Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Behind the Bars

Like many, I do a lot of mind dumps while riding, especially when riding on my own. I can clear my head, solve problems, come up with ideas, maybe even paint a masterpiece if I had a canvas and paint palette mounted to my bars... hey wait, that's a great idea for riding the rollers or trainer! But mostly I make observations, not funny ones like Seinfeld, well OK sometimes funny, but mostly just observations.

I don't always voice them for the sake of not sounding stupid or crazy, but I have always dumped some of them here. Hell the most of what I write hear are brain farts and dumps - what is up with associating our thinking process with a natural bodily function? At least we could associate our thoughts with something more pleasant than poo, like sex. "Oh, that was a real brain orgasm!" or "You really hit the G-Spot with that thought!" Much more pleasant don't you think...

Anyway, with the NAHMBS directly in our rear-view mirrors, and forging ahead in the German market with IF, I have been evaluating the state of cycling over here, and it is interesting to say the least. Custom bikes all but do not exist. Their a couple of really small builders, but not even close to the scale as in the US. I think looking at the vitality of these builders is a great barometer for the health of a market. Germans make good money, have a high-standard of living, but the industry in the late 90's early 00's experienced a race to the bottom in the cycling market, everything for nothing. Wholesale companies cut the legs out from under the industry, leaving a vacuum void of boutique, high-end builders. Even large companies struggle on price over here. The up side is that Germans have an affection for quailty, high end goods. They want the best products out there, and I have seen some crazy bikes.

Will we make it? Time will tell, but I believe so. Threading the needle of quality, precision, lightweight race-inspired designs, with cult-like, sub-culture coolness will be the winning recipe.

3 comments:

Kris said...

I'm surprised by that too because Germans are soooo anal about their stuff. How many times have you gone to a party in Dland and spent a long time hearing someone spu crap about their amazing dishwasher... or more so complain about it because it is not perfect. Good observation on the market.

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Great post. I have no doubt about you making it.

Ken Bloomer said...

Thanks for the thumbs up, we look forward to the challenge and having some fun in the process.