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Uncle Jam's Army
02-14-2012, 10:38 PM
I just read on Brent's facebook page that he is closing up shop and refunding deposits. If true that is very sad. I enjoyed dealing with Brent and I hope he gets through whatever rough patch he is in.

Peter B
02-14-2012, 10:55 PM
That would be unfortunate indeed. Brent builds a great bike, and has been quietly doing so for years. A pal of mine must have at least half a dozen customs by Brent, each one truly magnificent. A shame if he shuts it down.

garth
02-15-2012, 12:29 AM
What a shame. Here is my favorite Steelman to date.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5202/5232427848_1850db7fc0_b.jpg

TimmyB
02-15-2012, 02:26 AM
^^^ I know the owner of that bike!

If that's true, it's a shame. I sure love my Steelman Stagerace. I know a couple of other steelman owners and all have nothing but positive things to say about their rides.

Only gripe I've heard was that he can come off a little... rough on the edges sometimes. But I wouldn't know, I've never met the guy and he's never responded to my emails :bike: .

Hope him the best though :beer:

mistermo
02-15-2012, 05:33 AM
I'm "friends" with Brent and also Steelman Cycles on facebook, but don't see any notice. I see some concern by customers that he's disappeared, but nothing from him.

I'm not a big facebooker, so it's possible I'm not looking in the right place too.

My Steelman Eurocross is the best all around bike I've ever ridden.

EDIT: I see it now. Not posted by him, but by customers of his on his page.

gearguywb
02-15-2012, 05:51 AM
Sad news indeed.

ultraman6970
02-15-2012, 07:30 AM
Wow, their website doesnt say anything.

The problem i been seeing for a while is that the market is slow and way too many builders in the country kind'a make the situation worse. So make a living outta building bikes is tough, unless you really want to do it because you like it and you don't care that much about money, but at some point money is an issue even if you are super altruist. Hope he is not closing the shop because if a health problem.

Many builders could make some money just repairing frames but doesn't look like an option for many of them at least here in the US. Where i'm from many of the income for the few builders came from frame repairs, lastly the asian invasion ended up killing the whole industry of master builders because was cheaper get an asian frame that was going to end up in the trash anyways than get built a good frame that could cost you 4 times more, specially if you were sponsor the races yourself. Met with one of the builders like 4 years ago and he had not touched his equipment in 10 years, carbon and aluminum took over.

As I said before, hope steelman is not closing the shop for health reasons, sad he is out tho.

dekindy
02-15-2012, 08:30 AM
One customer said he got a letter in the mail and deposit refund. Another customer said that she had also supplied components for a build. Food for thought when dealing with a one man shop, just saying. Really not sure why builders get a deposit before the build is begun. At least he is a class act and refunding deposits as opposed to another well-known builder that customers are waiting years and years for their bike.

bobswire
02-15-2012, 08:45 AM
I wonder if that's why we see more top builders turning to carbon such as Strong and Slawta?

victoryfactory
02-15-2012, 08:53 AM
Funny how some builders have 5+ year waiting lists and some
struggle. Maybe the niche isn't as big as we think? Or becoming maxed out?

VF

J.Greene
02-15-2012, 09:41 AM
Really not sure why builders get a deposit before the build is begun.

Because customers can be flakes or have problems arise too. I'm having to sell privately a frame and fork that a client had to back away from at the last minute when his business imploded. I don't feel like it's right to sell a new frame for cheap when I'm delivering frames at full cost. This frame is a unique color making it even harder to place. There has been real costs to my efforts up until this point. Because I'm a newer builder, and keep my backlog small, I don't currently ask for a deposit, but I think a modest sum to show the buyer's intentions and to hold the spot in line is more than fair.

Joachim
02-15-2012, 09:48 AM
I think a modest sum to show the buyer's intentions and to hold the spot in line is more than fair.

I agree, a deposit should not be to "finance" the builder or be used for anything except maybe the tubes. Deposits are financially a liability and should be viewed as such.

David Kirk
02-15-2012, 09:57 AM
One customer said he got a letter in the mail and deposit refund. Another customer said that she had also supplied components for a build. Food for thought when dealing with a one man shop, just saying. Really not sure why builders get a deposit before the build is begun. At least he is a class act and refunding deposits as opposed to another well-known builder that customers are waiting years and years for their bike.

Thats'a good question.

