This is the 2nd in a series of posts called 'Fighting the Good Fight'. These posts will follow the 2nd part of getting the message out about my love for all things bicycle as it relates to inner-city funk! I have thought about a question posed (in different ways) by some of my faithful readers. That question is: "Do low rider bicycles figure into your vision of hot bicycle designs?" The answer is a simple NO. When people think of Low Rider bicycles, me included, an immediate thought of our Latino brothers and they way they design bicycles come to mind. This is partly true and partly false. Yes, I do believe they started this, in my opinion, very NICHE market, but these minority companies in no way dominate this market.
The truth today is that this market is dominated by white American companies who took this concept, put their spin on it, and now are doing quiet well as this niche' market goes. As a matter of fact, there is a company right here in Colorado who sells some very descent low rider bicycles. I actually did a comparison of some of these companies, the ones minority owned and the ones owned by white Americans. What I noticed was:
1) The Latino companies tended to really put alot of focus on adding more STUFF on each of their bicycles while the comparison companies took a slightly different approach by designing CLEANER looking designs, less accessories, and charged much higher prices.
2) The Latino companies seemed to be doing a better job at marketing not just there designs, but also focused on selling the accessories that would allow ANYONE to make their bicycles into low riders. The comparison companies did have some accessories, but they tended to have less (at least the ones I looked at) accessories and focused more on trying to sell expensive bicycles.
3) The comparison companies also were able to take what the minority companies were doing, ad there own spin on their designs, and appeal to a wider market. I do not have any data to back this up but in researching, I noticed that even in their picture galleries, they had riders on their bicycles of various races while the minority companies tended to just have pictures of other minorities.
Anyway, Which ones do I like best? Neither, both types, in my opinion are over done. Which concept is the best? That is subjective and Up to the buyer. I do not believe that just because someone pioneers a concept that this fact alone makes them the best at it.
I continue to plug away at my 1st production bicycle. I have decided on 5 designs that I want to be ready by early spring 2009. I went through my 105 or so designs (not including all my other accessories and funk) and pulled out THE ONLY 5 that I could alter a little and do myself by partnering with someone like my good buddy Casey, who is doing the work for me locally, and at least get a few done, even if they are simple.
He is the 1st one within the industry that I have dealt with that believes anything is possible when it comes to design. He saw some of my sketches and just laughed. He said "I am glad I am not the only one who knows that there is a huge market for this type of custom work". The subject of 'Tooling' came up when he and I were looking through a few of my designs. He shared with me that most of the designs (the ones he saw anyway) would require expensive tooling to be made for manufacturing. As I shared with him and I now share with you. My vision is to do design the way I think it should be done and if tooling is expensive, that is just the way it has to be because I do not care whether I sell 10 designs a year to begin with or 1000! I do not care what other people are doing and all of the crazy fads everyone is running around trying to be a part of such as 'Fixed Gear' and such. I repeat what I said in an earlier post, when it comes to owning one of my designs, "Everybody is not able".
City Cruisers (and your wood paneled cruisers) Bow Down when Felt comes to your town!
Pacific Cycles and every brand you license, BOW DOWN!
Felt Racing is obviously doing some BIG things! I tell yall what, I ran across some of there products in the way of beach cruisers and all I can say is the title of this post: Nice...Just flat out NICE! As someone who doesn't give a 'Hoot' about all the little gadgets and accessories on a bicycle and with a focus more on aesthetics, these are some of the cleanest designs that I have ever seen!
As I was viewing these designs, I said to myself "It is a shame designs like these can't or aren't sold in the 'Big Box Retail Stores' where 82% of the inner-city demographic purchase their bicycles." And looking at the MSRP of these bicycles, I do believe if Felt Racing partnered with a company like Pacific Cycles and all the distribution and purchasing power they have (if they haven't already) the prices could be forced down with bulk and these bicycles could be sold for between $150 and $250 in these stores.
I know that I am over simplifying the process but it just nags in my craw that the HOT bikes are in these independent dealer locations (no offense) and the hottest designs, like these never make it to the streets in big numbers because the large manufacturers settle for selling good designs instead of GREAT ONES!
I ran across a website recently called http://www.blackvoices.com/ and the author of the article was Esther Dixon. The article was titled "Style Spotter Spots Bicycles". She posted some futuristic looking design and in 99% of the comments I read, the readers HATED these designs and one even said the bicycles looked like weed whackers! These are designs that win at the Taiwanese Design Competition every year. Admittedly this is a website by African-Americans for African-Americans, but all the same, WHO I AM is someone who loves funked out bicycle design and I will not waver from that. I recently posted and article entitled MVP! featuring the Ellsworth Design Nuvinci not to mention 'Glam Rock' by Cube, both companies launched by white folks I am sure. Yet, they were able to produce some designs so ignorant (nice) that it made me say to myself "Are you kidding me?"
I saw a movie some years ago called ‘Baby Boy’ starring Tyrese Gibson and Ving Rhames. There is a video on youtube.com with the movies theme song but after listening to a little bit of it, although there is no cussing, the material rapped about is not appropriate for this blog. However, I did run across this picture of the main bicycle in the movie and it is posted below. Before I go any further, I want to tell all of you that I am in no way looking down my nose at those in the video (Snoop and Tyrese) because the truth is, I saw the movie many years ago and was a huge fan of the song at that time, but after reviewing the song I realized that I am at a different place in my life and this type of music to me now, is extreme.
Tyrese Gibson’s character. Jody, was a 20ish young man still living at home with his momma. His momma had a new boyfriend played by Ving Rhames. The part that jumped out at me wasn’t the plot because essentially, that consisted of Jody bumping heads with his momma’s new boyfriend. Often times when a divorced or single mother has teenage or young adult male son (especially if the young adult son lives at home), when the mother starts to date again, and eventually marry, the young son will have an issue with the man his momma is involved with. It seems the longer the mother was single and alone, the bigger the problem. These young cats want to be the man of the house (Although, in my experience, they almost never want to (nor do they) pay any bills as a real man would) and when they momma focuses her attention on another man they get mad, thus the head bumping!