Now that we all agree: recumbents are the fastest bikes...

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by B. Sanders, Apr 29, 2003.

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  1. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and quasi-lowracers?

    When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the current European domination of the
    fastest unfaired production bikes in the world? (The Lightning M5 is a product of the Netherlands.)

    What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest HPV race clubs are in the USA.
    Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to multiple TDF victories. We're all
    about fast bikes here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?

    I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in the
    US. We have large areas of the country with suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike lanes,
    and smoooth blacktop all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness. We love
    racing. We love to be the best. I don't see why the Europeans should continue to build what are by
    far the most exotic and fastest production bicycles in the world.

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders about this very topic. One of
    them was a recumbent framebuilder (name withheld). Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really
    making much money in the custom bike market here. I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I see why
    they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new product to a skeptical and
    conservative market. We're happy and rich. There isn't much that we need or want that we don't
    already have in abundance. Bikes are expensive toys for Americans, not a vital and integral part of
    our lives (yeah, I know, present company excepted).

    As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make money. You get into it if
    you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the love of bikes, and that is all. If you break even,
    you're doing better than most."

    Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such a venture work (no, I don't
    mean sweatshops.)

    Any thoughts?

    -Barry
     
    Tags:


  2. Easy....do a Co-operative, something along the lines of Burley. Design a product, get 10-20 people
    into the design, pool $, get backing from a Credit Union and you are set. It isn't rocket science to
    grow a company if the product is good and at a price (below) an Optima or M5. The American advantage
    is offshore companies get hammered via import duties. Homegrown bents don't get nailed as
    hard.Insurance is less, shipping is less
    --------------------------------------
    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > quasi-lowracers?
    >
    > When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the current European domination of the
    > fastest unfaired production bikes in the world? (The Lightning M5 is a product of the
    > Netherlands.)
    >
    > What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest HPV race clubs are in the USA.
    > Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to multiple TDF victories. We're
    > all about fast
    bikes
    > here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?
    >
    > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in
    > the US. We have large areas of the country with suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike
    > lanes, and smoooth
    blacktop
    > all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness. We love racing. We love to be
    > the best. I don't see why the Europeans should continue to build what are by far the most exotic
    > and fastest production bicycles in the world.
    >
    > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders
    about
    > this very topic. One of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name
    withheld).
    > Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really making much money in the custom bike market here.
    > I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I see
    why
    > they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new
    product
    > to a skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There
    isn't
    > much that we need or want that we don't already have in abundance. Bikes are expensive toys for
    > Americans, not a vital and integral part of our
    lives
    > (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    >
    > As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make
    money.
    > You get into it if you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the love of bikes, and that is all.
    > If you break even, you're doing better than most."
    >
    > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such a venture work (no, I
    > don't mean sweatshops.)
    >
    > Any thoughts?
    >
    > -Barry
     
  3. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Wile E.Coyote" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Easy....do a Co-operative, something along the lines of Burley. Design a product, get 10-20 people
    > into the design, pool $, get backing
    from
    > a Credit Union and you are set. It isn't rocket science to grow a company
    if
    > the product is good and at a price (below) an Optima or M5. The American advantage is offshore
    > companies get hammered via import duties. Homegrown bents don't get nailed as hard.Insurance is
    > less, shipping is less

    Great idea! I know you're right about lower costs (in general) on this side of the pond. Export
    duties kill the price of European bikes. Drop $600 to $800 off the price of a Baron or Jester,
    and you can start to see why I think there's a market here. Would people buy a Baron lookalike
    for $1,600?

    My seat-of-the-pants guesstimate is that a $1,400 MSRP lowracer (Deore/steel frame) could be
    produced in the USA, with a premium version in the $1,900 MSRP range (Ultegra/105, aluminum frame,
    suspension). If frame production was moved overseas, a sub-$1,000 MSRP lowracer could be produced
    (no suspension, steel frame, Alivio). If we could get somebody to crank out fiberglass seat shells
    for, say, $50 each, we could build a monoblade lowracer similar to the M5 for under $1,500 MSRP.
    What's the difference between hi-ten and CrMo when the bike weighs 40+ lbs? It's a lot cheaper,
    that's what. I've also wondered about grafting Mongoose/Derby steel MTB rear suspension swingarms
    onto a production lowracer frame to save $$$. If the whole bike retails at WalMart for <$150, the
    swingarms can't cost more than $25 each, can they? (including the shock, purchased in quantity).

