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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's compare us to Canada for example. Canada has 30 million people, we have 20. We have a climate where we can ride all year, they're snowed in for 4 months. They have 'North Shore style', we have....well......nothing. They have companies like Syncros, Rocky Mountain, Brodie, DeKerf, Raceface. We have...umm.....Shogun, Ethos and, err, that company with the hugely overbuilt Taiwanese suspension bikes who's name I can't remember at this point in time.

I'm curious to hear first hand what you all have to say about this. Is Cultural Cringe and the classic Aussie skepticism alive and well and stopping us creating bike companies that can cut it not only here, but on the world stage?
 

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Well

Some guy, who may or may not own a bike company Wrote:
I'm curious to hear first hand what you all have to say about this. Is Cultural Cringe and the classic Aussie skepticism alive and well and stopping us creating bike companies that can cut it not only here, but on the world stage?
Well, Craftworks is doing ok, although I believe their production is done in Tiawan... I think buisness does so well for Canadian companies... Perhaps it's in the vicintity of the whole show- I mean California has more MTB riding public than Australia (apparently), thats just one small protion of a massive market area. Also things are cheaper in O' Canada, their dollar is is about the same as ours in terms of echange rate, but goods and raw materials are alot cheaper. :confused:

Nothing is saying we cant have great MTB manufactures here in the land of OZ, we have some of the best welders in the world, and some of the sharpest minds too. I guess cost is the biggest factor for us- materials and labour cost alot more, pushing prices up to unreachable hights.

As easy as I find it to justify spending on bikes, spending $2500 on a steel hardtail is alittle out of the question; thats Ti Teritory, or super duper do all dualie country.
 

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bigdamo said:
What About All Those People Just Over The Border Willing To Buy There Products?
All the pros over there all say that they have the bike 'culture'. I guess we don't:)
MTB'ing is just not reconized as a big sport over here.
All these drug scams at the moment going on with track cyclist, isn't exactly good for the sport of cycling is it:).
Sure, I would love to see MTB or even cycling become as big as it is in other places of the world, but I just don't see it happen any time soon.
 

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Didn't you know that footy & rugby are more important than riding a bike

To the average nong...riding a bike is what you do either when you are a kid or when you get busted for drink driving in your HSV UTE.

So, Wayne & Bazza would rather be building quad cam limited slip diffs turbo charged with blow off valves. Bikes...gimme a break

Its all got to do with whats between the ears not whats between the rears.
Attitude.
 

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Culture+Numbers

Yar: it's got to do mostly with the outdoor culture of the Canucks.
Board+ski in winter, then bike / hike / fish etc in summer.
That, plus a HUGE market to sell your goods in just over the border.

We just aint got the consumers to support such an industry.
That is, unless you're really clever, and market an exceptionally good product via the web.
A few Kiwi companies come to mind.

http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/
http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/

[ no sheep jokes please...]
 

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The tyranny of distance - long transport times and high costs to key markets (US and Europe) makes it very hard for an Australian based bike producer to be very competitive on the international scene. We don't exactly have a tradition of processed manufactured goods either, so that doesn't help. The time difference would make it difficult to have good customer service for shops in the US and Europe also. The other problems listed above also contribute; high minimum wages, lack of cycling "culture", strength of other sports, small domestic market.....

Despite these problems, I think you are forgetting a few companies which are seeing a good deal of success - Velocity, Teschner, Alchemy and others - perhaps Thylacine in future? All these factors make it difficult, but not impossible, to thrive on the international market.

Sam
 

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Cost, Age demographic (thats a big word), Individuality

Thylacine said:
I'm curious to hear first hand what you all have to say about this. Is Cultural Cringe and the classic Aussie skepticism alive and well and stopping us creating bike companies that can cut it not only here, but on the world stage?
All-rightey
Cost: Things here cost a sh!t load here compared to the Canadian and Yankee-doodle markets. IMO Canada benefit from their geographical location in relation to the Yanks, being that the Canadian companies have a massive potential market to sell their weaker Canadian dollar goods to. So more bike companies are started because they have the advantage of 2 potential markets and have the racing and 'grass roots' organisations to support the Canadian companies. Then follows advertising in the Yankee mags, which are brought out here to OZ and preto, Canadian this! Yankee that! and anything else is sh!t. The cost of tubing in OZ already puts a non dedicated and dedicated punter behind the eight ball before you even get a welder to put the frame togeather.

