We Went To Taiwan and Started a Bike Company...

Jun 27, 2017 at 16:27
by Pinkbike Staff  

If someone gave you enough money, could you go to Taiwan and start your own bike company? What's it really take to get some bikes built? We went to Taiwan to find out. Check out this video and stay tuned for an extended feature story.






468 Comments

  • + 789
 That was by far the most insightful and compelling story I've seen on Pinkbike EVER.
  • + 92
 It answers questions many people (myself included) had for decades. Thank you Vernon.
  • + 143
 You guys should do a story on Evil bikes. How it started, where it went wrong, and how they overcame it to get where they are today.
  • + 16
 All the manufacturers gonna hate that old man. Now everyone with bags of cash going to write off their plan on purchasing 100 units of identical bikes.
  • + 36
 That was fckng awesome! This is a piece of journalistic, of a great quality. Honestly, it comes beyond compare with the recent cries of "gimme more off-camber turns and sh*tty bikes" themes.
  • + 47
 I love Vernons talking style in interviews. "Let's cut the bullsht". Then he eventually still gets BS (like in video with SRAM about Boost) but still, it's awesome. He has future with mic in front of the camera. Not bad play from Mike either Smile You guys didn't come out woody in any way.
CHeers!
  • + 19
 .... if you read the backstory to a large number of the small frame builders, you'll end up finding out that many of them did just this; find a good frame builder in Taiwan (far easier said than done!) and get 100 frames made up.

Some end up becoming established, others do not.

But there is nothing to stop any of us trying.
Oh, except ourselves.

Great content as ever VF. Thanks.
  • + 11
 A friend of mine became one of the richest young people in Australia, because he wanted a free TV from Asia.
He ended up maxing out 12 credit cards, flying to Asia to do quality control himself and is now worth a breezy $349 Million

Ruslan Kogan
  • + 9
 @orientdave: That's how YT started.
  • + 9
 Great video, but the figures are bullshit:

They added $100 for shipping each frame, you can ship a full container for about $5000 (a big one) so that is pretty OTT, unless they are including duty etc. Insurance at $100 per frame is also mad, sell 1000 frames you are suggesting insurance will be $100,000 I think not!

In the video the manufacturers quote sub $300 and they then cost north of $600, astro appear to quote $270 for the carbon frame and they use $800 as an example if they are going to cost things at least be in the ballpark or explain why it suddenly doubles.

I have a trade price infront of me for a bike in GBP I will use as an example, its RRP is £1600.00, trade price around £870 plus VAT. This isn't some open market frame with a cheap shock either, its a nice frame with top end shock - According to this PB costing that isn't physically possible?

Remember the brand in question is making a profit if they sell to me at £870, how much I couldn't say but I cant think less than 25% which is strangely enough about how much they have over calculated things in this video.

This is looking more like an article to show the public how crap the bike industry has it, with made up figures to back that up
  • + 25
 @Racer951: As a hardgoods product manager in another industry, their figures are ballpark but not far off. Plus, they quoted the MOQ (minimum order quantity) based on 100 frames, which no factory will bother turning the machines on for less, and results in the highest possible pricing. Order more frames, get better pricing. And that's what every company will do since no company can stay afloat selling only 100 frames globally and that is why your example prices out better.
  • + 3
 @ka-brap: You are missing my point a little, I'm well aware of ordering qty discounts etc but the manufacturer quoted $280 for a carbon frame in the video the PB costing put $800 down, where does the additional $520 that PB has added come from?

If anything, the $280 cost is probably high as it was an immediate quote given at a trade show, not a seriously negotiated deal for a large number of frames.
  • + 7
 @Racer951: But we also don't know what type of frame they were asking about.. but it's fair to say that their averages are relatively on-point. You can hear them discussing price-points from $250-658. There's clearly a wide range available depending on what materials are being used, mold amortization, painted vs. raw, with shock vs. without shock, etc. Honestly, their figures are not too far off, especially given the MOQ.
  • + 5
 @Racer951: Those prices were also from the "minimum/low quality" manufactures, I'm sure the mid to high quality manufacturers are double the price they quoted.

Even so, it seems crazy that the carbon frame in your $8000 bike costs south of $500 to produce, but that is just to produce it, not design it, test it, warranty it, service it, it adds up quick, then suddenly you are at 1-2k from 500 quite easily.
  • + 26
 @Racer951: paying someone to sit on Taiwan and check quality, shipping, insurance, warranty, overheads in the office in Canada (office, electricity, cleaner, social welfare for Mike, bed for Mike, computer, expensive drawing screen looking cool on "factory visit" article where a designer brainlessly spins a 3d model around, pretending he is doing stress analysis, coffe machine for Mike), then marketing costs, Mike's van, sending bikes for tests to sites where people whine how terrible the bike is, Mike's travel expenses, tent at Sea Otter, Free list goes on and on and on. Having a racing team? Get pricing wrong and you are fkd up before you even started. Having a business is hard, so have a big "fk you deep in your bottom with a sharp stick covered in tabasco sauce" to people who say "these frames costs pennies to make, why would I pay 2,5k for it?. Then go and make your own Bobby. Good luck! What wonders me is how can company like On One sell a frame alone for 220£, what the F! The quote I got for 180 pieces of custom geo Cro-Mo/Reynolds 853 in 3 frame sizes was 220$ excl. tax. with 3 pre-production samples. If you don't add at least 100% more, you are fkd.
  • + 10
 @Rasterman: I wouldn't call Astro a low quality manufacturer, I think you would be surprised at how many very 'high end' brands they manufacture.... and that's not really the point in question, this was PB costing a frame based on up-front costs given, not theoretical costs of higher end frames or similar which of course may be no higher at all - we just don't know.

@ka-brap - The highest cost in that vide was $650 and that was for a carbon frame, Astro quoted around $300 for a carbon frame, where does the average $800 come from?

Still doesn't answer how I can buy a high end frame for £870 from a Distributor in the UK - not manufacturer - with a high end shock and custom designed frame with 2 year warranty - The distributor is making their profit too.

Is this video meant to make people feel better about paying so much money for a bike frame - making out the brands are effectively doing us a favour or something and barely turning a profit?
  • + 7
 @Racer951: The $280 is likely a cost to get a discussion going. After they have you in for a longer meeting they will have added in all the hidden costs and extra fees.

And I'm going to guess the $280 will be under the understanding the production run is 1000+ frames. The cost for tooling is insanely high so a run of 100 frames is going to be much much higher.
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: But that has nothing to do with this video Waki, they costed the frames initially on buying an open-market frame and added huge amounts of cost onto things in the video with no apparent logic - all of the additional things you have added are costs of business and have nothing to do with the price the factory charges for the product - It may make a difference to the retail price and if the business makes a profit though but that isn't in question.

Again, can you answer how I can purchase a premium brand frame for £870 that has an RRP of £1600 which has a top end shock on it? Are you suggesting the distributor Is supplying them for free?

On-one make a profit on a £220 frame because they don't use Reynolds 853 which is £35 for a downtube alone, a Chinese strait gauge tube is £2.00 in comparison or £8.00 for a DB Cromo tube.

If you got quoted $220 for a 853 frame that doesn't seem too bad - Stanton sells that level of frame for £700, seems like you could make a profit there, no?
  • + 2
 @speedyjonzalas: But that's a wild guess, isn't it? Whats the point in making a misleading video without explaining where figures are coming from?
  • + 5
 Agreed, way to go Vernon! Top to bottom I was intrigued
  • - 6
flag bluumax (Jun 28, 2017 at 6:29) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: You got the "Jimmy dickhead trying to start his own bike company" rate, i know for a fact there is a certain company in the UK selling a Reynolds frame for around 450-500 who's cost price is around £40 per frame, now this may or may not include a shipping cost but still, food for thought.
  • + 11
 @bluumax: Now that's just complete crap in the other direction- I have the Reynolds tubing price-list here, you can barely get a downtube for £40.00.

You are either making that up for you have been fed complete rubbish. $220 for a Reynolds frame is a great price, tubing alone is at least half that.

If there is somewhere making Reynolds frames for £40.00 I will buy a thousand and make a fortune, as would anybody with half a brain, total made up shite.
  • - 1
 @Racer951: You can ship a full container for that amount you said, but 100 bike boxes doesn't come close to filling a container. If you cant fill a container, you are going to pay through the nose for shipping large boxes over an ocean. The $100 a bike is probably not far off to be honest.
  • + 5
 @scissors888: What the hell are you on about, you pay for a full container to be shipped, you could put a single bike frame in it if you want, that's entirely up to you - why on earth would it cost more?! You do realise there are various sizes of container too, don't you?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: The Waki Racer... I would buy one.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: I agree with you (for a frame fully constructed out of reynolds, even 520), i did exactly the same as Waki and inquired myself with the guys who made DMR and Surly. Very cost prohibitive even with poverty steel. But this is at the min order price for 100 units and i cant remember stipulations on sizes.
But as i said, i was told by an employee (in manufacture, not sales etc) of said company that each frame came in at 40, and were available to employees for less than 100.
I think that price is perfectly within reason for a large quantity but as you said... not for Reynolds.
My question is how much of a frame needs to be made out of Reynolds for you to stick a Reynolds sticker on it?
  • + 4
 @bluumax: I guess downtube and top tube only. The best bit though is that I tried to source Reynolds 853 tubing for my own design with their cro-mo tubing (don't remember what they call it) for chainstays, so I asked which other steel should I chose and they told me that they do know it is being done but they cannot advise welding 853 with cro-mo Big Grin Anyhooo, the cost for batch of tubes for my HT would cost 200-250£

@Racer951 / fair enough, however I can tell you that certain frame maker told me that making a carbon full suspension frame in Europe, in limited numbers, starts at 800$ (material, layup, baking, CNC for alu/steel parts, axles, bearings - raw manufacture cost) and they need another grand to make a few pennies on it. They also mentioned that there is a reason why it may take up to 50 hours per frame in total, while in Asia that time is much shorter. So nobody should think that they are in the ball park when they bought a frame made of pre-preg Toray 5 hundred million ultra super hi modulus. Off course people in Asia tend to be more disciplined and dedicated so it may be it. But I don't think so - that's why I laugh when I hear that Trek is proudly made in USA - uhmmmm... so what? Has manager Bob and employee Jose higher quality standards and work ethic than Zhang-Wei and Liu? Maybe... or maybe not... Bob definitely had a food coma after a nice Tripple Cheese Burger when he quality checked 5.5k worth Madone 9.9 frameset that got cut through by Raoul Luescher. Have a nice time riding 2.5kg Session 9.9 - they can lower the weight below Enduro frame level because they have a straight down tube cock block and it's made to tighest tolerances. BELIEVE US!

But in general a lot of trolls here were saying that carbon is cheaper to make than alu, that carbon frames cost like 20$ to make. That is raw bullsht stuck to the bottom of a rugged undersole of a hiking shoe. A bit like: carbon is so much better than aluminium and steel.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: They wont advise welding 853 with cromo I imagine to cover their own back - they don't want you attributing a weld failure due to materials being mixed after they said it was OK to do so - 853 will weld just fine to cromo btw

Fair arguments on Europe V Taiwan carbon frames but considering limited numbers, higher wages and likely a lower actual skill / experience level it is not surprising.
  • + 89
 @Racer951: I spoke with many manufacturers and received a range of prices--as you and others have noted. The pricing estimate that I created here is a mean average price. I also spoke with a number of engineers who've been through this process and they confirmed that, as an average, the ballpark figures i've listed are, indeed, fair ballpark figures.

In other words, yes, you might be able to get a frame for a hundred or even two hundred less than what I listed. You might also get a better deal on shipping costs (particularly if you order more frames and are not sharing a container with someone else's products). What I am aiming for here are defensible numbers that don't underestimate the actual costs (and, frankly, there are costs that assuredly I haven't included here, simply because I haven't been through the complete process myself). For instance, I haven't included any costs for marketing or distribution or warehousing or travel/lodging/quality control/etc. I'm sure a number of people who have gone through the process will argue that, if anything, I am underestimating the costs.

I have written an in-depth feature story that will go live in the near future. We felt that adding it to a video of this length would be a bit of overkill today (to be honest, I wasn't sure how many people would sit down and watch a video of this length--stoked to see that you and others did), but it's coming and it goes into greater detail about this and other aspects of the story. Cheers.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: I think those numbers were averages for small-scale production. If you only order 100 frames as a one-off it'll cost a hell of a lot more than signing a multi-year contract and giving the manufacturer assurance of continued business.

That being said, It would be nice if they showed where those numbers came from.
  • + 13
 @vernonfelton: Fair enough Vernon and thank you for putting the video out,.

I think you could be getting 'fed a line' by the engineers etc though in terms of costs and wildly over-estimating some which makes things look although the bike brands are getting a hard time of things - As I say I have access to a few trade prices and the one infront of me sees a £1600ish RRP frame sold to bike shops for just under £870, its a custom frame, not an open design, its well respected and reviewed and has a 2 year warranty - Your ballpark figures suggest this isn't possible as we have to assume the distributor is making at least 20% at the end of the day.

The bike industry is a strange place - customers seem to think manufacturers shouldn't make a profit and constantly probe aspects of the industry, in opposition to this the industry tells its customers 'you would be better off putting the money on lottery tickets' yet they remain in the industry rather than leaving.

I am personally not upset by the idea that a brand could be selling a product purchased for $500 to a shop for $1500 - that's business, some idiots will pay $1000 for a handbag worth $20 or T-shirt for $100 worth $2.00 but that seems to be accepted and 'OK'

Also the idea that it is 'hard; to start a bike brand, I would expect nothing less, but is it any harder to produce any product overseas and bring it to market? I imagine much easier than some infact.

Look forward to seeing the feature-story and thank you for the reply.
  • + 8
 @vernonfelton: One of the best pieces posted. I've always found the industry really interesting, but now I have no desire to ever start a bike brand based out of asia. Not nearly enough Mai Tais
  • + 1
 Well Done
  • + 2
 @cmkneeland: freehub, bikeradar, and others have...
youtu.be/UbZR33dF_x4
  • + 4
 @vernonfelton: great story...

To everyone else... Remember, when you buy a bike, you are paying for more than the bike... Warehouse space, utilities, transportation from the harbor to your warehouse... Equipment to run the place... payroll for staff... All of that, and a whole lot more, goes into that "outrageous price" that people complain about..

Vernon, showed you guys the first steps, get that suitcase full of money and make your millions...
  • - 6
flag wibblywobbly (Jun 28, 2017 at 8:07) (Below Threshold)
 @Racer951: yup
  • - 5
flag robot870 (Jun 28, 2017 at 8:15) (Below Threshold)
 @Racer951: Bingo!
  • + 7
 @vernonfelton: Top Level Content!
  • + 1
 @Racer951: i also did wonder why the quoted frame prices were much higher than what the manufacturers said.
  • + 2
 @cmkneeland: would love this!
  • + 4
 @Racer951: Cheers and thanks.
  • - 2
 $180 for an OE rear shock. Not buying that at all. Is probably closer to $18.
  • + 1
 @JesseE: yea, it's rather Muay Thai in your face rather than Mai Tai in your mouth. Everyone, from personal trainers, photographers to trail builders knows that bike industry is no place for making ANY sort of money.
  • + 3
 @CantClimb: Again, I imagine the guys have been given inflated pricing - Rockshox wont let PB broadcast OEM pricing to the general public.

