Hope just announced that they are slashing £2000 off the price tag of their upcoming HB160 carbon super bike. It's a welcome, yet surprising, move. When was the last time you saw a company drop prices on a highly anticipated bike that has yet to reach the market? Riders who already paid the original £7500 asking price will be getting a £2000 refund check in the mail.
I visited Hope Technology at their summer press camp in Briancon last July to check out the official release of their first-ever production bike. When they finally dropped the bombshell about the price, I was expecting a single digit below five-figures and was pleasantly surprised when they said £7500. I thought it was fair enough for a carbon frame that is laid in the UK, as well as a full Hope and Kashima coated Fox build kit; not to mention the fact that the bike had been developed from scratch, had proprietary parts and.... oh yeah, they had to build a new factory, buy all the machines to CNC the giant molds, cut the carbon fabric and bake the frames, and employ new staff to build the bikes.
The following is lifted from Hope's Facebook page
We asked Alan Weatherill, brother of owner, Ian, and the manager of sales marketing at Hope a few questions:
How did you realize that you could knock a whopping £2000/27% off the price of the HB160 bike? That's as much as some manufacturers entire margins.
It all comes down to amortization of R&D costs. As you know, the development of the bike as well as research into carbon production techniques was all new to us and so costs were pretty high. Initially, as is normal, we looked to spread these costs over several years of bike production, but over Christmas, we decided that the carbon development shouldn’t only be attributed to one project as this knowledge will be used in multiple products over many years.
Will the quality of the bikes produced at the lower price be identical to the more expensive models?
There are no changes to the production methods, materials or processes. Our guys still take so much pride in every bike they make, they treat each one like it’s their own bike.
You will be refunding previous buyers who paid the full £7500. Has anyone ever done something like this in the MTB industry before?
We’ve never heard of it before in any industry, but we couldn’t let down the customers who had enough confidence in us to buy our first bike. They supported us, so we wanted to give something back, literally.
Why didn't you just pocket the cash and buy more toys, e-bikes for example?
It’s back to the previous answer really. Morally, we couldn’t do this to our customers.
Does this mean you are now making very little markup on this bike, hoping it will act as a loss leader?
We’re still making some money on this bike. Maybe not quite as much as before, but we’re comfortable with it.
Does it have anything to do with the number of requests for the bikes after last year's launch, are you selling more than you expected, therefore, experiencing a better price per unit?
No, we sold four bikes last week before the price change and we’re still only planning on making 4 or 5 bikes a week, so the quantities aren’t changing.
Dropping the price from £7500 to £5500 moves the HB160 from the superbike to 'hmm that's not too bad,' putting it in line with many other bikes, including direct sale models, even though they will still be retailed through local bike shops. If you have already spent £7500 on an HB160, your refund will be on its way soon. Imagine departing with all that hard-earned cash but justifying it to yourself by the fact you have your own dream bike to keep for years, then nearly a third of the money is back in your account - I would save it and be halfway towards buying a 29er if they listen to me and make one soon...
Hints were already made about more bike models in the future, so hopefully, we might see a whole range within the next few years, still made in the UK and perhaps even cheaper?