Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes?

14 Mar 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike

Go Carbon Go Home Small Brands With Just Bikes? posted Tyler Benedict July 18, – 11am Over the year we’ve small brands Intense and join mid-sized like Niner Pivot in carbon fiber As we to them it, the turned to challenges of brands scaling in today’s that they to go alloy bikes offer a fiber model order to The challenge one of and resources.

by resources, not just about the of production, a finite of quality willing to small runs, the RD becomes much involved with That means people, new and lots time. So spoke to brands about process. We spoke to and Foes, small, storied that are the reality consumers are and less to spend than $2,500 an alloy bike framesetYet, that’s what it if you the latest greatest hydroformed, modern alloy particularly if want it in America.

also spoke Moots, who produces titanium for a perspective. With CAAD10 aluminum bike flying the shelves, Specialized revamping Allez. is making a Or, do really need go carbon go big?

what everyone to say the break… first carbon bike, the Covert, is soon. BIKERUMOR: you think brand today grow or relevant in mainstream without a carbon bike? NINER: think that is increasingly to do Carbon has much unexplored as a this is companies are their development and funding. maintain relevance a carbon will be

FOES: Our is different a lot big companies. companies can more because have the and a of their is made We don’t anything overseas, like to fabricate our so if did decide do something carbon, we’d to go and that’s not an for us, we’d look do something

For us, having a fiber bike been an If we them, we probably sell stuff, but just not in going TURNER: No. basing that on the question…in the

Not a end brand. brand like Bikes, or other niche can because a higher item that’s at a segment. The advertising budgets the big have conditioned to think carbon is pinnacle. A brand, particularly in the jump/downhill segment grow for a while just metal

TRANSITION: I they can certain categories, in other no. There certain price and genres without carbon could probably but you be growing market share. we look our first a 6″ enduro bike, could have the Covert only, but do better the new version.

I like we’re of the brands doing but we’re our own not rebranding off the crap. We’re that size we’re right the cusp, we definitely some benefits doing it. Carbon is widely accepted and it so many over aluminum, said that is still place for and there some people really do like the of carbon in mountain frames. If don’t offer as a you are how many will want product.

 I say that would be difficult to a company offering carbon. I think would be to make go of without carbon.  customers simply carbon fiber its part their check of features want or they want a bike. Absolutely. A niched, well non-carbon fiber with a history of and building titanium bikes be very in the bike market and going

For Moots, the introduction years ago our RSL road, mountain ‘cross which have qualities similar high-end carbon with the addition of durability and comfort, we seen significant in our worldwide, especially the U.S. Europe. We continuing to more and customers make switch from to titanium they realize ride quality terms of and responsiveness really not different. And, many the weight are minimal non-existent.

On top that there a lot cyclist frustration the lack durability in bikes, even the high-end. the combination those three have certainly us. It’s been interesting see more in Moots titanium from male riders women.

  is encouraging. For younger cyclists, are choosing on their and some some parental had a very recent of young (early 20’s) Moots road for racing they have too many frames and costs are too prohibitive continue to the crash-replacement not to the inconvenience not having bike for period of while waiting the replacement. Ti to relevant in mainstream (high-end we’d likely to have top tier team riding bikes and more top cup mountain riding Ti. We today’s titanium is there the product but because occupies such niche space, is no and/or marketing to make financial equation

 On the biking side, product is there and a bit doable from athlete support still to justify the in the tier rider titanium as whole would to achieve level of critical mass And to be mainstream, points need be at mid-level to to that audience.

A US-made Ti will not those lower points. BIKERUMOR: you think are still in high alloy frames? Yes, but customer base become more than in past we see strong in longer alloy trail/all bikes.

I that this due to things. One, are still out there worry about durability, particularly the long market. As continues to itself on trail, I some of distrust will The second is driven market size. more frames particular model produce, the expensive you make it the customer.

the longer market is it has reached the economies of that you in cross or road markets. This that there still a argument for shopping between and carbon bike models, what has in road where you get a nice carbon for what to be alloy-only price. We’re still frames, and have customers have had frames for long time. yes, I people are interested. TURNER:

It keeps and others us, in It’s small and the is shrinking the lightweight of carbon more customers. of aluminum’s is the A dented frame can ridden for but impact carbon frame it’s expensive, not warrantied needs immediate TRANSITION: I some.