The reason is simple - so both sides have some skin in the game. I ask for a $300 to hold the clients place in line - that is their skin. Mine is that I'm making cash flow and business plans based on the promise of that future business. Without predictable and reliable cashflow there is no way a builder can plan and do anything more than survive day to day.

For a short period many years ago I put people in the queue without taking an even small deposit - I just took them at their word. Unfortunately no matter how well intended they were and how much they really wanted a bike when I contacted them and told them is was time to go they bailed - one after another. Lesson learned. So now I ask for that $300 and it keeps to impulse purchases that will never be followed through on to a minimum and now I can plan ahead and run my business much more efficiently........and the customer is assured a spot in the queue. We both have something at risk.

dave

rwsaunders
02-15-2012, 09:58 AM
[QUOTE=dekindy]Really not sure why builders get a deposit before the build is begun.

We provide proprietary research and analysis data for our clients and without a retainer, the information doesn't begin to leave our side of the intellectual table. If I were in the custom frame business, I would use the same model, as it miminimizes the risk of a buyer going South.

It speaks volumes of Steelman's integrity in returning the deposits.

Fixed
02-15-2012, 09:59 AM
that is a gorgeous bike imho
cheers

Keith A
02-15-2012, 10:02 AM
I'm "friends" with Brent and also Steelman Cycles on facebook, but don't see any notice. I see some concern by customers that he's disappeared, but nothing from him.

I'm not a big facebooker, so it's possible I'm not looking in the right place too.
It is on this page and can be seen in a comment from what was a potential owner...
http://www.facebook.com/steelmancycles

David Kirk
02-15-2012, 10:04 AM
Funny how some builders have 5+ year waiting lists and some
struggle. Maybe the niche isn't as big as we think? Or becoming maxed out?

VF

I think it's easy to confuse a few builder's long queues with a pent up demand for handbuilt bikes. I know some new builders get into the game because they see that Vanilla has an X year wait and they think that they can get in on it and satisfy some of that demand. It of course doesn't work that way - the long wait for a Vanilla doesn't indicate unsatisfied demand for handbuilt bikes in general but for Vanilla's in particular. So the new guy jumps in and waits for the emails and calls to come rolling in and in most cases they just don't.

IMO it's just simple supply and demand.

dave

texbike
02-15-2012, 10:13 AM
Funny how some builders have 5+ year waiting lists and some struggle.
VF

SOME builders are MUCH better marketers than others. Not necessarily better builders, but definitely better marketers....

Texbike

Keith A
02-15-2012, 10:27 AM
Some discussion here about the situation if anyone is interested...
http://forums.mtbr.com/custom-builders-other-manufacturers/anyone-talked-brent-steelman-lately-757034.html

binxnyrwarrsoul
02-15-2012, 10:38 AM
If Brent is done, that would suck. For lack of a better term, at the moment. Knew I shoulda pulled the trigger sooner. Quietly making beautiful frames is Brent's M.O. Had the pleasure of having a short convo with him, in emails, a while back. Very cool dude. Would be a shame.

SamIAm
02-15-2012, 10:47 AM
I think its eminently reasonable to ask for a deposit. I don't know this Steelman fellow, but I find it very respectable that he is actually refunding deposits. That shows that he treated it like a deposit and not like income.

dekindy
02-15-2012, 10:53 AM
Because customers can be flakes or have problems arise too. I'm having to sell privately a frame and fork that a client had to back away from at the last minute when his business imploded. I don't feel like it's right to sell a new frame for cheap when I'm delivering frames at full cost. This frame is a unique color making it even harder to place. There has been real costs to my efforts up until this point. Because I'm a newer builder, and keep my backlog small, I don't currently ask for a deposit, but I think a modest sum to show the buyer's intentions and to hold the spot in line is more than fair.

Step back a second here. I know it is your business and livelihood but you are being a little touchy. I said before the tubes are ordered and the work begun, not after; of course it is appropriate to request work in progress funds or full payment. In fact, regardless of your status as a new builder it was foolish to not require funds before the work was begun.

I have heard of more than one instance where customers did not get the product for years beyond the expected delivery date and some none at all. The amount and length of time that I would have to pay funds in advance would be a prime consideration for me when selecting a builder.

J.Greene
02-15-2012, 10:58 AM
Step back a second here. I know it is your business and livelihood but you are being a little touchy. I said before the tubes are ordered and the work begun, not after; of course it is appropriate to request work in progress funds or full payment. In fact, regardless of your status as a new builder it was foolish to not require funds before the work was begun.

