Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint jobs

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Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint jobs

Postby justincase » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:38 pm

I’m a long time cycle nut but first time posting here!

I just want some genuine opinions and I am NOT promoting a brand its just an idea!

**** And by the way so that I'm not breaching any of the rules of the forum, I've discussed this topic with moderator; Christopher Jones and I'm assured it will be ok as long as I'm in it for the long haul and to create some healthy ongoing discussion which I definitely am as I want this idea to benefit everyone; roadies and mountain bikers alike as I firmly have a foot in each of these camps! ****

I really want to get opinions from everyone about a high-end custom bike business I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I came up with the idea as myself and all my friends are always changing bike components, as the bike we bought was not exactly what we wanted!

I’d really like to hear everyone’s thought’s negative and positive.

I’ve met with some high quality Taiwanese frame suppliers who have the ability to provide any paint job you could possibly consider and then some. Also they will build the bike exactly to the spec you want from any component you want – Shimano, Sram, Campag, Mavic etc......! But you would have to order online.

I’m currently speaking with 3D CAD designers that can provide millions of art work styles that can be applied to the frames. - Essentially they will produce a 3D rotating image of the frame with its artwork.

I can build a website that would allow 3D designers throughout the globe to upload their own personal designs for frames for customers to choose from. There would be 1000's of different paint schemes. Each time a designer's artwork is selected by a customer the designer would receive a royalty and this will go on for as long as they keep their design on the site.

If a customer sees a design that they like but needs a few changes, they could contact the designer and request some modifications. If the customer doesn't see anything they like, they can post a design brief and designers can compete for their project much like http://99designs.com.au/
You could even have your name on the frame - no problem.

So in summary you could have any components and any paint job at around about 80-90% of retail
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by BNA » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:23 am

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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby damhooligan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:23 am

justincase wrote:I’m a long time cycle nut but first time posting here!

I just want some genuine opinions and I am NOT promoting a brand its just an idea!

**** And by the way so that I'm not breaching any of the rules of the forum, I've discussed this topic with moderator; Christopher Jones and I'm assured it will be ok as long as I'm in it for the long haul and to create some healthy ongoing discussion which I definitely am as I want this idea to benefit everyone; roadies and mountain bikers alike as I firmly have a foot in each of these camps! ****

I really want to get opinions from everyone about a high-end custom bike business I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I came up with the idea as myself and all my friends are always changing bike components, as the bike we bought was not exactly what we wanted!

I’d really like to hear everyone’s thought’s negative and positive.

I’ve met with some high quality Taiwanese frame suppliers who have the ability to provide any paint job you could possibly consider and then some. Also they will build the bike exactly to the spec you want from any component you want – Shimano, Sram, Campag, Mavic etc......! But you would have to order online.

I’m currently speaking with 3D CAD designers that can provide millions of art work styles that can be applied to the frames. - Essentially they will produce a 3D rotating image of the frame with its artwork.

I can build a website that would allow 3D designers throughout the globe to upload their own personal designs for frames for customers to choose from. There would be 1000's of different paint schemes. Each time a designer's artwork is selected by a customer the designer would receive a royalty and this will go on for as long as they keep their design on the site.

If a customer sees a design that they like but needs a few changes, they could contact the designer and request some modifications. If the customer doesn't see anything they like, they can post a design brief and designers can compete for their project much like http://99designs.com.au/
You could even have your name on the frame - no problem.

So in summary you could have any components and any paint job at around about 80-90% of retail

Hi and welcome...

Do you have anything visual to show us..
As to can you show us a picture?
as an example??

My other question is what franes wil you use?
Wil you use high end brand names??
If not. How can you sell them as high end??

Regards... johan
The dutch have one word to describe the aussie MHL, this word is ;
SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:05 am

No, nothing visual yet - still working on the images but the idea is that what every you want you can get - no limits.

Good question re the frames. I think one important thing to note is that the high-end well recognised brands are all mostly made in Taiwan and many of the same factories supply multiple brands with the same or similar frame. The essential difference is the branding and logo. Have a look at your bike, chances are its got a made in Taiwan sticker on it. I myself have 3 "American" brand name bikes all with made in Taiwan stickers that cost me from $3,500 up to $10,000.

Sure not all frame are made in Taiwan but I think its safe to say the majority are.

So what I mean by high quality is that I can source frames from these exact same manufacturers but obviously I would change the design a little. So the frame will be the same quality as it could well be made in the same factory. It just wouldn't be branded Specialized or Trek etc... It would be what ever brand name I come up with.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby zero » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:04 am

Full custom customers are very different and far more trouble than a big-brand customer who decides he wants to change or upgrade a couple of things, and they are also far harder to hide a margin from. If you've sold them a whole bike, they'll send back the whole bike if they don't like the paint.

