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Please bike industry, make better stuff that costs less, not tricks that cost more

by John Neugent

Tech articles | Commentary articles |

John Neugent probably knows more about bicycle wheels than anyone else alive. Maybe more about bikes as well. He's spent his life in the bike business, at every level. He now owns Neugent Cycling, a firm devoted to delivering world-class equipment at the lowest possible price. If you are in the market for a set of wheels, please, check out John's site. He really knows his stuff. —Chairman Bill

John Neugent

Author John Neugent

Tour de France: 2020

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2020: The Tour During Covid-19, Better Late Than Never is available in both Kindle eBook and Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

John Neugent writes:

I am waiting for a 20 mm thru axle.

Why not? We’ve got everything else. Please bike and component companies, put your collective intelligence into making better stuff that costs less, not tricks that cost more. It continually astounds me that product improvements are focused on minor, if any, performance advantages when the same effort could be used to reduce cost.

SRAM and Shimano have the ability to do this. Both have amazing development teams. But I would wager neither has tasked their top end development teams with cost reduction.

Until now the strategy has been “trickle down.” Offer the cutting edge at the high end and trickle it down over the next few years. It’s time to break the mould. Think like Apple did – out of the box – what do riders really want?

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The logic is simple. The more riders who can afford the best, the more of them there will be. We all know the top riders are the most influential. Imagine outfitting a ProTour team with $2000 bikes. Do you think riders winning ProTour events on $2000 bikes would sell more bikes? I do.

Mathieu van der Poel wins 2023 Milano-Sanremo. Would we all rush to our local bike shops if he did it on a $2,000 bike?


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What’s in it for the component and bike companies? The cost of developing high end parts and bikes are allocated to a relatively small number of bikes and parts because the costs are high for the number of units sold. If they can allocate those costs to much larger volumes sold at lower price points the developmental costs associated with each unit go way down. It’s simply a matter of focus.


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The amount of computing power dedicated to AI has increased 10 fold every year for the last 10 years. That’s 10x10 x10 x10 x10 x10 x10 x10 x10 x10 = 10,000,000,000. That’s a lot.

It is forecasted this will increase the same rate into the future. Let Elon Musk go to Mars. With that amount of computing power, the ability to develop things we cannot even imagine is real and so is the ability to develop value. Let’s focus on value.

John Neugent was one of the first to establish the making of quality hand-built wheels in Taiwan around the turn of the century. He now owns Neugent Cycling, a firm devoted to delivering world-class equipment at the lowest possible price.