePark

The bike parks are basically obstacle courses for mountain bikes. And the terrain of these parts is flat but does demand a wheel with good traction. That is why the BikePark MTBs will usually have aggressive tires.

  1. Cross Country

Otherwise know as XC, cross country bikes are good for most of the terrains. Starting from forest paths, paved roads, singletrack, and smooth roads, they will offer adequate performance on all of them.

  1. All-Mountain

The all-mountain bikes are capable of handling every type of terrain that a mountain biker may encounter. That includes the steep, rough, uphill, and downhill terrains.

  1. Enduro

These bikes have a special design that will make racing through the downhill tracks easier. The center of gravity is at the right place to help the rider to transfer to different riding stages.

Major 13 Reasons Mountain Bikes Are More Expensive All The Times

Now that you are well familiar with the different types of mountain bikes available in the market, let us move into the topic you are mainly here for. So, these are the reasons that make the mountain bikes cost higher than a regular bike:

  • Frame

Unlike the other types of bikes available in the market, the frames of mountain bikes are rugged. They are capable of absorbing the shocks that different rough terrains will exert. And they gain that ability for being of high-quality materials, which do not usually come in cheap.

  • Lightweight

Even though the frames of the MTBs are pretty durable, most of them are exceptionally lightweight. That is what makes these bikes capable of reaching higher speeds.

To make the frames lightweight, the manufacturer has to implement specific designs and utilize different types of materials. And that increases the cost by a significant amount.

  • Wheels

The wheels of the MTBs are not like the regular bikes. These have a special design that makes them capable of gaining higher speed in a small fraction of time. Also, these wheels are made of high-quality materials, which makes them capable of handling challenging terrains without showing any issues at all.

  • Durable

Not just the wheels and the frame of these cycles are of high-quality material. The rest of the components tell the same story, which increases the overall build quality and durability of the entire thing. And making something that is exceptionally durable is not an easy task. That is why these are usually expensive.

  • Maintenance

If you know any cyclist friend that has an MTB, you might have noticed that they do not usually go through the maintenance process that often. Well, all the parts are designed in that manner. And such a design undoubtedly increases the production cost. As a result, the price of the bikes is not usually that low.

  • Comfort

The brands do not only focus on durability and capability. They also put proper emphasis on making the bikes comfortable to ride. These bikes will have a comfort-forward handle and seat. And to design a bike like that, the manufacturer has to go through a load of trials. So, the selling price increases by a bit.

  • Premium Quality Tires

Mountain bikes need to conquer most of the terrains. And some terrains demand a higher amount of traction, which a regular tire will not offer. That is why manufacturers boast their offerings with premium quality tires. And these premium quality tires are pretty expensive.

Other than just being able to offer a higher amount of traction, these tires are also exceptionally durable. They will be able to easily deflect the sharp and pointy objects that usually remain on off-road terrains.

  • Handlebars

The handlebar plays an important role in terms of control. No matter how good of a build quality a mountain bike might have, it will be pretty hard for the rider to control the bike in challenging terrains if it does not come with a proper handlebar. For that reason, the brands will utilize high-quality handlebars.

On that note, not all of the brands will equip their bike with handlebars of their own. Instead, they will rely on other parts manufacturers. And that increases the overall production cost considerably.

  • Seat Posts

When it comes to comfort, the seat posts play the most crucial role. If the seat posts are not comfortable and are inappropriately designed, the rider has to ride the bike in an awkward position.

And for making the seat posts achieve a proper design, the manufacturers have to go through many prototypes, which increases the manufacturing cost. Also, the seat posts of MTBs will be of high-quality materials as well.

  • Brakes

What is a good bike without good brakes? Well, mountain bike manufacturers know exactly well how crucial it is to have proper braking systems. And good-performing brakes are not cheap or fall under the budget price point.

Also, like handlebars, most of the bike manufacturers will depend on other parts manufacturers for the brakes. That means they will have little to no control over how much the brakes are going to cost.

  • Performance

To make a bike that performs better on the most challenging terrains, the manufacturer must design the whole body properly. If one thing misaligns with the other, the whole performance will drop significantly. And this design requires a lot of testings, which costs money.

  • Suspension Fork

Without proper suspension, the bike will not be able to absorb the shocks properly. So, along with just utilizing proper shocks dampeners, the fork needs to have a proper design and a good build quality too.

You will notice that the premium bikes will come with adjustable forks. Those will let the user fine-tune the riding experience. And those bikes are expensive for this reason.

  • Drive Train

Having a good gear cassette will mean nothing if the drive train is not good. And the cheap drivetrains that are found on regular bikes can not push and pull the chainring properly. So, mountain bike manufacturers will opt for high-end drive trains. And those are pretty costly.

Why Can’t Manufacturers Ignore 3 Important Parts

Even though the manufacturers can skimp on some of the factors to lower down the production cost of the bike, they can not skimp one bit in these factors:

  • Raw MaterialsAreExpensive

To get a good build quality, high-quality raw materials are a must. And treating high-quality raw materials is not an easy task. The manufacturer needs to spend a good amount of money on this alone, which is why the MTBs are generally expensive in comparison.

  • Engineering Is Not Cheap

Designing a new bike is easier said than done. The manufacturer needs to consider the weight, power, and aerodynamics of the whole thing. And to get all of these rights, they need to do a lot of trials and tests, which increases the production cost.

  • Less Competition Between Manufactures

Less competition means higher prices. That is what simple economics tells us. Well, the story is the same for mountain bikes. There is not that much competition in the industry.

Final Words

Hopefully, we were capable of explaining why are mountain bikes so expensive. There are plenty of criteria that play a role, and most of them are unavoidable. Nonetheless, there are plenty of budget options out there that offer good performance and value for the money. We recommend checking them out first.


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