Age Demographic: It appears that when you mention cycling to anyone not interested in the sport they get a look of pity in their eyes. It's like they are thinking that you are to poor or stupid to afford a car. IMO a lot of Aussies consider cycling or anything to do with bikes as a 'kids' sport. Then you get the wankers who are in high paid jobs over the age of say 30 (i do expect grief form this comment) who get the $4,000-$8,000 roadie and it has to be imported from Italy. I've had people who have asked me how much my bike or bikes are worth and when i replied, they have said does it come with a motor. So i think the mentality is that cycling is just not a worthwile investment in business terms, considering the general public view. Then you get the "teenager" mentality of 'i can huck to flat from 1000ft and live' or 'i only have 50 cents and want 9 inches of travel', then the rest of the dumb-arse purile comments like my 'dicks bigger than yours' and 'i can fit 3 of my friends up my arse and still smile'. Now some people might want to be associated with this demographic but you are also alienating people who don't. Most of the dicks who are like this don't have 2 cents to scratch their arse with, so they couldn't afford a locally made product.

Individuality: Mags can also be implicated in this argument, it appears that most of them are advertising vehicles for O.S. products. I think that if there were more Aussie companies, a lot of the locals would start bagging the product just because of the "everyone has one factor". I've seen on other boards people bagging the Kona Stinky, simply because Kona has a large presence here. These Stinky's are cheap, well made and work (no i don't own one). So i think the point of cultural cringe is right.

By the way Thylacine why are you products quite pricey? (i'm not having a go) What factors dictacte your prices? How do ensure that your products are appealing to Aussie and O.S. punters?

Thanks for the rant..............i need to lie down now...................

Aussie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think the 'cycling culture' arguement is crap. Look at the Tour de France, look at the top 10 competitors of a Red Bull rampage, look at the track World Championships - for such a small country, we have e very strong cycling culture. That's undeniable, you'd be living in a cave if you think otherwise.

In terms of 'Cultural Cringe', What I'm experiencing now is a bit of the opposite of what's been happening in the past. In the past 12 months I've had a couple of guys call up wanting to get an 'All Aussie' bike. That's ridiculous of course - even more ridiculous than Cultural Cringe itself - because you're not basing choices on actual merit. It's just some basic conservative patriotic motive which doesn't appeal to me in the slightest.

Now, as for the cost of my frames, here's the rundown of where the major costs lie so you can get an appreciation -

1) Labour : People who can weld steel and titanium that's .6 of a millimetre thick don't come cheap. People who have been welding bikes for the best part of 20 years also don't come cheap, and their expertise is worth paying for.
2) GST : GST makes a huge difference. 10% over three levels of transactions adds up. Do the math, you'll be suprised.
3) Supporting retail : At some stage I'd like to sell through retail more than I currently am. Shops want to basically earn more money from a sale of a custom frame than I make on the same frame, so the big dilemna for me is, do I say 'screw you' to retail and drop the prices of my frames to a lower level and destroy the possibility of ever selling into shops? The reality is, even if I did do that, there's no guarantee that I'll sell more frames domestically. As a matter of fact, I'd probably get people even more skeptical and saying "Well, they're pretty cheap, so they can't be that good. Maybe I'll just buy a Kona instead."
4) Custom : I primarily do custom frames, and to do that properly takes a lot of time. The average customer of mine trades upwards of 30 emails with me, and makes three rounds of changes to their design before they sign off. I don't even charge nearly enough for this service, so while I can still afford to spend what economically is a ridiculous amount of essentially unpaid work, I will. So, anyone who gets a frame from me in these early years, gets a bonus. You know, if you order an IndyFab or Seven, you fill in a form, they run it through an off-the-shelf program, and there's your frame. You then have one chance to make any changes. That's not exactly where I want to take Thylacine, that's way to impersonal and corporate.

