In the last blog, we discussed that our alloy wheel business has grown like a weed in the last year. We continue to be advocates for the alloy wheel set as a concept. As we explained when we announced the passing of the Rail 34, there are a bunch of situations where alloys have an outright advantage over carbons, even before you take into account the significant price differences between carbon and alloy wheels of equivalent quality.
It’s easy for us to see that the Nimbus Ti and Nimbus Ti CLD builds with Pacenti rims were our biggest sellers in 2015. They’re fantastic wheels, of a quality that smashes anything near the price, and at a price that smashes anything of equivalent quality. Since these are such popular builds for us, we’ll be promoting them both to standard build status for 2016. The default Nimbus Ti build will be Nimbus Ti hubs with SL23 rims, and Laser and D-Light spokes. The default Nimbus Ti CLD set will be Nimbus Ti CLD hubs, SL25 rims, and Laser and D-Light spokes. Spoke count options will actually increase a bit this year, with 32h options for disc builds, and our aim is to have all options ready for near immediate shipping at all times.
The other side of the coin is that we’re creating a category called “Nimbus Ti Open.” This includes a broader range of rim choices than we offered in 2015, and you can consider these sort of “semi-custom” wheels. We’ll keep parts on hand to be able to fulfill orders in short order, but they won’t necessarily be ready for immediate shipment all the time – we’re aiming for no more than a week from order to ship on these. We’re bringing in new choices in both rim and disc rims this year. All of the 2015 options (Stan’s Grail and 340, DT R460, and Stan’s Crest and Arch) remain, while we’re picking up the DT R460 disc rim, Velocity Quill and Aileron, Ryde Pulse Comp, Pulse Comp Disc, and Trace XC, as well as HED’s aluminum rims. These will all be priced very very well, though not quite as well as the Pacenti builds.
The news that we’re going to be working with Corima carbon rims should be a bit anticlimactic by now. Corima’s rims are unique in their construction in a few ways, and of almost shocking construction quality. When we began to think about rims with which to diversify our carbon line, Corima was an immediate choice. We’re developing a great relationship with the distributor, and we’re very excited about them. Corima also brings us back into the road carbon tubular market.
As CX season approaches, we’ll have a few more things to talk about with regard to more CX-specific builds. We had a great year in cross this year, and we want to build on that even more in 2016.
Finally, the product mix will continue to include custom builds with a wide variety of hub and spoke options.
Prices will go up a bit. As I said, they’ll be ultra competitive, but the development of alloys as such a big part of our business and a few other factors necessitate this. If we make what you’re after, we will ALWAYS be a competitive supplier for it. We only have the capacity to sell so many wheels a day/week/month/year, and the simple fact is that we have to average a certain net per build in order to make the business work. We put a furious amount of resources into the business, and demand a certain return in order to make that worthwhile.
The 2015 pricing was a bit of an introductory price level. The Nimbus Ti concept needed to get established, and our 2015 pricing contained some element of marketing expense for us. There was maybe also a bit of a discount for the lack of cachet and brand familiarity, and while we’re not charging any sort of premium now that we’ve achieved those, we aren’t continuing to discount for it, either. We’re quite comfortable with the place we’ve built for ourselves, and we believe that the market is, too.