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Thread: so - what would you like to see here atmo?

  1. #21
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    As someone who builds frames to sell (insured for 2x10e6), but is not a framebuilder, I would love to keep this portion of the forum akin to the Jerk's, with posts occurring less frequently but containing a much higher content/spray ratio than the General Discussion forum.

    The beauty of the Jerk's section is that you know each topic is going to be a good read that is well thought out and insightful. The same can be said of most of the posts that the Telai-ista section to date. No one wants to recreate the frameforum experiences or the bikelist discussions so I don't think the "How do I build a frame" question will come up.

    I would love to see sincere postings by builders looking to grow, modify, or otherwise improve their business. That being said, I think that there is seed for discussion in some of the following.

    1) Toolling from Anvil is the shit but, I would love to see more homegrown solutions to framebuilding problems. The facultative reasoning behind the tooling in D. Kirk's and e-Richie's build sequences are fascinating and show how one could maximize profitability while not sacrificing quality.

    2) Zanc has posted the marketing/advertising question before on the bikelist forum and I found the responses lacking specificity. What sort of promotions/sponsorships are people trying out? I love Sach's support of road and cyclocross...what have other people done to access non-Interweb type customers.

    3) Pricing...call out the ass hats who are responsible for discussions like this one, http://www.serotta.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56565
    perhaps a discussion about how to target such thinking would be worthwhile

    4) Pricing, high end production frames like Time and Colnago are fetching $4000 plus. How many hand crafted frames can claim the same?

    5) Current work- In the past I've voiced the concern that builders posting work in the Geeral Discussion forum feels somewhat like advertising (it's been better lately). Why don't builders just post their latest work here? It'd be a neat clearing house for those hoping to better understand the craft and it would differentiate consumer's sneak peek shots from builder's "here's what I'm up to" pics.

    6)Stories- I would love to hear about builders experiences from visits to Nagasawa, working at Serotta, having a customer exclaim "my custom bike couldn't do the above as well as the Centurion" when the custom frame was fan-freakin-tastic, having customers try to ditch a commitment to buy by arranging for some sort of bizare "buy out" for another forum individual without the builder's consent.

    Aside from those listed, there are tons of things for builders to talk about. What I would personally prefer is that they post because they want to, not because they see that this section of the forum has been inactive for a period of time. If it's anything like the Jerk's section, then people are watching it daily, and when the time comes to talk...the forum will be fertile ground.
     

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Lots of it. A professional builder has it - period - full stop.

    Dave
    Hear Hear
    What Dave said

    And I pay extra $ for coverage for all my exported frames and frame parts to the USA and Europe.

    Cherers Dazza
     

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    i can't see how the insurance
    industry can come down any lower than $1500 per annum, and i don't even
    think they should. there are not <that> many full time pros and even fewer
    hobbyists. no matter how many frames one makes, atmo the cost of entry at
    $1500 a year for product liability seems reasonable.
    I think Bill's point was that an electrical contractor pays ~$800 a year, and faulty electrical work can cause injury and death about as easily as can faulty frame building. It would seem that lower insurance rates would be beneficial to all builders, unless perhaps established builders view such costs as a barrier to entry for potential competitors.

    Harry Phinney
     

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkp View Post
    I think Bill's point was that an electrical contractor pays ~$800 a year, and faulty electrical work can cause injury and death about as easily as can faulty frame building.
    if there was as many framebuilders in the states as there were
    electricians in my county, i am sure the rates would be spread
    out further and hence lowered atmo.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkp View Post
    It would seem that lower insurance rates would be beneficial to all builders, unless perhaps established builders view such costs as a barrier to entry for potential competitors.

    Harry Phinney
    nah. i can't fathom that any professional (or anyone at all, for that matter) would feel that way.
     

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbab@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$% View Post
    3) Pricing...call out the ass hats who are responsible for discussions like this one, http://www.serotta.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56565
    perhaps a discussion about how to target such thinking would be worthwhile
    OK. I followed the link and read through the thread. What exactly is an "ass hat", and why do you consider people associated with that thread to be such? It seemed to me to be a reasonable discussion regarding alternate approaches to getting a bike, and referenced several very experienced, well known, and generally well respected builders.

    Harry Phinney
     

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    if there was as many framebuilders in the states as there were
    electricians in my county, i am sure the rates would be spread
    out further and hence lowered atmo.
    A larger number of builders should only cause the rate to go down if increasing the number of frame builders decreases the per-builder insurance pay-outs. I guess that would be true if either the additional frame builders did not proportionately increase the number of frames built, or they increased the average skill of the builders and so that the per-builder risk decreased. Perhaps there's effectively a surcharge because of additional risk due to the insurers' inexperience in the industry, but it seems to me that there's little difference from a liability standpoint between frame building and general metal fabrication. I haven't priced it, so perhaps metal fabricators also pay 75% higher insurance rates than do electrical contractors.

