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What is Shimano doing?

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Old 01-31-19, 09:33 AM
  #51  
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What is SRAM doing?

I was looking at the Argon18 Dark Matter recently. They have two models: a SRAM Force 1X and a Shimano 105 2X. The SRAM model is exactly $1000 more expensive. The other components seem almost identical. Interesting, I says to myself. Maybe SRAM Force is a higher quality build set. So I went to price build sets at one online retailer. An Ultegra build set costs exactly $100 more than the 105. Cost difference on the online retailer for a 105 vs Force 1 build set is $750.

Maybe the SRAM Force is a better build set than the Ultegra, I don't know. I do know that I'd want the 2X model any way, but even if I didn't, I couldn't possibly justify the extra $750-1000 cost for a SRAM set up.

I've got nothing against SRAM and if pricing were close and their 2X model was available on a bike I liked, I'd certainly consider purchasing it. I just don't personally see any value benefit for the cost difference.

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Old 01-31-19, 10:12 AM
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Why does it even matter what Shimano does or doesn't do? If you don't like their practices or prices don't buy 'em, like many here have pledged to do. In the end it's still a free market and will all work out one way or another.

If we can mention "least free states" (whatever that means) can we also mention moocher states?
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Old 01-31-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Shimano is simply doing much of what SRAM did a handful of years ago. They are enforcing their pricing in the US better than they have done in years past.
This isnt unique to Shimano or even unique to cycling.
.
This is true and I am surprised that more aren't aware of it. I buy a lot of parts from Chain Reaction, based out of Ireland. A couple years ago they stopped showing SRAM components, and any of those companies owned by SRAM (Rockshock, Mavc etc.) on their North American sites. The stopped showing Shimano as of 31st December 2018.

As a Canadian, I have seen this in so many other industries, automotive comes to mind. The internet helps to level the playing field, but when SRAM and Shimano can force a web based company to stop selling their product in North America, well what next?

I suspect part of the problem is that bike shops are having trouble competing with online stares as their dealer cost is higher than what a consumer can buy on line for, so they go after the manufacture to stop this.. I don't blame the bike shops here, but feel that SRAM/Shimano are to blame because they charge more in North America than the rest of the world.

I don't see a way out of this as we don't have a major competitor based in North America.
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Old 01-31-19, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeaddiction1 View Post
I don't see a way out of this as we don't have a major competitor based in North America.
Perhaps that is the issue here. US Law won't care about forcing UK retail competitors out of the market, whether it is good or bad for the US customers.

However, the company has done many anti-competition things such as refusing to sell to certain small businesses for fear that the small businesses would undercut prices.

Enforcing regional distributorships reduces competition as a pacific coast business is unable to purchase from east coast wholesalers, or European wholesalers, depending on what meets their needs.

The question is whether the cyclist market would be large enough to get the attention of anti-trust enforcement, and what are the broad ramifications of unfettered internet sales?
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Old 01-31-19, 01:28 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
It's not an anti-trust issue at all. It's a grey market issue.

The same thing has happened in many product segments over the years (i.e. camera gear).

Lots of good info out there:

https://www.inta.org/INTABulletin/Pa...rayMarket.aspx
My issues with Shimano, as stated above is multi-pronged anti-competition. Shimano refuses to sell direct to small and micro businesses, apparently to limit direct access sales, irrespective on whether the businesses are manufacturing including installing the Shimano parts on larger units/sub-units before sale.

The article you linked to was specifically about Copyright and Patent infringement.

It talks a lot about products being materially different than the products in the USA.

I can't guarantee that buying parts direct from China/Taiwan are not materially different than those sold in the USA.

However, other than minor selection differences, I don't believe there are any material differences beyond packaging between Shimano parts in Europe, Shimano parts in the USA, and OEM parts from most sources (non pantograph). I don't think the customers would put up with it, and it would be an extreme hardship on manufacturers building bikes in one country and selling them in another country, anticipating them to be supported in the destination country. Different Shimano factories?

Bianchi USA could well make a case for trademark/patent/copyright infringement for direct import Chinese frames bearing the "BIANCHI" name, but not built by BIANCHI. This is very different from selling parts made by Shimano in different countries.

You mention camera shops. It has been over a decade since I've had my last roll of film developed. Even professional photographers have moved away from film. I have no doubt the shops are suffering, and not because of Grey Market gear.

