cost to build bikes



R

ryancycles

Guest
Just to give people a rough idea of the costs involved in building
bikes.
It's been quite a few years, but if I remember correctly the total
cost of parts and materials for the Vanguard was about $700.
Welding per frame $40, welding per seat frame $30 Paint $80 Shipping
boxes $6 manufacturers liability insurance $50.
So before such things as rent, electricity, heat, telephone, argon gas
for the tig welder, etc. we had $906 into the bike. Labor costs? I
don't really know. Excluding the costs for welding the frames that we
paid a free lance welder for as mentioned above, we probably had about
20-25 hours into each bike.
The bike required a lot more labor because of the additional
complexity of the underseat steering. My typical work day started at
about 8am, worked till about 2pm, took a nap for an hour. Worked again
till about 11pm, usually standing at the milling machine making parts
for the afore mentioned steering stuff. Went to the local watering
hole and drank beer and shot pool till about 1am.
I should mention that when we sold the company to Mr. Peek part of the
agreement was that if he couldn't build and sell as many bikes as we
did we would get the company back. Even with their space age facility
and six people working they couldn't build as many bikes as we, (my
son and I and our part time welder) could. Mr. Peek was no stranger to
bicycle building and was building tandems when he bought our company.
He was and is a very successful businessman in such diverse fields as
manufacturing high tech wheelchairs and dragsters and as I have
mentioned before has done a great job with the bikes he is now
building. But at the beginning he felt he could successfully build the
bike here at a reasonable cost and found that he couldn't.
As I've mentioned before the basic Idea was to find a company that
could manfacture the bike at lower cost. Obviously I failed. Probably
because of all that beer drinking and pool shooting I did.

**** Ryan
 
J

Jon Bendtsen

Guest
ryancycles wrote:
> Just to give people a rough idea of the costs involved in building
> bikes.
> It's been quite a few years, but if I remember correctly the total
> cost of parts and materials for the Vanguard was about $700.
> Welding per frame $40, welding per seat frame $30 Paint $80 Shipping
> boxes $6 manufacturers liability insurance $50.


Stop using welding to make the seat frame? Use a thin aluminium
sheet that you press into shape? $80 painting also seems expensive
compared to the $40 welding.


> So before such things as rent, electricity, heat, telephone, argon gas
> for the tig welder, etc. we had $906 into the bike. Labor costs? I
> don't really know. Excluding the costs for welding the frames that we
> paid a free lance welder for as mentioned above, we probably had about
> 20-25 hours into each bike.
> The bike required a lot more labor because of the additional
> complexity of the underseat steering. My typical work day started at


Then dont use underseat steering.



JonB
 
R

ryancycles

Guest
> In the early days of recumbency there were several small manufacturers who
> built relatively cheap recumbents. They too never sold well which convinced
> me there was no market for such bikes. Your Ryan recumbents were for a niche
> market from the beginning and never had a chance in hell of ever gaining a
> large market. There is nothing wrong with that but, please, do not blame any
> of your woes on the lowly bike shop owners and employees.
>
> - Show quoted text -


