Transportation vehicle pricing

I’m looking for lots of comparison and related insight, but my primary question is:
why do cheap used cars cost as about much as a decent road bike when the technology, materials, and parts are so much more advanced?

Supply and demand.

I question the premise. I’m not sure what you consider a “cheap used car”, but a decent one usually costs a couple thousand. If you’re talking about some beater you pick up for $500, I don’t think that’s comparable to a decent road bike.

It also seems to me that you’re comparing a new vehicle price to a used vehicle price. Put it the other way round – why does a decent car cost so much more than a cheap used bike? The question rather answers itself, don’t you think?

A similar question was asked just two weeks ago:

are there cheap motorcycles? if no, could there be?

I don’t really see the mystery here. Stuff depreciates. A brand new bike should bring its owner many years of utility. A $1000 used car may crap out the next month, regardles of how fancy and expensive it was when new.

A top-of-the-line road bike will run you more than a couple of thousand. A new Trek Madone, for example, with full Dura-Ace components, will cost more than $4,000. You can spend more than seven grand on Specialized’s top-tier bikes.

OK, it may seem that that’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a bicycle. And I wouldn’t spend anything close to that (and I do a lot of cycling). But for people who are into serious competitive cycling, that’s what they want. State-of-the-art stuff. For people who buy a bike like that to ride in circles around Central Park, all dressed up in Spandex, yes, it’s a bit silly.

True enough, but to me a “decent road bike” suggests a lower price range.

bike snob, you do realize there’s a world of difference between “top-of-the-line” and “decent”, right?

a used ferrari doesn’t exactly go for a 4-figure sum.

in an effort to answer the OPs question:

the functionality of a used bicycle is readily ascertained by looking at it and taking it for a 30-second test drive. not so with a car - a lot of shit can go wrong, a lot of stuff can be screwed up on a used car, and it’s extremely difficult to verify the durability of such a car. that’s another reason why used cars depreciate fast - people don’t like the uncertainty that the used car you’re selling them was used for weekend off roading fun.

also, the stresses a 4-5 year old car (just guessing as to the average age of a used car) is subjected to are 100s of times greater than a bike. those complex mecahnical things will therefore be worn down to a far greater degree, rendering eventual repairs prospectively anticipated and thus driving the price down yet again.

Bike snob? I’m still riding the same bike I bought when I was in high school, with money from my delivery boy job. And I graduated from high school in the mid-70s.