Price of a Bobsleigh
The cost of making a bobsleigh can be incredibly high. The many unique industry practices that are needed to make a fast sled mean that there are only a few companies in the world that can actually manufacture competitive sleds. In much the same way as a race car, each component of the sled needs to be made and refined for nothing but speed, and in actual fact a fast sled can cost far in excess of even some of the best cars!
A top of the range sled, brand new from the dealer, will cost you a minimum of 60,000€ (£54,000 or $68,000), and that is for a brand new one. Interestingly, the value of a bobsleigh can increase significantly over time, as well as decreasing. There are a lot of factors that go into making a bobsleigh travel fast, but actually the amount of different parts in a sled is very small. Not only are there few parts, but the sizes of these parts, and what they can be made out of are strictly regulated. All of this means that the performance of a sled lies in the details, the very, very small details! So much so that two sleds made in the same factory at the same time by the same people could be totally different on the track. This could be due to differences in the purity of the metal used, or even smaller differences like the humidity in which the carbon fibre was set.
Cost of a bobsleigh over time
Because the manufacture of the sleds varies in such a small manner, it remains to be seen how good a sled is until it is first raced. Here is where the provenance (history, and performance) of the sled is created. If a sled has a history of fast runs, or high top speeds then its value can skyrocket. Because of there being so many different factors to the speed of a bobsleigh like the push, the runners, and the drive, it is not possible to objectively compare one run perfectly to another. Instead over a period of time a sled must build up its own reputation of good performances.
Because a sled is hard to make, and making it perform well even harder, finding a sled that is definitely going to be fast is a very difficult task. Therefore, because they are hard to find, and everyone wants one, the prices get higher and higher. A world beating 2-man sled can cost anywhere from 100,000€ to 150,000€, and a 4-man can stretch as far as 250,000€! These eye watering costs are a large part of why bobsleigh is such a hard sport to compete in.
Cost of renting a Bobsleigh
The high price of buying a bobsleigh of course means that renting one is just as expensive. However, for a team on a smaller budget, this is often the best way to go. Renting a sled offers the team the ability to use a top of the range, tried and tested, sled without having to absorb and or risk the upfront cost of buying one.
Teams will look to rent out their sleds if they have multiple, or if they don’t need it all of the time. Highly funded teams will often buy several sleds for one driver, this means that not all of them are being used at the same time and some of them can be rented out. The other reason a team might rent out a sled is if they are not planning on using it for a period of time, or a specific race. For example, if a team with a fast sled got injured, they might rent out their sled for that race, or if they were deciding to rest up before the world championships, they might rent their sled for the races before that.
However, as with anything the price can vary hugely. This is usually due to the demand for a fast sled. A team wanting to rent a sled for the world championships, or even the Olympics will have to pay vastly more than one wanting to rent for some pre-season practice reps. Renting a sled for a week can vary from anything between $500, and 10,000€, depending on the quality of the sled and the situation! In an Olympic year this could be significantly more.