I have heard of more than one instance where customers did not get the product for years beyond the expected delivery date and some none at all. The amount and length of time that I would have to pay funds in advance would be a prime consideration for me when selecting a builder.

I'm not touchy. I was just responding to what I thought was a good question. BTW, There is quite a bit of work involved before the tubes are cut too. I'm not complaining at all. My system works for me. I'm capitalized enough that I don't sweat the cash flow and the costs are built in. Every business deals with these issues. Framebuilders aren't special.

JG

dekindy
02-15-2012, 10:58 AM
That is a reasonable amount and your que is reasonable for the fine reputation that you have. I have seen much more substantial amounts required and longer waiting periods that do not seem reasonable to me. OTOH if they can command that in the marketplace then I do not begrudge them from doing it as it is only business. However I would be inclined to shy away from that situation.

I did correct my original reply; see below.

Thats'a good question.

The reason is simple - so both sides have some skin in the game. I ask for a $300 to hold the clients place in line - that is their skin. Mine is that I'm making cash flow and business plans based on the promise of that future business. Without predictable and reliable cashflow there is no way a builder can plan and do anything more than survive day to day.

For a short period many years ago I put people in the queue without taking an even small deposit - I just took them at their word. Unfortunately no matter how well intended they were and how much they really wanted a bike when I contacted them and told them is was time to go they bailed - one after another. Lesson learned. So now I ask for that $300 and it keeps to impulse purchases that will never be followed through on to a minimum and now I can plan ahead and run my business much more efficiently........and the customer is assured a spot in the queue. We both have something at risk.

dave

dekindy
02-15-2012, 11:07 AM
I'm not touchy. I was just responding to what I thought was a good question. BTW, There is quite a bit of work involved before the tubes are cut too. I'm not complaining at all. My system works for me. I'm capitalized enough that I don't sweat the cash flow and the costs are built in. Every business deals with these issues. Framebuilders aren't special.

JG

My bad, I looked at my original reply and should have worded it differently. I should have said before the work is ready to begin; in other words when my point in the que is reached that a firm delivery date can be given + or - a few weeks.

I don't have any hesitation for paying for work that is done; in fact I believe very firmly in it.

David Kirk
02-15-2012, 11:09 AM
I think there are two subjects here - one is that it appears Brent is closing his doors and that is sad - he does very nice work and I hope he lands on his feet.

The other side topic is that of deposits. I don't know how to say this gently but if you don't have 100% trust in the guy I would suggest you not send him any money. It's that simple. Some builders have stellar reputations for a good reason - they work hard to make happy customers and this means engaging in communication, timely and accurate delivery and a solid product - and in my view these are the guys that it's worth the risk of sending money to and then waiting.

Before sending anyone money I'd search the various forums out there with the guys name and see what pops up. This will tell you all you need to know. The top guys will have very clean and professional reputations and the other guys will come with stories. I like doing biz with someone who doesn't have all the stories.

If you do this homework you can be assured that the guy you are trusting with your hard earned money will take care of you and know you are in good hands. And if the poop hits the fan they will step up like Steelman has and do the right thing.

dave

fourflys
02-15-2012, 11:14 AM
just sold my Steelman because it was too big for me but it was indeed a very well built and riding machine... Sorry to hear the news but there are many other fine builders to be sure... always sucks to see someone have to close up shop though...

binxnyrwarrsoul
02-15-2012, 11:25 AM
Depression may be part of the issue. Again, cool guy, awesome builder, a true "artisan". And I, secondly, hope he lands on his feet.

CaliFly
02-15-2012, 11:27 AM
This is true of any industry. Creating a culture and developing your brand are part and parcel of business building.

I was looking at Steelman before I found a Rock Lobster. I wish the owners nothing but the best.

SOME builders are MUCH better marketers than others. Not necessarily better builders, but definitely better marketers....

Texbike

rugbysecondrow
02-15-2012, 11:41 AM
I agree in concept, but I think there is a culture of suffering in silence regardingsome builders. In addition, there is a culture of shouting down somebody with issues. I ran into this with the issues I had with Paul Taylor. I googled and searched and almost nothing but good things. The deal went sour and I started a thread here suggesting we review builders for this very purpose. My one thread on Taylor generated no less than 10 PMs outlining all the issues folks were having with him, all of them asking I keep it quiet out of fear they would get neither a frame nor money back.

