Model year, shemozzle year
July 05 2010
With full suspension frames made exclusively in the UK, we have to work hard to get new or changed models into production. This means we can’t launch all bikes in one go, so while the 2011 Five is available, changing other frames at the same time would have a severe impact on production and availability for dealers. Gradual and running changes increase productivity and reduce lead times, while ensuring we never rush a model through the welding jigs for the sake of random deadlines. Our size lets us play with ideas and make changes quickly, but these cannot all be done at the same time. But while we’re in control of what we do in Halifax, we are sometimes at the mercy of component suppliers.
With the bike industry as it is each company launches a new product line every year, sometime with improvements, sometimes not. Most of our competitors don’t have a problem with this as assembly companies in Taiwan deal with the consequences. Assembly in Halifax is, however, rather different; we’ve got to sea freight, air freight, and sometimes even pick up components to make sure things come together when they should. Want clearer model transitions? Then ask Shimano, SRAM, Rockshox, Fox and whoever else to release parts at the same time, and if a product’s good, don’t change it every year…
The 2011 Five is in production with bikes already in store. Most of these will be complete Pro spec bikes with the usual upgrades, but for the reasons above, there are a couple of anomalies in the range. The Five SE will not be available until much later in the year, we have most of the parts but with a late launch on XTR we can’t produce the bike. When samples are available we will fit them immediately and only after we’re happy we’ve put together the right parts will the complete bike reach the shop floor. But if you’re desperate, we can always offer a 2011 bike with 2010 XTR, we’re pretty flexible like that.
Similarly with fork and shock tunes, we will only release a spec when we’re happy with our own testing, it’s not about beating other brands to a price point, it’s about getting the product spec right so you don’t have to make any changes to the bike. As new parts come onto the market or we simply see something we like, we add parts to spec or our custom upgrades calculator mid-season, we won’t wait to pass on what we think will improve the ride now.
And the hardtails? A similar principle applies, from one batch to another there may be running changes, and we never rush a model to hit a deadline. The 2011 aluminium G-series and Crush hardtails are online now, we’ve not made a song and dance about it; the product does the talking. The P7 Pro and R8 will carry through with slight running changes for 2011, but keep an eye on the website for a steel bike within ‘Cycle-to-work’ budget. Teaser enough?
The point of this news item? Simply to make it clear we’re not like everyone else, we’re a small company working on small quantities but with a whole load of ideas. The message? Keep an eye on the website, when things become available they'll be up here first. It's also a thank you, for your orders and your patience, we make bikes we believe in and we're grateful you guys do too.