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Old 06-23-17, 10:50 AM   #26
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I guess Brompton doesn't have the money to sue companies in Asia, at least outside China.
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On what basis could they?
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Copyright.
Winfried is correct. That was the basis for the Neobike lawsuit. Although the now cancelled TPP would have made intellectual property laws consistent over the countries. So it could also be the case that the present laws make that lawsuit difficult.

We've talked about this in the forum in detail, but the Wiki page matches my memory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neobike
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Old 06-23-17, 09:07 PM   #27
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Sure, we've chatted about the infamous Neobike case in Dutch courts, and I've read about it on the wiki page and in the Brompton Book. But what seemed to be suggested above was Brompton, a company located in a country exiting the EU, would sue a Chinese company in the Singapore courts under Dutch copyright laws if they only had the money to do it. Yeah. No.

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So it could also be the case that the present laws make that lawsuit difficult.
In fact I'm suggesting there are no applicable laws universally recognized in the jurisdictions of the parties involved that grant any such rights as you claim to have been violated.

That said, anyone is welcome to start a Go Fund Me account to help Brompton afford to bring a case. All the best, etc.
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Old 06-27-17, 08:26 AM   #28
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In fact I'm suggesting there are no applicable laws universally recognized in the jurisdictions of the parties involved that grant any such rights as you claim to have been violated.
I'm not sure what you're arguing here. Did anyone suggest that there are universally recognized copyright/patent laws? In fact, my memory says the discussion suggested the opposite and that it would be prohibitively expensive.

What do you think I claimed?
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Old 06-27-17, 12:11 PM   #29
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Even if steel construction looks poor and long term strength looks minimal.
I'm curious how you infer this about the strength, based on just the photos.

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Copyright.
I thought details of the actual suit involved the first infringer using actual Brompton promotional materials, which is why Brompton could go after them via copyright. That the actual design patents were expired and there was no basis for a suit regarding the design and manufacture of the knockoff bike.
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Old 06-27-17, 05:19 PM   #30
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In fact, my memory says the discussion suggested the opposite and that it would be prohibitively expensive.
What exactly would be expensive? Brompton bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit in Singapore courts claiming a copyright infringement on their design by a Chinese company? Since Brompton wouldn't be able to cite any law granting them any such right in that jurisdiction, there wouldn't be any actionable injury and the lawsuit filing would surely get rejected by a low level court clerk. That sounds like a waste of time and effort, but doesn't sound too expensive.

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What do you think I claimed?
In post no. 26 you claimed Winifred was correct, and Brompton could bring suit in Asian courts on the basis of copyright infringement. I'll grant you that in fact, yes, Brompton could indeed waste their time and money by filing just such a frivolous lawsuit. Is your argument that I was giving Brompton management too much credit when I failed to consider this as a real world possibility?
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Old 06-28-17, 10:17 AM   #31
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What exactly would be expensive? Brompton bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit in Singapore courts claiming a copyright infringement on their design by a Chinese company? Since Brompton wouldn't be able to cite any law granting them any such right in that jurisdiction, there wouldn't be any actionable injury and the lawsuit filing would surely get rejected by a low level court clerk. That sounds like a waste of time and effort, but doesn't sound too expensive.
How much about Chinese, Singapore, and so on law do you know? How much do you expect other people to know?

If you're like me, it's pretty minimal from experience but you figure that other countries of varying development must have some sort of system in place with its strengths and weaknesses. Especially if they have functioning markets and folks seem to do OK. Moreover, I figure most people here are laypeople such that a reasonable conversation is going to allow fuzziness. Otherwise, conversations become onerous.

That said, simply based on some rough ideas of what must happen to litigate, it follows pretty quickly that heading over to say a Chinese market and trying to enforce intellectual property rights is going to be ridiculously expensive. One, you need to learn the law -- both on paper and in practice -- in some form or another ... generally enlist someone with that expertise who no doubt charges for their time accordingly. Two, you decide whether it's worth the effort based on the risk and return ... the expected value and the variance of outcomes. For clarity, the venture is expensive if the expected return is low and risk high. Based on everything I read about the country and other cases -- largely the economist and financial times -- it's wildly expensive. Naturally, I'd expect Singapore to be different. But it wouldn't be unheard of to stop a company from country X from selling something in country Y. From what I gather about Singapore, there is a lot less written about it than intellectual property in China, I wouldn't be surprised if risk and return were better but probably still quite bad in an absolute sense.

