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Thread: Zanconato Custom Cycles

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    As far as marketing let me throw my $.02 out there. I had heard of the Zanconato bikes over 'across the hall' and they always looked nice, but kinda like all the others. But something about one or two of them kinda caught my eye. Paint and design and proportions. I was very close to pulling the trigger on a De Rosa Neo Primato. But the Zanks looked kinda similar in concept - modern, lugged steel racebike.

    So I started poking around on the internet a bit and checked out the website. But it wasn't the website that drew me in. It was Mike's blog, with all the high-def pics and pics of the finished bikes. Those all looked really, really nice, especially the pics of the circular cutters and flux and all that.

    So in my case, it was the blog, which may or may not have been a 'marketing tool' per se, but it did its job on me. After poking around on it and talking to Mike I sent a check to get the process started.
     

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    What made you decide to go 1st on this thread? {thanks for taking one for the team, BTW!} you will have awnsered all the hard questions & the rest of us will just have to state our beverages of choice & rip quotes from you. Good Job! But seriously - what makes/made you choose your basic "tool kit" of tubing/lugs/etc. i think that your choices look very distinctive {to me} but i look at this stuff all day. Do you have a signature flourish or touch that you do for yourself that you feel gets overlooked & you don't care, it's just there for you? - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
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    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Here's another business question.

    Where do you want to take your business? Do you want to make Zanconato Custom Cycles into a larger enterprise that employs a number of specialized workers and produces lots of units (like IF or Seven or Serotta) or do you want to remain the sole operator that does everything yourself making a limited run each year? What would you consider business success?
    Goosebumps never lie

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Snipped for clarity
    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    I suppose you can say that a tool doesn't affect the work as much as it affects the process. Ultimately, I could get the same finish line with other tools. It just might take longer.
    A very good point and well said
    Cheers Dazza
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  5. #45
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by JoB View Post
    This was asked in some form earlier, but ... why steel?

    Thanks, great, great thread.
    Thank you for participating!

    I suppose the most straightforward answer to that one is that I can't do anything else, but there's a little more to it than that. When I first started, I had access to my dad's AC/DC TIG machine, so we could have explored aluminum. I was tempted by it because I was racing an aluminum mountain bike. I was more drawn to building road bikes though. It was their elegance and clean looks that got me hooked. I had ridden some borrowed aluminum bikes to see how I liked the ride, but I preferred my steel road bike. That's why I went down the steel path. I prefer the ride. But as I said earlier, I know there are other materials that fit specific applications. I won't be a steel-only guy for my whole career.

    Thought?
    Mike Zanconato
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  6. #46
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    As far as marketing let me throw my $.02 out there. I had heard of the Zanconato bikes over 'across the hall' and they always looked nice, but kinda like all the others. But something about one or two of them kinda caught my eye. Paint and design and proportions. I was very close to pulling the trigger on a De Rosa Neo Primato. But the Zanks looked kinda similar in concept - modern, lugged steel racebike.

    So I started poking around on the internet a bit and checked out the website. But it wasn't the website that drew me in. It was Mike's blog, with all the high-def pics and pics of the finished bikes. Those all looked really, really nice, especially the pics of the circular cutters and flux and all that.

    So in my case, it was the blog, which may or may not have been a 'marketing tool' per se, but it did its job on me. After poking around on it and talking to Mike I sent a check to get the process started.
    Thanks for the comments, Jim! I am actually going back to the old blog. I'm not crazy about the Movable Type blog that I am currently using. There are too many restrictions on images and viewers are used to looking at the blogger format, so I am reviving the old one. Since it's easier to post to, I'll' end up doing more updated. Your post will help push me to make the transition quicker!
    Mike Zanconato
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    What made you decide to go 1st on this thread? {thanks for taking one for the team, BTW!} you will have awnsered all the hard questions & the rest of us will just have to state our beverages of choice & rip quotes from you. Good Job! But seriously - what makes/made you choose your basic "tool kit" of tubing/lugs/etc. i think that your choices look very distinctive {to me} but i look at this stuff all day. Do you have a signature flourish or touch that you do for yourself that you feel gets overlooked & you don't care, it's just there for you? - Garro.
    I had this boss whose favorite saying was "OK, that's enough of me talkin' 'bout me, how 'bout y'all talk about me?" Anyway, happy to take one for the team.

