Detailing our Bikes Specs Levels

Video Blog
February 25, 2021
Detailing our Bikes Specs Levels

 Hey guys, Dustin here, CEO of Sixthreezero. Today, we're going to talk to you about the different spec levels of bikes, how to understand the differences, and also explain a little bit about Sixthreezero's spec levels. I've got Peter here, our head of customer service and quality control. We're going to get everything explained to you. All right. So as I said, I'm here with Peter, our head of customer service and quality control. Welcome, Pete.

Hey, everybody. How are you doing? Thanks for joining us.

Pete's got over 20 years of experience in the bike industry all the way from a mechanic to a store manager to a sales rep to here with us now. Not many people can know more than this guy from the ground level up in the bike industry. So he's going to help dive into the spec-level explanation. Today, the goal is to hopefully have each of you understand a little bit better about the different spec levels of our bikes, bikes in general, what does it mean, why is one bike more expensive than another bike. I know this can be a very confusing topic. It's something that I deal with outside in the world as well. I've bought tennis rackets, golf clubs, cars, anything. You see one product more expensive than another product and it's not always easy to decipher why and what's the benefit to you.

Here at Sixthreezero, we are delineating our specs on three different levels. We've got our Casual model. What we're going to move to the naming of the middle spec level as a Dedicated, but currently on the website, you may see it as Consistent moving to Dedicated. As of now, you're not seeing this term on the website, but our highest spec level as of today, we're calling it Fanatical. So Casual, Dedicated or Consistent, Fanatical. The Fanatical models right now, some of them aren't tagged, but if you see it as the most expensive version of that model, that would be deemed the Fanatical level.

So in the next month, two months, three months, we are going to move to that naming system where you'll see every bike being tagged with one of those tiers, Casual, Dedicated, Fanatical. So Pete, if you want to get into a little bit about what's the differences between all these different spec levels, what kind of variations will you see? One more caveat, we do have different models here. This is the Around The Block we've got and Every Journey. So we just wanted to show a couple of different bikes. So we're not necessarily going to do a model-by-model comparison. We're just going to generally talk about differences between these spec levels and what's the value back to you, the rider, which I think is most important.


So Pete.
It's a broad topic, and I think it applies to like Dustin mentioned every aspect of your life when you go and make a purchasing decision and we've all been there. How do you kind of make sense of what level of product to get? It's easier when it's quantitative, the small, medium, or large or whatever. But with bikes, it's an issue of quality generally, and also of use and your lifestyle, what you're looking for in a bicycle. A lot of people, like the type of bike that I ride, will run into several thousands of dollars because I like to race and go fast. But then I also have beach cruisers too, which you just don't need to spend that kind of money on a beach cruiser because it's a different type of use.

So you want to think about your frequency of riding, how far you want to go, how many bikes you need, and your level of durability and performance also. So, yeah, so we started out basically with the Every Journey here, and this is the Fanatical edition, okay? This is also an Every Journey, and then we have an Around The Block here to represent the Casual level of things. But the main difference is we can start off with the frame, first of all. You're going to see that at the highest level, we've got an aluminum frame, which is high-quality aluminum, lightweight. A lot of higher-performance bikes are also made from aluminum. When we go to the Dedicated and then also to Casual, you'll see the steel frames. So even though these bikes look the same, the two Everyjourneys, actually are made from different materials. This bike could be a little bit heavier, maybe that doesn't matter to you. So you can kind of balance these different costs and benefits.

I'll just speak to that really quick. When you talk about the frames, and I think all specs in general, just to backtrack a little bit, when we talk about specs, we're going to try to put it in terms of what's right for you. There's the idea of low quality or bad quality and high quality and things of that nature. I like to look at it as what's right for each person. I apply the same principle in my life. It's just like a car. Not everybody needs 300 horsepower. Is that higher quality? Yes. Is it worthwhile to everybody? No. So I think that's important to just keep in mind as we talk about the specs.

So to bring that back to the frame, and as Peter talked about the frame, with the aluminum versus steel on the different spec levels, the true benefit to the rider of an aluminum frame is efficiency. Meaning, you're going to get a little bit more for the pedal because the bike's going to be lighter. So some benefits to the rider would be if you're going to carry the bike places upstairs in an apartment or a house and you're going to store it somewhere, it'll be a little bit lighter. I think maybe eight to 10 pounds in that range. Maybe a little bit less than that.