It wont be $180 though that's for sure, you can get a monarch for the same price as a member of the public from Bikediscount.

I suppose the video needs to be taken more as educational entertainment than factually correct which is something that I guess is impossible as it would involve allowing the general public to know private information.
  • + 7
 @Racer951: You're arguing a point which is kinda invalid to an extent. We are talking about starting from scratch. Regardless of what price lists you've got or who you know, PB are doing this based on personal experience. Having done this in a different market (and failing), the first price you're quoted from the factory sure as hell is NEVER the price you end up paying.
  • + 0
 @Racer951: rewatch it...taxes, Import fees, shipping, etc...
  • + 3
 It seems to me that the next story could be following a new brand as they try to "make it" as a startup. I'd love to see more people, particularly in the mtb world, start businesses.

Excellent work, Vernon and crew.
  • + 2
 Agreed. But WHY (bike industry) are there such a shortage of extra Chain-Stays for when they break.?!.?! Make us some bomb proof chain-stays on the cheap, please!
  • + 2
 @jamesdunford: Bah, I give up, I was questioning prices based on the people asked at the show and the estimates for shipping, insurance etc, that's the cost of the frame. All of the other costs are business costs and entirely separate from how much you pay the supplier.

My price-list example was to dispute the fact that a custom frame is much more expensive than the open market offerings where my example is actually cheaper than the open market estimate.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: Perhaps the frame you think is "custom" is not actually custom and is a catalog frame? Despite its appearance, it might honestly be that since there are LOTS of catalog options. There is simply no industry where a custom-made component is as cheap or cheaper than an off-the-shelf component. You will always pay a solid premium when ordering something unique. If you think that's not the case, go order a suit.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: You keep getting down voted but I think all points you are making are valid. There is a professional skier named David Lesh (he's pretty controversial in the ski industry, but that's neither here nor there) who started an outerwear company called Virtika. His production facility is in China, and his gear is top-notch quality-wise. I have no clue if he has a "watchdog" employee based in Asia, but regardless, the prices for his jackets/pants are considerably lower than those of the big guys (Oakley, North Face, etc.) and are, it seems held to an equal or greater quality standard. Obviously bike frames are different than jackets, but my point remains the same. If they are able to keep their costs very competitive, why can't the bike industry?
  • + 4
 @Racer951: Take it for what it is: an informative video.

1. "you can ship a full container for about $5000 (a big one) so that is pretty OTT, unless they are including duty etc.".

"Unless". Your reasoning already has a caveat.


2. "They added $100 for shipping each frame, you can ship a full container for about $5000 (a big one) so that is pretty OTT"

Getting the bikes into a 40' can is only one step. There is the boxing, shipping and handling, warehousing, before that and after the container has landed and then all the way to the point of assembly.

3. "In the video the manufacturers quote sub $300 and they then cost north of $600, astro appear to quote $270 for the carbon frame and they use $800 as an example if they are going to cost things at least be in the ballpark or explain why it suddenly doubles."

Shit bikes are $300. The average price (Pivot, etc.) is obviously higher.

4. "According to this PB costing that isn't physically possible? "

PB is just giving an example.

5. "This is looking more like an article to show the public how crap the bike industry has it, with made up figures to back that up"

It was in fact a video that illustrates that simply showing up with a suitcase full of money does not mean you can easily create a LT bike brand.

Take it for what it is, not for what you are assuming it to be.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: Jeeesus Christ, can you not just accept some people have access to information you don't? I cannot tell you the brand but I can 100% confirm it is specific to them and if you know the brand you would have no doubt about that either, it is not a catalogue frame. For an example it is the same kind of brand as Transition or Knolly, nothing catalogue about them!

You are putting your faith in an off the cuff PB estimate of costs based on almost no realistic costed information over a sheet of paper I can guarantee you I have physically in front of me?
  • + 1
 @CaptainSnappy: I give up arguing with guys like you.

The PB article is perfect - There are no issues at all with all of the assumptions that have been made which I have attempted to question based on actual figures - 'Astro' are 'Shit - Pinkbike is physics.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: While you do care, 99.9% of the viewers don't care where the numbers came from and assume PB did some general research and came up with those averages. It's a 11 minute video, not a business proposal for a capital loan.
  • + 1
 @lumpy873: When you buy a car/dirtbike/motorcycle........... same concept. I don't buy into the idea that "there are a whole lot of other outliers that drive costs up to an extravagant amount" when there are industries producing more complex machinery at competitive prices. Honestly I think it's economics at this point. Few suppliers, limited demand compared to the overall population = higher prices. The fact that I can buy a nice motorcycle brand new for the same/nearly the same price point give or take 1-2k is still a valid argument, regardless of how tired it is.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: In reality, there are effectively two sizes of shipping containers: 20' and 40'.
  • + 8
 @CaptainSnappy: Yea but it paints a picture of the bike industry being some kind of poor guys that battle to overcome such terrible odds to bring us a $10000 bike at almost no profit to them, or that you are 'better off buying lottery tickets' - Total shite.
  • + 3
 So glad my YT is made in Formosa!
  • + 1
 @Racer951: I *think* maybe he meant shipping the bike in a retail sense, once it has been received in the continental USA. That was my understanding anyhow...
  • + 2
 @Racer951: Not going to address every point you just made, but your freight rates are off quite a bit. Try making that number closer to $3 each... www.bicycleretailer.com/international/2017/06/21/ocean-freight-rates-set-rise-july-1#.WVP7YOmQyUk
As someone involved with manufacturing in Asia, I will 100% agree with having QC on the ground at your factory partner being hugely important. It's hard to put a price on having problems avoided or managed up front before anything ends up in your US or EU warehouse. Once you've taken delivery of the goods they are yours to sell, for better or worse.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: I never said you were wrong, only offered it as a possible explanation since you gave me ZERO hard information to go on. Plus having seen the kinds of frames that are "catalog" and been super surprised to see such frames, I know that a frame may look unique but in fact is part of that magic catalog. Is the frame you are speaking of not catalog? Could very well be, but you gave me insufficient evidence to agree with you.

All I know is that my company does business in China, I visit Shenzhen on a regular basis, and I can imagine that PB is not far off from what they claim. Your magic piece of paper is only one example, of a brand you've told us nothing about, with no idea as to their actual profit margin or invested costs in the frame. What you've said could very well be true and I'll even grant that it is. But, to assume that every bike manufacturer operates like the one on your piece of paper is ill founded and baseless.
  • + 3
 @snowwcold55: Virtika is cheaper than Oakley, North Face, Arc'Teryx, etc. because they sell direct-to-consumer much like YT, Canyon, and Commencal. When you cut out the retailer, then you can make your "retail" prices lower, essentially selling to consumers at dealer cost. It's not that they figured out how to make the product cheaper to make, they just cut out one of the major segments in the pipeline.
  • + 3
 The only way to make a million $ in the bike industry is to start with a million $!

Great video guys, seriously well done and good job from all the contributors being so open

One issue though... it is "al-you-min-ee-um
  • + 0
 @snowwcold55: Is it not the same with everything? The man (or woman but it's usually men cause they're greedy) at the top of the company makes all the cash where as the people under make a reasonable wage but nowhere near as much as "the man".

I have seen the same in previous companies I have worked in. Exploit those under you for your profit. It's capitalism.

There are some however who keep their costs competitive and don't exploit those below. I bet the head honchos at YT are not nearly making as much as the biggies.
  • - 3
 @CaptainSnappy: you should care if you are buying a Taiwanese made frame as you are probably being fleeced of your hard earned cash by someone with a whole lot more of it than you. @Racer951 gets it.
  • + 0
 I'm not sure if this is sarcasm, but Vernon has done it at another website.
  • + 1
 Where are they today? With an army of people that will never go anywhere near anyone of their products ever, ever again because of the poor support given when their products failed. I'd read it.
  • + 1
 @snowwcold55: you are right.. That is another factor.. And with a limited number of quality factories, the people that are known for producing good products charge a premium price. It all factors in to the price..
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: all of the above. This is my current life
  • + 1
 @Racer951:

Thanks for all the interesting insights from your position. And for taking the time to explain your experiences in the face of, well, the PB comments section. It has been good to read.

...like Knolly, or Transition, but you can't name names. Of course, understood.

What was your PB username again?
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton: Great job. Most things of real value take time... Stories, reviews, reports. Short, easily digested pieces of candy, like the ones Faux News sells, are, at best, worthless, and otherwise misleading.

More in depth articles and bike reviews are needed.


Oh, and regarding Pivot - I've dealt with Chris directly and he's a good guys who's will to go the extra mile to make a better bike.
  • + 1
 @cmkneeland: I'm pretty sure Bike mag did a feature on this very subject when Vernon was still Editor. Check 'er out. It was a really good article.
  • + 2
 @tantrumcycles: Ah, I was just thinking "I wonder how the group at Tantrum is having a go at all of this". Hang in there! Very excited to see your design out in the wild!

@Racer951 If you have any more magic pieces of paper, maybe you can share them with tantrumcycles so he may have an easier go of making his dream work, eh? Wink
  • + 2
 @oronaut: Say for example, Tantrum cycles. Brian is going through this right now, waiting for tubes, having parts CNC machined. Of course he also has decades of experience in bicycle and race car design and has built fully working and impressive prototypes. If someone wanted to write that story, he's in the thick of it right now with the bonus of being a unique design and a unique personality. Just sayin' ! (PB are you reading this ?)
  • + 1
 I LOVED THIS
  • - 1
 @mikealive: so a distributor trade price list is now 'magic', or are you butt hurt because I don't pay retail?
  • + 0
 @Racer951: with all due respect, you are now just behaving like "I know something you don't" boy and "I know but I ain't gunna tell ya" girl in school. You just stop sounding credible... and BTW even if you would unveil your great body of knowledge I seriously doubt it would make anyone smarter. I personally really don't care much how pricing per working hour is set in my office, why my colleague charges X and I charge Y. I may eventually be curious why client A must pay for my working hour more than Client B, but still... I mean the value of this grand mystery here is rather low, since chance that there is some huge conspiracy scheme making Specialized earn X and Transition earn Y, is quite insignificant for anyone paying for bikes anyways. Pinkbike is not after settling JUST pricing for bicycles for all the good people of the world.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: bullshit, I am going to hit back when I am repeatedly told I am making things up just because I am not willing to post private information online - it's called having respect Waki.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: there is a reason why people working for bike companies don't show up here. Or at least not when it comes to money counting... I haven't seen any of them in such arrangement in all those years... and that reason is, there is no limit to arguing and you WILL be rounded into a corner to expose your identity. Which you cannot do. Which makes your efforts... futile. And even if you would, that would be the biggest mistake, then you would be flooded by a sht storm. Bike designers, engineers have been dissed here. Like Jason Chamberlain from Spec was told he talks bullcrap about chainstay length. And I am HONESTLY not trying to prove you wrong here. I just don' get how can you argue this for so long.

And respect online, man... have you ever considered why someone deserves respect? How can you expect it when you don't expose your personality? I can start another account and using my "know enough to sound like I know everything" start telling everyone "it's like that" cuz I work for a bike company. Please assume I am worth respecting. Respect is something rappers want for being a pimp rapping something irrelevant to 99% of people listening to him.

So as you dug yourself into a hole, no, no respect for you. I never got any. Nor I expected it. Because you always dig yourself into a hole after an online argument lasting longer than 3 rants. Unless... that's entertaining for you... like it is for me
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: totally agree and yes it is also entertaining for me, wouldn't bother if it wasn't. :-)
  • + 0
 @Racer951: Let's then have a beer one day and watch the world burn Big Grin
  • + 2
 @Racer951

Those magic pieces of paper with numbers and dollar signs??? Please share.....
  • + 1
 @tantrumcycles: Seriously man, its a well known distributor of cycles and parts in the UK, its not magic, not secret and definitely not hard to get hold of if you are in the industry in any way shape or form in the UK - I genuinely cant understand why people are getting so upset about this - I have access to a trade account, not some kind of factory powered by unicorn testes that spits out $20 full carbon wonderbikes.

Would you like their details so you can get them to negotiate prices on your behalf or something?
  • + 1
 @eugen-fried: agreed. it's nice to see real investigative journalism within the biking community instead o fthe typical fluff articles we are used to.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: you assume there is profit left. loss leaders do exist in all markets
  • + 0
 @lifted-d: give it a rest, the whole brand has similar margins, stop getting so upset.
  • + 2
 @cmkneeland: ah evil. I am part of that sour story. Purchased a brand new Evil Uprising and it had a frame defect. Was promised by Evil that "I would be taken cared of". But that never happened. Loved the bike otherwise, but the company left a sour taste in my mouth. Would be interesting to understand what the hell went wrong with those guys.
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: Thanks man. First time I've seen this. I know Evil had some quality control/material issues back in the day. I'm just curious how they went about choosing a manufacturer, or if they were present during the quality control process.
  • + 1
 @cmkneeland: NSMB did a really good article on exactly that!

nsmb.com/articles/5211-the-untold-story-of-absolute-evil
  • + 1
 @lumpy873: and if ur biz is based out of a leftist state/country...expect big tax
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: leftist? You mean like North Korea?
  • + 2
 @Racer951: lol, your totally confused bro, like i give a shit! haha seems your taking this very seriously though, good for you keep up the important work.
  • + 1
 More of this, please!
  • + 4
 @Racer951: hey Racer, I never saw the context, just the mention of bits of magic paper..so I made a joke about money. I had to reread the thread to see that it referred to your price list.

The thing about all the prices are that there are too many variables to make an accurate 10 minutes video of all cases. It s true that most catalog frames are cheaper than most "custom" frames.But people would be surprised by the amount of large brands that use catalog frames, sometimes with maybe a top tube switch to make it look different. I can walk around Eurobike and see the same catalog frame from Fairly in 5 different booths, some of them pretty large.

Frame costs can vary considerably. My frames use mostly "catalog" tubes, lowering the price, but I had to open a mold for a proprietary seat tube and DT, raising the price. My frames have some extra linkage and bolt on drop out components, raising the price. Due to low initial quantity, I am also using all CNC parts, not forgings, lowering up front costs for molds, but raising per unit cost.

Not to mention quantity. The variables above cab add up to +/- US$200 per frame. Easily. In Aluminum.

For carbon, the main drawback for a small guy starting a custom brand is mold cost. The per frame price is good, but the mold cost is high and has to be amortized over a LOT of bikes. A lot more than I'm looking to sell this year....

I think it would be very interesting to see what everybody (bike brands) pays from each factory. I wonder what the disparity is when a frame company makes frames for 10 different brands.....probably not likely to see this info.....
  • + 3
 @tantrumcycles: great insight into some of what a small company deals with producing bikes in Taiwan..
  • + 2
 @Racer951: (late to this party) These numbers are not bullshit at all, but context matters.contextual.

I did exactly this as a side project while building consumer electronics in Taiwan. 100% custom steel frames, 853 tubes, MOQ of 1 (one) piece. $43. I ran 4 totally different design in the same batch from standard double-diamond setups to custom bent double top-tube/chainstays rigs. Prices?

$26 and $43 per frame.

