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Bike Frames for the racer on a budget!

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Bike Frames for the racer on a budget!

Old 03-03-22, 02:14 PM
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Duffstix
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Bike Frames for the racer on a budget!

Hello!

Let me start with a bit of an introduction - I'm 30 years old and have been cycling for the last 12 years, but have only just found myself able to buy a bike brand new, outright, this year.

This got me thinking - from being a student, to working in a fairly low paying industry, I was kind of forced due to lack of income to rely on the second hand market for bike parts, wheels and in particular, frames.

The thought struck me this week, why not start a bike company offering affordable frames aimed directly at people who have to race on a budget or ride on a budget.

It would seem to me that this would eliminate some of the pitfalls of buying second hand:

1. Worn Parts/interfaces/chipped or scratched
2. No warranty or guarantee
3. Limited in size choice

If you could theoretically offer a frame for the average price of secondhand ($6-800), which offered ease of maintenance, frame warranty/guarantee and a variations in regards to sizing, I feel that there would be a huge market for this.

Regarding discs/rim also, the ease of maintenance would lean towards rim (we are talking about people on a limited budget, and rim groupsets/wheels and maintenance are all cheaper with rim brake) but if enough people feel that disc brakes should be offered then that would be something too.

Just looking for peoples thoughts, feedback.

Please keep in mind this thought process has aimed this product at people like me, previously, with a super limited budget who want to race and ride their bike but also don't necessarily want the risk of second hand.
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Old 03-03-22, 02:33 PM
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The market already exists, lots of budget racers that want a new frame cheapo buy the "known good" open mold frames off Aliexpress. Exactly that price point.

They have rim, disc, road, TT/tri, etc...... Whatever you fancy.

When a company doesn't make the mold exclusive due to cost, it's open for production use from anyone. And that's how all the "not major label" places offer seemingly affordable frames and bikes. It's their paint job and logos on the open mold frames, or wheels.

I assume that's the same thing going on here. But, this isn't unique. It's already done, frequently.

The markup in not buying it right from China is that you may get a warranty or a groupset paired with it from the vendor regional to you as the purchaser.
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Old 03-03-22, 02:34 PM
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So. A company that sells race quality frames that are competitively priced with used frames. Sounds great. Once you've figured out how to make something at a cost that would allow you to do that, I'm sure there will be a lot of interest.
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Old 03-03-22, 02:50 PM
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ebay- tons of used aluminum road frames. If needed, buy a new fork for $250 or less and get the frame powdercoated- in total you will have a new looking frameset for under $600. 1" steerer frames can get a Ritchey fork, Custom Junkies fork, or something new off ebay.
External cable routing, threaded bb, reliable seatpost clamp, traditional headset and cockpit = easy to adjust and easy to replace.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/28453795380...kAAOSwSSZh8HXi
https://www.ebay.com/itm/19482323173...4AAOSw4TFiB-ht
https://www.ebay.com/itm/15487314688...UAAOSwbU9iDAn9
https://www.ebay.com/itm/20384834177...8AAOSwacBiHmUT
https://www.ebay.com/itm/17518403265...sAAOSwgB1iID2y
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Old 03-03-22, 03:33 PM
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As pointed out, there are plenty of frames marketed direct from China in that price point.

And, most of the big companies are making their frames in either China or Taiwan.

What you would really need would be to build up your brand. Do some of the engineering on the frames and molds to meet your goals. Plus some good quality control beyond simply hitting the price point. And then have some of the long term care so that if faults do pop up, you fix them on the next generation of frames.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are some unique marketing platforms. You would need the research done to get the project going, and to know the price point you can meet. You'll be in a bind if you pre-sell 1000 bikes at a loss.
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Old 03-03-22, 07:32 PM
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A few have gone this route already. Engine 11 comes to mind (though I wouldn't consider them budget friendly), as well as some others that I cannot currently recall the names of. The key, as pointed out already, is building up the brand through marketing, sponsorships, etc.

If I were interested in racing, I would either rely on a team sponsorship bike deal, or pick up something used for cheap that I wouldn't mind totaling in a crash.
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Old 03-04-22, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The market already exists, lots of budget racers that want a new frame cheapo buy the "known good" open mold frames off Aliexpress. Exactly that price point.

They have rim, disc, road, TT/tri, etc...... Whatever you fancy.