    When I learned that the lugset that was used on the Carrera was out there in the marketplace, that was the direction I knew I wanted to go in. I just really liked the look of the cast-in seatstay ports in the seat lug. The look appealed to me due to the clean lines. I also liked the simple shore lines and short points of all of the lugs and the BB. It all just works for style of bike. The tubing has changed over time, but now I've become quite comfortable with Columbus and the PegoRichie tubes. They just make sense. I'm looking forward to seeing what Dazza has in store for the over-oversize pipes.

    Regarding the flourishes, honestly, not really. People like the Zs engraved in the castings, but I wouldn't be bummed if they went unnoticed. One of the Rules of Design that I abide by is "Good design is as little design as possible". In my mind, I almost want them to go unnoticed until someone looks a little closer. I've never been one to add something extra that didn't add to the function or purpose just for the sake of aesthetics. I was trained as an engineer by old-school professors, many of whom started their careers as mechanics. Simpler is better was our mantra.

    Thoughts?
    Mike Zanconato
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  8. #48
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    zanc,
    now is the time to get to the shop and build steveps frame.
    he sheds tears every night that its not here... his parts sit in a box, lonely, empty, devoid uf use.

    bonus* will be paid if it arrives before davids frame.


    * tbd.
     

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by shorelocal View Post
    Here's another business question.

    Where do you want to take your business? Do you want to make Zanconato Custom Cycles into a larger enterprise that employs a number of specialized workers and produces lots of units (like IF or Seven or Serotta) or do you want to remain the sole operator that does everything yourself making a limited run each year? What would you consider business success?
    My wife and I are pretty simple people. I don't have grandiose plans, but I do want and need to hire some help to do some of the mundane, non-value-added type stuff that takes me away from the customers and the production. Rebecca and I were discussing this topic the other night. I'll always want to have contact with the customers. They are why I am doing this. And I want to build their bikes.

    The IF/Seven/Serotta model is tough, maybe impossible, without a network of dealers. I don't think there is any way to get the sales you would need to support that type of staff without them. The problem is that the business takes an instant 30-40% pay cut because now you are selling wholesale rather than retail. I think it's those economics that make it so hard for the mid-size custom shop to survive and flourish. Margins are so, so slim. Of course, the companies mentioned are built for that with the necessary efficiencies in place. I think it's tough to make the transition from one or three person shop to a larger production shop.

    I'll be happy and consider the business a success if I can sustain it for next 30-40 years, I can support my family, I can put away for retirement, and maybe provide a stable job or three to others. Easy, right?

    Comments?
    Mike Zanconato
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  10. #50
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveP View Post
    zanc,
    now is the time to get to the shop and build steveps frame.
    he sheds tears every night that its not here... his parts sit in a box, lonely, empty, devoid uf use.

    bonus* will be paid if it arrives before davids frame.


    * tbd.
    I'm not seeing a question. Jeez, let me finish my coffee.
    Mike Zanconato
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  11. #51
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    yo zank -
    what do you know now that you wish you could have known last month, or five years ago?
    i'm talking about the framebuilding stuff. and the answer doesn't have about a process at
    the bench, or a tactic that's related to running of the business, but it could be atmo...
    To add...

    11 years ago
    I wish I had known that you can't use too much flux.

    10 years ago
    I wish I had known that the Small Business Development Centers existed and had known that their services were no charge to the business owners above our tax payments (thank you dear taxpayers).

