Super-expensive cycling gear: what do you get?30 January 2023
Every great cyclist has had to master the art of balance - and not just while they’re in the saddle. When it comes to sniffing out your next set of wheels, the trick is to find the right balance between cost and quality. And to do that, you need to understand what it is you’re actually paying for when you shell out for that top of the line kit.
Are expensive bikes worth it?
First things first, let’s begin by looking at arguably the most important piece of kit you will need: a bike. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options to choose from - different types of bikes, different materials, different components, and much more - but don’t let that scare you off. The key to getting a bike you’ll love to ride is to make a well-informed and reasoned decision. Remember, expense doesn’t always equal performance, but that doesn’t mean you can get a great bike for peanuts.
So how do you know whether you’re paying over the odds for your bike? Well, the simple answer is to compare prices and try to take advantage of sales and deals - but you should also consider what you’re getting for your money. An aluminium road bike frame is almost always cheaper than carbon fibre, but if you’re looking to shave off excess weight for racing, carbon fibre might be the better option. Read the specs carefully though - some aluminium frames can compete with carbon fibre for weight and aerodynamics, so don’t let the stereotypes sway you.
And this doesn’t just apply to road cycling. Mountain bikes can also vary greatly in price depending on materials, disciplines and more. Paying more can afford you a more comfortable ride as well as increased durability and ease of handling, but it’s up to you to decide whether the price you pay is right for the experience you get. Remember, payment plans allow you to spread the cost over several months so you can get the right bike for you.
Are more expensive bike helmets safer?
When it comes to safety equipment, you want the best of the best, right? It’s understandable to think that buying the most expensive bike helmet will give you the safest riding experience, but that’s not necessarily the case. To be sold on the market, all bike helmets have to pass a certain safety standard first - in other words, buying a cheap helmet doesn’t mean it’s not safe.
However, this isn’t to say that buying a pricier helmet is pointless. While a cheap helmet will give you a basic level of safety, more expensive helmets often have additional features that can offer a greater level of protection. Features such as adjustable visors, increased head coverage and more options to tighten the straps may reduce injuries.
And the benefits aren’t limited to the safety capabilities of the helmet. As with other aspects of your cycling wardrobe - think shoes, jerseys, shorts and more - a bigger price tag often means improvements in aesthetic and comfort value as well. In the case of helmets this could mean a more decorative design, better ventilation and more options for adjusting how the helmet fits around your head. More expensive helmets might also be lighter and more aerodynamic, which can give you the edge in races.
All in all, it pays to take your time when shopping for new cycling gear so you can properly assess what’s a fair price for a good bit of kit. Paying through the roof for your next set of wheels isn’t necessary, but that doesn’t mean you should plump for the first bargain you see. As always, match up your needs and preferences to high quality gear to ensure you end up with the right bike for you.