bicycle engineering design / news / sports engineering design

The exponential cost of high end bikes…

I’ve been tinkering with some initial data, looking into an analysis of the cost of bicycles and perhaps unsurprisingly the data highlights that the cost of high end bicycles, appears to be exponentially linked to their mass (or lack of it!). Shown here are 84 mostly carbon road bikes (published on, with their cost (RRP in £1000’s ) plotted against their mass (in kg) in linear (top) and exponential (bottom) axes.  The (inverse) exponential trend is clear between the cost and the mass, with the outliners more obvious at the expensive end of the graph. Clearly the extra cost required in the R&D stages to bring the mass of the frame (and wheels, and other bits) down, whilst still keeping them stiff, strong, comfy etc comes with an added cost. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I generated this plot, but I’m keen to see what other industries (like aerospace and automotive F1) have invested into this cost-performance trade-off. What I’m hoping to start to analyse with the next step, is a larger dataset of bikes, looking to see how these might have changed with time (in real terms), how these compare between materials, bike types (road, touring, cyclocross, MTB etc) and finishing kit. Watch this space!



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