Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive? 10 Difference Between Expensive & Cheap One

Is a mountain bike expensive? Well, It seems to be costly. If you look at the latest and fantastic bikes, or even if you look into a local bike shop, some of those fanciest bikes are thousands and thousands of dollars. “You could buy a car for that”, you may hear these replies after telling its price to anyone. The retort is, Yes, you probably could”.

So, why are mountain bikes so expensive? Some of the factors that make mountain bikes so expensive are their highest end of technical specialties, their unique components, and their design patterns. We have designed this article to give a fresher a complete understanding of what the expensive bikes offer and why. 

Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive
electro mountain bike

Innovations and their Impact on Pricing of the bikes

By the time when mountain bikes went through revolutionary changes, there was a rise in their prices too. The sport of mountain biking evolved with time after the first mass-produced bikes in the 1980s.

Today, mountain bikes are equipped with features like never before.

They are purposefully built to bring value and joy to the ride on all types of trails. So, we can easily see that these bikes are no more the bikes our parents grew up with. Instead, a variety of bike designs are now available.

biker jump with the bike

Many people compare bikes with cars. They compare their pricing as I have said above. But it’s unfair. One should have a complete understanding that the bike world is entirely different. Similarly, it innovated at a different pace than that of transportation.

Meanwhile, you can look at the parts of the cars which have not undergone any virtual change. Compared to that, the bike body styles change every three years.

Over time, more and more efforts are bringing surgical perfection to mountain bikes. This provides customer value to the rider. And so is the case here, i.e., “money gives value”. Expensive bikes are thus worthy of your investment.

Difference Between Expensive Bikes & Cheap One

Expensive mountain bikes have much more to offer to the users than the ordinary ones or the simple version. Similarly, there is also a significant difference in the specifications installed in the bikes. 

Similarly, the high-end material makes the bike value higher in prices than others. 

Along with these, there are several other differences that make some mountain bikes expensive and the others cheap;

  1. Durability 

Carbon mountain bikes are incredibly durable. The expensive mountain bikes are purposefully built for the harsh riding of mountain biking. However, the cheap mountain bikes do not last long. This is because they are made for fast and affordable availability.

  1. Installed Technologies 

Price mountain bikes may surprise you with their prices, but they assure you a quality riding experience. Suppliers achieve this assurance by installing technologies and components that take the riding game to the next level. We will explore this more in the upcoming section below. On the other hand, cheap mountain bikes are made in traditional ways minimizing the costs as possible.

  1. Comfortability 

Costly and cheap bikes differ significantly in comfortability. Cheap bikes are not built on the purpose of comfortability. However, all the technological and other installments are made to bring as much comfort as possible.

  1. Impressive Design patterns

The mountain bike designs have gone through revolutionary changes since they came into existence. The increased demand and popularity led to far better innovations than the previous versions of the bikes. In addition, the top-notch investments in the designs and quality are bringing unique designs to the market, which is raising up-front costs. In contrast, the cheap bike designs are limited because it is challenging to develop impressive strategies under tight budgets. So, the hands are cuffed there.

  1. Less Maintenance 

Since expensive mountain bikes are made to last, everything related to them is meant to last longer. This way, there is very little need for maintenance for such bikes. On the other hand, cheap mountain bikes need to be maintained now and then. However, sometimes or I can say most of the time, you are making little investments in them for their maintenance.

bike in the night
  1. Incredibly responsive 

Expensive mountain bikes are highly responsive. You can go on whichever trail or path you want to ride. You are not restricted by anything – well, at least, not by your bike. However, you have to be careful with cheap or department store mountain bikes. You cannot go the rough trail or rocky path as you may come up with any damage to your bike.

  1. Super Adjustable 

You can explore steep paths and rocky mountains with a quality mountain bike with an advanced suspension system and gearing. These advances make your riding experience super adjustable.

  1. Reliability 

A considerable difference comes up between cheap and expensive bikes regarding reliability. Some cheap bike parts are meant to work, while most costly reputable mountain bikes are built to last. So, we can say that this is a vast and most obvious difference that we see between costly and cheap bikes. The parts of the expensive bikes are built for reliability.

  1. Lightweight 

Weight makes a huge difference when it comes to mountain biking. You will notice inexpensive mountain bikes that they are very lightweight. This is because the bike’s frame to its components is built to be as firm as possible but without adding excessive weight.

  1. Popularity 

All the advancements, new installments of technologies, and components have come from the popularity of mountain bikes. Bikes have become a sport trend worldwide, and this trend is rising each day. Expensive bikes are built by some reputable brands in the market. However, the brands often hike their prices because of their popularity and constructed image. Brands also maintain this by providing the best of everything regarding the quality.