    I'll be thinking about this all day.
    Mike Zanconato
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  12. #52
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Folks, this is awesome. Thank you for all of the great questions so far. Don't be shy, especially if you've asked a question and want to follow up my response. I want this to be a back-and-forth. I'll respond as my time allows. Back to the bench...
    Mike Zanconato
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  13. #53
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveP View Post
    zanc,
    now is the time to get to the shop and build steveps frame.
    he sheds tears every night that its not here... his parts sit in a box, lonely, empty, devoid uf use.

    bonus* will be paid if it arrives before davids frame.


    * tbd.
    The Velocipede Salon does not tolerate spammers and their ilk. This is your only warning.
    GO!

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Mike, are you working on an OS lug set?
     

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Zanc,

    When I first started dabbling a few years back at the Proteus shop, a customer walked in with a red and white fixed gear of yours (Ken or Ben Sanford). If I recall, the lugs were white, carved Pacentis. Your style has gotten less "fancy" and more purposeful. Was there an event or series of events that led you to your current style. If so, what were they? Were any of these events and subsequent style decisions/paths business and/or production related? You may have touched on this in your reply to Garro's question (Carrera lugs).

    Thanks,
    Tom
    Tom Palermo
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    Palermo Bicycles
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  16. #56
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    I would say Colnago, because I believe they want to make bikes that get the snot beat out of them on a daily basis.
    I never had the slightest interest in a Colnago until I read that sentence right there

    ...but of course now, having read this thread, I have even more interest in a Zanconato! Thanks so much for doing this.


    Mike, how did med school figure into the whole plan? From industrial polymer engineer to bicycle framebuilder seems far less of a leap; what made you, even if only for a brief moment, consider the medical profession? Was there a particular discipline that especially interested you?
     

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    but I do want and need to hire some help to do some of the mundane, non-value-added type stuff that takes me away from the customers and the production. Rebecca and I were discussing this topic the other night. I'll always want to have contact with the customers. They are why I am doing this. And I want to build their bikes.
    One word.............. apprentice
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  18. #58
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    Thumbs up Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    ......The IF/Seven/Serotta model is tough, maybe impossible, without a network of dealers. I don't think there is any way to get the sales you would need to support that type of staff without them. The problem is that the business takes an instant 30-40% pay cut because now you are selling wholesale rather than retail. I think it's those economics that make it so hard for the mid-size custom shop to survive and flourish. Margins are so, so slim. Of course, the companies mentioned are built for that with the necessary efficiencies in place. I think it's tough to make the transition from one or three person shop to a larger production shop.

    I'll be happy and consider the business a success if I can sustain it for next 30-40 years, I can support my family, I can put away for retirement, and maybe provide a stable job or three to others. Easy, right?

    Comments?[/QUOTE]

    Mike:

    Thanks for your take on your business plans. Regarding your statement above, I understand that right off the top, you would take a 30-40% pay cut, however, with economies of scale (i.e. more frames being sold/built per month than your current goal), you would be able to make the price cut up in volume. Of course, this too assumes that you're able to replicate your processes and frame construction with additional, experienced hands to allow you to grow the biz.

    BTW, I just had my virgin ride on the beautiful silvery blue with white panel 55.5 cm Zanc that I bought used, right here, last night. I cannot tell you how wonderful the experience was for me. The ride was spectacular, the frame solid, yet smooth, and at the same time nimble and quick as a go-cart. I just loved it and can't wait for more opportunities for longer rides. I'll post pics sometime soon when I've finalized all of the build items on it. Still struggling to figure out what saddle to put on it.

    Thanks Mike for your time here and being the first to go with the frame builder thread. Your work is very special and you should be very proud of your efforts.

    Bob
     

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinomaster View Post
    Mike, are you working on an OS lug set?
    My question too. Or are we talking about O-OS? Isn't peggo-richie OS?
     

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Zank,

    What are the 5-10 most used cards in your Rolodex?
     

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