It’s nearly trade show season, so rumors are swirling like mad about product changes for 2004. From what we’ve seen, there’s more carryover than expected in terms of inventory between ’03 and ’04. There’s one overwhelming theme for 2004, though, and that’s steep price increases. As we mentioned previously in regards to Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed pricing, the US dollar has lost upwards of 20% of its value against the Euro and 11% against the Yen in the last 16 months. Wholesale and retail prices for the 2003 season were established right as this tailspin began. As the year wore on, the steepest wholesale price jump we saw was around 5% — if anyone had tried raising prices any higher, their sales would’ve stopped dead. As such, 2004 is the year where prices will get adjusted with a vengeance. 2004 frameset pricing will likely be in effect by the end of September 2003. If you’re tempted in the least to buy a new frame, your wallet will be much better served by taking advantage of the low prices in place right now. We’ve sketched some notes below. Please keep in mind that none of what you’ll read is gospel just yet. Prices and colors are always subject to revision.
The Carbon GX2 will apparently be renamed the Carbon MXM and will be available in both the current nude scheme and the Lotto-Domo paint scheme. The price moves up to C-40 territory: $3700. And speaking of price increases, the Team SC will go unchanged for 2004 except in cost — $2500. We’ll have the 2003 Team SC on sale for $1850 until the end of September, so it’s a great chance to get what’s basically next year’s bike for 25% off. The Race also goes unchanged, except for its price hike to $2000. One piece of good news is that the MX Leader will be available in Molteni Orange in all sizes, not just the 57cm+ we’ve seen so far.
The Pinarello line remains the same. The Dogma will be available in 4 colors: the current Gold and Blue, and we’ll also see it in Red and in Black. The price has a healthy increase of $700 to $3899. We’re expecting a massive shipment of Dogmas to arrive at the end of September, so the availability issues we had to contend with throughout 2003 finally ought to be resolved. After much back and forth, we also feel rather confident that the three colors of the Prince SL will remain the same for 2004. The price will become $3000, a $350 increase. Given that this frame will be identical to the ’03, taking advantage of the current $2650 price is certainly advised. The Prince will be available in Red only, and will stay at $2500. The current sale price of $2150 on the Prince is good through the end of September. The Galileo gets carbon seatstays for 2004, and the price moves from $1150 to $1500.
Pegoretti has a lot going on in terms of product changes for 2004. For starters, we’ll see a new steel frame named the Big Leg Emma. It’s unique in that the downtube has a stainless steel insert welded inside. There are cut-outs in the downtube, where tabs on the insert are welded, making for an incredibly stiff frame, as do the big ‘legs’ (the chainstays). The stiffening insert and the beefy chainstays are what distinguishes the Emma from a Marcelo. It’s not lightweight – a 57cm weighs about 4.4 lbs., but it should be quite the sprinter’s delight. It’s will be our top end steel offering at $2999. Another new frame is the 8:30am (named after the time of day when Dario gets to work). It’s an entry-level aluminum frame made from Columbus 7005 tubing for $1499. It appears that the superlight CCKMP will no longer be offered in the US. The Fina Estampa has been such a well-received frame – considered by many, in fact, to be the finest aluminum frame money can buy – that most folks shied away from its lighter cousin. The Fina has a price increase to $2000. The steel Luigino with its hand-filed stamped lugs and a double-plate fork crown will be available as a stock frame for $2399. The Marcelo is unchanged both in terms of price and paint scheme. The Palosanto will still be available in Yellow Nails, with a new price of $1500.
Based on what we’ve seen, there’s very little in the way of changes to the Opera Bike lineup for 2004. The carbon fiber Leonardo got a bit of a cosmetic facelift, and now has some black paint integrated into the carbon weave. Quite beautiful. The Giorgione and Palladio will be identical, all the way down to paint.