Now this is not a rant directed at a particular brand since this is going on everywhere but since I ride mainly North, im looking at the new North bar for 2013 which retails for 443 Euros / 550 USD / 349 GBP.
Is it that much better? Are we that much richer? Is the overall financial climate so good?
Yet, for a bar that is marginally better (arguable) than the previous model, the list price has now gone from 399 to 443 Euros. So next year then will we will finally hit 500 Euros for a bar that lasts a bit longer than 1 kiting season?
If you have been in the industry for a while im sure you can remember what a bar cost a few years back and now we can pretty much compare a bar to the value of a small kite.
Dont get me wrong, I absolutely believe you should pay for your kit a fair price, especially if a company spends time and effort every year to improve it. But do my bars last any longer? Are the materials any better? Not really, and worse, now they leave out features (hey Toby - no more microhook) and use inferior materials which are advertised as "extremely durable plastic" -
Again, this is not unique to North, pick your brand and its the same story. So where does this lead the sport to then?
Is it time for another Best Kiteboarding to come around and shake things up? Are the brands going to introduce normal priced gear and flog it as their "budget line"?
Further more, I believe that as a whole, such pricing hurts the overall interest in the sport and its popularity which in turn makes people not bother with learning it and instead start other, more affordable and accessible sports - read more on that here, "Is kiteboarding a dying sport?" http://www.skyhooked.co.uk/2012/07/is-kiteboarding-a-dying-sport/
I guess that is the question right? or is that inflation push the price up and leaves the margins in a dump?
I mean you might argue that it is not getting better, but that they are changing just to change (I'm not just pointing at North). I guess all brands get feedback, and then try to make sure they listen to some?
...or you can argue that it is inflation that cause the price increase...if you adjust for inflation a bar that was 400 last year and adjust for inflation of I dunno 3%, then you have a $12 price increase...I don't know differences in cost from China, but I know they are getting more expensive as their labor cost goes up, but have no idea how that translates to prices on the bars...but in general the cost in China has risen quite a bit. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904140604576496973488638128.html
Maybe if a brand found a design they were happy with, and then just ordered a shitload of bars the price would be lower? ..but that would leave the brand with a higher risk and higher costs for logistics and general storage. Then what would we say when the bar came back the next year with no change? Then it would be shit what are we paying for now? They aren't even working on the bar at all....it is all a fine balance act IMO.
totally agree with you, i'm kind of in your same situation, riding north evos (2009/2010). i'm willing to get new gear, but for me is imposible it´s a pity cause i like a lot the kites and specially the bar...now i'm looking more and more to switch kites for its price...
by the way all major brands are doing the same...i would like to have slingss rpm but they are way too expensive!
i had some quotes years ago for 1km of kite line and it was not too cheap. i think the lines do cost a bit and there is no real profit to be made from something you did not make yourself and just bought kms on a roll and sewed the ends. mind u that is still real expensive.. north do make a good bar and lines tho
There is so much unused last years stuff around or from the year before (at least in Germany). If you agree that the bars do not improve drastically, you can easily get proper new bar for 250 Euros.
I ride Naish and I would like to have the 2012 bar because it has a swivel. Beside that the bar is almost identical with my 2010 bars which work absolutely fine. So I am just waiting for prices to come down.
That all depends on the QC of the kite company, but that price is for quite a nice bar - unique, not one of the generic types you get from the smaller comapnies like blade and Epic.
I do know the brand and could most probably get the receipt (as the kite comapny got the manufacturer to deliver direct to the end user and the manufactuer included the receipt in the parcel).
Just to remind you guys - these kites are made in countries where the labour is cheap (around a $1/day income), the cost of living is low and they make all the bits and bobs in the country like the lines etc without the middle man to inflate the prices.