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September 27, 2017
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  • ebbe

    On the other hand: Campagnolo’s disc groupset was announced to the press, what? Half May? With consumer availability specified as end of July or something? And I’m now riding it for a month already. I don’t think that’s too bad at all. I’ve had to wait for delivery of my Apple products longer, on occasion ;-)

    • James Huang

      Absolutely, the bike industry is getting better in many ways, but the progress is slow. As the say, old habits die hard.

      • ebbe

        I wonder which bike brand will be the first to have customers camping outside shops in long lines waiting to get their hands on the latest new product ;-)

        I’m of course kidding, i don’t see that happening. But I’m also serious: Apple’s strategy has been focussed at generating those lines for several years. So they had no choice but to have the products in the shops at (or close to) launch. They also built up a lot of hype in the months prior to release date, but by cleverly ‘leaking’. Maybe that’s something the bicycle industry can learn from.

        • Romain Mousset

          cycling especially road cycling is a very traditionalist place

          • ebbe

            Yes, it sure is

  • Dexter Deveau

    Fantastic article James. Interesting dilemma the cycling industry has backed it’s self into, and wonderful comparison to Apple – marketing juggernaut and you’re right, always releasing products virtually when they’re available, unlike the cycling industry.

  • Brandon Collins

    What pissed me off the most about the Canyon release was that they dont offer framesets. I doubt any seasoned rider is going to want one exactly how they have built it, plus most riders who have been at it for awhile, have spare wheelsets or groupsets that they already own. Not offering at least the upper tier bikes as a frameset only is incredibly annoying and turned me into a parts salesman, which I hate. And whats with only offering black in the U.S.? Is it that hard to spray a few frames their matte blue or gloss red??

    • James Huang

      Keep in mind that just because Canyon doesn’t offer framesets now doesn’t mean it won’t happen later. My guess is that Canyon USA went fairly light at first if only to gauge consumer demand (which would also explain the lack of color choices). Assuming sales go well (and from what I hear, they’re going *very* well), I’d imagine the breadth of options will increase dramatically moving forward.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        I wonder. Since the entire Canyon business model seems to be volume + cutting the middle-men out of the deal, is there any profit is selling just a frame and fork? I’d guess they order up a zillion frames from X Carbon-fiber Co in Asia and mate ’em to (mostly?) Shimano parts they buy in huge quantities and with the big savings (or least their claimed big savings) passed on to the consumer. Selling just one segment, whether it’s the frame, groupset or finish build kit with a separate SKU doesn’t seem all that profitable in comparison to selling the complete, ready-to-ride bike to the end user. Frame/fork sales to start a bike build is (sadly) pretty much a thing of the past in any sort of volume operation.

        • Cameron Harris

          This is one of the reasons I’m buying a Colnago.

          • Larry @CycleItalia

            I hope it’s a genuine, Made-in-Italy Colnago? I type this at risk of pi__ing off a friend who works for them.

            • James Huang

              Well that would limit Cameron to a C60 or a… C60. Sadly, it’s the only one left.

              • Larry @CycleItalia

                Yep, otherwise it might be considered little more than an expensive GIANT.

                • Wily_Quixote

                  If I wanted expensive carbon fibre a Giant is exactly what I would get – pretty much at the optimal quality/service/cost nexus, I would have thought. I suppose one could get it resprayed and some kind of faux Italian sticker could be applied. I quite like the brand name pomposo, all in lower case with an Art Deco font.

                  My only reason to get a Colnago would be to go steel. Alas, it appears that steel is now the province of regional artisans instead of being centralised in Italian workshops. Bit like the old days but with longer beards and more tattoos.

                  • Larry @CycleItalia

                    HA! I once stickered a repainted bike as BOLLACILLI brand and called it their “Brutto Scherzo” model. I don’t understand why folks pay a lot of extra dough for bikes with Italian names on them that are actually made in Asia (often by Giant?) while they would likely be aghast at a Ferrari car not made in Maranello. I happily pay extra for 100% Made-in-Italy bikes, food, wine, etc.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      Well, I have an Alfa Romeo hatch. It Reminds us of when we visited Italy.
                      It is a lovely car to drive and to look at but it is very quirky though, I don’t pretend that it’s as well built as a Honda but I wouldn’t trade it for one.

                    • DaveRides

                      Alfa Romeo had the 156 being built simultaneously in Italy and Thailand for a few years, with numerous commentators saying the Thai version was a better car.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      Interesting. I have a Giulietta and the internet reliably informs me that their latest cars are made in Italy but it wouldn’t bother me if they were made elsewhere. I am not a n Italophile but just like the car.