My original thread on this issue.
http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=82864&highlight=taylor



I think there are two subjects here - one is that it appears Brent is closing his doors and that is sad - he does very nice work and I hope he lands on his feet.

The other side topic is that of deposits. I don't know how to say this gently but if you don't have 100% trust in the guy I would suggest you not send him any money. It's that simple. Some builders have stellar reputations for a good reason - they work hard to make happy customers and this means engaging in communication, timely and accurate delivery and a solid product - and in my view these are the guys that it's worth the risk of sending money to and then waiting.

Before sending anyone money I'd search the various forums out there with the guys name and see what pops up. This will tell you all you need to know. The top guys will have very clean and professional reputations and the other guys will come with stories. I like doing biz with someone who doesn't have all the stories.

If you do this homework you can be assured that the guy you are trusting with your hard earned money will take care of you and know you are in good hands. And if the poop hits the fan they will step up like Steelman has and do the right thing.

dave

J.Greene
02-15-2012, 11:46 AM
My bad, I looked at my original reply and should have worded it differently. I should have said before the work is ready to begin; in other words when my point in the que is reached that a firm delivery date can be given + or - a few weeks.

I don't have any hesitation for paying for work that is done; in fact I believe very firmly in it.

Cool, 99.9% of the people I've dealt with in my two businesses have been honorable and great to work with. We all should should plan for the best and prepare for the worst. It's a shame that a few guys make the interwebs and give us all a bad name.

It's too bad Steelman is shutting, I never get tired of looking at his frames.

William
02-15-2012, 11:52 AM
I agree in concept, but I think there is a culture of suffering in silence regardingsome builders. In addition, there is a culture of shouting down somebody with issues. I ran into this with the issues I had with Paul Taylor. I googled and searched and almost nothing but good things. The deal went sour and I started a thread here suggesting we review builders for this very purpose. My one thread on Taylor generated no less than 10 PMs outlining all the issues folks were having with him, all of them asking I keep it quiet out of fear they would get neither a frame nor money back.

My original thread on this issue.
http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=82864&highlight=taylor


I wonder, now that the Paceline is unaffiliated, would an area for customer feedback be warranted/needed/wanted?




William

Joachim
02-15-2012, 11:53 AM
I wonder, now that the Paceline is unaffiliated, would an area for customer feedback be warranted/needed/wanted?

William

I think this is a great idea.

Ramjm_2000
02-15-2012, 11:56 AM
This is indeed a shame. I've always admired his work, hope he's ok.

rugbysecondrow
02-15-2012, 11:58 AM
I wonder, now that the Paceline is unaffiliated, would an area for customer feedback be warranted/needed/wanted?




William

Ahead of you, just started that thread.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=104346

waynesulak
02-15-2012, 11:59 AM
I have found in my dealings with very small ventures that the owners are much better at their product or service production than they are at running a business. I believe this is especially true of an artisan type business like frame building. Many in the bike building business are more oriented to the artistic side of things more than record keeping and accounting. As a result often mistakes and misunderstandings in order details are common.

The builders that succeed are often those that run their business well.

Wayne

Elmer
02-15-2012, 12:02 PM
I've had the pleasure of owning TWO of his frames. First one was stolen from my vehicle (very sad day) and the replacement (very happy day) an SR model is the bike I currently am riding. Fantastic riding frames. Sad news if true.

mistermo
02-15-2012, 12:17 PM
I've had the pleasure of owning TWO of his frames. First one was stolen from my vehicle (very sad day) and the replacement (very happy day) an SR model is the bike I currently am riding. Fantastic riding frames. Sad news if true.
I've had the pleasure of owning TWO of his frames. First one was stolen from my house and recovered damaged (very sad day) and the replacement (very happy day) a Eurocross model is the bike I currently am riding. Fantastic riding frames. Sad news if true.

krhea
02-15-2012, 12:28 PM
Good friend/riding buddy/club member told me yesterday that he got the notice from Brent that his order is cancelled, his biz is closing and a refund will be sent.

Really to bad but it sounds like he has good reasons that revolve around taking of himself and getting healthy.

I wish him the best, he's a good guy, really good builder and has/had a passion for the sport we all love and it showed in his work.

KRhea

Uncle Jam's Army
02-15-2012, 12:41 PM
I almost had to part with mine in December when our lender informed us a few days prior to closing on a house that we had to come up with more money. Luckily, my year-end bonus saved me from having to sell. I am glad I still have it.

