Helpful ReplyHot!So,what is the future of the'bent market?

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Bogiesan
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2017/05/02 16:42:51 (permalink)

So,what is the future of the'bent market?

Trikes? That's the best we can do?
No reason to rehash all that.we believe to be wrong with the market or marketing. that's been done.

Where do you see hope and sunshine? Besides buying a new bike every year, How do we help keep our favorite outfits like Bacchetta in business? How about solutions that do not require them to spend down all of their earinings?

Back in 2001, I thought the recumbent would eventually take over the world. Didn't work out that way.
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wesm
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/02 17:13:57 (permalink)
I think trikes are great for the retired set.  In a couple of decades I hope to be on one myself riding in sunny climes with good friends from all over the world.  
 
For now, I think it requires recumbent riders to produce great photos and videos to have any impact.  Any other bike = cool photos and videos.  Recumbents = (as my best friend texted me) Doc from Back to the Future.  Recumbents need spokespeople that make it cool to have any impact whatsoever.  The fact that it is all but impossible to find one without driving for hours makes it even harder.  Tough to put out multi thousands of dollars if you cannot ride one.
 
I will do my part.  And have fun.  And be a far more handsome Doc in the process!
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Mike Wilkerson
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/03 08:05:35 (permalink)
This can be a touchy subject, because no matter the real answers, folks will always find a way to discount them. For instance, used bike sales are killing us (not killing, but you know what I mean). But you can't fault a rider for wanting a deal- I certainly don't. The issue is that said riders spend a lot of Bacchetta's time and dealers time with questions and test rides and then go buy a used bike (often, it's not even the correct bike for them, it's just a "deal"). Again, can't fault the person, but it's tough on a small company in regards to time spent and our bottom line.
 
Another big issue is availability per dealer. Only a handful of dealers want to stock two-wheel recumbents these days. Can't fault them either- trikes are their sales. At the same time, we have to start considering alternative lines of selling to keep product moving. And I say the following with trepidation, because many  of my best friends are the dealers I've been working with for almost 20 years now: many dealers do not want to stock product, but they want the margin and territory accorded to a stocking dealer. Unfortunately, this does not work, because we cannot afford to have product sitting in our warehouse for months or a year at a time simply for a one-off sale. But again, as a business owner, I completely understand their motivations. Were I in the same position, I'd do the same.
 
In the end, I wish customers and dealers and manufacturers in the two wheel segment could get on the same page. Two wheel recumbents are and always will be a viable segment of the recumbent bike market. And spin it anyway you want, but trikes are simply easier to sell: zero balance issues and they're fun to ride. But how many people are on trikes, simply because they weren't given the opportunity and proper instruction for a two wheel bent? Complaining will not solve the two wheel markets problem. Instead, it will take a new alternative to promote and sell our product in what is becoming an Amazon world.
 
It's a tough subject.
 
Mike Wilkerson
Bacchetta
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Doc Dan
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/03 11:41:39 (permalink)
I'm somewhat gobsmacked by my local reality.  
 
First, I can understand why Prescott is a mountain bike mecca.  Big footprint here because of the fact the local national forest and the mountainous terrain.  
 
But when it comes to open road cycling ... it is only road bikes except for me.  And I routinely trash road bike cyclists on my Bacchetta bikes.  
 
When I'm with a group of cyclists and they wonder about my bike I almost always get off the bike and let them get on the bike and do a short spin.  They ask "are they hard to ride?" (like twice last week while I stopped to watch a mountain bike race) I reply that it may take a few spins but after that they are very comfortable (e.g., no saddle sores, no sore wrists, shoulders, neck, etc).  
 
I'm looking forward (and training smart and hard) for the Race Around Ireland in August.  My recent trip to drive the RAI course resulted in a final assessment that the road and course is good (safe, good road quality, no leg breaking climbs, etc).  The RAI organization is very pleased (and excited) to note that "a recumbent" will be racing for the first time.  
 
On my driving trip to Ireland I saw not one recumbent bike there.  And I judge Ireland to have excellent terrain, good road quality, considerate drivers ... and a very live and active road bike community.  
 
