I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Mark Kelly » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:44 am

iSamurai wrote:So all in all I think I have some homework to do and a lot of questions to answer. I'm just wondering why there's not really any Australian bike makers out there on the international stage. Also I'm just a bit uncertain about putting so much time into its conception only to find out some guy is also putting something similar together but has a lot more cash to throw at it haha :P



As someone who has spent a few years and a lot of money chasing this same small piece of pie: Yes you do have a lot of homework to do. I've been investigating this for 5 years, actively working on it for three and I am still about a year off launch.

There are Australian bike makers out there on the international stage: two of the most highly regarded custom makers on earth are Aussies: Daryl McCulloch (Llewellyn) and Darren Baum. I think BT is still hanging on by its toenails despite the ongoing shenanigans, they were once so highly regarded they were rampantly copied. These three have one thing in common: strongly differentiated product. Notice that neither of the the road bike guys does carbon.

If you are going down the carbon route, I'd look at what people who are in that business locally but making a go of it on the world stage are doing; an example would be CST in Sydney http://www.cstcomposites.com/. Keep in mind that Raoul at Luescher Teknik does consultancy and knows this business well http://luescherteknik.com.au/. Another resource you may not know about is the Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre at Deakin near Geelong http://www.deakin.edu.au/affric/carbon-fibres.php. They are already doing some bicycle related work and I have found the people there very approachable.

BTW no, I'm not the guy who is already putting something similar together, I'm not doing Carbon.
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by BNA » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:27 am

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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Howzat » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:27 am

Keep working on your ideas. In some ways, there has never been a better time to get a cool idea engineered and commercialised. You don't even need rich relatives anymore - you can get funding from kickstarter, like these guys.

The bike you ride is probably from a brand started in a garage by some dreamer sometime within the past 40 years - despite bikes being around in pretty much modern form for over 100.

Any success you find will likely owe more to self-promotion than engineering, to leveraging shifts in the way people use bikes rather than taking on incumbents, to finding the right partners to work with, and to getting some lucky breaks at exactly the right times.

Sure the odds aren't great. But someone has to do it.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby MattyK » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:57 pm

iSamurai wrote:. As for the Made in Australia sticker -- obviously most of us would buy the more value for money option these days, however I was thinking more about international exposure. People overseas (well at least my friends from abroad) apparently love Australian stuff (don't know why, but I'll find out). Kinda ironic that we don't make much stuff (like bikes) to sell them, apart from agriculture, mining resources, cars and tertiary education.

As I mentioned earlier my wife runs her own business. Making in Australia just isn't sustainable (for us). We started manufacturing here, but at the end of the day people vote with their wallets. They might say they like Australian made, but ultimately it is not a factor with any notable influence on the buying decision. We've now started manufacturing offshore; ironically we have also recently picked up a distributor for China, who has identified as you say that people overseas like Australian brands. But again ultimately they're not fussed where it is made.

If you want to look at some local bike companies, take Knog or Niteflux for example. Both manufacture out of Asia.

If you are keen to stay in composites, make me some nice mudguards that don't have ugly brackets at the rim.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:43 pm

MattyK wrote:If you are keen to stay in composites, make me some nice mudguards that don't have ugly brackets at the rim.

Amen, I'm dreading the day my old skool Zefal Paragons break. Trim the stays and they looked factory fitted.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:23 pm

ldrcycles wrote:IMHO, and not wanting to be negative at all, for someone wanting to make big innovations or radical improvements, I think the bicycle is about the worst possible target.

nah, I want more critical thinking like this. Yes it is a saturated market, but if I have a very strong USP I think it'll stand out from the crowd.

cyclotaur wrote:Whatever you do, enjoy it and give it a good crack, but don't let it consume you.

yeah. thanks for the tip.

AUbicycles wrote:It is like a bottle of wine (if you are under 18, please look away), ever notice how much better it tastes when you are in good company or when you are at the winery and know the story of the wine as opposed to any old wine off the shelf. It is more than just the technicalities - though these details are still key.

This. Pretty much sums up what I want to do. I'll make sure I sell a bike with a story :P

Mark Kelly wrote:As someone who has spent a few years and a lot of money chasing this same small piece of pie: Yes you do have a lot of homework to do. I've been investigating this for 5 years, actively working on it for three and I am still about a year off launch.