                • Spartacus

                  Agreed Larry. I’ve got a C59 and a C60, a little bit heavy but the ride quality is sublime. Lugs and small volumes in Cambiaggo mean each frame size’s geometry is perfect for that size. Tested a v1r and didn’t feel special at all – for Asian-made monocoque i prefer my S-works.

                • Dude pedalling

                  Mowen rides a GIANT. Odds are he’d drop you. Don’t you know ‘it’s not about the bike’

                  • Larry @CycleItalia

                    You wrote “Odds are he’d drop you.” Don’t you know I wouldn’t care? And where did I write anything about one bike being faster than another? They all pretty much sit there looking beautiful (or not so much in the case of GIANT) until someone climbs on and starts pedaling. Same as it ever was.

            • Cameron Harris

              It is. I have one of the other sort at the moment.

            • PsiSquared

              If it’s designed by Colnago, does it matter where it’s made? There are only a few different methods of CF bike construction, and the Far East is arguably the most skilled at CF bike bike construction. Does it matter if the person doing the layup is Chinese, Taiwanese, or Italian?

              • Larry @CycleItalia

                It matters to me. I’ not a fan of paying a premium price for something “Italian” that turns out to be merely “Designed in Italy” rather than actually 100% Made-in-Italy. What I don’t understand is if Asian-products are indeed superior, WHY then do we see all the “Designed in California” “Designed in USA” “Adrenalina Italiana” “Italian Design” and similar stickers on the bikes? The “Made in Taiwan” or “Made in China” stickers are often hidden on the bottom of the BB shell or elsewhere. It’s all misleading at best, if not dishonest?

                • PsiSquared

                  It’s not dishonest at all. The industry is catering to the irrational needs of the public, a public who mistakenly thinks that country of origin determines quality.

                  Are you saying that products made in the Far East are inferior? Does being made in Italy make something implicitly better?

                  • Larry @CycleItalia

                    You wrote “The industry is catering to the irrational needs of the public, a public who mistakenly thinks that country of origin determines quality.” So it’s the consumer’s fault if the industry puts misleading labels and decals on their products to take advantage of what you describe as the irrational needs of the public? What if you bought a new model Ferrari, assuming it was made in Maranello, only to find out it was really produced in China? Would you feel cheated if they’d kept that information from you or disguised it in some way until after you made the purchase? Would you be surprised or upset if the resale value of your Ferrari went down once it was widely known the car was Made-in-China?
                    I’m making no judgement as to quality vs country-of-origin, just making a point that I believe it’s misleading at best, dishonest at worst to imply products were Made-in-Italy when they are not. The only reason I can see for doing such a thing is to increase the perceived value while hiding (or at least playing down) the true origin of the product.
                    Dishonesty is defined as- deceitfulness shown in someone’s character or behavior.

                    • PsiSquared

                      No I wouldn’t feel cheated if I bought a Ferrari and found out it was made in China. If I were buying a Ferrari, I’d be buying it be cause of a host of reasons, none of which would be the country of origin. I see no value in a company’s products being made in one country vs. another. I couldn’t care less where the parts on my bicycle were made, and frankly it seems like a waste of energy and time to be upset about such a trivial matter. it doesn’t influence quality. It doesn’t influence performance. It doesn’t influence function.

                    • Larry @CycleItalia

                      Thanks for sharing. I have no doubt there are plenty of consumers out there just like you. But for me, passion, heritage and those types of intangibles have value and I don’t believe I’m alone in this idea. But when I purchase a product purporting to offer these things I want them to be genuine rather than just marketing-mojo via decals or clever slogans.
                      A good example would be ASSOS vs Rapha. Both successful, high-end cycling clothing companies, one full of innovation, history, quality and heritage to back up their lofty prices, the other merely a product of marketing mavens.

                    • PsiSquared

                      To each their own. Those two high end cycling clothing companies both make excellent cycling apparel known for its excellent performance.

    • Paul O’Connell

      You can get framesets here (in New Zealand). Are they not offering them where you are yet?

  • Andy B

    What about that FSA Groupset?

    • James Huang

      FSA claims the standard rim-brake version is shipping next month. The disc version is supposedly shipping in Q2 2018. We shall see.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    The bike industry is well…I have too many friends in it to say what I really think, but another dumb thing is/was model-year. How often is next year’s bike the same as this year’s except for paint or some tiny detail? That means perfectly good bikes have to be blown out at little to no profit to make room for models that are essentially identical. Worse, the next-year stuff is announced while dealers have plenty of current models still on the sales floor! Perhaps the growth of direct online sales will allow the bike shop to have less money tied up in inventory since most of the big brands can ship one bike to the shop or directly to the customer now? If I was still running a retail bike shop I think we’d have only demo bikes on the sales floor and simply order new bikes as needed. If the customer had to ride-it-out-of-the-store we’d sell him/her the demo model at a slight discount and then replace it via an online order. When the bikes are suddenly obsolete, there would be far less inventory to blow out – just an “end of year demo sale”.

