Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Business with Pleasure

Doesn't seem to matter what I am doing I always want to take it to the next step-involvement. When I raced RC cars (yes-thats Remote Controlled cars, try and impress someone with that) I co-owned the local race track got involved with selling the NiMh batteries that powered them. The battery business is and was a volatile business, but it was on track to be a million dollar a year gross sales venture in its first year. As you can guess I am not driving around in a Ferrari or riding a 700 gram Rue frame so that deal didn't last too long.

I am now back into cycling and I have the unique flexibility in my job title (whatever the heck it is) to investigate new sales opportunities. I keep having this nagging idea to import something. Something like racing frames or light weight parts. I call it nagging because these ideas are always doing just that, nagging at me. I do some research and it always comes down to the same old thing. Too damn many people doing it already.

How about a niche market? Problem here is do you fill a niche or is it a "if you build it they will come?" I have no idea. Making huge sums of money really isn't the idea, but it cannot lose money either!! Best scenario would be to have it become a cash cow, but the reality is that if it just paid for itself and my bike racing and a bit more (enough to sponsor a team or a race series?) that would be a success.

I can tell you two nagging ideas I keep having and I hope someone else with more drive doesn't steel my great ideas!! Yeah, I'm just kidding about that last sentence. I should be more concerned with people laughing at my two ideas. My first is a fixie for roadies. I have just about had it with trying to find a steel frame in my size on ebay that fulfills all of my ideas of what a fixie should be. First and foremost it should be the right size. Next most important it must be cheap. And last, but not by much it has to have a sublime style.

A steel frame and fork with straight legs and 1.125"steerer with a single color paint job (no painted over logos or at most removable decals and a sweet headbadge) and rear entry track dropouts (or horizontal, but no rear meche attachment). Another thing that would set it part is the flexibility of having front and rear brakes and braze-ons for the rear brake cable. I mean most roadies aren't trackies and they certainly aren't bike messengers. Steel would be my number one pick though aluminum or Ti has that leave it out in the rain appeal that steel will never have. 126m rear spacing would be a feature so that it can easily accept 120 or 130mm track hubs. What else?? Fender mounts on the fork and rear dropouts and spaced for 28c tires, but in a traditional road geometry (not touring and not track). Steering should feel Balanced, but Aggressive enough to feel racy. Only enough compromise to fit in fenders easily, not as an afterthought.

Heres my other idea. How about a new steel cross frame (no fork) for $650.00 or less?? It seems to me that if you want that wonderful steel ride in a cross frame (without disc brakes like the 08 Lemond Poprads) your stuck with going custom or buying used. Most custom steel frames either have a long wait, high prices and for some the fear of the custom process or a combo of the three. Some people are just off the rack and even more don't have thousands of dollars or the time for custom builds. It would be as traditional as they come with canti bosses, 1.125 headset, 27.2 seat post and work with many of the forks on the market (anything from a Alpha Q to a Surly) . The one unique feature (besides a great price point) would be an ovalized top tube for portaging and maybe an over the top tube front dérailleur cable with a pulley at the BB to bring it back up to the front meche, but that might make hitting the price point just a bit tougher.

So there you go, the gears are just churning away in my old noggin. What does everyone think? Should I do one or the other or both? And maybe even more important, what would I call this business? A cool name is Huge don't you think? I have a couple ideas, but those are definitely staying secret for now.


Ray Huang said...

I want to thank everyone who has emailed me (hey-why not post a comment instead!!).

Its become quite clear there are no shortages of steel frames from Surly, Soma, Ritchey and others.

OH well!! But no worries, Ive got plenty more nagging ideas!!

Gary said...

post comments? where do we post comments at?