Well, all the best with your goal :) 5 years is a long time in deed. It's like the east coast HSR... by the time the studies/modelling have been done (who knows when that'd be), the circumstances would've changed so much. I think once there's a feasible plan, it'd be time to put it in action.

Howzat wrote:you can get funding from kickstarter, like these guys

Yeah I saw this a while ago and I must say that's one of the cleverest things I've seen. I'm in the process of making a bike accessory and hope to have it on Kickstarter later this year, with the same Made in Oz, high quality, innovative product ethos (but very low volume, just to gauge the reaction). I'll see how that goes, using it as a sort of experiment. If that proves to be successful I can look into using Kickstarter as an option for the start up.

And on the topic of lights, I'm sure many of you guys have seen Fibre Flare. I read up on this guy and it turns out an Australian engineer down in Melbourne came up with the design. I think it's great stuff, but he makes them in China. I guess inevitably I'd have to look into overseas manufacturing at some point when (if) the demand is way up there.

MattyK wrote:If you are keen to stay in composites, make me some nice mudguards that don't have ugly brackets at the rim.

Interesting. Composite mudguards. Well I hope to make at least one frame first and see how it goes from there :)

As an interesting read, I hear that Factor Bikes have a new baby due soon. It's only gonna make a hole about $41k big in your wallet. Now that's a nice bike for a very niche market. I hope to make bikes a bit less dearer than that, but you know, very nice carbon racing road bikes. Not low end basic carbon frames that have already flooded the market :D
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:32 pm

Samurai, develop a 3d printable bike.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:04 pm

lump_a_charcoal wrote:Samurai, develop a 3d printable bike.


Actually that'd be a great idea. I wanted to print my Kickstarter project (mentioned earlier), but a printer would cost about $1.5k to print plastic. You can't print carbon fibre but there are machines that does filament winding albeit on simple shapes. It would be awesome to develop something that can wind up a complex shape like a bike frame, but that'd almost be like those robotic arms they have in car manufacturing.

And on the subject of materials, Calfee design has made some really sweet bikes out of bamboo.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Mark Kelly » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:14 am

iSamurai wrote: You can't print carbon fibre but there are machines that does filament winding albeit on simple shapes. It would be awesome to develop something that can wind up a complex shape like a bike frame, but that'd almost be like those robotic arms they have in car manufacturing.



I'm in the process of building myself a filament winder, fortunately other material constraints mean my tubes are geometrically simple. For complex shapes there is an inherent problem with filament winding: you cannot maintain optimal fibre angle and optimal fibre coverage at the same time. It's not a matter of technology, it's a matter of geometry. As I understand it, the best approach to the more complex shapes is to use a multifilament weaving process such as that used by BMC. I believe these machines are very expensive.

iSamurai wrote:Well, all the best with your goal :) 5 years is a long time in deed.


Yes, five years is a long time but I've had a steep learning curve because of the complexity of my approach. I've had to get across some new skills in metalwork, refine existing skills in natural and synthetic fibre composites and build machinery such as a controlled temperature curing oven (and soon the winder mentioned above) as well as doing research on how the properties of the different materials used interact. I'm almost there.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby barefoot » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:05 am

iSamurai wrote:
lump_a_charcoal wrote:Samurai, develop a 3d printable bike.


Actually that'd be a great idea. I wanted to print my Kickstarter project (mentioned earlier), but a printer would cost about $1.5k to print plastic. You can't print carbon fibre but there are machines that does filament winding albeit on simple shapes. It would be awesome to develop something that can wind up a complex shape like a bike frame, but that'd almost be like those robotic arms they have in car manufacturing.


I used 3D printed prototypes (stereolithography) very early on, when the technology was quite new (1998-9). At the time the process was, unsurprisingly, very expensive. To make multiple copies of a design, it was common to "print" one, make a low-cost mould off it, then mould/cast the short production run out of the tool in a different material. Typically, the mould was made of silicon; it was good for ~20 copies before it started degrading.

I mention this because it might be the basis of a process to produce short-run (one-off) carbon products. Usually the cost of carbon fibre production is the tooling; once you have the moulds, each item to come out of the mould is very cheap - a big part of the cost comes in amortising the tooling investment. That's how the open-mould Chinese frames have got so cheap - they're amortising the tools over so many copies that it's not such a big part of the unit cost any more.

