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Old 07-15-09, 12:42 AM   #1
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"World's Premiere Ultra High-End Bicyle Boutique?"

KGS Bikes in San Antonio apparently is focused on selling to 40+ customers who want the "finer things in life." The store positions cycling as "the fountain of youth," and mentions that custom bikes from $6,000 to $14,000 are (just) "sturdy, reliable work-horse" bikes but suggests that *real* bikes will run you up to $30,000.

Is this really the world's premiere ultra high-end bicycle boutique? (As the proprietor claims)

Or is it the world's most pretentious LBS?

http://www.kgsbikes.com/

I was following a link about "custom bike builders" when I saw this site and since I'd never heard of them I checked it out. But even though in promotional material the shop portrays itself as a "custom bike builder" I think they're just taking orders on custom frames and putting the bike together for you...there is a nice gallery showing the owner "assembling" bikes (meaning, doing the build up for a photographer).

Seems like they sell some pretty nice bikes but there seems to be a Texas-sized dose of b.s. that goes along with a bike from KGS, IMHO.

Since the site, and several related articles all suggest this business is aimed at the 50+ crowd (at least the 40+ crowd) I thought most of you guys might already be customers...

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Old 07-15-09, 04:06 AM   #2
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Due to obvious competition, the prices at Maxx's Madd Wheels have been adjusted upward 250%. Look for the 15% off cupon that will be offered this fall.
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Old 07-15-09, 04:38 AM   #3
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Is this really the world's premiere ultra high-end bicycle boutique? (As the proprietor claims) Or is it the world's most pretentious LBS?
You have to be that pretentious if you want to sell $30,000 bikes. It's the sizzle, not the hamburger. At that price you are showing others that you can have what they cannot. It's an ego thing. And I suppose that if you are rich, you'll go there. Money is not the object.
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Old 07-15-09, 04:58 AM   #4
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Their customers are the people who everyone gets all up in arms about the idea of raising their taxes a tiny bit to help pay for much needed things. Some things just don't make sense.
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Old 07-15-09, 05:34 AM   #5
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You have to be that pretentious if you want to sell $30,000 bikes.
We have a high-end by-appointment-only bike store in Seattle called Cascade Bicycle Studio.

Somehow their approach seems a lot humbler; even though you gotta have a bit of salesmanship to position yourself as a by-appointment-only bike shop, they are a lot less over-the-top in their approach:

http://cascadebicyclestudio.com/

Their bikes can get pretty pricey, but they don't *brag* about how much they cost. (not a customer...I did correspond w/the owner about a demo bike he had for sale once, and he seemed pretty practical and down to earth. Writes a nice blog, too).
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Old 07-15-09, 05:45 AM   #6
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You have to be that pretentious if you want to sell $30,000 bikes. It's the sizzle, not the hamburger. At that price you are showing others that you can have what they cannot. It's an ego thing. And I suppose that if you are rich, you'll go there. Money is not the object.
It's a Texas thing. you wouldn't understand.

Seriously, having lived in San Antonio for 5 years, the most conspicuous consumption was done by Mexicans who love to shop there. I know one retailer who told me that it was not unusual for a Mexican to pull out a wad of cash and pay $10,000 for something on the spot.

I'm sure there are lots of rich Gringos there too. Don't get me wrong. A lot of it has to do with how the energy sector is doing. And then, there are always the tort lawyers. They seem to have lots of cash as well.

Sorry but raising taxes won't affect their behavior.
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Old 07-15-09, 05:57 AM   #7
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We have a high-end by-appointment-only bike store in Seattle called Cascade Bicycle Studio.