    • James Huang

      Don’t even get me started on model years…

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        So we agree on at least one thing! :-) I was in the biz when the stupid model-year thing got going full-speed. Planned obsolescence is not a good long-term strategy in my book, but I think the bike biz took a page from the automobile biz? I suppose it benefits someone, but it sure ain’t the bike shop!

        • Cameron Harris

          Or the rider.

          • Jordan Hukee

            Add to this Model Year shenanigans the cycle of preseason orders and June/July launches started by and benefiting the largest bike companies and all of a sudden it’s pretty obvious why we all fall in line to launch products in summer only to ship them in winter. It’s a delicate balance of trying not to get stuck with product or screwing your dealers. An availability gap of 4 months beats the hell out of having 500 of the old model in the warehouse when you get new stock. Nobody likes the Launch and Wait model, but until we all have the balls to break out of the current model it’s going to continue. And it’s debatable whether that’s even possible when the preponderance of great dealers are tied into that seasonal system by their vendors. Oy vey.

    • Cameron Harris

      This is another reason I’m buying a Colnago. The arms race that Spesh, Trek etc run by tiny incremental changes would drive me crazy.

    • Jordan

      Oh man gotta remember that in order to be a dealer for a brand and get discounts you have to buy a minimum amount of merchandise. The bigger and more desireable the brand usually the more you have to spend to carry it.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        The bully-boy big brands have insisted on this since they started to get real market-share. Back then we told ’em to go ahead with their constant threats of “If you don’t buy X we’ll open another store down the street” and they caved every time. Whether that’s the case nowadays is the big question when they throw up their own “concept store” in some markets.

    • mrp33p3rs

      that’s not on the manufacturers…. the consumers crave the Model Year… it gives the publications something to write about and drive more publicity and curiosity

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Sorry, I was there. Consumers were not coming in to ask about “this year’s bike”: because there was no such thing. Bike makers made changes when something changed rather than just because the calendar flipped. I believe they took a cue from the auto makers who’d started the Model Year planned obsolescence idea years earlier. Certainly plenty of consumers have since been conditioned to “crave the Model Year” but don’t confuse cause and effect.

  • Mike Williams

    Listened to a podcast with a bike builder (not one of yours) and he complained about Shimano’s inability to deliver components. He can no longer go to a single distributor to buy an entire build of components and now has to scour the Internet to find each part.

  • Velt

    Maybe Shimano should start offering complete bikes

  • Taco

    Apple products usually have a month wait time as well unless you’re the first million customers. The none western world waits more then 6 months after a phone is introduced before a chance to buy it.

  • Eat More Lard

    Bont Riot +. Announced at Interbike last year and it still hasn’t appeared at any retailer that I am aware. It’s not even on the website. In fact, it’s been so long, I wonder if they have ditched it?

    • Wily_Quixote

      Do Bont make shoes? I thought they just made advertisements for shoes. Tried to buy a pair a few years ago. It turned out that you couldn’t buy a pair of Riot mtb shoes in the size I wanted in Australia, where they were produced – I had to fly to America or Azerbaijan or somewhere to buy them.

      That’s fine though, because the internet, and a pair of wide Lake’s, came along.

      Oh, and the worst internet site in the world. It’s like they purposefully don’t want to sell shoes to plebs. They’re like the ‘soup nazi’ of cycling retail.

      • ZigaK

        No shoes for you!

    • lqdedison

      I actually pointed this out to Bont on their Instagram page after they continually posted marketing photos of these particular shoes yet had no availability. Their response was to block me from their Instagram page and delete my comment. Excellent customer service…

      As for the website, Bont rarely updates their website so I’m not surprised they aren’t on there. It’s just useless to even visit because of this.

      The Riot+ is available online. Heck, I even got them at a discount.

      • Eat More Lard

        Were they worth the hassle or should I just move on?

        • lqdedison

          Honestly I don’t think so. On the plus side they are incredibly stiff for a entry-level/mid-level shoe.

