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BikeFriday possible sale. Not a bike, the company.

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BikeFriday possible sale. Not a bike, the company.

Old 10-21-19, 09:12 PM
  #101  
linberl
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post


It sounds like a little too much "by the book".

I can understand why a company wouldn't wish to experiment, but I think all the bike part companies made some confusion with the 8/9/10 numbering.

Obviously 10 MTB and 11s are different.

One would think they would have 105 or Ultegra, at least on the Pocket Rocket, and could put it on other bikes.

I'm wondering if drop bars are being used on several models now.

Obviously lots of different hub choices (although they don't all have to be offered).

Shifters, derailleurs, etc are all pretty standard, and I'd expect them to all be stocked (except like I said, I've never seen them list Campagnolo). Even so, they could stock perhaps a few Chorus or Athena parts.

Cranks have a couple of different lengths, but they could have say 170/175 standard for all models, and order other lengths special. Also special order tandem sets.
Technically, 105 does not come in 8 speed. I guess I can understand why they didn't want to do it, because I went from a mid cage to a short cage. Specs on the 105 limited the range to two less teeth than my cassette has, but I also knew people who had pushed those limits without any issues. Shimano understates the capacity of the rear der. So technically I can't really fault BF but you'd think they might have done it if I was willing to sign off on the consequences. Not a huge deal, though. I went with 165mm cranks and they were ordered for me from Sugino. Actually, the only thing I didn't spec out was the shifter, as the grip shift BF uses is the same I had on my NWT and it is really bulletproof (Sram).
Because it is a "just in time" build and fully customizable, you can literally get any part you want (assuming it fits the proper specs for the bike) and BF will source it and acquire and install it. There will be some delays depending on what you ask for, but I would hate to see that aspect disappear. It's that "as you like it" customization that makes each bike unique. Brompton folks have to do it themselves after they buy through aftermarket sellers. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm buying a new bike I want it the way I want it when I buy it.....I don't want to get a new bike and then have to jump through a bunch of changes to actually make it the bike I wanted in the first place. I would hate to see that go away. Unboxing my pakiT was a pure joy -- it was everything I had wanted it to be (except the rear der, lol). That's priceless.
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Old 10-21-19, 09:59 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Nemosengineer View Post
The build is interesting, in the video see how the folding rear triangle is fabricated with the frame then aligned as a unit... no interchangeable parts, each unit is unique unto itself, and it moves very quickly for two men building a frame. Yes Bike Friday is a high end bicycle in a very old tradition and you would have to redesign the product to mass produce it, however it would lose all its character and most of its value as something really special. I am really glad I own one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N77UxRS4U

: Mike
Thanks for the video.

I can see the part that was never put on my bike(s).

Hmmm, Bike Friday Pocket Companion. Apparently a discontinued model (replaced by OSATA?)

Obviously this film was designed to show production from start to finish (at fast speed). So, it is quite possible that there are more parallel tasks that aren't clearly being shown.

Anyway, it is most interesting construction. One thing about the Bike Friday is that nothing folds quite squarely. So, for example, the seat mast folds to one side of the main tube, and the rear wheel also folds to the side.

However, I disagree about mass production.

I think a person could cut batches of 100 tubes.
Bend a bunch of rear triangle tubes.
Build a rear triangle jig.
Weld up a bunch of rear triangles.
Same with welding up a bunch of main frames (perhaps in batches of half a dozen of each size).

Then weld the fork, main frame, and rear triangle independently, even at different times.

Smaller jigs may even make welding of certain components easier.

I'm a bit surprised that the final alignment is done after powder coating, but one issue with bicycle frames is that everything moves just slightly. I presume that sandblasting, powder coating, and baking stress relieves the frame slightly. So, final alignment after the final assembly of the parts is expected. With good jigs, assembly of the frame separate from the triangle should be no different than assembling them together.

Of course, any repair would still need realignment, probably being sent back to Bike Friday.

They seem to have different employees doing specific tasks. Welding, Finishing, wheels, assembly, packing, etc.

Nonetheless, I wonder if the frame building could be streamlined somewhat. Perhaps even cutting the raw build time in half.

