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Any member in the U.S.A. buy a frame, or complete bicycle direct out of Italy?

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Any member in the U.S.A. buy a frame, or complete bicycle direct out of Italy?

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Old 07-13-15, 04:48 PM
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Any member in the U.S.A. buy a frame, or complete bicycle direct out of Italy?

I have been corresponding with a couple of manufactures out of Italy about purchase of Frame & Fork, or complete bike with Campy Athena.

Reason for not dealing with LBS is money, the saving is huge even considering the delivery cost, and duty.

My concerns are simple.

Damage in transit?

Everything else is pretty much protect by Credit Card Transaction Dispuite Process.

Please share your personal experences, pro or con.
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Old 07-13-15, 05:03 PM
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what you are forgetting is warranty which is huge when it comes to buying a new bike. I wouldn't buy a bike straight from Europe unless I moved there.
Perfectly fine to buy a Bianchi say from an American bike shop. I have. Let the bike shop deal with the logistical nightmare of warranty coverage with a European bike company.
So your savings is a false economy. Hey you might get lucky and not need a warranty. But any bike maker will require verification of the failure and that means shipping the frame back...that is if they will accept it back at all.
With all the fantastic bikes available out of US bike shops or even off ebay...buying from Europe makes little sense.
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Old 07-13-15, 05:36 PM
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Warranty is a consideration if the warranty is worth more than the paper it iswritten on. But the saving would pay for many warranty shipments back to Italy. So that is the flip side of that coin. I personally wonder how many warranty claim would there be with a Steel Luugged Frame & Fork?

BTW I hear Richard Schwin don't honor warranty claims very well, this was told me by a LBS who dropped dealing with Waterford & Gunnar. But then I had zero way to verify this information. So that is rumor or one person expierence.

I know back in the 1990's TREK did honor warranty claims on early OCLV broken wishbones, then they corrected the design fault, and the problem went away. But my friend had a OCLV Problem, Trek sent a new frame but the dealer still charged him labor on the parts swap. IMHO Trek should have payed for that.
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Old 07-13-15, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TheManShow View Post
Warranty is a consideration if the warranty is worth more than the paper it iswritten on. But the saving would pay for many warranty shipments back to Italy. So that is the flip side of that coin. I personally wonder how many warranty claim would there be with a Steel Luugged Frame & Fork?

BTW I hear Richard Schwin don't honor warranty claims very well, this was told me by a LBS who dropped dealing with Waterford & Gunnar. But then I had zero way to verify this information. So that is rumor or one person expierence.

I know back in the 1990's TREK did honor warranty claims on early OCLV broken wishbones, then they corrected the design fault, and the problem went away. But my friend had a OCLV Problem, Trek sent a new frame but the dealer still charged him labor on the parts swap. IMHO Trek should have payed for that.
I'd be willing to buy a frame - especially from a vendor I knew and trusted and knew how their bikes fit me - like Tommasini. I wouldn't buy a complete bike from Italy - I'd just buy the components in a group from a reliable vendor and build it myself.

I also wouldn't do this if I didn't have complete confidence in my own ability to build a bike from the parts - to me, that's worth more than a warranty would ever be on a complete bike. But certainly I would expect a reputable frame builder to stand behind any frame they built and sold me.
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Old 07-13-15, 06:00 PM
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Your credit card warranty should cover shipping damage as well as other risks. If not, find one that does.
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Old 07-13-15, 06:13 PM
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I wouldn't implement your plan without first making a proposal to the better LBSs that you are familiar with. You will have to negotiate hard, but the idea is to let them know they only get this piece of business if they are willing to accept only, say, 10% above their cost. Since they have no investment in the special order frame or costs associated with the time value of money, they might be willing to go along. How a price like that would compare to the deal you would get buying direct, I can't say. But having the support of a local retailer is key. And if the frame were to come via a USA distributor of the brand, the full warranty isn't such a bad thing either no matter how complete or incomplete it is.
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Old 07-13-15, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
I wouldn't implement your plan without first making a proposal to the better LBSs that you are familiar with. You will have to negotiate hard, but the idea is to let them know they only get this piece of business if they are willing to accept only, say, 10% above their cost. Since they have no investment in the special order frame or costs associated with the time value of money, they might be willing to go along. How a price like that would compare to the deal you would get buying direct, I can't say. But having the support of a local retailer is key. And if the frame were to come via a USA distributor of the brand, the full warranty isn't such a bad thing either no matter how complete or incomplete it is.

Your post has merit about the local bike shop, and I did give a couple a chance at ordering me a frame & fork that they could order. But did not have in inventory. Both offered me a price of full MSRP, becase of their overhead. Well lost sale = nothing to pay said overhead.

I assume these shop have more business then they can handle, so it is not in their intrest to discount anything. But the LBS's complain about "their" customer not buyin from them. They moan and grown about the Performances, Nashbars, and other on line dealers cutting their prices.

