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Bike Prices Climbing

It's not only oil and gas prices that are jumping each month. Titanium, carbon fiber, and to a lesser extent, aluminum bikes are climbing like a cyclist on Alpe d'Huez.

Why? You can thank the aircraft manufacturing industry. Demand for newer and better planes and other flying craft is going "up, up, up". Which, in turn, means the demand for precious metals and synthetic fibers used throughout the plane-making process like titanium and carbon fiber, also "takes off". Titanium is made by refining and melting an ore extracted from sand--raw materials equal fixed supply. And, carbon fiber is produced in a relatively small number of facilities throughout the world.

The aerospace industry purchases upwards of 90 percent of titanium and carbon fiber production, leaving a paltry 10% for all of the other competing industries--bikes, music instruments, skis, golf clubs, etc. And, when you're not the big customer, guess what happens? That's right, you get "taken for a ride". The end consumer is actually the one who is most affected since the escalating prices are typically just passed down the line till there is nobody left--that's you and me.

So, if you're contemplating a titanium or carbon fiber bike purchase, pull the trigger. Prices are up 5 to 25% depending on the model and no "descent" is on the horizon. Of course, you can also consider saving some dough and purchase an aluminum bike--many in the Tour De France are partial to the old standby, and so am I.

Ride on!

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