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To all the Airborne critics(22 posts)

To all the Airborne criticsMel Erickson
Nov 5, 2002 3:13 PM
One less reason.

I'm not an Airborne fan or critic but it always annoyed me that people would use the fact they were a subsidiary of Huffy to critisize them.
Picking on Airborne is soooooo 2001. (nm)jtolleson
Nov 5, 2002 5:13 PM
perhaps people pick on Airborne because they are jealousscorpionking
Nov 5, 2002 6:28 PM
Jealous that someone spent a lot less than them and got the same quality ti ride?
Accusing people of being motivated by jealousy is sooo jr. hi!jtolleson
Nov 5, 2002 9:49 PM
That's tongue-in-cheek but no, I don't think that's why. It may be closed minded but it isn't insincere.
Good news, like when Harley Davidson bought back from AMF. -nmTig
Nov 5, 2002 6:26 PM
Good news, like when Harley Davidson bought back from AMF. -nmJuanmoretime
Nov 6, 2002 3:01 AM
Ixnay onway hetay okingjay boutway MFway uyingbay ackbay arleyHay. Otnay unnyfay.

A Harley and Litespeed owner
The Song Remains the SameUncle Tim
Nov 5, 2002 6:46 PM
The fact remains that these frames are fabricated in Communist China. It's amazing that you provide such a long, detailed article but they fail to mention that the frames are made in a Chinese factory.
Why is that bad.JS
Nov 5, 2002 8:50 PM
Are you gonna give me the spiel about human rights violations? Get over it, every country has plenty of these swept under the rug every day. Maybe the big bad communist angle, please, buisnesses run this world, governments just keep the people placated while they go about their job of rampant consumerism, which, if you haven't noticed lately is taking place in China to an unprecedented degree.
oh no! not communists!collinsc
Nov 5, 2002 8:52 PM
oh anybody but the communists!!

The Song Remains the SameAirborneMPpilot
Nov 5, 2002 11:29 PM
what, like 60% of all goods made in this country are made in China or another shithole. How is that news. Now, if they were made in Iraq or Cuba....different story.
I can't stand it anymore!Leroy
Nov 6, 2002 7:49 AM
I have to speak out! This drivel is driving me nuts [so why spend any time on it? - beats me...] Modern civilization's economies depend upon either UNpaid on underpaid labor. Ask Kathy Lee Gifford why the clothing business is so profitable. The countries economies mutate and grow and the labor is all of a sudden not so cheap [Japan after WWII to now] and cheaper labor is found somewhere else. That's just life. Besides if we do business in China, it drags them into the 21st Century with a stake in the modern world. Finally, I've never heard an owner complain about Airborne! OK, I'm done. Thanks!
Forget The Flap About The Bikes And Factories For A Moment...Gregory Taylor
Nov 6, 2002 7:21 AM
...and focus on what I think is the most interesting part of this news. It sounds like the parent Huffy was looking to sell off Airborne because (1) the internet sales conduit was no longer growing enough to support the brand, and (2) they weren't interested in getting back to selling bikes in small bike shops versus retailers like WalMart, etc. It's also interesting to note that they thought enough of the Airborne brand name to retain the ownership rights to that -- Huffy is licensing the name back to Raddin for the company.

I betcha that Airborne eventually cuts a deal with one of the established distributors (Quality Bike Parts, etc.) to get their frames, etc., in shops.
They're already in shops...but have too long top tubes....gregario
Nov 6, 2002 8:19 AM
A local shop is advertising that they are an Airborne dealer. I have no experience nor anything to say good or bad about them. Well, I do have one criticism. WHY are the dang top tubes to freakishly long?????? I know this was discussed a week or two ago about long top tubes but Airbornes are extreme. I might be interested in one if I had even the slightest inkling they might fit me. AND another thing, why are many makers largest size only 60cm? I need at least a 62cm and that limits choices.
They're already in shops...but have too long top tubes....brianmcg
Nov 6, 2002 7:08 PM
I own a 56cm Zeppelin. The effective top tube is 56.5 cm. How is this so freakishly long. Besides, you need the combined reach of tt and stem to get a good fit. So you use a different length stem. You dont have to use the same length stem you currently use.

