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That is pretty much only applicable to USA, where cars and the fuel for them was cheap, and still is, relatively speaking, allowing the masses to "progress".
Not so for the rest of us around the world.
It's apparently the equivalent of $7.67usd per gallon of gas today in the UK, pretty much double what you guys pay.
Add into that eye-watering running costs, daily charges to drive in cities, taxes and astronomical insurance costs and I'm very glad that I don't drive these days.
Thankfully I have bicycles (very) old and (relatively) new to get around on.
They're all repairable and serviceable by me.
Buy cheap and buy twice is an old adage that still has a ring of truth.
But I digress, unfortunately I don't like popcorn either, and all of the potato chips this thread may make me consume is worrying!
I recently went to my local Target . This is the first time in two years I saw the Target bike rack fully Stocked . I believe before Covid the bikes at Target ranged between $125 to $229 ish look at these prices for department store bikes ! To be fair I’m not certain if they upgraded the bike models they carry ? It doesn’t seem like that’s the case to me though. I also noticed big price increases at a bike shop I went to recently also. These bikes are no longer throw aways at these prices . Are you guys seeing similar price jumps where you are?
Bicycles seem to be in fairly short supply across the western world. And prices are rising everywhere.
The global pandemic had a positive effect in terms of people rediscovering cycling, now it is having a negative effect on world economics.
But there are more pressing worries for us in Europe today.....
Last new bike I bought was a Raleigh hybrid 29"er for my daughter, nearly 9 years ago. Sorry but none of my oldies ever came close. Shifting and braking silky smooth and positive. Aluminum frame sturdy as a rock and certainly easier getting up to speed.
We’ll just like anything else, when you have the right stuff your experience is always better. What’s the right stuff? Thanks up to the user. I like it all. From the simplicity of vintage to the performance of modern equipment. It’s all good with me. However, I definitely don’t think that vintage bikes are even remotely comparable to modern bikes.
Yeah the cheapo no-name ones on dept. store bikes typically either barely work or don't work at all out of the box. SRAM gripshifts can crack but are easily the most reliable of the bunch. Shimano RevoShifts tend to get sloppy and not index correctly over time.
I've been a bike mechanic for a decade working on mid-to-high end bikes new, and working on all levels and ages of bikes old. I will say I came into this profession preferring the older stuff, but oh my god have things improved in every conceivable way on modern bikes. Not EVERYTHING is to my liking, but the modern geometry on a lot of the steel touring and gravel bikes is designed for an actual human being unlike bikes of old. The ride quality is amazing, which is nothing new, but many new bikes ride like butter, especially when you add things like a tubeless setup and some nice cushy tires. A good set of hydraulic disc brakes or even V-brakes will stop on a dime whereas many older caliper brakes are merely a suggestion.
Now if we are talking strictly high end aluminum or carbon bikes, yeah the durability may not be up there if you're used to the absolute 50-pounds tanks like older Schwinns, etc, but performance-oriented riders who are paying $3000+ for a performance bike don't want that either. If you're in the industry long enough, you'll see which bikes are "for you" and which ones arent. There are way more flavors today than there were even in 1990. If you like the older steel bikes, there are many modern bikes that will float your boat. The setup for a lot of this stuff is really not that much different than setting a bike up in the early 90s aside from weird one-off stupid designs from Shimano that only last a single model year or two. At the moment most of the current generation stuff is great despite some design duds in the past few years. In my decade of working at the shop we have only had to warranty maybe 1 or 2 frames for failures, both of which were approaching 15-20 years. The durability is not anything to worry about.
The only real complaints I have are some of the notoriously bad designs where they take a decades-old existing, reliable standard and try to overhaul it for...reasons. But the designs require precise tolerances that can't be met by basic inexpensive production methods. Stuff like BB30 for example was the bane of my existence for a while. Thankfully we have sales reps who we can complain to and even if they do damage control and act like nothings wrong, we tend to see those stupid technologies go the way of the dodo within about 5 years once they can't hide their mistakes any longer. Cannondale for example have returned to good old fashioned english threaded bottom brackets on a lot of their formerly-pressfit bikes. Thank god.
A lot of engineering goes into making the new systems shift without error, and smoothly, which is something that certainly not be said about any derailleur bike prior to maybe 1989 or so. And all that technology has trickled down so even the low-end bikes have systems with millions of dollars of R&D that have been borrowed. If anything even the cheapest bikes are miles ahead than the department store bikes of old....as long as an actual shop goes through and assembles and adjusts them correctly. Realistically the stuff isn't hard to set up at all, but you have to be sure of certain things...smooth moving cables, straight derailleur hangers etc. Nothing new either...
Now I'm a car guy, and I HATE modern cars. Completely. The technology, the hand-holding, the bulkiness, etc. But remember that they are absolutely perfect for the modern consumer. That's what they want. I want a thing I can fix on the side of the road with a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. They want a thing that never ever breaks in the 10 years they keep it before selling it. There's an element of that in any transportation industry and bicycles are no different, except I've really come to appreciate the improvements since they are still (mostly) fully mechanical machines that can be fixed with simple tools no matter how much money has been pumped into the technology. The hydraulic stuff is a bit of an exception, and don't even get me started on the electronic shifting systems....but you don't have to have that stuff if you dont want it. Yet.
Stick around for a while and you'll go from being the guy at the shop who hates setting up disc brakes to the guy at the shop who can dial them in in less than a minute. Trust me. Practice makes perfect.