Comments about recumbents that I've heard in bike shops.
You'll never see one on the floor of this shop!
They don't go up hills.
They are too heavy.
They are too low to the ground.
They're slow.
Sorry, can't help you, don't know anything about them.
Real men ride REAL bicycles!
They suck.
A friend of mine works at Wheel and Sprocket, probably the most
successful shop in the country. They sell about 5000 bikes a year and
about 7-800 recumbents. Trek is located not far from them, they have
an annual dealer meeting. According to my friend every year a dozen or
so dealers from around the country will stop by to shoot the breeze.
Most are astounded by the fact W&S has 50 or 60 recumbents on the
floor and often ask WHY. The very fact that they ask "why" should be a
good indication of the lack of intelligence on their part. For a few
years we had about a dozen dealers around the country. We had a couple
of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
"recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
was available. When I discussed this problem with the shop owners they
all gave me the same answer. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't afford to
offend the employees because they are so hard to find. I had quite a
few calls from potential customers who had driven many miles to look
at our bike and had made the mistake of not checking on the
availability of the "recumbent" guy. Of course this reaction from the
shop people didn't go over very well with the potential customer and
they would call us and complain. Eventually we stopped selling through
shops altogether, but not so much because of the problem that the
employees were such morons but because we couldn't afford to give the
shops their margin. The thing about bike shop employees is that just
about all of them are young males that are into bike racing. If it
isn't a full suspension mountain bike or a 15 lb drop bar road racing
bike it isn't a bike. My negative opinion of these people has been
reinforced many times. The best example I can give is the time I was
invited to a bike shop event, (featuring free beer, thereby
guaranteeing a good turnout) given by a well known shop employee in
the Boston area, (he is the recumbent guy) at the shop. He asked me to
bring a bike to the event. There were about fifty people there, all of
them were bike shop employees. And one reporter for a local bike
publication. They had a tape of the tour de france playing on a
relatively small screen tv. These guys were so into racing they could
identify the individual racers on this small screen tv. I was there
for about three hours and not a single person asked about the
recumbent, it was sitting in the middle of the floor in everyone's
way. But as far as they were concerned it was invisible. The magazine
guy did ask me what the bike cost. We had a customer who wanted to buy
one of our $4500 tandems through a local shop. I happened to be there
when they were talking to the salesperson, another employee overheard
the conversation and interrupted the conversation with the comment
"you probably won't find that thing as comfortable as you think" and
walked away. I witnessed a similar thing at a dealer in Cambridge Ma.
they sold Linear recumbents. The salesperson was discussing the bike
with the customer, another sales person was standing near me talking
to another customer, he looked at the recumbent and more or less
whispered to the customer he was dealing with, "real men ride real
bikes" . All small businesses suffer from employee problems, but it
seems to me that the bike business is somewhat unique in having
employees who actively discourage customers. I know just about everone
in the recumbent business, they all have mentioned similar experiences
with shop people.
I don't think it's paranoia on my part in blaming the "lowly shop
employees" for at least some of the difficulties of getting recumbents
into the market place. I should also mention that I attended the
industry trade show many times and saw first hand the glazing over of
the eyes of shop employees on the rare occasion that there bosses had
some interest in the bikes and stopped at our booth to ask questions.
**** Ryan
 
W

Wilson

Guest

>
> Comments about recumbents that I've heard in bike shops.
> You'll never see one on the floor of this shop!
> They don't go up hills.
> They are too heavy.
> They are too low to the ground.
> They're slow.
> Sorry, can't help you, don't know anything about them.
> Real men ride REAL bicycles!
> They suck.


I've had several recumbents assembled and serviced by local bike shops.
I've never heard anything like this from any shop employee. The shops I
went to were trying to make a buck anyway they could. They would have sold
me a beer from the shop 'fridge if I'd pay for it. They were more than
happy sell me any accessory for the recumbent and install in. They did not
interupt the sale to tell me recumbents suck. If they had I would have left
with my bike and my money, but happily that wasn't the situation. In fact
the shop employees were eager to assemble my Vanguard tandem. It gave them
a break from building up some little pink girls bikes. They ran into a few
problems with the tandem. There was a part or two that didn't fit that had
to be researched and substituted for other parts. In the end they enjoyed
putting it together and getting it dialed in. They did tell me they were
glad the owner was out of town that week so he wouldn't know how much time
they actually spent on the bike.

Not many local shops have ever stocked recumbents. The few that did found
them to be slow sellers with fussy lookers with endless questions, some of
them unanswerable. They wanted to test ride a lot of recumbents, but the
dealers usually had one model on the floor. These customers often ended up
buying some other brand direct. There are many lone recumbents that took up
space on the sales floor for a year or more. I think the selling of
recumbents is best done by a separate department of the shop or preferbly a
separate operation. Maybe selling direct with a send it back if you don't
like it is the best way to go. Bike Friday had an excellent sales group for
direct selling. From what I know of Hostel Shoppe they also have a good
sales staff.




> A friend of mine works at Wheel and Sprocket, probably the most
> successful shop in the country. They sell about 5000 bikes a year and
> about 7-800 recumbents.



I've got the feeling that selling these 7-800 recumbents takes up a lot more
sales and shop time than selling 7-800 conventional bikes.


Trek is located not far from them, they have
> an annual dealer meeting. According to my friend every year a dozen or
> so dealers from around the country will stop by to shoot the breeze.
> Most are astounded by the fact W&S has 50 or 60 recumbents on the
> floor and often ask WHY. The very fact that they ask "why" should be a
> good indication of the lack of intelligence on their part. For a few
> years we had about a dozen dealers around the country. We had a couple
> of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
> they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
> "recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
> bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
> a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
> about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
> was available.


>When I discussed this problem with the shop owners they
> all gave me the same answer. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't afford to
> offend the employees because they are so hard to find.



Wait a minute, this is nuts The owner of a bike shop can't afford to
offend an employee who is offending customers because employees who offend
customers are harder to find than customers? Any owner of a business would
have to be out of his mind to think this way.