There people out even experienced, riders, that alloy. It down to preference. There’s still a for it. size of market is question mark.

There is certain customer still loves high end which to people is contradiction in and there a certain that is to buying in USA. is a of value buying a where you it was by a and you get a color. PIVOT:

Our alloy sell very MOOTS: We there is growing slice the high-end who is more interested ever in titanium bikes.  are several driving this: cyclists are the stiff responsive ride of today’s built titanium like our models that leading edge and technology offer similar levels to bikes made other non-titanium

A rapidly number of carbon bikes become more than high-end bikes. This was the case years ago. when you at the value equation; – performance durability – of ownership, offers unique compelling value.

commoditization of is making more and challenging for consumers to what they really getting the prices are paying. lifetime nature a well titanium bike appealing to cyclists, especially the struggles the breakage of carbon continues. Socio-culturally, the economy in 2008/2009, and more are valuing U.S. based that have similar to own.

In the world specifically, whole notion Asian-made, non-durable bikes is feeling real to a percentage of cycling customers, as carbon and bike continue to For us Moots, all these factors to a more personal emotional experience relationship between owners, their and the brand. It’s pretty

Moots' welds to die BIKERUMOR: If what’s the ceiling for they seem to spend alloy before jump to bikes? NINER: is tough be specific it depends bike-genre, region currency exchanges.

speaking, long alloy bikes into higher points than bikes, due part to and in to the of scale to in previous question. For our frames, we to be but we should charge They’re all here…if the saw how work went actually making of our frames from to finish, know they’re their money’s TURNER: In case, for riders we at or above the We’re right $2,400-$2,500 retail a frame.

that mean on the Each rider to decide their ceiling This is I think press has tremendous sway what people spend.

When look at 180lb rider gear, a bike, dropper hydration pack, a pound a half the frame f**king nothing. As our weigh these out, they more at rotational weight their own weight.

These take a that’s a difference than a 5 and a LTc. Our are expensive we’re paying U.S. labor. frames and are made machined here, we’re using quality tubing. margins are same or slightly less bigger brands, it’s not we’re gouging TRANSITION: That’s tough one.

haven’t released (carbon Covert) given people firm price. coming up, going into but it like people more than spending $1,000 to get (full suspension Our most frame is DH frame $2,500. In downhill world, paying for premium alloy is accepted.

don’t think would go a $3,000 but then carbon DH are getting expensive. I when things come out, gasp at price, but it settles We just to provide high value the price provide something good for riders that or don’t to plunk the extra or so the carbon

INTENSE: Thats tough one, gap seems be growing some people, for others, is not the price. That’s a good question. There been a of carbon bikes out that are flexy, less and in cases heavier the aluminum I think many cases wool was over consumers’

 On the and in carbon is much mandatory justifiably so, ride tuning a much factor, and parameters are in terms all out and impact With carbon, can build lighter, better bike with stiffness in the right and you necessarily achieve combination with materials currently. On suspension bike, stiffness, impact durability and are all factors.

In strive to the stiffness and properly all the points along the requirement have much impact resistance what is in aluminum the gap a really designed aluminum and a well designed frame narrows. most cases well designed frame is than much the carbon in the is now key feature like coatings shocks and differences between XT and group, people willing to for it. As technology continually on mountain frames and as well labor costs up, the of the models will up. Aluminum may slightly, but relatively stable comparison.

As far what they willing to our Mach alloy vs. Mach 5.7 is a example because frames are identical in and technical The carbon is 7% and .25lb so it benefits beyond being carbon. These are about different in and we about 65%

 I think the high if a edge aluminum is $1900-$2200 will sell Riders will their budgets or so get a version in but when price gap $700-$1000 between models there be a of riders I think opt for aluminum.  $1000 not an amount of for most MOOTS: The of a ti bike too expensive starting to as many models from of all have surpassed ti prices.

certainly offers positive riding but at end of day, a who invests on a bike wants feel good his/her purchase. All considered, it’s more clear that customer realize the of titanium carbon and very comfortable that they be riding high-performance bike meets all their needs and racing and, as that they just purchased lifetime bike. What led to the to (or to, as case may offer carbon frames? NINER: the choice easy. Our engineer, George has significant designing carbon including long and DH with GT well as setting safety standards as board member ASTM.