If it were me, I'd just do custom frames.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby damhooligan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:10 am

justincase wrote:No, nothing visual yet - still working on the images but the idea is that what every you want you can get - no limits.

Good question re the frames. I think one important thing to note is that the high-end well recognised brands are all mostly made in Taiwan and many of the same factories supply multiple brands with the same or similar frame. The essential difference is the branding and logo. Have a look at your bike, chances are its got a made in Taiwan sticker on it. I myself have 3 "American" brand name bikes all with made in Taiwan stickers that cost me from $3,500 up to $10,000.

Sure not all frame are made in Taiwan but I think its safe to say the majority are.

So what I mean by high quality is that I can source frames from these exact same manufacturers but obviously I would change the design a little. So the frame will be the same quality as it could well be made in the same factory. It just wouldn't be branded Specialized or Trek etc... It would be what ever brand name I come up with.


How are you applying designs??
Spraypaint or vinyl wrap??
Nothing is limitless.
There are always limits in design.

Ah.. but branding is what makes a frame high end.
Without the branding its just a cheap oem frame.
Also with brand name comes warranty...
Are you offering warranty??

I dont think you can sell them as high end without the brand name
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SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby george-bob » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:28 am

Sounds pretty damn cool actually! It would be a way to get chinese carbon built up without all the hassle and with a paintjob you choose. If priced reasonably it would be very tempting!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:55 am

The designs will all be hand painted - maybe a decal for the logo though. There really isn't much that can't be done paint wise.

Your are dead right about the branding that makes it high end but when any one / business is first trying to establish a brand they've goy to start somewhere. Ferrari wasn't high end when he built his first car in a tin shed all those years ago! So I guess people would judge it on price / quality / warranty / customer service

In relation to warranty, am looking into that but I think I'll do no less than 5 years - could be more.....
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby Crowz » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:06 am

Look at Reid Bikes as an example of a new bike company starting. Read up on them and read this forum for concerns people have with the bikes. It sounds like a good concept to me but to really capture a market I think you'll struggle without any sort of test riding. Good luck though, keen to see how it turns out!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:13 am

Thanks.
I do plan to offer test rides - for sure. I wouldn't buy a bike without the ability to test it unless it was $200 -$300.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby Crowz » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:16 am

justincase wrote:Thanks.
I do plan to offer test rides - for sure. I wouldn't buy a bike without the ability to test it unless it was $200 -$300.


Oh okay, I just thought that when you said "you will have to order online" it would mean you have no shop.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:22 am

No plan for a shop.
But we would get test bikes to customers. We'll be working from a warehouse.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:27 am

In response to comments from "zero" - I did think about the custom frames but kept asking myself - Would I just buy a frame and build it myself. Answer was, probably yes but I'm not sure many other people would. Any comments on this issue?
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby boss » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:04 am

Personally I don't mind the idea of custom paint jobs, one of the biggest problems I had when looking for a bike was finding one with a nice paint job in my price range. All I wanted was a black bike, not because it's the current trend, but I just like black bikes and never get tired of the colour. Under $3k, black bikes were scarce when I was looking!

So you've got yourself a niche in the market, yes.

BUT.

What kind of price range are we talking?

I'm assuming we are talking essentially brand-less bikes. Unless you are talking slightly more expensive than Azzuri, you're going to fail. I say that without qualification. It'd be exactly the same as Reid making carbon bikes and selling them at similar prices to Trek/Giant/Cannondale/etc.

People often take the piss out of marketing/branding on here, but it is the reason why people buy bikes. We all sit here and say how there isn't much difference between Chinese carbon and our Euro/US branded bikes. But for most of us, the Euro/US brand is a safety blanked of sorts. And for many, the brand is an extension of identity.

I know it's tough to come onto a forum and propose your idea, that presumably you've put a lot of thought if not time and money into over a length period of time. However, be under no illusions - you will not be able to sell your bikes anywhere near the prices brand names command.

