Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why does a really, really good rear derailleur (e.g., Dura Ace) cost half as much as a really, really good stem (e.g., Zipp, Easton carbon, Thompson, etc.)? There seems to be more engineering, machining, tolerance issues, assembly, and materials involved with deraileurs. Also, there are only two (for the moment) competitors in the derailleur market, one of whom dominates U.S. sales (Shimano)?

So what gives? Why can't a get a "Dura Ace"-quality stem for under a hundred bucks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,160 Posts
define "really good"

Perhaps it's your definition of really good that's lacking. A Ritchey Comp stem is as light as many carbon stems and costs $40. LIGHTER aluminum stems usually cost a lot more. A Ritchey WCS is around $90 and the new 4-axis is $100. Either should fit your definition of DA quality.

Some of the price difference is probably due to stronger materials that allows thinner wall sections and makes the stem more difficult to make, but largely, price is dictated more by what the market while bear.

Just about anything made from carbon fiber is priced 2-4 times it's aluminum counterpart. Often the carbon part is also heavier (many bars and stems). Some of the extra cost is undoubtedly due to the high price for CF, but a lot of it is just due to consumers, willing to pay big bucks for anything CF.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
O.K., a new theory . . .

I think maybe I've figured this out. When Shimano went to 10-spd drivetrains (DA, then Ultegra, now 105), they realized that the rear derailleurs did not need to be upgraded from the 9spd RDs to work. So they "subsidized" the price of the rear derailleur, and loaded a disproportionate amount of the R&D recoupment/profit goals on the parts that *do* have to be upgraded (cassette and, especially, the brakes/shifters). In effect, the rear derailleur, a critical component that sees a lot of action in any bike ride, is being subsidized as a way to encourage non-essential upgrades.

So its not so much that the stems are overpriced (though they are); but that the Shimano rear derailleurs are (relatively) cheap. More of a marketing strategy than engineering thing.

I figured this out by trying to understand the outrageous pricing of 10-speed Shimano brakes/shifters. Even Ultegras (which get mediocre reviews for lack of durability/re-buildability) are well over $300. Sheesh! I going Campy on my new build for this reason (can find new Chorus/carbon brakes/shifters for closer to $200). Picked up a used Record RD (with a little carbon bling, even) for a bit over $100 (equivalent to DA). By-buy Shimano.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top