Yes. Forty-three and Twenty-six US Dollars. I still have the receipts for the taxman.

Granted it cost me another $150 each to have them shipped DHL to my door in California. And these were low tolerance, singlespeed, naked steel, no braze-on frames as I wanted to do 100% of the detail and finish work myself in the garage. But these were done entirely over email with only drawings passed back and forth digitally.

devansdesign.com/personal/#/framebuilding

If you are trying to build a race-grade ultralight or bomber XC or downhill rig your mileage may vary, but you absolutely can get one-off frames for less than the cost of a *single tube* locally. (For further reference I built my kid a co-pilot frame from cheapo tubes bought from a US based framebuilding supplier and the raw parts were $60, not even including brazing materials and the like.)

Globalization folks. It's real.
  • + 0
 @davee5: happy to say you stand me corrected there - hard to believe though I'm sure you can understand when a single tube in its country of manufacture costs around the same and amazingly cheap.

Would you be willing to share the factory name or is it something you would prefer to keep quiet for business reasons?
  • + 1
 @davee5: if I read this correctly I can get 1No. custom geo 853 HT frame (unpainted I assume) for $43. Assume this is ex shipping and taxes etc. If so that's pretty amazing. Could you PM me with the details as I would be very interested.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: if pricing is accurate I wonder how Reynolds are working this kind of situation - European builders are paying the same for single / a handful of 853 tubes alone and a well used Taiwan frame builder asks for $200+ for an 853 frame at more than 100pcs.

Do Reynolds have a production facility over in china, are they really using Reynolds tube? Or are we being sold a bullshit story by Reynolds in the uk etc.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: or are the frames built using all Reynolds or only one tube with the rest being some generic 4130.

Maybe it is down to quantity of tubes sold. If Reynolds are selling huge amounts in Taiwan the prices will be much lower than to a small UK frame builder who only buys a few tubes.

Or maybe they make the tubes in Taiwan. It would make sense having your manufacturing plant close to the biggest source of your sales to save on transport costs.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: as we spoke before, they surely use 1 tube from Reynolds and cheapest ass, possibly straight gauge cro-mo everywhere else. Even Cotic uses Reynolds exclusively on top/down and seat tubes. But the rest is 631. Fair by me. However an average price for a tailored 831m 931 steel frame in UK is between 700-1000£. That gets you a custom Ti frame in Russia.

I spoke to 2 guys, one makes own frames (not Antidote Wink ), another one is making final production drawings and specs for a few companies producing in Asia. They say that separately sold alu frames from big companies are the THE biggest "rip off". Like Giant aluminium hardtails going for 500£. Or worse: alu FS frames for 1500+. They claimed that according to their knowledge making a FS is often no more than 30% more expensive. If you make small amounts, the hardware and CNC bumps the price a lot over a HT, but if you have literally hundreds of thousands of bearings, bolts and tens of thousands of axles, it doesn't get that much more expensive. He said that even hydroforming gets cheap at that scale. Then the complete bikes... One guy said that he cannot get almost any margin on components, especially suspension. He makes complete bikes because that makes it possible for him to earn money on producing frames, but putting together a complete bike is a necessary evil.

I built my Antidote using bikecomponents.de. Waited out for a Christmas sale an got most parts just a notch over what Anti could give me for a complete package, with the absolute best of their intentions.

The componets bit is interesting because many shops complain that they get parts for same prices as bikecomponents sells them on the website. One Swedish shop got an answer from main European vendor of a certain S company - "you pay 30-40% more because rich Swedes are willing to pay more". No, not because you order 5% of what large online store pays. The tyre prices are insane. My friend sold me Hans Dampf for 360SEK, sale out, no margin, just take it. Same tyre costs 340SEK on bikecomponents. They also can't have more than 5% margin on S...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: this is exactly the reason I would never buy an Al or carbon frame from a big company because I know I am paying more for it than I should. Plus with a young family I can't justify it.

I have only ever bought 2 full bikes and they were my first MTBs in the early 90s. Everything since had been frames. I don't see the fun in buying something off the shelf. I digress.

Back on topic - it would be interesting to see what these Reynolds frames are made of. It would give you the chance to get your geo dialled before you made something with better quality tubing all round. If you could land a custom geo steel HT frame for a few hundred pounds it would be worth a go.

I wonder if they could also make steel full sus bikes...

Tell me about prices in Sweden. I used to use CRC and Bike.discount.de when I lived in Helsingborg. The price for a wheel build was also through the roof I got mine done at Soho bikes in London when I was over.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Component prices depend a lot on distributor agreements and a whole host of other things fixing prices in a country too. Similar with UK vs Germany prices so the big online UK stores have to get more creative with where they source stuff from rather than go through the UK distributor(s) AFAIAA
  • + 6
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:17) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn @Racer951
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn
Sure, I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • - 5
flag davee5 (Jul 7, 2017 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymartyn
Sure, I can PM their website as I pretty quickly decided I didn't want be I the business of making one off customs for friends on the weekend. You can actually grab the mfg name off the drawings posted on my webpage if you look hard enough.

A quick summary of my personal experience first:
I am a mechanical engineer and industrial designer with a decade's experience of working high and low volume production in Asia. I also built a single frame from scratch in college and taught shop classes, including welding and brazing. I'm not great, but I can build.

A few years ago I was in my local hotel in Taipei when the hoteliers, who I all new by name after months of stays, asked if I wanted passes to the same show I the video / article. Apparently some Germans hadn't shown up and I looked enough like a Hans to scam his materials. Awesome.

I spent a full 2 days of meandering he convention floor, which you really cannot get the scale of in the video, it is the size of a sports stadium and *packed* with every tier of vendor and possible piece of bikey crap. After a while I thought what we all think and figured I could get some frame designs I'd been napkin sketching built for me. I wanted specifically to use steel so I could rework it at home with an acetelyne torch and do fussy NAHBS style braze ons and internal routing.

I went to all 7 (only!) builders doing steel frames. The vast majority of frame shops are doing aluminum and krabon. 3 of those had 100pc MOQs per design, 2 had 20pc MOQs, and 2 would do whatever. One of those had far far better welds than the other and was proudly showing naked frames. We will call it LB for now.

D5: hi, what's your MOQ?
LB: piece, no problem
D5: How about for custom designs?
LB: 1 piece, no problem just send us a picture.
D5: Oh, I will send you CAD and 2D drawings, but really 1 piece special order?
LB: Drawing even better, MOQ is one. For you, one piece, easy.
D5: Really? How much for this frame, one piece hit special order? (Points to standard road frame.)
LB: twenty six.
D5: Wait 26 what? USD? (Mind is racing... there is no currency I the world where the number 26 is an appropriate price for a custom steel frame of any quality.)
LB: $26 US. Just send us the drawings or the picture.
D5: Ok, ok. How about this one? (Points to dirt jumper with excellent welds on the ISO disc plate hanger and the seatstay. It's a tricky weld based on wall thickness disparity and the dimes are just perfectly stacked. Tiny HAZ, no edge pooling, good penetration. Impressed.)
LB: That one is $30US. Custom easy.
D5: GREAT. We will be in touch! (Grabs all the promotional materials from this booth.)

From there it was a month of emails back and forth. Once they seemed committed I started asking for more weird stuff, all over email. At this point it's clear I want just frames with no paint and no brazing, but I want them made well.

D5: how much for single butted tubes, Reynolds? LB: oh, cost up, cost up. Very expensive.
D5: I understand. Please provide the quote.
LB: special order from Taiwan (they mfg in China). We have to check. (2 days pass.)

And now this is a direct copy/paste from my quotation email. Note things evolved slightly from here.

1)Frame: Design #1-RAW
Top/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Headtube: Steel
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD40.20/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(2)Frame: Design #2-RAW
Top/Middle/Down Tube: Reynolds 525
Dewaxing Dropout
Quotation is USD38.40/SET F.O.B Shanghai.
(3)Fork: 700C Straight-leg/Segmented Style-RAW
Front Fork & Fork Stem: CR-MO
Forging Dropout
Quotation is USD15.50/PCS F.O.B Shanghai.

Another month of back and forth. One wire payment and a lot of forms, and two months later a box full of frames arrived on my doorstep. Welds were great, alignment was goodish, weight was acceptable, and the value remains astonishing.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Ah nuts. Submitted my update on mobile and it never seemed to go through. Now I spammed the crap out of this subthread by hitting the Submit button like a monkey. Mods? Can you clean up my mess please? (Or ya'll can downvote the dupes into oblivion.)
  • + 1
 @davee5: I have had quite some involvement in the bike industry in various ways and that price completely blows my mind, thank you for taking the time to post a real-world experience though I imagine the industry wont share that sentement though, after all I am quite sure that means somewhere we are buying a $700 steel frame that cost less than $100 from the manufacturer (inc delivery, paint etc etc, the lot)

Btw, the photos on your site are awesome.
  • + 2
 @davee5: Yeah thanks for sharing the info. It certainly gives me something to think about.

And maybe we will see some Waki racers one day ;P
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Thanks for the web props!

The prices are indeed 100% bonkers. Until the boxes showed up on my porch I was half convinced it was an elaborate scam. Especially the at point when I was wiring money to a shell company in the Cayman Islands, that was peak WTF for me. But yeah, it cost me By comparison the absolute cheapest tubeset I can buy from my framebuilder's supply goes $80, and that's for 8 tubes in a box with bubble wrap and no bottom bracket. There remains the possibility that I got lied to about "Reynolds" buy, but would that constitute getting ripped off? Not at those prices.

With shipping I ended up dropping $715 for 8x frames door to door, with half of that money going to shipping. Final cost of the frames after braze-ons, powdercoat, and manhours is much higher, so there's still a fudge factor in there. Still, I'm pretty sure if I'd asked for standard details and basic paint it's be another $5 at most.

In general I think the company I worked through is squarely in the Walmart bikes business. But the reality is the women (mostly) that weld bikes all dang day are just good at their craft. If you give them better materials and better geometry they will make better bikes. Somehow the Chinese economy has enabled the VA for mitering, setup, welding, and cleanup to be all but free.

It remains months and months of back and forth in Chinglish and technical drawings to get a custom bike out, but the overall barrier to entry it pretty low in the grand scheme of things. Custom builders don't have that much to fear yet, but the slow march of globalization is brutal on commodity businesses.
  • + 2
 @davee5: A Cayman Islands account, that adds some 'mystery' to the whole thing!

Well at $715 they are still amazingly cheap, especially considering if you ordered 100pcs delivery via container would be reduced by a huge margin.

I expect this is the kind of factory that makes the on-one inbred frames and similar, or as you say a lower specification of bike that you would find in wallmart type shops. I wonder what a 'modern' mtb hardtail would cost for them to produce.

I think what you have also opened up is something I have seen before myself - A company using China to produce the product with warehousing / finishing (prep, paint whatever) taking place in Taiwan allowing a 'made in Taiwan' stamp to avioid EU dumping duty - Im not sure what duty is like in the US for chinese parts though.
  • + 1
 @davee5: Are you looking to do more frames or was it just the 8 your have done?

It looks like the numbers would stack up really well given you could sell them in sufficient quantity. Is there that much of a demand for steel hardtails these days? Whenever I am out riding you see maybe one or two hardtails but 95% of bikes are plastic and Al squishy bikes (maybe this is just living in Surrey where everyone apart from me is a stockbroker or dentist).

I suppose if sold globally and heavily marketed yourself you could scratch a living off it but you have additional shipping and import tax costs. The other was would be to do it as a joint venture with people in different countries.

If I were doing it I would make a few frames for mates as a "project" rather than turning it into a business.
  • + 0
 @cmkneeland: evil is where they are at by saying f*ck the customer! They only care about the next sucker not the last.
  • + 40
 I used to import bikes for the big S.. Got to see pricing for duties/tax purposes.. You've all seen a bike box; you can fit a shit ton of them in a 40' ocean container and ship them here for a couple of thousand. These bike companies are doing just fine.. There are definitely more profitable and easier to move commodities out there but the "we have it so tough" from bike companies rubs me raw. You moved your manufacturing to Asia for higher profits and then want us to be impressed you have someone doing QC in Asia.. LMAO!!! You better have someone making sure my 8k bike isn't garbage.. My sister owns a small USA based beauty salon in a small town. She's there 70+ hours a week to make sure it doesn't go under. Its tough running any business.
  • - 4
flag MikeSF77 (Jun 28, 2017 at 11:19) (Below Threshold)
 If you buy an $8k bike, don't fret good chap! You're fortunate or hard working or smart or lucky, or a nice f*cking mix of all four. I like to believe I have a bit of those too (very modest in the smarts dept, more so hard working, but mostly just the other two) and I ride the ever loving pants off my YT Capra AL1. It's a stunning bike kit for under $3k. It has a Lyric for fs sake. So if you're rolling a newer Bronson/Enduro with Enve rims and Fox factory 36, while telling everyone how MTB is overpriced....well, I don't think you're being honest with yourself, and more importantly when you are talking about bikes to non bikers or potential bikers, you're probably unknowingly dissing MTB. I'd suggest that in order to attract people to the sport, (wait, that is what we want, right? Bike parks all over the place) we should be a bit less angry with our premium bike having asses.

I enjoyed this, and all these knowledgeable and opinionated comments. It's a good day to be a bike rider with an internet connection.
  • + 12
 @MikeSF77: ??? Not even sure how to respond to that rant.. In no way was I "dissing" MTB'ing.. I helped import bikes for one of the largest bike companies. The article was clearly trying to sale us on how hard it is to start up a bike company utilizing Asian manufacturing. Within that message, I felt there was a hidden message to the consumer on how much work goes into it with little profit. Having some knowledge and 20+ yrs in logistics I'm simply raising the BS flag and stating they make plenty of money, just like most companies that Asian manufacture. So much in fact, most of them started profiting off manufacturing house branded clothing and components there. Don't you think that by Trek,Specialized, Giant, Ibis, Scott, Santa Cruz, Yeti, manufacturing their own components such as bars, wheels, grips, and so on hurts other component brands. Do you think they give two shits? They don't care about them or the consumer. I'm sure it started out as a passion but it turns into Money and competition. Hell, even Vern's in on it. each article has an agenda that contradicts the last. His job is to get us to read his articles so that he has a job. I'll still read, buy bikes, and enjoy the sport. But not without calling B.S.
  • + 6
 Moved their manufacturing to Asia and charged us more!!
  • - 1
 @utley06: This! The real money is made on accessories once you have a brand to back them up. Go Pro doesn't earn money on cameras, they earn money on sht that goes with them, same with TLD, they came up with helmets as a spine, but they earn on clothing. Oakley? Great sunglasses yes, but flip flops give better margins. Ask any bike shop, where is your income? Bikes? Parts? Oooor clothing, helmets, goggles, energy bars, tools, back packs?

But again, remember, you need this spine, nobody is interested in outfitting himself in Canyon swag. Would I like a UNNO wallet? Damn fkng right I would
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I don't disagree with you Waki, but you're missing a side of the margin story. Sure, many people know that accessories generally are a higher margin product as a percentage, but margin means f*ck all without volume. Does Oakley sell more flip flops than glasses, maybe but its doubtful. So, in a similar fashion, bike companies may make great margins on their accessories, but their only goal is to reduce the cost of their finished good. I recall a flood of Niner badged products on the wholesaler's a few years ago with deep discounts - so while accessories can be profitable, they are also risky (mkt penetration, volume, quality etc..).

