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The TORCH is Passed...(37 posts)

The TORCH is Passed...Akirasho
Oct 3, 2002 11:58 AM
Airborne has posted info on their new flagship TORCH frame... suggested retail...$2500 USD (frame).

... something tells me that the bargain basement Ti days at Airborne are going, going, gone...

We abide.

Remain In Light.

Be the bike.
Oct 3, 2002 1:40 PM
Still made in ChinaMasterBlaster
Oct 3, 2002 2:44 PM
so are the non-ti litespeeds, but no one seems to mind that!(nm)merckx56
Oct 3, 2002 2:53 PM
so are the non-ti litespeeds, but no one seems to mind that!(nm)Ironbutt
Oct 3, 2002 4:34 PM
I don't mind where the are made, but I surely do mind that the largest size is equalivalent to 58 cm. It would be nice to have cutting edge machinery available for us full sized cyclists.
similarly, the smallest is 54weiwentg
Oct 3, 2002 4:41 PM
although the effective TT is within my range, the standover might not be. it would also be nice, not that I can afford it, for cutting edge machinery to be available to the pint-sized cyclists.
they did say, though, that the MP is going to come down in price.
The only thing baragin-basement about Airborne...Uncle Tim
Oct 4, 2002 9:47 AM their labor costs. Send the work to China where the poor can be exploited.
you sure?DougSloan
Oct 4, 2002 1:22 PM
No intent to start a huge political thread here, but for all you know the laborers making Airborne frames in China are paid 95th percentile wages for people in China. I don't know one way or the other, but to assume that the poor are exploited through their labor there might not be correct. There may be a bit of an oversupply of labor, and they might very well be extremely grateful to have a job that pays, even if it's a paltry sum compared to U.S. wages. All I'm saying is that it may be wrong to assume the worst. If you know differently, fine.

Your haven't caught on to their hidden agenda yet?firstrax
Oct 4, 2002 1:38 PM
The frames are made by the Chinese aerospace division. By keeping them busy building frames they cant build ballistic missiles. I see through their plot!
re: The TORCH is Passed...Raf1
Oct 3, 2002 6:03 PM
Nice indeed, but I don't like the decals. It is not a motorcycle people!
Yeah, the graphics are blecch.Sintesi
Oct 4, 2002 6:30 AM
Nice work on the dropouts tho.
I like itSteveS
Oct 3, 2002 7:24 PM
Its a bit beyond my budget though. 'Course, I could sell a couple of bikes off and just buy the frame...
Makes no sense to meNiwot
Oct 3, 2002 7:44 PM
For one thing, $2500 for a mass-produced Ti frame is too much, no matter whose sticker is on the downtube. If you really want to pay $2500 for a frame, there are better choices. As one example only, for that kind of jack you can get a Ti frame custom-built to your specifications by one of the best frame builders in the world -- and he'll build it for you himself, not just take your order and hand it to a trainee or a supervisor on a gigantic factory floor.

It also makes no sense that Huffy Airborne has abandoned their strategy of selling "value" frames. Why would they want to try to compete at the price point of the most expensive Serotta and Colnago frames? What makes them think that a potential Serotta or Colnago buyer will forget about the Ottrott or C-40 and buy a Huffy Airborne instead?

Their marketing strategy makes no sense.
Makes no sense to meRaf1
Oct 3, 2002 8:44 PM
Your message has a good point but you don't need to be so biased and condescending. I too question what audience exactly are they targetting with this bike. Seems to me it is the same audience that the new Bicycle Magazine is going after. Problem is that audience doesn't have $5k for a bike, and won't have it for a while the way the economy is going.

I think whoever concocted this idea will get in trouble. The logic behind moving from a sensible titanium bikes to premium priced 5 grand "hip" compacts at the time of severe recession is questionable.
Makes no sense to meNiwot
Oct 3, 2002 9:04 PM
I am neither biased nor condescending. I don't own a zillion-dollar bike like the Ottrott or C-40. I just question why those who do would spend the same amount of money on a Huffy, or why anyone who spends that much for Ti doesn't just get it custom.

Huffy had a good strategy selling cheap-but-durable generic Ti frames, and I don't see why they would move away from it.
Where do you see a Huffy???MrCrud
Oct 3, 2002 9:23 PM
The bike shown is an Airborne, not a huffy. I also dont know of any quality bikes that Huffy has ever made.

I agree that this frame might not sell a lot as it's not very well targeted. We'll see what happens, time will tell.


Huffy owns Airborne....Niwot
Oct 4, 2002 8:33 AM
Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's a place for Huffy bikes, just like there's a place for Gallo wines. To each his/her own.

