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View Poll Results: Is the economy driving market away from small builders

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  • Yes

    18 23.38%
  • No

    22 28.57%
  • No Clue

    25 32.47%
  • Don't Care

    4 5.19%
  • Thanks for the fish

    8 10.39%
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Thread: Small Builders taking a hit

  1. #1
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    Default Small Builders taking a hit

    I'm not prone to prognostication of things I know not well. Not bad for a science major right?

    No kidding, of late there seems to be less and less visible activity from small builders. Friday night lights has slowed down and participation at various well traveled places are quiet.

    Also, if you look at classifieds here and at other forums it looks like consumers are tightening their belts. I hear fewer and fewer "I have a new XXXX arriving in three weeks WOO HOO" comments. There are more and more really nice bikes selling for fire sale prices for instance.

    There are builders I know who are busier than heck and these are the guys who's reputation, quality and ability to create market are a notch above the others...in my opinion. Also, folks who represent larg(er) custom mfg. with facilities are chugging along nicely. I'm taking note that perhaps consumers have put more faith in these larger operations to deliver.

    Is it just me or has the general economic climate reached deeper into the pockets of consumers and affected small framebuilders as well?

    Talk to me
    Last edited by Too Tall; 07-17-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    i usually order a new bike in the winter because im bored. in the summer when im riding a lot, i realize that i don't need so many f'ing bikes so i sell one or two.

    my next bike will get a tig'ed zank cross maybe with disc brakes or something.

    more later...
     
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    People are riding not navel gazing. Certain guys are super busy, certain guys don't have orders. I think the custom market is very, very fickle.
     
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    10-12 years ago when many nice custom frames like Desalvo and Strong were less than a grand, I would buy a new one every year. Now that most custom frames are $2K-3K, I have to wait more like 3-4 years in between ordering new frames. Maybe people are buying more expensive frames and keeping them for longer?
    2017 Trek Crockett disc
    2015 Zanconato Alu Road
    2009 Zanconato Team Cross
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    2 words

    discretionary income
    "make the break"
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Cycling is the one area where I don't cut back much, but I can't say the same for any other areas. Fewer dinners out, less spent on entertainment. But I'm also not being crushed by a ridiculous mortgage payment every month. I'm sure anyone that bought in the middle of this decade is under extreme pressue right now.
     
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Bubble burst?
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenCT View Post
    i usually order a new bike in the winter because im bored. in the summer when im riding a lot, i realize that i don't need so many f'ing bikes so i sell one or two.

    more later...
    This is true.
    People order more in the winter, and ride them in the summer.

    there are less people showing on FNL as the general discourse has driven many builders away.

    It takes time away from our bench and thusly money out of our pockets, and if it's not appreciated, then the flow gets turned off.

    Not that we have much to offer.........

    Busy here, the age of internet F'building mentorship is dead, and many who tried to ride the wave missed the break and gave up and paddled to shore, and we bought their boards on the cheap via craigslist.

    my sand, my beach, my waves - go home!
    - Surf Punks.

    I'll keep my FNL offerings going since I started it & I hate quitting things I've started, and i'll link my what's up to my SO.

    Elvis left the room: Strong, Kirk, Dazza, Engin......where is Spectrum, Zank?

    Off to the shop - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    there are less people showing on FNL as the general discourse has driven many builders away.

    It takes time away from our bench and thusly money out of our pockets, and if it's not appreciated, then the flow gets turned off.
    I hope none of you think it isn't appreciated, FNL is the best part of my Internetweek. Even if you're not getting comments, folks are still at home drooling over y'alls stuff.
    Dustin Gaddis
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    In regards to FNL, I can see how it takes up a lot of time. It is also good or bad advertising, I know customers who have bought things due to what they see in FNL, and I know some who have changed their mind after seeing FNL, regardless we can all improve from an improved economy
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    I think the internet era (the lists/forums/etc.) was never an indicator of the true business climate atmo. Most of the names we know are from the last 5-10 years and there is also a NAHBS-centric mentality to what goes on. Somehow and for some reason, framebuilding became a cool pursuit after Y2K and the result of that was all the brands that have come and, in some instances, gone. I wonder if any of them were ever really in business to the point of getting past the initial learning curve, business plan, and entering the condition of having a cash flow and some sense of where to take it all. Well, in my mind, maybe one percent did. Many cats play at this and it's good for them and their fans that there's an audience. Is this a business? Was it a business? No, and no. I am not commenting on the quality of what was made and offered, except perhaps the lack of foresight and business acumen from the newer makers. It's no one's fault if they are gone, or fail. The market was never large. I don't think it's one that expands with the era or the supply. If there are fewer folks who are in the conversation, then it simply reflects the true measure of the niche atmo. No one has been chased away, ostracized, or marginalized.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Are things different up North? Or, are they different for painter's? Jb told me some time ago that in his entire painting career he's never been short of work.
    I am about to hire a full time employee as my two year p-t employee is moving to Philly.