Side note: how would a carbon wallet work? Would the center move on a pivot, or flex like a seat stay? Better yet, I think it would eat all of your cash and credit, just like everything else carbon fiber.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm not sure Gopro and Oakley are good examples to illustrate your point. I remember reading an article about how Gopro hugely mis-estimated the initial MSRP of one of the models (hero 4 or 5), basically it initially retailed for 400$ but as by then anyone who wanted a gopro either had a hero 1, 2 or 3 and wouldn't buy another one, the price dropped to 300 +-6 months later then again to 200$. From 400 to 200, that's quite a comfortable margin that had been going on since the first model.
Same for oakley, I'm not sure those glasses cost more than 30$ but retail for +100, or even 200. Of course there are all the production cost (and LOTS of marketing), but still.

Anyway, I think when you see any piece of cloth or accessory sold in 3, 4, 5 or more colorscheme, with various, "technical" fabrics, many different parts requiring a lot of sewing, you can bet it's profitable, or else those wouldn't be that intricate.
  • + 35
 I'd probably return home with 20,000 dim sims and a rash.
  • + 2
 That made me laugh out loud at work.
  • + 26
 At 10:09 dude says all westerners who have tried to set up here have come and gone... I think at 9:05 we get a glimpse of where they are being disposed of :-)
  • + 5
 I didn't see him the first time through. Who is he? Why is he on the floor? I need answers!
  • + 7
 @Patrick9-32: Just pretend you didn't see that and quietly walk away without asking any questions. #BikeMafiaThugLife
  • + 24
 Fantastic and insightful @vernonfelton!

Where were you all those years ago when we thought the same thing? It sure wasn't and still isn't as easy. I can attest everything you went through and learned is spot on. You found the right factory and people to talk to, that's for sure.

Nothing ever (ever!) goes as planned. Quality control can be had but you really need to partner with the right factory and component brands - they are not all created equal. Final assembly here in Canada has made things a bit easier for us to control the overall process but still face the numerous challenges you uncovered.

You think us manufacturers would be mad you pulled the curtain back but we, at least, don't mind. As with most people we chat with at bike shows, demos, or just out on the trail we are happy to share the story. Most of them - even the die-hard brand loyalists who would never buy our bikes - are just pumped to hear a story about a few riders, like them, who took the bull by the horns and built something awesome. We may be poor now and poorer in the future but we are having an awesome time building up bikes and hearing positive feedback from happy customers is pretty rewarding.

Keep up the great work,
  • + 18
 Thanks for saying that. I actually have no idea how other manufacturers are going to respond. At the end of the day, you aim to be objective and then you have to let the chips fall where they may. As we were creating this thing, what struck me most was how strange it was that someone hadn't already made this video. I think we all wonder where our bike comes from and what it's like to get the deed done. Not talking about things that we are naturally curious about is...well, curious. I think everyone is in a better place when they have access to information. That was our goal here. Cheers. And thanks again.
  • - 8
flag lumpy873 (Jun 28, 2017 at 8:15) (Below Threshold)
 @vernonfelton: the funny thing is that this kind of information is easily found nowadays...
  • + 5
 @vernonfelton: Fantastic video! I am an industrial designer and even I assumed I knew how the sausage was made, so to speak. But your video was eye-opening in revealing the level of commitment you have to have to make a decent product.

Transparency has become an important selling point for many businesses (Patagonia, for example, or maybe Enve) in the last few years... consumers want to know where their products are coming from. Just seeing glimpses of Chris @ Pivot and his team pouring over the latest design is a huge feather in that brand's cap. If I was Pivot, why not tell that story? The more I know about a product and the hard work that's gone into it the more I'm likely to be impressed and spend my money. I bet a lot of other mountain bikers feel the same way.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: I think the answer to that is because the MTB press doesn't have the travel budget to get the team all there at the same time and spend time getting the job done, until now. MTB press is also an expensive business considering we have to get to all these places... expenses is normally the main argument not how much we get paid for the work we do.
  • + 20
 Hahaha awesome finish!

Ten years in Taiwan here. Just trying to get ABC and D exactly how you want them, in any shop or situation, isn't happening.

That is what they all alluded to without being too brazen or obnoxious.

In Taiwan, there is a grey area around all manufacturing. It's not just black and white, right or wrong.

"Yes, we did it how you said... most of it."

The way I always summarise this culture is, they only want to pay 10% to get 90% of what they ideally want. The law of diminishing returns. No Taiwanese is going to pay that extra 90% to make the product 10% better.

From what I've heard, China is much worse. They even think they own Taiwan FGS!
  • + 22
 anyone notice that guy sleeping on the floor??
  • + 3
 might be a lunch break..
  • + 20
 Lunch break. When the bell sounds and it's time to take a break, people get pretty serious about their break. When the bell sounds to get back on the job, it's full bore action. Side note, we filmed conversation during lunch break because you wouldn't be able to hear someone talk at any other time during the day.
  • + 4
 Anyone notice Vernon's been hitting the gym?
#gunshow#iamnotgay#notthatthereisanythingwrongwithit
  • - 5
flag schuchard83 (Jun 28, 2017 at 10:36) (Below Threshold)
 Yea wtf - Pivot's boss is gonna be pissed
  • + 8
 @ReformedRoadie: #beefcake
  • + 1
 I think that's an American taking a nap after demanding foreigners to do their work for them, and then plowing down a cylinder of Pringles and a sixer of Sierra Navada IPA...anyway, thats what I took from the clip
  • + 16
 really nice to hear Steve Fenton say that the #1 issue with companies failing at leveraging TW production is plain arrogance... this is 100% TRUE... the arrogant westerner is the worst over there and they almost never make it... also alluded to but not said outright is that the factory you use is more than just a supplier.. THEY ARE YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER... as much as you are scrutinizing them, the good vendors are even more closely scrutinizing you... the vendor in TW is the main muscle in a good supply chain that is going to deliver a great product consistently, and on time, so that the brand can capture sales and grow... and let s not get into the fact that the bike business as a whole is largely financed by these factories... without the financial backing of the suppliers a lot of bike brands (big and small) would not exist...
  • + 4
 Yup.
  • + 8
 @eriksaun bingo! And that goes for electronics. For chipsets. For ODMs etc etc etc
  • + 15
 Fantastic. As many have said, probably the best thing I've ever seen on this site. Well structured, fascinating content, excellent presentation. Kudos. Can't wait for the longer write-up.

@vernonfelton: addressing your concerns about video length: in the age of online media overload I have a short attention span and don't watch many videos in full; so many riding edits and I just skip to the hot bits. This was totally different though: excellent journalism and presentation and had me transfixed the whole way through. I applaud your decision to make the video, how well it has been executed, and encourage many more pieces like it.
  • + 10
 Thanks, @Hwulex. I'm glad to hear you say that it didn't actually feel long. That was our goal, but sometimes goals and reality don't mesh up the way you hope they would. Working with Dan Barham certainly helps. He's an amazing filmer and his production skills are impressive. Cheers.
  • + 8
 @vernonfelton: I would be good with a two hour documentary on the inside of the bike industry!
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: Yeah I agree, wicked video. I'm bike-videoed out at the moment and i'm not watching much content at all, but this was interesting from start to finish.

I do have to say, your clickbaity titles and thumbnails stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of PB's content - the thumbnail of "2 Reasons Why Your Disc Brakes Don't Work" especially horrendous, making me feel like i'd stumbled into a 12 year old's youtube recommendations, and the title of this one being a complete lie... The content is rad and everyone is interested, doesn't need to be clickbaity to get people to look at it.
  • + 13
 I love this article, thanks for taking the effort! I'm surprised to see people kind of expect it would be easy. If you build your own bikes, you and your team will be busy doing production. Tam and Burf at BTR will agree, it is busy and hard. If you have someone else do the production, you'll be doing management. If you cut some costs having it done in a place where wages are lower and environmental and safety standards are lower, you'll be doing management and a lot of time away from home. There is no easy way around it.

But remember there is still that catalog bike. This is the way companies like Cube started. There was such a huge demand for reasonably affordable bikes, they just needed to deliver. And this kickstarted the company to eventually develop their own stuff. It's been steady and gradual but now they have stuff being ridden at the highest level. But then I think it is harder to start like that now. Back in the day people just needed something decent to ride that fits their budget and riding style. But now that market is already being catered for, it is much harder to stand out. And of course if you have views and preferences very different from what is currently on offer, you are not likely to find it in the catalog. But you know what, just publish the catalog and we'll help you pick a bike Smile .

Personally I believe in a healthy production setup where stuff is done locally by properly paid employees under labour and environmental conditions I believe in. And that they still manage to pump out decent and affordable stuff. Orange (bikes), Hope (components), Tacx (trainers and tools), Lupine (lights), Magura (brakes and suspension though they recently shifted some manufacturing overseas). I'm sure they have companies like that in North America too, like Devinci etc. Yes setting up a company like that is hard too. But so is doing all your own production in a garage and so is doing all your management in a remote place. I'd much rather work at Orange or Hope.

Not meant to discourage you. You're journalists and as such it has value no matter the outcome. But other than that, I much rather see you ride your bikes than become a manager.
  • + 11
 Great video!

One thing not covered in this video, that is a huge factor, is the cost of compliance testing. It's not just the monetary cost of testing, but also the time it adds to the entire process. Trek, Specialized and other reputable brands literally destroy frames in every size before they ever go into production. They also test the paint, rubber and virtually every other touch-point for lead and other cancer causing substances. Those $300 carbon frames on Amazon - do you think they've been subjected to a battery of destructive testing? Have they tested their paint or clear-coat for lead? Maybe 1 frame in 1 size...maybe.

The assertion that all the marketing "BS" is driving-up the price of bikes is a gigantic myth. The net profit margins on complete bikes or even frames is not what you think it is. Most bicycle companies spend less than 5% on marketing. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the lack of marketing investment by bicycle companies (component manufacturers included) is part of the reason why the bicycle industry isn't growing, and hasn't for more than 15 years. That lack of growth means less units are being produced...and that does nothing to drive volume, which leads to lower manufacturing costs. Let's also not forget that without the marketing "BS" you'd have almost nothing to write about...or complain about. You'd have a boring bike, painted black and your rad suspension system would simply be called "3 pivot suspension."
  • + 11
 MAJOR props to the guys at Pivot for agreeing to be in this. Most bike companies would rather pretend like their bikes just magically appear and are made in the same place they are designed.
  • + 9
 I used to work for a speaker company and they moved all their production over to China... The stole $5 million of our start up cash by closing up shop and keeping all the tooling. Then they ripped off the design and started selling the speakers as side offshoot. The next factory kept making total shit and everything would fail QC. These effers simply don't GAF. As soon as you leave... they stab you in the back and screw you over.
  • + 2
 I always believed that's how the knock-off brands start.
  • + 13
 There is some karma to it, in company getting screwed over (and screwed up) by trying to screw up their employees and customers in a chase for higher profit margins.
  • + 3
 Well even in China you get what you pay for. Yes, you can go full cheapo, but don't be surprised when your mfr starts giving/selling your drawings and specs to competitors, or selling them on the side themselves. The cost reduction of moving to Asia is real, and high quality parts are definitely possible, but a good business relationship simply isn't going to come at a bottom-of-the-barrel price point. My company works with some great quality suppliers there and they're undoubtedly cheaper than an equivalent shop stateside, but it takes more money and constant contact to get quality - but I'd say the same is true here to a lesser extent.
  • + 8
 @jollyXroger: While I agree to a point, consider consumers' insatiable appetite for more shit at lower prices and often the move to offshore manufacturing isn't a mater of profit but more of survival. Quality isn't valued as highly as quantity today.
  • + 1
 @robwhynot: Fair point as well.
  • + 4
 @robwhynot: people also confuse price and value... the lowest price doesn't always equal a better value...
  • + 4
 Exploitation deserves exploitation.
  • + 9
 The low income of the workers does not necessarily mean that the quality of the products is poor, and that is a complex social problem. There are great differences in people's values among different countries and peoples. Should be more understanding and attention. Over the years, most of the products made in Taiwan have been excellent in my personal experience with bicycle products. Of course, there are a few products that have a lot of quality and design problems. But they are also working hard to improve. Bicycle since its invention to this day, but also through countless attempts and failures to succeed. The result is not the most important, the process of experience is the most valuable.
  • + 4
 Yeah hating on the quality coming from Asia is silly. Sure, labor is cheaper there but as with anywhere, you get what you pay for. If you invest the time and money to build a good business relationship you'll end up with a great product at a lower cost than you could get elsewhere - but if you think you're just gonna send a set of drawings over there and get quality for dirt cheap, I can almost guarantee you'll get screwed one way or another. If it seems too good to be true... it is. Nothing in business and manufacturing ever goes 100% as planned. If you're not working with a good team and communicating well you'll end up with QC problems in a hurry. Working across a 12hr time difference is not easy...
  • + 12
 Hahaha. We're so fucked.
  • + 7
 That is why Canfield Brothers cost what they cost. Chris Canfield basically lives in Taiwan for that 6mnths for that QC. Making sure the bikes are the best quality for one of the smallest companies in the industry. Mr. Vernon Please do a follow up story of this with some small companies that are successful ie Canfield brothers, Banshee, and Knolly.
  • + 1
 I agree, it would be interesting to hear comments on this from successful smaller companies who have had to go through all of this without a big corporate backing. If you havent already, is there any chance you can reach out to them and get some responses?
Knowing all the hardwork/personal time that goes into it only furthers my support in these smaller outfits!

A+ work!
  • + 7
 @rtjames: It's a very interesting world to operate in for sure.

One little insight: For us, given the time change here in Canada, communication can be a challenge. It can work to your benefit, fire off an email at 11pm, wake up to an answer. Not a problem if not urgent. It can also mean a lot of back and forth at 2am. You learn to ask very direct questions, if there is ambiguity in the question, there is room for it in the answer. Not right or wrong, just a different way to communicate that's all.

cheers,
  • + 7
 The cost of bikes is out of control, there's no two ways about it. I'm an engineer, I work in a manufacturing environment on a product which is shipped all around the world, and built here in the US. I don't buy for 1 second that bike companies aren't making a nice bit of coin these days, but it's not just the final company, it's everyone down the line.

It doesn't necessarily have to be 100% about profit margin reduction, btw. How much scrap and re-work are companies racking up? How up to date are their manufacturing and quality control aspects? How much lean manufacturing do they do? How can they partner with other arms of the industry (component suppliers + frame companies, for purposes of integration, for example) to deliver a great product for less? You can streamline your processes, from design to manufacturing, and reduce or steady price while keeping your margins the same, or maybe even better.

The bike industry as a whole needs to stop figuring out "how much can we charge" and "how can we deliver products more effectively (faster, less expense, more reliable) without passing so much of the cost down to the customer."

2011: A comapny's top offered 120 mm alu frame, 5" trail bike, full XT build (der's, shifters, brakes/rotors, hubs; truvative crank, Richey seapost/stem/bar), with Fox (32/Float) suspension was $3,000. A to notch part spec on an Alu frame, which I still own. I bought it as someone in the industry at the time, so I paid a lot less for it, but let's stick to the sticker price.

