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Old 03-02-09, 09:25 AM   #1
akcapbikeforums
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Interesting article in the Wash Post: The Bike Biz

This might not be the best section here to post this, but this is pretty much where I hang out... and it's an interesting look at a bike business case study... during the recession.

The Bike Biz By Thomas Heath
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Old 03-02-09, 11:49 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing it AK.

I think that his statements are pretty accurate and they make business sense, but to me personally, that translates to lower/sometimes mediocre quality from China and nowhere near what the same $$ will get you in the way of a vintage machine. Geez, when did new $300-$1000.00 gaudy flashy decals on a non-handcrafted machine become a "bargain" lower-end price ? That just makes me appreciate a vintage steel bike a whole lot more... :

"In 2002, he expanded into high-end road and triathlon bikes, but these days people are less likely to spend the $3,500 on those bikes. Given the downturn, he is going to back to what he calls his "bread and butter" customers, the recreational cyclists who buy bikes priced between $300 to $1,000.

"Those prices might be less sensitive to the economy," he said.

Besides, he would rather stock 200 bikes at $500 apiece than 50 bikes at $2,000 each. Lower priced bikes are easier to move and keep cash coming in..."


Lower priced bikes also keep cash coming in because they do not last as long as a vintage steel road bike.

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Old 03-02-09, 12:09 PM   #3
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I have to say that what you can get now for $300 blows away the low end bikes I used to sell in the '70s. That's even more of the case when you get to the mid range bikes. High end bikes have gotten ridiculous now though.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:10 PM   #4
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Maybe not at the $300 end but in the top half of that range there are some pretty decent bikes to be had.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:32 PM   #5
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Keep me in the vintage market at those prices for new bikes. Even with the vintage prices having gone up the past couple of years, what I can do/get for $300 is pretty darn cool, and for $1000, wow, that would be one outrageous vintage bike.

My impression of Big Wheel Bikes (I'm local to the area) is they are primarily a vendor. Off load them from the China boat, sell them to users of the MUP that lies about 200 feet away, collect your arbitrage. They could just as easily be selling blenders or chainsaws. It is an honest living, but I probably wouldn't use them for something much more complicated than buying an innertube. College Park Cycles, Proteus, Citybikes, while not perfect, actually stand a chance on occasion of having some part or service to those of us locked in the past.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:51 PM   #6
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. Geez, when did new $300-$1000.00 gaudy flashy decals on a non-handcrafted machine become a "bargain" lower-end price ? That just makes me appreciate a vintage steel bike a whole lot more... :
Even in the "good old days" the bargain lower-end bikes were not handcrafted. In 1985 (for example), $300 "2009" dollars were roughly equivalent to $100-$150. So, for the buy-in price of $600 2009 dollars(todays entry level road bike), you would have been able to get a $300 level road bike in 1985. You may not like the way they look, but a current entry-level bike has some pretty significant technological improvements over their 1985 counterparts, for about the same equivalent cost.

Decals and aesthetics notwithstanding.....
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Old 03-02-09, 02:02 PM   #7
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I hear what you are saying BBM and you make some good points.... But I guess that what I meant was that I see really well-made handcrafted bikes in my local used market for $300-600-ish and they are often near pristine and far superior to the $899 Specialized/Trek machines that I sometimes check out in the shop. (I consider "superior" to be smoother and/or faster or at least a "unique" feeling when one uses the component/machine)

Very flashy goods these days but I haven't felt any '08-09 derailleurs or especially hubs in the $899 price range that are as smooth as my old 600 stuff or my Campy Record stuff... And the sad thing is that sometimes all somebody would have to do is spend a weekend afternoon doing some general cleaning/greasing on a vintage machine to get a better result.

Sorry, I really am a tight*ss aren't I... I'll try to join you guys in the current century some day...

I think that it's time to admit that I have a problem w/ that little black "Made in China" decal on the bottom of most head tubes....Maybe it's psychological on my part

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Old 03-02-09, 03:32 PM   #8
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I hear what you are saying BBM and you make some good points....
Just playing Devil's Advocate...

I understand what you are saying, and FWIW I sorta agree.... but you and I are not the target market. Those of us that can spot a quality vintage, can put up (or even prefer) DT shifting, and don't mind cleaning/tinkering are just a tiny sliver of any shop's bottom line - if we register at all.

IMO the newer drive-train technology is far and away a better "deal" for both me and the average potential bike purchaser today, and delivers big bang for the buck. The only real difference between me and the masses is that I prefer to hang the modern stuff on high quality vintage frames, and have the tools, knowledge, and inclination to do it myself.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:51 PM   #9
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hardly fair to compare used bikes with new bikes. Just as with cars, buying new incurs a very significant premium.

A Neuvo Record equipped bike in 1980 would have cost you upwards of $1000, and Super Record top of the line bikes were going for $1500. I would say that a bike with the features you can get now for $300 might have cost you around that much in the late '70s. I was trying to find a inflation calculator and failed, but that is a very significant decrease in price.
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