My cell phone is now a few years old, but it is as good as most pocket cameras.

4.3" display, 16 MP camera (4608x3456), 10X full OPTICAL Zoom.

I just don't have much of a need to shop for better cameras, or to carry my cell phone + a camera.

If I wanted "prints", I'd simply print them out with a cheap printer.
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Old 01-31-19, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
"Materially different" in this case can be something as simple as the warranty. Shimano sold in the US is warranted by Shimano North America Bicycle, Inc. Shimano parts bought in the UK are not covered by a US warranty.

See warranty info above for just one material difference.
So, we've encountered people on this board with broken grey market or E-Bay stuff, and being sent back to their original vendor.

Such issues might only apply to resale items. And, somewhere in the article, it did say one could get around issues like warranty issues by applying a sticker saying the item is "grey market"...
One loophole to this system, however, is that if the importer applies a label to the product or packaging stating that “This product is not a product authorized by the United States trademark owner for importation and is physically and materially different from the authorized product,” the goods will be released for entry.
Of course, that technically only applies if the product is materially different from what is available in the USA.

A reseller could still try to capture any warranty returns back the original reseller, then deal with them however they wish.

BTW: Who owns the Shimano trademarks, patents, and copyrights? Shimano USA or Shimano Japan?

This applies less to direct overseas sales in which the buyer presumably knows who they are buying the product from. Should overseas ".COM" websites be prohibited, but allow ".UK" websites?

A non-authorized reseller could simply state that as part of their ad.
Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
Ok, you don't know how to compare camera quality besides sensor size. Your cell phone is not as good as most pocket cameras for many reasons but that a topic for another discussion.
And those reasons are???

I can actually adjust a bunch of stuff from F-Stop to ISO to Shutter speed, most of which are pretty obsolete terms, but I can, for example, do night-time still shots, if I had a tripod. And, yes, my cell does have a nut for a tripod mount.

The one thing I haven't figured out is a remote trigger, although I can fake it using the timer. It appears as if there is a bluetooth trigger that should work.

I've done a lot better with close-up photos with this camera than an old Olympus camera, I think, although long ago I learned a few tricks with taking close-ups.
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Old 01-31-19, 02:26 PM
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Oh, over on this page, I mentioned encountering some Octalink V2 bottom brackets marked as BB-5500/105.

Something is just a little wacky with them.

Ultegra crankset for Octalink bottom bracket

I have a feeling that they may be "fakes", although 2 vendors seem to be selling identical bottom brackets, including one in the USA.
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Old 01-31-19, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
Shimano is enforcing their distribution agreements to prevent folks from selling into unauthorized territories...
This approach to global consumer markets probably made a lot of sense in 1980.
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Old 01-31-19, 03:06 PM
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As for cameras ... i'd imagine lens quality is a big deal. I have a couple pretty good DSLRs and while an iPhone 6 for instance, can take excellent pictures, my shooting friends (professional photographers, not the local camera club) still argue over Nikon or Canon ... Not over Nikon, Canon, or Apple. If an iPhone was really as good as a top-end pro camera, all the pros would be saving a couple or several thousand dollars and buying only iPhones. .... it seems to me.

On the big photo gear sites, gray-market gear is identified as such. And, as far as I know, there is No warranty service available from anywhere on those items. You want to sneak around the rules, you forego the protections.

In any case ... the issue here is what? Shimano wants to sell products for as high a price as the market will bear? And wants to limit people making end-runs around its pricing structure by using overseas sales?

I can pretty much guarantee what any of us would do if any of us owned small businesses and were losing profits because our stuff was being sold like that. it is really easy to demonize others, particularly a big corporation, but if I were watching my bottom line shrink because people were stretching the rules I would take action for sure.

I really don't understand all the outrage. If you think the parts are overpriced, don't buy them. if you think the prices are high but really want the parts, pay the price.

Shimano has allowed people in the U.S. to buy overseas and save a Lot of money for a long time now. But at no time did they "owe" that option to the U.S. customer base.

Now they are changing policies to protect their income stream. Basically, we got a big break ... and now we act as though we "earned" or"deserved" a big price break?

That's like a thief saying, "I stole it fair and square, how can the cops confiscate it? Due process, man!"

I watch the TV show "Live PD" occasionally. It is hilarious seeing idiots ask for their weed back after being busted for possession.

