DOH! We're boned.
Cappuccino is out. May just track one down before they get impossible to find. (need a #2 bike)
I'm not sure what to make of these new folders - the Mocha and Latte.
I see the rear diagonal extending from the hinge *beyond* the seat tube and I get the impression it's sort of trying to imitate the Giant Halfway with it's special rear rack system.
As someone who shopped for his first folder this year, I liked the "conventionality" of the KHS F20 Westwood.
Thanks to a Cappuccino owner here on the forum, I discovered the Cappuccino shares the same frame in common with the F20 Westwood. (you can put a 406mm wheel on the Cap' - worst case: new front fork needed)
I have another potential theory: Norco (Canadian bike mfg) makes something called the "Origami." It looks suspiciously like the Mocha. I suspect it's a coincidence but it's possible KHS has outsourced these two new alloy folders to Norco. See: http://www.jvbike.com/bikes/Origami.htm
Sheer speculation on my part: KHS Japan is counting on a much larger market for folders in the Pacific Rim and, of course, less impact on retail price due to lower shipping costs versus US sales. They're reserving their premium bikes for that area.
I recently heard back from an inquiry I sent to KHS Japan several months ago: they're more than happy to sell me folders directly - if I buy a shipping container of 200+ bikes! Ouch!
If I could secure the floor-plan financing for that kind of thing and the margin made sense, I'd love to make a go of promoting them across the Americas. Selling the *idea* that a folder can compete is key in my mind: a Moulton won a Toronto-street criterium race in the 1980's - an Airnimal was ridden to a Bronze at the world Time-Trial championships.
Wow - tangental much Chris?
EDIT: I don't know what the stated weight limits are on KHS folders but I've used the F20 since I was 260+lbs. (+ all my extra gear)
I'm happily close to 230lbs now - the bike seems fine. (they're really over engineered - just a quick inspection and you'll see the tubing is indestructible... happy to take some measurements and/or photos if you want to see)
I just finished reading the Mike Burrows book Bicycle Design and now, more than ever, I am really happy with my pick almost a year ago when I decided to go with a Halfway.Originally Posted by af895
You mentioned before that you are planning some serious touring on a folder. Based on that ( and my positive experience with Giant) I believe you would benefit from the cantilever design of the halfway. Replacing tires without removing them will be a convenience when (not if) you get flats. On top of that, you already know how solid the frame/ride is.
I personally spent a nice time looking for something better than the Giant Halfway. The only thing I found was the Mr20 lite, but it does not fold neatly. My search, at least for now, is over.
Thanks for the comments. I think selling 200 KHS folding bikes would be a major challenge in the US at least in the current market. The advertising budget would be crippling.
We have a large variety of folders including a couple of KHS models, but there is a big marketing downside. We get folks in who want to do a whole mess of very time consuming test rides, then they can't decide what they want because they have been choice overwhelmed.
Originally Posted by wpflem
wpflem: your first comment about the state of the market leads me to some interesting ideas.
I wonder - would KHS, Dahon, Giant, Airnimal, Brompton and other larger, successful folder manufacturers be amenable to a "Folding Bike Manufacturers Marketing board" of sorts. I still see North America as the wealthiest world market, even if there are more people elsewhere in the world.
The difference is, in Europe or Asia, people already know the benefit of bikes and folders are a value-add. In North America, there's a perception they're a compromise. That's where a folder-manufacturer marketing board would come in to play - something like the Dairy or Beef marketing boards.
I know what you mean about "choice overload" for consumers. I saw it every day in my last business, building, selling and teaching people to fly sport aircraft. We supported our clients very well and earned loyalty with that service. Often, people who went elsewhere returned to admit they didn't receive that level of support from the folks they finally bought from.
Our challenge was to win people over to us, as a retailer.
Carrying multiple product lines, I see the consumer's choice in part as a decision of who to trust and who they enjoy dealing with on a retail level.
As a manufacturer, it was a challenge to make the product sexy and to stand out against the other manufacturers once the client walked through the retail door where multiple product lines were displayed.
Do you find similar logic applies to your business wpflem?
That's where a folder-manufacturer marketing board would come in to play - something like the Dairy or Beef marketing boards
the whole bicycle industry is probably 1 or 2 percent of the dairy or Beef industry... Now imagine what 1 % of their generic advertising would do.... And I am talking about the whole industry
Now ...lets say 16 million bikes get sold this year in the US .... take 12 Million out as being Walmart etc bikes... leaves 4 for everybody else .... what do you think the sales number for all folders might be 150 000 thousand ... or more like 75000 thousand ...
maybe much less ....
you see where i am goin ....
the only real thing is what WE can do ...... get more people interested, one by one .. it will make a difference
Originally Posted by af895
Yes, a similar logic applies. I doubt that a "Folding Bike Manufacturers Marketing board" would go over well in the US. I think you'd be impressed how incredibly feeble the folding bike market is the USA. At least that is our perception after nearly a year as a player in the business. Look at how difficult it is find folding bikes in shops. You should be able to find a Dahon in any big city, but beyond that the pickin's are poor.
brakemeister: I know what you're saying but will add that I think a great deal can be done with limited budgets with creativity.
One idea I had would be to get celebs involved. I understand Phil Liggett rides at least one folder and perhaps has others. Being that he's a cycle *advocate*, I imagine if he were asked, he'd volunteer to be on camera.
Talk to an airline or two. Ask how much they shell out in damage claims for full size bikes. Perhaps they'd pitch in if they thought their contribution would help get more people to use folders and that folders were less prone to damage while being transported. You see where I'm going with this.
If you figure 75,000 folders sold in the US (I think that number's high, actually) add a dollar to the cost of each. $75,000 is enough to have a full time marketing director and a solid base of marketing material - print, video, audio, research data to back up claims.
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Thanks for your thoughts wpflem. I DO agree the folding bike market is rather poorly developed in the US - which is why I see an opportunity. I agree the concept of a marketing board would have to be VERY subtle - not stamped like the Milk board.
Here's another concept: Sun Tzu said something to the effect of "it's not the fastest or strongest that wins the battle - it's putting your forces where they're needed at the right time."
That's a concept I see as appealing to many. Show a scene in NYC. There's some kind of problem - all the traffic lights are out - cars are backed up down Broadway going nowhere. Our business-man protagonist takes one look, takes his very sexy folding bike (Moulton perhaps? New Birdy?) out of the trunk of his BMW and proceeds to roll past the traffic jam.
I can understand, from a retailer standpoint, how selling folders could be frustrating. What I'm suggesting is a marketing board could make it easier for you guys - generating some of the interest that has people coming into your shop.
Maybe I'm dreaming in technicolour but I think there's an opportunity to improve the market for folder retailers with the right type of strategy.
My understanding is that there is a HUGE lack of interest in promoting the folding bikes.
I don't know the reason, but honestly, if they DECIDE to make non-folding 20" bikes like the Giant Mini's or the Dahon Hammerhead or folding bikes the coolest thing on earth,all they need is a significantly expensive marketing campaign (sexy TV comercials like AF mentioned, paid PR, some summer hit movies with folders, some video clip with folders, some MTV, History channel, Discovery and travel channel promotional productions, promotional material for LBS and incentive for those reaching minimum goals, you know, a full advertising campaign that starts around 10 Million dollars) and time (a luxury which we know most big manufacturers have), public opinion can be changed and we can have WAY more than 75K bikes sold. I guess the time to see their money back from a campaign like that is not cost-effective, or, for some other reason, they don't do it.
Would be nice though to have easy access to the best folding bikes right around the corner. I would definately add a few to my personal collection.