What style of bikes would you build?
Who would be your typical customer?
What material and why?
How would you differentiate yourself from the other brands?
I would build steel bikes and support and race cyclocross.
I'd build in steel because other materials require too much additional equipment/investment. I'd have two tiers of bikes, top end would be fillet brazed with traditional geo and custom, and the lower tier would be tigged with standard geo but no custom. Cross frames would be tigged to keep the price down. I would sponsor regional teams on the road and cyclecross. Customers would be people seeking an alternative to cookie cutter carbon frames.
I heart burnt bikes.
i'd be on prozac and lithium from dealing with all of the kinds of nutbars that hang out on internet forums and send their batshit insane requests to me, at least until i was able to scale up to trek/specialized size at which point we'd have people to do that sort of thing for us, dahling
but more to the op, i think itd be carbon for me. differentiated by, well, lemme get back to you on that
Tigged, fillet brazed and lugged steel bikes. Basic double diamond frames with my geometry. Simple paint schemes. Level top tubes. No crazy stuff or super custom requests.
Coo coo ca choo.
Joltin' Joe etc.
my name is Matt
Aluminum, road cross and track. No bullshit, designed to race, tough and modestly priced. Like Mickey, only with capital! Hire a kick ass welder to start, then search for and train some local fabrication talent, and hire some graffitti artists for brand flavor in some depressed shit hole town that's hurting for jobs, then turn it into a worker owned cooperative. Sponsor a local junior team and find some partners to build a velodrome somewhere to chase the junkies and dealers away.
People who like that sort of thing.Who would be your typical customer?
A combination of stainless steel, Australian tonewoods, boron fibre and carbon fibre.What material and why?
By building a bike as if it were a musical instrument.How would you differentiate yourself from the other brands?
"I have a doctorate in funk"
Dipped my pinky toe in. I was never mechanically inclined. Filed some tubes by hand. Took for fucking ever. I was not good.
That said, steel and aluminum. TIG and lugged; I like seeing how the tibet are joined. Filet only where necessary. Bikes, two triangles; go far fast. But I don't think I can offer anything that others cannot at this point.
Got some cash
Bought some wheels
Took it out
'Cross the fields
Hit a wall
But we're alright
also, re: differentiating yourself from other brands, there are good flourishes and there are bad flourishes.
good flourishes (or at least innocuous ones):
-signal cycles' polished bands around the seat tube
-firefly's matching ano stripes on bottle cages (so, so hot - i bet this gets copied a million times by the end of the year)
-dave kirk's terraplane seatstays
-original paint schemes
bad flourishes (anonymized to protect the innocent):
-crossed seatstays. it didn't make the bikes any better at being bicycles, and probably wasted a bunch of the guy's time and therefore money.
-fork blade tangs brazed to the seat lug (cmon)
don't make it different just for the sake of making it different. learn how to make regular bikes the regular way, and do it enough so that you get to the point where every bike is 99.9% as well crafted as every other bike you've made. then go nuts with the differentiating.
paint is always a good place to do this, though. look at what Specialized did for the Olympics.
The world needs another tig steel / aluminum cookie cutter option like I need more gray hair...
I'd like to see someone pushing the limits with CF to build:
A. Ultra light weight weenie frames
B. Custom TT bikes with aero section tubes, not round section which is no good for aero. Copy the P3, understand fit and there is a market here.
C. Tandems. Albeit a small market, there are only a few high end options.
D. Crazy good and unique paint, or nude / single clear for gram shavers.
Parlee, Appleman and Crumpton can offer some of this but not all.
Above is mention of "spooky with capital". I'm thinking Ruegamer without the business issues.
Is there a market? Maybe. Some WW cats have a bankroll and they are informed and passionate. Tandem teams are often well heeled too. Same for TT and Tri geeks. At some point you probably do what Nic and Tom did and outsource some stock bikes and cash in on the brand name you've built.
Lugs - unless you will put in the time and have the talent to become the next JPW or Dazza I don't see this happening except as a hobby. But YMMV.
Welded racing frames at affordable prices. Like what jerk makes. But he makes them and knows more about bikes and bike design than I ever possibly could, so there's no need for me to do this.
But I once semi-seriously asked myself this question and that was the answer I came up with. Workhorse welded steel race bikes without fancy stuff to drive up the price.
I'd design an AL road and track frames and have them built in one of the former factory buildings near the rock hill sc velodrome by out of work machinists and welders, presuming I could afford to pay US labor. we are Spooky South.
just have them welded by robots in China. Make like William Lewis.
basic welded race bikes. fuck the high end or the neurotic custom douchebag. try to sell enough sub-$900 frames to keep the doors open, and end up going broke. it would be cool while it lasted.