Why are road bike shifters-brake levers so expensive?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Volnix, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I was checking some group sets because I was thinking of maybe upgrading a Shimano 2300 to an 8 speed double SRAM system.

    After checking some of the components I was thinking of an SRAM Apex system since the bike I am thinking of upgrading was also available with an SRAM system on another version.

    But after browsing some of the components I found something rather strange. An 8 speed cassete costs about 60 euro, A brake set about 70 euro, The crank about 80 or so and the shifters cost 240 euro!!! Not to mention how much the "higher end" components cost. A high end Shimano or Sram Shifter-Brake lever set can even sell at 400 euro!

    Why exactly do you think these are so expensive? Its basically just a cable pulley attached to a lever right? Even the second hand ones are expensive...
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI. A set of 10-speed Campagnolo shifters will index to almost anything ...

    So, you can upgrade almost any bike for less than €200 ...

    €100 via eBay, 24/7.
     
  3. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Hi, thanks for the reply. Campagnolo makes some nice stuff. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    Reason why I wanted the SRAM ones, was that they seem to "fit" better to the bike, plus they seem to be all metalic (no plastic parts) and they also seem to have this independent shifter - brake levers which are also adjustable. I havent checked too much on the Campagnolo stuff (except these fantastic skeletonized brakes they have on the Super Record group /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif).
     
  4. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Patents, durability requirements, the precision minature components and assembly are the factors that come to mind. The final "feel" of the assembly is important, as is the finish and appearance.

    And don't forget consumer demand. If they had remained a "race-only" item, selling to perhaps 10-20% of buyers and competing with down-tube levers, they'd be cheaper. They cost so much because we're all willing to pay so we don't have to move our hands from the bars.

    A buddy here built up a Soma steel frame with downtube shifters last year and says he enjoys the old-school direct feel of the shifting. Shorter cables, fewer bends, no housings (except short one on the back), more resistant to dirt, water, crashes are all pluses.
     
  5. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    how do you set the indexing, is it DIY ? any mechanic could do it in the bike shop ? you mean shifters from any Campagnolo 10 speed group ?
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by vspa [​IMG]

    how do you set the indexing, is it DIY ? any mechanic could do it in the bike shop ?
    you mean shifters from any Campagnolo 10 speed group?

    Yes, it is very much a DIY endeavor to index any set of 10-speed Campagnolo shifters to almost any Shimano drivetrain ...

    • with a Shimano 8-/9-speed rear derailleur, you would simply connect the rear derailleur cable as you normally would to achieve 8-speed Shimano indexing ... I determined this independently about a dozen years ago ...

    • you would connect the rear derailleur cable using the alternate hubbub.com position at 3 o'clock for 9-speed indexing ... I think the original information on this came to me through Santana Tandems 10+ years ago ...

    [​IMG]

    • the 10-speed Campagnolo shifters + 10-speed SRAM Road rear derailleur yields 10-speed Shimano indexing ...

    • and, an 11-speed Campagnolo shifter + 9-speed Shimano rear derailleur which is connected normally yields 10-speed Shimano indexing (I have not tried this, yet, but plan to in the future)

    Here is Chris Juden's 'matrix' which shows the compatibility of various Shifters with various Shimano drivetrains ...

    [​IMG]

    N.B. The "Pitch" value within each cell of the matrix is the product of the respective values along X-axis ("Shift Ratios") & Y-axis ("Cable" pull).

    The RAMPING on the cogs of most Shimano & SRAM cassettes means that the realized compatibility is greater than suggested ...

    • I have found that the Cog ramping is so forgiving on post-year-2000 Shimano Cassettes that you can actually use a 9-speed Shimano Cassette with a completely incompatible 9-speed Campagnolo shifter, but only 8 Cogs will be found ...
    • the older, unramped 8-speed Shimano Cassettes are unforgiving

    Non-Campagnolo shifters typically require the front derailleur & chain to be MATCHED to the shifters, and vice versa ...

    • 9-speed Shimano Road with 9-speed Shimano Road
    • 8-speed Shimano Road with 8-speed Shimano Road
    • et cetera

    On the other hand, Campagnolo shifters will mate to almost any front derailleur.

    FYI. I have found that a 9-speed SHIMANO chain not only works well with a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain, but it also works with a 10-speed CAMPAGNOLO Cassette ...

    AND, I recently (10 years late!?!) tested a 10-speed Shimano Cassette with the 9-speed Shimano chain, and it unexpectedly seemed to work 'okay' in-the-workstand, but (as they say) your-results-may-vary (as may mine when I try it on the road!).
     
  7. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    i don't get the " hubbub.com position...." bit please
     
  8. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    The picture in alfeng's post above tells the tale. Basically, the hubbub wrapping of the cable at the rear derailleur changes the length of the lever arm for shifting (the cable pulls against or releases a lever to shift). A given shifter will pull a cable a fixed, linear amount. By moving where the cable applies that linear motion (closer or further from the pivot point of the derailleur), one can change the amount the derailleur moves. Move the cable attachment point closer to the pivot, and it will take more force and linear motion to get the derailleur to move the same amount as an attachment point further away.
     