Yeah. Maybe five or six.

Maybe five to eight pounds. Yeah. Depending on the bike model, how much metal is actually in that frame construction. So it's not a ton, but you are going to feel the difference in the ride. It's going to be a little smoother and a little easier to pedal. So again, if you're riding longer distances, if speed is important to you, aluminum is a good choice. Moving into the steel versions, if speed and efficiency isn't a huge thing to you, or quite honestly, maybe you want a heavier bike because it's going to make you work harder, I mean, that's an option because as Pete talked about racing and the aluminum and the carbon, the idea was to make the lightest frame to give you the best output, right, to win races.

I think, well, I know for our category bikes, no one's trying to win races. So quite honestly, the steel frames have their place. With that said, an aluminum frame has performance benefits and it's also more expensive. Aluminum actually can't be recycled. Most steel actually in the world, I think the last statistic I saw was something close to 50% of all steel is recycled metal. It can be melted down and reused. Aluminum cannot. So that also plays a little bit into just the general cost of aluminum. But again, it has benefits for a bicycle that make performance a little bit better.

So between the different tier levels, there are differences in quality that you should take a look at and see if what level you need because there are differences that can make a difference in your ride. Sometimes the bike may be more bike than you need. Sometimes there's a bike that may be less bike than you need. Again, think about your frequency of riding, the type of riding, and how far you're going to ride. Some differences that that may not be so noticeable is that you can see that at the highest level here, the Fanatical, the wheels are double-walled rims, which are stronger wheels. They hold up better. They ride better. They stay truer more easily.

These guys have single-walled rims, which are great rims, but if you're going to hop curves or something, you can do that on this bike. I wouldn't recommend something like that on a single-walled rim. So that's just kind of a good example of the differences that you're going to have. Other differences will be upgrades in componentry. So with the Casual edition, of course, we went with a certain base-level that will give you a really good ride at also a really great price. But then as you move up along the scale, you'll find higher quality derailleurs and then higher still here, and then also better brakes going up as we go along.

Yeah. I'd like to point out too, in our spec levels on the derailleurs, a lot of times our Dedicated versions and our Fanatical versions use the same derailleur, in some cases. Now, the Casual uses a different level of the derailleur, but you know in looking at this particular bike, I would say one of the most major differences between those levels is an aluminum frame, whereas, between the Dedicated and the Casual, there are more differences between the derailleur in particular and also the breaks and things like that.

Yeah. Then a few other things like the cranks here, also different levels. It's just a difference in durability, smoothness of the ride.

I can speak to that too. So when we talk about the derailleurs, what makes one derailleur more expensive than another? So all three of the derailleurs you see on our bikes are made from Shimano and Shimano has different levels of the derailleur. What goes into that? Well, the speed in a shift, how fast the bike can shift between the gears. The durability, how long will it last? How many miles can it be ridden? It's very similar to a car. You buy the upgraded version of the brake pads. You might get 10,000 more miles. You buy a better tire. You may get 15,000 more miles. The same thing is true with these derailleurs. With the Casual edition, you're going to get a certain level of miles you can ride on that bike.

Now, the other thing is it's not to say that it's going to break. It might just need to be retuned sooner than this one is going to... The Fanatical version would last. So I would say the length of use plays into it. Then also the kind of wear and tear it can endure. I mean, if you're going to be riding very aggressively or uphills at high speeds, the Fanatical versions of a bike or the higher-level specs are a great option for you. So there's a lot that goes into weighting these different elements. Do you want to speak to the brakes a little bit then too Pete and just the spec levels and how ours differ a little bit?

The brakes do you have some differences going from the Casual to the Dedicated to the Fanatical. Basically, what you're going to notice as a consumer is just the functionality of it. The brakes on the Dedicated and then on the Fanatical are going to be more responsive, more positive feel. One note, they can all squeal if they're not done properly. So we have videos on how to adjust breaks so that they don't squeal. That's just a matter of positioning. So that's something that all brakes share in common that can be addressed.

