Originally Posted by Erich_870
I've found this thread to be very interesting to read.
Me too, and partly amused. Those who want to make a business of MBs, good luck to ya, but I suspect much of this is just about bragging rights and/or a stealth attempt at marketing, with maybe some dreams of grandeur thrown in, lol.
The first major question that needs to be answered by any person or company who tries to make a profit from MB's......
Profit or break even and keep yourself in gear? lol. As far as real money or even making a living, there aren't too many Don Grubes out there, or even the much maligned boygofast with his Asia connection probably moved more pallets in a week than most would in a lifetime.
who is your target customer? This gets us to the demographics of motorized bicycle riders.
Here's a short, and not complete, list of some of the groups as I see it:
As you may notice, my list is also organized by how much each group is typically willing to spend on a bike. There will always be a group or two who is looking for the absolute cheapest form of a motorized bicycle and they will keep the people and companies this thread complains about in business.
- Underage kids with very little money
- Adults with very little money
- Adults who use them as transportation as a way to get around loosing their DL.
- Adults who want modern bikes with standard kits
- Adults who want classic bikes with standard kits.
- Adults who want custom modern or classic bikes with custom motors and drive systems.
The only omission is, with the 6 categories listed above, you might need to add "with very little money" to all the first 5. Or maybe amend it to "only wants to spend very little money", lol.
Like it or not, the China 2 strokes are lifeblood of the whole gas bike thing and for one simple reason. Price. For a hundred and a half and that bike hanging on the garage wall, you get your motor running.
And BTW, you can't malign or blame a customer base because of that either, if that's the nature of the market and their choice, pi55 them off and they all go away too.
They buy the bike, something breaks or goes wrong and they come here to complain, lol! They get a well deserved “I told you so!” from the veterans on this forum and then they learn what a better motorized bicycle looks like from all of the people on this forum who hold themselves and their builds to a higher standard.
Meh, upgrade this and better that and sure, but anyone who's tried to do it knows for every hundred dollars of price increase the customer base falls off dramatically. It is what it is. Get much above that $500 price point and the base thins considerably. Higher still, $700 to $1K customers becomes sparser, above that the natural thought starts to dawn on people, those with a valid DL anyway, "Heck, for just a little more I could just get a scooter or motorcycle".
I've attended the NAHBS for the last three years, handmade and custom bicycles with all the hand sawn lugs, TIG welding and fillet brazing under one roof to keep anyone happy. It's rarefied territory with soaring prices.
There sure seems to be a lot of terse frame builders there, taking themselves quite seriously. I'm not sure how many of the attendees do though because there's a lot of people looking and copping ideas but I doubt many are buying. Some of the same builders have had a presence each year, the Richard Sachs and Grant Petersens have broken through, but quite a few fall by the way as well because I only see them once. I think it would help immensely for a custom bicycle maker to have a trust fund, lol.
But here's the thing: Cyclists who will pay multiple thousands for a bicycle
, and get on a waiting list to do it, will be the last to buy a motorized bike.
He11, the market for quality ebikes is populated with a much higher end and ready clientèle.
But to gas bikes, in the end it's the backyard guy who never forgot what being a kid was about. Will there be a place for this guy? There sure will. More and more I've come to appreciate the approach of the resident deacon here in DIY, the deacon with his chainsaws, weedwackers, door hinges and unpretentious, low key bikes because after all, that's really at the heart of the whole thing.