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Old December 30th, 2010, 2:06 PM   #1
mainlyfats
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Default What's this I'm hearing about IF?

The money-man is forcing IF out of Somerville and into a shop in New Hampshire? Only one employee is making the move?

Can anyone confirm or deny?

Sounds like Fat City all over again...
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Old December 30th, 2010, 5:15 PM   #2
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I've heard the same from a bunch of people in the area. I've also heard that a new brand is being born from it consisting of a lot of former employees. Sounds very similar.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 12:51 AM   #3
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Maybe the resurrection of Fat City?
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Old December 31st, 2010, 6:19 PM   #4
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Default better product for less money

We can only hope it means a better product (less volume) for less money. I've owned two early model IF bikes (Deluxe and Crown Jewel) and there was a distinct change in customer interaction with the end user and price once success was attained.

Last I checked there was only one plank owner (Mr. Graves) still on the books from the early day's of IF.

We shall see. Would someone start a TMZ for the bike industry please?
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Old December 31st, 2010, 9:04 PM   #5
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I heard the same thing about the move. from what I've been hearing, a few guys are going up north. Something about costs are too high and the location is bullocks.

Time will tell with what happens, but I'm positive that the brand will do well. Money man has a lot of dinero, but he is not stupid. He's the one that gave birth to the corvid and Ti Factory Lightweight (idea).
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Old December 31st, 2010, 9:35 PM   #6
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Default Brand may do well

The IF brand may do well but who can afford one now? Surely not me.

Indy Fab started out offering high quality steel frames (granted not custom sizing standard) in the wake of the FC demise. Now their prices are in the stratospheric range and the only people I know that own one bought them used on Ebay (if it's a Deluxe then guaranteed to have a dented tube).

The company has evolved well. If I'm not mistaken, Bracken pushed for titanium and someone else (consumers) pushed for CF frames.

I'm not hating on the IF clan but given the economy, you would think pricing would be accessible to more people.

The riders in my circle can't keep up with the inflationary pricing of frames/forks as made by IF and other uber boutique makers.

My New Years Eve .02.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Wow, I hadn't looked in a while, almst $1900.00 for a Steel Deluxe? That is crazy! I think when I bought #52 in 1995 it was $850.00, which is like $1200.00 today.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 1:16 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear this is the case...

I have 2 IFs

Phil Piss OFF
Steel Deluxe SS

and I paid the freight on each...

....but no one is really offering a good cheap frame now days....

In my opinion there are too many obstacles in the way of making a well crafted cheap frame...

Tubes, Materials, Labor, and Finishing are double from back in the day

Whatever price they (IF) is/are asking, Seven, Moots, Eriksen, and the like - are still asking more...and people are willing to wait and pay for it...

I am sure those who are leaving, and those who will sprout another company will succeed if they keep the QUALITY, stay innovative, and can market the product correctly.

Change is the only sure thing in life...

Maybe that is why I am drawn to the past and the efforts of you guys in the classic age of bikes...

Jim
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Old January 1st, 2011, 2:05 PM   #9
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^^tvcreative

I agree 100% with you in your inference about the situation. The problem with a "cheap frame" is there is absolutely no way to have it made in the USA. Everyone wants the best but won't pay extra for it. Last time I checked, if you run/own/work at a company there are a lot of extra costs associated with a good. I.e. pay, insurance (employee/business/liability), rent, tool, supplies, talent, and all of this comes at a steep price.

So if the price is too high, go get it from China where there are no restrictions on manufacturing. Sad but true. I'd rather sacrifice and get what I want which has an amazing ride quality over something less.

I don't know, that's just me.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 2:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepchild View Post
^^tvcreative

I agree 100% with you in your inference about the situation. The problem with a "cheap frame" is there is absolutely no way to have it made in the USA. Everyone wants the best but won't pay extra for it. Last time I checked, if you run/own/work at a company there are a lot of extra costs associated with a good. I.e. pay, insurance (employee/business/liability), rent, tool, supplies, talent, and all of this comes at a steep price.

So if the price is too high, go get it from China where there are no restrictions on manufacturing. Sad but true. I'd rather sacrifice and get what I want which has an amazing ride quality over something less.

I don't know, that's just me.
Quiring sells the US made Q-ball for what, like $500.00. I get what you are saying, but you would thing IF being a bit higher volume they would benefit from a certain economy of scale. A stock steel Deluxe is almost $1900.00, while a custom steel Groovy starts at $1500.00, a custom steel Quiring from almost $1300.00, $1200.00 for a custom Waltworks, a Wojcik for $1500.00, a Ventana fully for $1900.00...

I think after a certain point it becomes what the market will bear.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 2:44 PM   #11
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^^ I get what you're saying. Everything IF makes is 100% custom. Plus the quality and paint is eons ahead. What they're going through is natural progression. The employees who are staying to start their own thing will fill the less $ frames.

