Failed bike business. Looking for ideas

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Failed bike business. Looking for ideas
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Posted: Jan 29, 2021 at 13:49 Quote
Hello Folks,

A few years bike a friend of mine and I went into the bike business. For me it was a hail Mary play to get myself out of the construction industry which has been eating away at my soul for a long time…and unfortunately still is. But this is certainly where my expertise lays. It certainly doesn’t lay in the bike industry. My partner had some industry pedigree, but I was an outsider. An outsider to which the bike industry looked like a mighty fine place to focus a lifetime. Full of interesting, colorful and motivated people doing something (at least related to what) they loved. I wanted that badly. I certainly loved riding my bike ,so what could be better than owning and operating a bike company!?

To say it was my dream to own a bike company would be a lie. At the time I was pulling my hair out for the umpteenth time on a project that left me uninspired. Just like nearly every other construction project I have ever completed. I needed a distraction. I needed hope that I could change my destiny.

At first we went in whole heartedly. We employed some industry friends to help us with the geometry and make an introduction to a reputable frame manufacturer. We chose some tubing profiles, ordered some frames and BAM…we’re in business! Only we really had no business plan. Sure, I had written up a nice pretty executive summary and started drawing up a business plan but my capacity for investment was low. But my optimism and excitement for the project was high. In hindsight, I was definitely shortsighted and to be honest, I think I knew it in the beginning. I was just so desperate for a change. I needed something.

We had dollars for modest R&D but almost none for marketing. We were overoptimistic for the influence of our limited industry insider exposure and the success of our kickstarter effort and our limited facebook and instagram efforts. Despite our limitations, I rationalized that we could keep the company going on gorilla marketing long enough to gain some steam and eventually make the switch to running full time.

A year or so in and I was on to some other overly demanding and highly frustrating project. Working at my regular job more than full time and rying to get the bike company going in the meantime was almost more than I could handle…eventually it was. A couple of years in and we were all but dead in the water. We would sell a bike here and there but we weren’t gaining any momentum. I kept injecting money bit by bit, just to keep us going but hope was starting to fade.

Then, for personal reasons, my partner had to abandon the business and I was left trying to keep it alive. At this point the motivation was purely to build out the frames we had left and call it a day. At the rate I was going, It would have taken years and the cost of doing business outweighed the effort that I was able to put forth.

So here I am 5 years after we first had the idea. Talking bikes and business over a bottle of rum. With 40 some bike frames in my garage to this day. At this point I would like to do something good with these frames. I want them to be more useful than space savers in a recycle bin. I am not so concerned about getting any money back but more about the waste of energy and of usefulness. They’re really good bikes after all.

I am looking for ideas here. Suggestions other than the recycle bin. To move these bike frames out of my garage and ideally into the hands of someone that can put them to good use or re-brand them or something.

At any rate; if you have any ideas, Id love to hear them.

Thanks for your time folks

O+
Posted: Jan 31, 2021 at 2:18 Quote
Donate them to the grow cycling foundation

Posted: Jan 31, 2021 at 6:40 Quote
Well.. my first question is if we could see these frames? The only thing I could think of is donating them, or selling them cheaply. There's a chance to revive this and having some cool opportunities but that's very optimistic. Again, I am interested in this and would like to see any photos of these frames.

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 at 10:37 Quote
Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies

You can see the frames at the links below. or below this text if it works (not familiar with posting protocol)

You can also see plenty of pics of built up bikes at our old instagram handle @coastlinecycleco

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Posted: Feb 1, 2021 at 12:51 Quote
Looks excellent in the gravel bike style setup. Is there no market for that kind of bike in the USA? Could you not build them up in a comparable spec to the Nukeproof Digger or Ragley Trig and market them as long day explorer bike suitable for beginners and experienced alike?

The extra bonus of your frame is (I’m guessing) that you could fit a real dropper post instead of one of those 80mm long 27.2 diameter things a few companies make.

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 at 16:33 Quote
Heywood165 wrote:
Looks excellent in the gravel bike style setup. Is there no market for that kind of bike in the USA? Could you not build them up in a comparable spec to the Nukeproof Digger or Ragley Trig and market them as long day explorer bike suitable for beginners and experienced alike?

The extra bonus of your frame is (I’m guessing) that you could fit a real dropper post instead of one of those 80mm long 27.2 diameter things a few companies make.

It's not that there is no market, I am certain there is. However apply the old adage "it takes money to make money", an overbearing full time+ job, family of four to support and an absentee business partner and you've got me in over my head.

I really wouldn't mind staying in the business because like I said, I found it to be full of happy, bright, talented and motivated people, many of which I have come to look up to. The problem for me was/is the financial and mental endurance required to make the transition.

They're damn good bikes. Belt drive compatible, XC based 'do everything' frames. We built mountain bike versions, gravel versions, commuter versions. I am a super clydesdale and I have personally put these things through hell and they can take it. It's just that I can't do it alone, nor do I want to. And I can't hang with two full time+ jobs.

At this point I am motivated to move on to a new project and quite frankly need the space in the garage Smile

I appreciate your feedback

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 at 21:06 Quote
I’ll be down in Long Beach this weekend, I could come take a frame off your hands! Put out some prices on them if they’re just sitting there you never know.

Posted: Jan 11, 2023 at 16:46 Quote
Hi there! Frames will often be accepted at scrapyards to be broken down, and repurposed. Chains are difficult to recycle, but you may be able to donate them to a bike shop or charity for re-use. I'm sad your business failed. However, I encourage you to open another startup and give it a new try. This time, you can seek professional advice and be sure you avoid failure risks. There are many companies of business advisors, such as https://www.successionresource.com/advisor-merger-support. Their guys could conduct a market research and help you grow the new business. Good luck!

Posted: Jan 11, 2023 at 22:33 Quote
A friend of mine ran a bike shop for a good few years but, decided to call it day for personal reasons regaurding self employment then went back to CNC engineering. He was left with a lot of stock that he couldn't get rid of. Odd, random bits an bobs like tubes, bottle cages, tools, random frames an forks a few complete wheel builds an a couple of half finished project bike builds etc etc but, a good few grands worth.

He set up a raffle to get them sold. like win all this for a £10 raffle ticket. The raffle is drawn when the ticket sales meet his required £ value.
I think? there's allready web sites to do this. And I do remember he had trouble promoting it on socials because it's considered gambling but, he got past that some how Wink

maybe an idea if it's available where you are.

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