Brent was very nice with me and spent a great deal of time fitting me, drawing maps of rides around the SF Penninsula for me, and just generally talking about bikes. He clearly loves bikes and knows how to build them. I hope he finds his way back to the bench so he can continue his craft.

William
02-15-2012, 12:45 PM
I almost had to part with mine in December when our lender informed us a few days prior to closing on a house that we had to come up with more money. Luckily, my year-end bonus saved me from having to sell. I am glad I still have it.

Brent was very nice with me and spent a great deal of time fitting me, drawing maps of rides around the SF Penninsula for me, and just generally talking about bikes. He clearly loves bikes and knows how to build them. I hope he finds his way back to the bench so he can continue his craft.


That is sweet!! :cool:



William

vqdriver
02-15-2012, 01:02 PM
well, i have no dealings with brent or steelman, but i've only heard good things about the man and the work. wishing him the best.

here's a favorite of mine ever since i first saw it. i don't know how much of this aesthetic is the framework and how much is the paint, but i can't stop staring.

http://www.steelmancycles.com/Photos/B_Pa.jpg

cmg
02-15-2012, 01:14 PM
always an admirer of his work. He advertises in Peleton magazine. For while he was building carbon custom frames said he could make more money but the work wasn't fun. So he went back to steel. maybe he'll resurect it a later date.

yashcha
02-15-2012, 01:27 PM
I almost had to part with mine in December when our lender informed us a few days prior to closing on a house that we had to come up with more money. Luckily, my year-end bonus saved me from having to sell. I am glad I still have it.

Brent was very nice with me and spent a great deal of time fitting me, drawing maps of rides around the SF Penninsula for me, and just generally talking about bikes. He clearly loves bikes and knows how to build them. I hope he finds his way back to the bench so he can continue his craft.

Are you running Mavic Open Pro rims? The low profile combined with the tan sidewalls looks really great with that frameset.

Uncle Jam's Army
02-15-2012, 01:31 PM
Are you running Mavic Open Pro rims? The low profile combined with the tan sidewalls looks really great with that frameset.

Mavic Reflex NOS rims.

SamIAm
02-15-2012, 01:59 PM
well, i have no dealings with brent or steelman, but i've only heard good things about the man and the work. wishing him the best.

here's a favorite of mine ever since i first saw it. i don't know how much of this aesthetic is the framework and how much is the paint, but i can't stop staring.

http://www.steelmancycles.com/Photos/B_Pa.jpg

That is a great looking bike!

retrogrouchy
02-15-2012, 07:10 PM
I have found in my dealings with very small ventures that the owners are much better at their product or service production than they are at running a business. I believe this is especially true of an artisan type business like frame building. Many in the bike building business are more oriented to the artistic side of things more than record keeping and accounting. As a result often mistakes and misunderstandings in order details are common.

The builders that succeed are often those that run their business well.

Wayne

That is very, very true. Most artists are not great businesspeople, and I would say that the 'best' framebuilders are artisans that create products that approach art, especially the top-tier one-person shops. I have a custom frameset that came from one of the guys that people have been very, very unhappy with recently. It was like mating elephants to get it (takes two years to produce results, and involves much kicking and screaming). It's quite a nice piece of functional industrial art, though, imo. YMMV.

yashcha
02-16-2012, 01:14 AM
Mavic Reflex NOS rims.

Excellent, thank you!

I have wanted a steelman since 2000 but even the 525 was way out of my price range.

dekindy
03-15-2012, 07:57 AM
According to his post in the VS he has had a change of heart and will stay in business and begin accepting orders again.

This is good news for folks that still want to purchase a frame from him.

I am not even going to say anything about the customers whose deposits he returned because that would be negative. :rolleyes:

William
03-15-2012, 08:01 AM
According to his post in the VS he has had a change of heart and will stay in business and begin accepting orders again.

This is good news for folks that still want to purchase a frame from him.

I am not even going to say anything about the customers whose deposits he returned because that would be negative. :rolleyes:


First I put him on the list, then I take him off the list, now I have to put him back on??? Dude, make up your mind!! :crap:

;) :D




William

AOW162435
03-15-2012, 08:43 AM
Thats'a good question.

The reason is simple - so both sides have some skin in the game. I ask for a $300 to hold the clients place in line - that is their skin. Mine is that I'm making cash flow and business plans based on the promise of that future business. Without predictable and reliable cashflow there is no way a builder can plan and do anything more than survive day to day.

