uni price compared to bicycles

Had my uni stolen yesterday, off to buy a new one, looking especially at unicycle.uk.com’s UDC max traction (£195) and DM’s Advanced Ringmaster 24" (£235).
My brother (a bicyclist) can’t understand why a unicycle should cost almost as much as a very very good bicycle, with all the engineering that goes into brakes, gears, chains, he reckons that a uni should be much cheaper. What is it that makes a uni so expensive compared to a bicycle with all its gears and brakes and handlebars and bells and whistles?

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

Firstly there’s the obvious thing that more bikes are sold, so production costs are lower.

Secondly, good unicycles aren’t that expensive compared to good bikes. They are expensive compared to bikes you can buy in argos, but then the unicycles you’re describing are probably more equivalent to a mid range mass produced bike, which would cost £500 up. You couldn’t ride a £200 bike regularly offroad without breaking parts too often.

Much of the expense of this unicycles is due to the high end bicycle parts used in them, such as the halo rim for £30 and the Gazz tyre (£30).

A unicycle costing £200 will allow you to ride terrain that many people would want a £1000 bike for.

Joe

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

josephmcginley wrote:
>
> My brother (a bicyclist) can’t understand why a unicycle should cost
> almost as much as a very very good bicycle

I doubt you’d get a ‘very very good’ bicycle for £200. My bike cost £400,
and I would describe it as ‘decent’. Two of my friends have bought bikes
costing more than my first car!

My unicycle (a DM) cost £120, and I think they’re comparable in quality.
It’s certainly far better quality than the £99 disposable bikes you get
at Halfords.

Admittedly, a bike is much more complex than a unicycle, but bikes are
manufactured in volume, whereas my DM uni was effectively handmade. So
I think I’m getting value for money.

  • Richard

ask him how much a decent set of forks cost.

For a really nice bike you’re looking at £800 ish for a frame alone

If you really want to push the boat out then the most expensive I know of is about £10,000

For a Top end, hand made uni frame you’re looking at £200

Seems cheap to me.

The cost of Unicycles

That sucks about your Unicycle being stolen Joseph. I never worry about mine being stolen because I can’t imagine anyone trying to ride off on it. No one else would have one like mine so it would be hard for them to go unseen. Having said that maybe I should get insurance due to the high price I paid.

I’d say that would be at the lower end of the top end frames. The Carbon Fibre 26 from Unicycle.com UK costs £700, and that does not have all the expensive components (like Poznanter hub) that other top end Unicycles have. I think if you enjoy Unicycling and plan to spend many years practising, then almost any amount of money can be justified being spent if you can afford it. The ongoing costs are not high compared to a car, which requires registration, insurance, petrol, repairs, warrant of fitness etc. With a decent Unicycle you can replace the tire, get insurance, and maybe some extra equipment. The cost of maintaining Unicycles is relatively low compared to cars and bikes. I could have bought several cheap cars for the price of my MUni, or I could have bought a heap of cheap nasty Unicycles. Unless you just learning or experimenting, it is not worth buying the cheapest Unicycle, because they are so weak they bend and buckle if you land wrong when dropping anything over a foot or two. It is no fun when your equipment holds you back.
My advice: lash out and get something decent and splined, and get yourself a sturdy lock, some insurance, and maybe an alarm.

Pounds, petrol? Am I the first American to respond to this thread? Nothing against any of you, really.

Anyways, I think it would be very hard to build a unicycle for more than $2000 USD (sorry, I’m not up to speed on my dollar to pound conversions), and that is using high end everything, custom build frame and wheel, etc. I had a friend who bought himself a $6000 mountain bike, and he was only slightly more than a casual rider. He also weighed quite a bit, so I guess he needed something to withstand the abuse he’d put on it, but that’s a lot of money. So we’re in the right hobby.

Prices for leisure goods are not always ‘rational’ at first glance. You can spend £100 on a T shirt, or buy a very good rucksack, an excellent tent, a cheapish unicycle, or a very cheap bicycle with the same money.

Partly, it’s simple supply and demand - not just between the retailer and customer, but at every step in the chain from buying the materials, designing the unicycle, manufacturing, etc. The number of unicycles sold is tiny compared to bicycles. If you were a factory manager in Taiwan, why would you make unicycles for export to the west, when there is an infinite demand for basic bicycles on your doorstep? Because there’s profit in it… but only if you sell them at a big markup, because you won’t sell many. If you ran a small engineering firm making 50 unicycles a year, how much tubing would you buy? Not much, so how much discount would you get? Not much.