Now, looking at the cost of the Pocket Rocket Frame vs whole bike. The frame may be 1/2 or 1/4 the price of the whole bike. So, cutting the cost of welding the frame may only make a moderate difference in overall cost. But, based on the 2 reported finance years that I saw, they aren't that far off from making ends meet.

One issue, of course, with mass production is job satisfaction. I'm sure there is a certain amount of job satisfaction with "artisan" work which might get lost with mass production.

So, there may be more satisfaction welding up a couple of bikes in a day, rather than simply getting fed parts and welding up, say 24 mainframes one day, then welding 24 rear triangles the next day, and 24 forks the third day.

So, one might be able to weld a bike an hour????

Perhaps have one person doing TIG, and one person brazing.

The risk, of course, is driving away the artesans because of too much time pressure and assembly line work. But, cross-training may help with that, as well as doing the occasional full custom build.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:33 PM
  #103  
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Pocket Companion replaced the Metro as the entry level bike. It did not have the folding seat mast, you had to remove it to pack and fold (but that did save a bit of weight). More like the pakiT in that sense. The OSATA is completely different, it started off as a fleet bike for schools. It is a main frame length adjustable bike which has been carried over to the Haul A Day cargo bike.
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Old 10-21-19, 11:24 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Pocket Companion replaced the Metro as the entry level bike. It did not have the folding seat mast, you had to remove it to pack and fold (but that did save a bit of weight). More like the pakiT in that sense. The OSATA is completely different, it started off as a fleet bike for schools. It is a main frame length adjustable bike which has been carried over to the Haul A Day cargo bike.
It appears to be a slow evolution.

I believe the OSATA is the cheapest bike available by Bike Friday now. It has a similar non-folding short mast like the Companion.

There is also apparently a rear folding and fixed version of the OSATA (although the folding version doesn't have a price listed on the website).

So, as far as I can tell, the primary difference between the two bikes is the telescoping frame.

It may be that Bike Friday realized that it was cheaper to build an adjustable one-size-fits-all than it was to make multiple sizes.

I did bump into a website of a bike shop down in California that appears to have some NOS OSATA and Companion bikes that are quite similar.

https://www.chainreaction.com/produc...1273/?rb_br=76

Actually, it is listed as the Pocket Companion OSATA (One Size Adjustable to All)
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Old 10-22-19, 06:39 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post

However, I disagree about mass production.

I think a person could cut batches of 100 tubes.
Bend a bunch of rear triangle tubes.
Build a rear triangle jig.
Weld up a bunch of rear triangles.
Same with welding up a bunch of main frames (perhaps in batches of half a dozen of each size).

Then weld the fork, main frame, and rear triangle independently, even at different times.

Smaller jigs may even make welding of certain components easier.
.
That would only work if they got rid of tubing type customization (which might be a concession they'd have to make).
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Old 10-22-19, 09:14 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Nemosengineer View Post
Yes Bike Friday is a high end bicycle in a very old tradition and you would have to redesign the product to mass produce it, however it would lose all its character and most of its value as something really special.


This hasn't proven to be the case for Brompton. Still an exceptional re-sale value (within the right buyer group...same as BF) and still a ton of character and old-world craftsmanship, and character.

"Character" is often a euphemism for design idiosyncrasies...Bromptons have a few of those as I assume BF do.

Yeah...character.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:27 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by FolderBeholder View Post
This hasn't proven to be the case for Brompton. Still an exceptional re-sale value (within the right buyer group...same as BF) and still a ton of character and old-world craftsmanship, and character.

"Character" is often a euphemism for design idiosyncrasies...Bromptons have a few of those as I assume BF do.

Yeah...character.
Imo they are really different situations. Brompton has not changed design, has one basic model. Limited options. And it's always been that way. Brompton's only real innovation is the fold. BF, otoh, has innovated multiple designs and bikes (recumbents, adjustable frame, cargo, urban, road/off road, etc.) and has made customization a priority. Imposing Brompton limitations on BF would indeed take away who they are. It might be more efficient and easier to make a profit, but it would lose the heart and soul of the company, imo.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:03 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
That would only work if they got rid of tubing type customization (which might be a concession they'd have to make).
As far as sizes, forks and rear triangles are one size fits all (depending on model and tires/brakes).

