|Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
|I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.
Usually, I never have a problem answering customer's questions. Recently I was stumped by one and I hate that. The Question: Why are American made bikes more money than bikes made overseas?
The first thing that entered my mind was quality, although, I couldn't say this out loud. The bikes I sell that are made overseas are built with nothing but quality. The welds are beautiful "stacks of dimes." The frames are aligned perfectly. The paint jobs are flawless. They all have disc brakes mounts, water bottle mounts, bearings at all pivots, some times even fender mounts. Top that off with phenomenal, factory back guarantees.
So what separates US made frames from the rest? I guessed innovation. And of course, extra cost for running a company based in the states. I hear everyone talk about slave labor this and child labor that. I really couldn't talk about that without seeing it for myself. I can tell you, I had a crew of kids in the shop that were bitching about our government. These kids couldn't have been older than fourteen years old. Apparently, there's a law that prohibits kids under a certain age to work. This law is to prevent child labor problems in this country. The thing is, these kids want to work. They need to save money for all the amazing toys they have to own. Fouteen year olds want an Intense M1 and they will work for it.
Should consumers pay more money for new innovations? I would, actually I do. I'm DOWN CYCLES best customer. I always need to ride the best and newest gizmo. I justify the purchase as a product test. If I like the new Gizmo then I'll feel comfortable selling it. This system I use is dangerous. People say I'm lucky since I'm the owner, I can have anything. I might disagree. I noticed that customers like to ride the same products as I do. I definitely put my bike to the test. If a product has a weak link, I will discover it. On the flip side, usually I find the new product I "test" is superior to the older product. For instance, I'm testing my new FOX Forx this weekend. Parking lot tests reveal superior performance over my old fork, but the compression knob sits high on the right side leg. So high, it hits the down tube of my Pit Boss's frame, preventing turn to the right X-ups (my way).
If you have to own the newest star fangled, on the fly fully adjustable, thing-a-ma-gig, then get ready to pay up. It was probably designed and built here in the US. Eventually, over seas companies will find a way to tweak the patent laws just enough to speck it on next year's bikes. It's called the "trinkle down effect". By the time this new innovation is affordable, it's old news and something newer and better is being developed. I get calls for products that won't be available to the general public for at least a year. Magazines and internet sights hype up these new products. People will sometimes pay anything to own the latest greatest part. Innovation is exciting and fuels our sport.
It takes a certain type of person to try out new and exciting things. This person is the type that takes pride in their country; you're adventurous and willing to take risks. My last sentence could be the definition of a mountain biker. Sometimes you'll come out ahead, other times you'll get burned. I just watched Otto on the cartoon Rocket Power take a "digger" because of a product failure. Be careful fellow riders, I hate to say this again, but we are all a bunch of guinea pig, test dummies. Buy smart. My worst crashes were from product failure.
Shucks, after writing this article, I have so much American pride and passion for cycling; I think I'll create a DOWN CYCLES team hand shake. I hope your new thing-a-ma-jo- bob kicks it new school. I know mine does!
By the way, If you never got to the core of the last tech tip, my message is to "be cool"! Some people remember the good deeds you do for them.
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