Somehow their approach seems a lot humbler; even though you gotta have a bit of salesmanship to position yourself as a by-appointment-only bike shop, they are a lot less over-the-top in their approach:

http://cascadebicyclestudio.com/

Their bikes can get pretty pricey, but they don't *brag* about how much they cost. (not a customer...I did correspond w/the owner about a demo bike he had for sale once, and he seemed pretty practical and down to earth. Writes a nice blog, too).
My LBS offers all the benefits of a boutique bike shop and also operates by appointment only for fittings. However, they treat everyone equally, from the mom who needs air in the kids-bike tires to the Lawyer-and-triathlete who spends $10,000 a year on gear. The provide the best fitting service in Chicago and sell Independent Fabrication, Seven, Serotta and Cervelo bikes along with Cannondale and Felt.

I feel very fortunate to have a highly professional and considerate team to support my cycling interests.

http://getagripcycles.com/page.cfm?pageID=266

And I'm glad the service is provided without the attitude.

Cheers,

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Old 07-15-09, 06:12 AM   #8
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What diid P T Barnhum say?? I guess there is one born every minute.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:15 AM   #9
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At least 10 boutique bike shops in NYC have gone bust in the last year!

As an honorary citizen of Texas(lived in Houston for 10 years) have to take issue with the "Texas thing" comments. Any city with a metro population of 2 million plus will have it's share of high end sellers be it cars, bikes, watches, furniture, boats, sporting goods, whatever.

When a $400,000 RV runs you off the road do you say to yourself "Why would anyone spend that kind of money on something so useless? A VW camper will do the same job!"
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Old 07-15-09, 06:22 AM   #10
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I'm a native Texican and can say with certainty that the referenced bike shop is proof that intelligence and money don't have a strong correlation component.

And it ain't just in Texas (can you say Madoff?).
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Old 07-15-09, 06:23 AM   #11
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At least 10 boutique bike shops in NYC have gone bust in the last year!

As an honorary citizen of Texas(lived in Houston for 10 years) have to take issue with the "Texas thing" comments. Any city with a metro population of 2 million plus will have it's share of high end sellers be it cars, bikes, watches, furniture, boats, sporting goods, whatever.

When a $400,000 RV runs you off the road do you say to yourself "Why would anyone spend that kind of money on something so useless? A VW camper will do the same job!"
I lived in Texas a total of 5 years, which may not have earned me the right to called it a Texas-sized dose of B.S. but I'm still saying there is a bit of Texas twang to this particular heap of manure.

As for cost - even a $30,000 bike is just a drop in the bucket compared to what others might spend on their hobbies (classic cars, boats, second homes, whatever). But I've never seen a bike shop whose website was so full of it around bragging about the cost of their items while dismissing a "basic" $6,000 to $14,000 bikes as "only" a workhorse. If you keep digging around the website (check out the store's stream of press releases), there is a lot of stuff that seems over the top to me.

I went back and dug up the original story that led me to this site...it mentions a "90% drop" in revenue during the current recession.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31849541...mall_business/

I wish the owner well. Maybe a less in-your-face approach to the high price of one-off bikes would be appropriate during tough times.

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Old 07-15-09, 06:30 AM   #12
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I think it is wonderful that the most productive and meritorious members of Texas society can get to enjoy these things. Those who have made good decisions and worked hard certainly richly deserve the most lavish and abundant rewards a society can offer. More income inequality please! And I do hope they are not paying high rates of sales taxes on these purchases though!
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Old 07-15-09, 02:11 PM   #13
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Don't miss out on picking up one of their wooden tool chests:
http://www.kgsbikes.com/specialty-li...en-tool-chests
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Old 07-19-09, 06:34 AM   #14
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Maybe if you show a bike for 30 grand, then the plain ole $6500 bike will seem quite reasonable.
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Old 07-19-09, 08:05 AM   #15
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They don't have anything on Chicago's south side. Check out this shop which is only open on Sundays, maybe. http://www.chicagobikeshops.info/shopDetails.php?id=11

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Old 07-19-09, 08:40 AM   #16
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It's not clear to me whether the frames are actually custom designed and built, or off-the-peg frames with a custom component fitting.
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Old 07-19-09, 09:25 AM   #17
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You are not buying not just a bicycle but a significant work of art.