For a short period many years ago I put people in the queue without taking an even small deposit - I just took them at their word. Unfortunately no matter how well intended they were and how much they really wanted a bike when I contacted them and told them is was time to go they bailed - one after another. Lesson learned. So now I ask for that $300 and it keeps to impulse purchases that will never be followed through on to a minimum and now I can plan ahead and run my business much more efficiently........and the customer is assured a spot in the queue. We both have something at risk.

dave

Dave,
Well said.


Andreas

Joachim
03-15-2012, 09:18 AM
I already see some f'builder pedestal behavior going on. I could be totally wrong, but didn't he have a legal binding contract when he took the deposits? Giving it back was the right thing to do but then starting back up again? I wonder what would happen if this was any other business? I'm all for "finding balance" in your life or doing something different, but if you want to run a business, run a business. Especially if you are going to run the same business twice.

redir
03-15-2012, 09:34 AM
Because customers can be flakes or have problems arise too. I'm having to sell privately a frame and fork that a client had to back away from at the last minute when his business imploded. I don't feel like it's right to sell a new frame for cheap when I'm delivering frames at full cost. This frame is a unique color making it even harder to place. There has been real costs to my efforts up until this point. Because I'm a newer builder, and keep my backlog small, I don't currently ask for a deposit, but I think a modest sum to show the buyer's intentions and to hold the spot in line is more than fair.

I used to build guitars professionally. I still build but it's not my main gig. I would always require that the customer pay a deposit for the cost of materials. Essentially they covered the cost of wood and hardware. That way if they did go bust on me then it was only my time that mattered. And I've had a few customers just walk away from projects that they invested 5 or 6 hundred dollars in.

I think it's acceptable to get a reasonable deposit.

Keith A
03-15-2012, 09:52 AM
Well if anyone wants a bigger Steelman track frame, there's one on eBay right now...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-90s-Steelman-track-frameset-61cm-with-new-Tange-NJS-headset-installed-/320855951647?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab481491f

mistermo
03-15-2012, 11:13 AM
I could be totally wrong, but didn't he have a legal binding contract when he took the deposits?

I think those who want to apply contract law to this situation need to take a step back and evaluate their views.

#1 I'm not sure contract law applies, and think that it does not, but for kicks, let's say that it does.

#2 Should he have kept the deposits, hired a bankruptcy lawyer, and let those who wanted their deposit back, hire their own lawyers and get in line with the bankruptcy proceedings? Then he could've re-incorporated and gone about making frames, just as he'll be doing today. It would be all legal and tidy that way. But unethical.

#3 By accepting their returned deposit, they agreed to cancel their "contract".

By all acccounts he closed his business and was done. This wasn't an attempt to extort those on his waiting list into paying more. I think the way he handled it was ethical and honest. I can't believe that people anywhere could suggest otherwise. I'd rather do business with ethical people, than those who use the law as cover for their unethical behavior.

Legal, but unethical (http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=106031)

kentileguy
03-15-2012, 11:25 AM
Looks like his website was updated yesterday, there is a new "bike of the week" entry. Its stunning:
http://www.steelmancycles.com/Bike%20of%20the%20week.html

chismog
03-15-2012, 11:32 AM
Looks like his website was updated yesterday, there is a new "bike of the week" entry. Its stunning:
http://www.steelmancycles.com/Bike%20of%20the%20week.html

Smokes! That IS stunning.

54ny77
03-15-2012, 11:39 AM
Framebuilders take note: a simple 1-2 page contract that spells out each parties' rights & responsibilities would address sooooooo much of the bad issues that surface during this type of conversation. Whoever does it, or announces that they already do, I think would really gain a lot of respect and biz for it.

Personally, other than dealing with maybe 2 or 3 long-established folks in the biz in the usual custom build "trust" process, I would never go the custom route without it. Too much headache otherwise.

p.s. that blue & white Steelman is pretty darned sweet looking. Replace that seat binder bolt with a nice non-stripped one, would ya! Sheesh, details!

I think those who want to apply contract law to this situation need to take a step back and evaluate their views.

#1 I'm not sure contract law applies, and think that it does not, but for kicks, let's say that it does.

#2 Should he have kept the deposits, hired a bankruptcy lawyer, and let those who wanted their deposit back, hire their own lawyers and get in line with the bankruptcy proceedings? Then he could've re-incorporated and gone about making frames, just as he'll be doing today. It would be all legal and tidy that way. But unethical.