There only need to be a couple of different seatpost mast sizes.

Mainframes could probably be built in inch sizes (or built on demand). The OSATA concept minimizes the frame sizes, but may not be appropriate for models with one adult rider.

Goosenecks? I think they are doing fewer goosenecks (stock stems), but I think the upright length is adjustable (or can be cut), and forward bends could be a common sizes, and make longer as needed. Even build a jig so one could stock straight goosenecks (by length), and bend in about a minute. If they don't ship the gooseneck with the bike, then it could be powdercoated as an add-on whenever that color comes up again.

Tubing types... yes, that doubles or triples the inventory requirement. It may not impact the NWT a lot, but would impact the Pocket Rocket and Pakit.

One would have to look at what frame models actually sell. Their parts picker has been simplified on their website recently.

I wouldn't expect more than say two tubing types on the Pocket Rocket and Pakit.

Standard straight chromoly.
Extra Light.
Plus the Titanium Mast option.

Yes, there is a risk of having dead stock sitting on the shelf. However, they should be able to calculate what typically moves by historical records.

Even if a new model such as the Pakit is introduced, they might be able to predict how sales would go.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:05 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Imo they are really different situations. Brompton has not changed design, has one basic model. Limited options. And it's always been that way. Brompton's only real innovation is the fold. BF, otoh, has innovated multiple designs and bikes (recumbents, adjustable frame, cargo, urban, road/off road, etc.) and has made customization a priority. Imposing Brompton limitations on BF would indeed take away who they are. It might be more efficient and easier to make a profit, but it would lose the heart and soul of the company, imo.
Well, if the reports/subject of this original post are true (looking for a buyer for the company) than SOME type of evolutionary changes are in order regardless.

When any company changes hands, brings in outside capital, or otherwise undergoes some major change in their business....the original "heart and soul" or DNA if you prefer, takes a hit of some type or another. I don't believe you can infuse outside money or influence into a known business entity without that influence influencing the company.

The alternative is what...sticking to their original DNA as the company fades into oblivion? That happens too.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:14 AM
  #110  
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One issue that will be hard to deal with.

Say they have $3 Million in sales.

About 50% are "hard expenses", so say $1.5 Million.

Having a 2 month backlog means that they are receiving money on about a half million worth of bikes that haven't been built/shipped (costing about a quarter million to build).

If the company has $0 in the bank, then catching up on that backlog, and even getting ahead with just-in-time pre-manufacturing could be very tough. And, of course, catching up on the backlog of bike building (which doing so in the winter would be easiest).

I haven't seen a lot of current data, but I thought the stock offering (and to a lesser extent Kickstarter) was supposed to help catch them up. But, perhaps it didn't work that way.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:17 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by FolderBeholder View Post
The alternative is what...sticking to their original DNA as the company fades into oblivion? That happens too.


What may happen if not done properly is slowly building up debt until the debt exceeds the assets. Then it all comes crumbling down and the future of the company is decided by the court system.

I got lost in trying to figure out how company value, debt, etc.

I think they value the company at about $3 Million. Debt may be as high as $1 Million to $2 Million.

Even if interest rates are kept below 5%, to be able to pay down debt, payments should be around 10%. Thus, one is hitting around $100,000 a year just to service debt, depending on how one calculates.

Last edited by CliffordK; 10-22-19 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:21 AM
  #112  
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Wow this thread got big fast! Clearly BF has fans.

Thanks
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Old 10-22-19, 10:51 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
My BF experience is with New World Tourist and their suitcase trailer. Both products might be fine for a diehard bike enthusiast but not for a person who has no interest of getting into technical issues. If I take Dahon or Brompton, Radical Design trailer, they are products ready for an interested general consumer. My wife would go nuts if she were to take apart NWT for travel and even loading NWT into a car is a bit of a nightmare. Incidentally, this was when I earned my Brompton - we were loading her Brompton into a car and my NWT and she looked at that and concluded that I should be getting a Brompton too - I couldn't be happier to comply.