If you are intent on selling your products at brand name prices (or near brand name prices), you are essentially going to have to carve out a brand for your company. Consider:

  • Building a team. A good one. Think pros. Think international.
  • Advertise in all the major magazines. Not cheap.
  • Consider pairing up with a dealer in each capital city, where orders can be placed for custom bikes and some display stock can be housed. This will give people the opportunity for test rides etc. The dealer would get a commission on sales, but you would need to make the commission attractive enough such that they actually want to sell your bikes as opposed to other bikes that are already on their floor.
  • Similar to advertising - team up with some media partners, get them to speak highly of your bikes, run competitions through their magazines/websites/etc for free gear.
  • Give away a handful of bikes to people on various forums (seriously). If you can get people riding your bikes, speaking highly of them, you'll be a long way in front. I'll happily take a bike and ride it and tell people how good or bad it is for you! Brand ambassador #1.
  • Make sure your website is spot on.
  • Ensure that EVERYTHING you do is on point and consistent. Product, branding, team, everything. Be professional.
None of that is cheap or easy.

Essentially you want to do two things. The first is make your brand cool. The second is make sure people know your product is legit. If you can achieve those two objectives, then you will be able to charge a premium.

But make no mistake. If you don't do that, and you want to charge brand-name prices (or anywhere remotely near it) you'll fail miserably and lose a lot of money.

All of this is just my 2c, but I have built up a brand (not roadies) from scratch and had some pretty good success with it, so I have a reasonable understanding of what's required to get where you want to be.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby damhooligan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:36 am

justincase wrote:The designs will all be hand painted - maybe a decal for the logo though. There really isn't much that can't be done paint wise.

Your are dead right about the branding that makes it high end but when any one / business is first trying to establish a brand they've goy to start somewhere. Ferrari wasn't high end when he built his first car in a tin shed all those years ago! So I guess people would judge it on price / quality / warranty / customer service

In relation to warranty, am looking into that but I think I'll do no less than 5 years - could be more.....


Nope.. you are wrong.
There is a lot you can not do paintwise.
Not to mention that some designs involve a lot of extra time/ labour to paint.
Are you painting it yourself?

Yes you have to start somewhere.
But you dont start stating the use of high end frames.
That comes after
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SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby damhooligan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:43 am

jimboss wrote:Personally I don't mind the idea of custom paint jobs, one of the biggest problems I had when looking for a bike was finding one with a nice paint job in my price range. All I wanted was a black bike, not because it's the current trend, but I just like black bikes and never get tired of the colour. Under $3k, black bikes were scarce when I was looking!

So you've got yourself a niche in the market, yes.

BUT.

What kind of price range are we talking?

I'm assuming we are talking essentially brand-less bikes. Unless you are talking slightly more expensive than Azzuri, you're going to fail. I say that without qualification. It'd be exactly the same as Reid making carbon bikes and selling them at similar prices to Trek/Giant/Cannondale/etc.

People often take the piss out of marketing/branding on here, but it is the reason why people buy bikes. We all sit here and say how there isn't much difference between Chinese carbon and our Euro/US branded bikes. But for most of us, the Euro/US brand is a safety blanked of sorts. And for many, the brand is an extension of identity.

I know it's tough to come onto a forum and propose your idea, that presumably you've put a lot of thought if not time and money into over a length period of time. However, be under no illusions - you will not be able to sell your bikes anywhere near the prices brand names command.

If you are intent on selling your products at brand name prices (or near brand name prices), you are essentially going to have to carve out a brand for your company. Consider:

  • Building a team. A good one. Think pros. Think international.
  • Advertise in all the major magazines. Not cheap.
  • Consider pairing up with a dealer in each capital city, where orders can be placed for custom bikes and some display stock can be housed. This will give people the opportunity for test rides etc. The dealer would get a commission on sales, but you would need to make the commission attractive enough such that they actually want to sell your bikes as opposed to other bikes that are already on their floor.
  • Similar to advertising - team up with some media partners, get them to speak highly of your bikes, run competitions through their magazines/websites/etc for free gear.
  • Give away a handful of bikes to people on various forums (seriously). If you can get people riding your bikes, speaking highly of them, you'll be a long way in front. I'll happily take a bike and ride it and tell people how good or bad it is for you! Brand ambassador #1.
  • Make sure your website is spot on.
  • Ensure that EVERYTHING you do is on point and consistent. Product, branding, team, everything. Be professional.

None of that is cheap or easy.



Essentially you want to do two things. The first is make your brand cool. The second is make sure people know your product is legit. If you can achieve those two objectives, then you will be able to charge a premium.

But make no mistake. If you don't do that, and you want to charge brand-name prices (or anywhere remotely near it) you'll fail miserably and lose a lot of money.

All of this is just my 2c, but I have built up a brand (not roadies) from scratch and had some pretty good success with it, so I have a reasonable understanding of what's required to get where you want to be.



Its not that niche...
Trek offers a simlair thing where you can choose your own color
All custom bike builders offer your choice of color
And companys that sell fixies let you customize bike and parts.