  9. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Double post cant delete this one...
     
  10. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm maybe I dont know something, but in a very "simplistic" approach, they seem a bit expensive... I just cant find the value right compared to other cycling products. For example this alfine hub:

    [​IMG]

    Costs the same as this 105 road shifter:

    [​IMG]

    The hub seems to have the lot compared to the shifter to be more expensive, complicated mechanish, material expenses, assembly etc etc.

    But its not like I can go and ask Shimano why they sell the hub at the same price with a shifter... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif Maybe they are becoming some kind of "cult" item? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Usually with very overpriced items the whole range of the brand seems to be overpriced, not just specific items. I havent seen "Loui Vitton" or what its called, sell a handbag for "X" euro and then sell a whole travel set of luggage for the same price... I havent seen too many top models posing with a 105 Shifter either... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif Seems confusing...
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    It's very likely the good old supply/demand curve dictates the prices to a great extent. Given that, if people are willing to pay a given amount of money for a product, then the product will sell for at least that. In that light, the only things that are overpriced are the things which aren't sold in the volumes the manufacturer likes. Make no mistake, a lot of people buy 105 components or groups.
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Aside from mechanical complexity, assembly time, etc. a brake/shift lever is almost a consummable. Shimano can be rebuilt, but it's a nightmare that requires a donar unit so why do it? One good crash and it's time for a new lever assembly. And to think, I remember when Campy used to sell just the lever to replace bent/broken units!

    Despite some users reporting how 'durable' they are, the Shimano units (from 105 thru Dura-Ace) do wear out fairly quickly IMO. The club locals seem to get about 5-6 seasons out of them around here. Of course, by then they are obsolete whether worn or like new. YMMV, of course.

    I'm still scratching my head as to why I'm paying $175 for Chorus cassette gears and $60 for chains. The gears are banged out by the tens of thousands and chain is manufactured by the mile. Oh well. Capitalism at its finest! The profit motive keeps the company parties in vino and the next generation of cool components coming! Viva the $/€/¥ exchange rates, too!
     
  13. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Good comparison you've found. Don't know anything about the Alfine hub, but would think it's sold mostly for utility commuters and tourers becuase of the extra weight. A quick check reveals the newest 11-spd Alfine is set up for Di2, and sells for a lot more than the base 8-speed , so even in this product Shimano has a range. Don't they offer low-end "brifters" for Wal-Mart bikes?

    Again, it's the marketplace ......"racers" like us have proven willing to pay. If more cyclists had stayed with DT shifters, the "brifters" would be cheaper. Suspect Shimano doesn't set their retail prices based on cost to manufacturer an item plus a fixed % profit, ie, they markup some items much more than others to maximize their bottom line.

    Louis Vitton sells to a niche market who want prestige and exclusivity, so their high price is actually part of their appeal. Porsche comes to mind here. Besides, LV doesn't have to be expensive......you can get a great deal on one of their purses on the streets of Rome this week (trust me on this one).
     
  14. TeamSarcasm

    TeamSarcasm New Member

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    Not that i have much experience with biking but I have notoced this as well and beleivr it is mostly supply/demand. I have sora thumb tab shifters on my bike, and I detest them. They are the only part of my bike i dislike and will be swapping them out for tiagra shifts because they are a straight install, nothing else is needed. In essence, more people want shifts swapped out then a hub or cassette/hub so prices will dictate toward the supply/demand curve.
     
  15. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I could try to convince Shimano or Sram that I am a very good athlete of the Psychiatric Hospitals (patients) Team and they would give me a high end groupset for free! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif I do like them, but they seem so expensive. With that money you can probably get buy some fantastic tires and something else that would make the bike much faster...

    Hmmm, do they have a good deal of shifters in the streets of Rome too? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif Is there a hacked piece of a handlebar attached to them? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    The 11 speed afline sells for around 600euro I think. Still cheap compared to a 1000+euro Rohloff 14 speed one. The 7 speed sells for about 200 euro. I dont know if they have any 3 speed ones. Sturmey Archer does. They are usually on touring bikes or some commuters. Scott has some bikes with alfine hubs which are advertized as commuters and I seen some rohloff hubs on some high end touring bikes for some high end hippies I guess... (lots of bearded persons photos on the himalayas with panniers /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif).

    Campagnolo overs some really nice shifters for around 200 or so...
     
  16. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    im still not sure if i get it, is it the place where the cable and the derrailleur meet, or where the cable is press by the screw ?
     
  17. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Using the hubbub.com rear derailleur cable anchoring places the anchoring point on the forward edge of the anchoring bolt instead of at the bottom-and-to-the-rear ...

    THAT effectively moves the anchoring position forward by 3+ millimeters (probably, closer to 5mm).
    [​IMG]

    BTW. The "old Dura-Ace" position is at 9 o'clock will move the anchoring position slightly to the rear. It is illustrated in the Shimano tech sheet which comes with Shimano rear derailleurs.
     
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