Is "annual production" a dirty word in the bicycle biz?
So, I fancy myself an enthusiast, in the general sense. The things I like, I enjoy getting deep into and knowing about. As a result, I assign value to things for different reasons than most people, probably, but in very much the same way as Enthusiasts do everywhere.
Take wine, for example, which is both my avocation and my profession. It's part-and-parcel of the wine enthusiast's game to want to know exactly how a wine was made, where the grapes come from, and how it was aged. I can scarcely think of any minutiae that doesn't fall under the purview of the wine enthusiast, and certainly not production figures. It's a matter of fact, and often a badge of honor and point of distinction, for producers to cite how much of any given wine they produce. Whether 333 cases or 1m cases, those numbers are used to help assign value to each wine; not necessarily monetary value, though often, but also collectibility and interest value.
It's the same in the watch world, another hobby of mine. So what's up with bicycles? Why is it so hard to find out how many, for example, Crown Jewels Independent Fabrication makes each year? I can't recall ever seeing a bike labeled "#32 of 200" or some such.
Maybe I've been looking in all the wrong places, but whereas I can imagine why a megaproducer like Trek doesn't bother to promote Madone figures, I cannot understand why a micro producer like, say, Serotta, wouldn't promote their limited production numbers as a way of reinforcing their scarcity, hand-made quality, and company ethos.
Call me a snob, but I can only see this as a failure of the industry. I was shopping for a bike recently, and this was one of those pieces of info that I would have like to see and that would-- or could-- have helped me make my decision.
As it turned out, I made my purchase decision absent that info, but after inquiring directly with the manufacturer, I was surprised and delighted to learn that the Breezer Venturi I'm having built up is one of only 150 (149 frames for public sale; Joe Breeze himself got #150) produced in the inaugural (well, of Breezer's modern era) 2012 model year. Just as book collectors get excited to acquire first editions, so too was I to learn about the rarity of this bike, or at least relative rarity; I have no idea how many of other bikes are produced, which is of course my point!
What about the rest of you? Are you an enthusiast? Do you wish production info was readily available? Does it matter to you? Why do you think production numbers are absent in the bike biz?
Oh, and thanks for reading my semi-rant!
Not a bad question, really...
Your question goes back to your particular personality and interests. Lifestyle factors into this also, as does world view.
There's nothing wrong with being interested in the rarity of the things that you collect. But I'd guess that you'd find a wide range of how deeply folks feel about this. Not judging, mind you, but for me bikes are just to be ridden.
I don't look at them, and I don't hang them on the wall. I ride them, maintain them, and enjoy them. I like mid-level bikes because value, performance and function line up pretty well. But there's nothing "special" about any one of them, except (of course) that they're mine and I like to ride them a lot.