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November Bicycles, any thoughts?

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November Bicycles, any thoughts?

Old 09-21-11, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla
You are still getting essentially the same product as on Ebay or direct from the vendor - just with local service and warranty. Which, as I said above, is good - it provides more options for us, the buyers.
You may be right that some of the frames sold on eBay are of comparable quality with branded frames sold in the US, but you really have no way of knowing, do you? There is risk involved in that transaction, to be sure. We took the rising popularity of the generic eBay frame as part of our inspiration when we started. What's appealing about them is the price - nothing else. In fact, the price is usually so low that a customer is often willing to overlook warranty, service, performance and durability. But we wanted to find some middle ground where we could provide an outstanding value on a frame whose performance rivals the biggest, most expensive brands in the local shop, and customers didn't have to hold their breath the first time they turned a pedal above 200 watts.

With generic frames sold direct from the far east (usually China), more often than not you don't know what you're getting. You don't know if you're buying straight from the manufacturer, a trading company, or some other entity. You don't know what type of carbon is used (ours uses Toray T-700 but we haven't posted it on the product page since it doesn't factor into most people's buying decisions), if the manufacturer carries product liability insurance (ours does, 7-figures worth), if the selling brand carries insurance (we do, of course) and if the products you are buying have been EN tested for safety (our frame has been tested to EN-14781 standards for road racing bikes, which is basically a battery of torture tests to ensure frames do not crack or fail).

So you might be getting the same product. But given the cost of the $375 frames on eBay and all of the energy and expense that goes into EN testing, insurance, and the rest of what you don't see that certainly contributes to the quality and reliability of a bicycle frame, I highly doubt they're the same product. You can't just strip out marketing and distribution and sell frames at that price point (trust me, we've tried). You've got to strip out a lot more than that. You don't always get what you pay for, but in the bike business you never get more than you pay for.
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Old 09-21-11, 07:42 AM
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I have no idea what the significance of Toray T700 carbon is, but the thing effin' rides great.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:03 AM
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I went with November (for RFSC 38s) over chinese companies because of warranty and over PSIMET because of the excellent level of service. Could not be more happy.
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Old 09-21-11, 09:54 AM
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I was looking real hard at November for my next bike. I like their philosophy and business model, and their products and customer service seem to be great. After crashing and needing a new frame in a hurry, I went another direction for the present. However, when it comes time for something new I will certainly give strong consideration to November. Wishin' I had the coin for a set of those new Velocity alloy clinchers right now. They sound sweet!
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Old 09-21-11, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by November Mike
You may be right that some of the frames sold on eBay are of comparable quality with branded frames sold in the US, but you really have no way of knowing, do you? There is risk involved in that transaction, to be sure.
You are correct - and perhaps I should emphasized it a little more, but I think guys like you, P-X, etc fill a very useful value niche in the market, between the relatively overpriced (purely from a retail vs cost of manufacture point of view) branded bikes and the risk of buying directly from a faceless seller.

So I am not knocking what you guys are doing at all - you are being the guinea pigs for the products so that the end user isnt. And that is where your premium comes in and justifiably so. I didnt mean to imply otherwise.

My post was actually addressing a belief some BFers seem to have that just b/c a product is being sold by an American front end, that means that the end-product will automatically be better engineered. QC != Engineering (again, not saying this is a bad thing at all. I'll happily pay a premium for QC as well).
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Old 09-21-11, 01:36 PM
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I've demoed a November bike - seemed quite nice, though entirely impossible to compare with my usual race bike as everything from bar geometry to wheels were different and it wasn't a hard ride.

(Though I learned I don't like SRAM's shifting and I pulled an Andy Schleck SRAM-tm chain drop on one climb...)

If I needed to buy a new frame or carbon wheels in the absence of other sponsorship, I'd definitely seriously consider November.

I do, however, commute with a November-branded water bottle they gave me. And my wife uses November-branded gloves. So there you go.

I've contributed nothing useful to this discussion.

Last edited by Treefox; 09-21-11 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by November Mike
You may be right that some of the frames sold on eBay are of comparable quality with branded frames sold in the US, but you really have no way of knowing, do you?
And the same could be said for a startup like November. For all we know, you buy those same generic frames, factor in the cost of advertising, warranty claims, and insurance, and announce a new product. You might be right, but we really have no way of knowing, do we?
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Old 09-22-11, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by akansaskid
And the same could be said for a startup like November. For all we know, you buy those same generic frames, factor in the cost of advertising, warranty claims, and insurance, and announce a new product. You might be right, but we really have no way of knowing, do we?
That's absolutely right. You never know what you're getting until you have it - from us, from Cervelo, from Trek or Specialized or anybody else. All products have a failure rate. The bigger brands can justify higher prices (in part) because they have been around longer and have earned some measure of trust from their customers. It doesn't mean that the newest new thing to roll out of the production line and onto shop floors is any more a known quantity than one of our bikes, but the brand is known and trusted, and that makes a difference.

