I was just looking at the new On One Codeine full suss mountain bike and 45650B hardtail (£2599 vs £899) respectively. However, what is the great difference apart from the shock? A fox rear shock goes for about £300 max. What causes the giant price difference?

  • Well, the frame is different on a hardtail to accommodate the shock/suspension, but I'm not sure if one type of frame is inherently more expensive than the other.
    – Kibbee
    Mar 5 '14 at 18:36
  • 1
    You can buy a full-suspension bike at Walmart for $129.97. (OK, it's not really a bike, it's a BSO.) Mar 6 '14 at 2:26
  • As much as anything it's what the traffic will bear. Mar 6 '14 at 12:08

I don't think you are matching like for like and actually the price differential is quite small.

The only fair way to compare two bikes is by looking at the frame only price. In this case I've been unable to find the frame only price for the Codeine (SingleTrack forum suggested £599 with Monarch R vs £225 for 456) so have used Santa Cruz instead:

The frame only price for:

Both are XC bikes, 29" and alloy.

So the price difference between the two bikes is $349, this would include:

  • the shock
  • the pivot bearings bolts etc
  • additional welds for the FS
  • additional strengthening for the FS
  • more complex manufacturing of the pivots
  • additional design costs

There are other factors that influence the price of a complete bike that may explain the difference between the 456 and the Codeine. The £899 45650B is an intermediate level specification whilst everything I have seen on the Codeine indicate it will have a high performance build. The differences from what I've seen include:

  • the 45650B has a Deore groupset, a XT or X9 groupset would be £300 cheaper but the Codeine prototype had an XX1 groupset which would be at least £500 more.
  • the Codeine may come with a dropper post which would be £200 more.
  • the 45650B has a Sektor fork vs the Revelation on the Codeine which would be £100 - £200

Comparing the two bikes side by side there would be more examples where the specification levels are different and would justify additional costs (brakes, wheels, tyres, bars, saddle etc.).

  • 1
    should also add the cost of more complex manufacturing, and design of a full suspension bike.
    – BrianC
    Mar 5 '14 at 18:48
  • Theres also what the market can bear. And the rear shock (unlike the fork) is essentially a permanent part of the frame.
    – Batman
    Mar 5 '14 at 19:28
  • 1
    Also soft tails are generally less reliable than hard tails, and the shop has to carry warranty for this. They take more effort to maintain - more time, so the shop has to factor this (as they often give free services with new bikes). Then as said by @Batman - pricing of bikes is largely based on perceived value rather than cost-plus, especially in mid - high end price brackets.
    – mattnz
    Mar 5 '14 at 22:32
  • I think its also more frequent services aside from longer services.
    – Batman
    Mar 5 '14 at 22:55
  • frame cost is not the same as frame price - otherwise good other points. Mar 6 '14 at 8:32

There are a lot of variables to consider here, you can't really compare two bikes and declare that all full suspension bikes are £1000 more. That's like comparing apples to oranges, every model of bike is unique and comes with different components. Components are going to account for big ranges in price.

That said, generally, full suspension frames are more complex, require more parts, and are more costly to design and manufacture.


hard tail full suspension


A full suspension frame is in all respects more complex (thus expensive) because:

  • it has a shock
  • it has pivots
  • it has extra parts (e.g shock rocker)
  • it sometimes has carbon chainstays
  • it sometimes has internal cable routing ports to deal with moving cables
  • it cannot aford to we heavy, so it has to be as light as possible
  • it needs to withstand lateral flex
  • it has a lot of technology and r&d in order to
    • sometimes custom tune the shock for the specific leverage ratio of the frame
    • address pedaling bob
    • increase pedaling efficiency
    • minimize brake jack
    • provide easy maintenance features (pivot grease ports, bushings vs bearings etc)
    • properly place the water bottle (some frames don't have room for one)
  • it aims customers who are willing to pay more
  • sometimes companies have to pay for the linkage design to the patent owner. For example frames with "Split Pivot rear suspension" (e.g http://www.devinci.com/) pay money to mr Dave Weagle
  • pivots are not expensive per se. 'sometimes has carbon chainstays' - does the bike I mention have them? internal cable routing is not expensive, and have been in existence for decades, 'it cannot aford to we heavy, so it has to be as light as possible'- surely as any bike its better to be lighter? same with lateral flex point. 'it aims customers who are willing to pay more' - probably most valid point. Mar 25 '14 at 12:00

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