While no actual crime was committed ... we have no more "right" to low overseas prices than a thief does to his stolen goods, or a pot-smoker to his pot (in some states.) if you don't see value in the product at the price, don't buy it.

Pretty sure that isn't edging into the intellectual realm of "Rocket Science." Pretty sure it is too simple a concept to even be mentioned in Econ 101.
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Old 01-31-19, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
It's common practice in 2019 across many different types of consumer goods.
Such as?
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Old 01-31-19, 03:42 PM
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I don't agree that any of those manufacturers have systematically lower wholesale prices for identical products in Europe than they do in the US.
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Old 01-31-19, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
In any case ... the issue here is what? Shimano wants to sell products for as high a price as the market will bear? And wants to limit people making end-runs around its pricing structure by using overseas sales?
It's the limiting of consumer choice or limiting information to make an informed choice that is at issue. If a consumer "makes an end run" around the pricing structure, it's because the arbritrary market boundry is drawn wrong.

I can pretty much guarantee what any of us would do if any of us owned small businesses and were losing profits because our stuff was being sold like that. it is really easy to demonize others, particularly a big corporation, but if I were watching my bottom line shrink because people were stretching the rules I would take action for sure.
None of us own small businesses that has this problem. Small business is by definition the opposite of a global mega-corp. If we were small business owners, we would meet market demand at market prices.

I really don't understand all the outrage. If you think the parts are overpriced, don't buy them. if you think the prices are high but really want the parts, pay the price.
The "outrage" is that the only way to know if a part is overpriced is to compare prices. That information is unavailable. Furthermore, they are still turning a profit in the cheaper market, we can then infer all monies collected beyond the exchange rate is gratituitous profit at the expense of an uninformed marginalized disempowered consumer that was knowingly taken advantage of. Eu-Us is the same as far as globalization is concerned. First world, both equally distant from manufacture. The equivalent market carving Shimano is doing is similar to selling to California at 1 high price, & Montana at a 40% discount. Then getting mad Californians are buying Montana sourced parts.

Shimano has allowed people in the U.S. to buy overseas and save a Lot of money for a long time now. But at no time did they "owe" that option to the U.S. customer base.

Now they are changing policies to protect their income stream. Basically, we got a big break ... and now we act as though we "earned" or"deserved" a big price break?
Nobody said Americans deserve a price break. We deserve a functioning free market capitalistic economy. Corporate domination to stifle competition; to contain and maintain, uninformed, boxed, consumers subservience is not consistant with this principal.

Pretty sure that isn't edging into the intellectual realm of "Rocket Science." Pretty sure it is too simple a concept to even be mentioned in Econ 101.
It is. The problem is the arbitrary boundarys drawn to carve up a single market for profit maximization. It's the same as the drug cartels defining which gang gets what territory. Doing so eliminates intra-gang rivalries so the cartel operates at highest profit across markets & lowest cost in any given market. It's the same as US telecoms intentionally staying out of eachothers areas to keep telecom/cable prices inflated. You can not prove the consumer was harmed by the absence of choice because the companies "choose" not to compete. Infrastructure cost keeps the little guy from even getting started. This prevents free market competition and ensures higher consumer cost.

While we're at it, I don't know anyone with a complete SRAM or Campy group set in any of my riding groups. I wonder if it has to do with the artificially inflated prices from the same game Shimano now seems to be playing.

I just can't believe people are ok with being bent over a barrel. It's just not right.
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Old 01-31-19, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
This is what you replied to. This is what I backed up with examples.
You are correct. Those are good examples of manufacturers who enforce sales territories. I'm still mad at Shimano because I think their situation is uniquely different from those examples.
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Old 01-31-19, 04:48 PM
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Many of Shimano's current issues with bike shops are due to a factory burning down. But they need bike shops to support them. Oem sales are contingent on a dealer network to support the bikes. It's not like there stuff is so much better that they can ignore that.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
Old news but some folks might not be aware of the dealer backlash here in the States:

"The worst part was the realization that the system truly is broken," he wrote. "I get that there is an extra layer of distribution in the U.S. which challenges Shimano USA when they set pricing. But, at worst, product should leave Europe at slightly above our cost due to the extra expense of selling to consumers."
.'"
This is where I don't "get" it.. From what I've read, the "extra layer" is there and has an impact.. but WHY is it there and why can't it be removed so that operations proceed in a similar manner as they do in Europe?
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Old 01-31-19, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Many of Shimano's current issues with bike shops are due to a factory burning down. But they need bike shops to support them. Oem sales are contingent on a dealer network to support the bikes. It's not like there stuff is so much better that they can ignore that.
I don't believe that a factory burning down caused European Retail prices to be lower than US Wholesale prices.