    Of course, carbon is the Holy Grail. That would be the next material to tackle. Between the various
    HPV groups in the USA, there is a *lot* of carbon layup expertise out there. Heck, my next door
    neighbor - an Olympic speed skater and coach - used to build the carbon fiber racing wheelchairs
    that you may have seen at the Olympics a few years ago. He does it all in a corner of his garage
    using very simple jigs and molds. Carbon fabric is not exactly cheap; but it doesn't require much of
    the stuff to make a very stiff frame. A discarded pizza oven could be converted into an autoclave
    easily enough. A frame jig isn't that expensive, and neither is a milling machine.
    (www.harborfreight.com)

    Right now, in this country, there are probably thousands of highly trained welders and machinists
    looking for work. It would be great if we could put a few of them back to work building fast
    recumbent bikes.

    -Barry

    > --------------------------------------
    > "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > > quasi-lowracers?
    > >
    > > When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the current European domination of
    > > the fastest unfaired production bikes in the
    world?
    > > (The Lightning M5 is a product of the Netherlands.)
    > >
    > > What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest HPV race clubs are in the
    > > USA. Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to multiple TDF victories.
    > > We're all about fast
    > bikes
    > > here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?
    > >
    > > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in
    > > the US. We have large areas of the country
    with
    > > suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike lanes, and smoooth
    > blacktop
    > > all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness.
    We
    > > love racing. We love to be the best. I don't see why the Europeans
    should
    > > continue to build what are by far the most exotic and fastest production bicycles in the world.
    > >
    > > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders
    > about
    > > this very topic. One of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name
    > withheld).
    > > Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really making much money in the custom bike market here.
    > > I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I see
    > why
    > > they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new
    > product
    > > to a skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There
    > isn't
    > > much that we need or want that we don't already have in abundance.
    Bikes
    > > are expensive toys for Americans, not a vital and integral part of our
    > lives
    > > (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    > >
    > > As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make
    > money.
    > > You get into it if you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the love
    of
    > > bikes, and that is all. If you break even, you're doing better than
    most."
    > >
    > > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such
    a
    > > venture work (no, I don't mean sweatshops.)
    > >
    > > Any thoughts?
    > >
    > > -Barry
    > >
    >
     
  4. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    "B. Sanders" wrote:
    > ... My seat-of-the-pants guesstimate is that a $1,400 MSRP lowracer (Deore/steel frame) could be
    > produced in the USA, with a premium version in the $1,900 MSRP range (Ultegra/105, aluminum frame,
    > suspension). If frame production was moved overseas, a sub-$1,000 MSRP lowracer could be produced
    > (no suspension, steel frame, Alivio). If we could get somebody to crank out fiberglass seat shells
    > for, say, $50 each, we could build a monoblade lowracer similar to the M5 for under $1,500 MSRP.
    > What's the difference between hi-ten and CrMo when the bike weighs 40+ lbs? It's a lot cheaper,
    > that's what....

    Avoid designing a bike with a three piece, mandrel bent, heat-treated frame with custom Delrin
    inserts in the telescoping sections if you wish to keep the price down. An aluminium frame seat with
    a custom mesh cover, a custom rear rack, custom Phil Wood hubs, and a custom chain tensioner will
    also drive the price up. :(

    Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  5. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    [crossposting restored; r.b.m ppl invited to contribute]

    In article <[email protected]>, "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Tom, maybe your wedgie seat is causing you some discomfort.

    Hell, no. In fact, it cured my sciatica.

    I like saddles hard, narrow, long-nosed, and having not too much cantle (... which makes me feel
    like the saddle's trying to push me off). A well-fit bike doesn't need something to push one's ass
    against, or cause "secretarial spread"; it should be a minimal prop between a standing and sitting
    position, so a rider can transfer power as directly as possible from thighs to cranks. The thighs
    are the pistons. Lower legs are just conn-rods. When calves develop musculature, it's just
    coincidental. And by extension, "ankling" is useless. I've often heard that saying: "think circles".
    But, y'know what? What works for me when I really wanna boot it, is to think: "Lift those thighs up
    on the upstrokes". The rest follows. Like I say, lower legs are just conn-rods. At night, I can tell
    the evenness of my pedal strokes by the buzzing of my sidewall Union generator.

    But anyhow, since you, Barry Sanders, are so interested in rec.bicycles.misc, let me tell you how my
    bike cured my sciatica.

    Back in the mid-90's, I was riding a Trek 930[SHX]. What a great bike those were! And Trek had those
    [whatever]-1/2 inch frame sizes. Mine was a 17-1/2 inch frame; I'm 5'11". But the damned thing fit
    so well. It was also inflicted with the bendy Indy-C fork of the time. I upgraded it with the
    elastomer kit, but that was probably a waste of $$. I'd often wondered if a Marzocchi Bomber would
    be adaptable, but never got around to checking that out. I'm sure a contemporary Judy would've been.