Who knows.  Maybe I'll be able to generate an interest in recumbents in Ireland.  
 
FWIW: I have the CA3 on order and I'll be putting a rear disc brake on it, modifying it to be a 650.  The CA3 and the Ti Aero (650) may interest folks out there.  Maybe even interest folks in Prescott. 
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tojesky
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/03 15:20:18 (permalink)
Mike Wilkerson
...
  And spin it anyway you want, but trikes are simply easier to sell: zero balance issues and they're fun to ride. But how many people are on trikes, simply because they weren't given the opportunity and proper instruction for a two wheel bent? 
...
 
Mike Wilkerson
Bacchetta



The quest is to build up the transition market leading to a trike.  I have some younger friends that ride two wheel recumbents that are nowhere near ready for a trike.  That market needs to be targeted.  I don't foresee many 40-60 aged riders wanting a trike. But a two wheeled high racer may be just what they need.
 
Tim

UMCA member
2013 CA2.0 - 700c
2006 Corsa  (Sold July, 2013)
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Doc Dan
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/03 17:31:23 (permalink)
Here might be a little light of day for recumbents in Ireland:  
 
http://www.irishtimes.com...e-of-ireland-1.2216764
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wesm
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/03 17:41:13 (permalink)
It really comes down to what your buddies (buddiettes) are riding, too. I can find any number of decked out Roadies that I could ride with.
 
I have seen three trikes in downtown Calgary, on crossing a sketchy highway overpass on a Bacchetta like recumbent, and trike with roof heading West on Highway 1. In four years.  I am thinking riding partners will be a bit scarce. If I was of the coffee and matching kit set, this might put me off. Rather it spurs me on. 
 
Mike, maybe you need to hire someone to travel around the country with a fully stocked cargo trailer of bikes to demo. Hit YouTube hard with ad videos and see what sort of responses you get.  Maybe get a few of your team riders engaged in the larger centers racing Roadies and showing what is possible to do on one. Not sure if this is viable but it would make for some last ditch advertising to those that never see them. 
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Mike Wilkerson
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/04 11:10:00 (permalink)
We actually used to do most of those things, but only met with marginal success. And this was when the 2 wheel market was hot. The fact is, there's been a shift in the market and a shift in the way consumers purchase product. You go to our Facebook page and you see a lot of interest, especially for a small company. But that has not equated to sales, at least not new bike sales which is what we need. And we're seeing dealers stock less and less product and as a dealer based business (as are most, but not all, bicycle companies), when dealers cannot carry product, the product will not sell. That's sales 101. You're even seeing the big boys, companies like Giant, getting into online sales. I personally don't like it. I like dealers and I really like our dealers- as I mentioned, I've known most of ours for a very long time. But reality is sometimes a bitch.
 
Mike Wilkerson
Bacchetta
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wesm
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/04 15:58:56 (permalink)
Sorry to hear that, Mike. I don't know how many hours I'd have to drive to see your bikes in person.
 
With good sizing instructions, I'd buy online without any issue when I look to move up in bikes.  Dealers are great but if they have one recumbent in stock that may or may not be what I want, off to The Google I go. Bummer for your core dealers but with an influx of two wheel bents in the area, perhaps more may stock them. As you are already sizing used bikes via the Internet, might as well do new, too.  45 minute sizing video conference with every down payment with a similar follow-up fitting session after arrival, perhaps?
 
If it is the difference between surviving and not existing though, seems a good business choice to me. There will be less sales until more bents make it out. 
 
Really enjoy the honest discussion on here. 
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Hootonsrus
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/04 16:51:40 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby tojesky 2017/05/04 18:27:39
It's very sad to see this kind of transition occurring in a sport that we all love. The reality is we along with many others have become comfortable with buying from a keyboard and having goods delivered to our door, there aren't many things you can't buy online anymore. I have been in the tech industry for Several decades because I started young😀 And watched many transitions occur. I remember when I discovered recumbent bikes on a google search for "comfortable bicycles". That search led me on a road trip of 150 miles one way to see one. I don't live in the sticks but rather in a major metropolitan area of about 8 million people and that was the closest shop to me. That was 5 years ago, today there is one closer and it's only 45 miles. Bicycle shops are struggling just as Mike said, they cannot compete in the accessory market with the likes of amazon and now several large entities are selling online, giant, canyon coming soon, cannondale is on the verge. The market is rapidly shifting to accommodate the consumer from a keyboard.

