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Good points -- thanks for the info. I'm always going to be hesitant buying product from these smaller companies and sole proprietorships -- not just because they have limited capital or aren't careful, but because I suspect they just don't have the throughput and volume to actually get into the best factories. The best factories don't need the 100 wheel order, because they have much bigger clients. Or am I wrong on this?
Yes and No. For coming in as a new player with no previous connection to the factory it is hard to get a place in production with a large reliable supplier. That being said, some of them are willing to find new customers if they have interest in your design and see potential in you. Also based on their capacity. Right now, bike industry numbers are a bit low so many suppliers do have some spare capacity for young brands.
Another big factor in Asia is Guangshi (relationship).. It goes pretty far here. Since we are a small brand, our custom paint is a headache for our supplier but since we have given them some volume paint orders and my Taiwanese wife gets on well with the bosses and wives(usually the financial department of most companies in Taiwan) we have been able to get into some really premium factories as a small customer. Of course, that means your not first in line, but still means your getting quality supply chain.
Another big factor is introductions. I was lucky enough 12 years ago to get connected to alot of Taiwan manufacturers as I requested product sponsorship for my racing days (which I did have til I opened Culprit) and that lead to consulting and the ability to walk factories without being watched like a hawk. So, experience and knowledge, time in the factories has come with that consulting gig from wheel factories, crank, carbon frame/component factory,e tc. So, although I can't do a carbon lay up(which franky FEW brands can) you just need to work closely with your suppliers then fine tune ride feel from riding testing and hitting target numbers in machine testing by being here firsthand to watch the testing, etc.
Some of my suppliers I can walk the factory floor and I am not being chased or followed as the staff are familiar with me from years of relationship and trust built or by previsously being employed by them.. Typically you MUST be accompanied by your sales agent and some suppliers wont really let you walk the floor at all.
I'm not going to name names, but I'm also extremely skeptical of small companies run by individuals who never go to Asia, who aren't engineers, who don't have manufacturing experience, etc. I probably should have been paralyzed by a product failure I experienced while riding a Chinese frame distributed by a small American firm that shouldn't even be allowed to conduct business, but luckily I escaped with only a 5 figure dental bill and a broken hand. Hope you can understand my skepticism here.
absolutely.... I agree without ever having been in or around the suppliers to see first hand and understand the manufacturing process and design its a bunch of marketing BS making claims based on online research from other brands or copying other brands....
So of those small brands. I can tell you Both Ventum and Premier have been to Asia and do due diligence. So I strongly believe you can trust both of those new players.
As Culprit is in bypart my surname (Colp) and my name is on the line, Culprit has worked very closely with our suppliers to develop and ensure our products are top notch but also our customer service must also be equally as good or if not better.
Once we get our new cockpit out I am sure you will be keen to test it and become a believer in Culprit. First Aero road stem and drop bar.
TT stuff to follow
On wheels, I'm on my fourth pair of Nextie hoops which are made in China. They've been stellar and everything I read online suggests the same. But, they are all disc brake wheels. I think I'm just scared from my braking experiences on the sets of cheap rims I went through on Ebay and DHGate and Aliexpress a few years ago...never again. I should probably keep on open mind as to the breaking quality on these newer rims, especially Dan's, and I will.[/quote]
As a solution, I had produced a tilt spacer that will work with our current set-up.
Thinking it over I decided to make two addition extension bars that will work with the current set up, as well as with the tilt spacer, to give a wide range of hand positions. I have the spacer now and will open molds on the two additional extensions as soon as we can do some engineering work. These should all be available by August 1st.
I'm the athlete Dan is referring to in this post. I used the case for a trip to Penticton, BC last weekend. I took my 2016 Cervelo R5 (size 54) on a training trip to scout the LC Worlds course. The case was terrific and I'm buying the next one available! All I did was take off the wheels and seat post. Left the handlebars and pedals on; everything fit great in the case. I threw in an extra Grand Prix 4000 tire, a few tubes, bottles, and cold weather gear in the case. Weighed 43.5 pounds at check in. Packed a Lezyne travel floor drive pump in another bag (this pump rules). I did buy some pipe insulation to cover the frame. No damage flying American Airlines, but was charged $150 each way. Worth it to have my bike for a week in the mountains!
This case is great as advertised. Dan is a great guy; willing to give me his spare case to demo for my trip. Thanks Dan. I loved the case.
We looked at what a number of companies were offering and decided on 5 years for the initial purchaser.
According to the last market study I read (I think it was provided to TBI members) - most athletes keep a Triathlon bike 3 - 4 years. (I am an outlier as I still have a Cervelo PC3 from 2008 or some such date). I have gotten a lot of use out of that Cervelo and after all this time would not expect them to warranty the bike further. I expect to pay for the bike. So I had a great bike for about $40/month. And I could probably sell that bike today for $1,500.00 bring that number down to $1 a day.
I have seen some lifetime warranties that are prorated, in that they amortize the warranty in the fine print - so what you end up getting is a discount on a new bike at list price.
I felt like 5 years was a competitive warranty.
"Contest 9" is the best one posted here.
Allready stated this at fb, but the designs still look a bit cheap (in a bad way, not in the good affordable cheap way like the pricing of the bike) :) If I had to choose from these, I would go for 9, but I think better designs are possible.