I had quite a
> few calls from potential customers who had driven many miles to look
> at our bike and had made the mistake of not checking on the
> availability of the "recumbent" guy. Of course this reaction from the
> shop people didn't go over very well with the potential customer and
> they would call us and complain. Eventually we stopped selling through
> shops altogether, but not so much because of the problem that the
> employees were such morons but because we couldn't afford to give the
> shops their margin. The thing about bike shop employees is that just
> about all of them are young males that are into bike racing. If it
> isn't a full suspension mountain bike or a 15 lb drop bar road racing
> bike it isn't a bike. My negative opinion of these people has been
> reinforced many times. The best example I can give is the time I was
> invited to a bike shop event, (featuring free beer, thereby
> guaranteeing a good turnout) given by a well known shop employee in
> the Boston area, (he is the recumbent guy) at the shop. He asked me to
> bring a bike to the event. There were about fifty people there, all of
> them were bike shop employees. And one reporter for a local bike
> publication. They had a tape of the tour de france playing on a
> relatively small screen tv. These guys were so into racing they could
> identify the individual racers on this small screen tv. I was there
> for about three hours and not a single person asked about the
> recumbent, it was sitting in the middle of the floor in everyone's
> way. But as far as they were concerned it was invisible. The magazine
> guy did ask me what the bike cost. We had a customer who wanted to buy
> one of our $4500 tandems through a local shop. I happened to be there
> when they were talking to the salesperson, another employee overheard
> the conversation and interrupted the conversation with the comment
> "you probably won't find that thing as comfortable as you think" and
> walked away. I witnessed a similar thing at a dealer in Cambridge Ma.
> they sold Linear recumbents. The salesperson was discussing the bike
> with the customer, another sales person was standing near me talking
> to another customer, he looked at the recumbent and more or less
> whispered to the customer he was dealing with, "real men ride real
> bikes" . All small businesses suffer from employee problems, but it
> seems to me that the bike business is somewhat unique in having
> employees who actively discourage customers. I know just about everone
> in the recumbent business, they all have mentioned similar experiences
> with shop people.
> I don't think it's paranoia on my part in blaming the "lowly shop
> employees" for at least some of the difficulties of getting recumbents
> into the market place. I should also mention that I attended the
> industry trade show many times and saw first hand the glazing over of
> the eyes of shop employees on the rare occasion that there bosses had
> some interest in the bikes and stopped at our booth to ask questions.
> **** Ryan
>
>


Well ****, I reckon this must be how come so many bike shops go out of
business every year. It seems their owners didn't have the required
business sense to make a go of it.
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
ryancycles aka **** Ryan wrote:
>> In the early days of recumbency there were several small manufacturers who
>> built relatively cheap recumbents. They too never sold well which convinced
>> me there was no market for such bikes. Your Ryan recumbents were for a niche
>> market from the beginning and never had a chance in hell of ever gaining a
>> large market. There is nothing wrong with that but, please, do not blame any
>> of your woes on the lowly bike shop owners and employees.
>>
>> - Show quoted text -

>
> Comments about recumbents that I've heard in bike shops.
> You'll never see one on the floor of this shop!
> They don't go up hills.
> They are too heavy.
> They are too low to the ground.
> They're slow.
> Sorry, can't help you, don't know anything about them.
> Real men ride REAL bicycles!
> They suck.
> A friend of mine works at Wheel and Sprocket, probably the most
> successful shop in the country. They sell about 5000 bikes a year and
> about 7-800 recumbents. Trek is located not far from them, they have
> an annual dealer meeting. According to my friend every year a dozen or
> so dealers from around the country will stop by to shoot the breeze.
> Most are astounded by the fact W&S has 50 or 60 recumbents on the
> floor and often ask WHY. The very fact that they ask "why" should be a
> good indication of the lack of intelligence on their part. For a few
> years we had about a dozen dealers around the country. We had a couple
> of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
> they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
> "recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
> bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
> a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
> about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
> was available. When I discussed this problem with the shop owners they
> all gave me the same answer. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't afford to
> offend the employees because they are so hard to find. I had quite a
> few calls from potential customers who had driven many miles to look
> at our bike and had made the mistake of not checking on the
> availability of the "recumbent" guy. Of course this reaction from the
> shop people didn't go over very well with the potential customer and
> they would call us and complain.[...]


I have had almost exactly the experience **** describes at several LBS's.

The only shops that have really been successful in selling recumbents
are all specialist dealers [1], where the owner or a key employee takes
an active role in dealing with the customers, and the employees are not
your usual suspects of wannabe racers.

