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What would you pay for...

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View Poll Results: What is the value of a simple locally made TIG frame?
I value supporting small, conscientious, local business; I'll pay top dollar!
8
8.70%
I see the benefits, I'll pay a bit more than a Pista.
56
60.87%
I'm indifferent, a bike is a bike.
5
5.43%
No way! Why pay more for something that's available for less!
23
25.00%
Voters: 92. You may not vote on this poll

What would you pay for...

Old 10-28-08, 09:49 PM
  #1  
taken67
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What would you pay for...

I'm part owner of a new retail/repair shop in Baltimore, where my frame building operation will be housed as well.

We've been talking about creating a small run of handmade bikes (mostly TIG) as an alternative to the mass produced frames coming from Taiwan. I'm trying to gauge what interest there is for this kind of product.

Not custom prices by any means, but definitely more than you'd pay for BD framesets, Pakes, or Pistas.

Also would upgrades, i.e. better tubing, lugs, paint, affect the decision to go local?

Any and all opinions and suggestions are appreciated!

Last edited by taken67; 10-28-08 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 10-28-08, 10:32 PM
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To me there would be little benefit to a locally made production bike of unremarkable build quality. I'd be willing to pay a bit more to support a local business, but not a whole lot.

The real benefits of a small builder is that he or she can design the bike to fit your needs in terms of tubing selection, geometry, sizing, etc or that you get a better made bike. Without those benefits I think I would say I'd be willing to pay somewhere around 15%-20% more.
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Old 10-28-08, 11:03 PM
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I'd plunk down a few dollars more I suppose. In my head I'm imagining something like an IRO-quality frame that I could pick out off the rack and say how I'd like it finished. Nothing big, just something to make me feel like I'm getting a little local love. Honestly I've always wished custom builders would do this, so the more broke people could have a piece of the high-end without the unaffordable pricing.
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Old 10-28-08, 11:07 PM
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as the first person living in b-more to weigh in on this thread, i'm down, but I agre with the posters above. I do understand the cost of material and labor, but the last thing i need is another bike. that being said, sign me up.
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Old 10-28-08, 11:21 PM
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Just make sure it's ultra compact geo, with an aero drive side chain stay and all braze-ons for brakes and water bottle etc....
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Old 10-28-08, 11:32 PM
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The local build is only valuable if you offer something different and better than the Generic Taiwanese Bicycle. Custom paint could be a differentiator, nicely finished frames, special geometry. Cloning the BD bikes would not be a worthwhile way to spend your time.
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Old 10-29-08, 08:18 AM
  #7  
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I would support your retail shop if you have things I need or want. Where is it?

I am not really in the market for a new track bike, but would seek out a local builder first if that was an option for me.
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Old 10-29-08, 08:42 AM
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I would pay a bit more, but I'd need more incentive than just supporting a local builder. If you can offer something unique like the bottle opener on the trackend and a badass paint job then that would increase the appeal. Do something to stand out.
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Old 10-29-08, 09:41 AM
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I think local should cater to local tastes.

Like I moved up to New England from Austin, TX recently and can't really ride the same 6 months of the year. I need more of a fire trails/ CX bike. I dunno what kind of riding is big in Baltimore... tricks, fixed? I know some dude from there came up here for an Alley Cat early in the summer and smoked all the locals. Messenger? On a Lemond?

Anyway, I'd build bikes for your area. I'd pay $100 more for a local frame, no problem.
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Old 10-29-08, 10:43 AM
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How exactly would they be better than a frame from Taiwan?
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Old 10-29-08, 11:21 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by middy View Post
How exactly would they be better than a frame from Taiwan?

Besides the fact that it's not from Taiwan.
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Old 10-29-08, 01:41 PM
  #12  
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Maybe someone could mass produce the individual parts of the frame that could be sold to an advanced LBS. Maybe pre-cut steel tubes with a weldable protective coating labeled with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, etc. Maybe the LBS fits you for a bike and inputs your fitting into a simple computer program. Maybe the program would output which labeled tubes to best match your fitting. Maybe have an adjustable jig/bike to match the programs output to test fit the bike again prior to getting the recommended steel tube selections off the rack for welding. Maybe...
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Old 10-29-08, 03:50 PM
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id be more inclined to buy a bike that was of a better tubing than just straight cro-mo. something that is butted, for a lighter, better ride quality. renolyds 531 maybe? traditional geometry would be preferred for me. but i don't want a track geometry bike, id rather something with a road geometry (i know im in the minority on this one). i may never feel the need to switch from my conversion, as it is exactly what i want in a fixed bike.
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Old 10-29-08, 03:58 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by droptop View Post
id be more inclined to buy a bike that was of a better tubing than just straight cro-mo. something that is butted, for a lighter, better ride quality. renolyds 531 maybe? traditional geometry would be preferred for me. but i don't want a track geometry bike, id rather something with a road geometry (i know im in the minority on this one). i may never feel the need to switch from my conversion, as it is exactly what i want in a fixed bike.
531 is only available for special order.
PS: It's really only good for brazing, too. And that means lugs or fillet brazing, which drive up production costs.
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Old 10-29-08, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone, a lot of good questions too that I'll try to address.