But if you could 3D-print a unique design, take an impression off it in silicon or plaster or styrofoam or *, and use that impression as your tooling to lay-up a single copy of the product in carbon... that would be a way to produce one-off carbon fibre frames. Or components. Sure, labour intensive... so expensive... but welding a custom frame out of metal isn't exactly an automated process either.

I'm not a composites guy (beyond repairing a few fibreglass boats over the years). I'm not sure whether my proposed process is even remotely feasible. I'm not sure whether others are already doing this in other industries - although there aren't many big$ industries that "need" custom-sized carbon products as much as cycling does. As far as I know, medical orthotics haven't gone there yet... but that's another industry you could look at for inspiration of how to do very-short-run personalised production.

It took me a few years (in a previous life) to get good at designing plastic products, with appropriate draft angles and tool join lines that they were injection mouldable. You'd need to get into that mindset to design parts/frames that could be made on tools that could be lifted off a 3D-printed reference. And you'd need to learn a lot about carbon production, if you're not already an expert.

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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:00 pm

Mark Kelly wrote:I'm in the process of building myself a filament winder, fortunately other material constraints mean my tubes are geometrically simple. For complex shapes there is an inherent problem with filament winding: you cannot maintain optimal fibre angle and optimal fibre coverage at the same time. It's not a matter of technology, it's a matter of geometry. ... Yes, five years is a long time but I've had a steep learning curve because of the complexity of my approach. I've had to get across some new skills in metalwork, refine existing skills in natural and synthetic fibre composites and build machinery such as a controlled temperature curing oven (and soon the winder mentioned above) as well as doing research on how the properties of the different materials used interact. I'm almost there.


That's true. I didn't think too much about filament winding last night while typing this. You can make the tubes separately and bond them together (like an aluminium bike) but I don't think that's any good. Sounds like you had a lot of fun along the way :) Keep up the good work.

barefoot wrote:I mention this because it might be the basis of a process to produce short-run (one-off) carbon products. Usually the cost of carbon fibre production is the tooling; once you have the moulds, each item to come out of the mould is very cheap - a big part of the cost comes in amortising the tooling investment. That's how the open-mould Chinese frames have got so cheap - they're amortising the tools over so many copies that it's not such a big part of the unit cost any more.

But if you could 3D-print a unique design, take an impression off it in silicon or plaster or styrofoam or *, and use that impression as your tooling to lay-up a single copy of the product in carbon... that would be a way to produce one-off carbon fibre frames. Or components. Sure, labour intensive... so expensive... but welding a custom frame out of metal isn't exactly an automated process either.


Thanks for expanding on that. I see what you mean now. Cheers for mentioning!

I'll look into a 3D printer further. The $1500 one I was talking about is quite small (prints up to 400x400x400mm), so maybe I have to print them in sections and join the parts together. The plaster mould seems viable you need to put the layup in an oven to cure the epoxy resin. I was just thinking about a huge oven using so much electricity :P

I was thinking of having a block of aluminium CNC'ed somewhere and do as much of the design iteration on the computer as possible. Just need to check that the plaster mould will be as solid as an aluminium mould as I've never worked with it. I imagine the mould would have a rough surface finish and might be a bit susceptible to cracking... but whatever, it's just for a prototype. I'll do a bit more reading into that.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Mark Kelly » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:50 pm

iSamurai wrote: you need to put the layup in an oven to cure the epoxy resin. I was just thinking about a huge oven using so much electricity :P



My home made oven is large enough to fit a whole bike, roughly 1200 x 1000 x 300, it gets to 120 C quite adequately with a 2 kW heating element. I use a simple PID with a thermocouple sensor controlling the element via an SSR.

The calculation is power = surface area x temperature difference / insulation "R" value in m^2.K/W. With my oven, surface area is about 3.6 m^2, temperature difference gets to almost 120 so even with ordinary R 2.0 insulation I should only need approx 216 watts. Of course that's maintenance value with no leaks and zero thermal mass inside the oven. I installed a much larger element to get a reasonable ramp up time.

The fan's not so easy, the first one I used died in the heat so I got a new one, replaced the motor shaft with one long enough to pass through the wall and mounted the motor on the outside with the fan blades inside. This causes leaks and the bearings are squealing with unhappiness from the extra load (and possibly from damage during the shaft replacement) so I'm replacing it with the fan from a domestic fan forced oven.