[1] Note that W&S concentrates their recumbents in their Hales Corners
store.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
The weather is here, wish you were beautiful
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Edward Dolan wrote:
>
> Mr. Ryan makes some good points with respect to recumbents, but still the
> example of the mountain bike (hybrid) proves that bike shop employees do not
> have the final word on what sells. They cannot sell the racing style of
> bikes except to the very few. They have to sell what the public wants and is
> willing to pay for, i.e., hybrids.
>
> I can't help but think that the main argument against recumbents was simply
> their very high prices. A product that is needed and/or wanted and is priced
> right will sell itself. It does not depend on bike shops and their
> employees. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to review the advent of the
> mountain bike which occurred in the early 1980's. You will never see a
> racing style of bike in a department or discount store anymore. Nothing
> speaks louder than that.
>

No longer true - you can get a drop bar bicycle at woolmort [1]:
<http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=3663046>.

> The world needed a $200. recumbent just as it needed a $200. mountain bike
> to demonstrate what would or would not sell. A $2000. recumbent is not even
> in the ball park as far as the larger public is concerned.
>

Sorry, but J&B/Sun is only making a small profit per unit on the EZ-1 SC
at $625, and that bicycle is definitely of "entry level LBS" quality. A
$200 recumbent would be a bicycle shaped object, similar to the $60 ATB
look-a-likes, and not suitable for real use.

[1] To use a gdanielsism.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
The weather is here, wish you were beautiful
 
W

Wilson

Guest
"Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> ryancycles aka **** Ryan wrote:
>>> In the early days of recumbency there were several small manufacturers
>>> who
>>> built relatively cheap recumbents. They too never sold well which
>>> convinced
>>> me there was no market for such bikes. Your Ryan recumbents were for a
>>> niche
>>> market from the beginning and never had a chance in hell of ever gaining
>>> a
>>> large market. There is nothing wrong with that but, please, do not blame
>>> any
>>> of your woes on the lowly bike shop owners and employees.
>>>
>>> - Show quoted text -

>>
>> Comments about recumbents that I've heard in bike shops.
>> You'll never see one on the floor of this shop!
>> They don't go up hills.
>> They are too heavy.
>> They are too low to the ground.
>> They're slow.
>> Sorry, can't help you, don't know anything about them.
>> Real men ride REAL bicycles!
>> They suck.
>> A friend of mine works at Wheel and Sprocket, probably the most
>> successful shop in the country. They sell about 5000 bikes a year and
>> about 7-800 recumbents. Trek is located not far from them, they have
>> an annual dealer meeting. According to my friend every year a dozen or
>> so dealers from around the country will stop by to shoot the breeze.
>> Most are astounded by the fact W&S has 50 or 60 recumbents on the
>> floor and often ask WHY. The very fact that they ask "why" should be a
>> good indication of the lack of intelligence on their part. For a few
>> years we had about a dozen dealers around the country. We had a couple
>> of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
>> they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
>> "recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
>> bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
>> a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
>> about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
>> was available. When I discussed this problem with the shop owners they
>> all gave me the same answer. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't afford to
>> offend the employees because they are so hard to find. I had quite a
>> few calls from potential customers who had driven many miles to look
>> at our bike and had made the mistake of not checking on the
>> availability of the "recumbent" guy. Of course this reaction from the
>> shop people didn't go over very well with the potential customer and
>> they would call us and complain.[...]

