Archive | shops

WARNING: The Big China Rip Off

We’ve seen some shops trying to make money off of growing interest in cargo tricycles and bakfiets. However, a lot of them are either price gouging customers or they’re getting ripped off by their suppliers. These shops are selling Chinese built cargo bicycles for five times the manufacturing and shipping costs. How does a cargo tricycle costing $275/unit plus $100 (shipping, customs, & storage), retail for $2100?

To make matters worse, some of these shops are implying that these tricycles and bakfiets are Dutch built. They’ve got names like Dutch this and Dutch that with websites that imply the same. For example one shop we talked with didn’t even mention that the bikes were built in China until we asked them directly. They gave us an explanation of how they retrofit these tricycles with high quality US and Euro parts, yata yata yata. A week later that same shop updated their website to say that the bikes were built in China.

We did a group buy of ten of these same tricycles and bakfiets a couple of years ago and learned a great deal about the pricing, shipping, customs, etc. The conclusion, Chinese made cargo tricycles and bakfiets should retail to the consumer for at most $1000. Even with a 100% markup over cost and $50 to have someone assemble the bike, it’s realistic that these “China” trikes and “China” bakfiets could retail at $750 with profit.

If you’re interested in reading more about what we learned from our group buy experience, please let us know by commenting on this post and we’ll try to answer your questions.

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Hudson Urban Bicycles

Hudson Urban Bicycles is an American custom bicycle builder located in the West Village (New York City). They make these really COOL rear load cargo tricycles for carrying kids. The NY Times did a video interview of the owner talking about his design. If you’re in NYC, definitely check them out.

BTW: The mom in the photo driving the cargo tricycle is the actress Kate Winslet from the movie Titanic. Couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

Links:
• Hudson Urban Bicycles
Hudson Urban Bicycle Blog
NY Times Video

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Dutch Bikes Land in NYC

A new Dutch bicycle shop called Rolling Orange Bikes just opened in NYC. (269 Baltic Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) Their commuter bikes start around $1400. So if you’re in the Big Apple looking for a shop that specializes in Euro style cargo bikes, you might want to check them out.

Links:
• From Amsterdam to Cobble Hill by Bike (NY Times Article)

• RollingOrangeBikes.com

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Clever Cycles (Portland, OR)

It’s been a while since Clever Cycles has been open and we’ve been meaning to do a post about them. They were the first bicycle shop on the West Coast that started importing bakfiets and other European cargo bicycles to the US. My friends and family have only great things to say about them.

They’re probably a good place to start if you’re in the market for a cargo bicycle, bakfiets, longtail, etc.

Link: Clever Cycles Webpage

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Chinese Bicycle Factories

A few months ago during a business trip to China, my friend an import export broker invited me to visit some bicycle factories with him during my day off. Always on the lookout for new products and suppliers for his clients, he regularly visits Chinese factories. I jumped at the chance and toured three different bike factories with him.

The factories were in Tianjin City about an hour outside of Beijing. Tianjin is a massive port and factory town. The city is drab and heavily polluted. You literally couldn’t see more than three blocks due to the air pollution. Tianjin is famous in China for being the hub of bicycle manufacturing in China. With over 200 bicycle companies in Tianjin, we only had time to visit three.

The factories varied greatly. The first was a former gov’t owned company that made sturdy low-end bicycles for sale in developing countries. The second was a state of the art OEM supplier for US bike companies. The last was a modern factory that made bicycles for the China market under their own brand name.

The first factory we visited, the Tianjin Flying Pigeon Bicycle Company, was a former gov’t owned company. It is a fixture in Chinese society, famous for having made billions of bicycles since it was established by Chairman Mao fifty years ago. You’ll see their classic bicycles providing basic transportation for people all over the developing world.

What surprised me most about the TFPBC was how friendly the people were. They had an easy going rythmn similar to farmers working the fields and were always easy with a smile. The factory was run in an informal style and the buildings showed their age. There were even a couple of stray dogs that the workers adopted that were wandering the factory. The equipment was old, manufacturing techniques dated, and quality control questionable. I even saw workers smoking cigarettes while working the line. However for me the whole experience was like a history lesson. Entering their factory was like traveling back in time to the communist era.

The Factory Experience: Time proven manufacturing methods for the world’s most popular bicycle…

Although they manufacture other bicycles these days, they continue to build the classic Flying Pigeon Bike. Their biggest customer thesedays, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Photos: Tianjin Flying Pigeon Bicycle Company Factory Photos I’ll post more about Tianjin City and the other factories later. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

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Henry Work Cycles

16fietsenstartfotojuli2007
Henry Work Cycles is a Dutch retailer specializing in workbikes, cargo trikes, city bikes, and some bicycles for the mobility impaired.  Check out their great selection of quality practical bicycles.

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Workbike.org

Logo_zero
Interested in workbikes, Workbike.org offers tons of info on workbikes.
Featuring a list of manufacturers, pedicab and cargo delivery businesses, online forums, books, history, organizations, etc.

Looks like the site is related to Zero Couriers, they claim to operate the largest fleet of freight cycles in London.  Check out their blog under workbike news.

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Velolution.biz

Velorution
Velolution
, a wonderful online store that carries commuters, folders, work bikes, and family bikes.  According to their website, they have a showroom in London.  They even have folding bikes available for rent!

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