So no, you shouldn't trust us in the same way you trust Specialized and Trek and Cannondale and Cervelo. We know we can't possibly have earned it yet, and we price accordingly. We could buy your trust by sponsoring a pro team, because for some people that goes a long way towards demonstrating the suitability of a bike. But we don't because we'd then have to charge almost twice as much for frames and wheels to pay for the sponsorship. (And in truth, pros' equipment is the most pampered on the planet - the model is actually a pretty poor proof-of-concept to the amateur racer and enthusiast.) Instead, we take a novel approach to earning trust - we tell the truth.

We have also made a conscious decision not to change our product line up year after year. That means that whatever our road frame has demonstrated in quality and durability in 2011 can also be expected from the 2012 bikes. Every time a brand introduces a new frame (particularly one from a different supplier, which is often the case) the trust-o-meter should be reset to zero. The bigger the brand, the more likely the customer is to give them the benefit of the doubt. We know that trust - for a new company, selling direct, principally over the internet and email and phone - is the biggest obstacle to clear. So that's how our business is organized. In truth, we'd love to sell you all bikes and wheels. But if you don't buy from us, and you still trust us, that's as big a win (though one that doesn't allow us to buy as much celebratory Flying Dog).
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Old 09-22-11, 07:40 AM
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Now I'm a fan. Good post Mr. November Mike
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Old 09-22-11, 07:51 AM
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All I know is that I have been following the blog for a few months now and I am definitely a fan. I like the way they run their business, tell the truth, and the reviews on their products have been all positive. I wish I could get in on the November pre-order but I should be able to pick up a Max Perkins edition the first part of next year and I can't wait! I just have to decide if I want the flat black or gloss white. I'm pretty sure it's the flat black though!
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Old 09-22-11, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by akansaskid
And the same could be said for a startup like November. For all we know, you buy those same generic frames, factor in the cost of advertising, warranty claims, and insurance, and announce a new product. You might be right, but we really have no way of knowing, do we?
And Mike's reply is spot on. I was merely raising the point that when he pointed out that we had no reason to trust that eBAY seller and bike, the same is true for most bikes, as Mike noted. The trust comes in tales such as my own where Specialized replaced my suspected cracked Roubaix frame overnight ( I held it the next day) with a model costing twice as much. And the need for trust comes from the fact that failures can occur in any line. It sounds like November understands that in today's world of instant, global communications, they have to get the trust part exactly right. Assuming they wish to retain and grow business, they really have no choice.

Good luck, Mike!
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Old 10-05-11, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by November Mike
You may be right that some of the frames sold on eBay are of comparable quality with branded frames sold in the US, but you really have no way of knowing, do you? There is risk involved in that transaction, to be sure. We took the rising popularity of the generic eBay frame as part of our inspiration when we started. What's appealing about them is the price - nothing else. In fact, the price is usually so low that a customer is often willing to overlook warranty, service, performance and durability. But we wanted to find some middle ground where we could provide an outstanding value on a frame whose performance rivals the biggest, most expensive brands in the local shop, and customers didn't have to hold their breath the first time they turned a pedal above 200 watts.

With generic frames sold direct from the far east (usually China), more often than not you don't know what you're getting. You don't know if you're buying straight from the manufacturer, a trading company, or some other entity. You don't know what type of carbon is used (ours uses Toray T-700 but we haven't posted it on the product page since it doesn't factor into most people's buying decisions), if the manufacturer carries product liability insurance (ours does, 7-figures worth), if the selling brand carries insurance (we do, of course) and if the products you are buying have been EN tested for safety (our frame has been tested to EN-14781 standards for road racing bikes, which is basically a battery of torture tests to ensure frames do not crack or fail).

So you might be getting the same product. But given the cost of the $375 frames on eBay and all of the energy and expense that goes into EN testing, insurance, and the rest of what you don't see that certainly contributes to the quality and reliability of a bicycle frame, I highly doubt they're the same product. You can't just strip out marketing and distribution and sell frames at that price point (trust me, we've tried). You've got to strip out a lot more than that. You don't always get what you pay for, but in the bike business you never get more than you pay for.
you say insurance and I wonder what exactly are you liable for if you aren't the manufacturer? I can sell my bike to anybody and I'm not liable if it fails on them. If they put it through undue stresses and cause a failure. So why is that cost included?
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Old 10-05-11, 02:28 PM
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The difference to your example is that we are a corporate entity, and you are a private citizen. It's a huge distinction. We'd be named in any product liability suit that arose out of one of our products, so we have to cover ourselves as well as be able to cover any liability which we are found to have. I'm not a lawyer but did have jury duty recently, and the American court system is interesting to say the least.

Second, we do assemble products - wheels in particular. You'd like to know that our wheels are assembled as well as they can possibly be (and we keep hearing good things about them), but you'd also like to know that we have insurance in case something goes wrong.