As I said, though, $2500 for a mass-produced frame alone is way too much. For $2500, I recently bought a complete bike, a Cannondale CAAD7 with Dura Ace, Ksyrium SSC SL wheels, a lightweight Time carbon fork, and top-of-the-line components all around. If you really want to spend that much money on a frame alone, you ought to get a custom-built, best-of-the-best frame for that price.
Huffy ..........firstrax
Oct 4, 2002 9:03 AM
The only stock (NYSE:HUF) I didnt get screwed on.
Huffy owns Airborne....Raf1
Oct 4, 2002 2:57 PM
It is still the only proper 6/4 Ti frame out there. As for your ksyrium equipped caddy-dale: meh.
You're wrong, DEAN also makes a seamless 6/4 Ti frameNiwot
Oct 5, 2002 7:42 PM
Makes no sense to meRaf1
Oct 4, 2002 11:01 AM
You are condescending and you know it. We're talking about Airborn not Huffy. We all know that you know that Huffy owns Airborne. Ford owns Jaguar too. Are you going to talk about Ford X-type on Jaguar forums just to be a teenage jackass that you are?
Are you a Huffy/Airborne employee, or just a big Airborne fan? *Niwot
Oct 4, 2002 12:43 PM
I doubt you're getting paid to make your tired Huffy referencesRaf1
Oct 4, 2002 2:51 PM
but you're sure doing the work.
Coke owns Minute Maid, Ford owns VolvoNiwot
Oct 5, 2002 7:46 PM
Does it irritate you to hear those facts, too? Sheesh.

Bottom line is that a $2500 frame from Huffy is like McDonald's selling a $50 steak dinner. Of course, if McDonald's did sell a $50 steak dinner, some McDonald's fanatics would no doubt be all over the internet telling everyone it was the best steak they've ever tasted.
Oct 7, 2002 8:05 AM
Obviously Niwot doesn't know what he is talking about here, so I will help out a tad. Airborne began about 4 years ago, started by a young guy named Raddin. Did it all himself and probably with some family help. Brought out the Lucky Strike mtbike in 1998 and then the Zeppelin in 1999. Then somewhere around 2000, Huffy buys Airborne, and proceeds to leave them to (relative) autonomy. Since that time, the product line has extended considerably and much to many people's chagrin, successfully.

So, your "Huffy" repetition just ain't goin' nowhere. Oh, and I have owned 'Crack n' fail' Cannondales and wish you good luck on your CAAD 7. Maybe they finally produced a half way decent ride.

I ain't downgrading back to aluminum no matter whose decal is on the frame.
If all you can doNiwot
Oct 8, 2002 12:08 PM
is flame someone else's ride, you obviously don't have much to your argument.

And who cares if Huffy didn't found Airborne? The current owners of McDonald's hamburger chain didn't found that company either. What does that have to do with anything? You could put your agenda out in the open so we know why you keep posting, but that would take all the fun out of it, wouldn't it?
Makes no sense to meAkirasho
Oct 3, 2002 9:22 PM
... I could be wrong, but I still think that Airbornes represent a relatively small market share... and I can tell you that at least on the US distribution side, there's no gigantic factory floor (Airborne HQ is just down the road a bit).

They're in the back of a Huffy building in a small industrial complex in a rural suburb of Dayton, OH.

Perhaps their only claim over a custom builder, at least for the time being, is access to Reynolds pipes (generally, some builder or builders get limited exclusivity on new tubes before they're released for general consumption) and the facilities to manipulate said pipes in ways a small builder might not be able to match.

As for their marketing strategy... it's Capitalism in action... what the market will bear... Arguably, in the bicycle industry, Airborne has succeeded (with respect to the internet and internet sales) where others have either had limited success or failed outright. Supergo, aka Bikeology (online catalog sales) used to be a closeout discount outfit, and while they still offer decent deals, they're not the same company as 5 years ago (more emphasis on their own "brands")... yet they seem to be succeeding while offering smaller savings over the likes of Colorado Cyclist or Excel... Whether it will work or not is the question (note: many folks still equate expense with quality... ergo, a $2500 USD Airborne must be of comparable quality to a like from Litespeed, Serotta or Merlin (which it may well be)).

It's country of orgin, is somewhat irrelavent (and this is coming from a card carrying member of the UAW) as long as the quality of build is there (issues of the political systems... monetary concerns and human rights violations are too complex in this scenario for an easy out IMOH). I'd hope that any worker worldwide would be able to enjoy decent qualities of life... and since it's reported that Airborne frames are an outgrowth of a Chinese aerospace factory (as are many US made Ti builders (ummmm... US aerospace that is))... it could be argued that they're too busy trying to incorporate aspects of capitalism into their culture rather than building weapons... (dismounts soapbox now).