When a company doesn't make the mold exclusive due to cost, it's open for production use from anyone. And that's how all the "not major label" places offer seemingly affordable frames and bikes. It's their paint job and logos on the open mold frames, or wheels.

I assume that's the same thing going on here. But, this isn't unique. It's already done, frequently.

The markup in not buying it right from China is that you may get a warranty or a groupset paired with it from the vendor regional to you as the purchaser.
This. A few years ago, you could get good generic framesets through Nashbar or Performance, but now you can get them right from the source on Aliexpress.
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Old 03-04-22, 05:35 PM
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Old 03-04-22, 05:41 PM
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I am going to use a bit of paintball parlance. It isn't the marker, it's the player.

With that said I understand there is a bit more nuance where it comes (particularly) to weight, spinning mass, function and ergo....but, race on what you can afford and if you are truly strong and talented enough those traits should show through almost regardless of what you ride.
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Old 03-04-22, 07:55 PM
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My son, at 16, started racing on a Specialized Allez, I think he paid $800 for it in 2005, and by 17 he was wining local races. He worked at a bike shop and upgraded to a Cervelo P2.

He regularly finished ahead of many with much more expensive bikes.

At 17 he won a local Sprint Triathlon and was picked up by a local team.

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Old 03-07-22, 08:00 AM
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Whenever the pandemic induced supply shortages end, look for either lightly used or new old stock frames. I bought two new Colnago C-RS frames for $700 each and 18 months later, two new Cinelli superstar disc frames for $1000 each. I sold the Colnago rim brake frames for around $400 each on eBay. The Cinelli frames are keepers. I expect to keep them for a long time.
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Old 03-08-22, 08:36 PM
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Old 03-14-22, 04:54 AM
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got this on eBay for $3K

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Old 03-14-22, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Duffstix View Post
Hello!

Let me start with a bit of an introduction - I'm 30 years old and have been cycling for the last 12 years, but have only just found myself able to buy a bike brand new, outright, this year.

This got me thinking - from being a student, to working in a fairly low paying industry, I was kind of forced due to lack of income to rely on the second hand market for bike parts, wheels and in particular, frames.

The thought struck me this week, why not start a bike company offering affordable frames aimed directly at people who have to race on a budget or ride on a budget.

It would seem to me that this would eliminate some of the pitfalls of buying second hand:

1. Worn Parts/interfaces/chipped or scratched
2. No warranty or guarantee
3. Limited in size choice

If you could theoretically offer a frame for the average price of secondhand ($6-800), which offered ease of maintenance, frame warranty/guarantee and a variations in regards to sizing, I feel that there would be a huge market for this.

Regarding discs/rim also, the ease of maintenance would lean towards rim (we are talking about people on a limited budget, and rim groupsets/wheels and maintenance are all cheaper with rim brake) but if enough people feel that disc brakes should be offered then that would be something too.

Just looking for peoples thoughts, feedback.

Please keep in mind this thought process has aimed this product at people like me, previously, with a super limited budget who want to race and ride their bike but also don't necessarily want the risk of second hand.
I think you saying there would be a huge market for this has created and answered your own question. The market decides the price of this and as we have seen of late - as demand shoots up, prices rise and supply dries up quickly.

The vast majority of amateur cyclists will already keep a keen eye on the 2nd hand market to upgrade or replace components and obviously there are still a huge number of independent bike shops operating who will buy & sell 2nd hand stuff.

I would imagine there is a role for someone to buy up 2nd hand kit and match it to buyers who would rather pay a small premium to go through a reliable retailer rather than turn up to someone's property with a wad of cash and hope for the best. And likewise with sellers who want a quick transaction after buying some new gear.

But you aren't quite reinventing the wheel.
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Old 03-14-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
When a company doesn't make the mold exclusive due to cost, it's open for production use from anyone. And that's how all the "not major label" places offer seemingly affordable frames and bikes.
This almost never happens anymore. Molds aren't that expensive anymore (not like when I started) and the price to have your own vs allowing it to be used by others is non-existent to negligible. What you're seeing aren't popular molds being used as open molds but rather clones that were open mold from the start. I think I was offered the option of making my mold open like a decade ago for a slight cost reduction. Anymore it's not even offered. Especially with the filament wound stuff coming out of China now. Mold/setup cost is negligible wen amortized over the minimum run quantity.

In other words the companies that you see offering a frame that looks a lot like multiple other bike companies frames are simply buying open mold - they didn't go and get their mold made and then the factory is selling frames out of that same mold. The factory made a mold/frame and are selling it to whomever wants to buy it.