I now own a CA2 and a cattrike 700, ironically for me the trike is 4 months older than the bike. The trike has 1600 miles on it and the bike has 16,500 miles on it. I know what my preference is and will ride that CA2 as long as I can. It is the greatest bike I have ever owned and I love the ride. Easy street recumbents in Austin Texas(150. Miles one way and I still drive it) is a phenomenal recumbent shop, been in business 20 years and offers some the best customer service I have ever experienced in any industry. Bacchetta has provided exceptional service to me when I have had questions or issues, these are the type of intangibles they will keep loyal customers coming back. I only hope the platform can remain affordable as I know someday I'm gonna need a CA4 or 5 to replace my CA2.

We can continue to be advocates for the platform but the reality is and will continue to be we are the minority. Folks love trikes because they are easy, folks love the diamond frame because it fits in. We are different and that is more than just ok with me. Sometimes I feel like I know something they haven't figured out yet. I'll never forget when I bought my first bent Mike (Easy Street) told me you cannot be an introvert and own a bent, it just won't work. I have found this to be true and you cannot ride without someone staring, pulling alongside and asking questions or even better some child child yelling "cool bike" or "Whoa" as you ride by. My personal favorite is riding by an elementary school playground and watching all the children come running to the fence as I roll by yelling all kinds of inspiring things at me.

Never give up, always ride the bike you love.
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Mike Wilkerson
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/05 07:11:13 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Doc Dan 2017/05/05 13:26:21
wesm
Sorry to hear that, Mike. I don't know how many hours I'd have to drive to see your bikes in person.
 
With good sizing instructions, I'd buy online without any issue when I look to move up in bikes.  Dealers are great but if they have one recumbent in stock that may or may not be what I want, off to The Google I go. Bummer for your core dealers but with an influx of two wheel bents in the area, perhaps more may stock them. As you are already sizing used bikes via the Internet, might as well do new, too.  45 minute sizing video conference with every down payment with a similar follow-up fitting session after arrival, perhaps?
 
If it is the difference between surviving and not existing though, seems a good business choice to me. There will be less sales until more bents make it out. 
 
Really enjoy the honest discussion on here. 




 
Thing is, we already give sizing and fit instructions via phone (often lengthy discussions as we want the customer on the best bike possible for them) when we sell a new bike direct to the customer. They are fitted as close to the customer as possible and they're shipped complete and ready to ride. We rarely have a bike returned (I think we've had only 1 or 2 returned in the past 3+ years). So getting a new bike properly fitted and sized is not an issue. We probably get about 50% or so of the sales of our direct program inquiry. One half is buying, the other half is getting information under the guise of interested in a new bike and then buying used. These are *usually* the same customers who wonder why recumbent bikes don't sell more, why more dealers don't carry them, why we don't offer more options, more models, etc. And these customers do not want to pay to have their bikes fitted. They usually get upset when you tell them they bought the wrong size in the first place... As I mentioned earlier, you can't fault anyone on a deal and we still back our used bike customers to the hilt as anyone will tell you. But it's tough to take when you're a tiny company trying to make it.
 
In the end, this is the state of the market- recumbents and diamond frames. The best remedy as always: come up with a product that people want and are willing to spend money on. So in reality, the onus is on us, Bacchetta, more so than the dealers or customers. A little help is always welcome, though;)
 
