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Did you know Airborne . . .(27 posts)

Did you know Airborne . . .morrison
Jan 31, 2002 2:11 PM
is owned by Huffy?

Note: This is NOT an Airborne rant. I know a lot of people go on and on about Airborne, but I own one and, for a decent Ti ride, it was a hell of a bargain. However, I do find it amusing that they try so hard to cover-up the Huffy connection.

Apparently, they were acquired in 1997 when Huffy shifted from a low-end bike / sporting goods manufacturer to a distribution-oriented business model. If you look at their contact information on their website, their mailing address is the same as Huffy. Also, Huffy's quarterly reports list Airborne as a subsidiary. But, Airborne's site does not refer to Huffy as a shareholder / owner.

O.k., this post is kind of boring, so I'll shut up now.
Most people know,TJeanloz
Jan 31, 2002 2:15 PM
People who own Airborne's don't care.

People who own Colnagos seem very amused.
That's a good way of putting it! :-) nmmorrison
Jan 31, 2002 2:17 PM
Most people know,Eric16
Jan 31, 2002 3:51 PM
yes we do...haha
Colnago Question for TjeanlozColnagoFE
Feb 1, 2002 7:29 AM
Do you know if the 6/4 TI bike that Excel sells is the same frame (or comes from the same factory in Russia) as the Colnago Ovalmaster? I've heard rumors that it is.
I've heard the rumor,TJeanloz
Feb 1, 2002 7:49 AM
I too have heard that rumor, but I have no first hand knowledge to its truth. There are some pretty interesting coincidences though; 1st, the tubeset is strikingly similar (though not the same), this isn't a clear indicator, because a lot of tubesets look pretty similar.

But the kicker is that the geometry for the Excel bike is peculiar, and the geometry for Colnago is a little peculiar, and the two are almost identical. I could understand having the same geometry as Merlin, who use VERY standard geometry, but Colnago uses some unique dimensions that the Excel bike also uses. This is, of course, purely circumstantial evidence- and the only reasons I have to believe the rumors.
Yep, those SL Mercedes must be crap. . .js5280
Jan 31, 2002 4:14 PM
cause Damiler-Chrysler makes the Dodge Neon. Don't give the Airborne flamers such easy ammunition Morrison. I own a Zep and the only person it has to impress is me. Fortuanately though it impresses a lot of people who objectively look at the bike's performance vs. snob appeal. Also, they are welded in China (no reply necessary Chou en Lie) so we're really be pinko-commie Huffy riders. I think we'd be amazed if we knew all the parent companies and manufacturing sources of the products we buy. Personally I think globalization is a good thing and will leave it at that since this is the cycling forum and it's been done many a time already.
....looks can be deceiving. ;-)grzy
Jan 31, 2002 6:14 PM
Hey, GM makes the Saab and Ford owns Jaguar.

You got volume manufacturers looking to go upscale or establish a nche brand. It's all about marketing and customer perception. Sometimes quality comes into play, but would you buy a ti bike that said Huffy on it?
but the ride isn'tSteveS
Jan 31, 2002 6:45 PM
Morrison's information is slightly incorrect. Those of us who became Airborne fans early on remember the acquisition of Airborne by Huffy as happening maybe in 1999, late summer. It was no secret, discussed and rediscussed ad nauseum. Airborne has been left very much to their own independence, for better or worse. Obviously, I have my own opinion on how it has gone since the acquisition, especially when I check out my 2002 Carpe Diem.

Would I buy a ti bike that "said Huffy on it?", that was your question. If it met my critieria for ride, fit, aesthetics, etc. I kept buying Airbornes despite what internet posters thought about it's decals, so why not. (I also picked up a Spectrum and Bob Jackson steel frames this past year using the same basic critieria I used in picking my Z, Lucky Strike, or Carpe Diem.) However, there are a number of other brands that I wouldn't buy for any reason. That is, unless they gave me a 10 day satisfaction guarantee that Airborne offers.