1. Most Open Mold pieces are really well done and made. These typically aren't sub-par like the implication has been in the past. BUT
2. In the open market everyone instantly devalues open mold so as a company you are light years better off changing the product enough to have your "own" product. Even if it's out of the same factory with the same materials and processes, quality and engineering... if it's different it's different. That's when people start talking "aero" or Geometry benefits, etc.

As an aside for anyone thinking about getting into that style of business from someone who ha been living it for over 12 years - don't. Your fixed cost basis will immediately put you at a disadvantage if you're looking to serve the low cost high performance market. You can't compete with that. If you do decide to compete then your capital investment will have to be staggering in order to be competitive and with the way the supply chain has been operating your largest expense - freight - can increase 10 fold within a couple of months and destroy your entire model. Better hope everyone hasn't changed their minds about what's cool on bikes during the 6 months to 1 year your containers have been on the water and in port. ;D
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Old 03-14-22, 11:16 AM
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OP - let me address the original question: no.

1. numbers of people participating in races is near a modern era low. 2 years of pandemic on the heels of the lance era collapse and systemically poor management from USA Cycling has made the racing industry barren. We have cut our road calendar almost in half in the last decade. When we do have races the field sizes are roughly half to a third what they used to be on the entry level side and that spells doom for the future of this. Ask me how I know.

2. From experience I can say "race the bike you ride". The idea of a throw away crit bike was a novel thing for even myself for a while around 2008-2010. What happened is that I missed out on utilizing my nice bikes for their intended purpose. I rode them less overall because I was racing all the time and eventually sold them with a fraction of the miles on them that I could have put on and enjoyed them through. As for the fear of destroying them...destroying and replacing a race bike is really a lot less expensive than destroying yourself. I would be more put off by the expense of good healthcare. When you've had to see a family deal with the breadwinner of the family have to re-learn how to walk and talk you start to gain perspective. While that's immensely rare it DOES happen.

3. There will always be another source for cheap frames. Used ones, team deals, Ali, eBay, That one guy with a truck behind the Waffle House, etc. Trying to be the go-to source for something and the main draw is that it's cheap is a losing business idea in this day and age. Fixed costs are only going up.

4. Racers, already a tiny population that can not financially sustain any industry associated towards that niche, are immensely cheap. Like yourself - stay with me - who started a thread about starting a business to supply cheap frames to racers who wreck them....because the thought of paying "real" prices was daunting to you. Almost every racer feels the same way. That's why racers hardly ever pay full price for anything ever. They all miss the fact that the vast marjoity of that high zoot equipment that is meant for doing what they are doing is ONLY made for them...so if they aren't paying full price for it then who does?

Pretty sure Pros closet started as this sort of endeavor. A way for pros to ditch their team gear at the end of the season and generate some living income and them selling it to racers looking for used high end gear at a low price. Go check out their site now. You will notice it's not as "low" as you'd want to pay and there are many business reasons for that.
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Old 03-14-22, 11:45 AM
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As for the title of the thread: "Bike Frames for the racer on a budget!" In my near 30 years of racing and being around racing I have yet to meet a racer who wasn't on a budget. In fact the really best racers I know are usually what most would consider to be pros and are always broke.
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Old 03-15-22, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
... 1" steerer frames can get a Ritchey fork, Custom Junkies fork, or something new off ebay....
I always add to this, one of the best - light handsome, and reputable - forks for 1" head tubes, the Columbus Minimal 1" version. Fantastic fork.
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Old 03-16-22, 09:55 AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like this is an open mold frameset that's offered by a UK online retailer: https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/FTPXEC...-road-frameset
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Old 03-16-22, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like this is an open mold frameset that's offered by a UK online retailer: https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/FTPXEC...-road-frameset
Yeah, the planetx, stuff kills me because none of it will ever fit me at 6'5. I get it, I am out of the wheelhouse in terms of size, but their offerings are also clearly Eastern in sizing. The XL frame size is 590mm of stack and 401mm of reach.
I can't believe they actually suggsst that for cyclists up to 6'5. Maybe 1% of 6'5 cyclists would consider that ideal frame geometry. Honestly, 1% is too high.

PlanetX has some awesome titanium frame deals and it's really neat what the brand does overall. They are definitely sourcing frames that have already been designed and tested by the manufacturer.
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