Mike Wilkerson
Bacchetta
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wesm
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/05 16:08:15 (permalink)
For me, Mike, I have not crossed over the threshold of $2K for a bike as of yet.  The Giro is a toe in the water of where I wish to be.  Trikes don't do it for me, but will when I am old and want to ride only paths, and are darned expensive compared to everything but the most lofty road bikes.  I am rationalizing the cost (high quality, low volume, quality componentry) of a quality bike such as the CA 2.0 but am not quite there yet due to my own inefficiencies (excess weight and lack of consistent conditioning / training).  The Giro will surpass what I am able to do, for now, on a bike with the right tires.  When my abilities exceed that, a new mount will beckon.  Will I be able to go new?  Not sure yet.  Hope so because I want a new, high end bike sometime soon in my life.  What does make a difference to me, however, are forums like this with discussion that pulls me into a company.  Make me feel a part of something and I will continue to support it.  In that, part of the mission is already accomplished on your end.
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thecanoe
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/06 06:45:20 (permalink)
How does that expression go? " Bacchetta is a product of its own success"?
I started out on a Giro 20, progressed to a Strada and then the a Ti Aero in 2003. All bought new at a lbs. Mike knows the shop. But the Ti Aero is built so well, that it's still like brand new. At this time , I have no desire for a new bike. Problem is, I'm Bacchetta's prime market. 68 y/o and ride about 3-5 times a week. I've been a big proponent of bents, but, with all the clubs I ride in, only three others are on bents. Plus, because the bikes are made so well, the resale value is still pretty good. Nobody hesitates to buy a used one because of quality. What's the answer?
I have no idea.

Larry

Ti Aero
Surly Moonlander fat bike
Santa Cruz Tallboy carbon 29er
Bassyak (for stripers and blues)
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Bogiesan
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/06 08:29:17 (permalink)
I've been riding a recumbent since 2001. I wanted to ride long distances and I knew I didn't want to do it on fence post. I also decided on a recumbent because no one else rides them. That's as important to me as any other factor but it was clear, after months of research, the form factor was exactly what I wanted.

I bought directly from Gardner Martin at Easy Racers because there were no credible outlets within 8 hours of Boise, Idaho. I bought my second ER bike from a private citizen. I bought my Bacchetta direct because I knew exactly what I wanted and, again, no immediately accessible shops. I could have driven 6 or 8 hours to Bend, Oregon, Portland, or Seattle. I was interested in test riding different Bacchettas, maybe comparing them to other stick bikes, and I totally appreciate the knowledge available at a good bike shop. Those shops indicated they do not maintain inventory and I'd be returning to pick up my bike in a week or two. I understand that fact, it's capitalism. The boys in Florida knew what I wanted, had them in stock(!), and buying direct meant BAcchetta pocketed the margin.

I rarely purchase any of my accessories online, preferring to shop locally. The shops in my market are run by exceptionally committed bicycle people; they support bike advocacy, sponsor teams and events, and host group rides. I am glad to support their shops. Maybe there's still a niche in accessories with a solid markup for Bacchetta. Unfortunately, I don't need much. I'd like a Bacchetta jersey but I have a closet full of excellent jerseys. Branded jacket? Maybe, but I have more cycling apparel than I need. Socks? Yeah, I'd buy branded socks, but only in hi viz colors. Work stand? Yeah, I'd buy a device that would hold my Giro securely but I already have a workstand so I use need a holster that will mount in my clamp. Sigh.
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thecanoe
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/09 04:50:55 (permalink)
Is golf headed in the same direct? I had dinner with some friends last night that are avid golfers. Not me.
I mentioned that a nearby golf course was sold and being developed into condos. They thought that the younger generation doesn't have the time or cash. It's a very time consuming and expensive game. That's what's great about cycling. Once you've purchased your bike, you can spend as much time as you want out on the road.

Larry

Ti Aero
Surly Moonlander fat bike
Santa Cruz Tallboy carbon 29er
Bassyak (for stripers and blues)
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Mark Colliton
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/09 08:57:48 (permalink)
"They thought that the younger generation doesn't have the time or cash."
 
I think you’re right. The next generation of cycling enthusiasts (20-30 yrs) are out there but they’re riding single speed bikes. Single speeds are light, simple, relatively inexpensive and, more importantly, cool. That said, I think the biggest trend affecting recreational bike sales in the future will be the electric bike.
 
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thecanoe
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/09 18:43:54 (permalink)
Mark Colliton
"They thought that the younger generation doesn't have the time or cash."
 