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In post no. 26 you claimed Winifred was correct, and Brompton could bring suit in Asian courts on the basis of copyright infringement. I'll grant you that in fact, yes, Brompton could indeed waste their time and money by filing just such a frivolous lawsuit. Is your argument that I was giving Brompton management too much credit when I failed to consider this as a real world possibility?
Maybe I lack imagination, certainly the basis of a suit would have to be some copyright or IPP issue. I'd interpret his answer about "money" as largely saying that the cost/risk of pursuing a claim is expensive. Personally, I think that's close enough to correct for bikeforums.
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Old 11-08-17, 09:04 PM   #32
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Man, I came here to learn more about folding bikes & I get the Paralegal version of Patents & Copyright law. Just in case you don't know unless a company is making an exact copy of a Brompton design, either parts or the whole bike, then Brompton most likely wouldn't have a hope in hell especially if the patents have expired after 30 years. Lots of components are too similar & in universal useage otherwise there would be ONE company representing only their own designs for everything. Can anyone tell me please if ANY of the Chinese Clones are of decent quality & worth the approximate $500. price tag? Sorry, to all you purists out there but Bromptons at $1500. - 2000. using cast, plastic & other cheap components doesn't inspire any more confidence then the improved Chinese designs. As to the level of quality, I cannot speak but they sure have taken a lot of the rubbish on a Brompton & improved their functionality.
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Old 11-09-17, 04:31 AM   #33
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Man, I came here to learn more about folding bikes & I get the Paralegal version of Patents & Copyright law. Just in case you don't know unless a company is making an exact copy of a Brompton design, either parts or the whole bike, then Brompton most likely wouldn't have a hope in hell especially if the patents have expired after 30 years. Lots of components are too similar & in universal useage otherwise there would be ONE company representing only their own designs for everything. Can anyone tell me please if ANY of the Chinese Clones are of decent quality & worth the approximate $500. price tag? Sorry, to all you purists out there but Bromptons at $1500. - 2000. using cast, plastic & other cheap components doesn't inspire any more confidence then the improved Chinese designs. As to the level of quality, I cannot speak but they sure have taken a lot of the rubbish on a Brompton & improved their functionality.
I don't agree with your comments about the Brompton but as far as I know there hasn't been a decent low end Brompton clone yet although there is no real reason why there couldn't be. There are many great budget 20" wheeled bikes with decent components and fit for purpose that match or even exceed the quality of much more expensive 20" bikes from the more established brands. I don't think its easy as you think to make a similar folding bike with the same strength and durability without matching some of the Brompton manufacturing processes and materials. If you approach it in the same way as a larger folding bike I think you will end up with a weaker less durable bike. Don't get me wrong I like value and always look for the best value bikes that my money will buy. I'm not focused on brand just actual product quality. I'll only pay more if it represents a real increase in quality not a perceived increase based on brand. In fact we have seen with the Tern failures that actually paying more can get you a far inferior bike to many bikes that cost a fraction of the Tern price. I don't own a Brompton but you see some very old Bromptons still going strong, I don't know how much additional money has gone into them over the years but the original frame is still working well.

Sometimes you have to factor in value over the long term. A spade that costs 3x as much but lasts 10x as long is the cheap option.
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Old 11-09-17, 06:56 AM   #34
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Can anyone tell me please if ANY of the Chinese Clones are of decent quality & worth the approximate $500. price tag?
If you're adventurous, you could try the PRO-BP01/V8 from MIT (ex-Flamingo).


http://www.mitcycle.com
https://www.facebook.com/MITcycleSG/

"THE MIT V8"
https://unitedfoldingbikers.wordpres...21/the-mit-v8/
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Old 11-09-17, 11:08 AM   #35
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Sometimes you have to factor in value over the long term. A spade that costs 3x as much but lasts 10x as long is the cheap option.[/QUOTE]