Anyway, that's where my major costs are. It's probably more complicated than you imagined. My frames aren't cheap because they aren't cheap frames. I've never had a broken frame or a dissatisfied customer, so I'm guessing I might be somewhat on the right track. Perhaps? :rolleyes: :)
 

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Thylacine
I think you have almost answered your own question within your last message.
It is too expensive for the average Aussie rider to buy your bikes as a result of the high costs of the materials and labour to yourself. On top of that the shop owner wants a piece of the action and quite rightly so. They cannot sell the bikes for no profit.
The situation with bikes is the same as the situation with most manufactured goods (HIGH COST OF MATERIALS PLUS HIGH COST OF LABOUR IN AUSTRALIA = OFFSHORE MANUFACTURE).
On top of this we have a relatively small population spread over a large area in an isolated part of the world which brings another factor into play: shipping costs (both to here from those countries that manufacture the necessary components and within Australia from the end manufacturer).
I know that you said that we have a similar population to Canada but we do NOT have a heavily populated (biking) country nearby. Instead we have the sparsely popluated NZ.

I know, I know we are very close to asia but of course selling bikes to the asians would be like selling ice to eskimo's.

The reason is not dissimilar to why many cyclists buy their gear from the US....cost. The increased cost to the cyclist as a result of freight, markup to the wholesaler, freight from the wholesaler to the retailer, wages for the retailers staff, and then markup to the retailer can in many cases triple the cost to the consumer. A good example of this is when I bought a pair of Avid Mechanicals (front and back) for $285 Australian shipped to my door when they were selling in Australia for $240 an end plus shipping from Phantom and even more from my LBS.

I must however question Australian component manufacturers costs to some extent especially when I see Velocity Deep V rims for sale at Nashbar for $9US Nashbar each when we are paying $90 Aust each. Explain how that can be when they are based in Brisbane and my Brisbane LBS is no more than 50km from them (probably not that far even).

Rant over. I will go and take my medication now.
cheers
TR
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
toowoombarider said:
It is too expensive for the average Aussie rider to buy your bikes as a result of the high costs of the materials and labour to yourself. On top of that the shop owner wants a piece of the action and quite rightly so. They cannot sell the bikes for no profit....I know, I know we are very close to asia but of course selling bikes to the asians would be like selling ice to eskimo's.....

.....The reason is not dissimilar to why many cyclists buy their gear from the US....cost.....A good example of this is when I bought a pair of Avid Mechanicals (front and back) for $285 Australian shipped to my door when they were selling in Australia for $240 an end plus shipping from Phantom and even more from my LBS....

....I must however question Australian component manufacturers costs to some extent especially when I see Velocity Deep V rims for sale at Nashbar for US$9.
TR
Well, I'm not trying to sell to the average Aussie rider. If I was, I'd just stick my decals on some bike from the Kinesis factory, and that's not going to happen. My frames are hand made high end goodies, end of story. As for selling into Asia, I'm super keen to get into it. It's not like selling ice to eskimos - the japanese probably buy more American bikes than the Americans do. I think the biggest problem for me would be trying to explain how to say "Thylacine"!! ;)

I do have a problem with shops wanting to make more profit from a frame than I do. I think that's unreasonable, so I don't think the pattern of me selling almost everything I make to US and Canadian customers changing anytime soon, despite the fact that I think there's plenty of room for shop margins in my pricing. No problems there - I pretty much realise that you almost have to be a success overseas before anyone domestically will come on board.

As for those rims, Nashbar is obviously offloading old stock, so I don't think there's anything dodgy there whatsoever. The bottomline reality is, if any of us wanted to get rich, we wouldn't be in the cycling biz, fullstop.
 

