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I am sick of hearing guys, categorising their MTB as per the money they put on to it. Is it really that much, or their is something more like stronger, more aerodynamically built. So far, I have found expensive bikes to be more lighter and durable.

But still the question remains, what are the factors that affect more when categorising a bike. By categorising, I dont mean MTB, Road Bike, Down hill bikes. I mean what some refer to as as High Level MTB, Mid-Level MTB or some as Tier-3 Bikes or Tier-2 Bikes.

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If it requires a full-time mechanic maintaining it, it's a high level bike. – Мסž May 24 '11 at 23:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Weight and durability are indeed factors, but it's also about the performance of components. The "high level" bikes are for a "high level" of performance. They're usually designed with competition in mind.

The shifting has to be perfect, the brakes need just the right amount of power, the suspension has all kinds of adjustments, tires specific to the terrain on that day are used, etc.

Of course, Average Wealthy Joe will buy one of those bikes and brag about it, but hey, be happy he's financing your favourite bike companies. ;)

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Mostly marketing and money influences this -- much more than performance, at least from what I've seen.

Its about tradeoffs, and not everyone has the same goals. Cheap chains often last far longer than super-lightweight, super-expensive ones designed for racing. Which do you think is the better tradeoff for a commuter? For a racer?

Generally speaking: "Closer to racing" || "more expensive" -> "higher end"

If racing (or pretending to) isn't your goal then you actually want "mid" or "low" end. Tradeoffs don't work well in marketing, though, and confuse consumers -- so whatever is super cool and marketable (Grand Tour racers, top BMX racers, top downhill slalom MTB racers, etc.) will be "high end" whether or not any of the sorts of performance that apply there apply to your actual situation.

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The usual bike has a few different options.

For a full suspension frame, there could be many different shocks and fork combinations, all costing different amounts to the manufacturer.

so they use their source companies range of products to determine which group the bike will be categorized into.

low end parts = low end bike (still better than a Bicycle shaped object though) mid range parts = mid range bike ( probably the best value as most of the low end parts are not as durable) high end parts - lighter overall bike and better shifting, better shocks, more adjust-ability. COST+++

Now they even change up the frame material to increase durability, stiffness and lower weight. From Aluminum -> carbon is a large jump in cost to make the frame.

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