That's my point exactly. It is my opinion that a Brompton costing 3-4 times the price of the clones should at the very least have 3-4 times the build, component, engineering & durability of the clones & it doesn't. Some of the components will require replacement in short order & what do you wanna bet when those components are replaced an after market part is chosen instead of the original? So let's see how many owners have replaced original components or upgraded due to better functionality. Is it significantly worse on the clones? About the same? If I buy a bike at $500. & have to replace parts, I have a long way to go before I catch up to the purchase price of the original.
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Old 11-09-17, 11:22 AM   #36
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These have been available in Thailand for over two years now..They are sold in the LA franchise bike shops and in independent shops..They sell a one speed and a three speed..cost about £250 for the 1 speed and £300 for the 3 speed..
I have seen a few around Bangkok..
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Old 11-09-17, 11:38 AM   #37
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Just in case you don't know unless a company is making an exact copy of a Brompton design, either parts or the whole bike, then Brompton most likely wouldn't have a hope in hell especially if the patents have expired after
20*

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years.
Ah, if only you'd been there to provide council this past August, when Brompton filed for an injunction in EU courts against the Dahon Curl. Result? Case tossed in less than a month and Brompton was ordered to pay Dahon's legal fees. Ouch!



*According to Will Butler-Adams, Andrew Ritchie's patents on the Brompton design ran for a term of twenty years, which was consistent with the patent law of the time.
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Old 11-09-17, 12:31 PM   #38
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[QUOTE=Winfried;19981843]If you're adventurous, you could try the PRO-BP01/V8 from MIT (ex-Flamingo).



Thank you Winfried
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Old 11-09-17, 12:39 PM   #39
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20*



Ah, if only you'd been there to provide council this past August, when Brompton filed for an injunction in EU courts against the Dahon Curl. Result? Case tossed in less than a month and Brompton was ordered to pay Dahon's legal fees. Ouch!



*According to Will Butler-Adams, Andrew Ritchie's patents on the Brompton design ran for a term of twenty years, which was consistent with the patent law of the time.
Doesn't surprise me in the least. Add into the equation different Patent Laws for different countries & you can also include the lack of respect for the original patent holder. I've come up with quite a few unique 'inventions' or just improved ways of doing things & so many times the first thing out of someone's mouth is, "You should patent/copyright that idea." Well, if spending the 1000's of dollars to register the Patents offered anything but a scrap of paper & the right to pay out multiple 1000's of more dollars in legal fees to fight infringements, I might be inclined to obtain patents but as the laws stand the only ones that benefit are the lawyers.
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Old 11-09-17, 03:26 PM   #40
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That's my point exactly. It is my opinion that a Brompton costing 3-4 times the price of the clones should at the very least have 3-4 times the build, component, engineering & durability of the clones & it doesn't. Some of the components will require replacement in short order & what do you wanna bet when those components are replaced an after market part is chosen instead of the original? So let's see how many owners have replaced original components or upgraded due to better functionality. Is it significantly worse on the clones? About the same? If I buy a bike at $500. & have to replace parts, I have a long way to go before I catch up to the purchase price of the original.
Definitely part of the cost of the Brompton is manufacturing in the UK, the pound is over valued and makes it difficult to make products as cheaply as other European countries let alone elsewhere in the world but I don't think that is the main reason, most of it is down to the design and parts used. They are high quality parts and they will normally last longer than parts on many chinese bikes. Some of the clone Bromptons are terrible from what I've read, pretty basic copies, the key word being 'some' not all though I'm sure. Brompton frames are strong, certainly stronger and more long lasting than similar compact frames I would say but I doubt stronger than most 20" folding bike steel frames which can use more material in their construction. I've not got a Brompton and the main factor is cost. I'm too heavy for one anyway. I'm limited to the very strongest folding bikes, I'm 6'2" with a rugby player build and need a bike with a 120-136kg weight limit which normally requires 20" wheeled folding bikes of standard rather than performance construction. Some of the cheap chinese folding bikes you see on ebay have a weight limit of 60kg and even those look stronger than some of the more compact cheap Brompton clones.