#3 By accepting their returned deposit, they agreed to cancel their "contract".

By all acccounts he closed his business and was done. This wasn't an attempt to extort those on his waiting list into paying more. I think the way he handled it was ethical and honest. I can't believe that people anywhere could suggest otherwise. I'd rather do business with ethical people, than those who use the law as cover for their unethical behavior.

Legal, but unethical (http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=106031)

mistermo
03-15-2012, 11:59 AM
Framebuilders take note: a simple 1-2 page contract that spells out each parties' rights & responsibilities would address sooooooo much of the bad issues that surface during this type of conversation. Whoever does it, or announces that they already do, I think would really gain a lot of respect and biz for it.


And when the contract is broken (by either party), bring in the lawyers? A contract is only as good as either party's willingness to enforce it.

99.99999% of the time, when the framebuilder can't deliver and returns the deposit, the customer is cool with this.

99.99999% of the time, when a deposit it paid, and the customer walks from it, the framebuilder takes it no further.

When seeking a framebuilder, I'll always choose the ethical guy first. If a builder wants to enter into contract negotiations, even a simple one, about a bike frame, then that's a dang good sign that I'm talking to the wrong guy.

A few years ago, I put a deposit on a frame, then lost my job after it was built, but before it was delivered. I decided it was an excess I could do without. The builder found another buyer who was happy to take my place. With a contract, I suppose he could've sued me? As with Steelman, the situation wasn't ideal, but everyone walked away just fine, with no lawyers involved. And when the time comes, I'll be back.

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 12:32 PM
Unreachable for weeks/months, miss dates, string people along...send back deposits, people post your demise on your facebook site...then, "hey, I have had a change of heart" back open for business....check out my bike of the week!

Good luck with that business model. :beer:

I like to see people put there demons behind them and I hope it happens, but some credibility needs to be reestablished.

Earl Gray
03-15-2012, 12:39 PM
Unreachable for weeks/months, miss dates, string people along...send back deposits, people post your demise on your facebook site...then, "hey, I have had a change of heart" back open for business....check out my bike of the week!

Good luck with that business model. :beer:

I like to see people put there demons behind them and I hope it happens, but some credibility needs to be reestablished.

I commend him for cutting his loses and starting fresh. He'll be happier and wealthier for it. If some folks were left out of the equation during the transition, screw um, it's a small price to pay to keep another eff builder with inflated prices around.

54ny77
03-15-2012, 12:52 PM
all the things you described could be easily addressed in a contract.

not that they're the end-all-be-all, but something on paper is better than the all too common bro handshake/you'll get it when it's done timeline, along with a little hopin' and prayin' that the reality meets the expectations either in the end or along the way.

plus it (a contract) gives both parties adequate framework for redress if things go sideways. like anything, all situations are negotiable. your situation (lost job, undelivered frame but a solution that worked out for everyone) would have been the same with or without a contract, since it sounds like you worked with a good builder.

being devil's advocate, consider: what would the builder have done if, being ethical and solutions-oriented as he seems to be, instead got stiffed if you just walked away and left him hanging?

that's what i meant by protections going both ways.

And when the contract is broken (by either party), bring in the lawyers? A contract is only as good as either party's willingness to enforce it.

99.99999% of the time, when the framebuilder can't deliver and returns the deposit, the customer is cool with this.

99.99999% of the time, when a deposit it paid, and the customer walks from it, the framebuilder takes it no further.

When seeking a framebuilder, I'll always choose the ethical guy first. If a builder wants to enter into contract negotiations, even a simple one, about a bike frame, then that's a dang good sign that I'm talking to the wrong guy.

A few years ago, I put a deposit on a frame, then lost my job after it was built, but before it was delivered. I decided it was an excess I could do without. The builder found another buyer who was happy to take my place. With a contract, I suppose he could've sued me? As with Steelman, the situation wasn't ideal, but everyone walked away just fine, with no lawyers involved. And when the time comes, I'll be back.

crankles
03-15-2012, 01:36 PM
I like to see people put there demons behind them and I hope it happens, but some credibility needs to be reestablished.

How do you know he hasn't already done that? Did he say he wasn't honoring those folks pricing or their place in the queue? Did you talk with Brent or those customers? I thought not.

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 01:51 PM
How do you know he hasn't already done that? Did he say he wasn't honoring those folks pricing or their place in the queue? Did you talk with Brent or those customers? I thought not.