This is the massive problem BF faces, their bikes just aren't practical to use in comparison to other folders. I just sold a Silk, and the drama involved with folding it up to get it in the buyer's vehicle almost killed the deal. The rear triangle folds under, the seatpost folds forward (rubbing on the plastic bottle cage), then there's a strap that supposedly holds it together as you pick it up (it mostly doesn't). Oh, the handlepost doesn't fold? Ok, let's take it off..now it's dangling there attached to cables and somehow we have to load it without banging it on the frame and scratching paint.

Even the Pakit has a weird arrangement where you unhook the handlepost and slide it into the frame. It's more convenient than the other models, but still fiddly enough to make you wonder why you didn't just buy a Brompton. I'm not sure I understand what the point is of these bikes anymore...
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Old 10-22-19, 11:01 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
One issue that will be hard to deal with.

Say they have $3 Million in sales.

About 50% are "hard expenses", so say $1.5 Million.

Having a 2 month backlog means that they are receiving money on about a half million worth of bikes that haven't been built/shipped (costing about a quarter million to build).

If the company has $0 in the bank, then catching up on that backlog, and even getting ahead with just-in-time pre-manufacturing could be very tough. And, of course, catching up on the backlog of bike building (which doing so in the winter would be easiest).

I haven't seen a lot of current data, but I thought the stock offering (and to a lesser extent Kickstarter) was supposed to help catch them up. But, perhaps it didn't work that way.
Keep going down this rabbit hole...you are almost there. ;-)
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Old 10-22-19, 11:14 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
This is the massive problem BF faces, their bikes just aren't practical to use in comparison to other folders. I just sold a Silk, and the drama involved with folding it up to get it in the buyer's vehicle almost killed the deal. The rear triangle folds under, the seatpost folds forward (rubbing on the plastic bottle cage), then there's a strap that supposedly holds it together as you pick it up (it mostly doesn't). Oh, the handlepost doesn't fold? Ok, let's take it off..now it's dangling there attached to cables and somehow we have to load it without banging it on the frame and scratching paint.
My NWT actually came without any strap whatsoever to hold the mess, or at least a part of it together - I had to make my own, only partly successful, arrangements. They might have benefited from a single management person who was NOT a bike enthusiast, who looked at that with a skeptical eye and perspective of a broader market consumer. Anyway, this may be turning into a moot point now. One cannot deny them creativity and the reduced competition on the horizon, taking out a business that can deliver inspiring products, is bad for us.
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Old 10-22-19, 11:32 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
still fiddly enough to make you wonder why you didn't just buy a Brompton. I'm not sure I understand what the point is of these bikes anymore...
Uh, because it didn't fit, lol. One size doesn't fit all. Brommie has limited options and paying for aftermarket stuff which "might" make it fit is silly. I've got a Dahon with a folding stem and, honestly, it's no less trouble than taking the pakiT stem off and pinning it to the frame. I timed it, the pakiT is actually a bit faster once you get the hang of it. And, of course, then there's the ride quality....something not to be discounted. And all the proprietary Brompton parts. As folks have always said, if you want to prioritize the fold, get a Brompton. If you want to prioritize the ride, get a BF.
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Old 10-22-19, 11:47 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
the seatpost folds forward (rubbing on the plastic bottle cage)
The plastic bottle cage on my Pocket Rocket is smashable. Pretty ingenious. Just take the bottle out, and the cage smashes flat. Of course that means it is a bit loose, but functional.

Having a duffel or suitcase to pack your bike in helps keep everything together.

One of my Tikits came with a little pocket baggie. It stuffs in a pocket on the frame, then when you fold, you just pull the baggie around the bike. I don't believe any parts come out of the Tikit when doing a complete fold.
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Old 10-22-19, 11:51 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Jarlybart View Post
Keep going down this rabbit hole...you are almost there. ;-)
I posted some links to financial disclosures from a couple of years ago. I don't have updated disclosures.

Did you read them and try to understand the finances at that time (and their "solution")?

It is easy for a small business to fall down a rabbit hole of revolving debt.
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Old 10-22-19, 12:34 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I posted some links to financial disclosures from a couple of years ago. I don't have updated disclosures.

Did you read them and try to understand the finances at that time (and their "solution")?