Tariffs, VAT, Sales Taxes, & the lack thereof does, however, make some difference.

Yes, the big companies, Trek, Cannondale, Giant, etc... all like some dealer support of their products. However, I'd estimate that a big chunk (more than half) of the bike consumers also do most of their own service, and simply use bike stores to purchase parts.

And, that half of the consumers are the ones served worst by these new policies.

In my case, I can count on tubes being carried locally, but most everything else is pretty obscure, and not necessarily typically stocked by local stores. I'm much better served by large online warehouses (if only online selection was even more complete). I frequently split my orders between a couple of vendors, in part because even the big online companies don't stock all I need.

For Shimano... how many components do they sell with new bikes vs over the counter sales of components?

My guess is that once one gets beyond some core consumables (tires, tubes, bar tape, cassettes, chains, maybe chainrings), 90% of the sales are with new bikes.

And, for the stuff that a store doesn't carry, should I be forced to hire someone to find and order (and mark up) stuff for me?

It may be that I'm better off doing a custom order of 10 items online vs going down to the store, and having them buy a single item at a time from their wholesale company.

I'm 10 miles from the closest store, and 15 miles or so from several stores. Car-free, it would be inconvenient to not stock at least some of my own spare parts.

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Old 01-31-19, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
This is where I don't "get" it.. From what I've read, the "extra layer" is there and has an impact.. but WHY is it there and why can't it be removed so that operations proceed in a similar manner as they do in Europe?
In some cases 2 extra layers (or more).

Shimano Japan sells to Shimano USA which sells to local regional wholesale company (which consolidates wholesale products from multiple vendors), which sells to the local bike shops.

For convenience, then, the local bike shops can simply call up the local wholesale company and buy Shimano parts, Continental parts, Schwalbe parts, SRAM parts, & etc.

But, they pay the price for doing that.

No doubt, Shimano USA doesn't want to give up their chunk of the profit, even if they are no longer serving any useful service.

What is their contract like?

Even franchises frequently break their contracts.

Translating languages, and converting Dollars to Yen to Euros to Rubles can be a hassle, but with modern banking, is easier than ever.

A small shop ordering from multiple vendors might be a bit of a hassle (labor costs?), but with good systems, should be easy enough now.

I have no idea how old auto parts stores used to work, but they used to have these monster banks of printed catalogs. So, a customer comes in and asks for a part. They spend a few minutes browsing through catalogs until they figure out what the part is, how much, and where to order it, potentially ordering direct from the suppliers, or even local parts refurbishing companies. And, often bypassing the car manufacturers.

In theory, it should be cheaper to ship components by the Connex box, surface freight. But, I'm not so sure. For one thing, small orders by mail can be shipped "just in time".

And, we have a problem if a company claims that by buying in bulk, they can not compete with small individual orders. Time to make changes?

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Old 01-31-19, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Such as?
this is the second time you have questioned the claim and asked for examples. I ignored it when you asked me because i saw you were changing the parameters. You are doing it again here.

It's unreasonable to demand examples which are identical to Shimano as each example of enforcing pricing is different.
furthermore, you keep arguing that the different pricing between regions is what's so awful when most others are citing how minimum pricing is enforced in otherproducy markets.

I'll give an example though- bikes. Bikes in Europe, spec'd the same as in the US, can be a significantly different cost even with exchange rates factored in. Canada to US bike costs can be significantly different even.
same bike, hundreds different in cost which cant be accounted for thru exchange.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by .popcycle. View Post
Old news but some folks might not be aware of the dealer backlash here in the States:

Fred Clements: Dealers speak out about the "S"-Word

A blog by the NBDA's executive director.
Editor’s note: Fred Clements is the executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Clements’ previous blog posts can be read on bikedealerblog.wordpress.com.

By many measures, Shimano is one of the bicycle industry's great companies, consistently bringing product innovation and excellence to a willing marketplace.

But from the perspective of many independent bicycle dealers in the U.S., Shimano has become a huge problem, choking the life out of them by supporting distribution that leads to rampant Internet discounting from Europe.