Third, we do occasionally have people demo our bikes. If someone is taking a demo ride and has an accident, we are probably going to get sued. Say, just as an example, that you want to demo a bike and you hand me your pedals and I put them on. Then say you can't clip out at a stop sign, fall over, and get hit by a car. I installed the pedals, the pedals were a proximate cause of the incident, we are getting sued.

We take ownership of frames, rims, and lots of other stuff when it leaves the factory. Suppose the ship with a container full of stuff headed for us sinks? Without insurance, we might not be able to cover that loss. With it, it's taken care of.

In the (admittedly extraordinarily unlikely) event that one of our suppliers is unable to cover liability that they are found to have, our insurance would no doubt come into play.

To try and make an inclusive list of reasons why our having insurance coverage benefits all involved would be impossible. Suffice it to say that we feel it is a necessity for any responsible vendor to have it, and couldn't imagine not having it to protect all sides.

On another note, our pre-order has launched on our site, and will be open until November 7th.
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Old 10-05-11, 03:26 PM
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nice time to start the pre order
thanks for the response. All very interesting.
p.s. I'd like to demo a set of wheels !!!
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Old 10-05-11, 04:15 PM
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No sweat.
Anytime on the demo - just go easy on that 4 Loco when you do. It's nice to have the insurance but nicer not to use it, you know?
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Old 10-09-11, 10:09 AM
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I'm seriously considering pre-ordering the 50mm tubulars so I have something to race on next year that won't leave me broke or crying when I crash. For $700 these seem like a damn good deal. Anyone have experience with the 50mm carbon tubulars?

November Mike-

First, I think what you guys are doing is great! I love the straight-forward and honest approach you guys are taking to get these wheels out there. The price is great too! Question: Do you guys offer or have plans to offer more carbon tubulars with different rim depths? I'd love a slightly deeper 58mm tubular. I'd also like the option to mix and match a deeper rear rim with a shallower front rim. Could this maybe be an option in the future?

Also, where are you guys located in MD? I live in the DC area and I'd love to see your wheels in person before buying a set. I'd be willing to take a short drive if you guys aren't too far.
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Old 10-09-11, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by November Dave
No sweat.
Anytime on the demo - just go easy on that 4 Loco when you do. It's nice to have the insurance but nicer not to use it, you know?
where do I sign up
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Old 10-09-11, 02:02 PM
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So anyone know if they do the carbon tubulars in other depths besides 50mm? I'd be very interested in a 58/50mm rear/front combo. PMed Mike but no response yet.
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Old 10-09-11, 02:18 PM
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Hey ilovecycling - I just got your PM but can't respond. My post count is too meager. How do you guys get over 1000 posts? Seriously.

To answer your question on the asymmetrical wheel pairings, sure we do that. That's the beauty of the pre-order - we don't have to break up a couple sets to do asymmetric since we're ordering exactly the rims you want. The price on 50s and 58s is the same so the 50/58 asymmetrical pairing is the same - $685/set. We don't have it programmed into the site for that pairing (we do for the 58/85 since it is more popular) but you can order either the 50s or 58s and just include in the Notes at checkout that you want an asymmetrical pairing.

You asked some other questions in your PM that I'm happy to answer as well - drop me a note here:
https://www.novemberbicycles.com/contact-us/

I can also work out a time for you to see the wheels up close. All our tubular demo wheels have cross tires on them now and are pressed into service each weekend, but we have some rubberless 50s you can take a look at no problem.
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Old 10-09-11, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by November Mike
How do you guys get over 1000 posts? Seriously.
sad....we know
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Old 10-09-11, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by November Mike
Hey ilovecycling - I just got your PM but can't respond. My post count is too meager. How do you guys get over 1000 posts? Seriously.

To answer your question on the asymmetrical wheel pairings, sure we do that. That's the beauty of the pre-order - we don't have to break up a couple sets to do asymmetric since we're ordering exactly the rims you want. The price on 50s and 58s is the same so the 50/58 asymmetrical pairing is the same - $685/set. We don't have it programmed into the site for that pairing (we do for the 58/85 since it is more popular) but you can order either the 50s or 58s and just include in the Notes at checkout that you want an asymmetrical pairing.

You asked some other questions in your PM that I'm happy to answer as well - drop me a note here:
https://www.novemberbicycles.com/contact-us/

I can also work out a time for you to see the wheels up close. All our tubular demo wheels have cross tires on them now and are pressed into service each weekend, but we have some rubberless 50s you can take a look at no problem.
Doesn't get any cooler than this! Thanks Mike!

Originally Posted by DropDeadFred
sad....we know
Sad indeed. I didn't even know I had more than 1,000 posts. My girlfriend is right. I do need help. What can I say though? My days at work can be slow and I sit in front of a computer configuring networking gear all day long anyways! Btw, I hate this job. Mike, any chance the November team needs another head? I have an engineering background and have always dreamed of starting a company in a field I am passionate about just like yours!

Last edited by ilovecycling; 10-09-11 at 09:21 PM.
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