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Thylacine said:
Well, I'm not trying to sell to the average Aussie rider. If I was, I'd just stick my decals on some bike from the Kinesis factory, and that's not going to happen. My frames are hand made high end goodies, end of story. As for selling into Asia, I'm super keen to get into it. It's not like selling ice to eskimos - the japanese probably buy more American bikes than the Americans do.
So is my NRS with full XTR, Easton carbon bar etc. I know it is not a custom made bike but it did cost me probably 5 times more than Joe Average Australian bike rider buys and at least as much as any other serious bike that any of riding buddies paid. If my bike is in that pricerange with that limited market then the market for a custom built Thylacine in Australia must be minute. Smaller still is the number of Australians who have heard of the likes of Spicer, Phil Wood and the like. I hate to say it but I noticed you knocked a certain Australian manufacturer of "hugely overbuilt Taiwanese suspension bikes who's name I can't remember at this point in time" along with Shogun and Ethos. I would suggest that despite the dubious quality of these bikes they are at least better known than your own label. I in fact only found out about your company from doing a Google search one time on Australian bicycle builders.

I am also doubtful on the Japanese buying more US made bikes than the US. They might buy more American branded bikes but most are probably built in Asia.

Thylacine said:
I do have a problem with shops wanting to make more profit from a frame than I do. I think that's unreasonable, so I don't think the pattern of me selling almost everything I make to US and Canadian customers changing anytime soon, despite the fact that I think there's plenty of room for shop margins in my pricing.
Fact of the matter is that those shops have to pay for advertising of YOUR goods, electricity, phone, rates, insurance, wages etc etc. So from the markup you are talking about they are probably not left with huge $.

Thylacine said:
No problems there - I pretty much realise that you almost have to be a success overseas before anyone domestically will come on board.
I find it difficult to comprehend how selling to the US and Canadian market helps your cause here at all. I also notice that you advertise via Vorb in NZ but have never noticed any form of advertising via MTBDirt.com, Farkin or any other Australian based website. Those 2 websites mentioned are probably the largest MTB related websites in the country and not a word?? (I do not go to Farkin often so may be completely wrong there. If so I am sorry).

Thylacine said:
As for those rims, Nashbar is obviously offloading old stock, so I don't think there's anything dodgy there whatsoever. The bottomline reality is, if any of us wanted to get rich, we wouldn't be in the cycling biz, fullstop.
Definitely true but I have seen their rims being sold in the US at similar converted prices to here in the past and always wonder how come they can sell on the US market for the same price as here depite the extra cost of import duties and shipping.

I do not mean to sound aggressive here and apologise if it comes accross this way. I am just trying to give you a point of view as per your original request.

cheers
TR
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wasn't knocking Craftworks, I just honstly couldn't remember their name. Sorry Craftworks. I'm not sure what you mean by "They're at least better known than my brand". That's a bit "My dad can beat up your dad" for my likings, I didn't realise it was a popularity contest.

Also man, why do you laud the prudentiality of buying stuff from overseas, and then bash me for complaining about shop margins? :p *laugh* With a custom bike, all the shop basically does is open the box, wonder at the marvel that comes out, hands it to the customer, and wants 35% for that. Nearly 500 bucks for 3 minutes work. Fark, even I'd get out of bed for that.

As for exposure on websites, do you realise how many bike websites there are? I waste so much of my time on so many of them as it is ( Like this one! ) so I have to rationalise my efforts. If people in the US like Thylacine, that's where I'll direct my efforts. I'm only one guy here, not some megacorporation, and I don't have the budget to pretend that I am.

As for Velocity, it's anyones guess. Why not drop Tom an email and ask him? *laugh* Nashbar probably buys 50% of his inventory each year, so he probably gives them a huge discount. If someone comes to you and says "I want 5,000 rims, and I want them for AU$X", I can see how people tend to sit up and listen.

Anyway, enough of these questions directed at me, I can only justify my existance for so long before I get bored :rolleyes: I guess the big issue of the week is the debarcle that is Australian Track Cycling.....
 