Then there’s the simple thing that the retailers will charge what the market will support - and that is why you can spend more on a bicycle (“because of” the sprung forks, hydraulic brakes, etc.) than you would spend on a 125cc motorbike capable of 60mph (100kmh), with… er… sprung forks and hydraulic brakes.

And it’s why a 600 cc motorbike with no doors, no radio, no electric windows, no windscreen wipers, no heated rear screen, only 2 wheels and 1 or 2 seats can cost more than a small 4 seater car with all those components and more.

The market for good quality unicycles will support prices of £200 or so. We compare it to bicycles etc. and see it as cheap in terms of smiles per Pound/Dollar/Euro, and don’t resent paying it.

Indeed, there is a phenomenon in economics that for certain categories of item, demand might actually RISE with price, whereas conventionally, demand FALLS with price. Put simply: a £50 unicycle is a toy; a £500 unicycle is a piece of sports equipment. There is a certain ‘respectability’ which arises from ‘needing’ expensive sports equipment. Yes, there are genuine differences in quality and performance, but the perception is every bit as important from the pricing point of view.

Then there’s average costs. If you only make 100 unicycles a year, the design cost and tooling cost has to be shared between 100. If you make 10 000 bicycles, the design and tooling costs will be a bit more, but shared out more ‘thinly’.

Then, for UK riders, there’s the simple economic obligation to keep Roger in the style to which he’s become acustomed.:wink:

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

Richard Loxley wrote:
> Two of my friends have
> bought bikes costing more than my first car!

Yeah, but they were worth it Richard.

Richard is referring to my Street Machine (
http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/sm/gt/index_e.html ), which cost
me about £1600 including various optional extras, and another friend’s
Speed Machine (
http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/spm/index_e.html ).

Although I bought a sub £200 bike when I was a student, I wouldn’t even
consider it now. If I was buying an upright I’d probably be looking at
about £600-£700 new. I find it hard to imagine someone getting a ‘very
very good’ bicycle new for £235, as suggested by the OP (commiserations
on the uni theft, though).

Richard doesn’t mention that his first car was one of the old Skodas
:wink:


Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny )
Recumbent cycle page: http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” - Thomas Paine

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

Danny Colyer wrote:
>
> Richard Loxley wrote:
> > Two of my friends have bought bikes costing more than my first car!
>
> Richard doesn’t mention that his first car was one of the old Skodas
> :wink:

No, that was my second car. My first car was cheaper even than the Skoda,
and was a Mark 1 Vauxhall Astra.

When I tried to trade it in for the Skoda, one garage sent it to the
workshop for a valuation. The valuation form came back from the workshop
with no boxes filled in, just a drawing in the middle of a big scrap-heap
with a little car teetering on the top.

Even Skoda workshop engineers have standards you know :slight_smile:

  • Richard

Ouch! Unicycle theft…what a total drag. Because I live in a community with MAJOR bike theft problems and a vague public awareness of the value of unicycles (due to the proximity and presence of the North Shore and Kris Holm respectively), I have taken to locking up my wheel when I stop around town too.

Whatever replacement unicycle you choose, enjoy your new ride, Joseph.

Hey, Joseph: come to the NAUCC- there will be plenty of cycles to nick representing the full spectrum of cost.

Sadly, a pimp ride doesn’t reflect on the riders skill- or I’d be as Phatt as I think I am funny.

-Christopher

Well thanks for all your opinions. The stolen uni was a 20" ‘deluxe’ unicycle from french juggling equipment company ‘passe-passe’. I’ve had it for 3 months, and have got huge smiles per Euro from it. I was planning to hold on to it for tricks, and buy a 28" or a coker for commuting, but I’m now going to go and splurge on a 24" DM Advanced Ringmaster, one that I think will last me for a long time, and will not limit me as my skills, and the demands I place on a uni increase. I expect the 24" wheel to make my daily work commute much easier than it was on the 20".
I (stupidly) left it resting against my front door for an hour at dinner time, and it was gone within an hour. I haven’t given up hope yet of finding it, Its likely to be in a ditch, or thrown over a wall somewhere, with the speedometer taken off.

