On the horizon – revised 1-11

Now that we’re selling the Gavia poster, the new website is up and clicking along, and tour dates have been set over at Cinghiale.com, we can think about 2010. From here, right now, this all looks likely:

Jerseys – should be a lycra/wool blend; I’m seeing some cool designs, will share as we get closer.
Serigraph – a hand-drawn/hand-pulled image of Andy on a sporty jaunt in the snow, no pesky graphics or automobiles involved. Limited numbers, no release date yet.
Crema – what if we took our favorite “model” – a light steel Classic/Strada Bianca for fenders or big tires – built it in-house with Max welding, offered it in eight sizes, choice of three colors, and tried to hit $1800 for frame and fork? Any interest? Max’s welding has been killing it, help me help him quit his day job!
Tournesol – shopping bikes are all the rage here, mostly in 650B with a variety of racks. Pictures soon.
Yard Sale – gotta make room for the new stuff. Our cast-offs could be your next bike at a heckuva price.
16 replies
  1. Steve H
    Steve H says:

    Fred,

    Beat us to what? Not the name, right? Yeah, they’re offering welded frames to a size chart at a similar price point for long-reach calipers – but so do plenty of other bike companies.

    What we’re doing is offering a couple of frames that draw from what we’ve done over the past ten years – namely light road bikes designed for fenders and/or bigger tires. I’m trying to see if we can take some of what we’ve learned, combine with limiting some of the choices (and thus cutting out some of the back-and-forth with the customer), and still make an attractive, light, strong, and semi-profitable bike frame.

    King – and Waterford, IF, Serotta, Seven, et. al. – are all offering not-dissimilar bikes as our Crema. But if I looked at every company who offered a “similar” product before we did I would not be here now. We don’t invent this stuff, we just offer our own take on it and see if it sells. And much of it does sell.

    I’ve seen the King frames, and I know the quality that comes out of my shop and from my painter, and I’m not worried. I think there is room enough for both frames in the market and my personal opinion is that ours will be just a touch nicer.

    Welded bike shootout, anyone?

    I’ll talk more about my thinking behind Crema as we move along. And thank you for bringing this up, Fred – I hope I don’t come across as overly defensive.

    I do think that a reasonable alternative to both custom bikes and mass-produced bikes is what we might call semi-production (or limited) frames: it’s an old idea but it’s one I’m looking forward to working with.

    Steve

    Reply
  2. ItsFred
    ItsFred says:

    Hi Steve. And I hope I didn’t come across as too chipper – I think I could’ve been more diplomatic! I hope you’re right, because choice is always good, especially when the product is so overlooked by the mainstream market. I rode a Cielo at the outdoor demo that was held here in Providence, and it was absolutely lovely…but unfortunately only a c-note or two less than a fully-custom frame from Independent or Waterford. I think that will be the big challenge! Anyway, good luck, I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labor!

    Reply
  3. Steve H
    Steve H says:

    Not to flog the subject to death but the pricing is certainly one of the challenges involved. We’re at $2200 for a custom (IF-built) steel frame, non-custom Crema will be $1800 – and I realize there are less-expensive custom options out there. What I’m hoping with Crema is that we can bring a few features to the table that make folks overlook the fact that we’re asking them to pick a “stock” size.

    Hey, if the frame fits and does what you’re looking for, why should a custom size/drawing be necessary? Some people NEED custom but a Crema frame should fit about 90% of the people who have purchased from us in the past.

    Reply
  4. ItsFred
    ItsFred says:

    Steve on the subject of stock vs custom – for me the biggest challenge has become “classic” handlebar drop – it’s just damn hard to get the bars within 5 cm of the saddle with a threadless setup. So I hope you can figure out a way to at least offer a significant head-tube extension as an option on the Crema.

    Reply
  5. Steve H
    Steve H says:

    I hear ya Fred – and having relatively little drop is a good argument for a custom frame. However, the drawings I’m doing for the new frames will all use head tubes of optimal length for that size, usually with extensions of about 25mm.

    If someone wants a longer or shorter head tube we should be able accommodate that, within reason, at no charge.

    Reply
  6. Steve H
    Steve H says:

    Not sure if we have that sense, or maybe the market has the sense to like what we offer. I’ve long given up thinking “I wonder if we can sell a frame that…”; instead, I’m simply putting the frames and bikes out there that reflect my/our preferences.

    Some models sell, some don’t, but none feel random or that we’re pandering to the latest trend.

    Reply
  7. John McGuire
    John McGuire says:

    I think the Crema is a great idea. I could see one advantage of having stock sizes is that Hampco could maintain a bit of a “stock” of built frames, thus substantially shortening the time from order to delivery. Seems to me that there would be appeal in that to many buyers.

    Reply
  8. BengeBoy
    BengeBoy says:

    The Crema sounds like a good idea to me. A “light road bike with clearance for big tires” is probably somewhere next on my to do list. I was just looking at the Cielo at the Oregon Bike Show, which at least has clearance for 28c’s, so I think your Crema would be a worth competitor/option.

    Reply
  9. Oscar
    Oscar says:

    I did not know it would turn out thus at the time, but a pretty-darn-close-to-stock size is what I ended up with on my custom Hampsten. I am absolutely thrilled with it. But, had you offered stock sizes, and been able to persuade me that one would work for me (a big part of the equation–some of us don’t know what we need), I would likely have signed up for the stock. Now, having a custom classic, a stock second ride–perhaps more gran paradiso–would be delightful. And, at that price point, almost irresistable.

    Robb

    Reply
  10. stevep33
    stevep33 says:

    To some, the details make a difference. These people might appreciate the Crema, it seems. Others may accept so-so TIG welds and thin paint but generally similar geometry. And isn’t IF basically a semi-custom shop? They offer one or two fork options per model and make pretty much the same bike over and over. Maybe it’s volume-custom.
    Anyway, the Crema is an awesome product. Seriously considering a purchase.

    Reply

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