Just mho
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Old January 1st, 2011, 2:47 PM   #12
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Quiring sells frames for $1300 (on their website).
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Old January 1st, 2011, 2:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepchild View Post
Quiring sells frames for $1300 (on their website).
I know, I listed that price. I was also refering to the bare bones Q-ball he also sells:

http://www.qballbikes.com/qframe.html

I am not sure how actively he produces these now, but I am aware of at least a couple selling in the last year or so.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 3:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepchild View Post
Everything IF makes is 100% custom.
Not really. The have 'stock' frames with a few options like cable routing and colors, and they have fully custom frames. Fat was the same way.

I almost forgot to list Gunnar, with stock frames starting around $800.00
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Old January 1st, 2011, 3:20 PM   #15
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IF designs the frame around the rider, they stopped doing stock sizes a couple of years ago....13"/16"/18" etc. Thanks for the link, I see. I'm not starting a pissing match here. It sucks that its next to impossible to get a "good" USA build frame. It can be done cheaply, powder coating, stock sizes etc. I'm pretty sure Spooky sells frames well under a G which is good. Mickey is an awesome dude!
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Old January 1st, 2011, 3:22 PM   #16
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^^ Frank the Welder still welds the Spooky frames. So if this is not a motivational factor for one, I don't know what is. The Darkside was and I feel still is the sickest Al. frame out there.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 3:28 PM   #17
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Sorry i must sound like a real bike snobber....

my bad....jeers to me.

The Q-ball looks like a Gary Littlejohn I had in 1980.

Great BMX Cruiser...the paint flaked off in a day, won a few races on it, and I didn't care what it looked like...

Even if you check down the list of most affordable North American builders, most can't build them efficiently for $500. In fact I have seen very few less than $1000, let alone get them done under a year...

retrotec
sycip
soulcraft
pereira
walt
groovy

I think that's why Monster and Buck were so special...dialed in at a reasonable price.

Good for Q-ball...maybe something to check into down the line.

Maybe these North American Handmade Bike Shows should have more focus on - build it better for less, vs builder it better for people who can't afford to ever have one
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Old January 1st, 2011, 3:31 PM   #18
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^^Tvcreative, Awesome point. It would be cool to "force" the manufacturers to build a great frame for under a grand. Wow I like it. Whenever I go to the shows, it's all about excess. It's just a bike after all.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 4:12 PM   #19
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I'm not saying that frames should be under a grand, merely that high quality US built frames are available for under a grand. What I am getting at is that after a certain point it's just conspicuous consumption. I realize IF may have more overhead than some of the smaller shops, but I think to a certain point their pricing is driven by what people are willing to pay. I think the same applies across the industry actually. I think, no, I know people like to talk about how much they pay for things.

Frankly I don't have a problem with paying $1500.00 for a Groovy or some other small builder's frame. It's knowing that there are guys out there like Rody, Walt, etc. that can crank out frames of equal or higher quality than an IF for hundreds less than what IF charges now that gives me pause
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Old January 1st, 2011, 4:23 PM   #20
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Also Geekhouse.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 5:08 PM   #21
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Oh, I didn't realize FTW was still welding for Spooky. Is that really so? I thought he was doing Sinisters or something?
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Old January 1st, 2011, 5:17 PM   #22
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^^IF52

He does consultant work with Sinister I believe. In addition to that, he does subcontract work for other builders. Keep an eye on him.....
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Old January 1st, 2011, 5:42 PM   #23
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Default Mho

Amen to everything IF52 has put down. The market, or more so the consumer is driving the price train.

Curtis at Retrotec made me a Half frame in 2010 for under $1400. After spending some time with the bike I have a hard time buying (no pun intended) the "all custom" IF marketing. They make an awesome frame and paint is as good as anyone else, or even better. But last time I checked it is demand that drives everything.

Look at Harley Davidson. Their sales and pricing went sky high until people stopped buying their bikes. Now they can't get rid of what's on their lot. Add to the mix they had so many different models competing for sales and the company is hurting. Does IF need to make a full carbon bike? I think not.

As posted by others here on the thread, there are plenty of top notch frame builders (Retrotec/Inglis, Sycip, Hunter, Black Cat, Coconino, etc.) that truly give you what most IF buyers really want, a unique bike that rides tops.

Everyone manifests on the "Made in Somerville" aspect of FC bikes. Why is that? It's when the company was at its roots and quality was killer. New York bikes are generally worth less in resale if I'm not mistaken.

History will repeat itself here if all folds as the gouge has been put out.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:43 AM   #24
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They perhaps aren't as high profile as the other builders mentioned in this thread so far, but for what it is worth, Tom Teesdale and Doug Curtlo still make awesome and reasonably priced MTBs at +/- a $1,000. And they are both long time "classic" mountain bike builders.

Teesdale doesn't seem to do as much "keeping up" with trends but if you want classic, his frames are legit. And I am sure he'd build to what ever spec you wanted.