I think you’re right. The next generation of cycling enthusiasts (20-30 yrs) are out there but they’re riding single speed bikes. Single speeds are light, simple, relatively inexpensive and, more importantly, cool. That said, I think the biggest trend affecting recreational bike sales in the future will be the electric bike.
 


Mark,
Don't get me started on electric bikes. Our MTB club, New England Mountan Bike Ass, strongly is against these on any trail systems. For the street, commuters etc, yup, a huge growth.

Larry

Ti Aero
Surly Moonlander fat bike
Santa Cruz Tallboy carbon 29er
Bassyak (for stripers and blues)
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jblye
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/10 08:14:08 (permalink)
As regards trikes versus 2-wheel recumbents:
I have a WizWheelz tadpole V3.1 trike that I bought about 15 years ago.  I rarely ride it any more.  It certainly is
a lot of fun to ride; however, most of our roads in this part of SC now have rumble strips....which complicate
matters.  Putting the right front wheel on a rumble strip (e.g., when you simply have to move over) can be
very exciting, as the rumble strip (cut deeply in many cases) tries to jerk the front wheel sideways.  Moving even
further toward the edge of the road doesn't help much either, as the rear wheel gets pounded by the rumble strip.
I have three 2-wheel recumbents (Bella, ER Gold Rush, and ER Titanium Javelin), and they are a lot more practical
(and faster) when dealing with the rumble strips.  The Bella is my favorite bike of the three.  It just feels right when
riding.  With its performance wheels, road drive train, fairing and faster tires than stock, it is slightly faster than my
Gold Rush (just slightly, climbs slightly faster).  The Ti Javelin is at least 15% faster than the Bella or GR, but I still prefer the Bella (go figure ! ).
If we had bike trails around here, I would probably ride the trike more than now.  But for now, the 2-wheelers
have a distinct advantage.
BTW:  In 120,000 miles of riding SC roads, I have only seen three recumbents.....not exactly recumbent territory !
Johnny

Recumbents owned since 1997:
Vision R-42 SWB
Vision R-82 Tandem
Wizwheelz Trike (Current)
ER Gold Rush LWB (Current )
Bacchetta Carbon Aero 1.0
Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2.0
ER Titanium Javelin LWB (Current)
Bacchetta Bella LWB (Current)
 
#18
bentman1953
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/14 19:18:55 (permalink)
On the future of two-wheeled recumbents:  Whenever I'm out and about, I get plenty of admiring comments about my recumbents from, kids.  I've often wondered why we have not tried to sell recumbents to chidren.  With children's low weight to power ratio they would scream on a recumbent.  Also, let me say that the safety factor of recumbents could be a persuader when trying to sell recumbents to  kids and their parents.  (No doing headers over the handlebars.)
 
Once kids take to them, could their parents be too far behind?
 
Pros: 1.)  Fast for a kid
         2.)  Cooler looking to kids than wedgies.
         3.)  Safer than a wedgie.
 
Cons:  1.)  Cost. Lot's of cash would be needed to enter the youth market.
 
 
 
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Doc Dan
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Re: So,what is the future of the'bent market? 2017/05/14 19:41:10 (permalink)
Long ago I had a little conversation with myself about DFs and bents.  
 
When you sit in a bent you're pretty much locked into the seat.  Not much room for moving around.  Can't throw a bent around like you can a DF.  I liked DFs over bents all my life.  It is only when I started doing longer distances did I find that the bents are simply more comfortable.  
I don't have any physical impairments that drew me to recumbents.  They're just more comfortable, especially on long events.  
Do you really think you're going to get kids to give up the maneuverability and low cost of a Walmart DF to flip to a recumbent?
It's a small, niche market.  To try to create culture change ... revolutionaries are consumed in the fires of the revolution.  
While in Ireland, driving around the entire island, I saw not one recumbent.  Or anything that looked like a recumbent.  
Of course, now we can expect to hear from some recumbent folks about `bikeism.'  That is, how recumbents should be in the TdF.
Ride what you like. And like what you ride.  
#20
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