    As for FNL, like Mr. Garro said the posting takes time away from the getting work done and I'm conscious of that. Personally though I'm also a sensitive dude and don't want to just post about me when I'm not contributing throughout. The less I post in general the less I images and personal sht gets posted.

    Noah
     
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    I can't speak to the business issues (since I am not and will not be in the business) but I'd be in favor of trying to raise the quality of conversations here if it would bring back the aforementioned prodigal builders. Not to sound selfish but they brought a wealth of knowledge that hasn't necessarily been replaced.
    steve cortez

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Quote Originally Posted by dgaddis View Post
    I hope none of you think it isn't appreciated, FNL is the best part of my Internetweek. Even if you're not getting comments, folks are still at home drooling over y'alls stuff.
    I second this. I love seeing the pics on FNL.
     
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    I'm aware that a metric ton of sales has happened because of conversations here. FNL is an extension of those conversations in other words people would not have made a connection to the builders with only pictures as evidence of the builders character dig me?

    The internet is a devil and an angel. We will always deal with personalities. I'm not going to say that VSalon matters, it does not however if we go away tomorrow where do the conversations and connections go? I can tell you some of what I know from past experience, they will go where the discourse is not nearly at a level approaching this place and all the many stovepipes that once existed will pop up again making the experience of finding folks with our passion a harder task.

    Steve, if someone could lean over the rail and tell me what's the beef with : Strong, Kirk, Dazza, Engin, Ferris et al than I'd be either relieved or reviled. Not sure which way that will go. If it is my fault, bring it on. I'm a lover not a hater. *PS to Steve, T.K. I can't speak for him but his publicist authorized me to say he'll be here...he's swamped.

    It ain't easy bein' sleazy. (Best line ever heard at a strip club)
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Quote Originally Posted by sam View Post
    In regards to FNL, I can see how it takes up a lot of time. It is also good or bad advertising, I know customers who have bought things due to what they see in FNL, and I know some who have changed their mind after seeing FNL, regardless we can all improve from an improved economy
    Not just from FNL, at least in my case. I bought a Spooky and have a Zank on order in no small part to the information and interaction they provide here at vSalon.
     
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    Great questions, Josh. I can say for myself that I've been slacking on FNL over the past few weeks because I've been using every moment I've had at the shop to make bikes. I underestimated how much the life change of having a baby would impact my life, time, and energy. I've been behind and I'm working my butt off to catch up. The good news is that I'm getting there and I am very lucky to have such incredible customers who have been so patient.

    Regarding orders, I've been getting a lot of inquiries from riders planning on doing something soon and they are getting their ducks in a row. This has followed the typical pattern from years past. This is a time of year when most people are riding and enjoying the summer. Lately most of the interest has been in the TIG bikes, even though I have done what most would consider a very soft launch so far. Interest in racing bicycles (road, cyclocross, and mountain) and dirt roaders are very strong. My focus moving forward is to continue to go deep rather than wide, meaning I want to continue with a narrow range of bikes and make them the best riding bikes that I possibly can. I think this is key for future growth for any builder in whatever their chosen specialty is.

    I've missed chatting here on the forum. With cyclocross just eight weeks away here in New England, I'll be back soon to get my fix. But I've got to keep my head down in the meantime. This place rules.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    The sub-forums (Smoked Out and FNL) were conceived so that folks who were already offering themselves on the general board could have a safe haven in which to do some viral marketing, self-props, links out to other sites they keep, and generally be a place where no one could call them out for being self-serving atmo. If the volume drops it probably has to do with an inability to stay in existing conversations or offer anything of value by starting new ones, or simply a lack of desire.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    IMG_3371.JPG
    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Steve, if someone could lean over the rail and tell me what's the beef with : Strong, Kirk, Dazza, Engin, Ferris et al than I'd be either relieved or reviled. Not sure which way that will go. If it is my fault, bring it on. I'm a lover not a hater. *PS to Steve, T.K. I can't speak for him but his publicist authorized me to say he'll be here...he's swamped.
    I can't speak for anyone's "beef" - I just know that they are gone.
    I'm in the dark more then anyone..........I don't speak to any of those people - we all have our heads down - I know Tk had paint issues, DWF just moved shop & house, Drew has a shop, a child, and builds, Dazza has his hands full, Strong just sold his building, is in a temorary one, and is building a new one, I'm swamped with two houses, a farm, a buisiness and all that life stuff on top of being a cripple, and I just think the general vibe is "the WWW framebuilding wave has passed, we are still here, better keep our heads down & get to fucking work"

    I'm just taking time off of forums in general due to time restraints, and to be frank, I'm kind of burnt out on WWW mentoring after 7yrs of it, and kind of feel like if I have something to say it's cataloged on the WWW already.

    "Say something once - why say it again?"
    Hey - check out this cool picture I took two day ago - Abrazos y Besos para todo - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small Builders taking a hit

    It is probably saying more about me than the builders market, but of all the people I know and ride with, only one has a custom frame (and he might have sold it).
    Would like to have a custom myself, but it ain't happening soon short of a divorce.
     
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