Dave and I don't really have staff meetings, but we do go through a list of current projects each week. I figured the easiest way to keep our customers in the loop is to just publish the list here, along with some explanation of what we're doing and what the status is. I've also broken them into categories based on immediacy.
So here's What's Cookin', the February 2012 edition:
- Free Tubes: (Or, if you prefer, free carbon clinchers with the purchase of our $945 tubes.) We ship all our wheels 50mm and deeper with a pair of removable core valve extenders. They're awesome, but only work with tubes (or tubulars) with removable cores themselves. After answering dozens of emails about what tubes to use and where to find them, we gave up. From now on, all our carbon clinchers will ship with a 3-pack of removable core tubes. We're using 60mm Bontrager Race X-Lite now. Even though the RFSC 38s don't use the extenders, we still ship the tubes, just because it would be hard to explain why we're not. So that's a bonus I guess. 2 tips: 1) Make sure you pack the installation tool in your pack with your spare tube (the 3rd we give you) so you can swap the extender into the new tube if you flat; 2) See our instructions for installing your valve extenders here if you've never done it before.
- Outlet: We launched the Outlet, which is where we sell cancelled orders, demo products, stuff we bought for customers by mistake, and other items we find lying around. You can always get to the Outlet in the pull-down for the Self-Service Course in the nav bar.
- More in the Self-Service Course: Speaking of the SSC, we've added supplements, bar tape, saddles and some small pieces-parts. And we made it easier to get to by putting a button at the bottom of the Self-Service Course page. Anyone can buy from the SSC, but our wheel, frame and bike customers get a special discount code. If you don't have one, just ask.
- Assembly: We're going to start selling and shipping fully built bikes. Well, 99% built. You'll have to put the wheels on, seatpost in and straighten the stem, but that's a far sight easier than building the thing up yourself. We're charging $100 for the build, and of course you can elect not to have your bike built and save the benjamin. (Pay for what's important.) The option begins with our current Max Perkins pre-order customers, who we'll be contacting soon. It's already integrated in the shopping cart of the Wheelhouse Max Perkins and HOT BUNS Original Recipe bikes that are on their way.
- March Pre-Order: We have a pre-order open right now. It's for carbon wheelsets and closes March 5th. We're forecasting late May / early June for delivery of the wheels. Pre-ordering is an easy way to save yourself $100, and now with our new RFSC and RFSW pre-order configurators, it's an easy way to configure exactly the wheelset you want.
- Wheelhouse Frames: We just learned today that the Wheelhouse frames come out of production on March 23rd. A month on a boat and a week in customs gets them here in early May, which is unacceptable. So we're having all the pre-sold bikes sent by air, getting them into our customers' hands in early April. As you'd expect, shipping by air costs about a gozillion percent more than shipping by sea, so we're only including the bikes that already have owners. So if you want a Wheelhouse by early April, make sure you order it by March 15th. Otherwise you'll have to wait for the second batch arriving in May.
- HOT BUNS Frames: They're in production. And they're going to say HOT BUNS on them. +2.
- 29er Frame: Our demos are out of production and only need to be finished. The delay is because we did not have the decal artwork ready, which was waiting for a name for the bike. Dave has since named the bike (he drank a Fresca while listening to ELO for inspiration), so demos will be here soon.
- MTB Wheels: We're building 29er wheels around Velocity's Blunt SL rims and using MTB hubs from Novatec, supplier of our standard road wheel hubs. Dave has been testing them by crashing over roots and such and has pronounced them worthy. You'll see them on the site in a couple of weeks.
- TT Frame: This bike has had a name for a long time, even before it has been a bike. Now it is a bike, and we're expecting the first production samples in March. That means Dave and I will be taking an extra helping of 2x20s throughout all of February.
- Wheel Trade-In: When we launched, we only offered one rim depth in carbon tubular, and then added one depth in carbon clincher. No choice of spokes, no premium hubs. Now we offer 4 depths in both tubular and clincher, 4 spoke options and 5 hub choices. Some of our early customers are eyeing our new options, trying to justify them while they still have a perfectly awesome wheelset. The solution we're working on is a Wheel Trade-In program, where we buy back your wheels with a credit towards a new set from us. Then we clean, true, re-decal and put a new cassette body on the trade-ins, and sell them in our Outlet as certified pre-owned, with a full 1-year warranty. There are some details to work out (like approximate trade-in values, and shipping), but we ought to have it ready by the end of the month.