Monday, July 2, 2012

Time to reorder cross frames...

One of the things that infuriates me about the bike industry (and I guess any industry that produces consumer goods that are superseded by a new item that is purported to be new and better) is that once a new model year product line is announced, the discounts on the old (current) model line begin.  After all, one cannot sell "old" product for the same price that the new, "more better" product is to be sold.  Even if the new product is more expensive, the old product must be discounted.

This product cycle is good for consumers because, if you are patient, you might find yourself with the opportunity to buy what you wanted a year ago at a discount.  Sometimes a deep discount.  However, this product cycle has taught us consumers that the value of any given product is limited to only what it is sold for at the discounted level.  I'm sure there are cases when a new product warranted a fast sell-off of old product.  One does not want to be stuck with old product that, after a time, cannot be literally given away.  I mean, given the state of the iPod today, how much would an a second generation iPod be valued given what the current iPod can do.  Wait, don't answer that.  My iPod is a 2nd gen from 2003 and I probably couldn't give it away.

I recently sold the last 59cm cross frame.  After I sold the last 59, I wasn't truly out of that size until someone called and wanted to buy one.  At that point, I was out of stock.  And now that I've placed the order for more frames, what happens to the current frames?  There are a couple of revisions I made to the current frame, but honestly, the current frame will ride every bit as great as the ones that are on order.  What to do, what to do?  With only about 10 cross frames left (a couple each in 50, 53, 56, 62), I'll probably do something to entice folks to snap up these last remaining frames.  After all, the first production is bound to be a collector's item in 20 years or so.  Okay, maybe not, but you never know.  

Ideally, my size/quantity mix would have been such that I would have been out of stock on all frame sizes at roughly the same time.  The bicycle industry is notoriously poor at forecasting - which is why there are so may old models sold on the cheap before the new models show up.  Closeouts are factored into the whole formula of how a bike is priced so early buyers are, essentially, paying for those closeouts.  I did get pretty close on my size mix.  The one thing that did surprise me, however, is that I have more 62cm sizes left as a ratio to what I ordered than any of the other sizes.  I thought, being a tall guy, that the tall sizes would be the first to be snatched up.  

For now, the situation is this:  Out of stock in the 59cm size, limited supply of the other sizes, and a second production order placed.  And orange frames will be a big part of the new size mix.  Orange?  Yes, orange.  The price for the new frames will remain the same.  As soon as I know when they will be ready to ship, I'll post it here.

As for me, I'm still riding on the original prototype sample because I have no reason to change it out.  It's still a great bike and I totally dig riding it.  In fact, this past week, I've been on two rides on it for a total of about 12 hours riding.  Here's some shots from Sunday's ride, the cross bike doing exactly what I designed it for - riding on the road to some dirt roads and trails, traipsing across the land, and then riding back home.  

Incredible riding on the flanks of Mt. Tam.

Topping out at Potrero Meadows.

The Clément MSO tires also excel in rock gardens.

Sunday's ride pretty much put the hurt on the ole cross bike.  It might be summer in California, but I had warm dry, sun, rain, fog, wind - just about everything.  The bike is now clean.

(What's playing:  The Velvet Underground Rock and Roll)


james said...

Hey Mike,
Perhaps in a future blog post you could post your thoughts on the impending wave of disc brakes on cross bikes (and probably road bikes as well).
James B

Jason said...

The 2nd gen iPod was my favorite as well. The glowing buttons were my favourite feature of it. I remember purchasing it right before I took a trip out to California and was walking the streets of LA while listening to some music on my brand new iPod.

Anyway, I was just giving my friend a recommendation on purchasing her first new bike - Surly Long Haul Trucker. She's back in Ohio, so I can't help her first hand go shopping, but I recommended her what you are talking about - see if she could find last year's model (I don't know what changed from 2011 to 2012 with the Trucker), but essentially it's the same bike for possibly a lower price. To her, an added or removed braze-on isn't going to be much of a selling point to pay extra money.

I remember coming across this issue while I was working at Xtracycle - "Why is the Xtracycle Freeradical the same price as last year with no changes?" People always were looking for a discount. It's inevitable these days after years of being in the situation of last year = cheaper to get the bikes out of the shop and fill the spots with new bikes.

blackmountaincycles said...

Not much changes on Surly bikes/frames year to year. Minor tweaks of spec and a color change. And because of that, there really aren't discounts on older model year bikes. And because of that, the value of a LHT is always pretty high. It's consistently a good bike.

Anonymous said...

Mike, if it's not too late for your frame order, I have two suggestions:
1. taller head tube on th 53cm I reccomend 135mm
2. Toe overlap on my 53 is a problem, particularly since I'm running fenders. Don't know how you'd want to fix this. I have 170 mm crank arms and wear a size 10 shoe, Gordon reference.

LOVE my bike!


blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks for the feedback, Lars. It is, however, too late to make any changes. The problems you face are that your are a 56 with 53 leg length and 59 shoe size.