2017: If I want a bike from the same company, in the same category, that has an XT build with Fox suspension, I can't get it in an aluminum frame- I've got to jump up to their carbon offering, whose price is: $5,680. So, if you take into account inflation from 2011, they added $2,300 to the price to switch from carbon to alu (which 90% of riders don't really need) to offer the same level parts. You can't get a nice bike for 3k from the big companies anymore- they're the ones who should be able to flex their volume muscles and reduce pricing! That's where I see a problem.

No wonder people are flocking to YT, Rose, and Canyon. If I ever get a new bike again (I honestly probably won't, PB buy/sell is my wheelhouse), it will be from a direct company like them. At least I can make sense of their prices. 4K for the YT Jeffsy ALU 1 or $2600 for the ALU 2 is so much more fair than most of the "big" companies out there.
  • + 9
 IMHO, the concept is all the same when we want to start our own restaurant/cafe while you can't cook at all.
  • + 10
 This is magnificent! Best form of industry insight so far!
  • + 5
 My design office is across the road from the factory that my stuff is made in. I still have to go over and QC the production guys on a regular basis or like the industry guys said, the process falls to bits. I also work with manufacturers in Asia and it's a nightmare trying to do it via email and conference calls. Huge props to the guys who put the effort in spending half their lives abroad in order to make it work.
  • + 3
 I'm lucky enough that our production team is experienced and competent enough to know what they're doing and if they spot something they don't like they usually come and ask. There is a good degree of give and take here. Now the other factory on the other hand. That's the tail trying to wag the dog and it does my head in.
  • + 1
 I agree, it definitely pays off though.
  • + 4
 @vernonfelton,

Hi Vernon. Nicely done. I was just thinking of writing an article on what it's like to start a bike company out of your...uh thin air. I'm am living the life of your video. I've made a few of my own documenting the process:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOYDdguXtpc&t=1s

www.youtube.com/watch?v=icWIGDHl6sA&t=100s

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tedHE-HrUBA

For everyone nitpicking about pricing accuracy and so on, guess what? It is all over the board and a bit of a minefield to sort and find the right fit. I think this video presents a general case of the experience and it's pretty spot on form my experience.

I'll be flying over soon as the first frames get welded up

cheers,

Brian
  • + 3
 Good luck over there, Brian, and let us know how it goes.
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton: I will be posting updates on facebook, etc. And once I actually have frames in hand, then I can really start planning, Kinda holding my breath till then. Stay tuned.
  • + 1
 @tantrumcycles: Cool Brian, I recall the article and I remember RC was raving about your design. But I forgot the name of the brand Wink . So it is cool to be reminded and see it getting produced.
  • + 1
 @vinay: thanks vinay, we are live indeed, one year after the article posted. I call it "the review that launched a mountain bike company"
  • + 7
 Who wants to chuck in and form a syndicate and order/make a Yeti 4X rip off (with tapered head tube)?
  • + 2
 The Transition Triple frame reminded me of the 4X when i first saw it.

ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb13128608/p5pb13128608.jpg
  • + 1
 @isolationismdivision:
Dude....that bike is tits.
  • + 5
 Great feature guys! Amazing! Still wouldn't mind a full sus frame off the shelf for 250 quid though! Especially when it's made by one of the factories that produce big brands frames!
  • - 5
flag chyu (Jun 28, 2017 at 3:18) (Below Threshold)
 As long its has good platform. We just have to put stick our own decal like weed shit porn drug.
  • + 1
 @chyu: pass that shit and simmer down
  • + 3
 I've never known Southern Californians to be realistic, but apparently we are because I have never heard of anyone thinking they can start a bike brand. Even though we may be only behind BC as the highest concetration of mtb'ers anywhere (and bike tourists as well) there is only Intense and Foes located here (am I forgetting any?). I've known dozens of people who made skateboards, because that is pretty easy, but none to have dreamed of starting a bike company. And there's tons of cash here with seemingly everyone trying to start some sort company to get rich (even school teachers). So the entire concept of this video seems bonkers to me, but based on all these comments, evidently people everywhere else are a bit delusional.
  • + 3
 Welcome to manufacturing and program/project management. It doesn't matter what your product is...bikes, beer, printers, computers, cars, airplanes. It all starts at the bottom, and if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. And you have to do it yourself and train others to have the knowledge and intuition you have, because doing it all by yourself is a good way to not have a life outside of manufacturing. It's easy if that's what you do for a living. It's hard if that's not the background you come from.
  • + 3
 Man, pretty sad to realize the mark up once the frames / bikes etc. make it to Europe, USA and everywhere else.

And on the same time, the bigger companies can't really talk down that Chinese / Taiwanese eBay Frame / Wheelset, given that perhaps their product comes from the same area of manufacture, let alone even the same factory???

Call me old fashined, but bikes are getting more expensive all the time, heck look at KTM (Bicycles). The constant increase in price is not proportionate with any if at all increase of most anyones salary at their jobs!

- Rant, whatever, over...
... where is my Helmet - time to go for a spin.
  • + 6
 There are brands out there (thinking On one) for example that seem to offer frames at a very compelling price or should i say realistic price but then you wonder why so many bikes these days cost as much as a car.

But you've got to remember bike manufacturers have amped up their marketing BS and enough people have fallen for it giving them enough scope to push up prices and hope no one notices. But also Finance is a big thing. So many bikes (like cars) are sold with finance these days bike manufacturers almost have free reign to scale prices dramatically as people are getting more and more used to credit. I seem to remember something like 93-6% of cars bought today are either financed, leased PCP or hire purchase and i doubt bikes are far behind.

What it all boils down too is us. The purchaser. We've clearly shown we're gullible (dare i say ignorant) enough to believe them and are happy to pay, over time, much more than what the bike is truly worth. Its evident in the massive disparity between new prices and used prices. Its not the manufacturers fault at all. Its the naivety of customers that they're merely cashing in on.
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: FWIW, I was a brand ambasador for Titus/On-one for a while, & they had more issues with quality control than I've seen in other brands. They always made it right, but you have to wonder how much all those defects are costing them. In one case, they game me a brand new fork for free, becuase they'd gotten frames speced for 170mm instead of 160mm forks by mistake. That can't be cheap.
  • + 3
 I'm not sure what you watched, but when I watch this video I can't help but think the margins for the bike industry are pretty bleak. While there is a definitely an opportunity to make a solid margin, it takes a ton of work and there is very little margin for error.
  • + 1
 Cheap bikes will come when eastern manufacturers can convince buyers that their brands are as good for half the price shipped. But then again the bike industry as we knew it may not be the same again.
tfwiki.net/wiki/File:AoE_shuhua_milk.jpg
  • + 0
 I should also add don't forget many manufacturers deliberately over price their stuff so that they can have frequent 'sales' to make it seem like your getting a good deal.

Just one of the many sneaky and sly (clever?) tactics the marketing bods use to manipulate you.
  • + 3
 "How would you feel about living in Taiwan for 4-6 months at a time?"

Hmmm....let me see. Well i've been here for the past 12 years so yeah, petty good I guess! The trails and the riding crews are still as awesome as ever.

Now, how to become a "fixer".
  • + 3
 In Taiwan, there are many mature bicycle brands, as well as many international brand OEM factories, they are very strong. New brands are difficult to develop in Taiwan, and they must have innovative technology products and accurate market positioning.
  • + 4
 Surely that's why you buy your own factory rather than deal with a third party?

Eventually someone from Taiwan will do a Light Bicycle for frames and sell a great factory direct product for a third of MSRP.
  • + 5
 They already do that. You can find one off carbon frames for like 6 to 7 hundred bucks.
  • + 1
 @Niko182: I know but they're not quite there yet are they.
  • + 1
 @Niko182: it's all in that catalog!
  • + 1
 They do. Carbonspeed is where i got my carbon fatbike frame from. It cost $600 shipped for the frame, headset, rear axle and seatpost. Took 2 weeks to get here.

I have nothing but good things to say about it.
  • + 5
 But what about starting a bike company onshore in USA or Europe by employing the same Renishaw technology Robot Bike Co. is using? Kickstart a PrintBike brand?
  • + 2
 Still a super niche situation, its mega expensive to print Ti like Robot do, that's why the frames are £4000, the cost of a very nice bike with a Taiwanese made frame.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Then again very nice Taiwanese made frames cost in the £3000 region as well.
  • + 3
 @jollyXroger: Yea but they cost £600 to make not £2000 to make like the Robot will.
  • + 6
 GG has sick bikes hand made in Colorado with frame/shock coming in about $1000 less than their plastic rivals. It is totally possible to do. What are the ecological effects of using carbon vs metal? That is the article they need to cover.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Exactly.
  • + 1
 Yeah but I was still thinking, could it be done similar but differently. Could the lugs be printed in wax or something and then use that for investment casting. Then maybe use simple pulltrusion tubes with either carbon, glass or hybrid. The fibres in pulltrusion tubes are parallel (UD) with only a braid (looks like a weave) around them for armour and to keep it all together. Of course you can never design so critical as RobotBike.co is able to do because the process isn't equally exact (and of course you're more likely to cast aluminium or steel than titanium) but you do get the flexibility and all that. What you don't get unless you have someone really knowledgeable on board, is the optimization software. Each lug is not only automatically designed to meet the geometry (that'd be the easy bit) but is also stress optimized automatically (the hard bit).
  • + 2
 @vinay: Well, that begs a question, why has the lugged carbon fibre frame construction method been abandoned in the first place? There must have been a good reason for it, with a price tag attached I assume.
  • + 3
 @jollyXroger: One of the main failure modes of laminates is delamination. This is more likely to happen at so called free edges because when the plane is stressed the fibres tend to move in different directions. So that's where a delamination could start and grow. One way of avoiding this is to fold or roll the edges (if you really need to have them), the other is to glue the lug to both sides. So that's what RobotBike.co does. They have double lip joints so the tube is being held from both in- and outside. Conventional lugged joints don't have that, the tube is only glued to the outside. So the inside can move and delaminate. Of course creating a double lip joint isn't easy so they needed the flexibility 3d printing gave them. But I believe it could be done with investment casting as well. The thing is, conventional investment casting means that the wax model is either cast as well (requiring it to have a shape that can be released from the mould) or manually cut out. This is for instance how these huge brass statues are made. But I think if you can print the wax directly and accurately (which shouldn't be too hard considering what they can do with plastics now), you can skip that step and you have the wax model immediately.

I'm not saying it is anywhere as good as what Robotbike.co is doing. But it should at least be much cheaper. The good thing is though that I think their tubes are filament wound. And even though that is a very good and controlled process, you can't get all fibres in the longitudinal direction which I think is ideal (without having done the math, mind you). Pulltrusion gets you that whilst being much cheaper.

Also keep in mind that you want a way to control and monitor your glued connection. If you sell it to a customer, it needs to be done properly and reliably.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Casting would be in titanium, right? Aluminium si not very suitable to combine with carbon fibre, due electrical corrosion.
  • + 1
 @jollyXroger: Is it? I wasn't aware of the chemistry. Is it between aluminium and the epoxy resin or aluminium and the actual carbon? Either way, I'm not sure how much of a problem this is going to be as the aluminium we usually use is already sealed by a skin of aluminium oxide or is actively anodized (that is, it has an oxide layer too). That should provide sufficient protection, shouldn't it? I must admit I never gave this much thought. Unless the oxide layer is constantly being removed (like you have with fretting corrosion) I wouldn't consider surface corrosion on aluminium a problem. But I'll need to figure that out and also if and what part the glue plays here. I wasn't considering titanium though. That'd drive the costs up tremendously. Not only the material costs, but also because of tool wear and higher temperatures for casting.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Yes, it's a problem. You can look it up. Raoul Luescher mentioned it as well in a youtube video.

Getting back to 3D printing. I suspect there will be more companies doing this in the future. www.métier-vélo.com/blog/category/all
  • + 2
 @jollyXroger: Alright, I'll look it up. As for Métier, looks pretty but technically not on par with Robotbike.co. I think the double lip joints are essential to preserve the integrity of the carbon laminate.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Double lip joints seem superior. I also like what Bastion Cycles and RAM3D are doing with this technology, unfortunately road bikes only.

www.rapidman.co.nz/news
  • + 3
 Great video that applies to vitually any business. It doesn't matter whether your business makes products or provides services, if you are not on hand to monitor it, quality and productivity will slip. When you contract out on a fixed price, the productivity may remain high, but quality will slip. With rare exception, people wil do the minimum necessary for the work you have paid for.
  • + 4
 When you remove all the travel, import tax etc...wonder what the comparison to a small batch order orders produced in the good old USA would be.
  • + 2
 Maybe one for Guerilla Gravity to answer.
  • + 2
 Allright, one idea and sorry in case I missed if someone else already suggested this. Why not set up such a shop in North America? A bicycle manufacture workshop where you can rock up with your design and they build it for you? That's what they do in Taiwan and the issue is that it is far away. Sure you're going to pay more but it might still be a bit more efficient and flexible than having everything in house. So they have the welders, the hydroforming, forging, casting and CNC equipment. They may have facilities for carbon manufacturing if that's what you need. It does give more flexibility and less up front costs if you want to try something new. After all, this is currently the advantage (one of them) of having it done in Taiwan, right? But I'm not sure if this model really exists in Europe or North America. I do know it is common for instance in car manufacturing. My country (The Netherlands) doesn't have a passenger car brand (other than some boutique stuff) but they do produce cars for various brands all in one factory. It is efficient and maybe also nice for the workers. Knowing that if one brand goes bankrupt, they still have work.
  • + 3
 One big advantage of that is communication. The reason those fixers are necessary in taiwan is the communication and culture are very different there than here.

Here, if the welder notices something which might not be right on the drawing he will mention it to his boss and they will work out a solution to it.

In Taiwan the welder will just weld up the whole batch to the drawing. (Perfectly and uniformly by the way) There isn't the culture there of bringing issues to the people higher up, they have more of a top down way of working than a back and forth. That is why you need to be there to babysit the batch through production otherwise you might have the same issue with every frame in the batch.

The same is true from the factory to the designer. You can come back to them after receiving a batch with issues saying "Why have you done it like this?" and they will say "Yes, we thought that was wrong but we made them anyway."