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

josephmcginley <josephmcginley.pzs7a@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:
> My brother (a bicyclist) can’t understand why a unicycle should cost
> almost as much as a very very good bicycle, with all the engineering
> that goes into brakes, gears, chains, he reckons that a uni should be
> much cheaper. What is it that makes a uni so expensive compared to a
> bicycle with all its gears and brakes and handlebars and bells and
> whistles?

Well I wouldn’t expect a 300 quid bike to be very very good. In fact I’d
expect it be kinda OK, but not brilliant and fall apart in a few years
time
unless I’d upgraded several bits in the mean time. However a 300 quid
unicycle is going to be pretty good, just like a 600 quidbike is. equally
a 70 quid uni is a bit like a 150 quid bike and a 600 quid uni is getting
into the same league as those 1200 pound jobs the mtb mags all reveiw and
rate quite highly.

Unis are still made on a smaller production scale than bikes, and in the
case of DMs are hand made in the UK with top quality materials. A bike
hand made inthe UK… well I think you would be looking at well over 400
quid even for a fairy simple model.

If you need to convince you bro, get hold of some cycling mags and show
him the prices on the models thay reveiw.

Sarah

Union of UK Unicyclists
By and for UK riders

Well, you’ll all be glad to hear that I got my stolen unicycle back after an extensive poster campaign in the locality. Someone found it thrown in a hedge half a mile from my house. A few spots of rust from being left out in the rain overnight, but otherwise perfect - even the speedometer/odometer was left on it! (7 Euro from Lidl, includes a thermometer, and an alarm that sounds after 400 Km to tell you you need to bring your cycle for a service!)
You’ll also be glad to hear that your points about pricing were so persuasive on my brother, that he’s going to buy my one (the one that was stolen) from me, and I’m going to go ahead and get a Nimbus 2003 24".
All’s well that ends well.

Congratulations on getting your uni back. I guess the thief wasn’t having much luck trying to ride it. :slight_smile:

Andrew

Didn’t stop the unicycle thief from taking my unicycle around here… I never got it back :frowning:
I’m glad your story had a happier ending. On the plus side, I always lock up my new unis when in certain parts of town.

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

josephmcginley <josephmcginley.qjwqn@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> Well, you’ll all be glad to hear that I got my stolen unicycle back
> after an extensive poster campaign in the locality. Someone found it
> thrown in a hedge half a mile from my house. A few spots of rust from
snip
> All’s well that ends well.

Congratulations, on both things. Nice to get back something thats been
nicked and good to hear your bro may be joining the one wheeled fun.
SArah


Union of UK Unicyclists
By and for UK riders

Hey, Paco

OK, I’ll ask the dumb question, :frowning: how do you effectively lock a uni? :thinking: After all, there’s no closed openings in the frame. :astonished:

Re: uni price compared to bicycles

brian.slater <brian.slater.qppaz@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> OK, I’ll ask the dumb question, :frowning: how do you effectively lock a
> uni? :thinking: After all, there’s no closed openings in the
> frame. :astonished:

I just lock the wheel. I figure that even the most desperate of thieves
is going to realise that the black-market value of a unicycle frame is
not very high. Plus they would need a spanner to get the frame off of
the wheel, but the majority of bike thefts are opportunist. (I.e.,
scallies go round looking for unlocked bikes, rather than going round
kitted up to remove a secured bike.)

And I guess that for the majority of more expensive unis, most value is
in the wheel anyway.

Nick Grey

Power to the “rescued” stolen unicycles! Congratulations on making the efforts and having the luck to get yours back.

A couple of years ago, my two high-end MUnis were stolen out of my car (DM ATU and Roger Davies Carbon). The thief was fortunately dumb enough to drop them off at the local bike shop, along with his name and address, to get the splined cranks off the DM. All the local bike shops had been notified by me to look out for expensive-looking unicycles. They called me up and not only did I retrieve my babies, I got to watch the kid get arrested and handcuffed for posession of stolen property. Yeah!

Remember, unicycles are not “good” theft items. They don’t have the resale value of bicycles or electronic items. If stolen, the thief my discard them soon after, as in the original story in this thread. keep your eyes and ears open, and let people know what happened.

People will still steal anything that’s not bolted down though, so if left unattended, it’s not a bad idea to lock up your unicycle. I’ve done it before.

I’m still mad about my stolen track racing unicycle, which was lifted from the big grandstand at UNICON X in Beijing. I think I actually “met” the thief, as she was walking down with my other unicycle. I though she was just bringing the equipment out of there, so I said “thanks.”