    Harry Phinney
     

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkp View Post
    A larger number of builders should only cause the rate to go down if increasing the number of frame builders decreases the per-builder insurance pay-outs. I guess that would be true if either the additional frame builders did not proportionately increase the number of frames built, or they increased the average skill of the builders and so that the per-builder risk decreased. Perhaps there's effectively a surcharge because of additional risk due to the insurers' inexperience in the industry, but it seems to me that there's little difference from a liability standpoint between frame building and general metal fabrication. I haven't priced it, so perhaps metal fabricators also pay 75% higher insurance rates than do electrical contractors.

    Harry Phinney
    atmo if/when we are classified as welders, the premium is reasonable (or i
    should say, others might consider it reasonable) but the cavaet is that the
    liability extends to the frame. if/when it is altered in any way (as in, assembled
    into a bicycle) all bets are off. i spent about 10 years in this grid and i was
    warned against selling bicycles (as opposed to frames). atmo it simply is not
    worth the anxiety involved because whatever we are assessed, there will
    be those who say it's too much and it supports that barrier of entry POV that
    you mentioned. it's a business, there are many ways to amortize the premium
    over a 12 month period, and cats do it all the time. sometimes i wonder what
    folks (not you harry) would pay if it were a donation amount to keep the wolves
    away from the door, so to speak. insurance isn't for us, it's for the fellow who,
    god forbid, may have lunch served through an IV tube. atmo in the big picture,
    a grand or so (for liability) is chump change. and the ones who have their
    agents combine policies with theft, homeowners, fire, and others can further
    reduce that premium by having the local agent gang up all the categories.
     

  8. #28
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    As much as I enjoy the entire forum, it all comes down to preaching to the choir. I doubt there is a person on this forum who wouldn't stop to check out a Sachs, Zank, Hampsten, etc but we don't represent the general cycling public. We're bike geeks who lust after carved lugs, perfect welds, panel paint jobs, ovalized tubing, steel straight blade forks, handbuilt wheels, and stems painted to match the frame. Try to explain that to the guy who bought the latest plastic offering from Taiwan.
    I heart burnt bikes.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkp View Post
    OK. I followed the link and read through the thread. What exactly is an "ass hat", and why do you consider people associated with that thread to be such? It seemed to me to be a reasonable discussion regarding alternate approaches to getting a bike, and referenced several very experienced, well known, and generally well respected builders.

    Harry Phinney
    I for one think that pricing one's product in a way that undervalues skill while simultaneously undercutting other craftsmen does noo one any good save the consumer. A good example of this would be DeSalvo's $850 frames. He's not making much of a profit, he's drawing business away from someone earning sustainable profit margins, and he's setting the bar at an unrealistic level. Don't take my word for it, go to nova cycle supply, price out a nice tubeset, then consider insurance costs as discussed earlier. Add the cost of a mill, tig welder fixtures, businesses licenses, filer material, health insurance, dental, retiremebt, mortgage, rent, paint, web space, etc. Then consider the fact that most here would rate the product as being on par with other $3k fransesets. The guy is welding up speedvagens for god's sake! How can a consumer who expects and respects a personal relationship with their builder be cool with a $850 frame cost?

    My guess is that a really good welder could make $30/hour. Take a builder who can crank out four premium bikes a week (most do 1-2/week) and you're at ten hours. That's $300"ish" for labor and $500"ish" for all the expenses. Paint, tubes, insurance...all of those expenses listed earlier are more than $500. Paint oftentimes runs $500+. Do the math and look at the suppliers websites to get a feel for expenses. This doesn't ever begin to cover the hours spent emailing and talking on the phone, planning geometries, fit, braze-ons, color choices, billing, etc. Now consider that same price for a builder making two bikes a week. That's twenty hours for $300 and $600 for 40 hours of work, about $2400/month for extremely good welding...before Income tax, social security, state income tax, etc.

    Guys cranking out "bargin" framesets simply aren't sustainable, and they hurt those who strive for sustainability. If people want to see the craft live on, then the need to recognize the labor and experience put into handcrafted framesets as deserving money comporable to the carbon bikes that are out there. Add to that, the fact that many of the most experienced among us (grantm, dbrk, darren, brunk, etc.) choose handmade steel frames over other material and production options; justifying inexpensive custom bikes becomes that much harder. The point is...experienced, well known, and respected builders should not be selling bikes for under $1500.
    Buyers looking to pay builders less than that (maybe $2k is a better floor) are only putting nails in a coffin.
     

