This is not a product for sale. It's a proof of concept for what Lexus can do with various technologies that will also be used in automobiles. Even at the price charged, I'd be surprised if Lexus even covered its costs in making these.
There will certainly be people who will buy them, simply to have one of an extremely limited item. Possession will be a status symbol. I might be surprised if any of these actually get used in competitive racing.
But there is a market for high-end racing bikes, and I can see that market being interested in the technologies used, and bike makers talking to Toyata about licensing and OEM deals to produce bikes like it.
Meanwhile, Lexus is saying "If we can do this with a bike, imagine what we can do in a car you might buy down the road!"
There's actually already a market for bikes between $5k and $15k. Lexus could launch this as a product and compete in that market (if their bike holds up). I suspect that in real world use it may not compete with the others in that price range, like bianchi, cannondale, specialized, felt, etc.
It isn't even close to being the most expensive either. Specialized released one last year that was nearly twice that cost at $19k.
especially the point about the people that would be willing to pony up just for the status symbol.
High end luxury goods are always status symbols. They may have real-world uses, but there will always be something less expensive that will serve the same purpose. You buy the high-end product in part to demonstrate to the world that you can.
I have to say I've really been enjoying your contributions to our forum.
It's a matter of perspective and viewpoint. I'm not a design engineer. My connection with the world EETimes covers is as a systems, network, and telecom administrator. But all of those things exist within a larger context.
I'm one of those folks who reads the Wall Street Journal for fun, and I've had an interest in business and economics for decades. And I have interests in history, politics, and culture, because all of those things intersect to form the societies that use the sort of products and services that get discussed here, and the nature of those societies determines the products and their usage.
My insights tend to come from stepping back to look at that larger context, like "Don't think of this as a bike, think of it as a technology demo, and then think about where else that technology might be applied."
(And thinking about it, one reason for doing the demo as a bike is form-factor: stuff that would be hidden from view in a car is on front and center display in a bike.)
Lexus could launch this as a product and compete in that market (if their bike holds up)
Launch it as a product, certainly. Compete would be another matter. When you are someone like Lexus, size matters. A market has to be big, and you need to sell a lot of products in it, to make it worth doing.
On a similar line, I was in a discussion a while back about purpose built taxicabs. Decades ago, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC had a competition to design a cab, and the discussion revolved around that sort of specialized design. One participant was an automotive engineer who worked for GM at the time. He said GM needed to sell a minimum of 350,000 of a model per year to make it worth doing, They simply could not address a tiny market profitably, and the market for that sort of purpose built cab would be a fraction of that minimum.
A smaller, focused, niche-market company specializing in that sort of thing can make and sell a high-end racing bike retailing for that sort of money and make money doing it. Lexus couldn't. It's too big, with too much overhead, to get the ROI required.