Some things about how I see the frames. Double butted tubing, probably Versus from True Temper. Two options of either single speed/commuter or track. SS = road geo, cable guides, clearance for fenders. Track = track geo, no braze ons, tight clearances (braze ons would be an upcharge). Do folks think this is too limiting?

The SS would be slightly more expensive, but not by much. We would probably only offer a few sizes, maybe four or five.

Color. Initially I was thinking a candy powder coat. The thing about paint is it can quickly add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a frame (on a small scale like this), but if people wanted to pay for it I'd be all about making it happen.

Things I would do to set this frame apart would be things like stainless plates for the dropouts, hand bent stays, individual build kits, etc. I'm also toying with the idea of a curved seat tube for the track frame. I would like to have certain upgrades available such as tubing, paint, lugs (maybe!) all at a cost of course, but one of my other goals is to create a product that is somewhat affordable.

Why would this frame be better than a Maxway made frame? Well you're supporting local bike guys and girls, there would be some kind of individual input, you could shake the hand of the person who built it, it will be super rad, personal build kits or just frame and fork, and you can ply the makers with beer to drive down cost ( just kidding...or am I?). Part of it is obviously ideological but I think there is really something valuable about all of these things.

Thanks for the input so far. If anyone has any feedback for me directly I would really appreciate it. Get me at nashcycles@gmail.com
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Old 10-29-08, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 667 View Post
Besides the fact that it's not from Taiwan.
Half the **** you guys ride is made in Taiwan or some other Asian place
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Old 10-29-08, 06:54 PM
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My previous post was a joke.


Bent seat tube and stainless inserts on an affordable frame would be awesome!
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Old 10-29-08, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ilikebikes View Post
Half the **** you guys ride is made in Taiwan or some other Asian place

That's exactly my point.
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Old 10-29-08, 09:12 PM
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I'd pay double the price of, say, the Kilo TT frame and fork, $400, if the frame came hand-aligned and fully prepped with the bottom bracket, head tube, and fork crown faced, milled, and cleaned and all the threads chased. I don't care if the welds are pretty or not as long as they are strong.
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Old 10-30-08, 01:44 PM
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*bump* And just to be clear, I don't think that the frames made in Taiwan, or anywhere else for that matter, are in some way inferior products. I personally like to know where the goods I purchase come from and the conditions in which they are produced. It also seems most people see some value in thinking local, which is encouraging.
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Old 10-31-08, 01:46 PM
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(I don't think this was said) Why not settle on a design that you like and essentially just make the same bike over and over. It could be marketed as being handmade by you, here in the U.S. but because all the frames are the same, buyers would not have to pay custom frame-build prices. Your frames could have the curved seat tube or something "different" so people would know they were yours. but only make a small amount of them. I guess what I'm saying sounds more like starting your own bike company and it wouldn't have that custom built just for me frame people are looking for.
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Old 10-31-08, 02:31 PM
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I'd be willing to pay a 10-20% surcharge to a Taiwanese frame, just for the sake of: a. Riding something different in a color of my choosing, and b. Supporting someone local who wants to make a go of the business.

Big piece of advice to the OP: Don't go into debt trying this. Put out enough money for tubing to do 5-6 frames, build the frames, sell them. Take that money and put it back into more tubing.

Back in the '90's I used the same method to start an Early Colonial/English Civil War period sutlery, and it worked quite well. Just persevere, make sure you've got a proper profit margin built in, and sell, sell, sell.
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Old 10-31-08, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by taken67 View Post
Two options of either single speed/commuter or track. SS = road geo, cable guides, clearance for fenders. Track = track geo, no braze ons, tight clearances (braze ons would be an upcharge). Do folks think this is too limiting?
I was just about to suggest these two options. Also, you could have an option for unpainted frames so that folks could just do their own thing.
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Old 10-31-08, 03:58 PM
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I think offering separately a SS and a track frameset is a great idea. One of the things that would sway me towards a local frame is attention to the details, like beefy fork ends (think IRO) or optional classy paint, or a frame design feature that's not often offered on other bikes (curved seat tube, wishbone stays, paragon SS disc mounts). You know the crowd that wants to be able to run discs, 50mm slicks and fenders isn't going to care about undrilled track fork crowns or a brazed fastback seatstay.

You could offer basic paint or a slight discount for no paint, and partner up with a local auto paint shop for any candy/fade/whatever jobs at an additional rate.

I'd definitely pay a premium for a frame that in the fashion industry would be called made-to-measure: you select from 5 or 6 incremental sizes, and 3 possible tubesets, threaded or threadless fork option, and wait a few weeks for build (plus paint if you asked for it). You're not taking the time and expense out for fully custom everything, but offering more customization than an off-the-peg bike.
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Old 10-31-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Badbalance View Post
(I don't think this was said) Why not settle on a design that you like and essentially just make the same bike over and over.
That's essentially the idea, one design different sizes.

Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Big piece of advice to the OP: Don't go into debt trying this. Put out enough money for tubing to do 5-6 frames, build the frames, sell them. Take that money and put it back into more tubing.
I agree %100.
Originally Posted by bigbris1 View Post
I was just about to suggest these two options. Also, you could have an option for unpainted frames so that folks could just do their own thing.
I'm with this too.

Thanks for all the responses, keep them coming!
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