Tis is called competation, choices,and on line shopping that is good for the consumer IMHO. It is no longer an industry were consumer have to go to brick & morter retail stores, and pay the full MSRP, or MSRP + rate.
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Old 07-13-15, 11:09 PM
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In my humble opinion, 10% markup is inadequate to compensate for the potential hassles involved.

Also, although frugal shoppers think this is grossly unfair and mean and nasty, sometimes a person in retail sales just does not want to deal with a potential customer who is pinching every nickel and suspiciously resentful of "wasted money going to a middleman for nothing". Life is too short, let somebody else enjoy their largesse.
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Old 07-14-15, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TheManShow View Post
Your post has merit about the local bike shop, and I did give a couple a chance at ordering me a frame & fork that they could order. But did not have in inventory. Both offered me a price of full MSRP, becase of their overhead. Well lost sale = nothing to pay said overhead.

I assume these shop have more business then they can handle, so it is not in their intrest to discount anything. But the LBS's complain about "their" customer not buyin from them. They moan and grown about the Performances, Nashbars, and other on line dealers cutting their prices.

Tis is called competation, choices,and on line shopping that is good for the consumer IMHO. It is no longer an industry were consumer have to go to brick & morter retail stores, and pay the full MSRP, or MSRP + rate.
It's called a business model. If you can figure out how to run a bike shop with overhead at only 10% of cost of inventory when you don't even have inventory until a customer brings it to you, you should open a shop.
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Old 07-14-15, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
In my humble opinion, 10% markup is inadequate to compensate for the potential hassles involved.

Also, although frugal shoppers think this is grossly unfair and mean and nasty, sometimes a person in retail sales just does not want to deal with a potential customer who is pinching every nickel and suspiciously resentful of "wasted money going to a middleman for nothing". Life is too short, let somebody else enjoy their largesse.
Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
It's called a business model. If you can figure out how to run a bike shop with overhead at only 10% of cost of inventory when you don't even have inventory until a customer brings it to you, you should open a shop.
Not every transaction conforms to the business model. It is the decision of the owner of the shop. If he is foolish for accepting the deal, that is not the fault of the buyer.

Look at this example: $4200 frame, 200 shipping, 2800 dealer's cost. (Feel free to correct my markup number.) Cost to buyer is 2800 + 200 + 280 or $3280. Savings of $900 before taxes (or duty on the direct-from-Italy purchase. Dealer pockets $280 for his trouble to sell one bike frame. Are you telling me that most shops make more than $280 on the vast majority of bikes that they sell? I don't think so. Any warranty service down the road wouldn't be much different than for any other bike the shop would have sold. Doesn't look so bad to me for a slow Monday.

And BTW plenty of bikes are sold in shops at the cost +10% level. It is called closeout sales. Not every sale garners list price.
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Old 07-14-15, 07:16 AM
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Get the frame insured if you buy it from overseas. I bought a Bob Jackson frame from England about 5 years ago, and the cost included a shipping+insurance fee bundled together. As far as a frame warranty is concerned, I would consider the risk of frame/fork failure extremely low for a lugged steel frame. I have owned probably 15+ bikes over the years, mostly steel, and I've never had a frame issue that required a warranty. I have made warranty claims on parts several times but never frames or forks.

However, in the unlikely event that you did need to make a claim, the seller certainly must have some sort of process for making claims. Have you asked?
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Old 07-14-15, 07:19 AM
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Robert, don't forget that this customer will be crowing to the world about the great "10% over cost" deal he got and then others will expect the same deal.
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Old 07-14-15, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Not every transaction conforms to the business model. It is the decision of the owner of the shop. If he is foolish for accepting the deal, that is not the fault of the buyer.

And BTW plenty of bikes are sold in shops at the cost +10% level. It is called closeout sales. Not every sale garners list price.
Quite true, but the key is that it is the business owner's decision in every case. Nobody in their right mind owns a business in order to have customers come in and tell them how to run it.
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Old 07-14-15, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
Robert, don't forget that this customer will be crowing to the world about the great "10% over cost" deal he got and then others will expect the same deal.
True, and for such special import orders, I bet the shop could do well to engage in that kind of business. Since it is sort of encapsulated, it shouldn't affect the price point of other merchandise in inventory or ordered from domestic distributors.
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Old 07-14-15, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Quite true, but the key is that it is the business owner's decision in every case. Nobody in their right mind owns a business in order to have customers come in and tell them how to run it.
Making an uninvited business proposal isn't exactly telling someone how to run their business. The LBS is being given the choice (decision) whether to accept the deal or not. As long as no one takes offense at either of the possible outcomes, what's the harm?
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Old 07-14-15, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
True, and for such special import orders, I bet the shop could do well to engage in that kind of business. Since it is sort of encapsulated, it shouldn't affect the price point of other merchandise in inventory or ordered from domestic distributors.
I thought we were talking about an item identical or similar to what is stocked in the store, no?

If on the other hand it is an item that is significantly different from what is stocked locally, and I had no intention of ever stocking it, then what you are saying makes more sense and I might well do it.