  10. #30
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    I agree. I never fault folks for taking advantage of a bargain when they can. We all do. But (there's always a 'but' isn't there?) if you want to support a builder that is charging so little for a hand made bike the best thing you can do is not buy one. If they lose money on each one the more they sell the worse they do.

    The builders are of course big boys/girls and can set their pricing however they like and the customers are free to do what they like - it just needs to be kept in mind that all these decisions have consequences for the builder, the customer and all the other builders out there.

    IMO of course.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbab@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$% View Post
    I for one think that pricing one's product in a way that undervalues skill while simultaneously undercutting other craftsmen does noo one any good save the consumer. A good example of this would be DeSalvo's $850 frames. He's not making much of a profit, he's drawing business away from someone earning sustainable profit margins, and he's setting the bar at an unrealistic level. Don't take my word for it, go to nova cycle supply, price out a nice tubeset, then consider insurance costs as discussed earlier. Add the cost of a mill, tig welder fixtures, businesses licenses, filer material, health insurance, dental, retiremebt, mortgage, rent, paint, web space, etc. Then consider the fact that most here would rate the product as being on par with other $3k fransesets. The guy is welding up speedvagens for god's sake! How can a consumer who expects and respects a personal relationship with their builder be cool with a $850 frame cost?

    My guess is that a really good welder could make $30/hour. Take a builder who can crank out four premium bikes a week (most do 1-2/week) and you're at ten hours. That's $300"ish" for labor and $500"ish" for all the expenses. Paint, tubes, insurance...all of those expenses listed earlier are more than $500. Paint oftentimes runs $500+. Do the math and look at the suppliers websites to get a feel for expenses. This doesn't ever begin to cover the hours spent emailing and talking on the phone, planning geometries, fit, braze-ons, color choices, billing, etc. Now consider that same price for a builder making two bikes a week. That's twenty hours for $300 and $600 for 40 hours of work, about $2400/month for extremely good welding...before Income tax, social security, state income tax, etc.

    Guys cranking out "bargin" framesets simply aren't sustainable, and they hurt those who strive for sustainability. If people want to see the craft live on, then the need to recognize the labor and experience put into handcrafted framesets as deserving money comporable to the carbon bikes that are out there. Add to that, the fact that many of the most experienced among us (grantm, dbrk, darren, brunk, etc.) choose handmade steel frames over other material and production options; justifying inexpensive custom bikes becomes that much harder. The point is...experienced, well known, and respected builders should not be selling bikes for under $1500.
    Buyers looking to pay builders less than that (maybe $2k is a better floor) are only putting nails in a coffin.

    Is it possible that Mike is actually making just north of $400 dollars a frame here and that further he will be making some profit on forks and components on these 30 bikes as well?
    I don’t think its unreasonable that he may see an average of $500 profit on these given the extras he will sell along the way. So 30*500 = 15K profit on say 6-8 weeks worth of work and the intangible good will created toward the customer base may not be as shabby as one might imagine.
    Further is it possible in this economy that new orders are not flowing as well as in the past. And that given Mike’s relatively short lead times in comparison to other builders there was a chance that the “factory” was not going to be at full capacity. The fixed costs of a one-man factory do not lend themselves to much cost cutting or layoffs.
    While it may not be sustainable and it certainly affects other framebuilders, its not that crazy.
     

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamIAm View Post
    The fixed costs of a one-man factory do not lend themselves to much cost cutting or layoffs.
    While it may not be sustainable and it certainly affects other framebuilders, its not that crazy.

    when things were slow-to-a-halt-like slow here i conceived my Strada Immaculata
    frame line. i offered them through my dealer network, sold almost 40, and the project
    resulted in increased sales and appreciation for my Signature frames atmo. it was a
    true learning experience for me, and humbling as well.
     

  13. #33
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    $1200 is not too little for a custom frame, in the least.

    Some builders may only be able to crank out 2-3 frames a week, but I know plenty of folks(and they are the ones with the $1200 frames) who easily build 2-3 frames a day.

    Tig welding and powdercoating tubes that you have on hand and bought in large quantity in a shop space that you own outright, with machines that you paid for 10+ years ago in cash, and doing it 3 times a day, they are doing just fine.

    Framebuilding as an in-efficient, "artisnal" "lifestlye" using arcane methods for the sake of artifice and tradition is something that quite obviously, a dedicated core of consumers will choose to support indefinitely. Whining about Curtis, or Rocklobster or 3D building bikes "too cheaply" is bogus.

    They exist in a vastly different part of the market than the lugs crowd, and if they were building those bikes (which some of them do, on occasion), they charge the same amount, or thereabouts as other people who build bikes in slow, antiquated ways.

    People who build $1200-1400 frames are not insulted by the idea that people who still build bikes with files, brazing rod, hacksaws and tin-snips, "charge so much" and that consumers for some reason would want to pay extra for less-efficient construction.