If you want a brand name you are limited to what they choose.
If you go brandless you can choose to have it painted.
There are several companies out there that do that.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby boss » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:45 am

damhooligan wrote:Yes you have to start somewhere.
But you dont start stating the use of high end frames.
That comes after


It is much harder to increase price point than it is reduce.

It is also hard to change a brand from a low-level/price-point brand to a high-level/price-point brand.

I would suggest starting your brand where you want it to be at long term.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:36 pm

Thanks everyone for all the constructive comments.

Yes Trek do offer a very similar service and I am well aware of it - got friends who've bought Madone's this way. But I'm really proposing any paint design, style and colour not one that conforms to Trek's templates.

I was also initially thinking of starting with MTB in stead of road - different to Trek but looked like there would be to many frame combos to start with. BUT on second thoughts, I think dirty mountain bikers of which I mostly am could be a little more accepting of new things - don't know, just putting it out there!

In relation to the painting - no I will not be doing the painting my self but I will be doing a test run of a supper intricate paint job so that we'll be able confirm quality, speed and ability of the paint shop. If anyone is interested in the out come I'd be happy to post a pic - So much so that if any one has any ideas / pics of super intricate (but good looking) paint jobs I could emulate (NOT COPY!!!) I would be happy to have a go at it.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:58 pm

Jimboss, I think your input is fantastic.
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:00 pm

Jimboss,
I really appreciate your input - your definitely on the ball. And have to agree with you on pricing and disagree with others. If I price them at K-Mart prices, they will always be K-Mart bikes - period! They wont be cheap - I think I can comfortably sell an equivalent spec 29er dualy like a Tek Rumblefish Pro for a little under $3,000 which is about $1,500 less that the Trek.

I have no intention of building Reid Cycles type bikes. I want to build bikes I'd be proud to ride. Not that there is anything wrong with Ried (that I personally know off) but its my area of passion. I like the beautiful high end stuff and for some reason - I don't why, I'm really into matte black ATM but obviously I wouldn't just do straight matte black, it would defeat the point of my custom paint idea.

And yes to get them out there I will definitely doing sponsored deals to enthusiasts not necessarily pros. I plan to sell the first 100 or so at my absolute cost price which in the above case would be around $1,800 but this will obviously not be a public deal.

Furthermore, I'll be doing free give-aways but I really haven't worked out exactly how this will work so please don't hammer me with - "it can't be done" But essentially, depending on the numbers, I'll be giving away a free $5,000 bike to every 25th or 50th customer - ongoing for every. It might be a website counter or something like that.......
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby Crowz » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:10 pm

You could be tricky and tell people every 25th or 50th customer gets a free bike, but only tell the person who won after they've confirmed their purchase. Wouldn't that be a nice surprise!
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby JustJames » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:17 pm

OP, what you are describing is a boutique type brand...but operating out of a warehouse. That strikes me as a huge contradiction.

If I were embarking on this, I would set up a mahoosively boutique-y environment, and work on generating positive publicity.

Your target is people who can afford any bike, but don't have the time or inclination to build up their own bike.

This is a similar niche that chased by Deus ex Machina, and I think that their approach is a good one. Build an environment where people can come along and experience the sizzle (as in the old saw "Sell the sizzle, not the steak").

So, have a small selection of the bikes on display to show case what you can do, with nice displays of the kinds of wheels, groupsets, build kits and saddles you can provide, with as much variety as you can stretch to.

Build a fitting service into the model, because a bike that fits properly beats a bike that doesn't fit.

James
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:18 pm

Crowz,
That was pretty much the idea except to give it some legitimacy I though I might have a counter on the website that disappeared once it go to within 5 bikes of the winner and then the winner would have to agree to put a comment on the site afterward or something like that........ etc
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby MarkG » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:19 pm

Justincase - when are you looking at kicking this off, and what does the "$1,800 cost price" bike consist of exactly.. curious..
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby justincase » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:21 pm

By the way, I've go some images of the intricate paint jobs that the paint shop can do. Although they are not to my liking, the frame painter is just showing off as to their abilities. I'd love to post them here but seems you can't post anything that's not on a website here. Is that right????
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Re: Bikes with custom components and unlimited custom paint

Postby boss » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:34 pm

justincase wrote:By the way, I've go some images of the intricate paint jobs that the paint shop can do. Although they are not to my liking, the frame painter is just showing off as to their abilities. I'd love to post them here but seems you can't post anything that's not on a website here. Is that right????


Upload to tinypic and then post the URL (wrapped in img tags) here
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