    Oh yeah -- my sciatica. But first, I mentioned my generator. I've only recently (last few years)
    gone back to those. What a treat it is to have available lighting, anytime -- even in daytime, on
    dreary rainy days. The car drivers seem to like that I have a light on in those conditions. I used
    to have a BLT Dual-Spectrum, with the bottle-cage, L/A battery. That came in especially handy once
    too, when I had the gf in the apartment for a rack of lamb barbecue, and the power went out, due to
    a windstorm causing a pcascade of power pole transformer outages. That and a penlight- battery
    radio, and good growlies off the grille --- mmmm, whadda night. I was prepared for every
    contingency :)

    I guess speed-oriented guys wouldn't be into sidewall generators, because the drag would slow you
    down. But there are hub generators -- some, if not all of them, have more drag when turned off
    rather than on, but the drag is negligible anyways. To adapt one, you'd just have to go through
    the expense of having it built, or doing it yourself. But I guess a lot of 'bent ppl are used to
    DIY anyway.

    Oh, yeah. My sciatica. I was suffering something fierce with it. I needed to get to the corner
    grocery store. I figured if I could just get on the bike, I could scooter myself to the store,
    instead of walking like I had just messed my pants. But habit prevailed. I put my feet on the
    pedals, and rode normally. Next thing I knew, I was fixed, and rode on, and on, on. What a joyous
    reprieve from pain that was!

    The pedals were these huge, lumpy, red 747s. I don't think they make them anymore. What
    walnut-crackers those things were! But so ideal for EEE feet.

    Anyhow, this morning I got experimental with breakfast. I discovered that oatmeal spiked with a
    level tablespoon of chocolate-flavoured Ovaltine and half a capful of vanilla extract, along with
    the usual milk & brown sugar, ain't half bad.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  6. Bernie

    Bernie Guest

    Tom Keats wrote:

    > [crossposting restored; r.b.m ppl invited to contribute]
    >
    > In article <[email protected]>, "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > Tom, maybe your wedgie seat is causing you some discomfort.
    >
    > Hell, no. In fact, it cured my sciatica.
    >
    > I like saddles hard, narrow, long-nosed, and having not too much cantle (... which makes me feel
    > like the saddle's trying to push me off). A well-fit bike doesn't need something to push one's ass
    > against, or cause "secretarial spread"; it should be a minimal prop between a standing and sitting
    > position, so a rider can transfer power as directly as possible from thighs to cranks. The thighs
    > are the pistons. Lower legs are just conn-rods. When calves develop musculature, it's just
    > coincidental. And by extension, "ankling" is useless. I've often heard that saying: "think
    > circles". But, y'know what? What works for me when I really wanna boot it, is to think: "Lift
    > those thighs up on the upstrokes". The rest follows. Like I say, lower legs are just conn-rods. At
    > night, I can tell the evenness of my pedal strokes by the buzzing of my sidewall Union generator.
    >
    > But anyhow, since you, Barry Sanders, are so interested in rec.bicycles.misc, let me tell you how
    > my bike cured my sciatica.
    >
    > Back in the mid-90's, I was riding a Trek 930[SHX]. What a great bike those were! And Trek had
    > those [whatever]-1/2 inch frame sizes. Mine was a 17-1/2 inch frame; I'm 5'11". But the damned
    > thing fit so well. It was also inflicted with the bendy Indy-C fork of the time. I upgraded it
    > with the elastomer kit, but that was probably a waste of $$. I'd often wondered if a Marzocchi
    > Bomber would be adaptable, but never got around to checking that out. I'm sure a contemporary Judy
    > would've been.
    >
    > Oh yeah -- my sciatica. But first, I mentioned my generator. I've only recently (last few years)
    > gone back to those. What a treat it is to have available lighting, anytime -- even in daytime, on
    > dreary rainy days. The car drivers seem to like that I have a light on in those conditions. I used
    > to have a BLT Dual-Spectrum, with the bottle-cage, L/A battery. That came in especially handy once
    > too, when I had the gf in the apartment for a rack of lamb barbecue, and the power went out, due
    > to a windstorm causing a pcascade of power pole transformer outages. That and a penlight- battery
    > radio, and good growlies off the grille --- mmmm, whadda night. I was prepared for every
    > contingency :)
    >
    > I guess speed-oriented guys wouldn't be into sidewall generators, because the drag would slow you
    > down. But there are hub generators -- some, if not all of them, have more drag when turned off
    > rather than on, but the drag is negligible anyways. To adapt one, you'd just have to go through
    > the expense of having it built, or doing it yourself. But I guess a lot of 'bent ppl are used to
    > DIY anyway.
    >
    > Oh, yeah. My sciatica. I was suffering something fierce with it. I needed to get to the corner
    > grocery store. I figured if I could just get on the bike, I could scooter myself to the store,
    > instead of walking like I had just messed my pants. But habit prevailed. I put my feet on the
    > pedals, and rode normally. Next thing I knew, I was fixed, and rode on, and on, on. What a joyous
    > reprieve from pain that was!
    >
    > The pedals were these huge, lumpy, red 747s. I don't think they make them anymore. What
    > walnut-crackers those things were! But so ideal for EEE feet.
    >
    > Anyhow, this morning I got experimental with breakfast. I discovered that oatmeal spiked with a
    > level tablespoon of chocolate-flavoured Ovaltine and half a capful of vanilla extract, along with
    > the usual milk & brown sugar, ain't half bad.
    >

