Friday, April 15, 2016

take your fad-creation urges and stuff 'em

From Barnoldswick, England we get Hope's prototype MTB frame which sports a relatively non-unique appearance and somewhat ubiquitous suspension type, but also these unique features:

• 17 x 130mm rear hub spacing
• Zero dish rear wheel

As makers of hubs they are familiar with "the industry" changing standards on hubs merely as a way to force new sales, and as a seller of the hubs they make themselves, they know what helps or hurts sales at the hub-maker's end of things. Apparently, they don't agree with what "the industry" has been doing on wheel hub "standards" during the past decade.

I would not be surprised to hear people at Hope say something like,

Well, actually, when people raised concerns about 100mm wide 9mm axle fronts and 135mm wide 9mm axle rears, we did have 150mm width thru axle rear and 110mm width/20mm axle front standards already for wheel & frame sturdiness, but apparently hair-splitting of existing sizes was more important and so "the industry" needed to create multiple sizes shy of the DH standard, selling them with false claims regarding "improvements" through such things as 15mm axles rather than 20mm axles, or 143, 145, 147 and 148mm widths when we already had 150. And why do we have 100mm wide 15mm when there's 110/20? Well, we're tired of that shit, so here's our project bike. Quit mucking about with people's wallets already, "industry."

In fact, with those two bullet points, that's precisely what they've said.

Pretty good craic from Hope, if you ask me.


Paul Behrer said...

Hard to find a more industrial outfit than Hope in the MTB manufacture world. I think they'd know how much harm the shifting standards has on hub sales, and hub manufacturer burden of making a profit in a whimsical-standards market where consumers are twice (or more X) confused compared to Hope on the Q of why so many shifting standards.

Maybe SRAM/RockShox and a few select Complete Bike Seller Entities should take the hint?

Yeah, and maybe they'll also appreciate a long-term view enough to take the lead on this issue.


They're too cynical, and too eager to get at the $$$ held by new fad-following Grown Into The Sport people who flip bikes at least 1x/year because quick bubble profits are so much better than steady long-term ones.

They'd rather build, pop, and rebuild bubbles.

Jeremiah Wattleston IV said...

Apparently you did not notice the huge technology revolution in MTB that has been fueled by all these newbies who flip bikes faster than IHOP flips pancakes. As a large-block SRAM shareholder I can assure you, the current model is very good for the industry. We would like to stay on this path, but increase our per annum profit by at least 7.32% increments in each of the next 5 years, so naturally we need more growth in the sport. Maybe you think you can stand in the way of the march of progress, but you may as well try to swim against a riptide if you ask me. I'd put your money in SRAM holdings if I were you. The ideas I've seen brewing for the current 5 year interim (2015-2020) will knock your socks off. Also, we're counting on support from trail closures to ATVs and motorcycles driving a new crossover customer base, so we've put good covert lobbying money behind that, and thrown a little toward the Sustainable Trails Coalition as well. It's possible to have a 5 year plan while pursuing bubbles, you know. Maybe you should try studying business operations and economics before talking about these things.

Paul Behrer said...

Hey Jerry, SRAM doesn't make their own hubs, do they?

Jeremiah Wattleston IV said...

It's Jeremiah, you rodent.

SRAM sells a wide range of road and MTB oriented bicycle hubs. They compete quite favorably with Shimano at each relevant application. They are not competing with Hope in the hub market. Hope is in more of an aftermarket upgrade niche.

SRAM also competes favorably with Hope in the MTB brake market. You will find more SRAM brakes on bicycles sold throughout the world than you will find Hope brakes on such new bikes. The difference in market share renders Hope negligible, actually.

Paul Behrer said...

You didn't answer my question, Jerry.

Does SRAM make the hubs it sells?

How about the brakes it sells? Does SRAM make those?

Jeremiah Wattleston IV said...

SRAM hubs are designed by SRAM engineers and their manufacture is performed to SRAM specifications. The same is true of SRAM brakes.

Their engineers are among the most talented in the industry.

Chet Redweld said...

They should hire you for PR, Mr Wattleston.

Chet Redweld said...

I wonder if there's a parallel between the PSIA thoughts post a few days ago, and the SRAM et alia business model discussed above.

Shifting vague standards to "grow the sport" while losing sight of what makes things operate smoother over a longer term.

Seems a plausible parallel.

Of course, someone will say that I'm not "in the industry" in MTB so how can I comment on it, and also I'm not a PSIA Examiner or D-Teamer so I can't have thoughts on PSIA organizational slack.

Those are nice diversions from the questions raised, I'll grant that much.