Future Innovation, Where Are We Going

I don’t know that I can envision the future, but I do know what I don’t want: I don’t want this to become some elitist cluster f*ck with all the offerings being more and more expensive. I cringe when I see some of the price tags I may be showing my ignorance here, but, even using the absolute best materials I just don’t know how bicycle, electric or otherwise should cost more than $5000. And that’s like the top of the range. Remember we’re not talking about racing bikes or boutique offerings. We’re talking about a modest well-established mode of transportation That gets us around and answers the internal question of how to travel that last half mile to our destination it’s sort of falls in the category of you could do it, that is build an electric bicycle that cost $20,000, but why in the name of God, would you want to? I was an early adopter and a crowd funder for Superpedestrian’s Copenhagen wheel. It was invented in Cambridge, Massachusetts at MIT. I was really excited to get my bike or should I say my wheel. Because that’s all it was, you could have your own bicycle get the Copenhagen wheel and you were all set. I’ve written a fair amount, but as I grew older and battled disease, I began to feel that the Copenhagen wheel was just a little bit too heavy it was designed, for those of you who don’t remember, to have all sorts of bells and whistles inside the engine itself. Accord value of the technology was to be able to collect data across any given urban environment and then share it in a peer to peer like way quality of air how the traffic was moving things like that every once in a while, I would have a problem getting the wheel to recognize , the app it was in my phone and that’s really the only thing I didn’t care for being trapped and having to use an app in my phone but it never broke down. I never ran out of power it charged fairly quickly. well guess what happened? The company began to make scooters, skateboards, rather electric skateboards, and when I contacted them to see if they needed me to do any beta testing and so forth they said they were all set that’s fine I said, where can I buy one? You can’t I was told, they only sold fleets of 500 units or more! Holy cow I thought to myself that’s crazy. One of the main reasons I bought in to this company was that they’re about a mile and a half from my house. I thought to myself well if they go crazy honest, then at least I know how to find them , so once again, I have technology that I had really no concern that I would outgrow or it would become obsolete except have a company makes skateboards. So here’s a question for everybody what in the world kind of organization exist in the world where they need 500 or thousand or 3000 skateboards . Skateboards! I have visions of stockbrokers in downtown Manhattan reverting back to their teenage years, wearing their baseball caps backwards, and all that kind of good stuff I don’t know it’s a crazy world and a crazy business.

I don’t know if you quoted me because you were responding to my post, or because it was the post that I began the thread with. Either way, I will respond to your post.

Prices are set by a combination of supply and demand along with corporate greed, (not by “elitists”). There are many economy priced bikes available for anyone seeking basic transportation, and there are e-bikes of all levels. Just like with traditional, non-electric bicycles, they range from department store bikes to high end race or boutique bikes. As a lifelong cyclist, I don’t see anything new here, but if someone is new to cycling, they may have a bit of a sticker shock when they see the price tag on a high end bike.

There is a point of diminished returns when it comes to performance, so especially with a recreational ebike, people won’t be counting grams as closely as they would if they were providing all of the energy required to climb that mountain or win a sprint by a tenth of a second. The market for recreational e-bikes is large and the market for high end e-bikes is small, which means that they have to be even more expensive in order to make them profitable or even break even.

When designing a bike for the “elite” crowd, the engineers actually have to do much more than they do when designing a more mass produced bike, (materials and design must me maximized for strength, stiffness, weight and compliance, and they have to be innovative as well). The “elite” bike generally utilizes the best and most expensive materials and requires the most expert engineering and manufacturing methods, but sells in small numbers. It also requires better tooling to produce, so yeah, the cost is going to seem exorbitant if you don’t consider what went into producing the final product and the quantity that they will actually produce.

There are people that don’t even have to look at a price tag, so for them, $14,000.00 for a bike is no big deal. For others, $5,000.00 is a shock. Some would never pay $1,000.00 for a “bicycle”. Automobiles range from a $15,000.00 economy car to a $3,300,000.00 Bugatti. I drive a Honda CR-V, but I don’t look down on the person driving the economy car and I don’t call the owner of the Bugatti an “elitist”. Advancements at the high end tend to trickle down through the lower levels, so development of high end “elite” bikes should help us all.

I ride a Yamaha Cross Core, (a good bike, but definitely not a boutique bike). Even after many upgrades, it still cost less than the wheels that came on my Specialized S-Works Roubaix, (I got the deal of the century on my Roubaix. It was a $12,000.00 bike, but I paid $3,500.00 through a liquidator because it was a two year old leftover, rode it for three years and sold it at a profit).

The bottom line is that no one is forcing anyone to buy a $12,000.00 e-bike. We all benefit from the technology that comes from the “elite“ e-bike, so thank you to those with deep pockets, (or credit card debt), for financing all of that research and development so that the rest of us can ride decent equipment without breaking the bank.
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