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 November 2011 edition:
- November 7th Pre-Order: For a few more days, we're all about fielding questions on Wheelhouse fit, Max Perkins configuration, and wheel recommendations. If you've got last minute questions don't actually leave them until the last minute please - there's racing to do this weekend and Dave can't type with muddy thumbs.
- The Customer Store: If you click on the "Pre-Order Store" tab it opens up our entire store, including a category currently labeled "Customer Store." I know the picture might suggest we'll be selling beer (or giving it away), but the Customer Store is instead our way of thanking our customers for buying a frame, wheelset or bike from us. We'll be filling that store with all manner of gruppos, individual components like cranksets, shifters, handlebars, stems, saddles, posts, consumables like tires, tubes, cables, chains, nutrition, embrocation, and the other stuff racers need like trainers and rollers, and car racks. Buying our stuff gets you a nice discount on everything you'll see in that section. (We can't say how big the discount here since some suppliers may hit us with cease and desist letters, but email us if you're curious.) You can use the discount as often as you like, for 3 months if you buy wheels, 6 months if you buy a frame, and 9 months if you buy a complete bike. The discount won't be Holy Crap pricing, but it will be as good a deal as you'll find without resorting to eBay or buying from an online store overseas, relieving you of the burden of deal shopping online. Like everything else we sell, it will be as good a price as we can afford to give.
- HOT BUNS: On November 8th we can shift our attention from the November 7th pre-order to the HOT BUNS. We've almost finished with the spec for the complete bike, which will probably have a little less SRAM Force than the Wheelhouse Max Perkins (since rear derailleurs are not components, but consumables on a cross bike), and therefore should run a little less expensive than the $2285 complete Wheelhouse Max Perkins. We'll have it all worked out by next week.
- Wheel Price Increase: After the November 7th Pre-order closes, we'll be raising the prices of our wheelsets by $60, both for pre-order and in-stock. Our wheel pre-orders are really popular, but much of the interest has been because it's the only way you've been able to get our RFSC 38s and 58s. We're making a big push to change that and keep them in stock for immediate(r) delivery. Inventory means expense, and since our rims and hubs come from Taiwan it's expense we need to incur several months in advance, adding a financing cost to the inventory. So shifting the model towards greater in-stock availability costs some money. The only way to keep prices the same and still be able to sell our full in-stock line would be to use lower quality components or to spend less on building and service, none of which we're willing to do. Like, ever.
- TT Bike: We had intended to order demos last month but decided to hold off and buy them instead after the November 7th pre-order deadline. So we'll get these ordered next week and begin testing them right away. Lead time is quicker on these than the road frames so we will have them in during the winter. If they're awesome, we'll open up the pre-order on them as soon as we can in the late winter or early spring. Like the Wheelhouse and HOT BUNS, they will be available as a frameset or a complete bike with your choice of any of our wheelsets (or none at all).
- 29er: We've already ordered some demos, which should be here before too long. You'll know the day they're here.
- Pins and Numbers: Even though we read most of the other cycling sites out there, we're not enamoured by them. Like the industry they cover, there's a lack of transparency and integrity that requires that racers become domain experts in order to make an informed decision about who to trust, and when. We started selling bikes when we thought we could do a better job meeting the needs of racers, and we've identified another need.
+1 for the 29er! and please say it'll have a tapered head tube.