The only reason it is not done that way is the cost in the west is so much higher. If we could work with a local company for even 1.5 times the Taiwan price we would seriously consider it.
  • + 2
 Up until last year, Turner aluminum bikes were being made in the U.S. by Zen Bicycle Manufacturing - excellent quality. Unfortunately, Zen ended up deciding to close shop due to lack of business volume. Their business was built hoping to sustain minimum orders of 100 but that apparently did not pan out. That being said, when Turner introduced the Taiwan made carbon RFX, it quickly began to outsell the U.S. made aluminum Burner - more travel while being lighter weight. Ultimately, Turner has stopped offering aluminum frames on their website for now. Many people, including myself, really like the idea of domestically handmade aluminum bikes but seem to vote with their wallets by choosing the in trend carbon options from Asia that are available at a similar price point. Dave Turner has stated that he still believes in aluminum as a viable material for high end frame sales but it is not likely that he will restart domestic production due to price competition with Asian manufactured bikes. I'd rather have Taiwan made aluminum Turners than none at all. His bikes handle awesome!
  • + 2
 @Patrick9-32: Has something changed in the past few years? Orange is still producing all their frames in house. Not particularly cheap but not over 1.5 times the price of what a Santa Cruz single pivot design would have cost (Heckler, Bantam and Superlight). And I think by the way they produce their frames (welding all these little patches of sheet metal together instead of welding tubes) it makes absolute sense. Not sure whether Alutech still welds their frames in Germany. They recently discounted their ICB2.0 single pivot frame from something only slightly below the price of an Orange Four. Back in 2007 I bought the lowest end Cannondale Prophet with RS Recon forks, X5 drivetrain etc. I just needed the frame and some small parts as I had my own stuff and someone else was interested in the parts to build a hardtail. The RRP was about 1600 or 1700 euros. It said Handmade in USA on the frame so I expect it to be welded in the USA as assembly was done in The Netherlands (where I live). That's considerably cheaper than a comparable bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler is even in the US. And they don't even weld their stuff there!

Of course it is a decade later now. Has the cost of labour increased this much in the West or has it dropped in the far East? I'd expect it to be the other way around actually.

What I do notice at least here on PB, that some people have come to expect that if a bike is expensive, it'd better be made out of carbon. So if a nice (non electric) bike with an aluminium frame with a RRP of over 3k is published here, you're sure to come across some remark like "no carbon, not interested". This may even be the reason Intense closed shop recently. So could it be that the shift to the far east mainly comes from the lower costs of producing carbon frames? If they can get away with worse environmental and worker conditions, that would definitely be a huge saving.
  • + 1
 @vinay: The orange model is not the same. They do all of their manufacturing in house. That means they have one less step of margins to pay but they have to invest in all of the tooling and machinery. It has a higher upfront cost but likely a lower per frame cost once you have paid off that initial investment.

Your original comment was about a company doing the same thing a company in Taiwan does which is take other people's design and manufacture it for them using their tooling and machinery so the bike company doesn't have to invest in all of that stuff. You can't go to Orange and ask them to build your bike, they are too busy building their own bikes.

There are companies who do that manufacturing for others business model but the cost of working with them rather than their Taiwanese competitors is much higher.
  • + 2
 @Patrick9-32: You're absolutely right there, I got sidetracked. I agree I'm not aware of many companies who do that but then again they may not step in the limelight either. After all, I don't know these Taiwanese companies by heart either. Back in the day I worked in a bikeshop (Van Herwerden). We sold Cannondale, Specialized, Litespeed, Merlin and a couple of other factory brands. We also had our "home" brand. So customers could drop by, have themselves measured, pick one of our models, colour, logo etc and have it welded and built to order and spec. I have to add this was mostly road and trekking cyclists as these typically spend a lot of time pedaling seated so they're real particular about geometry. We didn't weld and paint the frames ourselves though but had it done by a local framebuilder who also had his own brand (Duell). Customers knew and they could choose. I guess the people who preferred the one stop shop experience (and maybe our more understated logo) liked to drop by our larger showroom. He'd only weld steel though. All titanium frames were welded by Litespeed. Still custom geometry though. We'd send them our drawings (as a CAD file), they'd weld it. I heard Van Herwerden later bought Duell so technically it is no longer a workshop that welds for other brands, but of course Litespeed still is.

The question then is of course, would we be more than 1.5 times more expensive than the brand that has their stuff welded in the far east? I honestly don't know as there is little comparison with other high quality steel and titanium frames welded over there. I do realize Van Nicholas was particularly cheap and somehow On-One can be insanely cheap with titanium. Then again Stanton and Kingdombike have their frames welded in China too and they aren't cheap by any means.

The other stuff I mentioned may have their place in a response to this article, but probably not in this particular discussion indeed.
  • + 2
 @vinay: I definitely think there will always be a place for the custom builders making bikes specific to the customer's needs close to home. That business model would never work with Taiwanese manufacture. If you want to make 100 or 200 identical frames it is going to be cheaper to do it in the far east but, if you want something unique it is not going to be possible, never mind cost effective to do it over there.

It sounds like a rad bike shop. I bet there were some crazy bikes built that you couldn't have bought anywhere else.
  • + 2
 @Patrick9-32: You're correct again, nearly all these bikes were custom built to order. Initially I was a bit disappointed that we somehow didn't sell that many mountainbikes. The thing is, we were so specialized that people came to travel from all over the country (which, admittedly, isn't that far) for special road, triathlon or trekking bikes. I grew to develop a huge appreciation for the latter. People come in with an exciting plan. For a three month cycle trip or a trip across the Himalaya. It is cool to see pictures of your brand bikes over there. My perception of a dentist is also different from what I learned here on Pinkbike. I'll always associate a dentist with the mellow guy excited as a kid to pick up his 11000 euro custom built titanium road bike. And yes he's been saving up for that. And a titanium frame is supposed to last him too. He said he could spend it on a more expensive car, it would have evaporated the second he left the showroom and it wouldn't make him a tiny bit happier. But this bike gets him grinning every day, rain or shine. He has decent mechanics skills, he loves to ride and he rides loads. So no matter what people tell me on PB, this is my perception of a dentist riding bikes. And back then I thought, if I ever have that much to spend on a bike I'll probably make a similar decision. Get something that lasts, makes me proud and gets me grinning like a little kid. Now I'm nowhere near that yet. But I'm never going to spend it on anything carbon unless it comes from Unno or Robotbike.co. Now that's way out of my league of course so I'm more likely to go for Starling. Still custom stuff indeed.

The only way I think they can keep welding here is if they can automate it. When I was in the Tacx factory there was just a guy with two welding jigs and a robot. He just put the parts in place, went to the other jig and while he removed the other product (the frame for a trainer) and put the new parts in place, the robot was welding at the first jig. Now I honestly don't recall whether these were point or line welds but it was quick. Robots have come a long way since so with enough investment it should be possible to weld up a simple frame. Not something like Orange does, but just tubes together should be doable.

I digress again, but not completely. When Tacx was going through some tough times in their early years, there was someone who told Koos Tacx "I'll buy all frames for cable reels that you can produce." So that kept him in business, producing stuff for other industries. When I visited the factory/office/distribution (maybe 15km from the shop I worked) there was one robot continuously bending tubes and dropping them in a container. It was only after I heard Koos' story that I understood these were frames for cable reels.
  • + 1
 @teamtoad: I contacted Zen several times over the last few years and they were always swampd and couldn't take on more........I think it was just too tough to compete
  • + 2
 Thank you for this video! Its always been my interest since i started in this industry 13 years ago. I could happily watch a full length doco on anything to do with the manufacturing crossover with our beloved brands and products. These relationships are going to become so much more important as this global market expands. When are we going to see more of these companies bypass the brands and come to us? I know its cutting themselves to a degree and putting the additional branding aspects onto themselves but surely its got to start occuring as the pressure becomes so high?

Also thanks Pivot for stepping up, appreciate their honesty about where it comes from. Too many brands hide behind in dodgy "percentage of made in" terms that allow to claim incorrect origins. (Cough you roady italians).
  • + 2
 Pivot chose that facility because of the overall culture and difference in quality.. Yet they need a team of staff there to assume every step of the process is going to be done wrong... Or you could just manufacture in America and skip living overseas and questionable quality.
  • + 2
 If you are thinking your $8000 bike's frame can't possibly cost south of $500, you obviously have not been around manufacturing on a large scale.

To put into perspective, a contact lense, which requires a significantly more sterile environment, significantly more varied machinery (several prescriptions = different specs) , and significantly tighter tolerances.....average retail on a pair is about $60... it costs Johnson and Johnson less than 6 cents to manufacture a pair of contacts....and that's including labor, manufacturing costs, material costs, transportation costs...everything.... The biggest expense of making contacts? the advertising costs. It's the reason Arizona tea is still 99 cents despite inflation, etc....they have ZERO advertising.

Nobody said it was easy....cheaper than you think on the other hand....
  • + 3
 always hear the figure of 50% of restaurants fail (over what kind of timeline... i have no idea). can we ask this of the bike frame manufacturing industry? what percent of bike frame manufacturers fail?
  • + 2
 best article I have read so far. please, tell us about the story of small brand like fat chance, klein, bontrager, manitou, kastle, sunn, raleigh, koga-miyata, etc...where did they miss out and got eaten by giants. I would like to read your insight about how did trek specialized etc became so big and tell us what to buy instead of us deciding.
  • + 2
 As awesome as this video is, and it really is, I really have to recommend the best way to watch this video is to turn the sounds off and turn on the auto closed captioning. Pure comedy gold.

"I don't overlook this one down here that was way worse that's like the slow kid went to shop class and went crazy with the world in the bandsaw it just made the longest black spike that he could we need a blue tit to enduro bike all the Sun what are these people thinking it's ridiculous"
  • + 5
 I need to mumble less.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Haha, I think it's less than that it is the auto caption technology is just not there yet. the whole video is pretty hilarious with the captions on.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: If you mumble, then I'm in real trouble. Your diction is a million times better than mine.
  • + 2
 My irrelevant .02 on this is that 1. it's great journalism (but being in the healthcare industry has made me want data proving every point you make) and 2. it doesn't actually address the concern most of us have in regards to the industry. Yeah, any schmuck who thinks "Hey, if I throw some money at this, I'll be successful" is destined to fail. But this article frames it up that the bike brands now are struggling and have a hard time because of shipping, qual control, etc. If it's so damn hard, keep your sh*t in the US/Canada/GB. They are making money and the mark-up doesn't make sense, and it will never make sense to me until a full, data-backed analysis is conducted on the industry.
  • + 2
 Ha ha. This video is so true. We decided to start our own bike brand and dealing with the taiwanese for custom frames and components. Put it this way there is so much more work involved than we ever imagined. And then there are the costs!!!!
  • + 2
 So a mid to low quality frame, $300 plus b2b cost for drive train and all the rest of the parts (you can't build all the parts) gets us up closer to 1k. But you still need to assemble it, ship it, and pay import charges and that's just to get it to your warehouse. So lets just say that's a couple hundred per bike. Factory to wholesale is about 100% maybe a bit more so leaving the warehouse we're getting close to 2.5k and mark up to retail is pretty much 100% so 5k. Hmmm and that was a cheapish $300 frame and okay parts. Add a third party distributor in there and the price is a little higher. The Brand lives on the markup from factory to wholesale so after marketing, sponsorships, r&d, and operating costs you still need to volume sales and a tight ship to make money. Sure the brand markup is a little higher on the 10K bike but that's the business of volumes and demand. Biggest hit to us is the LBS retail markup but they also have a lot of up front expenses as well as operating costs and shelf costs. No matter I still want my WC ready custom build bike at a factory cost Wink and the idea of owning a successful brand is fun.
  • + 5
 Pinkbike steps up. The production of this vid is spectacular. More like this please. Thanks.
  • + 4
 More of these videos please, and can you do one where we find out what factory makes what bikes so we know what brands to avoid.
  • + 5
 That wouldn't go well for Pinkbike if they did that..
  • + 1
 Why avoid them?
  • + 1
 Why on earth would they do that! Open themselves up for slander and a Massive lawsuit as our American friends are so fond of.
  • + 2
 You sir can basically avoid buying all the bikes that are made in the east save Giants and Meridas because they are all made by third party manufacturers. The largest of them being Giant and Merida.
  • + 1
 @fracasnoxteam: I have a YT bike and they have had issues with frames in the past and issues with bearing housings etc, there is also the Evil Bikes situation a few years back where all their frames were basically f#cked, I would like full transparancy with bike companies with a rating system against all suppliers and manufacturers so I can weigh up possible savings at the consumer end against longevity and reliability etc.Its never going to happen, thats why the community forums are so important.
  • + 1
 @AlexS1: this seems to be the elephant in the room: Giant and Merida are by far the biggest frame manufacturers in Taiwan, making frames for Trek, Specialized, Scott and others.
  • + 2
 Best article ever (comic book guy)
What could be doable taking onboard everthing would be for a race team to be a brand....following that, maybe riders 'pay' to be on the race team...X amount of dollars gets you a bike and race support for a year or whatever....following that train of thought, mountain bike tour operator may benift as they purchase large numbers of bikes.


But yeah... great article saved me alot of effort...
  • + 2
 I think to join the Steve Peat Syndicate you pay. You buy the bike and kit, you get all the coaching and support.
  • + 1
 @vinay: 30+ riders and Peatie could make/buy/order his own branded Carbon Frames. IMO someone high profile could make a go of it as they have, connections, start up funds, able to pull component sponsers etc....
  • + 1
 Q for those in the bike manufacturing industry...how much greater is your profit margin using a premium Taiwanese frame-builder (such as who Pivot is contracted with) than using a domestic frame-builder (such as the now-defunct Zen in Portland, Or)? The question isn't rooted in nationalism, rather I'm curious how much cheaper it is even after the additional costs to employ personnel living overseas to do QC and assembly, and cover freight and other expenses associated with international production. Is the profit margin that much more substantial, or does a domestically-made frame no longer carry the prestige to justify the premium, or ???
This isn't a yes or no question (I understand it's cheaper)...provide a number. 10% greater profit? 20%? 30%?
  • + 1
 I understand now why big guy over 200 lbs like me broke so many carbon frame (5).
If pivot try sell me that hey watch there contrator all the time are come they frame crack like egg shell.
One of are rider has 3 broken frame mach 5, no service from the distributor on the edge, Wow spend 10,000.00$ on a crap frame with 2 years of warranty.They should be life warranty for that price. Not even a demo bike for waiting.
Bike carbon business is complete off track.
You have a motorcycle for that price and your not gone break frame or shox in a couple month of use.