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Old 11-09-17, 04:38 PM   #41
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... as far as I know there hasn't been a decent low end Brompton clone yet although there is no real reason why there couldn't be.
I think the reason is, a low price Brompton clone would not appeal to Brompton enthusiasts. A $10 Rolex bought in HK vs a real one is an extreme example of this sentiment. So in that case, the majority market for a cheaper clone would be other folder buyers. Such a clone would therefore compete in a level playing field against all the other folders on the market. So with that reasoning, unless the clone is cheaper than all other folding bikes, it would not stand much of a chance to generate some sales. Granted there might be a few Brompton enthusiasts who would buy one instead of the real thing, but the numbers would - I'm guessing - not be huge.
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Old 11-10-17, 05:41 AM   #42
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There is definitely a Brompton brand thing going on but I don't think that would exclude a value option in the Brompton class of folding bike. I've heard many Brompton owners reluctantly paid out the money for one, often with a positive result at the end when they love the bike but they would have gone cheaper if there was a viable option. I don't think the Dahon Curl is particularly competitive either, its lower weight capacity and harsher ride makes it seem much inferior for not much of a price advantage especially with Dahon's reputation of frequent model updating and lack of support for older models, I don't see it as long term value. I still think there is a large potential market for a value clone which I think the Curl may have helped towards even if it isn't the right bike itself. It needs to be steel though, while aluminium may have the weight advantage it doesn't have the compact advantage. It's easier to use thinner tubing with steel especially decent chromoly steel.
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Old 11-10-17, 06:10 AM   #43
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But even if manufactured/assembled in Asia, is it realistic to expect a steel-built Brompton clone to be significanly cheaper ?

Speaking of which, do we know what kind of steel Brompton uses today ?
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Old 11-11-17, 01:49 PM   #44
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bench grinder spark patterns can indicate the steel type.
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Old 11-14-17, 10:43 AM   #45
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I think the reason is, a low price Brompton clone would not appeal to Brompton enthusiasts. A $10 Rolex bought in HK vs a real one is an extreme example of this sentiment. So in that case, the majority market for a cheaper clone would be other folder buyers. Such a clone would therefore compete in a level playing field against all the other folders on the market. So with that reasoning, unless the clone is cheaper than all other folding bikes, it would not stand much of a chance to generate some sales. Granted there might be a few Brompton enthusiasts who would buy one instead of the real thing, but the numbers would - I'm guessing - not be huge.
Perhaps. But I take Brompton's litigation as evidence to the contrary. That is, Brompton seems to think that cheap alternatives hurt their business enough for them to take folks to court.

I remember the Merc being $100s of dollars cheaper than it's contemporary Brompton with a rear rack, front mount + bag, fenders, and sidewall dynamo. Although it was a few models behind having a marginally shorter wheelbase and weak single pivot brakes. At least from memory -- I had a Brompton and a Merc -- I thought that the practical differences between the two were small and it was totally worth going with the Merc.

On a related note regarding business threats to something like the Brompton might be modern bike share programs that handle these short trips well.
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Old 11-14-17, 01:04 PM   #46
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Perhaps the Merc was in a different category. They were a licensee but bad quality led to the end of the agreement. When they decided to go ahead and produce their own version, Brompton went after them. Has Brompton done anything like it with other companies?
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Old 11-15-17, 06:05 AM   #47
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But even if manufactured/assembled in Asia, is it realistic to expect a steel-built Brompton clone to be significanly cheaper ?

Speaking of which, do we know what kind of steel Brompton uses today ?
You only have to look at alibaba to see steel folding bikes with a factory door price of $29. Yes they are basic 20" folding bikes but I would of thought even if you allowed 5x that value $150 you could get some sort of respectable clone that could retail for $299-499 at least direct selling. It might be made a little cruder, so ends up a bit heavier and may only feature the 3 speed SA hub without the mini derailleur but it seems viable.

According to the Brompton site it is chromoly high tensile steel but no information on the exact steel used as far as I can tell.

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The single-tube design and folding mechanisms put our frame under different stresses to that of a conventional Ďdouble-diamondí design, and this is a key consideration in our use of chromoly steel as a mainframe material. While not as lightweight as aluminium, steel is compliant and can absorb more of these stresses. It isnít immune to material fatigue of course, but failure tends to be gradual rather than sudden. If your bike is older or subject to higher mileage (i.e. 100+ miles per week), particularly a short wheelbase models that are now typically over 15 years old, it is advisable to periodically examine the frame and hinges for signs of fatigue and other symptoms of wear and tear. Be aware of any unusual creaks or noises coming from the bike while pedalling, as this could be a warning that a fatigue crack is developing.
https://brompton.zendesk.com/hc/en-u...my-frame-last-
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Old 11-15-17, 12:47 PM   #48
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Perhaps the Merc was in a different category. They were a licensee but bad quality led to the end of the agreement. When they decided to go ahead and produce their own version, Brompton went after them. Has Brompton done anything like it with other companies?
AFAIK, there has been no Brompton clone marketed in the UK since Anita was selling the Merc. I thought that Brompton recently tried some litigation against Dahon but I'm largely unfamiliar with the case.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:19 PM   #49
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You only have to look at alibaba to see steel folding bikes with a factory door price of $29. Yes they are basic 20" folding bikes but I would of thought even if you allowed 5x that value $150 you could get some sort of respectable clone that could retail for $299-499 at least direct selling. It might be made a little cruder, so ends up a bit heavier and may only feature the 3 speed SA hub without the mini derailleur but it seems viable.
Let's reduce the noise of these comparisons. What's the cheapest Brompton clone found on Alibaba? A quick search didn't find any good comparisons.

