At A Crossroads

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Get it?  I'm going to write about cross bikes.  Excellent, huh? 

In human years, we're less than a year into this thing.  In figuring out the ins and outs of how to get what, and from whom, and how long it's going to take to get, and how many we know we're going to sell, and how much of our blood and treasure we can put at risk terms, we're at least adolescent.  Are you there Sheldon Brown, it's me, Dave?  (Hopefully at least one or two of you actually get that reference).

We've received some excellent business advice that we'd like to share[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNYHoI47fw0&w=480&h=390]

By the way my mom also has a tattoo on her arm that says "son."  Too bad she got it for my brother.  Try the veal and tip your waitresses, kids, I'll be here all week.  Anyhow, where were we?  Oh, yeah...

So one thing we are not good at is moving immovable objects.  We can sell ketchup popsicles to a woman wearing white gloves in Miami, but we can't make the mechanism that is the Means Of Production move any more quickly than it will.  Which means that in order to get frames here in time for cross season, it would be necessary to make the pre-order deadline (literally) about 20 minutes after we're scheduled to get our demos.  Maybe 20 minutes before we get them.  We'd discussed a bunch of different ways to get that dog to hunt, but in the end we figured it just wouldn't.  The entirety of the Means of Production is right now focused on building and delivering the bikes you'll see in shops when the salmon return to Capistrano in a couple of months, and shop employees go from spending their days doing crossword puzzles to going bats--t crazy trying to keep up with the crowds.

It's not an ideal time of year to be trying to get demo frames here quick fast in a hurry and then turn around a big pre-order.

Our business model doesn't allow us the latitude to just stroke a check for an entire MOQ of cross frames, in sizes that we have no idea whether they'll match demand or not, with a product that we haven't gotten any sort of read on whether people love it or not.  We have to make the small plays, like being prepared for wheel orders that we know (hope?) are coming.  Wheels, you see, are one size fits all.  That's a huge thing, and it's probably a big part of why so many small companies have started off selling frames and wheels and then decided that it's just way better to sell wheels. 

Wheels are much more of impulse thing, where people plan and sweat the details and drive themselves nuts over buying a frame.  We're pretty darn positive that people are going to think great things about the cross frame we've got planned.  But we're also pretty sure that we are stone cold stupid if we think enough people are going to order it sight unseen, or having heard it looked pretty cool from some guy whose cousin's sister's boylfriend saw it parked outside of 31 Flavors (that one's for you, Charlie Sheen). 

So we're going to have a nice long road show and demo season: all stinkin' year.  That's right, we're going to take delivery of our cross demo frames sort of whenever.  Pretty soon, but we've stopped making the daily plaintive whines to the Means Of Production to please hurry up and get them to us faster than fast.  We'll get them built up and ride them like rented mules and invite our ultra secret team of cross lunatics to give them their worst.  And we'll let everyone who's interested give them a good test.  And then this fall, instead of giving people who only have eyes for cross a big fat dose of road bike, we'll give them a big fat dose of cross bike to go along with the big fat dose of road bike.  And we'll make it psychotically reasonable to order a frame from us next winter, to have it delivered in PLENTY of time for even the most rabid of "9 months 'til cross!!!" lunatic to start playing on it before the season.  

We know this is going to bum some people out.  In a perfect world, we'd be delivering cross frames this year.  But it's not a perfect world, and when we don't have a pretty freaking clear road map to exactly how this thing is going to work perfectly, or when we have a pretty strong sniff of the specter of delivery risk, we can't roll like that.  We are about to deliver our first order as promised (in the case of some wheels, even earlier than we thought), and we want to have that all go perfectly.  Maybe we're still walking when we're perfectly capable of running, but we really don't want to fall on our face.  

If anyone is actually capable of parsing out all the ridiculous references I made in there, well, you've spent too much time ingesting pop culture, and for that I apologize.   

 


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  • Dave Kirkpatrick on

    Mike – We plan to have switch hitter wheels – discs or cantis.

  • Mike on

    Posted too quick…will the alloy tubulars be either/or with regards to canti/disk, or will I be able to get a future proof wheel w/ a disc capable hub but still have a braking surface for cantis?

  • Mike on

    Sweet, looking forward to seeing the wheels. Guess I'll have to keep the Kona for another year, though it is going to get some upgrades it seems.

  • Dave on

    http://heyyoukidsgetoffamylawn.blogspot.com/2011/03/hey-you-kids-get-offa-my-lawn.html

  • Mike May on

    Dave, it's only "pop" culture if you're 40. For a lot of our customers, your references are squarely in the classics.Mike asked about alloy cross tubulars on the other post so I'm moving that conversation here. Yes, we'll have them – and for this coming cross season. Able to be built with for cantis or discs.


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