Why should we pay from 300 Euros to 1000 Euros for a set of lights if we know that we can get lights on Aliexpress for a fraction of that cost? And what does an 18th century social economist have to say about that?
"The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot."
If you buy cheap, you buy twice!
The message basically is about quality and it a very broad sense:
- Built quality and reliability
- If I need to rely on my equipment to safely and comfortably take me to places far from the beaten track, would I want to rely on no-name equipment? I have seen Chinese light bulbs claim a 55w output and in fact delivering nearly 100w, meaning they could set the bike on fire…
- Product usability
- No name reverse engineered look-a-likes might be cheap, but are they really as useful as a light that is engineered by professionals caring about the usable light spread? The difference between good and bad lights is grotesque and a light that shines light everywhere but not in the place where you need it is just not fit for purpose.
- Legal aspects (liability)
- Europe, for example, is very regulated and if I put a light on my bike that does not conform to the legal standards, not only may I not pass the regular vehicle inspection and not be allowed to use my vehicle, I might actually be held responsible for losses and damages and (worst case scenario) personal injuries of another party if they claim that my light was glaring them and the cause of an accident. If the (insurance or police) accident investigators then look at my lights and find out that these are not certified according to ECE standards, I may be considered at least partially at fault. This is a very big thing especially in Germany but in a broader way anywhere in Europe.
In a nutshell: it's a matter of trust! If I can not trust that a cheap light (or any other of the accessories that I sell) will be reliable, useful and safe then I will not want it on my bike. And honestly, if I have a motorcycle worth a few thousands of pounds or euros, does it really matter if I spend another 500 on decent lights for it?
And this is exactly the connection to the 18th century social economist (and artist), John Ruskin, who is thought to have said:
"There is hardly anything in the world that cannot be made a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and those who consider price alone are that man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
This is what we now know as the Common law of business balance. We leave it at that. Thanks!