For reference, I think you must have seen something like the following which reminds me of a Dahon Speed but with much worse components and hi-ten steel everything. Remember, if you sell it in a developed country, besides getting the bikes and storing them somewhere which all require upfront capital, expect to have some warranty work, carry insurance, and distribution expenses. I'm not in the business, but I suspect that anyone who does this thing will rattle off a ton of other stuff.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...5c34d93656PRIQ

A similarly quick web search finds Thor selling a Dahon Speed D7 for $430 -- nicer frame/fork + components + warranty and so on -- with some fenders, rear rack, and so on. Personally, I think your margins will be freaking tiny. Just based on snippets of information from Downtube (Yan) and Origami, it sounds that there is a lot of working with suppliers and developing QA. So I'm not sure how much you value your time and energy; but it sounds like a venture with some risk. On higher end bikes, I imagine that there would be more meat on the bones. But unless you get to super high production counts, I doubt that the savings on high end bikes like a Brompton will be huge.

Dahon Speed D7

FYI ... here is a titanium one that mixes it's pictures some showing a bike with a Brompton fold while others lack a folding rear triangle. So I'm not sure what to make of it.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...52029250BYWccC
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Old 11-16-17, 05:27 AM   #50
Bonzo Banana
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
Let's reduce the noise of these comparisons. What's the cheapest Brompton clone found on Alibaba? A quick search didn't find any good comparisons.

For reference, I think you must have seen something like the following which reminds me of a Dahon Speed but with much worse components and hi-ten steel everything. Remember, if you sell it in a developed country, besides getting the bikes and storing them somewhere which all require upfront capital, expect to have some warranty work, carry insurance, and distribution expenses. I'm not in the business, but I suspect that anyone who does this thing will rattle off a ton of other stuff.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...5c34d93656PRIQ

A similarly quick web search finds Thor selling a Dahon Speed D7 for $430 -- nicer frame/fork + components + warranty and so on -- with some fenders, rear rack, and so on. Personally, I think your margins will be freaking tiny. Just based on snippets of information from Downtube (Yan) and Origami, it sounds that there is a lot of working with suppliers and developing QA. So I'm not sure how much you value your time and energy; but it sounds like a venture with some risk. On higher end bikes, I imagine that there would be more meat on the bones. But unless you get to super high production counts, I doubt that the savings on high end bikes like a Brompton will be huge.

Dahon Speed D7

FYI ... here is a titanium one that mixes it's pictures some showing a bike with a Brompton fold while others lack a folding rear triangle. So I'm not sure what to make of it.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...52029250BYWccC
I've seen bikes that look to have a factory door price of about $40 hit about £130 in UK stores with a 20% vat rate. Maybe directly sold you can get a $50 bike for £100 retail. We have an example of that as a brand called bicycles4u which is a direct seller in the UK.

However the issue I think is more to do with the chinese approach of copying competitor's designs almost directly with less innovation. Many of these small chinese companies don't have the time to develop products themselves so its left to the larger players to do so.

I have some experience of importation and logistics and really it isn't too bad with regard costs getting products into the UK at least although making sure the products are correctly certified for sale in the UK/Europe is important.

However I think the issue is the development of the frame and certification. I don't think it's particularly difficult or expensive to develop such a frame using the Brompton and Curl as influences. It's likely the end bike might end up heavier than those 2 examples though depending on parts and materials used or end up significantly weaker at least if it aims for a very competitive retail price.

I see many bikes superior to Dahon for a fraction of their price, better components, better frames, stronger etc. Dahon is a high margin premium end business model and does not represent a necessary realistic price point for bikes in my view. I've seen Dahon bikes retail as high as £500 in the UK with low end components, freewheels etc that were not of acceptable quality for me especially at that price point. I've seen bikes close to £200 with far superior components. I just feel if you use Dahon as an example you will distort the realistic margin required between factory door price and retail price.
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