So to piggyback off what Pete's saying, on the brakes, I would say some of the elements you'd be looking at, what are the categories of an element that are going to be different between these three bikes? So like Pete said, responsiveness, one. Durability, two. I would say performance, but performance is really responsiveness in this situation. So if you are riding on very steep hills a lot and you're coming downhill at high speeds, 15 miles plus, and you're going to be working the brakes quite a bit, I would say go with a Fanatical or a Dedicated in the very least, because you're going to be putting pressure on those components. You're going to be working them to the full extent.

So it really, really, really, when choosing the right specs, it's really important to think about how you're going to ride the bike and what you need. So on the brakes that really sums it up. If you need responsiveness if you need durability, lean towards the Fanatical. Not as important to you? You can lean towards the Casual.

Any these bikes would be great rides, but you would see differences if you were to say ride this bike 10 miles versus riding this bike 10 miles. You'll find that this one will take a little more effort and this one will feel smoother and kind of glide a little more. A lot of times people wonder like, "Why do these race bikes get so expensive?" That's exactly what it is. It just starts to get more and more expensive to make bikes lighter and then also more durable and reliable, just cost more money to get those qualities.

Yeah. I can speak to what he was saying, the smoothness in the ride. So we have the Casual, Dedicated, Fanatical, the cranks are all different, and the crank is a huge component when it comes to the ease of riding, the smoothness of the ride. So all different cranks. Now, to the naked eye, they may appear to look the same, but there are bearings inside of there. The time and effort that goes into grinding and welding and smoothing the inside is way more extensive on the Fanatical than on the Casual, and while on the surface maybe seems like a minimal thing, Pete said if you ride these, you're going to see those little differences.

So a lot of times it's not major actual metal components that you can see. It's just the time that went into, the care and dedication to make the product. So again, these cranks, the cranks here where the pedals are, all three of them look very similar. But a lot of it is the labor that goes into making sure the inside is smooth. The bearings are placed correctly. The bearing's set, these are sealed bearings on all three of these, but the grease, they use the different type of grease, things like that, those little elements and the added time to make sure it's perfectly done and assembled adds up to that smooth ride. So it's not necessarily just about the appearance of it. It's how much time goes into making sure it's just right, the performance is just right.

I think you can say that with the frames in particular, like a lot of times, the Casual and the Dedicated use the same frames. Why would one be better? Well, maybe there's more time that went into the welding and things of that nature. It makes it a little more expensive, smoother, better welds on the frame. Again, small details, those kinds of things show up in all of the specs. The derailleurs, how they're tuned, how much time goes into it. So materials, the material of the spec is really only one element that plays into the quality. It's the labor on the other side and the tuning and the actual craftsmanship of it all, which adds to the cost of it. Some other things we can talk about... Do you want to talk about the tires a little bit and our different spec levels of the tire?

So when we were talking about the tires between the Dedicated and the Fanatical, they're the same tire in terms of what we're talking about the rubber part of the tire. But the wheel itself, the metal is there's an upgrade going up to the Fanatical. But the tires are the same. So these two are upholstered the same. Then with the Casual, we don't have the Every Journey Casual here yet, but this will have a seat that is different altogether. This one has an elastomer, which is less apt to make noise. Sometimes a squeaky seat is something that happens on beach cruisers. But this has an elastomer spring in it for suspension and that does not squeak. It's a high-quality seat option. This one has sprung. Sometimes these may have a tendency to need a little bit more upkeep with the hardware there. Then it is possible to have squeaking sometimes, and then you have to adjust that.

Yeah. And I think in the Casual, on the springs as well, over time, this metal, and again, it could be hundreds of miles of rides, but the spring saddle could expand and loosen. Whereas the elastomer is a little tighter. I don't think you're going to see wear over time or sort of the longevity on the elastomer is going to be much greater than on the spring saddles. The other thing that plays into it, and I'll speak to just bikes in general, is another element is the materials in the seat. A lot of seats use foam, but there are varying degrees of foam. Many, many types of foam and foam can vary. It could be the same foam from one factory, but it feels better from another factory. Again, it's just the creation process, the time, how they make it, things of that nature. So when you talk about a higher-end seat versus this seat, we're using a better, more durable longer-lasting foam on this seat versus this seat.

