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".