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Old 07-14-15, 08:19 AM
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I did... more or less....

On an extended trip to Italy as a tourist, I knew I wanted an Italian bike.... so I bought one, rode it around Italy quite a bit, then at the end of the trip brought it back home with me

Somewhere I was reading a thread about someone who bought a Colnago direct from Europe (but not factory direct). Ahhh, found it.
http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...l#post17475364
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Old 07-14-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
I thought we were talking about an item identical or similar to what is stocked in the store, no?

If on the other hand it is an item that is significantly different from what is stocked locally, and I had no intention of ever stocking it, then what you are saying makes more sense and I might well do it.
There you go. That's not the way I took it. I saw it as an esoteric Italian frame that is not distributed in the US. If a manufacturer would sell directly in a town where they are represented, shame on them.
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Old 07-14-15, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
True, and for such special import orders, I bet the shop could do well to engage in that kind of business. Since it is sort of encapsulated, it shouldn't affect the price point of other merchandise in inventory or ordered from domestic distributors.
It might be an opportunity, but it's hard to say how good. Businesses do better the more they like, know and understand what they sell; one-off, customer-driven products ALWAYS go for a premium due to their inefficient nature - a premium which, evidently, people are not always willing to pay.
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Old 07-14-15, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
In my humble opinion, 10% markup is inadequate to compensate for the potential hassles involved.

Also, although frugal shoppers think this is grossly unfair and mean and nasty, sometimes a person in retail sales just does not want to deal with a potential customer who is pinching every nickel and suspiciously resentful of "wasted money going to a middleman for nothing". Life is too short, let somebody else enjoy their largesse.

I agree 10% is nothing, I do not know what percentage is fair. But this is how it works in my mind, I said I want x-frame. I am give a fair number, the shop calls it is available. I pay for it, it is shipped to the shop, and I come fetch it.

How much is that worth.??
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Old 07-14-15, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TheManShow View Post
I agree 10% is nothing, I do not know what percentage is fair. But this is how it works in my mind, I said I want x-frame. I am give a fair number, the shop calls it is available. I pay for it, it is shipped to the shop, and I come fetch it.

How much is that worth.??
Cool. You improve your chance of getting the frame that way. But you also improve your chance of paying more than you have to. 10% seems like a good place to start. I said it was going to be about negotiation, not ultimatums.
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Old 07-14-15, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
There you go. That's not the way I took it. I saw it as an esoteric Italian frame that is not distributed in the US. If a manufacturer would sell directly in a town where they are represented, shame on them.

My old boss did a considerable amount of importing from Italy BITD and he stopped because he found that Italian business people have (had) no qualms about competing with their customers or otherwise screwing them.

About ten years ago, another guy who I worked with was starting his own business and our ex-boss offered him advice about not trusting Italian bike companies, but my buddy swore up and down that he was given the exclusive Canadian rights to sell their products. He still has his business but no longer sells products from that manufacturer - it turned out the company had given 'exclusive Canadian rights' to a handful of different businesses.
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Old 07-14-15, 10:45 AM
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[QUOTE=Wilfred Laurier;17978612]My old boss did a considerable amount of importing from Italy BITD and he stopped because he found that Italian business people have (had) no qualms about competing with their customers or otherwise screwing them.

About ten years ago, another guy who I worked with was starting his own business and our ex-boss offered him advice about not trusting Italian bike companies, but my buddy swore up and down that he was given the exclusive Canadian rights to sell their products. He still has his business but no longer sells products from that manufacturer - it turned out the company had given 'exclusive Canadian rights' to a handful of different businesses.[/QUOTE/]
Sure that's a problem, but not in any way related to what we are talking about. We are talking about a shop accepting one-off opportunities with possibly a wide variety of sources no expectation of continuing business and certainly not at a level that would impact the health of the business. Just a little gravy. Who cares how many folks the manufacturer will accommodate that way.
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Old 07-14-15, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Sure that's a problem, but not in any way related to what we are talking about. We are talking about a shop accepting one-off opportunities with possibly a wide variety of sources no expectation of continuing business and certainly not at a level that would impact the health of the business. Just a little gravy. Who cares how many folks the manufacturer will accommodate that way.
It is exactly related to your comment about shameful business practices of companies selling product out the back door when they have a retailer nearby.
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Old 07-14-15, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Cool. You improve your chance of getting the frame that way. But you also improve your chance of paying more than you have to. 10% seems like a good place to start. I said it was going to be about negotiation, not ultimatums.

This process is like buying a car, and no sale has been made until you sign on the dotted line. But the buyer is in control as long as negoating are going on. If the LBS does't want to match prices they are not a charity, and just remind them you gave them a chance to make some profit. Do not feel guilty about buying on line.

The funny thing is a couple of the Italian Companies who have US Distributors will sell you direct, I am not sure this is in the best intrest of those distributors who are their middle man between the manufacturer, and dealer.

But everytime someone touches a product, they got to get paid for their touching.

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