And as far as the NY vs Somerville thing: NY bikes are really really built nicely. Of the Fats I have bought as sold, barring things like having a matching Yo fork, the Serotta built bikes do surprisingly well on the market. I prefer the old ones personally, but the NY are definitely sweet.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:49 AM   #25
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I'd also like to shill a bit for Winter Bikes. Eric did my Monster stem and was great to work with. The level of customization and attention to detail he gives his frames is out of this world....and for far less than an equivalent IF would cost.

I dunno, they basically turned into "dentist bikes" like Seven and the ilk.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 12:56 PM   #26
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^^ This is coming straight from the horses mouth (original member of FC and founding member of IF), "I didn't think FC bikes were made all that well, until it moved to NY."
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 1:07 PM   #27
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IF is suffering the same woes as FCC - poor management and a lack of a clear distinct vision statement. The current economy can't be helping either, but you have to adapt and change or die.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 3:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
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^^ This is coming straight from the horses mouth (original member of FC and founding member of IF), "I didn't think FC bikes were made all that well, until it moved to NY."
I've read and heard that before as well. IIRC, there was something over on the Serotta forum about Fat's move to NY where somebody who worked at Serotta during the transition commented on what crap the FCC fixtures were and how they basically scrapped everything that FCC brought from MA to NY. I'd kind of like Scott's perspective though. The perspective of the original IF boys is somewhat tainted in my opinion. The amount of time I spent around Elmo and Lloyd BITD, they were diplomatic about it, but clearly bitter.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 3:27 PM   #29
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As someone who has worked at a couple of medium sized custom bike companies for the last 15 years, I'm all too aware of how difficult it is to make a go of it. Even at 1900 bucks for a steel frame, the profit margin is slim, especially for a company building in Boston, with astronomical rents and fancy big city wages.

From what I'm hearing, IF is moving to Newmarket NH in March. One or two current employees are making the move, and someone has been contracted to weld short term until a permanent solution is found.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 3:41 PM   #30
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Maybe they could move south to someplace like Brockton and at least stay in MA.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 3:57 PM   #31
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"dentist bikes", that was great, LOL...
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 8:17 PM   #32
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Ya hey dentist bikes...you know the people that fix your one tooth. That was great.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 7:22 AM   #33
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Correction on my part....dentist's fix your teeth, and they keep paychecks in the pocket of bike industry workers...

Same goes for the rest of the professional world that pay FULL RETAIL for things.

Never bite the hand that feeds you....
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 12:42 PM   #34
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Are you a dentist?
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 4:21 PM   #35
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If I ever have a profession......I think I'll still stick my second-hand skin-flint hard-scrabble ways. The lessons of the great depression live on!
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 9:59 PM   #36
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I am old bike shop junky from the late 70s and 80s with alot of junk (10 plus years at Yellow Jersey in Madison)

I am not a dentist

but I don't believe taking pot shots at those who can afford a nice bike is really needed...

The sport is inclusive...for the rich and the poor.

I am a professional, with a childhood love of the wind in my hair and the burn in my legs...the same as my friends who serve coffee, and my friends who carry a torch...

whether you ride 150 miles a year or 150 a day the common denominator is the passion for the sport

good luck to the new IF

good luck to the old who will make something new...

the bottom like is that the customer should always be right and cash is king

there are going to be skin flints, there are going to be money bags

but ultimately sales/service will drive the meter of success

I am not sure why so many high end shops, bike racers, and builders don't get it...

treating people like crap - as if you are not good enough to be in their little club

this level of arrogance has always baffled me...

my suggestion is find a shop or a builder that smiles when you call, and makes you feel like you a part of it all...

I bet you'll be loyal for life...I bet they'll be making money
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:04 PM   #37
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I think you missed the point. The comment, I think, was directed at anybody who buys anything just so they can brag it up. I guess spend your money however you see fit, but spending so you can be seen spending is tacky in my book. Those are the same kind of people who ask you how much you paid for your house or car.

And no the customer is not always right, and no the dollar is not king. The reasonable, respectful customer deserves respect. The d!ck who waves a handful of cash because he thinks he can bully his way to the front gets shown the door.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:25 AM   #38
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well you've said it all

and proved my point quite nicely

good luck

I won't utter another word on this one
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Old January 4th, 2011, 4:04 AM   #39
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"am not sure why so many high end shops, bike racers, and builders don't get it...

treating people like crap - as if you are not good enough to be in their little club

this level of arrogance has always baffled me..."

I'm on the inside and I still feel this way. Bull****! Build something bullet proof, crash it, trash it and rebuild it even better.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 6:51 AM   #40
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There are all types.......spolied brats whose parents buy them whatever, the newspaper boy who scraps and scrapes to buy his first bike. Everyone is different and ever shop is different. The balance is finding the one that fits you.

I hate seeing IF going through this, but we make our own path.

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