Re: build and sell
I have given this topic much thought, like so many others that have built these things... given the enjoyment I've had from both building & riding and the popularity, the interest my bikes have received - it seems a natural conclusion to build & sell them to those less interested in fabrication and assembly than I am.
It always comes down to costs, and that's the kicker.
If they're not a tinkerer, don't understand and are unwilling to learn & thus wish to buy one already made - then the cheap builds aren't for them as the ongoing maintenance will come as an unpleasant surprise, be neglected and/or blamed on the builder, even the minor but should be expected "normal" maintenance resulting from the increased use & speeds of a motorized bicycle.
Result? The profit of selling a "cheap" build gets used up in return visits to fix things they should have attended to - or you continue to bill them to repair, resulting in an unhappy customer as they're "nickle & dimed" to death.
The more pricy quality builds have this same maintenance issue due to the increase in wear & tear, if to a lesser extent & limited primarily to the bicycle's components. Yet the problem with the quality builds is after the costs of components & labor the resale price is perilously close to that of a scooter or moped, but remain comparatively "under-built" as they are still a bicycle after all. So aside from the "style" of a motorized bicycle, what incentive is there to make such a purchase? A quality motorized bicycle has a similar price & similar fuel efficiency yet suffers greater restrictions and more maintenance & care during use.
After finding out even just the total component cost without labor, I've noticed interest wanes quickly.
The choices seem to be building cheap bikes and making a decent profit - but only if you abandon the customer after the sale, or to bill them for all the things that will require ongoing & continuing service. As you knew that but they're obviously oblivious (it's why they're after cheap) - it smacks of entrapment, too close to a scam for my taste. The quality builds won't sell as quickly, have less a profit margin - yet as they're still not interested in tinkering you'll still be held responsible for every little thing... & in both instances their overall costs will come very close or even exceed that of the moped or scooter they really wanted & thought they were getting.
In conclusion, while there's always the exceptions, those with more money then sense, those that prefer a bicycle over a moped for whatever reason or those that like the style some motorized bicycles have (the unique, completely custom fabrications) - around here however it's primarily economics (cheap) or they're looking to try and circumvent legal issues (mistakenly) & I'm not interested in catering to either of that type.
I'm convinced motorized bicycles are primarily for the do-it-yourselfer, it's the only way it makes any sense both ethically and financially. If you can't build it, it's not for you. Most quality kits make the build so simple there's no point in paying someone, cheap kits aren't cheap you can't fix it - if you can't build it, you can't fix it *shrug*
Last edited by BarelyAWake; 06-24-2012 at 01:02 AM.