BTW Plaster has a lower CTE than aluminium but it's a much better insulator. Swings and roundabouts.
Last edited by Mark Kelly on Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:16 am

Clever idea using the Rapid Prototyping / 3D printing for generating a mould though probably inefficient, particularly with the suface (3D printing quality) that needs to be finished/polished for a high quality surface on the carbon frame.

CNC is better though very expensive for a one-off bike so if it has to be Carbon Fibre, I would be exploring other possibilities for low volume production or even design solutions that make it possible to accommodate different frame sizes.


Knowing how many members have access to 3D printers is exciting... what do I build?
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby ftssjk » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:05 am

i am thinking something more similar to a custom frame builder would be better for you,
instead of something like a big bike company,
as others have mentioned, the market has been saturated in regards to 'off the rack' frame designs.

i think your best bet 'niche' wise is the custom geometry, frame building.
maybe something similar to baum, but less expensive?
not in titanium (you could maybe offer titanium later), but maybe good old steel first. or chro mo or whatever it is.
or composite materials.. /carbon fiber..
with this set up you can probably do it on the weekends, etc to see how you like it.
for metals, you could either learn how to tig weld/practice yourself (if you dont already know), or you could outsource it, or recruit a very experienced tig welder.

for carbon fiber composites im not sure. jigs? carbon sheets? epoxy?

either way, you could operate the business from your garage, or something similar, with a tig welding machine, some argon gas bottles, lots of jigs, and lots and lots of research in frame building. (or the alternative with carbon fiber).

if i were in your shoes i'd take this approach as opposed to any others.

then maybe after a few years, with a good reputation for frame building, you can try out a few designs..
like different shape tubes for the bike (kind of like what lynskey has)

ive never heard of custom geometry carbon fiber bike frames in Australia, so maybe that can be your niche...
though if i were you, i'd do that later and start with steel, moving to titanium, and then eventually to the composites.

anyway if you like my idea, send me a few peanuts please :)
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby human909 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:16 am

Cycling is an EXTREMELY mature industry. There are very few things that haven't been tried. There isn't exactly alot of room for further research and development. Most of the room in the market for small companies comes from boutique needs where marketing is often of bigger importance than engineering.

The only "small" company bike company that relies more on innovative engineering than marketing is Rohloff.


(My sister has been riding to work on a 40 year old bike. Essentially it does the job as well as modern alternatives. In fact better than most modern alternatives available in Australia. Unfortunately the seat tube broke this week. She is examining repair options to keep the old steed ticking along.)
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby george-bob » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:35 am

I wonder if custom geometry carbon fibre bikes would be possible at a reasonable price. Design the joining parts of the frame (BB shell, head tube, seatpost insert and rear dropouts) have a bunch of them produced by a good chinese manfacuturer. Atthe same time buy a bunch of CF tubing. You then bring in your client and fit them on a bike like this: http://www.bikelandusa.com/images/fit_bike.jpg and then cut/epoxy the tubes and joiners together to their preferred geometry.

That way the local labour is the fitting, cutting and joining of the frame and the painting.

Considering chinese carbon frames can be as low as $400 each, if you assume that is approximately the material cost of the carbon components then you are looking at <10 hours of labour for the fitting (2 hours), cutting/joining (3 hours), finishing and painting (5 hours). At a rate of $50/hr you might be able to come in under $1000/frame from start to finish.

If you could sell custom geometry carbon frames for under $2k you might be able to find a decent local market.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby mitzikatzi » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:51 am

The new Ibis Ripley took 6 years to design and suspension design started in 2005.

and Ibis is already an established brand making selling the product easier.
It is a very crowded? and competitive market. Both Ibis and Santa Cruz have released new high end 27.5 bikes as well as all the major players Giant etc releasing 27.5 bikes.

I think it would be easier to make your money in some area other then bikes.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:56 pm

Mark Kelly wrote:My home made oven is large enough to fit a whole bike, roughly 1200 x 1000 x 300, it gets to 120 C quite adequately with a 2 kW heating element. I use a simple PID with a thermocouple sensor controlling the element via an SSR.

