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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If 85% of the US population ended up using bicycles like some other nations, would people start defining status by the bike you rode like they do the vehicle you drive?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) April 27th, 2015

I know it is not a situation likely to happen, but if it did, would people seek to define their status or wealth by the bike they rode? Would the ultra-rich sport bikes like the Trek Madone 7— Diamond, Tiffany & Co. Silver Mounted Lady’s Bicycle, Litespeed Blade bike, etc. (all topping the scale at $30,000 and above), leaving the mere wealthy sluffing around on Gary Fisher, Sakai, Schwinn, Bianchi, Cannondale, Peugeot, etc., with the middle class and the working class trying to keep up sporting Mongoose, Specialized, Giant, etc., and the lower class people on Huffy, Magna, Next, and other big box store brands? Would people attempt to define ”how well I am doing financially” through the type and expense of their bicycles the way some do with their vehicle?

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15 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Probably, I see it all the time out on the mountain bike trails. I also see the opposite where the folks who have five thousand dollar bikes are ridiculed. Regardless, we would all be much healthier and happier.

Blackberry's avatar

This happens already. It depends on where you live.

Buttonstc's avatar

Most likely.

Aren’t those who ride bikes doing this already?

One-upmanship seems to be inherent in the human condition.

And it starts early. This is one of the primary reasons for schools mandating uniforms. It levels the playing field, sort of.

But the kids usually find other ways to express their bling whether it be jewelry, shoes, backpack brands or whatever.

jaytkay's avatar

This is already true among cyclists. There are countless separate groups with their own standards for what makes a bike desirable.

Schwinn cruisers, carbon racers, fixies, BMX bikes, touring bikes, hard tail mountain bikes, full suspension mountain bikes, recumbents, English 3-speeds, cargo bikes, lugged steel frames, folding bikes, full fairing Human Powered Vehicles (HPVs) – you can find real-world and online communities for all those styles.

And those are just the first ones off the top of my head. There are plenty more.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jaytkay This is already true among cyclists. There are countless separate groups with their own standards for what makes a bike desirable.
Getting a bike due to gearing, shifting hardware, weight, etc. isn’t necessarily rubbing another’s face in it by stating my biked cost three thousand dollars and yours was a $87 big box special.

jerv's avatar

If we managed to change things so that people lived close enough to their jobs to make it feasible in the fist place, that tendency would increase more than it already is. I mean, try as I might, I can’t help but feel smugly superior to Huffy riders.

@Buttonstc Yes, we do. The road bike crowd seem to be the worst, but those tend to be the ones that think they own the road and think nothing of leaving the bike lane to travel in the middle of the car lane just to be dicks anyways so it’s no surprise that they are a bit snooty. But when they taco one of their $800 Unobtainium rims doing something that a real bike that cost far less (like the $500-ish mountain bikes I prefer) could do with impunity, the Schadenfreude overwhelms me and I laugh my ass off.

@Hypocrisy_Central Well, yes and no. Generally those $87 bikes are heavier, weaker, less reliable, and inferior at all levels, often to the point of true deficiency. That said, once you get much above the $500 mark, you reach a point of diminishing returns where increased cost serves no purpose other than comparing dick size.

@ARE_you_kidding_me Most bikes in that price range have enough carbon fiber on them to be one pothole away from literally exploding. I ridicule them for their impracticality.

This coming from a guy who drives an ‘86 Corolla with faded paint, ripped upholstery, and no exhaust system!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ That said, once you get much above the $500 mark, you reach a point of diminishing returns where increased cost serves no purpose other than comparing dick size.
Myself, even if money was no object, I would seek to get a light, strong, well-built bike, but get it as cheap as I can get. I suppose if it was just a recreational thing and I only rode it for fun and recreation and never intended to use it for a trip to the store, or ice cream I might splurge and spend more. It is not important to me to have something like Litespeed Blade bike (just over 40k) or House of Solid Gold 24K Gold Extreme Mountain Bike. If you are not racing professionally I cannot see spending more than $600 for a bike. There are too many ”hause thieves” around here to even consider riding a million dollar bike. If one did not have three crack bodyguards (packing serious heat) it would be foolhardy, you might be dead before you got done with your ride, and it won’t be from a heart attack.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jerv not in the mountain bike world, carbon and composites yes but they are quite strong and generally the price goes up for one of two reasons, it’s designed to take the most punishing abuse imaginable or it’s super light. usually it is a little of both. Most $500 bikes I have seen needed a few hundred dollars in upgrades to make them what they need to be.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are always going to be elitists, and there are always going to be those prepared to profit from them. The nouveau riche are notoriously susceptible to overpriced gaudy schlock and ostentatious tasteless displays of wealth. Those desperate for status make the mistake of believing that fortifying themselves and their stuff with expensive“brand” labels will somehow elevate their “peerage”. Marketers have long recognized the insecurity in “commoners” and profit mightily from the disease. It appears that we all want to be “somebody”, and in a consumer society apparently you can judge a man’s character by his stuff (or the lack of it).

JLeslie's avatar

Of course.

jaytkay's avatar

Getting a bike due to gearing, shifting hardware, weight, etc. isn’t necessarily rubbing another’s face

I can assure you that various bike groups look down on others. It’s not always about price. You can’t show up at the low rider meetu with a $10K carbon fiber “dentist” bike. Bearded fixie riders aren’t welcomed by the Spandex-and-advertising-covered club riders.

It’s divided up much like car culture.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t really know why it happens but any hobby that involves buying shit ends up like this. For some their identity and self worth get wrapped up in being able to afford the latest and greatest or getting by as cheap as possible so that they can mock the ones spending $$$

JLeslie's avatar

I think there simply is somewhat of a natural tendency to group together or mimic those around you.

It’s partly why people belong to a particular church, are proud of their ethnic background, etc. clothing, hair, nails, wearing a cross, chai, Ralph Lauren Polo horse, driving a Cadillac, and on and on. Not everyone, but most people buy some of the things they buy because it identifies them with a group, or simply they are around that group enough that they grow to like and want those things themselves.

It doesn’t have to be that it’s to feel better than other people, it simply can be group behavior.

jerv's avatar

@Are_you_kidding_me True, but you can still get a decent downhill or trials-riding bike for under two grand even then; no need to spend $5k or more unless you’re doing it professionally, and at that point, it’s as much of an investment as the $1.5m that Indy/F1 cars spend just on their engine.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

True, I went with a used frame swapped some parts, upgraded others and ended up with a mtb that would sell for a couple grand. I may have $600 in it. Been riding it for like 8 years now, no need to upgrade just replace parts as they wear out.
I still see people riding 5k bikes though, I personally don’t get it either. $1500 gets you all you could ever need, beyond that is sharply diminishing returns.

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