Writing from across the Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom, for many years I never came across a Santa Cruz bike. I believed them to simply be a small American brand that would never really break out of the country and onto the global market. I was certainly wrong about that!
Santa Cruz bikes are rapidly gaining popularity around the world and now have a reputation for being some of the finest bikes to come out of the US.
In this piece, I will be taking a closer look into the biggest reasons why Santa Cruz bikes are so expensive and hoping to give you some of the information that I wish I had known about a long time ago.
1. Lengthy Production Process
Santa Cruz bikes is not just the name of the brand, but is also the home of the company, with all of their bikes being made in Santa Cruz California.
Every inch of the production process is kept under one roof, and this is something that very few of their rivals can match.
This level of detail in the production process is an equally powerful marketing tool as it is simple for those making the bikes and is certainly used as a way to increase prices, which is perfectly justified.
Santa Cruz really pride themselves on the bottom-up approach they have taken, and this makes them seem like a much smaller company than they are, thus charging prices that a smaller brand would.
2. Materials Used in Production
This point depends on which bike you want to buy from Santa Cruz as they use a range of materials in their frames that vary in price. For the top of the range models, Santa Cruz use a form of carbon fibre that they call ‘Carbon CC’.
Essentially, this is just a lighter form of carbon fibre that reduces the overall weight of their bikes by a small margin.
In reality the price jumps that occur when selecting a carbon cc frame are not worth it in my opinion, with them increasing by thousands of dollars for a saving of a less than a kilogram.
3. Supply and Demand
Quite possibly the most important point in this piece is the supply and demand principle that has taken hold in regard to Santa Cruz bikes.
Given that the brand is still working in one factory and does not yet have bases around the world, it is only able to produce a certain number of bikes at any one time.
With the demand for their bikes increasing at an exponential rate in recent years, Santa Cruz haven’t been able to keep up with the demand and sometimes sell out of certain models.
The brand may find itself needing to expand in the coming years in order to balance their supply versus the demand for their bikes.
4. High Quality Components
The next reason again relates to the production of the bikes, and the fact that they use some of the finest components on the market. When it comes to mountain bikes, suspension is king and Santa Cruz bikes have amazing levels of suspension.
The system that Santa Cruz use is named virtual pivot point (VPP) suspension, this works by balancing the forces generated by riding and elevating any unwanted compression therefore delivering a smoother ride.
It is an expensive system that isn’t found on all mountain bikes and will go some way to making Santa Cruz bikes more expensive.
Whilst many bike brands often try and get you to include optional extras like equipment and upkeep packs to your order (never get these by the way, you can find them cheaper on the high street), Santa Cruz have gone down a slightly different route by including extras that you have no choice but to accept when ordering from them.
One of these extras is lifetime warranty on all of their models, this is a great thing to have as a buyer as it means that your bike is covered against any defects for the entirety of its life.
If your bike doesn’t meet your expectations you can take it to Santa Cruz who will repair the issue for you at no extra cost.
Of course, this kind of cover isn’t cheap and certainly bumps the price of each bike up slightly.
6. Shipping Costs
Like with many large items, shipping costs can add a hefty amount on top of what you are already paying for an item.
This is no different when it comes to Santa Cruz bikes, if you are ordering from the company directly (which is the best idea) you will incur different shipping costs depending on where you are ordering from.
If ordering from the US mainland there is a standard shipping fee of $9.95 that will be added onto any order, there is also an option to have expedited delivery at an increased rate of $19.95 per order.
If you live in Canada you will have to pay more for shipping as the company will need to cover import taxes on your order, this shipment will cost $25.
As for shipment outside of north America, the price will vary depending on what country you are from as all nations have different forms of import taxation.
7. Media and Consumer Hype
This is an external factor that links to the point I made about supply and demand earlier in this article. Media and consumer hype can be one of the best things to happen to a brand as well as being a pain in the backside for those that work for them!
Social media is the main driver of this kind of excitement building, with popular personalities and riders using Santa Cruz bikes and raving about their quality online.
This then seeps into the feeds of regular folk who then want to try the product out for themselves, this of course leads to a mad scramble for a low number of bikes that will inevitably drive prices up.
For consumers, it is actually better to keep relatively quiet about the quality of a product that doesn’t appear very often. If you’re familiar with the recent hype surrounding Prime energy drink in the US and UK, you will know exactly what I’m talking about here.
If like me you weren’t all that familiar with Santa Cruz bikes before reading this piece, hopefully now you can understand why they are so expensive and perhaps consider getting one for yourself in the future.
Learn more about why bikes are so expensive in this post.