    Try oatmeal with vanilla Rice Dream instead of milk. You may never go back. PS: you digress worse
    than I do! Best regards, Bernie

    >
    > cheers, Tom
    >
    > --
    > -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    > [point] bc [point] ca
     
  7. Short answer: me

    Well, I only have one at present, but it's a B17 and therefore a work of The Great One.

    Dave Larrington - http://legslarry.crosswinds.net/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  8. Al Kubeluis

    Al Kubeluis Guest

    Barry, Relatively new Barcroft Oregon fwd lowracer http://www.barcroftcycles.com/index.html is USA
    designed and made and fast. Let's see how it sells. Barcroft sells directly and not through shops.
    ~~~al.kubeluis..md.usa.earth.sun.milkyway.virgo.universe..corsa~~~

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > quasi-lowracers?
    >
    > When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the current European domination of the
    > fastest unfaired production bikes in the world? (The Lightning M5 is a product of the
    > Netherlands.)
    >
    > What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest HPV race clubs are in the USA.
    > Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to multiple TDF victories. We're
    > all about fast
    bikes
    > here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?
    >
    > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in
    > the US. We have large areas of the country with suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike
    > lanes, and smoooth
    blacktop
    > all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness. We love racing. We love to be
    > the best. I don't see why the Europeans should continue to build what are by far the most exotic
    > and fastest production bicycles in the world.
    >
    > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders
    about
    > this very topic. One of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name
    withheld).
    > Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really making much money in the custom bike market here.
    > I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I see
    why
    > they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new
    product
    > to a skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There
    isn't
    > much that we need or want that we don't already have in abundance. Bikes are expensive toys for
    > Americans, not a vital and integral part of our
    lives
    > (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    >
    > As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make
    money.
    > You get into it if you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the love of bikes, and that is all.
    > If you break even, you're doing better than most."
    >
    > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such a venture work (no, I
    > don't mean sweatshops.)
    >
    > Any thoughts?
    >
    > -Barry
     
  9. Barry, I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. It's common misperception that if you
    build what is (to you) a really cool bike, then the world will beat a path to your (or in this case,
    the bike shop's) door.

    It just ain't so.

    Consider this:

    Bike shops in general don't want to stock recumbents, because they occupy valuable floor space and
    few customers are interested in them to begin with. If you run a bike shop, you make money by
    turning over your inventory. Would you rather stock a product that is unlikely to sell (one LBS had
    a Vision R40 and a Linear CLWB that didn't move for at least a year that I know of, and probably
    longer... they were old when I first saw them), or one that you can reasonably expect to roll out
    the door in a month or two? Do the math. If it were MY business, I'd let somebody else suffer while
    the market develops, thank you.

    Closing the sale is made even more difficult by the fact that bents are WAY heavier than good DF
    bikes, plus the high likelihood that a prospective customer is going to fall over at least once
    during the test ride... not to mention the cost. Even if your proposed $1500 lowracer could be
    built, it would weigh easily twice as much as a $1500 road bike, maybe more. The average customer is
    not going to see the benefit.

    Also, the size of the recumbent market compared to the DF market is tiny (maybe 3 percent?), and the
    size of the lowracer market compared to the recumbent market is not large (most bent riders don't
    ride lowracers even though they are available... they ride non-lowracer bents instead). So the size
    of the market just isn't there to support selling lowracers through bike shops. Nor is there really
    enough of a market to make a decent $1500 lowracer a possibility, IMO.

    I did the test of the Optima Stinger for bentrider. A nice bike, pretty and versatile. After the
    test I sold it. I offered it at a couple of hundred bucks BELOW dealer cost, brand new condition
    with warranty, and right in the neighborhood you're talking about. It took months to sell. That
    gives you an idea of the actual size of the market for low, laid-back bikes.