Actually, I never thought I would buy a Japanese car at one time, much less a Lexus and Infiniti. Times change.
but the ride isn't - yeah rightdennzio
Feb 10, 2002 4:12 PM
let's see, you have five expensive bikes, an infiniti and a lexus. pull the other one mate.
Good point js5280firstrax
Jan 31, 2002 7:13 PM
In my industry I manufacture my closest competitors product for them. There identical inside. Its amusing to here their customers bash my product.
Yep, those SL Mercedes must be crap. . .my yankee friend.. correction
Jan 31, 2002 8:22 PM
Daimler Benz acquired Chrysler Motor Corp, but most of us yanks were lead to believe it was "us" buying "them", or at least an amicable "merger".

While not hostile in nature, the Mercedes folk definitely bought out the Chrysler folk...check out the entire board of directors if you have believed otherwise!

No biggie, just a clarification on your analogy.
Wow, my Dodge truck just sky-rocketed in value! nmTylerman
Feb 1, 2002 4:35 AM
Just for the record...cyclaholic
Jan 31, 2002 8:29 PM
There are a lot of allusions concerning automobile manufacturing and its relation to the global economy.

None of the makes of automobiles named were made in China.

Airborne frames are made in China and the people that buy them because they are cheap must realize that this helps to perpetuate the series of problems that the workers face there. And I also should mention that openly exploiting cheap labor, as so many bicycle frame makers do, harms our own economy.
Just for the record...DaveL
Feb 1, 2002 4:25 AM
As far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with 'made in China.' China's trade with us is on the rise. Look around your house - or any store - you will find that all kinds of merchandise is 'made in China.' The trend is for manufacturers to reduce production costs - that's why Ford and VW build cars in Mexico. Where are almost all athletic shoes made? Electronics? Concern for "the worker" is laudable and high minded, but free trade cannot do anything but improve conditions for all in the long run, except those that are not competitive. It's a free market. If these bikes are no good, they won't make it in the marketplace. If Airborne can build an excellent product for less than Litespeed or Merlin - which in my opinion they do - then that's just competition. If it's important to someone that the product is made somewhere that they have a grudge against, then factor that into the purchase decision. Steak or sizzle; you pays your money and you takes your chances.
Self delusional party linecyclaholic
Feb 1, 2002 6:16 AM
Maybe if you keep repeating that buying inferior quality products from China is going to help everyone in time, you will convince yourself that it is true.

That will not convince me. We aren't talking about "competition" - we're talking about manipulation and exploitation. Please.

Airbornes - and the Taiwan bikes, too, for that matter - are priced as they are because these places offer very cheap labor, with minimal protection for workers. The people are buying them, not because they are better, but because they are cheaper. All other justification is after the fact.

I find it absolutely hilarious that the same people who so fear communism and socialism proudly blare that they ride bikes of "excellent" quality built by communist laborers.

Karl Marx could write at least two good books about that!
My god its only a frame.firstrax
Feb 1, 2002 7:23 AM
If you dont want something made in China dont buy it. I have to give Airborne credit. They never hid the fact that their frames are welded in China and their open about why. A company wont do that unless they are confident quality is up to snuff.
As for the communist thing, free trade is part of what make capitolism work.
goodness and relative goodnesscollinsc
Feb 1, 2002 9:24 AM
I worked in a grocery store at one point and the wine steward (and this is in a fairly yuppie neighbor hood, much like this one re: tastes) had a philosophy on the goodness of a wine based on taste per dollar.

So, by that idea, if a $5 bottle of vino tastes better than 1/2 as good as a $10 bottle then it is a good deal. Now we get to the point.

Ive never ridden a litespeed so i can't say, but the impression that I get (from others as well as my own bike) is that Airborne markets a very high quality bike. So high in quality, in fact, as to approach (some would say superscede) the quality of their competitors (ie: litespeed)for less than half the price.