At any rate, it'll be interesting to note future developments (remember, that Airborne has developed a small but loyal following... and they're still working on creating brick and mortar distributions) and whether old Airborne customers will opt to "upgrade". Compared to Trek, Klein, Specialized and Cannondale, Airborne is still a new young pup... that causes them to rethink their own marketing strategies... hopefully the market will remain diverse enough to give riders options (until Trek whips out it's checkbook).

We abide.

Remain In Light.

Be the bike.
Totaly agree with you...nmMrCrud
Oct 3, 2002 9:28 PM
totally insane @ $2500bobobo
Oct 4, 2002 4:14 AM
$2500 for a stock airbborne ti frame?? That's nuts, anyone paying that much for that stock frame needs their head examined, perhaps by more than 1 doctor. To put the nuttiness of that pice into proper prospective, for $2700 I can get a CUSTOM built Tom Kellog Spectrum Ti road frame and that price includes a Chris King Headset and a reynolds Ouzo Pro fork which effectively makes the price of his ti frame by itself about $2250. That's a CUSTOM frame, where the guy designing the frame will personally size you in person, not expect you to fit yourself to some stock frame with weird looking blue paint on it. Airbourne is nuts if they think they can seel that frame for $2500. Then again, as PT Barnum used to say, a sucker is bourne every day!
well, Litespeed sold Vortexes,weiwentg
Oct 4, 2002 4:49 AM
and they were more than $2500. I think. of course, they also had a full run of sizes. and then again, Giant only has 4 sizes (up from 3).
Re: Makes no sense to meLeroy
Oct 4, 2002 7:21 AM
Well said Akrisho. I hear the China-made arguments as just a reach by those looking for all available arguments against the product. Same with the Huffy arguments, too. All the Airbornes I've seen [ridden one] look well made to me, and ride just fine as well. So if this frame doesn't catch on they'll probably just go another direction, that's business. I like seeing this company succeed.

Dave Loving
Oct 4, 2002 5:45 AM
First, it does look like a nice bike, and with Reynolds seamless 6/4 ti is should be nice and stiff.

I don't understand the sizing specs. The numbers don't make sense to me. The "effective top tube" lengths seem way too short. The largest effective length is 49.79 cm. That makes no sense at all. Do they have "effective" and "actual" confused?

I also think Airborne is missing its customer base with this one. While I really like the Airborne marketing concept, Ti at an aluminum price, and great website, I think this one overshoots the mark. People who spend $2500 on a frame I'd bet will want something with a little more panache. Maybe they should have started a new upscale division, sort of like Lincoln is to Ford.

It does look nice, though.

Oct 4, 2002 8:21 AM
I bought one of the early Lucky Strikes 3+ years ago and still love it. I bought it because it was a cheap way to get into a slightly higher tier frame for the price than I could do with Trek, Klien, Cannonndale, etc. Champagne taste on a beer budget so to speak.

When I bought my road bike and happened to have a bit more scratch I did not consider an Airborne for very long. For less than the cost of a Manhattan Project frame I got a Kestrel.

Airborne should continue to push the leading edge of affordability and technology. They should concentrate on making up for the lack of brand cache with price.
Oct 7, 2002 8:11 AM
The website is off and the effective and actual top tube lengths were transposed the last time I looked. Jamie Raddin likes the long top tube concept and hasn't changed from that philosophy for this frame.
they are still bashing 6/4 on their websiteDougSloan
Oct 4, 2002 6:42 AM

6Al-4V is comprised of titanium alloyed with 6% aluminum and 4% Vanadium. There are a lot of claims made about the strength of 6/4, but most of it is based on "textbook" numbers for sheet stock, not tubing. All 6/4 bike frames are made from seamed tubing, that is, flat sheets which have been rolled into a tube and welded (6/4 seamless tubing does exist, but it is EXTREMELY cost prohibitive, and no bicycle companies are currently using it). The problem is that the weld reduces the strength and resilience of the tube. In addition, 6/4 can only take about half the "bending" that 3/2.5 can before it's permanently damaged. In the final analysis, you end up with a bike that's at best just a little stronger, but less able to absorb punishment - plus it'll be a LOT more expensive.
they are still bashing 6/4 on their websiteRaf1
Oct 4, 2002 10:59 AM
They are bashing SEAMED 6/4, just FYI.
DougSloan, it is Seamless Ti...That's why the price, Holy Crap!Mauceri
Oct 4, 2002 1:11 PM
YEah, that is why the frame cost $2500...because the frame is Ti6/4 and it is seamless. I thought the same as everyone, why buy a $2500 frame from AirBorne, until I saw that the article says seamless 6/4.

If I'm not mistaken they are the first to use seamless Ti. In that case, if Litespeed ever uses Ti 6/4, the frame will be $3500 - 4000, you can bet on that.

So, $2500 in retrospect isn't that bad.

I'll stick with my Seven Axiom Steel.