The calculation is power = surface area x temperature difference / insulation "R" value in m^2.K/W. With my oven, surface area is about 3.6 m^2, temperature difference gets to almost 120 so even with ordinary R 2.0 insulation I should only need approx 216 watts. Of course that's maintenance value with no leaks and zero thermal mass inside the oven. I installed a much larger element to get a reasonable ramp up time.


Oh, I didn't think about building an oven myself :P I had a quick look at these lab ovens that size and they cost upwards of $2k. I'm no oven expert so how do you build it to make sure you don't burn the whole thing down? I could get some help from a mate who's an electrical engineer. ~200W sounds reasonable for a DIY oven. I also looked up the CTE for plaster vs Al vs Fe, and yeah it's good. It sits somewhere between the latter two :)

AUbicycles wrote:Clever idea using the Rapid Prototyping / 3D printing for generating a mould though probably inefficient, particularly with the suface (3D printing quality) that needs to be finished/polished for a high quality surface on the carbon frame. ...


Well you never know until you try! I watched a few youtube videos on plaster mould casting and "rubber plaster" mould castings. The finished parts (aluminium) looks acceptable, though clearly they needed some finishing touches. 3D printed parts should have excellent surface finish, so I just need to find a way to keep that tolerance on the moulds, preferably semi-reusable. Either way I think there would be some buffing on the final product. I'm thinking of using aluminium tubes cut in half for the outer casing and fill it with rubber plaster. The casing can be clamped to withstand the pressure of the air bladder inside.

ftssjk wrote:i am thinking something more similar to a custom frame builder would be better for you, instead of something like a big bike company, as others have mentioned, the market has been saturated in regards to 'off the rack' frame designs.

i think your best bet 'niche' wise is the custom geometry, frame building. maybe something similar to baum, but less expensive? not in titanium (you could maybe offer titanium later)

Why not both? I was going to do a PhD in carbon fibre-epoxy/titanium FML (fibre metal laminates) hybrid composites but I found something else :P Anyhow I think that's an overkill for a bicycle as you're probably not going to encounter any bird strikes, though possibly this may save your bike if you crash it. Airbus' A380 skin uses aluminium/S2 Glass FML due to its impact resistance and stiffness over monolithic aluminium. The downside was that it was expensive and as you can see they went all carbon in their A350 as CF technology matures (in this rather conservative industry).

I think Baum is the general direction I want to head, and yes, of course less expensive. I think in order to achieve that you'd have to streamline a few things and can't go full blown customised bikes. I'm exploring all options, though.
ftssjk wrote:anyway if you like my idea, send me a few peanuts please :)

Once (if) I have the whole thing thought out, I'm sure I can do a bit better than a few peanuts :P

human909 wrote:(My sister has been riding to work on a 40 year old bike. Essentially it does the job as well as modern alternatives. In fact better than most modern alternatives available in Australia. Unfortunately the seat tube broke this week. She is examining repair options to keep the old steed ticking along.)


That must be a really awesome bike :) Hard to find something that still rolls at that kind of age.

george-bob wrote:I wonder if custom geometry carbon fibre bikes would be possible at a reasonable price. Design the joining parts of the frame (BB shell, head tube, seatpost insert and rear dropouts) have a bunch of them produced by a good chinese manfacuturer. ... If you could sell custom geometry carbon frames for under $2k you might be able to find a decent local market.

This wasn't the original model I had in mind, but I'll think about it as pretty much anything is on the table at this stage. At the moment these pretty frames from Specialized and Cervelo go for $5k+ and that's the area I intend to explore.

mitzikatzi wrote:I think it would be easier to make your money in some area other then bikes.

Yes of course! But it's not about the money :P I won't proceed with it unless I have a solid plan.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby Eleri » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:33 pm

I've bought 3 handmade frames over the years because I'm too small to buy off-the-shelf. One thing that strikes me about that business is that it's hard to scale up because the reputation of the bike often relies on the skills of the builder. In Darren Baum's case it is the quality of his welding as well as the total experience I guess. That means he is limited by the number of bikes he can weld himself.

What would I include in my next bike? Well it probably woudn't be CF because if I amortise the cost of the bike over it's life expectancy of 5 years, then it's an expensive custom build. But it would have a custom paint job and good design. It would be able to be customised for various sizes and bit fitted to the rider.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby jaffaman » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:56 pm

human909 wrote:Cycling is an EXTREMELY mature industry. There are very few things that haven't been tried. There isn't exactly alot of room for further research and development. Most of the room in the market for small companies comes from boutique needs where marketing is often of bigger importance than engineering.