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Thylacine said:
I'm curious to hear first hand what you all have to say about this. Is Cultural Cringe and the classic Aussie skepticism alive and well and stopping us creating bike companies that can cut it not only here, but on the world stage?
I have to say, I don't know what to make of this comment at all?

I am not to sure about 'culture' or 'Skepticism' and even more so the use of the words 'stopping us'.

On the latter two words, nothing is stopping any one in Australia from creating a bike companies, in fact there are plenty of examples producing clothing, frames, hubs, headsets, and riding accessories. I have been using velocity rims for a good while now. Wouldn't use any other brand. If people think something is stopping them, they are right; themselves, thats what is stopping them. Perhaps other reasons why there isn't more bikes and associated products being made in Australia is because there is a lack of capital, creative minds and abilities to do so. I am not to sure the real reason but my suggestions seem plausible.

Who cares if we don't have "North Shore" per se but in contrast we don't have crowded trails, snowed under winters or congested heavily used trail networks. Further, sure we don't have big production companies or factory teams, but it doesn't stop us from achieving. Take a look at the quality riders Australia produces in Terms of road cyclists, track cyclists and Mountain bikers - America really isn't up there in the latter two on a WC scale - Not that it matters.

If every country would be the same, and equal what would be the point of living. Diversity is the name of the game.

Trevor!
 

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Thylacine said:
I think the 'cycling culture' arguement is crap.
There is a big difference between having good cyclists and having a strong cycling culture. Perhaps the best illustration is to look at the converse - France would definitely be considered as a country with an extremely strong cycling culture, however at present it could be argued (and quite rightly in my mind) that Australia is stronger than France in terms of cycling performance.

Sam
 

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Thylacine said:
I think the 'cycling culture' arguement is crap. Look at the Tour de France, look at the top 10 competitors of a Red Bull rampage, look at the track World Championships - for such a small country, we have e very strong cycling culture. That's undeniable, you'd be living in a cave if you think otherwise.
Thats a very good point and thanks for the reply, i hadn't thought about it that way. Yes i do live in a cave, well not exactly but the suburbs might as well be a cave. Anyway the I was looking at your point from someone who doesn't race and is not interested in who wins what and who races in that. I was looking at this argument from a 'bike tragic' who loves the equipment and just being out there riding (yes, poser might be a good description). I would ask then, why is'nt there a full Australian team in the Tour, using Australian made equipment that is up to scratch for professional racing? The blokes in the Red Bull rampage aren't using mainly Australian made frames and gear, look at Nathan Rennie was riding for Iron Horse, now with Santa Cruz, the only thing 'Aussie made' there is him. Why is the cycling culture argument crap? When it's the culture that is buying the product. I personally look to my own back yard for products before looking O.S., for instance: (this could blow my argument) I purchased a locally made road frame (no i don't shave my fcuking legs, but my testicles, thats another forum), a Ciombola, which is designed in Melbourne and welded in Adelaide. Now the reason i picked this company over all the others (sorry Thylacine didn't know about your company at the time) was that I could look at the guy who was solely responsible for my frame and talk to him about what i want. I now know that if the frame has issues or i break it, i can go back to this person and get it corrected. I didn't buy just because it was Aussie or i had a spasm of nationalism. Anyway I thought that we were discussing Aussie companies not the elite punters?

Kolo said:
There is a big difference between having good cyclists and having a strong cycling culture. Perhaps the best illustration is to look at the converse - France would definitely be considered as a country with an extremely strong cycling culture, however at present it could be argued (and quite rightly in my mind) that Australia is stronger than France in terms of cycling performance.
I totally agree, good response.

Look at Dhdirect.com based in Canberra, they are looking at bringing out their own range of parts, which i would gather is made O.S. and badged and sold here. So at the end of the day 'cost' is the core of this argument. I guess the over-used word 'globalisation' is causing many people to get their products made O.S.