    Building a great custom bike, in the world of wire edm, lasercutting and forging as the standard ways to create metal profiles in industry is already archane, but using 1940's technology(tigs, machines) instead of 1880's tech really does save a lot of time, and thus, money.


    It's all good. :thumbs_up:
    mickey.denoncourt
    Product Manager- Commonwealth Cycles

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    $1200 is not too little for a custom frame, in the least.

    Some builders may only be able to crank out 2-3 frames a week, but I know plenty of folks(and they are the ones with the $1200 frames) who easily build 2-3 frames a day.
    agreed 100% but atmo the OP's point was about someone who is in
    the 2-3 frames a week category, not the other. therein lies his concern.
     

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbab@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$% View Post
    Guys cranking out "bargin" framesets simply aren't sustainable, and they hurt those who strive for sustainability. If people want to see the craft live on, then the need to recognize the labor and experience put into handcrafted framesets as deserving money comporable to the carbon bikes that are out there. Add to that, the fact that many of the most experienced among us (grantm, dbrk, darren, brunk, etc.) choose handmade steel frames over other material and production options; justifying inexpensive custom bikes becomes that much harder. The point is...experienced, well known, and respected builders should not be selling bikes for under $1500.
    Buyers looking to pay builders less than that (maybe $2k is a better floor) are only putting nails in a coffin.
    At the end of the day it's a free market, whether that means Target or Wal-Mart. Or high-end bike frames. Or airplane tickets.

    Nobody wants to pay much for anything and when we shop around someone gets hurt.

    It could be argued that Orbitz has done more to damage the airline business than any other factor. But it's there and allows customers to get cheap airline tickets.

    Everyone thinks everything is overpriced until it affects them or something they care about. Then it suddenly becomes grossly undervalued.

    At least that's how I see it.
    La Cheeserie!

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    $1200 is not too little for a custom frame, in the least.

    Some builders may only be able to crank out 2-3 frames a week, but I know plenty of folks(and they are the ones with the $1200 frames) who easily build 2-3 frames a day.

    Tig welding and powdercoating tubes that you have on hand and bought in large quantity in a shop space that you own outright, with machines that you paid for 10+ years ago in cash, and doing it 3 times a day, they are doing just fine.

    Framebuilding as an in-efficient, "artisnal" "lifestlye" using arcane methods for the sake of artifice and tradition is something that quite obviously, a dedicated core of consumers will choose to support indefinitely. Whining about Curtis, or Rocklobster or 3D building bikes "too cheaply" is bogus.

    They exist in a vastly different part of the market than the lugs crowd, and if they were building those bikes (which some of them do, on occasion), they charge the same amount, or thereabouts as other people who build bikes in slow, antiquated ways.

    People who build $1200-1400 frames are not insulted by the idea that people who still build bikes with files, brazing rod, hacksaws and tin-snips, "charge so much" and that consumers for some reason would want to pay extra for less-efficient construction.

    Building a great custom bike, in the world of wire edm, lasercutting and forging as the standard ways to create metal profiles in industry is already archane, but using 1940's technology(tigs, machines) instead of 1880's tech really does save a lot of time, and thus, money.


    It's all good. :thumbs_up:
    No one man shop custom builder is building 2-3 bikes a day, unless they're pre-sized bikes. Interacting with the customer takes as long or longer than building the bike.
    "It's better to not know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." -- Josh Billings, 1885

    A man with any character at all must have enemies and places he is not welcome—in the end we are not only defined by our friends, but also those aligned against us.


  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
    No one man shop custom builder is building 2-3 bikes a day, unless they're pre-sized bikes. Interacting with the customer takes as long or longer than building the bike.
    i learned long ago that you can be wholesale or you can be retail
    but you can't be both, especially if you are making something by
    hand and rarely are two items the same. and atmo in this business
    no two clients are the same.

    ps somehow the grammar at the end of that there first sentence
    leaves me cold, but i hope you get the spirit of my point.
     

  18. #38
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    Can this discussion regarding pricing be taken to a different post within the Telista forum? Let's keep this post on point about where the builders forum goes.
     

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbab@#$%@#$%@#$%@#$% View Post
    Can this discussion regarding pricing be taken to a different post within the Telista forum? Let's keep this post on point about where the builders forum goes.


    atmo it's better to start one than to selectively move posts from here to a new landing spot.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    atmo it's better to start one than to selectively move posts from here to a new landing spot.
    The software is censoring out the in bab's name? Seriously. Throat punch for the admin.
    "It's better to not know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." -- Josh Billings, 1885

    A man with any character at all must have enemies and places he is not welcome—in the end we are not only defined by our friends, but also those aligned against us.


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