    Personally I love low bikes. I commute on a bike with a 9-inch seat height. But they're not for
    everybody.... Most people won't even try my bike when I offer it, even seasoned bent riders.
     
  10. Tom Stop talking about the tadpole for a while, I cannot focus. People on the street keep
    complimenting me on my tadpole and my reply is always...yeah she is okay, but she ain't no
    Dragonflyer.

    The under $1500 lowracer idea, outsource everything (until) you can get a mono location company
    going. Trying to assemble a team, get everyone in one location, buy or lease equipment etc. would
    make your startup costs sooo high, you'd need to charge too much to make the bent affordable. Use
    the masters even if the cost is a bit higher. Like Ricky Horwitz makes/sells parts you can use,
    Steve (cannot remember how to spell his surname)...the guy doing the Mid-drives at/for Rotator. Do a
    wholesale deal with Power-On cycling for Swanson Hardshells, get stuff from Vision etc., you could
    cannibalize Wal-Mart $150.00 Mtbs...but why not just buy direct from the manufacturers of the parts
    you want in China/Taiwan. Buy small lot wholesale and use what you need and sell what you don't need
    to homebuilders and on ebay. You'd be amazed at how low cost some bent/DF parts are in fairly small
    wholesale lots...case in point I picked up a small case of 40 Deore spec Disc Brakes with the Hubs
    for $23.00 USD, damn things can retail for $120.-$150.00. I know of a company making Cane Creek
    knockoffs for
    1/10th the retail price of a Cane Creek shock.

    People get giant erections when they know that all or parts of their bent are made by people who
    know what they are doing. Bragging rights are easy when you know who made what and the maker has a
    good reputation i.e. Phil Wood Hubs, Cane Creek, Deore components, anything Karl Swanson makes etc.

    To build your bent and have people see Wal-Mart bits and pieces all over
    it....yuck. Nationalism can be cool too when doing a bent, as you said there are thousands of
    welders and machinists in America. You just need to find people who are Mavins (masters) in their
    craft and will do one offs for you when needed (don't need no steenkin warehouses).

    Start with just framesets till you assemble enuff capital to buy Shimano components in small
    wholesale lots. Always go for well known and well liked stuff like Velocity rims, Kenda or
    Vredestein (and the others) tires. Talk to Dick Ryan about liability insurance, I think he said 8
    months ago it was like $55.00 per bent...I have a photographic memory btw in case anyone ever
    wondered how I remember this crap. Can't find my keys, but can remember ARBR posts from 2 years ago.

    I am not a Lowracer person, but I have noticed that the Europeans have a definate flair for Lowracer
    design...maybe cause everyone and his dog has been riding them sooo long over there. Look at some
    homebuilder designs from Europeans who hang out on ARBR and see if they'll lend their name/design to
    a production bent...offer a $ royality to be nice and it covers your butt in case M5 or Optima buys
    up the design rights (after) your jigs are made and you face an injunction saying you cannot build.

    See if you can get a group going via ARBR & IHPVA-homebuilders of like minded people to do a bent
    On-Line, like trade ideas/designs/wish list stuff and look into the costs piece x piece...do your
    homework b4 mortgaging off your house for a secured loan.
    ----------------------------------------------

    "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "B. Sanders" wrote:
    > > ... My seat-of-the-pants guesstimate is that a $1,400 MSRP lowracer
    (Deore/steel
    > > frame) could be produced in the USA, with a premium version in the
    $1,900
    > > MSRP range (Ultegra/105, aluminum frame, suspension). If frame
    production
    > > was moved overseas, a sub-$1,000 MSRP lowracer could be produced (no suspension, steel frame,
    > > Alivio). If we could get somebody to crank out fiberglass seat shells for, say, $50 each, we
    > > could build a monoblade lowracer similar to the M5 for under $1,500 MSRP. What's the difference
    > > between hi-ten and CrMo when the bike weighs 40+ lbs? It's a lot
    cheaper,
    > > that's what....
    >
    > Avoid designing a bike with a three piece, mandrel bent, heat-treated frame with custom Delrin
    > inserts in the telescoping sections if you wish to keep the price down. An aluminium frame seat
    > with a custom mesh cover, a custom rear rack, custom Phil Wood hubs, and a custom chain tensioner
    > will also drive the price up. :(
    >
    > Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  11. Snowman

    Snowman Guest

    "Wile E.Coyote" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Easy....do a Co-operative, something along the lines of Burley. Design a product, get 10-20 people
    > into the design, pool $, get backing from
    .................... snip.............................

