What was the difference between 500usd and 500pounds bitd?
Funny thing was the exchange rate didn't tell the full story. Cost of living and duties always mean that the UK is a pricey place compared to the US. More often than not, back in the 1990s, a $500 bike would cost £500. At the top end that was even worse, bikes like Merlins and Fats sometimes cost more, so a $2000 frame could be £2500 purely because top end importers were tiny operations and would pay full import duty, VAT and then retail mark up.
In many instances you could fly to the US, buy a top end bike, stay in a hotel and fly back with the bike for less than it would cost to buy it over here. There were even guys who specialised in doing that, taking out a scrap bike and bringing back a new one to beat the customs guys.
My fat chance titanium frame cost £2500 when new over here (not that I bought it new, I couldn't afford a tenth of it back then), at 1.5 £/$ that equates to $3750, getting close to twice its US price.