          The downside is in my opinion the way that all Bont shoes are constructed. Since the carbon sole they use curves up on the sides creating a sort of ‘boat’ out of the sole, all of their shoes are super stiff, but all of them are going to have trouble holding your foot well. In my opinion because of the way the sole is constructed the upper never tightens properly because there isn’t enough give in the carbon to wrap around your foot well enough to hold it. It appears that they are trying to address this issue with their new shoe, the Helix, where they made channels under the sole for the BOA laces to try and pull the whole shoe around your foot better.

          That being said I have had issues with my feet and cycling shoes forever. I thought Bont shoes were the answer because of how much toe room they have so I initially got a pair of Bont Blitz’s. Those were a step in the right direction but the BOA cable comes right over the middle of my foot making my toes fall asleep about an hour into the ride. So I got a pair of the new Riot+ thinking that the new style of closure would be better. It was but the problem still exists and it feels like the shoe only tightens on the top of my foot and not my whole foot.

          I’ve seen a few other brands experimenting with different styles of closure mechanisms and designs in recent years so I’m betting that I’m not the only cyclist with foot issues.

  • mrp33p3rs

    the sticker misalignment on the mavic wheelset is causing me issues.

    • Ashok Captain

      Absolutely agree!

  • Wily_Quixote

    Firstly, the mother of all ‘first world problems’, unless you can convince me that this year’s, sorry I mean 2018’s, Ultegra is light years ahead of 2016/2017 or what ever marketing time warp last year’s Ultegra exists in. I understand if you’re building a bike you probably want the latest but we are talking increments of quality, surely?

    Secondly, what do Shimano have to say about this? Is it part of a manufacturing ‘just in time’ strategy to save on manufacturing costs? Surely they are ultimately interested in selling product, it’s not as if there is no competition. I mean, rumour has it some that people actually prefer campagnolo and would willingly buy Veloce or Ultegraissomo or whatever their ‘I can’t afford Record’ poverty gruppo is called this year (poverty being a relative term, if you can’t afford Bugatti I suppose a Lamborghini will do).

    I imagine that Herr Focus is red in the face and popping buttons on the lederhosen at the end of the phone to the Shimano Evil Empire – so surely the faceless production minions at Shimano are getting sweaty palms at the prospect of Darth Shimano calling them into the office for some remote neck squeezing.

    Geez, I reckon I could go to wiggle.com and buy an Ultegra group set for 800 bucks. It was probably made in 1836 but I hear that one-by is A Thing again.

    • ZigaK

      I liked it even better when you had herr Focus red in the face. Still one of the best comments I have ever read.

      • Wily_Quixote

        Ta. I have changed it back after your kind comment. Fraulein Focus and the Focus kinder will be overjoyed.
        Apologies to any actual Germans reading this.

  • travelwise15

    With a brand launch like this there are bound to be glitches. Canyon is the new kid on the block is far as us being established here, and I’m sure they’ll add to their offerings as they go. I do not understand “anger ” towards them; it is not like they are the only game in town. Plenty of other fantastic brands to choose from like Trek, Specialized or Giant, etc; why not just go buy from someone else?

  • redhead322

    James,
    Same thing with Mavic’s new Open Pro rims with the Exalith coating. They teased some on a Stinner and other road bikes at the NAHBS show, half a year ago. Still won’t be available til 2018 I heard… Still hoping my current, beat to heck rims to hold up until then…

  • Big J

    @disqus_ZiZ7FkAYnw:disqus, any word on availability of Shimano powermeters? Wasn’t the original release date ~April 2017?

  • > When something is finally revealed, Apple (wisely) takes advantage of that initial fervor by making those products available either that very day or shortly thereafter.
    HomePod, iPhone X ???????

  • Danny Builth-Snoad

    I’ll offer a counter view: I’d much rather know what is going to be released in a few months so I can make informed choices about what I do or don’t buy today. Sometimes you want to know what’s coming down the line so you can decide to wait for a while for the new product x. To use the campy disc example; I’d have been really pissed of if I’d bought a SRAM disc groupset because Campy don’t have one coming, and then find out the next week Campy now has one available immediately in shops.

  • eagle

    FWIW, Apple announced the iPhone X on September 12, but pre-orders don’t begin till Friday, October 27 and the product starts shipping on Friday, November 3. An un-Apple like Apple launch.

    • Fr0hickey

      Industry conferences can also drive a company to pre-announce a product before it is available for sale.
      Sometimes, the company itself (Apple) makes a conference/event where it announces a product, but then the event becomes an expected event, and the same company is forced or pre-announce the product before its available for sale.
      The issue is that some companies do not have a mass-media department. They have a website, but websites are pull devices instead of push devices. You can argue that industry conferences are pull devices as well, but you have a lot of other media outlets that cover the industry conferences and so if a company announces at an industry conferences, that announcement is in-essence pushed out.

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