According to the shop, "the value comes not from a combination of expensive components, although the expensive components are there. The three main premium components of a true custom bicycle are 1) the design of the bike around the owner, 2) the execution of the creation and building of the bicycle in the same manner that the high end watch is made and 3) the ability to create a one-off custom appearance that defines the bicycle as a world class art object still capable of high performance."
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Old 07-19-09, 09:51 AM   #18
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You are not buying not just a bicycle but a significant work of art.

According to the shop, "the value comes not from a combination of expensive components, although the expensive components are there. The three main premium components of a true custom bicycle are 1) the design of the bike around the owner, 2) the execution of the creation and building of the bicycle in the same manner that the high end watch is made and 3) the ability to create a one-off custom appearance that defines the bicycle as a world class art object still capable of high performance."
I attended the factory tour given by Richard Schwinn of Waterford yesterday. Waterford offers elite quality bikes and is focused on fit, performance and appearance.

While discussing the polished stainless steel lugs and the wide range of paint options, he compared fine bikes to jewelry and sculpture.

Many of the 30 and 40 year old Paramount bikes have increased in value over time due to the fit and finish. Great bikes can be an investment.

Michael
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Old 07-19-09, 12:10 PM   #19
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I attended the factory tour given by Richard Schwinn of Waterford yesterday. Waterford offers elite quality bikes and is focused on fit, performance and appearance....Great bikes can be an investment.
IMHO, folks like Richard Schwinn and Waterford have every right to be proud of their heritage. Guys like the bike shop mentioned above should spend more time promoting the builders they represent and less time bragging about themselves as "custom builders;" seems like a very inelegant way to promote great bikes.

Also, my impression is that very, very few bikes actually appreciate in value. Most custom bikes that are more than a year or two old sell for less than the price of the frame alone. Watch prices on eBay, Serrotta Forums, CL, etc. - I don't think you'll see many bikes that are better investments than money sitting in a bank account.

(BTW, my comment is not at all intended to say that custom bikes aren't good "investments" as in a "good use of your money." I just mean -- as a custom bike owner myself -- I have no illusions that I would ever be able to sell my bike for what I paid for it. Good psychic investment; bad financial investment.)

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Old 07-19-09, 03:10 PM   #20
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I bought a custom built bike from an shop,and consider it a great investment because it fits me, feels comfortable,and I ride it a lot. Did I need an appointment to buy it? Well yes, but only the fitting process which took 2 1/2 hours. And fwiw after the fitting (which was $$$) I was given all my dimensions and was under no obligation to buy a bike from them. The thing that clinched my buying the bike from them vs another local shop was that when I went in with my dimensions from that previous fitting they told me I needed to pay them for a fitting in order for them to properly adjust a bike if I bought from them - and were talking about a stock Specialized I was interested in at the time.
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Old 07-19-09, 07:13 PM   #21
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Due to obvious competition, the prices at Maxx's Madd Wheels have been adjusted upward 250%. Look for the 15% off cupon that will be offered this fall.
$125.00 per hour labor rate and it takes all day to assemble a bike.
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Old 07-19-09, 07:19 PM   #22
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Also, my impression is that very, very few bikes actually appreciate in value. Most custom bikes that are more than a year or two old sell for less than the price of the frame alone. Watch prices on eBay, Serrotta Forums, CL, etc. - I don't think you'll see many bikes that are better investments than money sitting in a bank account.)
Let's see. Suppose you had decided to buy a custom frame. Would you want to have it built to your own personal measurements or would you pay extra for one that was designed around somebody else?
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Old 07-20-09, 04:48 AM   #23
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$125.00 per hour labor rate and it takes all day to assemble a bike.
No...........I'm not that much of a thief. The labor rate is only about half of that. I am slow however so it may take more like 2 days to assemble the bike.......
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Old 07-20-09, 10:59 PM   #24
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Do they offer free towing if you can't make it up the hill?
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Old 07-20-09, 11:06 PM   #25
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Betcha they haven't got one of these in stock . . .
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