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Serotta Closing Shop

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's a sad day for Serotta fans and employees as they're prepping to close shop:

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2013/07/31/serotta-lays-40-workforce-planning-shutdown#.Ufmpn-CQ4zR
post #2 of 17

Legal and financial web .... Ben working behind scene to free company from DCG stranglehold and begin making bicycles again.  More than likely there's a heap 'o stuff to work through, but he says he's intent on remaining in the bike building business.

 

Lifted from another forum... 

 

 

Dear Friend,

I apologize for the lack of personalization in this note.

Since news broke of the planned shutdown of the Serotta facility there has been an absolute deluge of calls and emails expressing concern, hope, thanks, well wishes into the future and even offers for financial backing. I can’t thank you enough for your show of support and friendship.

It has been a difficult time for sure, but all of us here gain resolve from each other to find a path for a viable continuum of building the finest bicycles, but without the complications, restrictions and frustrations that come along with ‘outside’ corporate structure.

Bill and I have been working hard to structure a management buyout of Serotta, extricating it from the current holding company and we remain hopeful. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always plan B (or was it D?).

I believe that everyone on this planet has certain special skills. My wonderful, dedicated staff, colleagues and I are fortunate enough to have discovered some time ago that we are here to make wonderful things with our hands, hearts and minds. While many details remain between now and the future, the one thing that is certain, is that we’ll continue to make fabulous bicycles, because, that’s what we do. You can count on it!

Hope to see you on the road soon,

Ben
post #3 of 17

That's a hopeful note from Ben. And I hope they continue building in the future. Good folks. Good bikes.

post #4 of 17

They're overpriced round tube bikes I don't care about.  Mostly for rich people like John Kerry.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTE83 View Post

They're overpriced round tube bikes I don't care about.  Mostly for rich people like John Kerry.

So many people were waiting on the fence to hear your opinion. John Kerry, really? That's what you came up with?
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lest people buy into uneducated comments like those from JTE83 about round tubes (you'd think someone who went to, in his words, one of the top mechanical engineering schools in the country would understand the strengths of round tubes) and Serottas, let's remember some Serotta beauty:















Serotta only built lust worthy bikes for a few decades (four decades, actually), including bikes that Team 7-11 campaigned. Serotta also was among the first to offer Ti bikes, very lust worthy Ti bikes, and there weren't loads of manufacturers making custom lugged CF bikes--or custom CF bikes at all--when Serotta started making the Meivici. I don't know that the Meivici was a good path for Serotta to follow, but they were trying to stay competitive. That was also before the resurgence in custom built bikes that NAHBS ushered in. Yup, they're pricey, but so are other custom bikes (anyone ever heard of Richard Sachs?). If Serotta re-emerges from their current situation, hopefully they'll do so with a line of bikes focused on their strong suits, steel and Ti.

A video with a Serotta Huffy and a current Meivici:

post #7 of 17

Bikes for rich people .... pffft.  In many parts of the world - for the majority of people on earth - having a bicycle is for rich people.  Everything is relative.  

 

Serotta's stock bike prices are competitive with the upper end of bicycles found in many LBS showrooms - Trek, Specialized, Giant, Scott, etc..  Serotta doesn't offer sub $3k bikes, that's true.  Or, if you buy into the stereotype ..... dentist's bikes.  LOL   Serotta has focused on a mission of perfecting the bicycle, which has lead to a lot of investment and technology.  Maybe too much for the served market to sustain.  $8,000 for a fully custom MeiVici frameset is beyond the reach of most, but there are bicycles selling in the $4k - $6k+ range every day.  Serotta has been a loser in the marketing wars dominated by Specialized, Trek, and others.  Not having "entry-level" products is also problematic.

 

None of that negates that Serotta pioneered a number of things that are now commonplace in the industry - especially related to fit.  Some key name independent frame builders apprenticed or made their way through Serotta while perfecting their craft. 


Edited by sitzmark - 8/5/13 at 8:48am
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
In a way, Serotta also carries on the legacy of the Reyonlds Ouzo Pro fork, a classic and great fork. Mike Lopez, the designer of the Ouzo Pro left Reynolds and went to work at Serotta and helped with the production of their CF forks.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienator View Post

In a way, Serotta also carries on the legacy of the Reyonlds Ouzo Pro fork, a classic and great fork. Mike Lopez, the designer of the Ouzo Pro left Reynolds and went to work at Serotta and helped with the production of their CF forks.

