Posted on December 14 2016
Here's a behind-the-scene top secret going-on-right-now event.
Practically, we don't need any new or different handlebars, but thanks to Amazon and the increasing popularity of NITTO products, some of "our" handlebars (and a few racks) became widely available, our sales dropped, and we come and go with sales. We could have asked NITTO if we could go back and claim our bars as ours alone, but that would have been awkward all around. The cat was out of the bag.
Noe we're designing a few new, proprietary bars and rax that, from the get-go, would be ours alone, so that's how it's going.
We have the Choco-bar--which may be my favorite, and seems to be Mark's favorite non-drop. No reason to change that, and no need. Bosco...is in a gray zone. Albastache, also gray, but I think we've got our exclusive mitts on that, too.
The Noodle and Albatross are the problem bars, and for now, we've tweaked the Albatross into a slightly new form that loses nothing from the old one and has a few extra plusses about it. Here's a top view. Keep in mind that it rises/drops about 50mm, same as the Albatross.
Look at the names:
BABS....BABAR...BARABBAS...KOOKUBARRA, or maybe just KOOKUBAR
It will likely be one of those, although Barabbas reminds me of scary Bible stories my mom used to tell me.
Maybe Handelbar would be confusing in conversation. Babs would for sure, so I can rule those out. I like the rest. I hate polling, but I do wonder. I've opened up the comments section. If anybody gets mean, it'll be curtains for the comments, but...I can't imagine.
The normal bike industry is hurting real bad, hugely due to changes in the way stuff's sold and distributed. Dealers are selling on Amazon, so a dealer in Tinytown can compete with the main chain store in Madison, WI.... They have the goods shipped to the buyer either by Amazon or by the mfr. And THEN the manufacturers---let's say, of a car rack—figures out the zip codes of all the purchasers, figures out it's an Amazon sale thing, and figures heck, if the BrickMorter store isn't even making eye-contact or talking to the customer or anything, we should get that sale. So they cut off the dealer (stop selling the dealer "AMAZON quantities" and starts themselves selling on Amazon...for less money than the dealer was selling for.
Regular bike parts wholesalers are being cut out, too. Sometimes they've sold Brand X for decades, but now Brand X wants to sell on Amazon, and either the wholesaler or the dealer gets booted out.
It's all technically legal, and in some way the dealer should have expected something like that, but these are tough times and everybody's so de
Countrywide, bike business is down almost 14 percent from last year. The industry is welcoming eBikes big time, half out of genuine enthusiasm, but half the time out of desperation & not wanting to miss the eBoat.
Most suppliers are nervous about Trump's high tarrifs on Chinese-made stuff. I bet it won't happen, but if it does, it will make things much harder for mainstream bike businesses. We're less affected by all of this because we don't sell Chinese stuff and for the most part, we don't live and die on commodities. Nobody's going to sell Appaloosa bikes on Amazon, or CLEMs or the new NITTO things. Still...it's easy to feel sorry for normal bike shops.
We will absolutely run out of the Gransfors #420 ax within a week and a half. We have eight on the shelf and some may be spoken for (ordered, just not packed), and since we didn't get out big order (they didn't have them), this is it until Christmas. We get orders for these from, for instance, Oklahomaons who don't even ride bikes, and our past experience says that axes are bought at last-minute desperation gifts. We're doing OK on the smaller #415, but if you're even thinking about the #420, there you go---.