Again, it may be minimal to you and maybe not important, but it's just one of those small changes where this seat is going to hold its shape and have more longevity. Whereas that one, it still will feel good, but maybe isn't going to last you five, 10 years where this one would. Again, what's important to you? How long are you going to have it? Just the feel and the comfort of it for the seats is not the only thing that plays into why it's more expensive or not more expensive. But again, it's up to the rider to choose if it's right for you. If you want to spend that extra money to get a seat, in particular, you can.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, and looking at seats across other brands or in the bike market, there's a lot of things that can make seats more expensive. The one thing I want to talk about on the spec level too is the design. Just like the labor to actually craft the bike to make it by hand, what plays into the different spec levels, and that's true for the Fanatical, Dedicated and Casual, for us as well, is the actual design time. How much time we needed to put into the thought of sourcing the materials and finding the right materials and making sure these materials are the right ones for this ride for the Fanatical. We spend a lot more time on the Fanatical, making sure that we source the materials for everything, the right rubber, the right foam, the right metal for the rear rack.

The same is true for cars and other things is that that time is all time that goes into the creation of the product. I think sometimes that gets lost when you buy a consumer product. As for me, I play tennis. So you see the tennis racket hanging there but you forget about somebody had to sit there and think about every design element. This dot goes here and the string comes here and this material is right for here. A lot of times, that can take several years. In the case of Apple and their development of products, I think it could take three, four, five years sometimes to make sure. So the actual production, when it comes time to produce the product, in this case, our bikes, that's actually probably one of the more easy elements of the whole thing because everything's been decided and you're putting it all together.

Now, it's not easy, but you've already created a roadmap and the actual planning time is what leads to the increase. So the same is true for bikes and our bikes in particular. When we're designing, we're making sure on this Fanatical that everything is perfect and we're putting in the time to source everything. Not that we don't care about all the spec levels, but when you're trying to achieve a certain level of quality, it takes more time to really, really test and source and test it and change it and test it again and make sure it's the right product to put forth. So long explanation there, I know. Trying to give as much insight to everyone at home as possible. Any other thoughts then, Pete, on our different spec levels and the variation?

Yeah. Well, I think summing up is how do you decide, how do you choose between the Casual, the Dedicated or the Fanatical? We would encourage you to start with our body fit. That will give you the best start. Dustin will talk a little bit about that. If you're just going to pull out the bike a few times during the summer and ride down to the beach, maybe Casual is all the bike that you need. But if you're going to be riding your bike several times a week and want to go some distance and really get some fitness going, I would go for the Fanatical. If you fall somewhere in between, we would go with the Dedicated or Consistent here.

Yeah. I mean, I'll add a little bit to that. So we've got our proprietary algorithm, our body fit quiz on the website. It's going to ask you questions about your lifestyle and your body type. Take the quiz. It's going to recommend a bike that's right for you. Secondly, if I was just to give a quick synopsis on how would I choose to buy one of these bikes, I would say number one, like Pete said if you're riding no more than once a week and you're going no more than five miles a ride, Casual bike is great. If you're riding multiple times a week and you're going five to 10 miles a ride, Dedicated is great. If you're going several times a week and you're going eight miles plus, Fanatical is great.

With that said though, I think terrain and speed also play into it, and hills, which is why I think taking the body fit quiz is actually the best bet because it's going to weigh all of those factors into the algorithm and help you choose. But again, more riding, harder riding, Fanatical. Less riding, easier riding, Casual. So confusing topic. I hope we brought some clarity to it. I hope we didn't confuse you more. If you do have any other questions that we can answer specifically, please comment below. We're happy to answer. You can also call us 310-982-2877 or shoot us an email, I'll say it one more time, take the body fit quiz on our website. It's going to ask you questions about your lifestyle and your body, and it's going to fit you to your body.

Lastly, we have a 365-day return policy. If you don't love your bike in 365 days, you can return it, no questions asked, no money out of your pocket. I'm out of breath. All right, well, don't forget, it's your journey, your experience, enjoy the ride.


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Detailing our Bikes Specs Levels