Sorry if this is disjointed, it was written while I was doing what this company actually pays for.............................

Aussie
 

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bike_freak said:
All the pros over there all say that they have the bike 'culture'. I guess we don't:)
MTB'ing is just not recognised as a big sport over here.
All these drug scams at the moment going on with track cyclist, isn't exactly good for the sport of cycling is it:).
Sure, I would love to see MTB or even cycling become as big as it is in other places of the world, but I just don't see it happen any time soon.
On the point of "MTB'ing is just not reconized as a big sport over here.", it's unfortunate isn't it (for us anyway). Buzlytyr explained it quite nicely...
Didn't you know that footy & rugby are more important than riding a bike

To the average nong...riding a bike is what you do either when you are a kid or when you get busted for drink driving in your HSV UTE.

So, Wayne & Bazza would rather be building quad cam limited slip diffs turbo charged with blow off valves. Bikes...gimme a break
It's either footy (AFL), cricket, soccer or maybe rugby (rugby coverage in WA is appalling).
Spectator sport will always be bigger, 'freeform' sports like MTBing or any outdoor sports will be significantly smaller market and audiance. Because the market is tiny compare to mainstream sports, the supply and demand attracts high prices. This is one factor that keeps people away from MTBikng (let alone cycling).
Strangely snow-based sports are extremely expensive, then again small market and more importantly limited season. Spectator events are compact... it's one side of the mountain with cameras easily positionable (no trees to get in the way). That's one reason snow competition get copious amounts of sponsorship, but sponsorship has it's pros and cons. Sponsorship when kept sensible, will help the sport. When I say sponsorship, I don't mean just individual riders or teams, but something like MTB parks, trails or clubs.

The biggest 'Australian' (NZ) reputable bike company has to be Avanti I think, next are the Malvern Stars and Shoguns, etc... then the reputable ones start again Craftworks, Ethos then *blank* the boutique builders start (Ti galore).
Again supply and demand, besides the boutique builders all other 'Australian' bikes are MIT/MIC (Made-In-Taiwan/China). The demand is too small for the sport to be consider mainstream like in Canada.
Canada where the revolution of modern MTBikng happened with North Shore. MTBiking in the USA used to be dominated by fire road excursions only and threatened to collapse, then the North Shore revolution begin. The fun started and never stopped. The sport progressed from strength to strength.

But will this mean Australia can do the same thing?, yes... in terms of building North Shore structures. But will the sport be considered equal among the staple sports like footy, not neccessarily.
What we have to do is ease off building North Shore and stop plagiarising other everyone else is doing and develop our own distinct type of MTBiking. Stop and look at what we've got, North Shore was created because the terrain of British Columbia is unforgiving.
I'm not say look for a problem and build over it, the terrain on our big country varies so much. From the gravel-rich trails of central WA, the evergreen forest of south-western WA, the rainforrest of QLD, the mountains of NSW/VIC and the challenging conditions of TAS.
We've got so much to use as a catalyst for creating a unique type of MTBiking to us.
I've got no ideas at the moment besides simply "saddle up and pedal!", it will take time that's the message.

One factor that really slowed down the progress of MTBing in Australia would have to be the division between MTBA and CA (Cycling Australia). MTBing has been largely ignored by the Federal government, without the help of such pioneering folks like Scott Sharples, Aussies would probably very rarely go international.
And glady after years of divide, MTBA and CA are finally reuniting, watch the progress of MTBing increase.
With this we can be sure more crown land is slowly set aside for us MTBikers, we can see places like Adelaide creating MTB parks in the city metro. Now don't tell me having dozens of different trails and styles built into one area in easy reach of public transport will not ease some of the hassles of MTBiking like traveling the road miles to get to just ride fireroad trails.

The moral is: It will take time, be patient, it will happen.
 

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opportunity cost

in economics there is a theory called Opportunity Cost. This relates to the best use of ones resources. If you cant make good bikes you do something you are good at and use the money you earn to buy good bikes.

do Canadians make good surfboards?
 
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