It is easy for a small business to fall down a rabbit hole of revolving debt.
I was able to learn more while I was there than people would normally learn about a company and it's running. I did it to better understand the problem and found there were just too many core problems that I could never fix or have any effect on. Some things are just so ingrained that no matter how many books they read, no matter how many mentors come along, they will never figure out how to run the company. They are just too at odds with what the company is and what they think it should be. They are too deep in the hole and if it were me, I would not give money to them in any way at this time. That may sound harsh but in reality, there will have to be a culture shift in the company, starting with new owners which will either replace the Scholz or adjust their roles in the company. They got over 200K from people and the only thing people got was worthless stocks which will never go anywhere. Do the math...giving them money won't fix this. Replacing the core leadership will fix this. Hanna would be amazing if she was able to just focus on marketing and outreach...truly the best thing ever for that company if someone can buy it before it goes belly-up.

If you are reading this and want/able to buy the company...DO IT QUICKLY!
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Old 10-22-19, 12:51 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by Jarlybart View Post
I was able to learn more while I was there than people would normally learn about a company and it's running. I did it to better understand the problem and found there were just too many core problems that I could never fix or have any effect on. Some things are just so ingrained that no matter how many books they read, no matter how many mentors come along, they will never figure out how to run the company. They are just too at odds with what the company is and what they think it should be. They are too deep in the hole and if it were me, I would not give money to them in any way at this time. That may sound harsh but in reality, there will have to be a culture shift in the company
In other words don't invest, let it keep doing the same ol' thing and expect a different result?

( in situations like this survival will mean a different company coming out the other end as that which it is now...)
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Old 10-22-19, 01:55 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by FolderBeholder View Post
In other words don't invest, let it keep doing the same ol' thing and expect a different result?

( in situations like this survival will mean a different company coming out the other end as that which it is now...)
Sadly, yes. Do not invest in the company. If you expect a different result when doing the same thing over and over, who really is the idiot? They got a nice chunk of change to save the company, much more than they expected and in less than a couple months were right back where they started. Yes, they were able to pay down some big bills but now had people to answer to...well kinda, nobody had any controlling stock except the Scholz family, who created this problem in the first place. What kills me is that they hired the right people to really fix this but never actually let them do the job of fixing this. This is partly why I same if you can buy the company, buy it now. Get it while the team is still intact and can help the new owner turn things around. Wait too much longer and you lose everything but the name which is what the deal is for anyway(details matter so make sure you look really close at what is actually being offered...LOOK VERY CLOSE). It's was hard to watch when I was there and hard to watch now from the outside and seeing so many good people trying to hang-on...I could not afford to hang-on anymore and go without a paycheck with a family to feed. It may just have to be something that dies on the vine and you know what, that is ok as well. Sad, yes...but totally ok.

Last edited by Jarlybart; 10-22-19 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 10-22-19, 07:17 PM
  #122  
tcs
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
This is the massive problem BF faces, their bikes just aren't practical to use in comparison to other folders.
Well, there was the now-discontinued tikit which was, apart from the cable failure and the aardvark failure and the stem failure(s), a really schweet little bike.

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Old 10-22-19, 07:41 PM
  #123  
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I couldn't imagine how they were going to compete without the Tikit.

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Old 10-22-19, 09:50 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by downtube View Post
I couldn't imagine how they were going to compete without the Tikit.

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It was supposed to have been replaced by the Pakit. I don't know if they did a good job with that.

But, I wonder if the Tikit was becoming a growing liability for the company. Did they ever resolve the issues with it?
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Old 10-22-19, 10:13 PM
  #125  
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I love my pakiT. pakiTs are lighter than tikits were. even though you could roll the tikit better (although I can roll my pakit on the front wheel okay), if you have to go up stairs to transit or your home or office, weight matters. the tikit didn't fold smaller than the pakit, although the hyperfold was faster and the stem did fold. In my mind, if you really prioritize fold you have to get a brompton, nothing else folds as well, nothing. If fold can drop down a little on the list while ride quality moves up, pakiT works fine. A folded tikit isn't nearly as compact as the Brompton so the advantage over pakiT is pretty slim.
The recall fixed the problem the tikit had mechanically, but my understanding is that the tikit was much more time and labor consuming than the pakiT. Just not a cost effective product.
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