The carbon bike industries is very over rated
  • + 1
 I own a "catalog" aluminum frame made by one of the manufactures who gets a brief look by Vernon in this video. For being designed in 2013/2014 it had relatively modern geometry and rides exceptionally well considering its price. Unfortunately the gentleman who tried starting a bike brand based on it wasn't selling enough frames quickly enough to justify continuing product development. It wasn't selling the bikes that was hard, any Joe Blow who wants an affordable bike wanted one, the problem was making a fully fledged bike brand out of it. Would I buy it again? Totally.
  • + 1
 Pouring on comment # 400 something just to say this video was amazing and I can't wait to see more. Also,@vernonfelton, IIRC you worked with Joel Smith at Mountain Biker BITD? I'm thinking back to like 20 years ago when there were only like 12 links to bike sites on MTBR or Mudsluts and I had a dozen magazine subscriptions.
  • + 2
 @feldybikes, Joel was, indeed, my first boss in the bike business. I cam from politics and Joel hired me on at Mountain Biker, before he moved on to run marketing at Answer Manitou and I soon thereafter left to run Bike Magazine. I'm surprised you knew that.
  • + 1
 Lot of great informations in this video and comments.
Reading this, what comes to my mind is that I'm realising that I'm doing CG pictures for some guy I hardly ever see and while I do my job well, I must say that I sometime feel like "why do I bother ?", as if it's a human thing : If you're not there, if the guy working for you is just a name on skype or a phone number in your smartphone, you're not really showing respect, so why would he respect you back ?
The little errors and mistakes in my pictures are easily corrected, though its always a waist of time, but if I were a frame builder those wouldn't pass QC.
  • + 1
 It was great fun working with Vernon on this and before you all start jumping on a plane to get over here to make a fortune can I suggest reading a book from a guy I met many years ago that tells a true story of how to go to China with 400 000 000 USD and learn the hard way how not to do business.I must stress doing business in Taiwan is very different to China. This book is a must read and after the author gave me a copy I politely stuffed in my bag before boarding 4th long haul flight in ten days. The week after I was on vacation and found the book I had no intention of reading and could not put it down. I read it cover to cover in 24 hrs.I have since bought and given to customers more than 50 copies of this book. The book is called Mr China by Tim Clissold.
  • + 4
 Hell yes you can. Especially as you have pb pr machinery behind you. Go for it!
  • + 1
 Great piece. Reiterates what many of us already suspected, but didn't know for sure. Thanks PB, great info for me as an IBD owner & rider/racer who's constantly being approached by "industry reps" to consider this brand, or that brand - Pivot being one of them. Keep up the good work - D. Strawser/Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop; ol'Republic/SHO-AIR Racing
  • + 2
 Now do one on how hard it would be to start a bike brand who's product is built in North America. I'd love to know the difference in frame cost. I imagine it would literally double, or triple even.
  • + 1
 Why can't we build bikes in our counties anymore and give work to local people, support local business and not to have children in Asia making our bikes... How come the prices are the same the same even 10 years ago most bikes have been build locally .... Somebody has answer ? Smile
  • + 4
 So about half of the frame cost is spent on quality control? Still wonder what the profit margin for a 3000$ frameset is.
  • + 1
 The next time a new bike review comes out and droves of people rush to their computers and phones to explain to us that the bike companies overcharge for everything and constantly get rich off of us poor saps who are the customers, I hope I remember to reply with a link to this. Very well done guys. Cheers!
  • + 1
 I work as a product manager in a totally different industry and deal with Taiwan and Chinese factories. Its actually funny knowing that others are dealing with the exact same thing with the factories even though nothing relates product-wise. Excellent video and thanks for helping me to know I'm not the only one dealing with this ????
  • + 4
 I knew it was this easy all along Wink I guess I need a new job now that all of the secrets are out.
  • + 2
 I thought about giving you a call for this piece. I may still...
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: Please do my friend! Smile
  • + 1
 @seplavy: Will do.
  • + 5
 Is still does not explain $8K-$10K bikes!
  • + 1
 Shit I'm glad I got my bike when Ellsworth still made them handmade! They actually had a experienced welder weld my frame together. He used to weld aircrafts so you known it's a good job! It's 7 years old and still I don't know any other company that built that well of a bike. Thanks for my Ellsworth Rogue ,Tony Ellsworth rules!!
  • + 1
 @savagetetdk

The welders I've dealt with in Taiwan are as good, as well trained and as dedicated as I've see anywhere in the world.
Geography is not a limitation.
  • + 1
 @tantrumcycles: eh my bike is 7 years old crashed a lot on big jumps and rockgardens and not a crack on my frame yet. I ride a lot and just saying i like to support our country using local welders that were at an airport welding planes for years. After that time think you would too gain some skills from years of experience like check the dare and rogue from 2010/2009 they had so much support on the middle of the front triangle. Plus i like when bikes are actually like designed and engineered with like real solid builds. Thats why Josh Bender used to love to send his american made bike because he knew it was sturdy. His dream was pretty much red bull and like 16 years later his dreams are coming to life he said in an interview on redbull. I mean my first bikes were made in Taiwan but it was a lot heavier then the american made ironhorse sundays. I raced it i had fun learned a lot but got tired of the extra weight was like 50 lb DH build haha.
  • + 4
 Makes me want to go buy an UK made Orange bikes. and throw all my plastic bikes in the trash....
  • + 1
 Just a thought, I could be wrong though...I import bike parts and when somebody asks me if it is easy, I tell them it's not. I would tell them about the technicalities to discourage them into importing also as I'm just inviting competitors to my business! Do you think these guys are just doing the same?
  • + 1
 It seems like a lot of human labor in bike manufacturing still. I wonder are any factories moving more towards automation? Are we anywhere close to robotic carbon manufacturing?
  • + 2
 Wouldn't it be easier to go on a frame building course and build them yourself?

@Vernonfelton could you do a video on companies who have done this?
  • + 10
 It literally costs more to buy raw tube and paint the frame in the west than it costs to get a finished frame out of Taiwan so unless you are planning on not paying yourself for the time building the frame this is not a way to compete.

Also, if you want a modern frame (hydroformed tubes etc) you need to either have local partners who can do that kind of work or massive upfront investment in machinery and tooling totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Otherwise your bike will have straight, round tubes and look like it just stepped out of 1998 or a homebuilder's garage.
  • + 19
 Starling Murmer and that Swarf full suspension are sexy as f*ck. Hydro formed tubes a dime a dozen, same as these plastic fantastic super bikes. YAWN! Look around, the whole world is ether in debt and jobless or in war because of OUR (myself included) cheap ass buying habits. I plan on ending this habit and I hope at least one other person follows. Baby steps. Be the change.
  • + 5
 @Boardlife69: You read my mind. Plus steel frames last. I just sold a steel full sus frame I bought in 1998 to a guy who is going to refurbish it and ride it.

@Patrick9-32: I supposed it depend what you are after. For me I just want an awesome bike to ride. I am not overly bothered about what others ride. Which is why making it for yourself is the way to go. If it is any good people will want them and be prepared to pay for your time.
  • + 4
 www.mdebikes.com/aboutus

They did exactly this, probably have local partners (this region in Italy seems to be heavily industrialized), do welding themselves. They sell alu frames (with the option of geo customization) + shock for 1800 EUR. Certainly more expensive than bike from Taiwan, but not that bad either. I seriously consider buying eu-made bike next time.
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: I'd totally be down for a slack steel dh frame, but when I looked I didn't find any Frown
  • + 4
 @winko: If we keep talking about it somone will make one. #Steelisreal
  • + 4
 @winko: BTR Fabrications do them in the UK. They are custom built though so not cheap, although the plummet in the Pound since Brexit might help you out there...
  • + 1
 @winko: or Peregrine bikes.
  • + 2
 @slimboyjim: Thanks for that, but damn those prices are juicy with or without brexit Big Grin
  • + 1
 A framebuilding course will not give you the knowledge required to build frames to the standard the Taiwanese are capable of (when they get it right)

You would then need business premises, multiple machines to manipulate tubing (when do you learn to use them?) fixtures for making frames, fixtures for checking frame tolerance, etc etc the list goes on and that's all so you can make a handful of frames unless you are getting staff and then things are really getting expensive.

There is a reason the only people building fames in the UK right now (except orange) are making literally tiny amounts of them, BTR number their builds on Instagram and checking are around 128 frames, Starling closed order books after initial orders and the other guys literally make boutique custom - 120 odd frames in several years only pays the bills if you work like BTR do, if you go for mass market you would be on your arse.

The difference between home shops and mass produced bicycles is huge.
  • + 1
 @winko: BTR did one and its being ridden in whistler as we txt????
  • + 1
 @Racer951: I supposed it depends what you are making them for. For me it would be for personal use and to have the bike I want. For other it maybe to conquer the world with their revolutionary design. If it is the former a little trial and error is fine and you learn as you go. The latter you would need reasonable skills and experience.

I would think you would get a better product from a smaller manufacturer who builds in house rather than something that is mass produced.

For me an interesting company to throw in the mix is Nicolai. They probably produce a good amount of frames a year and are definitely boutique and very high quality.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Yea but you wouldn't go to Taiwan to order 100 frames I you just want to have a bike for personal use. As I say, there are plenty of boutique guys about but comparing making a frame in your garage to mass production is apples to oranges.

Nicolai produce quite a few bikes but are essentially a German Orange bikes, much more industrial than you are giving them credit for and a huge amount of money required to start-up (A million in CNC machinery at least, just to start)
  • + 1
 @Racer951: I guess I missed the point of the article - to get a bike brand together and to market.

Nicolai are awesome, they're high on my list of desirable bikes. I guess they started small though and got bigger slowly and with demand.
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: Huh? exactly, getting a bike brand together and to market, not brazing a crappy frame up in your garage.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: ...but my crappy brazed frame would turn into a great frame with sufficient time and experience.

I would always go boutique builder (who designs and builds their own frames) over a frame that is designed by one company and made by another. If you are building your own product it is personal whereas if you make it for a job, it is just something that gets you a pay cheque.

I digress... but agree if you want to get something to market quickly then Taiwan is your go to place. However you need to invest time and effort to get what you want.
  • + 2
 I'm game. It's a great idea. Just gotta convince the boss... Cheers.
  • + 4
 @vernonfelton: It would be interesting to hear the other side of the story from those who have done it all on their own. Guerilla Gravity is one that springs to mind in the US (there are plenty over this side of the pond).
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Test one of those sexy steel bikes while your at it. Plastic vs steel comparison. Thanks for the video!
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Both my Chromag and my soon to arrive Geometron are designed by one group of people and designed by another. Dekerf and Nicolai to be exact! ha :p
  • + 1
 Gotta say as most have said all ready great video!
also worth noting that a pivot frame my we'll be a very good option if you've got the dosh for one! Going by there QC standards out there????
  • + 0
 Sure it is hard to start a bike company... any type of company for that matter.

But I'm guessing the big bike brand names won't tell anyone what you want to hear: "Hard? No it is not. You just need the cash and the right people". That would be like giving their "know how" and then suddenly everyone is selling their own bikes. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of individuals out there with the right amount of money to do it. All in all, business is about money (even they tell you the opposite). With money you can "buy" (hire) a fixer, a quality control manager, an international broker, an office here and there, a warehouse... etc., and make it happen.

Everyone knows that money talks... you know it and, if you deny it... pretty sure you (as me) are part of the 95% population in the planet who thinks "all you need is love".

Cheers,
Beer

PS. Where is @WAKIdesigns when we need him??? haha
  • + 4
 best vid on pink bike ever.
  • + 0
 Shocking, no specific details about why overseas manufacturing is difficult and expensive. Just cagey, evasive, handwaving about how it's hard because "quality". Also a lot of literal hand-wringing. The body language of these guys is not confidence inspiring. Probably scared we'll all figure how useless the middlemen are.
  • + 1
 Exactly my thoughts - cobbled figures, guarded 'secrects' and lots of information about why its hard - its borderline a video you could use for manufacturers to justify bike costs and had no real substance.

The thing I find hilarious is how hard do people expect it to be? They are making out its hard because you have to travel there to check QC or make sure things are right, no shit, isn't that how every business that manufacturers anything overseas works?
  • + 2
 @Racer951:I think the degree of difficulty being described here is relative to the profit margins bicycle manufacturers make. Complete bicycles are complex in the number of small parts, a trillion different standards, regional market needs, component lead times, product shelf life, non-automated manufacturing to name a few. Now consider that one bike design may only sell 3000-6000 units per year and is considered outdated after 3 years compare that to the 1st gen iPhone which sold 3.7 million their first year and over 17m in 2009- More complex product, more automation and more volume to spread out the R&D and mfg costs
  • + 1
 It's hard because the manufacturers don't keep good on promises and deadlines, middlemen, language barriers, AND QC issues.

Google "Dominic Try-All Koxx #Hashtagg" and you'll see why. He screwed distributors over....because the Asian manufacturers didn't keep good on their promise. That's a gross oversimplification of the situation, but you get the idea.
  • + 2
 At the start of the vid, did Mike just slag off on one of the internets most currently talked about bikes? The Pole evolink? Should we let it slide, as he was drinking ! (-;
  • + 2
 and he is super cool because he has lots of tattoos...
  • + 3
 He completely slagged off the Pole. The joke will be on him when we are all riding bikes in 5 years Pole geometry.
  • + 11
 @fartymarty: All from my time in prison, sadly.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: I wouldn't slag the poles.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Mr @paulaston will be having words with you... unless it is a clever ploy to distract everyone from the genius of the Pole Evolink
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: No, really? If so do tell, If not I am as gullible as I look.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: A little internal disagreement is always fun.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: All those overdue library books caught up with me.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: farking geeeeek. that'll learn you Razz

Yeah it's horses for courses on bikes. That's the beauty of them. We can all argue all day and no-one is right or wrong. As long as were all having fun it's all good banter. At least we aren't riding road bikes Razz
  • + 0
 Yeah that was definitely a shot at the pole, which I loved. I'm completely over reading about Paul Aston jerking himself off over every limousine that comes to market, and I thought @mikelevy 's cheeky little callout was hilarious
  • + 4
 Can we propose some geometries?
  • + 5
 A German magazine has done this in the past. See crowd.bike on the internet. That's the Alutech ICB2.0 and even though I had no part in the development nor do I own one, I think it is a really cool and purposeful frame. There has also been a first bike which wasn't related to Alutech. So yeah, it could work. You can still read through their forum about the development of the bike but my German is not on such a level that I can quickly read through all that, let alone sense the vibe going on. My experience is that on Pinkbike people do often have knowledge and skill, yet can also be particularly disrespectful, rude and nonconstructive. I think that is going to hamper the process and keep us from getting anywhere in the first place.
  • + 1
 @vinay: I saw that. Interesting crowd project. You are right on PB though.
  • + 1
 After you buy the frames then get in line with every component manufacturer for their MOQ and wait. Frames come in while you sit at the bottom of the totem pole. Sram/shim, don't give a fk. bout you.
  • + 4
 I know this is just the way it is...but it just makes me a little sad
  • + 3
 I agree. The bike industry have lost a little bit of its soul and personality. At least Öhlins suspension still is manufactured more or less in Sweden.
  • + 2
 @Isey: Correct me if I'm wrong but their forks and air shocks look pretty Taiwanese to me (and are completely Ohlins lackluster in design as well).
  • + 3
 @Isey: ohlins chassis are made by x fusion in Taichung, Taiwan.

Their dampers are probably still made in house though.
  • + 1
 There's all sorts of cliches to correct what's going on in the industry yet so few people take action on it.
  • + 0
 building bikes is serious and difficult business. This is the reason to get a half decent full suspension bike without garbage parts on it you have to spend at least 4500$

I like learning about how the "sausage is made" and enjoyed this but would like to know more about how these factories work for the "real companies". That is the real story and a far more difficult one to report.
  • + 1
 Steve Jones disagrees: youtu.be/Ptk3qUDlj_o
  • + 3
 What about hardtail frames?????
  • + 3
 Those "new" Guinness pint glasses annoy me...
  • + 2
 So does an extended feature story mean the first ever pinkbike branded frame?
  • + 1
 dude. Best idea I've heard today.
  • + 1
 I would love to see a part two covering the boom of inexpensive open stock carbon wheel / rim brands vs properly designed and manufactured in Taiwan companies.
  • + 3
 Introducing the brand new Pinkbike Nomad 2.0 with VPP suspension.
  • + 1
 great video great topic. people are crazy to give any grief to your video. well done. well explained. I love my pivot! that's why I paid the premium in 2014.
  • + 0
 That was fairly insightful but did anybody else notice people were giving costs of around $300 for painted full suspension frames (wasn't one of them carbon?) and not the costed $600-$800 that they used?
  • + 2
 You didn't watch the whole thing.
  • + 1
 @bishopsmike: Not sure what you mean? Before they costed the frames they were asking the guys how much frames were, most / all came back cheaper than $300, I am sure one of the carbon Astro's was $280 without shock so I was wondering why they costed them at an average of $600-800 before other costs (paint, shipping insurance etc)
  • + 1
 @Racer951: import duty's, and probably anti-dumping mesures against china
  • + 1
 @tiagomano: They added $100 for shipping each frame, you can ship a full container for about $5000 (a big one) so that leaves plenty of change.