Many say this makes it increasingly difficult for them to carry Shimano products without looking like price-gougers. Distributors face pressures from Shimano's policies as well as margins are squeezed, with some even developing their own brands to compete. Bike brands also see their products de-valued as original equipment Shimano components sell elsewhere for huge discounts, the same parts on new bicycles being offered at full price.

Many dealers say they are distancing themselves from Shimano, trying hard to support other component makers, and worrying about a future that allows European retailers to sell to American consumers below dealer cost.

In a recent article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Shimano American management claimed it cannot do anything to control European distribution, a part of the world that doesn't allow MAP or MAP enforcement. Yet, other companies seem to control European distribution effectively.
</snip>

And finally, from New York: "We must be heard. No yelling, no screaming just our story. My story is that for Shimano, the pricing from Europe is untenable and unsustainable for the IBD. I will put forth this message to any Shimano representative any time I can. I will not be silent. I hope all of you can commit to being a squeaky wheel. The thing I hate the most is 'You are the first to bring that to my attention," or 'No other dealer has complained.'"
+1

So what you are saying is: The American industry groups are saying that Shimano's price controls on the American market are hard on independent small business owners as well. That their policy helps to squeeze out the little guy.

If the industry claims they are harmed, and I came to the same conclusion by way of a wholly different dataset...Well, It's good to know that I'm not a crazy ideological crank.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
this is the second time you have questioned the claim and asked for examples...
This whole thread is about what Shimano is doing. It's not unreasonable for me to ask the people who are defending Shimano for examples of other companies that behave the same way in a similar situation. I still haven't heard one by the way.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
In some cases 2 extra layers (or more).

Shimano Japan sells to Shimano USA which sells to local regional wholesale company (which consolidates wholesale products from multiple vendors), which sells to the local bike shops.

For convenience, then, the local bike shops can simply call up the local wholesale company and buy Shimano parts, Continental parts, Schwalbe parts, SRAM parts, & etc.

But, they pay the price for doing that.

No doubt, Shimano USA doesn't want to give up their chunk of the profit, even if they are no longer serving any useful service.

What is their contract like?

Even franchises frequently break their contracts.

Translating languages, and converting Dollars to Yen to Euros to Rubles can be a hassle, but with modern banking, is easier than ever.

A small shop ordering from multiple vendors might be a bit of a hassle (labor costs?), but with good systems, should be easy enough now.

I have no idea how old auto parts stores used to work, but they used to have these monster banks of printed catalogs. So, a customer comes in and asks for a part. They spend a few minutes browsing through catalogs until they figure out what the part is, how much, and where to order it, potentially ordering direct from the suppliers, or even local parts refurbishing companies. And, often bypassing the car manufacturers.

In theory, it should be cheaper to ship components by the Connex box, surface freight. But, I'm not so sure. For one thing, small orders by mail can be shipped "just in time".

And, we have a problem if a company claims that by buying in bulk, they can not compete with small individual orders. Time to make changes?
So this seems the singlemost straightforward reason that costs have to be higher thru US channels of distibution, yet I don't see very many folks challenging Shimano on this singular point? Is there an interview question out there asked/answered on this issue?

So how does Wiggle or Merlin or Ribble or whatnot buy their parts, and why can't at least Amazon or Competitive Cyclist (and I would have suggested Nashbar/performance, but let's not go there) do the same in the same manner.

You can't solve anything unless you figure out the root cause.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:49 PM
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CliffordK
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
So this seems the singlemost straightforward reason that costs have to be higher thru US channels of distibution, yet I don't see very many folks challenging Shimano on this singular point? Is there an interview question out there asked/answered on this issue?

So how does Wiggle or Merlin or Ribble or whatnot buy their parts, and why can't at least Amazon or Competitive Cyclist (and I would have suggested Nashbar/performance, but let's not go there) do the same in the same manner.

You can't solve anything unless you figure out the root cause.
I wonder if there is more competition in Europe...

So we get back to MONOPOLY BEHAVIOR.

Since Schwinn, Murray, & etc all but vanished, Shimano and Suntour really took over in the USA. Then Shimano generally squeezed Suntour out of the market, and we were left with ONE.

I have to believe that Campagnolo is still strong in southern Europe, and perhaps in Europe in general.

Get the prices too high, and the Italians would flock to even the lower Campagnolo component groups.

SRAM?