    . If you break even, you're doing better than most."
    > >
    > > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such a venture work (no, I
    > > don't mean sweatshops.)
    > >
    > > Any thoughts?
    > >
    > > -Barry
    > >
    > >

    --------------Turn On Humor Pragma ---------------------------------

    Or you could go to Europe by the 'bent you want and a hammer. Smack the frame up real well with
    dings so that you can tell customs that it is a used bike and that will save the $500 or $600 in
    fees. Don't try this by getting dirty because the Ag Department will make you spend $$$ to get it
    clean before you bring it into the US.

    --------------Turn Off Humor Pragma ---------------------------------

    Snowman
     
  12. Skip

    Skip Guest

    If I were planning such a venture I think the first thing I would want to do would be to have a long
    talk with Dick Ryan, George Reynolds or someone like them about the realities of the business.
    There's no substitute for advice from someone who's been there and has written the same checks you
    are enthusiastically wanting to write.

    BTW did you factor product liability insurance into your number crunching? That has to be a big
    number these days.

    And about those thousands of highly trained welders and machinists who are out there looking for
    work - from what I can tell it's the other way around - there are thousands of employers out there
    looking for highly trained welders and machinists.

    Not to be negative, of course, but in your planning you can't afford to overlook anything important.
    Tom S. thinks he would need a nice inheritance to start up a low racer business and, if that's the
    case, I think one would need to be careful not to build low racers until that nice inheritance was
    all gone [ Tom - we could call such an event a market driven voluntary redistribution of wealth].

    skip


    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > "Wile E.Coyote" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Easy....do a Co-operative, something along the lines of Burley. Design a product, get 10-20
    > > people into the design, pool $, get backing
    > from
    > > a Credit Union and you are set. It isn't rocket science to grow a
    company
    > if
    > > the product is good and at a price (below) an Optima or M5. The American advantage is offshore
    > > companies get hammered via import duties.
    Homegrown
    > > bents don't get nailed as hard.Insurance is less, shipping is less
    >
    > Great idea! I know you're right about lower costs (in general) on this
    side
    > of the pond. Export duties kill the price of European bikes. Drop $600
    to
    > $800 off the price of a Baron or Jester, and you can start to see why I think there's a market
    > here. Would people buy a Baron lookalike for
    $1,600?
    >
    > My seat-of-the-pants guesstimate is that a $1,400 MSRP lowracer
    (Deore/steel
    > frame) could be produced in the USA, with a premium version in the $1,900 MSRP range (Ultegra/105,
    > aluminum frame, suspension). If frame production was moved overseas, a sub-$1,000 MSRP lowracer
    > could be produced (no suspension, steel frame, Alivio). If we could get somebody to crank out
    > fiberglass seat shells for, say, $50 each, we could build a monoblade lowracer similar to the M5
    > for under $1,500 MSRP. What's the difference between hi-ten and CrMo when the bike weighs 40+ lbs?
    > It's a lot cheaper, that's what. I've also wondered about grafting Mongoose/Derby steel MTB rear
    > suspension swingarms onto a production lowracer frame to save $$$.
    If
    > the whole bike retails at WalMart for <$150, the swingarms can't cost more than $25 each, can
    > they? (including the shock, purchased in quantity).
    >
    > Of course, carbon is the Holy Grail. That would be the next material to tackle. Between the
    > various HPV groups in the USA, there is a *lot* of carbon layup expertise out there. Heck, my next
    > door neighbor - an
    Olympic
    > speed skater and coach - used to build the carbon fiber racing wheelchairs that you may have seen
    > at the Olympics a few years ago. He does it all in
    a
    > corner of his garage using very simple jigs and molds. Carbon fabric is
    not
    > exactly cheap; but it doesn't require much of the stuff to make a very
    stiff
    > frame. A discarded pizza oven could be converted into an autoclave easily enough. A frame jig
    > isn't that expensive, and neither is a milling
    machine.
    > (www.harborfreight.com)
    >
    > Right now, in this country, there are probably thousands of highly trained welders and machinists
    > looking for work. It would be great if we could
    put
    > a few of them back to work building fast recumbent bikes.
    >
    > -Barry
    >
    > > --------------------------------------
    > > "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > > > quasi-lowracers?
    > > >
    > > > When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the
    current
    > > > European domination of the fastest unfaired production bikes in the
    > world?
    > > > (The Lightning M5 is a product of the Netherlands.)
    > > >
    > > > What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest
    HPV
    > > > race clubs are in the USA. Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to
    > > > multiple TDF victories. We're all about fast
    > > bikes
    > > > here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?
    > > >
    > > > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+
    road
    > > > bikes are commonplace in the US. We have large areas of the country
    > with
    > > > suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike lanes, and smoooth
    > > blacktop
    > > > all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness.
    > We
    > > > love racing. We love to be the best. I don't see why the Europeans
    > should
    > > > continue to build what are by far the most exotic and fastest
    production
    > > > bicycles in the world.
    > > >
    > > > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders
    > > about
    > > > this very topic. One of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name
    > > withheld).
    > > > Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really making much money in
    the
    > > > custom bike market here. I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I
    see
    > > why
    > > > they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new
    > > product
    > > > to a skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There
    > > isn't
    > > > much that we need or want that we don't already have in abundance.
    > Bikes
    > > > are expensive toys for Americans, not a vital and integral part of our
    > > lives
    > > > (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    > > >
    > > > As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make
    > > money.
    > > > You get into it if you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the
    love
    > of
    > > > bikes, and that is all. If you break even, you're doing better than
    > most."
    > > >
    > > > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make
    such
    > a
    > > > venture work (no, I don't mean sweatshops.)
    > > >
    > > > Any thoughts?
    > > >
    > > > -Barry
    > > >
    > > >
    > >
    >
     