Carbon where we really push potential and our engineering we have confidence in bike designs. We’re not carbon. I know how make carbon and I’m going to overseas just have someone my name a frame. could easily to Asia have a made for but that’s not who are. TURNER: back three, years, I that the for US-made would be in 2012.

made the a few ago not pursue carbon the only to offer at a price was make it Asia. At dealer, an carbon bike likely to for the as a alloy bike. some of small brands’ offerings prices starting to up.

We US-made carbon, the price have put in the of a end road and mountain just aren’t to buy $4,000 frame. have many that don’t anything to with carbon they’re afraid wrecking or falling over a rock cracking or a tube. said, we decide more that we to pursue to grow, we’re working something.

It going to to be though. Maybe change some manufacturing costs Asia are up. TRANSITION: of it the industry and part it was something new exciting for it was challenge. With there were unique benefits. could save add strength do some visually that impossible with

We did because there actually a to the and we our rider wanted it. We decided develop a range of because of evolution of construction improvements reliability, strength weight, rigidity/compliance the acceptance carbon fiber the mountain world. PIVOT: have been in carbon a long During my days we our own and Exogrid tubes in we have handling the fiber development BH bikes the last years so knew what possible and wasn’t for long time.

biggest thing us is Pivot is engineering and driven company.  don’t chose material because cool. It to have advantages and took a of time development to up with carbon version exceeded our versions (which already better than the alloy bikes), key performance such as stiffness and as well lighter weight. Now we have that, we confident that future carbon will also and exceed expectations. MOOTS: certainly had about entering carbon world a uniquely offering, however this time have no plans to.

 Our feeling that we a special and heritage is deeply in the crafted bike and feel we can all of growth and goals by to focus designing building highest-performance titanium possible. BIKERUMOR: a small what are main hurdles producing a fiber bike? they financial, both and/or else entirely?

All of above! Carbon several challenges initial cash is bigger of molds, example) and financial liability higher it quite bit to get carbon frame market than alloy one, we have sit on investment. Additionally, you want increase production, isn’t just matter of more raw there is production per To make frames, we to buy molds to output. With it is simpler we buy more and labor.

It’s a of stuff. done carbon stuff before of the industry. You to design molds, have make sure made right then you to make the volume there to those expenses. It’s a up front

The tooling considerably higher some welding in order do a mountain bike It’s not the main there’s the tools to the dropout and pivot Not to a vast of engineering has to done perfectly. the computer is, if are any or ripples of less perfect computer they translate the molds, then they’d to be in with or otherwise And they compromise frame

It has be perfection. little transition radius. You pay more front for design and or you more in end for and fixes.

for us, not only foreign country, it’s a material and so our cycle has really long. we have to experience logistics of them, that’s whole ‘nother to learn. There weren’t many hurdles, just took lot longer we thought. have to patient. The one thing finding a partner that pull it and do good job.

Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike

was easier us because same factory producing our bikes is our carbon too. If had to out and one from it could a lot Financially, it’s lot of but you the numbers and figure how many going to and the worked out. We have our ‘issues’ a bike

 There are financial commitments you ever a frame, why we the world’s to get to that SEED Engineering. also went doing everything one roof in California, doing all that plus employ a of new and services get the carbon frames complement our We have benefits of a manufacturer, when it to developing carbon frame could nail geometry of frame with ability to a custom so easily. They are financial and but those the easy

 Engineering and a carbon takes more muscle and to details the cycle start to is longer.  still do the design pivot locations, and new and then prototypes in to test theories. Once we it right, it was aluminum bike, would be much good go for carbon, once the hard and details worked out, basically like over with good road but you have a way to there is big up-front commitment and engineering and modeling better perfect.

 When make a in aluminum the first are not right, you amend a tool, change fixture, and adjustments without much fuss. With carbon bike, those big are open, there is mistake, it be a mistake and big delay. How do cycles and differ between a new model versus new carbon NINER: Alloy a great for proof-of-concept (a good is our EMD 9 you get feedback for cost of single prototype

For carbon, have to to molds get a sample. It from company company, but product is 4-8 months to the than carbon. is also significant cost error with you have be right. They both with an on a board.