And Reynolds Composites partner (name escapes me) - who headed off in a start up venture - Enve.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sitzmark View Post

And Reynolds Composites partner (name escapes me) - who headed off in a start up venture - Enve.

Yep, Jim Pfeil headed to Edge/Enve to help Jason Schiers get started. I don't think it should be any surprise that Serotta and Enve have put out such excellent forks.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
post #12 of 17
Quote:

Here's hoping we aren't next but it looks like we are. Lets catch up Ben Serotta

 

 

Says Steven Harad (CEO Blue Competition Cycles) on Facebook, linking to Ben's latest release.  https://www.facebook.com/steven.harad?hc_location=timeline

 

 

Much going on within DCG (Divine Cycling Group).  Declared focus on contract manufacturing to absorb Serotta's substantial unused capacity/overhead, while maintaining the existing custom/semi-custom frame business.  Volume contract manufacturing using a shop set up for low volume custom??  Seemingly doesn't add up.  The loyal Serotta faithful will not re-up with another DCG manufactured "Serotta", so the 800 or so framesets manufactured every year is in big jeopardy (IMO).  Seems to me DCG/Serotta has no viable sustaining customer base and will need to seek new customers - both custom/semi-custom and contract manufacturing.  Traded forum postings with Mike Lopez and his group has been unceremoniously dumped from their exclusive contract with Serotta to produce forks and MeiVici.  Serotta owned a few molds for producing those parts, but Mike owns all the production equipment and labor.  Logic would say DCG will be turning to Mad Fiber for carbon support within the organization.

 

Have researched the investment money behind the groups initially funding Serotta, Blue, and Mad Fiber - all have past/present high-level competitive cyclists in leadership positions.  So at least they know cycling and are now stakeholders in the DCG umbrella that consolidated all three companies under one umbrella.   When the DCG-lead merger was announced a couple of months ago, the press release said the company envisioned the Serotta group producing 5,000 - 7,000 frames per year by 2017 (paraphrased).  Very counterintuitive moves being made, but given the success and background of the first-line investors they would appear to know what they are doing.  Going to be interesting to see what develops ... either they are leading a sea-change (reshoring high-end bicycle manufacturing to the USA) or it will be a spectacular flameout of an iconic brand.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
So the goal is to produce bikes that are Serotta in name only?
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienator View Post

So the goal is to produce bikes that are Serotta in name only?

 

Yes ... using the Ben Serotta methods that are already in place.  At least for the custom and semi-custom "Serotta branded" business.  

 

Something more "high-throughput" is needed for contract manufacturing at the volumes being discussed.  Possibly what lead to the internal strife - Ben was likely an outspoken dissident to anything high-volume (or Asian) being connected with his name/brand.  As a collective, DCG has many facets, including Asian sourcing/manufacturing.  

 

Ben went to great lengths (business busting lengths) to vertically integrate raw materials through finished product.  He was in control of it all and all in USA. Ben cashed out over a year ago when he sold total ownership to Brian Case (Bradway Financial).  It has been "Brian's money" on the line since then.  Still the business (Serotta) was just scraping by.  Along come the big money guys of Ullman and Divine with a bigger umbrella for combining the strengths of the three separate business entities and it had to look attractive to Case.  My gut tells me Ben and Bill leaving Serotta was an unscripted event, but unavoidable when Ben/Bill publicly announced no more orders accepted, final buildout, and plant closure.  Can't have that kind of dissension in the ranks.

 

So, DCG/Serotta continues to build Serottas in the "Serotta way" while pursing other business growing initiatives.  At the same time, I can't see the existing loyal customer base buying any more Serotta branded framesets.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sitzmark View Post


So, DCG/Serotta continues to build Serottas in the "Serotta way" while pursing other business growing initiatives.  At the same time, I can't see the existing loyal customer base buying any more Serotta branded framesets.

I agree. I wonder what Serotta will become without the Serotta cachet.
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