The only "small" company bike company that relies more on innovative engineering than marketing is Rohloff.


(My sister has been riding to work on a 40 year old bike. Essentially it does the job as well as modern alternatives. In fact better than most modern alternatives available in Australia. Unfortunately the seat tube broke this week. She is examining repair options to keep the old steed ticking along.)


While I agree if you stick to standard looking bikes, there are lots of tiny manufacturers turning out innovative bikes - eg RANS, Sun, Lightfoot, Varna, Day6, Azub and for some Australian ones try Cruzbike, Greenspeed, and Trisled. Yes, most of these make recumbents or long wheel base crank forwards, but all rely not on marketing but on the strength of their unique products to survive.

But I agree it is a very long very hard road.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:21 pm

Since it was mentioned earlier that I should look into the possibility of getting bikes manufactured overseas and shipped back here, I've been thinking about it...

The pros:
  • It makes economical sense as this dramatically reduces the cost of manufacturing & testing
  • Saves me the fuss of doing the work myself and can get the product finished in a much shorter timeframe
  • Almost every single company out there have this business model e.g. Apple, though it seems like they're starting to assemble the Mac Pro in the States

The cons:
  • Loses one of my USPs - Made in Australia, which was one of my original ideas. I think if you look at Azzurri they get the prices down but it's not like Baum, Argonaut or Ritte
  • The engineering & design is likely to be ripped off and suppliers will make their generics
  • I can only control the manufacturing process to a certain extent, quality control is a question mark

And your +ve and -ve for this list?
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby MattyK » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:53 pm

Made in Australia is a USP with no value.
Ripoffs will only be as likely as your design is transparent. (eg Knog lights, once the style was out there it was easy to copy. Frame geometry or frame layup method would be less so, but that depends on the honesty of your supplier and your relationship with them.)
Asian manufacturing quality is typically top notch, and if not done at the factory you can also employ quality inspectors before it gets shipped.
Manufacturing yourself only makes sense if the volumes are so low that it is not worth outsourcing to someone with mass production facilities.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby iSamurai » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:18 pm

MattyK wrote:Made in Australia is a USP with no value.
Ripoffs will only be as likely as your design is transparent. (eg Knog lights, once the style was out there it was easy to copy. Frame geometry or frame layup method would be less so, but that depends on the honesty of your supplier and your relationship with them.)
Asian manufacturing quality is typically top notch, and if not done at the factory you can also employ quality inspectors before it gets shipped.
Manufacturing yourself only makes sense if the volumes are so low that it is not worth outsourcing to someone with mass production facilities.


That might be true but I'd like more convincing that Made in Australia won't be any good (having said that if I can find an excellent supplier I think that might be an option worth considering). It was highly regarded a few weeks ago that Apple announced that they're gonna make Mac Pro in the US. It's a low volume product compared to their other products. My original intent was to go for low volumes. I don't want to sell just another typical road bike though... :P
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby MattyK » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:24 am

If "Made in Australia" = "more expensive than Made Anywhere Else" then people will vote with their wallet. Quality is a secondary issue; if your best way to achieve quality is to make here then so be it, but that is selling quality, not country of origin.
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby jaffaman » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:53 pm

Sadly while I would love things to be actually made here, designed in Australia is not a bad compromise, and does have some merit. But only in tipping things your way if all else is equal - price, quality, reputation...
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Re: I'm thinking of a bicycle startup?

Postby boss » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:15 pm

Marketing, and to a lesser extent quality, is all that matters in cycling.

You need to market your product to be unique AND desirable. You can make up whatever BS you want about the product - it is laterally stiffer and more vertically compliant than anyone else or whatever... As long as the claim can't be easily disproved, go your hardest.

And as long as you don't have en masse warranty or quality control issues, people will be happy with their purchase.

All in all, I think you are overvaluing the importance of progressive engineering. It's a bonus, sure, but its not going to sell bikes. I think you might also not be paying those involved in industry the respect that is due - I'm not sure how much genuine innovation is going to realistically possible.

You are going to need to hire a marketing consultant, a design firm, an amazing web designer and maybe even some social media strategists. Then you will sell bikes.
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