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Thread: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

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    Default Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    DianeLees3.gif

    Diane Lees of the Outspoken Cyclist, OutspokenCyclist |, will be moderating a discussion panel at the 2015 Nahbs in Louisville Friday morning at 0845 for those interested in knowing more about the business of handcrafted bicycles. Sitting in the gun sites will be a select group of builders that offer a diverse look into the profession; Kent Eriksen, Steve Potts, Tim O'Donnel, Rody Walter and our show promoter extraordinaire, Don Walker. Topics may range from the life/business of a fabricator, how to choose a builder, or tips on how to make the transition from hobby/interest to professional. Truly, the topics discussed are up to you, the invested listener. In that vein, I'm asking your help.

    Please take a moment and post below questions that you have about this profession, the products themselves, or personal queries into the builders lives and personalities themselves.

    Thanks for helping out...Diane is listening :)
    Last edited by Rody; 02-19-2015 at 09:39 AM. Reason: smiley emoticon fail
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    1) We’re alive during an incredible bicycle renaissance, with a nearly an unmatched number of very high quality machines being built. The field is getting more competitive. Are we at market saturation? For a builder, what differentiation matters most in today’s marketplace?
    2) Carbon, titanium, steel, aluminum—is there a next material?
    3) Eric Estlund has carved out a niche for bespoke stems. Is there the talent, will and market for other bespoke componentry—saddles? Derailleurs? Carved chain rings? Something else?

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    How many frames do you build per year? Is the number limited by hours in the day, or sales?
    Dustin Gaddis
    www.MiddleGaEpic.com
    Why do people feel the need to list all of their bikes in their signature?

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    At what point is a builder considered a professional, and who has the authority to make that call?

    There have been a number of builders who have been paid for their work, which implies professional, yet the body of their work implies hobbyist.
    -Dustin

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    Thought provoking questions guys...keep em coming please.

    r
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    $0.02 cents but you are getting it for free:

    What makes a good client?

    What type of preparation and interaction(s) from the client makes the experience most valuable for both parties?

    What is your approach to conflict resolution before / during /after the build?

    What types of jobs/opportunities do you simply say "no" to?

    In an arena of cookie cutter bikes what makes your work differentiated?

    When you are done what do you want to be remembered for most (bike related, we all want world peace...)?



    Perspective and FWIW:

    My definition of a good client is someone who knows why they want to commission particular builder (besides fame), is informed as to what that builder does well, provides the necessary information to get a great build accurately and then gets the heck out of the way. Of course payment is made in timely fashion.

    My expectation of a "professional" is appropriate communication (we're not buddies, I've commissioned a frame not bought a friend), on time delivery of a properly fabricated, finished, defect free and safe bike which is suitable for the agreed upon purpose. If there is a problem with the product that should be corrected or an accommodation made (*).


    (*) Example: On one of my customs there was a small paint defect. Paint was outsourced but otherwise well done. Poop happens.

    The builder pointed it out and said: "Race it for the season, bring it back and it gets repainted free".

    I said: "Thank you for that and it'll have far more dings than that tiny scratch and I cannot accept a free paint job".

    But it was very nice that it was my decision on the resolution, the builder pointed out the issue at delivery and was 100% going to make it right. That builder is very successful for a reason.


    Good luck guys - these forums are good fun and lots of learnings possible for folks that love the craft. Kudos for getting out there.

    -Mark

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    One more question: Wassup with black these days? Bikes are black, cranks are black, brakes are black, seat posts are black...while this might look cool, it's counterintuitive if you don't want to be hit by a bus. Why go stealth? I have always thought that for safety, you want the brightest colors possible, taking every opportunity to increase visibility (neon orange spoke nipples? check!). My friends have countered: "a bunch of skinny tubes hardly cuts an image. If you want to be seen, wear a pink jersey." To them I reply: no matter what I wear, people know me as "the guy on the red bike." So they are seeing a bunch of skinny tubes. Discuss.

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    Quote Originally Posted by verbs4us View Post
    One more question: Wassup with black these days? Bikes are black, cranks are black, brakes are black, seat posts are black...while this might look cool, it's counterintuitive if you don't want to be hit by a bus. Why go stealth? I have always thought that for safety, you want the brightest colors possible, taking every opportunity to increase visibility (neon orange spoke nipples? check!). My friends have countered: "a bunch of skinny tubes hardly cuts an image. If you want to be seen, wear a pink jersey." To them I reply: no matter what I wear, people know me as "the guy on the red bike." So they are seeing a bunch of skinny tubes. Discuss.
    You obviously have not followed my work the last 20 years :)

    Just gotta go to the builders who are not afraid to meet your vision, fortunately for me, most of my customers have vivid personalities and like to have fun.

    Look here for lots of "NOT BLACK" bikes... NAHBS | North American Handmade Bicycle Show | Groovy Cycleworks LLCNAHBS | #NAHBS

    cheers,

    rody
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    For those who build, paint, and complete the whole bikes, how many percent of each bike's build time is devoted to performance of the bike (design, jig, brazing etc), aesthetics of the bike (refining lugs, polishing brazes, painting etc) and building up the bike (components, chase BB build wheels etc.)

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    Thanks to all who have taken the time to respond to Rody's request. I am about to put these ideas, questions, and comments into the final document for the panel.

    I hope you can make it to NAHBS2015 and look forward to saying hello to all who hunt me down!

    BTW, my frame builder's interview this week is with Steve Potts. OutspokenCyclist | Show #235 – February 28, 2015 If you've got a few minutes, tune it!

    Regards,

    Diane
    Outspoken Cyclist
    OutspokenCyclist |

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    Is a fork a component or an integral part of the frame ? Do you believe that steel, or whichever alloy you are using, is the best material to build a frame but still offer a carbon fork as an option ? If true, why ? When a customer specifically ask for a carbon fork, shouldn't you direct him to a carbon frame builder ?
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    What methods are used to get sales? What is a typical yearly advertising budget (if any)?

    Doug Fattic
    Niles, Michigan

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    How do you balance prompt customer service and customer contact with the amount of time it can draw away if you have a customer that is calling and emailing daily despite their build being four months away?
    Tim O'Donnell- Shamrock Cycles
    www.lugoftheirish.com

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    What proportion of builders are considering a shift from solely custom manufacturing to making stock bikes, a la Ti Cycles to Ren Cycles, Stanridge Speed to Wraith, et al.?

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    Default Re: Nahbs 2015: Builder discussion panel

    Quote Originally Posted by hmbatrail View Post
    How do you balance prompt customer service and customer contact with the amount of time it can draw away if you have a customer that is calling and emailing daily despite their build being four months away?
    An add-on to this:

    With various forms of communication, text message, phone calls, facebook messenger, facebook, instagram, flickr, email, etc......how do you keep track of customer conversations and requests?
    Will Neide (pronounced Nighty, like the thing worn to bed)

    Webpage : : Flickr : : Tumblr : : Facebook
    Instagram: wilco_cycleworks

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