We let cycling companies get away with being pretty cheap. Imagine going to buy a new car and the dealer tells you that the one you're buying is different from the one you test drove because yours doesn't come with a stereo. "That's an item most drivers like to personalize, so we just sell the car with a big hole in the dash - it makes it easier for them."
Yet somehow, buying a bicycle without pedals or a "racing" bike with 1800g box clinchers is acceptable to us. Times are tight for cycling companies, but times are even tighter for cyclists. Who's going to stand up for racers' economic rights?
That's a rhetorical question of course. When we started November, we spent quite a while batting around what constitutes a frameset and a wheelset. Some companies will sell you a frame, and that's what you get - the fork is extra. Or your new wheelset arrives in the mail and you're ready to mount tires and go for a spin - only to find there is no rim tape and you have to make a trip to the local shop.
Our feeling is that if you need an item to make the principal purchase usable, it should be included. So we define "frameset" a little more generously than most companies. Buy a November Wheelhouse and you get:
- The frame, of course
- The matching fork with the tapered steerer tube, since whatever fork you have probably won't fit
- Integrated headset, again because it's tapered and you don't have one lying around
- A compression plug (please stop pounding star nuts into carbon steerers)
- Seatpost clamp
- BB Cable guide
If we decided to include only the frame and fork in the $785 price, and offer to upsell you the rest, we'd certainly be well within our rights as a cycling company. But we'd be outside of our own expectations as cyclists - when we buy framesets and they don't include all this stuff, we're annoyed. Call us crazy, but "annoying" is not how we want our customers to describe their experience with us.
Similarly, our wheelsets exceed the minimum of what's acceptable. Our RFSW carbon tubulars include removable core valve extenders (not the cheapie ones that leak), and the tool for attaching them to your tires. We also include carbon-specific brake pads so you can get rolling as soon as your glue is dry. And our FSW alloy clinchers do include the rim tape you need - if you have any skill at all at mounting tires, you can be on the road within 30 minutes of receiving your FSWs. Naturally, both of our wheelsets include skewers.
(To their credit, Zipp includes valve extensions, cork brake pads, skewers and rim strips with their new 404 carbon clinchers. Their $2700 404 carbon clinchers. )