  13. US Lowracer for just under $1500?

    I think it could be possible. There are many factors that come into play as far as the bike is
    concerned. I won't digress into bike design details as I have no expertise in the area. I will say
    that if one was to be built and sold here, the designer MUST build flexibility into the bike.
    Meaning 1 size fits all (prohibiting some riders of extremely short or tall stature), and plenty of
    bosses to mount equipment onto the frame. I know that lowracers are optimized for racing, but how
    many folks in the US buy a SUV specifically to drive off into the trackless wilderness?

    I think if the design was there, and the price was in attainable for middle income folks, then you'd
    see alot more HPRA racing candidates in the near future. This will inspire a legion of racing
    wanabees that will never see a velodrome or an invitational in their life. That's OK, wanabees drive
    up demand and keep the manufacturers in the mass-production market ;)

    -"Windy City" Keith
     
  14. Tom Sherman <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Avoid designing a bike with a three piece, mandrel bent, heat-treated frame with custom Delrin
    > inserts in the telescoping sections if you wish to keep the price down. An aluminium frame seat
    > with a custom mesh cover, a custom rear rack, custom Phil Wood hubs, and a custom chain tensioner
    > will also drive the price up. :(
    >
    > Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)

    The custom inserts on the Earth Cycles Sunset frame are black anodised aluminium, not Delrin. The
    seat frame on the Sunset is steel, not aluminium.

    Zach Kaplan
     
  15. "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > quasi-lowracers?

    Longevity is important to some people, along with multi-use to others, parts and service w ithout
    shipping-overheads-middle men (over the counter and go; what a concept!), etc. for even more people.
    A 1800 design bike went mass media at the right time, and adapted to 10 speeds, Stingrays, mountain
    bikes, BMX, to mention a few. With hardly any bents older than 23 years, not much visual evidence is
    common. Not everyone races; or gives a hoot.

    > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in
    > the US. We have large areas of the country with suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike
    > lanes, and smoooth blacktop all over this huge country of ours.

    Obviously the market is there, or those antique (DF) bicycles wouldn't be recycled over and over,
    for more and more money!
    >
    > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders about this very topic. One
    > of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name withheld). Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is
    > really making much money in the custom bike market here. I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and
    > I see why they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new product to a
    > skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There isn't much that we need or want
    > that we don't already have in abundance. Bikes are expensive toys for Americans, not a vital and
    > integral part of our lives (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    >
    Agreed. I am not coming out of retirement to lose my shirt! George Jetson wouldn't have survived
    with closed minds and no progress.

    Chris Jordan Santa Cruz, CA.
     
  16. Bentnut

    Bentnut Guest

    Honestly... How many $1500-$2000 US-built low-racers could one sell in a year? Maybe 100? If you
    think more than that, I think you are being wildly optomistic. So lets see... 100 low-racers at
    "maybe" $100-$200 net-profit each. Hmmm, that's 10 to 20 thousand a year, you could make more
    working at McDonalds. When someone proves that there is a greater market, there are several
    people/companies waiting to fill the niche.
     
  17. > ...How long will we have to wait before US bikes shops start selling lowracers and
    > quasi-lowracers?
    >
    > When will a US mfr step up to the plate with a contender to the current European domination of the
    > fastest unfaired production bikes in the world? (The Lightning M5 is a product of the
    > Netherlands.)
    >
    > What's the deal? Battle Mountain is in the USA. Some of the biggest HPV race clubs are in the USA.
    > Lance has ridden a USA designed and built stock-production Trek to multiple TDF victories. We're
    > all about fast
    bikes
    > here; but not fast lowracer recumbents. Why is that?