The mountain bikes, apparently with high numbered price tags, fulfill the most valuable purposes that an ordinary bike put limitations on. So, the money is not a waste at all when it comes to the riding experience, quality, and lastness of your mountain bike.

Specialities which make Mountain Bikes ‘Expensive.’

There are a lot of specialties that are the reason for the vast price range of mountain bikes. Of course, these specialties may have a brand impression on their pricing as well. But, quality is what keeps a brand going and loved among people. So, in the end, it is the specialties installed in your bike that make it work the price it is asking for. 

mountain bike with suspension system

Here are some of the specialties that make mountain bikes expensive;

Advances Suspension System 

Today, mountain bikes are built with advanced suspension systems. Complete suspension mountain bikes quickly tackle a brisk romp. You will not find such suspension systems installed in cheap departmental store mountain bikes. After reading the documentation, you will know that they are not meant for heavy off-road ridings.

In full-suspension bikes, when you go over the riddles with them, a component of the frame pivots around the pivot point. A shock supports this action. This shock absorbs the hits and positions everything back in place. Different level bikes approach this task in different ways. 

biker in forest with bike

Less costly and cheaper bikes depend on the steel-coil springs. However, if the steel-coil springs cannot rebound fast enough in case of any jump or small bumps, it can alter the bike’s geometry. This may lead to a rougher ride then.

However, the air shocks inexpensive models of mountain bikes are much lighter than the cheaper model with a heavy steel spring around it.

A significant difference arises in the pivot point of the frame as well. Expensive models allow less friction in the system. This fewer friction results in smoother movements. These models have sealed bearings. These sealed bearings make them much more resistant to weather and do not allow dirt to get in.


When you pull the chain of the two bikes in from you, one the less costly and the other expensive one, you will quickly realize the difference between those two.

A less costly or cheap bike will have an entirely plastic derailleur. It will have metal only to the places where it is needed most. So, you will have to battle a lot in the gears.

There is a difference in the gears themselves too. 

So, we can say that the high-end mountain bike parts are rebuildable. You can quickly fix them. In comparison, you have to replace a whole derailleur or a crank for cheap bikes. 

Carbon Frame

There is always a difference between cheap frames and more exotic frames. You can better understand this thing if you have a little knowledge about the engineering behind the frames.

Initially, steel was a widely used frame for mountain bikes. You can have those frames for under 150$. Above 150$, you can move to aluminum frames. However, the aluminum material is not as strong as the steel. 

Biker with mountain bike

Modern high-end aluminum bikes are using engineering practices. These practices allow some bike areas to flex for a comfortable ride. 

Many local manufacturers are using old frame designs. Unfortunately, this makes the ride stiff and uncomfortable. This way, the quality gets compromised.

Frame materials such as titanium and carbon fiber improve the overall efficiency of the bike. Carbon material frames are stiffer and more robust. The carbon frames even have drastically lower weight.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Of the two types of brakes being used in the bikes, disc brakes, and rim brakes, high-end modern bikes have disc brakes. These disc brakes use hydraulics.

They do so to activate the calipers. Hydraulic disc brakes offer the most stopping power. In addition, these brakes don’t lose control when descending from a path. 

You can get an idea of this stopping power by an example. The hand strength you will require to stop at the top will be the strength you will need to stop on a descending path.

However, cheaper mountain bikes still use mechanical disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes work well in wet conditions and don’t lose traction.

Bike Engineering 

Carbon and titanium fibers need treating in their raw states. This is done before their use for making other components and frames of the bike.

This treatment costs more than the material itself, not to anyone’s surprise. This is because the process requires extra labor and unique technology.

mountain bike red-white

There is another expensive area – the engineering aspect. Companies spend a lot of money on prototyping, data testing, and validation.

According to a source, companies require 15000 workers to make 15000 frames a year. Labour work is necessary to make carbon frames hands-only make them. Therefore, there is a limited number of frame production each year.

Why Are Mountain Bikes So Expensive Conclusion

Generally, the fat amount of money on the price tags can make a person stand and think, “why are mountain bikes so expensive?” We hope that all the facts mentioned above will help you answer. 

Note that there is always danger in going for cheap. Things may break apart and wear much faster. The repair thus can cost you a lot. So you may compromise your comfort by going for cheap. Similarly, safety concerns are also there when you are on rough terrain.

However, the value of something is in its price. Therefore, if there is something that is asking for extra bucks, it means that it has the potential to give you more than what you need.

It is not wise to settle for something that you can later repent. No doubt, the cheap mountain bikes serve very well. But if you have set for some aims on off-road riding, you should not settle for anything less.

So the expensive thing which can last longer definitely makes financial sense in the long run. So, costly bikes are worth the money they ask for.

About Martin

I am Martin, I am the author of this blog. My main interests include cycling. That's why this blog was created. I have always been interested in technology and how bicycles are made, so I built one myself.

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