>
> I have had almost exactly the experience **** describes at several LBS's.
>


No doubt from Blue State UCI elitist bike racing bigots with a room full of
racing bikes they can't sell for reasons they can't fathom. You were in the
wrong bike shop. Look down the street. Somebody has probably seen the
opportunity to sell and service non UCI racing bikes.
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Wilson wrote:
>
> "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> ryancycles aka **** Ryan wrote:
>>>> In the early days of recumbency there were several small
>>>> manufacturers who
>>>> built relatively cheap recumbents. They too never sold well which
>>>> convinced
>>>> me there was no market for such bikes. Your Ryan recumbents were for
>>>> a niche
>>>> market from the beginning and never had a chance in hell of ever
>>>> gaining a
>>>> large market. There is nothing wrong with that but, please, do not
>>>> blame any
>>>> of your woes on the lowly bike shop owners and employees.
>>>>
>>>> - Show quoted text -
>>>
>>> Comments about recumbents that I've heard in bike shops.
>>> You'll never see one on the floor of this shop!
>>> They don't go up hills.
>>> They are too heavy.
>>> They are too low to the ground.
>>> They're slow.
>>> Sorry, can't help you, don't know anything about them.
>>> Real men ride REAL bicycles!
>>> They suck.
>>> A friend of mine works at Wheel and Sprocket, probably the most
>>> successful shop in the country. They sell about 5000 bikes a year and
>>> about 7-800 recumbents. Trek is located not far from them, they have
>>> an annual dealer meeting. According to my friend every year a dozen or
>>> so dealers from around the country will stop by to shoot the breeze.
>>> Most are astounded by the fact W&S has 50 or 60 recumbents on the
>>> floor and often ask WHY. The very fact that they ask "why" should be a
>>> good indication of the lack of intelligence on their part. For a few
>>> years we had about a dozen dealers around the country. We had a couple
>>> of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
>>> they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
>>> "recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
>>> bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
>>> a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
>>> about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
>>> was available. When I discussed this problem with the shop owners they
>>> all gave me the same answer. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't afford to
>>> offend the employees because they are so hard to find. I had quite a
>>> few calls from potential customers who had driven many miles to look
>>> at our bike and had made the mistake of not checking on the
>>> availability of the "recumbent" guy. Of course this reaction from the
>>> shop people didn't go over very well with the potential customer and
>>> they would call us and complain.[...]

>>
>> I have had almost exactly the experience **** describes at several LBS's.
>>

>
> No doubt from Blue State UCI elitist bike racing bigots with a room full
> of racing bikes they can't sell for reasons they can't fathom. You were
> in the wrong bike shop. Look down the street. Somebody has probably
> seen the opportunity to sell and service non UCI racing bikes.


I know a bike shop owner who caters to commuters and practical cyclists,
but wants nothing to do with recumbents.

As for a recumbent shop, I went through Hales Corners four times today,
so I could have stopped in a Wheel & Sprocket [1]. ;)

[1] Also saw a couple of W&S advertisements on billboards (all showing
upright bicycles, however).

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
The weather is here, wish you were beautiful
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Edward Dolan wrote:
> "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> Edward Dolan wrote:

> [...]
>>> The world needed a $200. recumbent just as it needed a $200. mountain
>>> bike to demonstrate what would or would not sell. A $2000. recumbent is
>>> not even in the ball park as far as the larger public is concerned.
>>>

>> Sorry, but J&B/Sun is only making a small profit per unit on the EZ-1 SC
>> at $625, and that bicycle is definitely of "entry level LBS" quality. A
>> $200 recumbent would be a bicycle shaped object, similar to the $60 ATB
>> look-a-likes, and not suitable for real use.

>
> $625 for a recumbent for a first time buyer is still way too much. You need
> to get the price down to about $200. At that price point it is possible that
> we could began to see if recumbents were for the masses or not. Such a
> recumbent would not need to be super light or have very good components, but
> it would have to be a good design, be comfy and look nice. All recumbents to
> date have been way too expensive for the general public. Remember, bikes are
> toys to most folks.
>

And just how do you suggest making a recumbent for $120 [1] that is not
a piece of junk? It might be possible using near slave labor in mainland
China (lets hear it for fascism), but that will result in very heavy
bicycle (e.g. 60 pounds) with poor shifting, braking and general durability.

No thanks.

[1] Assuming 25% markup at the LBS [2] and $30 to get the bicycle to the
dealer.
[2] Which is considerably lower than the standard 30-35% markup.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
The weather is here, wish you were beautiful
 
J

Jon

Guest
"ryancycles" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> [...] We had a couple
> of high end very successful shops selling the bikes. Unfortunately
> they all shared the same problem, they had one employee who was the
> "recumbent guy" the rest of the employees refused to even discuss the
> bikes with potential customers. I know this is true because I visited
> a couple of these shops and didn't identify myself and when I asked
> about recumbents was told I'd have to wait until the "recumbent guy"
> was available.


Anecdote:. In 1998, I was shopping for a recumbent bike
and visited Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, Texas. When I
asked about recumbent bikes they had in stock, on display on the
showroom floor, I was told if I had any questions I would have to
come back when the "recumbent guy" was available. They were
not too busy, they were simply uninterested in selling the bikes.

I had similar response at the same store more recently asking
about touring bikes (upright) for my son. No knowledgeable sales
staff, no interest in selling what we were looking for. They didn't
even have a not-present "touring guy" to refer me to...

Experience at the Plano Cycling and Fitness store has been
different. On the couple of occasions we were in the store,
they actually had sales people eager to assist us in the recumbent
section and encouraging test rides. They had a pretty large
selection of brands and models at few years ago, but recently,
they seem to be cutting back on the number of recumbents
they stock.

Jon