    Because the public didn't grow up on them and they're most definitely an acquired taste. You know
    the old saying about how once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget? That's actually
    pretty deeply ingrained in our psyche. There really aren't all that many people who look forward to
    something entirely new & different, especially when there's a learning curve such that they
    initially may feel rather awkward & foolish.

    > I think it's fair to say that we have a potential market. $3,000+ road bikes are commonplace in
    > the US. We have large areas of the country with suitable terrain, wide paved shoulders with bike
    > lanes, and smoooth
    blacktop
    > all over this huge country of ours. We love speed. We love fitness. We love racing. We love to be
    > the best. I don't see why the Europeans should continue to build what are by far the most exotic
    > and fastest production bicycles in the world.

    I only wish that that were true. Most people in urban areas suffer with an infrastructure that is
    favorable to getting places via auto and often hostile towards cycling or even walking. Loving
    speed & fitness? Some of us, sure, but that kinda flies in the face of our rapidly-increasing
    obesity rates in society at large. And $3000 road bikes commonplace? Hardly. This country buys
    maybe 10-14 million bikes/year. The number of those that are high-end road bikes is a very tiny
    fraction of that number.

    > Yes, as a matter of fact, I *have* spoken with several frame builders
    about
    > this very topic. One of them was a recumbent framebuilder (name
    withheld).
    > Enthusiasm was not very high. Nobody is really making much money in the custom bike market here.
    > I've "crunched some numbers" myself, and I see
    why
    > they weren't too enthusiastic. It's always hard to introduce a new
    product
    > to a skeptical and conservative market. We're happy and rich. There
    isn't
    > much that we need or want that we don't already have in abundance. Bikes are expensive toys for
    > Americans, not a vital and integral part of our
    lives
    > (yeah, I know, present company excepted).
    >
    > As one framebuilder told me "You don't get into this business to make
    money.
    > You get into it if you've made money elsewhere. You do it for the love of bikes, and that is all.
    > If you break even, you're doing better than most."
    >
    > Still, I can't help but think that there must be *some* way to make such a venture work (no, I
    > don't mean sweatshops.)

    You believe the problem is lack of product, but I seriously don't think that's the case at all. The
    recumbents are out there, the problem is that those pushing them do so as if it's a religious
    argument, ignoring the more obvious reasons people don't buy into them by saying such people are
    simply ignorant and don't know what they're talking about.

    Many large companies have tried selling recumbents, with little success. It's a tough product
    because it's different, and because people want to ignore that it's simply different, instead
    pushing that it's better. This causes endless flaming back & forth, with recumbent folk derisively
    calling conventional bikes "wedgies" etc. There's room for conventional and recumbent bikes on the
    road, but there's little room for advancement of the recumbent if the 'bent folk choose to ignore
    the simple realities that make them a difficult sale to the masses.
    >
    > Any thoughts?
    >
    > -Barry
    >
    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  18. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Great idea! I know you're right about lower costs (in general) on this side of the pond. Export
    > duties kill the price of European bikes. Drop $600 to $800 off the price of a Baron or Jester,
    > and you can start to see why I think there's a market here. Would people buy a Baron lookalike
    > for $1,600?
    >
    > My seat-of-the-pants guesstimate is that a $1,400 MSRP lowracer (Deore/steel frame) could be
    > produced in the USA, with a premium version in the $1,900 MSRP range (Ultegra/105, aluminum frame,
    > suspension).

    From my conversations with the Portland Streamliner Gang, I'd say that each of them has about $600
    in each of their lowracer-ish chassis. This is with donated labor, scrounged parts, and a lot of
    shopping around. Pictures at http://homepage.mac.com/john4bho/PhotoAlbum28.html

    I don't think it's impossible to build a $1,400 lowracer. I wonder, though, if there's enough demand
    for lowracers to make it worthwhile for a manufacturer to tool up, build and distribute a
    lowracer-type bike in the U.S.

    Jeff
     
  19. Geob

    Geob Guest

    > Try oatmeal with vanilla Rice Dream instead of milk.

    Try Zoomalto CermeaL (Zoom cereal + Malto Meal), cooked with water & milk, with a slice of 10-grain
    toast. And maybe a banana. And a cold glass of tall milk.

    Or acorn mush (high protein/low carbs) with some raisins.
     
  20. Tom Blum

    Tom Blum Guest

    And then there is the famous American lawsuits. Imagine Johnny Cochrane posturing on that one!!!

    "If it falls in the grass, you must kick ass"!!!

    Sorry folks. That's the best I could come up with.

    --
    Miles of Smiles,

    Tom Blum Winter Haven, Florida (remove "nospam" to reply) Homebuilts: SWB Tour Easy Clone Speed
    Machine Clone

    www.gate.net/~teblum
     
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