Hmm. How does pricing in shops compare to online?PdxMark
Nov 6, 2002 9:56 AM
Not that I'm shopping, but it's an interesting issue. Is Airborne shop-based pricing hiogher than it's online pricing? If it climbs enough to approach other Ti bikes, does part of the attraction of Airborne slip away?
That's a good question...Gregory Taylor
Nov 6, 2002 10:16 AM
I guess that it all depends on the deal that Airborne gives the shop or distributor. I suppose that Airborne's dealer pricing would have to be structured in order to allow a retail price that is very close to the factory-direct price, otherwise a savvy customer would just try the bike in the shop and then actually buy it online. Getting undercut by internet-only retailers is bad enough, but I doubt that a shop would agree to carry the line if it were going to be undercut by the factory itself..
Bad from whose perspective?Niwot
Nov 6, 2002 10:58 PM
Bad to get "undercut by internet-only retailers"? Sure, it's bad from the perspective of a dealer who wants to sell the product at the highest possible price and doesn't want to drop his price to meet competition from internet or mail-order or anyone else. It's not bad from the perspective of a buyer, who of course wants to buy at the lowest possible price.

There's a dealer who frequently posts on another cycling message board and rants about the evils of internet or mail-order pricing. He thinks manufacturers should make all dealers, mail-order, internet, or regular bike shops, sell their bikes at some super-high "retail price" and punish anyone who tries to sell at a lower price. Isn't that the kind of price-fixing that got Microsoft into trouble with the government?
Airborne has been in dealers for two years now guys.Tifosiman
Nov 7, 2002 4:58 AM
Guys, guys, guys. Airborne Bikes have been in dealers now for 2 years. The price is the same, whether the bikes are bought direct from Airborne or from a Dealer. In fact, there are more bikes sold thru dealers than direct from Airborne (80% dealer, 20% direct). There are almost 200 active, selling Airborne dealers in the US, with many more in Europe.

The smart Dealers understand that they don't have to compete with Airborne, as Airborne does not blow out old stock to Colorado Cyclist or Supergo and cause them to price-match something from a catalog, unlike certain "other" Ti manufacturers.
Hey! I Didn't Know That -- Thanks!Gregory Taylor
Nov 7, 2002 6:22 AM
Well I obviously don't know squat about Airborne. The dealers that I know of in my little self-absorbed world don't carry them.

The reason that I'm participating in this thread is that I find Airborne to be a facinating critter to watch from the perspective of what it takes to start a business and get it to thrive.

My read on the article that started this thread was that Huffy was selling off Airborne because it looked like they needed to make a push for more dealers to carry it in order to keep up the growth, a direction that Huffy (for whatever reason) wasn't willing to go. The 80/20 split between dealer and internet sales is an interesting shift for a company that started out with internet-only sales. I wonder if that shift was part of the "vision" or business plan all along or whether it marks another instance of having to move away from the "internet only" business paradigm in order to sustain profitability.

Another question that may expose my ignorance - do you think that the "price creep" that has affected some of Airborne's offerings over time is due to having to develop and support a dealer network?
Good to know..........Tifosiman
Nov 7, 2002 9:22 AM
The initial business plan was consumer-direct only. And that was because the perceived "wave of the future" was internet sales and also, it is extremely hard being a new bike company and finding a way to extablish "legitamacy" and get your products into the hand of a middleman (shops).

But, with the problems of a few years back, Airborne came to the realization that shops were the wave of the future. This meant a change in business plan and structure. Eventually, after selling thru shops for over two years now, the mix has changed to what it is today.

The "creeping" of price is due to the vast improvements of the products and the price increases in titanium metal and production. Compare a 2002 Zepp to a 1998 Zepp. They are worlds apart. Machined headtube and bottom bracket. Larger tubing. Ovalized downtube and bi-ovalized top tube. Better decals. 1 1/8" headtube. With only a $300 retail price difference. The price increase is not related to selling thru the shops.
Very Interesting...Gregory Taylor
Nov 7, 2002 10:36 AM
Now that the compay is back with its founder, it will be interesting to see where it goes.

I don't know enough about the bikes to track the improvements since 1998. I don't doubt that it is a better product, and that production and materials costs have increased since 1998.

That said, my guess (and it is only a guess) is that it simply has to cost more to sell via a dealer network versus direct sale, and that this added cost has to have had at least some influence on retail pricing. Apart from the cost of setting up and maintaining a dealer network, Airborne has to price the bikes so that the shops selling it can make money. Complicating this is the fact that the retail price offered by a bike shop has to match the direct sale price offered over the internet by Airborne. Airborne can either keep the direct sale internet price as low as possible, with the result that the company reduces its profit margin when it sells to dealers at a discount, or it can reduce the hit to its profits by bumping up its direct sale prices. Again, I don't really know what Airborne's actual practices are -- or whether my suppositions are full of crap. I'm just intrigued watching what's happening with them.
Very Interesting...Tifosiman
Nov 8, 2002 5:01 AM
It's quite simple. Airborne makes more margin on a direct retail sale, and considerably less less margin on a shop sale. But the volume makes up for this and it evens out.

That's it! There really isn't a lot of cost associated with setting up a dealer network, as all shops are independant dealers and not direct cost-centers for Airborne.

Hope that all makes sense...