But, yes, a lot of this is about Shimano USA protecting their turf.
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Old 01-31-19, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Nobody said Americans deserve a price break. We deserve a functioning free market capitalistic economy.
Why? Why should the U.S. get to determine business law for the rest of the world? After all, we have tariffs and trade agreements which distort the supposed “free market” just like every other nation. Why should U.S. ideas about “business fairness” determine the laws in other countries?

We don’t have a free-market economy in the U.S. right now. Ask, say, the people who make solar panels. Ask how they feel about oil companies getting cheap leases for drilling, and tax breaks for “exploration” of resources which properly belong to the entire U.S. population.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
The problem is the arbitrary boundarys drawn to carve up a single market for profit maximization. .
Shimano doesn’t draw the boundaries. Individual nations of trading blocs do.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I just can't believe people are ok with being bent over a barrel. It's just not right.
Apparently you Do think we deserve the lowest possible prices.

ECON 101 , for people like yourself demanding a “Free Market Economy”: The seller sets the price. Whatever price. The seller charges As Much as the seller wants … in a free-market economy.

People either buy or do not buy. If the seller decides, the seller can raise or lower the sales price to make more profit per unit or to try to stimulate sales.

So … Shimano charging different prices in different markets is EXACTLY the “Free-market Economy” you think we should have.

Hello.
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Old 01-31-19, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Such as? I'd like to know which other product manufacturers charge a wholesale price in the US that's higher than the retail price in Europe for an otherwise identical product, then threaten British retailers so they stop shipping product to American customers. I'll stop buying their products too.
Pharmaceuticals. Pretty much all of them.
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Old 01-31-19, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
This whole thread is about what Shimano is doing. It's not unreasonable for me to ask the people who are defending Shimano for examples of other companies that behave the same way in a similar situation. I still haven't heard one by the way.


Ok, we have SRAM that has previously prohibited European resellers from selling SRAM products. And, it is a US company (using foreign manufacturing).

I don't have a lot of SRAM components. And, I suppose it is OK if they don't wish to sell cassettes to me. I have thought about them some, but their policy hasn't driven me to US Mom & Pop stores.



I decided to try some Surly ExtraTerrestrial tires. About the time I decided to pull the trigger, I was surprised that every online store was selling them for exactly the same price (which was up at least $10 from a couple weeks earlier



There was something in the news about 30 years ago about STIHL and a small chainsaw store in Creswell, OR that sold a LOT of them for its size. Unfortunately I don't remember the outcome, but there was talk about the manufacture price fixing (which I think was trying to enforce a minimum advertised price).



The conversation waundered to cameras... and no doubt small stores feeling the pinch of changing technology. Likely electronic superstores like Best Buy also took their bite. It sounds like it was a losing battle to me.



Governments actually enforce grey market restrictions on new cars, although they seem to be more amiable to letting parts leak through, including letting the USA snap up many of Japan's junk engines.



We discussed the video industry that embeds regional codes into their videos. And, many internet content suppliers restrict access to content based on regions and IP addresses. They also encrypt their videos so that they can only be viewed with certain brands of computer operating systems, and not other brands (which no decryption algorithm is provided for).

In many cases, it is easier and more stable to acquire pirated versions of the media than the "legit" versions.



The Big 3 Auto companies reportedly have an interesting way of rolling delivery costs into their cars. So, the exact delivery cost is charged to customers in Detroit, as in Oregon or California, and perhaps even Hawaii.

There is no undercutting one's local dealer by flying out to Michigan and driving one's own car back home.

And, as mentioned, in most cases it is difficult to import a vehicle < 25 years old, even if it is not available here in the USA.



I just don't have any other hobbies that lead to a lot of repeat expensive consumable and sub-component purchases.



China, of course, has issues with direct marketing to the USA, and brutal price competition, often saving only pennies between vendors.

In some cases, it might be difficult for a company to import a product for resale, and not get undercut by direct sales.



A few years ago I tried to do direct import of computers for a small business. The manufacturer I chose would not allow me to purchase direct from China, and I was stuck buying from a US importer with prices nearly identical to what they were reselling themselves, and I had limited selection, so several models listed on the company website were unavailable to me. Presumably if I could have floated orders of 100 or so, I could have gotten a wider selection (still buying at retail prices), but I couldn't even get demo versions of the computers I wanted to work with.

And, or course, there now are issues with getting stuff like Microsoft software packaged with computers (at a cost) when it is completely unwanted.
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