There are a lot of things you can buy with $16,000. You can buy a high-powered sportsbike, a high-end cruiser, or you can even buy, as Top Gear calls it, a “reasonably priced car.” But what if I told you that for $16K, or $15,800 to be exact, you’ll have enough money to buy a pair of bicycle wheels without expecting any change from it. The truth really is stranger than fiction because these wheels actually exist and is being sold at that price by Japanese engineers Kondo Machine.

Brothers Nobuo and Yutaka Kondo run the 30-employee shop that not only produces these wheels, but also engineers specialized parts for Rolls-Royce jet engines and machines parts for Toyota. But I’m not here to talk about those items; I’m here for the Gokiso wheels that the Kondo brothers say will provide an “incomparable ride” provided you’re willing to spend for them at a price that can buy you a Ford Fiesta. Not a replica, or a scale kit, mind you. An actual Ford Fiesta.

Before you snicker at the sheer absurdity of the price attached to these wheels, let’s take a step back for a moment and try to understand why Kondo Machine is charging this much for these wheels.

The wheels are apparently made from the same carbon material that’s currently being used in the aviation industry, making them more rigid and more durable than any kind of bicycle wheel in the market today. The Kondo brothers even claim that that the Gokiso’s design is patterned after a shock absorbing structure that allows the wheels to absorb whatever vibration it receives from the road. Then there’s the surface of the brakes, which according to the Kondo boys, is covered with basalt fiber, a material that’s supposedly more resistant to heat than anything of its kind today.

The materials used on the wheels do sound impressive, that much I’ll concede. But I still can’t see spending that much money on wheels, especially when a legitimate alternative is an actual car.

Continue reading to read more about Kondo Machine’s Gokiso wheels.

Why it matters

Whether you actually believe that all these materials justify the price, the Kondos have said that the wheels they’re selling have undergone strenuous testing and are capable of running at speeds of up to 186 mph without shredding the rubber. On top of that, the same wheels were also tested for durability and according to the Kondos, their product could withstand running 62 mph for 19 hours a day for 100 days. Do the math on those numbers and that adds up to a distance equivalent to running around the earth’s circumference…twice!

I honestly don’t know if there’s any validity to all these claims but even if what the Kondos are saying are all true, there’s no way I can justify to anybody with a rationale brain that spending $16,000 on a set of bicycle wheels counts as a reasonable purchase.

That said, imagine my surprise upon finding out that Kondo has actually sold 30 sets of these wheels and has sold 1,000 more sets of a relatively simpler model that costs $3,300 a pair.

I’m not here to hate on the Kondo brothers because they obviously spent a great amount of time working on these wheels and developing them so that they can sell it for these amounts. They should be applauded for that because apparently, there are some people willing to buy these wheels at these amounts.

I’m just speaking for myself here, and as much as I’d want to see the look on my wife’s face after I tell her I spent that much on bicycle wheels, there’s also that issue of actually being able to afford them. Sad to say, but these wheels are completely out of my price range.

Source: Popular Mechanics

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