Dave waxed on yesterday about the bike we chose, and how the steps we took to increase our chances of karma acting in our favor ultimately resulted in a product we (and others) believe is exceptionally suited for its chosen purpose - to get you across the line first.
I thought it would be interesting to give you some insight into some of the bikes we didn't choose, and why. You'll better understand why we ended up with the Wheelhouse, but you'll see also that there's not a lot of magic and mysticism in this process - either in the way we follow it or any of the dozens of other brands you've heard of who are also buying open mold designs.
Here's a very early frame we looked at:
I was pretty warm on this design because I found the lines visually appealing. I knew we would have a minimalist decal scheme so was relying on the frame silhouette to differentiate the bike. Dave responded politely, "I'd ride that bike." And then spent a few days extolling the virtues of the "bike-flavored bike", which is distinctive because it's functional, not because it's trying to be cool looking. So we moved past the swoopy lines of bikes like that one and onto more classic designs.
Like this one:
Not gorgeous, but certainly not off-putting. But this bike was not available with the tapered head tube which we were leaning towards pretty heavily at this point. The bigger issue for us though is that it is made in China. Our agent is in Taiwan so the bikes would have to go from China to him in Taiwan, before shipping to us, otherwise there would be no opportunity for QC until the frames arrived in the States. That extra leg slows the process and also pushes up shipping charges. (The frame is not available for the Swiss market, so a brand there has a process that doesn't require the extra step - or they're fine just passing the expense onto their customers.) With all the excellent bikes available right in Taiwan, we decided to rule this one out and keep looking.
Onto this one:
This one is "NEW" so it does have that going for it. (Did you think we were kidding about shopping from a catalog? This image is cropped right out of a page featuring half a dozen frames.) We liked this frame a lot, and it comes from a supplier with whom our agent has worked for a decade, and trusts completely. But the downside to this supplier is that they are used to working with big brands who place large orders. That means they have a higher MOQ (minimum order quantity), but more troubling is that there is a higher probability that a huge order gets in front of ours in the queue, and delays our production. We decided to keep this one in mind though, because the functional aspects of the frame were pretty close to a direct hit, even if the business aspects might present some challenges.
Next we looked at this one:
Dave and I were both really keen on this frame. I found the ripple in the headtube a little gimmcky, but otherwise we both positively loved the silhouette - straight and solid lines, beefy bb and proven geometry. Our agent has a good relationship with this supplier. He gets along well with the owner's son (who runs the bike division) and also knows the owner's son's wife (who really runs the bike division). This is a new model from the company. By this time we had already seen the frame that would ultimately become the Wheelhouse, and while the price of this option was within our range, it was nevertheless $60 more than the bike to be known as the Wheelhouse. We liked this bike a lot, but not enough to spend (and charge you) the extra coin for it. Velocite sells this bike as the Magnus, and charges $1699 for it.
No magic, just some good old-fashioned decision-making based on a pre-assembled framework. We knew we wanted a bike that would appeal to many racers because of its purposefulness, that we could offer at a price lower than any comparable product on the market, that would reduce the likelihood of production and fulfillment delays, and (selfishly) that we personally would love riding.