One of the risks you face in doing a project like the Nimbus Ti is that people will be skeptical of prices that are "too low." We're all conditioned to believe that price and quality exist in a positive relationship, and that spending more is better and that ultimately "you get what you pay for." I had what was ultimately a pretty surreal conversation on Facebook about this yesterday (in itself worthy of a whole different conversation), so let's take a few minutes to discuss the why and the how.
Why did we price the Nimbus Ti alloy wheels like we did? Short answer is because we had to. There are a million different options on the market, everything from "overpriced and bad" to "quite good but still overpriced" to "bad and cheap" to "holy crap, how do they sell those for that?" The first three compose the meat of the madding crowd within the market, but it's the foourth that's the ultimate threat. Whether they're grey market or overstock closeouts or loss leaders or whatever they are, there are always offers out there that demand your notice.
I've never seen any of these showstopper deals that are, in my opinion, the near equivalent of what we are offering with Nimbus Ti builds, but when people can get a halfway decent set of wheels delivered for $300, that's what fancy people call "disruptive market forces." So here we are, sitting in between our two primary market edges - expensive, heavily marketed, regular channel wheels, and these super low price ones. Of course, we weren't alone where we are - our little corner of the fishbowl was plenty crowded with places doing similar products at not terribly different prices. And for a whole host of strategic reasons, we are firmly committed to being really really good at the alloy wheel business. So the cut that long story down to a much shorter one, the "why" is really simple: because we had to.
Now the "how." The first piece of the puzzle is the Nimbus Ti hubs. Biggest thing is that they simplify the hub game for us - one color, the minimum number of fully relevant drilling options, and a product that works every bit as well for the guy/girl who's starting to ride more and getting into his/her first group rides/races/centuries as it does for a WorldTour team. When the one wheel product that you find yourself ALWAYS recommending is available as a part that you can get as an OEM product and make a centerpiece of your product strategy, you simply do it. The product attributes are all 100% there, same as the original, but the rules around OEM are slightly different and advantageous to our strategy.
Another big piece of the how is Laser spokes. They're well under half the cost of CX Rays, for what is for all intents and purposes zero dimunition of performance. Lasers cost you a few seconds versus CX Rays in the 40k TT, but the wheels we're using them in aren't really focused on the pointy end of the TT results sheet. The business economics of them work brilliantly for wheel builders, as they are expensive and easier to build with, but the customer doesn't see benefit in line with that.
Rims are, of course, another arrow in the quiver. We use the best off the shelf rims available, which gives us a ton of flexibility in how we use our money and buy and stock them. With some of the rims we use, we can turn our inventory 100x/year if needed. Conversely, we can buy huge and turn it 3x/year at a lower part cost but higher cost of money. Flexibility f-ing rules.
There's a lot of romance around wheel building, and it's pretty easy to see some hip bank of credit card commercial with a mainstream-friendly hipster (oxymoron, I know) building wheels and scream out "hey, that's what I do!" but the actual reality is very different. We aren't that well groomed, our coffees aren't that transcendent, and we're busting nut for long hours to fit it all into the day. We chase efficiencies like they were gold, and basically work really really hard for what most people would call not a lot of money, but it's what we do, we like it, we're good at it, and we want to keep doing it.