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Thread: Product Idea

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Product Idea

    I'm working on opening a "lifestyle cycling" (utility cycling for people with aesthetic sensibilities!) online bike shop, and looking for ideas for products I can have made on the small scale. Seems to me that a set of BB cups in 26tpi which would work with those Freemans cotterless axles would be popular. I could offer a Raleigh 20 specific BB kit. Whaddya reckon?

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    Hub gear parts

    unusual tyres sizes

    big handlebar stems

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    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Bikes and accessories for tall people.

    Speedo

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    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Not really things to make but things to supply...

    Small-wheel velocity rims and appropriate tyres - Good 451s (and 349s) being particularly hard to get hold of in the UK. R20 bb conversion kits a winner though maybe not a huge seller... (and long steerer forks )

    Things to make:
    Separable drop bars maybe?

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    Bicycling Gnome
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    Beware of getting into supplying 'quirky' parts Sammyboy. A business needs big turnover. A mate of mine set up an internet bike business about 18 months ago that has mushroomed into a very productive and financially successful enterprise. I could not believe how quickly it took off. He and a mate of his did it, his mate parceling up and sending out the stuff, while he financed the other guys personal home expenses until it got moving. It turns over a fortune now and they are driving top of the range BMWs in a little over a year. They very much stayed away from the 'quirky' stuff though. Turnover, turnover, turnover is where its at unless it is just a hobby.

    http://www.highonbikes.com/Default.asp?cookiecheck=yes&
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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Well, it's at least partly a hobby. It's purely a part-time business at the moment. I'm anticipating big volumes of certain things, obtained by finding parts that aren't available elsewhere, and by designing things people wish existed. However, I also believe that by stocking and making some quirky things, I'll engender loyalty from the hardcore. Think of this - those axles and bearings that Freemans stock must be bleedin' cheap to purchase, the price they're selling them at. Imagine now that I get cups manufactured. If I sell the whole shebang for £20-25, I'll be undercutting everything but the plastic BB's by miles. I won't get loads of cups made, so I won't be into big money, but by assembling things like that, appropriate forks, stuff for mounting twist grips to drop bars, I'll be the de-facto place for people hot-rodding Raleigh 20's to go. Those people then discover all the other awesome things I've got that they can't find elsewhere, and, since they're hardcore internet bike freaks, they'll spread the word about my shop. It's low investment, small profit stuff, and it can lead people in for more mainstream stuff.

    I have no interest in trying to compete with St John Street or Wiggle for the mainstream internet business - those are high cash burn businesses (Wiggle certainly) that have to turn over loads to survive. I'll introduce things which will necessarily be niche at first, because nobody in the country will have them, but I'll be able to afford to have them sell slowly, and as they get faster, I'll think of adding resource to support the growing business. I want to grow organically, without borrowing, so it's the right model for me. I have plenty to do with my day job as a trainer and consultant, and my spare time freelance work as a writer and a training designer!
    Last edited by Sammyboy; 03-02-08 at 05:37 AM.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I think Sammy's business model is going to be similar to Velo-Orange. Chris offers unusual stuff for a niche market. He isn't getting rich, but he is apparently doing well and is providing a much needed supply line. He started off with just a few items and it has gone from there. He is now even providing full bikes in a style that has not been seen in years.

    Good Luck Sammy and make sure you let us know what you have...even if we are on the "wrong" side of the pond

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    It'll be similar, yes, but I think I have the potential to sell a lot more. I'll look for products to cater specifically to the folding bike, commuter, and utility markets in the UK, all of which are growing, and depending on Government policy, might just skyrocket. I'll be offering some things which are just not available here, like folding basket grocery panniers, inexpensive briefcase/office looking panniers, a very funky range of helmets, Velocity rims. I'll also be providing things which ARE available, but reframing their uses, like Minoura spacegrips as mounts for twistgrips on drop bars. Lastly, I'll be designing some things myself. One idea I have is for a Porteur rack which can also take panniers on the sides. If I can really get that design right, I'll make it able to be mounted front OR rear, so that you could put it on the back and use it to strap a briefcase to. I'm also going to look closely at the folding bike handlepost/stem situation, and see if I can design an aftermarket item which knocks everything else out of the water. I might also look at making nice, strong, telescopic seatposts. What I'd really like is to be able to hand the day to day running of this business over to someone else, so they'd handle the ordering, and the shipping, and I'd do the hunting for new projects, and the strategic decision making. So in the short term, I want it to drip in enough profit to expand, and in the medium term, to pay one persons part time wages. Then we'll see where it goes from there.

    The "stuff for hotrodding old bikes" stuff will be there because it interests me, and to supply that little niche, not as the main business.

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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Mudguards for small wheels.

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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    It'll be similar, yes, but I think I have the potential to sell a lot more. I'll look for products to cater specifically to the folding bike, commuter, and utility markets in the UK...
    And what about the "Overseas" ? I do not live in the UK and I may want to buy some of the products mentioned in this thread. I have two R20 frames to hot-rod and you have here a client, starting with two bottom brackets 26 tpi.
    In my opinion, Alfred E Bike is a good model to take into consideration for prices and shipment policies.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caotropheus View Post
    And what about the "Overseas" ? I do not live in the UK and I may want to buy some of the products mentioned in this thread. I have two R20 frames to hot-rod and you have here a client, starting with two bottom brackets 26 tpi.
    In my opinion, Alfred E Bike is a good model to take into consideration for prices and shipment policies.
    The best source I have found for 26tpi is Phil Wood but, those are for cartridges only. He also sells the friggin' swiss threads that I run into on the old Motobecanes, I used to have to buy Campy cups for them. Imagine if you will, a bike that I paid $35usd with a $50 set of cups in it

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    Aluminum: barely a hundred
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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I'd ship worldwide, at cost, rather as Velo Orange does. I'd consider Phil Wood style (but cheaper) cups for cartridge BB's, but where would the cartridge BB's come from? UN72 is now as rare as dodo chowder, and if you're going to buy a Phil Wood cartridge, might as well have the cups as well. I have the same situation as Aaron currently - I'm awaiting a set of Phil Wood cups for my UN72, and what's more, I've had to buy the tools as well.......