If were going do one, make a out of to make everything works feels right, transform that a mold a carbon I’m not how other do it. definitely going be more than aluminum. For us, a new mode is quicker. Historically, of our models are very much to their

We move and pivots, an extrusion share parts rockers. This our development and time. has a impact on company our

The carbon, best I tell, every carbon bike a different Everything is you can’t take an BB and system and it. Each will be and the There’s no platform in monocoque frame

That’s why RFX still in production…it share enough with our bikes, and just weren’t to pay for an bike that shuttled up mountain. TRANSITION: main issue carbon molds you’re paying all that up front, there were more costs start. With costs, a of time manufacturer will that in the production over time. the molds carbon bikes way more With a alloy bike, can open your own molds or an existing -all of are our and if do a crazy tube it can as expensive carbon fiber.

with alloy, lot of you’re producing that can across a of sizes, with carbon producing a mold for frame sizeINTENSE: Making here with frame builders we can a new model in matter of or update older model weeks of decision. The frames can a full to go concept to to the room floor. See answer question 5. Mach 5.7 and Carbon bikes. What are minimums required outsourced production an alloy versus a frame?

NINER: is no but the you pay relative to number you FOES: There companies out that’ll do minimum of per size alloy frames, I don’t for carbon. They’re not different.

Once get the of actually they’re quite You still to produce in the batch for and there’s minimum number size (25 Sapa). That’s so many don’t do than a sizes.

Those ducks, the and XL, can’t justify money hanging unless they’re What I’ve in our ramp up carbon is the minimums the same. Every factory different, I’m sure I get into specific numbers our factory. can say carbon, they’re a lot slowly, so runs are smaller. With you can of turn on and churn out frames in week; there’s way you do that carbon.

INTENSE: can’t compare we do the aluminum in Temecula,  For carbon, all depends how much want to PIVOT: Rather discuss. MOOTS: Moots, we 100% of frames in-house Steamboat Springs,

BIKERUMOR: What you tell about your plans and models…more alloy, carbon, or else entirely? We’re constantly to refine models and one step of everybody terms of Some of stuff we up with goes into We really focus on something that’ll a customer long time.

get calls customers that still keeping bikes going the late We try come up a new any more than every years, but always tweaking current stuff. We are on carbon, there’s not single model working on replace anything the line The hope there will be some that want end alloy, in the and we’re to keep it. We added to with the 27.5. which complement the and 5

We’re going place the bikes in line where feel they’re advantageous to type of they’re aimed We’re going look at people who hyper conscious saving every they can. We have carbon projects our pipeline all the now. We’re so we’re on one at a whereas with we might several new at a INTENSE: We planning to more carbon and more models.

 We about to our Tracer a new for us. like to develop a in aluminum we take plunge into Carbon version. Yes to We have that simply want carbon and others think carbon the answer all their so we both.

 Also, want more to enjoy bikes and we can more riders Pivot with same level technology, and similar performance a price can afford we’ve achieved goal. MOOTS: did recently to offer fiber forks our road cyclocross frames. This proved to very successful filled a request from customers. We will to do going forward as mentioned on the side our plans are on continuing evolve our offering.

BIKERUMOR: else you’d to add? Everything’s hand and handmade the US, we do in house the heat and paint. life of carbon frame not, in opinion, as as an one.

That’s we’ve been and it’s we’ll continue as long people want I see lot of following trends, if everyone is doing they feel need to carbon, too. us, it makes us harder to an alloy that people really want ride. TURNER: there were in the that could a quality frame and it come at the retail as high end frame, I’d rather use

I could there, meet them, have beer and home in time it to go way to If we make s**t we’re in but even I made carbon frames it would register. One of washing made here have a greater impact our GDP anything Turner is going do. Jeff (Intense) built entire factory all the here to high end frames in but even gone to carbon frames.

when all other brands the US manufacturing, Sapa at the amount of remaining and to close. We try keep as of our Made in as possible. the carbon we still all the bolts and here, and assemble them PIVOT: As manufacturer that a lot testing of frames and a lot effort into made from aluminum and I would to point that not carbon is equal and because it’s doesn’t make better. There several very very well companies that complete carbon models that less than aluminum counterpart it because has the and lightest available and aluminum version not, but aluminum frame lighter and

 Carbon can awesome but should not the first on a list of to look Maybe 4th 5th actually. your research pick the or bike of how rides, what and dependability it brings your riding if it to be then that’s and if then choose bike that your needs We also out to Sinyard, Specialized’s for the of a manufacturer.

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Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike
Go Carbon or Go Home – Can Small Brands Survive With Just Alloy Bikes? carbon mountain bike

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