It still doesn't explain why in the video they quote sub $300 and they then cost north of $600, if they are going to cost things at least be in the ballpark or explain why it suddenly doubles.

I call total bullshit on this one - I have a trade price infront of me for a bike in GBP I will use as an example, its RRP is £1600.00, trade price around £870 plus VAT. This isn't some open market frame with a cheap shock either, its a nice frame with top end shock - According to this PB costing that isn't physically possible?

Remember the brand in question is making a profit if they sell to me at £870, how much I couldn't say but I cant think less than 25% which is strangely enough about how much they have over calculated things in this video.

This is looking more like an article to show the public how crap the bike industry has it, with made up figures to back that up.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: you know that china and those types of country's are more taxed when they export because of the astronomical diference in price to what other country's produce , like this one i saw now doing a quick search on google by anti-dumping taxes on mtb
"BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission has presented a proposal for a new method for calculating dumping on imports from countries where there are significant market distortions, or where the state has a pervasive influence on the economy. Does this mean that the 48.5% anti-dumping duty now in place for China made bikes exported to the European Union will not end by 2018?"
  • + 1
 @tiagomano: There are no anti dumping duties on cycles or bike related goods from Taiwain into the EU, Chinese manufacturers keep offices / warehouses in Taiwain so they can avoid the anti dumping duty by sending them to Taiwain first (I know this for fact as was party to an offer of this kind of trade) . Also the USA is not in the EU so it is irrelevant anyway.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: if you say so.
and it is not irrelevante , as normally the prices of a bike or a frame are fixed, it may vary a bit or the currency but are normally the same, and a bike or a frame coming from Taiwan or China to EU it doesn't pass by the US, it normally goes direct so the cost would be there , don't know about the US or other country as laws , taxes and Free-Market policy's are diffident everywhere
  • + 0
 @tiagomano: I think you are confused, I am telling you that no anti dumping duty exists from Taiwain into the EU - only from China into the EU and that companies will alter operations to allow customers not to pay this.

It is irrelevant as the USA has nothing to do with the EU and the video is based on a USA customer.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: From recent experience, it costs about $6000+ for a full sized 40 footer to Long Beach port. About 400 frames fit, single boxed. Duty is 4.7% for a frame (US), then another freight charge to the destination either by rail (train) or 53' Tractor Trailer. We used to figure about $40.00 ocean/door to door in freight costs. For a $1000 crabon frame and shock our cost, another $47.00 in duty.

This is a great article, but there are so many variables. So many companies are getting carbon made in Vietnam now, which is a whole new story/video.
  • + 2
 How about you start a company in North America and keep it here. There's something.
  • + 1
 So we're just going to ignore the person laying on the ground at 8:30? Cool. youtu.be/vfgTXFx4Ins?t=8m30s

But in all seriousness, great video! Well done guys
  • + 1
 The bike manufacturers of Taiwan deserve a lot of credit here. The bikes they are making ( which almost all of us ride) are amazing.
  • + 1
 I like how the evidence that they are at least three beers and a shot in is on display. This is a key part of how these discussions always begin.
  • + 3
 MORE like this, we need more industry insight!! Thank you.
  • + 1
 I didn't know I wanted this vid untill I watched it. Nice work! Would love to see more content like this from you guys!
  • + 2
 What sort of pub leaves all those empty glasses on the bar?
  • + 1
 Was wondering that myself.
  • + 1
 Am I the only one noticing there is a dude taking a nap between boxes at 08:40 interview with fixer...?
  • + 1
 Great story, very insightful, and the delivery was perfection! Keep up the fantastic work!
  • + 2
 Great piece. Thanks Pinkbike.
  • + 1
 Did you see the guy laying on the floor when he was interviewing the qc dude for pivot? I'm hoping he built my frame.
  • + 2
 More of this Pinkbike! Please!
  • + 1
 Amazing work!! We need more in depth content like this about everything bike and athlete related.
  • + 1
 Vernon , how about a article one what it cost to start up a bike company in the U.S.
  • + 1
 hey the guy in the floor taking a nap in minute 9 looks really confortable!
  • + 1
 My friends... that's business. What's that saying???? If it seems to good to be true .....
  • + 1
 Outstanding content!!! This was very insightful and entertaining to watch. Great job PB and Vernon.
  • + 2
 MotherF"$ker is a great bike brand name.
  • + 2
 You could name it Mazafaka or Mazafakan just to get past various filters. I always thought the graff writer/streetwear label
FUCT was pure brilliance. Still do.
  • + 1
 Mauser&Fokker
  • + 1
 Vernon and Mike Ferrentino looking interchangeable with the facial hair lol
  • + 0
 Vernon, awesome piece. This should be required viewing for everyone who has ever bitched about the cost of bikes. Thanks for the info. Now, go ride your bike!
  • + 3
 Is America great yet?
  • + 2
 Now that was something worth watching. Nice one!
  • + 1
 Thank you! One of the very best videos and works at Pinkbike EVER. Keep doing more like this!
  • + 0
 all the bikes are practically made at the same factory. what a joke. carbon frames cost $800.00 and companies like intense sell them for 3.5k. what a joke are ripoff.
  • + 1
 The video was like if you are junkie and you go to the drug dealer for help with your addiction.
  • + 2
 Quality content- VF keep it up!!!
  • + 1
 I'm greatly reassured about my Pivot Mach 429sl now! My best frame buy to date.
  • + 1
 Wow, with how much of a headache it is to get a bike these 10k bikes seem like a steal.
  • + 0
 This sounds like a fucking nightmare. Good luck, Intense. Wish I hadn't read that article a few weeks back.
  • + 1
 great insight, but aren't we just suppose to ride our bikes and have fun?
  • + 5
 But where would the commenters go? There's a whole ecosystem of f*ckwittery to uphold!
  • + 0
 @talaskinos - when I hear someone telling me to focus on having fun and riding bikes, l get stressed. I come back from a ride thinking.., did I have enough fun? Or did I fail?
  • + 2
 @talaskinos We're at work earning the money to pay for those bikes and giving PB our eyes to sell to advertisers so they can stay afloat to pay Vernon to do this article that pleases us during the work to buy the bike that we ride while we're not giving our eyes to PB......
  • + 1
 Almost skipped this video. Glad I didn't.
  • + 1
 crap, stupid edit button ... im too lazy to retype everything :-/
  • + 1
 Interesting video, clickbait title
  • + 1
 I enjoyed the shit out of that. Super insightful. More like this pinkbike!
  • + 0
 I missed something. When did Vernon Felton leave Bike Mag to come to Pinkbike?
  • + 1
 Where Can I Buy Tiwan Source Book ??
  • + 1
 I feel like this was just an ad for pivot
  • + 1
 What's happening on the floor in the background at the 9 minute mark?
  • + 1
 Love this type of content. Vernon is great!
  • + 1
 Excellent. Props to Vernon
  • + 2
 PB continues to crush it
  • + 1
 @Protour take your chance for the next Demo frame !!!!!
  • + 2
 Awesome! Thanks PB!
  • + 1
 Awesome video. Seriously, this was amazing, quality content.
  • + 1
 Absolutely brilliant video!
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton - nailed it.. that was awesome!
  • + 3
 Almost makes getting deported from China worth it, eh?
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: what? Me? they dropped all charges when I showed a little leg
  • + 1
 @tantrumcycles: Oh, no, that was me getting deported or, perhaps les glamorously, told to leave. It didn't impact this video (which is shot in Taiwan), but it did wind up killing a different video.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: haha ALMOST!
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: I think getting asked to leave makes you one of the lucky ones. Some people get asked to stay........

I'm much more comfortable getting frames made in Taiwan.
  • + 1
 awesome content, thanks PB!
  • + 1
 Always loving pinkbike. Thanks for wonderful video.
  • + 2
 Wow that was good!
  • + 1
 My favorite PB content to date!
  • + 1
 Very well made vid! Props to Pinkbike
  • + 1
 That's engineering, that's business
  • + 1
 Excellent work, PB staff. Good stuff.
  • + 1
 Funny... but its reality...... = )
  • + 1
 What an article, way to go PINKBIKE!!!
  • + 0
 "Pinkbike racing" must be the company name with the logo as "PBR". My bike must match my beer, new level of enduro.
  • + 1
 Such a great and informative video!
  • + 2
 Excellent!
  • + 1
 so glad vernon is on the PB team! this is real content!
  • + 0
 Would be interesting if someone started doing proper comparisons wirh these run of the mill bikes
  • + 1
 @mikelevy stop showing us your phone unlock code Smile
  • + 1
 lots of ignorance in these comments.
  • + 1
 Proper informative journalism! Thank you!
  • + 1
 To be continued boys and girls) A new brand is born) wait wait wait)
  • + 0
 amazing quality of video, keep these type of video coming pay Mr. Levy some acting lessons too
  • + 1
 Why did I think of Tantrum Cycles while watching the vid?
  • + 0
 haha, see my post a bit further up.

and some of my videos I've been making on the process: um, minus the PB production values

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tedHE-HrUBA

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOYDdguXtpc&t=1s
  • + 0
 why go to taiwan, just chill with a coffee and browse alibaba, an awful lot of bike brands do that already.
  • + 1
 Alibaba: 99% of the time, you get what you pay for: pretty much crap.
  • + 1
 I'll stick to riding bikes... Interesting idea though.
  • + 1
 Was that a dead guy behind Vernon on the floor @ 8:50?
  • + 1
 By far one of the best works you guys have done. Congrats.
  • + 1
 Nice video, I like the mummy in the back at 8:30-9 min Smile
  • + 1
 Awesome, awesome, awsome. Thanks so much guys!
  • + 1
 Such a great piece @vernonfelton.
  • + 1
 Well done. Good video
  • + 1
 Great stuff!
  • + 1
 Pure AWSOMENESS!!!!
  • + 1
 Now this is content!
  • + 1
 Great Stuff Indeed!
  • + 1
 More Fake News!
  • - 1
 now we can see the REAL cost of bikes.....times are changing for big profit companies. hooray!
  • + 6
 There is an old saying, if you want to make a small fortune in the bike industry, start with a large one. Those big profit companies don't exist. If you want someone to sell you a bike at cost you want them not to pay themselves or make any money to put back into development and investment in their company. i.e. you want them to fail.
  • + 0
 @Patrick9-32: I would like bikes to be made in all countries by people that love doing it.
I think paying £10,000 for a carbon bike is crazy & very over priced. I don't want companies to fail I want them to curb their profits. Monetary crash soon because of greed.
  • + 9
 @baggyferret: If you try building a custom carbon frame, including moulds which can run upwards of $100000 for each frame size, speccing it with top end kit, shipping it to your HQ, marketing it, maintaining relationships with a dealer network, giving the dealers enough margin to keep their stores going and making it worth selling your brand, possibly supporting a race team, bringing in enough money to put some back into developing new projects and paying your staff a decent wage, covering insurance costs, rent or mortgage payments on your space, repayments on the huge loans you have to get to cover the 1-200 minimum order and suddenly the step up from a $4000 cost price to you to a $10000 retail doesn't look crazy or overpriced. It looks like about as low as you can get it without making a loss.
  • + 1
 Please don't think this is the real cost of anything. I have a trade price for bikes here, distributor to shop allows for a 100% markup before VAT, you think the distributor is bringing bikes in for free?

These figures are made up.
  • - 4
flag baggyferret (Jun 28, 2017 at 6:29) (Below Threshold)
 @Patrick9-32: I believe the whole system is corrupted, I can see where you're coming from though, I can see lots of people getting rich from this way of doing things but the end products are not worth the prices they charge.
  • + 2
 @Racer951:

Which brand? I used to work for a UK based multi-brand distributor & the real margin is not even CLOSE to 100%. In fact it it's not even that close to half that when talking high end brands.
  • + 0
 @HobNob: I'm not going to tell you who it is on here and ruin my relationship with them but I can assure you, trade price on frames and full bikes at the best rate is close to 100% taking VAT out of the picture but as you can see the RRP is £1600 and I imagine you are talking about santa cruz and yeti etc where markup is horrendous.
  • + 2
 @baggyferret: then don't buy from them. Personally, I have no problem with lots of people "getting rich" if they are selling a product enough people feel like it is worth paying for. These are bikes. These are luxury items.
  • + 3
 @Patrick9-32: AND...you 'have' to change the frame again next year!
  • + 1
 @ksilvey10: I dont! & I won't. The con is bikes are not 'luxury' items, just priced that way.
  • + 3
 @baggyferret: If you don't think a performance push bike is a 'luxury' item then what is?!

You can buy a perfectly functional bike for transport for less than £400 (you can buy one for £100 if you want) it is your choice to be involved in a sport like MTB or high end road riding - surely that is the definition of a luxury item? - Something you don't need, you just want it.
  • + 2
 @baggyferret The vid doesn't tell you what the "real cost" of a single bike is.
  • - 2
 @baggyferret: MTB is a luxury sport, like it or not.
  • + 0
 @xeren: You believe what you want, keep working to pay these crazy prices, I ride 5 days a week because I won't fall for the lies.
  • - 1
 @baggyferret: none of what you said is coherent in any way
  • + 1
 @xeren: To you. Go back to watching tv
  • + 0
 @baggyferret:

" You believe what you want, keep working to pay these crazy prices",

what? how do you suggest i avoid their crazy prices?

" I ride 5 days a week because I won't fall for the lies."

what does the frequency of your rides have to do with anything, especially avoiding supposed lies, and also, which lies?
  • + 0
 @xeren: my bad I assumed your iq over 50.
If you pay high prices you need to earn lots of money, ie work more.
I wont pay it so I can ride more, get it? If I paid £10k for a bike I'd need to work loads, which equals less time to ride.

The lies are what we are fed to make us believe these prices are ok.
  • + 3
 @baggyferret: if you had written that statement with proper grammar, it might have been decipherable without explanation. you're just going to say "by you", but i highly suggest you form more coherent sentences if you want to be understood by people who make the regrettable choice of reading your words.

"The lies are what we are fed to make us believe these prices are ok."

it's a free, competitive market. why hasn't someone come in and upset the whole game by offering bikes at 50% the cost of Canyon and YT's prices? they could make a killing that way, and dominate the whole market, running everyone else out of business.

the answer is they can't since there isn't enough margin to cut out of their profits. you're a conspiracy theorist, i'm done trying to convince you, you're just going to believe what you want to believe
  • - 2
 @xeren: shut the door on your way out moron.
  • + 9
 @baggyferret: why do you assume i have a door? i spend all my money on the illuminati lizard man bike industry. i'm almost up to level 4, where they tell you more about xenu, bomber of volcanoes and inventor of SRAM's Eagle drivetrain
  • + 1
 Great insight.
  • + 1
 Great Stuff!
  • - 1
 Evolve Bikes

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