So $999 for a Zeppelin or over 3000 for a LS. Its easy, given the wine theory, to see why people like airborne. Even looking at the new MP frame (quoted in C+ as one of the best riding frames ever) with fancy Reynolds DB tubing etc. costs about half that of a simliar LS bike.

Now your morals and whatnot are obviously not taken into account here and those decisions are certainly up to you. But I just wanted to explain why people buy Airborne.

Sorry to single out LS but I figured the point would get across.
re: Did you know Airborne . . .firstrax
Jan 31, 2002 4:47 PM
Also interesting is Huffy's financials.
No debt, plenty of cash, Hammer value higher the current share price and trades at a multiple of EBITDA. These guys are prime for a rating.
I dont think Airborne is trying to cover up the connection. They dont go out of their way to mention it, but they dont deny it eithr.
re: Did you know Airborne . . .Rich Clark
Jan 31, 2002 8:33 PM
Yes, everybody knows that.

Personally, it makes me feel quite secure, knowing my Airborne is backed by what may be the most financially strong bicycle company in the world.

Better to be backed by Huffy than Schwinn nowadays!RayBan
Feb 1, 2002 6:29 AM
I owned a Airborne and the price and entire purchase process was great. The only reason I sold it was because it turns out I don't like the way TI rides. The frameset's quality was real nice though.
My bike is made by an old Italian guy behind his house! nmduh
Feb 1, 2002 7:35 AM
I hope you had more to go on than your Airborne...TJeanloz
Feb 1, 2002 8:31 AM
It would be foolish to doom ti bikes because you didn't like how your Airborne rode. A lot of people think Airborne's ride great, and some of us don't. But it would be silly to say "I don't like the way ti rides" because you owned the cheapest ti bike out there.

I know this from experience, I didn't like the way steel rode. My experience was based on a Giant entry level road bike that was my first 'racing' bike. Then I rode a friend's Richard Sachs- I no longer have a problem with how steel fact, I would love to own a fine steel ride.
Bike lust is back?pmf1
Feb 1, 2002 8:39 AM
But admit it, you'd look at that steel bikes and say, I still like my Vortex better.
Bike lust is back?TJeanloz
Feb 1, 2002 8:48 AM
There are a lot of bikes that I would consider equals at the top. I love the Vortex, but I've got a whole lotta love to spread around among bikes. If the opportunity (read $$$) came along, I'd get myself a Sachs and a C-40, not necessarily in that order. Interestingly though, I'd trick the C40 out entirely (carbon wheels, carbon cranks, record 10), but I think I'd try to keep the Sachs pure and unconcious of weight.
Totally agreeColnagoFE
Feb 1, 2002 9:41 AM
I've had low end steel (Bianchi Eros) and higher end steel (Colnago MXL). There is no comparison in ride quality--it's like night and day. I also owned a Merlin XL which was a great ride though maybe just a tad flexy under my 195 lbs. Still if I weighed about 20 lbs less it probably would have been perfect. I still miss the lightness of that bike but overall I prefer my steel Colnago (62cm) which is around 21 lbs now complete with nothing too stupid light on it. With an SLR saddle and my race wheels it can get around 20. I think the Merlin was about 19lbs for comparison and a whole lot more $. I've ridden a few entry-level Litespeeds (Natchez, Classic) and the ride quality was noticably not as good as the Merlin. For what it's worth, I think that unless you're prepared to spend the big bucks on a high end TI bike then steel or AL might be a better choice than lower end TI. I have heard good things about the Airborne though. People that own them seem to like them.
re: Did you know Airborne . . .atomicwedgie
Feb 1, 2002 9:59 AM
I have heard from inside Airborne that the President of said company actually rides. Yes, he loves bicycles and even races. They say he has been riding 3 hours every morning on the trainer before work. And then another hour during lunch. Folks, that's allot! It's nice to know the President of Airborne is passionate about cycling.