    Oh! And amen to the mudguards. I'll be hoping to offer all the stuff you might need to hop-up your folder, so mudguards, racks, rims, maybe some hubs (Nexus is well catered for in this country, but SA8's are not easy to find unless you really hunt (2 online suppliers I know of) and Nuvinci is not here at all). I'll try to carry Velocity rims in 700c, 451, 406, 349 and 305, since those are all hard to get hold of online here. I'll also look to fill some of the gaps in the market for tyres - 305 being little catered for here.

    I'm planning to direct customers to what they want in 2 ways. The first will be a traditional, category based bike shop layout - Handlebars, Bags, Cranks, Hubs etc. The second will be talking about different types of bikes and cycling - hot-rodding old bikes, folding bikes, utility bikes - and to each of those pages (with lots of pictures and stories and engaging content) will be appended a shop page. The same products will be common across the two approaches, but those who know what they want will be able to get to it quickly, and those who are just interested will find lots of fascinating and inspiring things to read, and then, whaddya know! There are the products they'd need to do the same!

    A similar thing has worked well for Sheldon and Harris, but this'll be done in a much more connected way (no disrespect to Sheldon intended - I don't think my site will come close to his for sheer weight of useful info!). It's going to take time to build all this up, and we'll probably launch with just Downtube and perhaps Nutcase helmets and some nice Basil bags and baskets, but I'll be building and building whenever I have the chance.
    Last edited by Sammyboy; 03-02-08 at 07:22 AM.

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    Good luck with the new business.

    I wonder if you are under estimating the cost of manufacturing for small production run items. It is one thing to sell an already manufacturered cheap BB at a markup, it is another to find someone who will make you 26tpi cups for them. If you need thousands then the price per cup will probably be cheap, but if you only need 100 then it is going to be pretty expensive.

    Pass and Stow makes a porteur rack that can carry panniers:
    http://alexandchristine.smugmug.com/...YRLe#252366034

    You can see an example of the cost issue by looking at the prices of the small production run Velo Orange or Pass and Stow racks vs the cost of high production run Nitto or Tubus racks. A Nitto M12 costs around $50us, the equivelent Velo Orange is $110us.

    alex

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I know that the cups won't be super cheap, but they don't have to be. If the rest of the assembly is already available, and cheap, then the cups being expensive will make the whole package fairly balanced. Of course, it'll be more expensive than a cheap cartridge BB, but then you can't get one of those to fit. It should be doable a lot cheaper than the Phil Wood option. I guess I'll find out, as I start looking at having these things made.

    Part of the reason VO's racks are so expensive is the quality of manufacture, of course. I will only make racks, for instance, if I can offer something really different, like the Porteur with the pannier attachment, and rear mounting option - that way, I can justifiably charge a premium rate. Thanks for the link BTW, that's just the sort of thing I had in mind.

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    jur
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    20" Forks!! Steel, ally, CF, long steerers, all sorts.

    Re BB cups, I wonder if it might be possible to obtain cheaply a bunch of unthreaded cups from a factory that makes those, purchased at the step before thread cutting. Then you can arrange to have 26TPI threads cut. Might be cheaper. Or even contact such a factory, and ask them if they could cut 26TPI instead.

    You're goung to need someone who can speak whatever they speak in Taiwan (Mandarin? Chinese?) so you can phone the factories direct.

    For quirky items eg mudguards, contact these guys:
    http://www.sunnywheel.com.tw/
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    hubgears BB49's Avatar
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    Folding helmets

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    No need. I have a folding head.

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    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Chain guards or chain covers so my trousers don't get soiled (I commute in regular clothes).

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    That's on the list. Hebie Chaingliders, the much cheaper dutch polypropylene ones (not much cop for folders, cos they anchor to the main tubes) and possibly something custom made in brushed aluminium.

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    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    No need. I have a folding head.

    .........I liked that one the best

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    Think of this - those axles and bearings that Freemans stock must be bleedin' cheap to purchase, the price they're selling them at. Imagine now that I get cups manufactured. If I sell the whole shebang for £20-25, I'll be undercutting everything but the plastic BB's by miles. I won't get loads of cups made, so I won't be into big money, but by assembling things like that, appropriate forks, stuff for mounting twist grips to drop bars, I'll be the de-facto place for people hot-rodding Raleigh 20's to go.
    I think the Mk III F frame Moulton has the same Raleigh BB set up as the 20, so I'd imagine there would be a lot of interest in your - ''whole shebang'' - from the Moulton boys as well.

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    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Don't forget bells

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

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    You could maybe stock some BMX stuff.
    As they break lots of stuff.
    lots of sales there

    And some of the parts fit 20s

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    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I'm not really into the BMX thing. I'm sure there's money there, but there are plenty of good BMX shops online, and I'm much more interested in running a business that gets me excited than extracting money from things I don't care about. I appreciate the suggestion, however, and BMX items that might have other applications I'll certainly consider.

  25. #25
    recovering stroke victim senseamp's Avatar
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    It's been said before, but apart from BB's the next biggest problem is forks. Plenty of BMX forks, but they don't usually take brakes. So good quality steel forks with v-brake and disk brake mountings with a 1" long steerer. Maybe some quality suspension forks?

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