Credibility can be lost in an instant...and takes a long time to re-establish. He has written his own history, not me. What I listed as past performance was fact...not opinion.

"Thought not".......Grow up.

Fixed
03-15-2012, 01:54 PM
whatever he has one of the best names in cycling
cheers imho :)

mistermo
03-15-2012, 01:55 PM
all the things you described could be easily addressed in a contract.

I guess my point is that we're talking bicycle frames here, not something complicated or overly expensive. As I said, a contract is only as good as someone's willingness to enforce it.

If a framebuilder returns your deposit, is it really worthwhile to hire a lawyer to go after the guy for breach of implied contract? Even if the builder doesn't return the deposit, I expect the time/money one devotes to it won't ever be recovered.

If a customer forfeits their $500 deposit and walks, do many framebuilders think it's a good investment of their time/money to hire a lawyer to go get the rest, when the frame is still in their possession?

For me, life is too short to burdern simple transactions with excessive precautions. If a builder chooses to do this, then I've picked the wrong one. If I ask for a contract, then I expect an established builder might tell me to go find another.

In my view, these aren't complicated transactions and inserting lawyers will make them exactly that. I'm speaking for myself, of course.

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 01:57 PM
whatever he has one of the best names in cycling
cheers imho :)

So did Goodrich and Taylor...that ship has sailed.

Fixed..I have no axe to grind. You can't fall off the face of the map...call it quits, and then have a sudden change of heart and expect that everyone wants to hand you there money and wait for a bike that get here....when exactly.

just sayin.

mistermo
03-15-2012, 02:00 PM
Credibility can be lost in an instant...and takes a long time to re-establish. He has written his own history, not me. What I listed as past performance was fact...not opinion.

"Thought not".......Grow up.

The fact is, he returned his deposits. Credibility, honesty and integrity appears to be intact.

Fixed
03-15-2012, 02:03 PM
So did Goodrich and Taylor...that ship has sailed.

Fixed..I have no axe to grind. You can't fall off the face of the map...call it quits, and then have a sudden change of heart and expect that everyone wants to hand you there money and wait for a bike that get here....when exactly.

just sayin.
i just said his name is cool i have seen his adds in velonews over many years
i always like his logo design too kind of a mystic feel to it
steelman that is cool
next i like strong that is cool too
then naked that is cool too .... etc .
cheers it is all cool with me :D

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 02:06 PM
He told people fictional dates and the bikes were never built...refused to return phone calls (message box filled)...refused to return e-mails...people showed up at his door and he wouldn't answer it...what exactly am I missing here.

I wish him well. A couple of years, it may all be behind them, but given the list of guys that can answer phones, e-mails, and get me my bike on time....+ build a world class ride...I would not be an early adopter of the New Steelman.

e-RICHIE
03-15-2012, 02:08 PM
Re Brent and this thread - were any of you in the queue, or have skin in the game?
Or are your opinions based on this simply being a popular type of thread that relates
to something you know about from a distance but have no real connection to? Who
here is directly affected by this?



.

Joachim
03-15-2012, 02:12 PM
Last time I looked we were allowed to discuss anything cycling related and give our opinions. I can also have an opinion about the business practices of Johnson and Johnson without being a stockholder.

dsimon
03-15-2012, 02:13 PM
He cam through with Mine it was only a month late but I didnt care do to the fact that I was in transition/moving. and everytime I called to check up on my bike he was happy to answer my questions.

rugbysecondrow
03-15-2012, 02:13 PM
Re Brent and this thread - were any of you in the queue, or have skin in the game?
Or are your opinions based on this simply being a popular type of thread that relates
to something you know about from a distance but have no real connection to? Who
here is directly affected by this?



.

As potential customers, there is quite a bit of validity in other peoples opinions.

I don't think there is a need to kick a man when he is down, but we also don't operate in a vaccum do we? Our actions, even when justified or necesary, have consequences. For Steelman, one of those might be customers moving on to a guy who might be viewed as more stable. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Not all builders are a good fit for customers and vice versa.

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 02:14 PM
[QUOTE=e-RICHIE]Re Brent and this thread - were any of you in the queue, or have skin in the game?
Or are your opinions based on this simply being a popular type of thread that relates
to something you know about from a distance but have no real connection to? Who
here is directly affected by this?.[/QUOTE

I have no skin in the game...but am curious how this is relevant to the conversation taking place. I don't see a bunch of mudslinging going on...and thoughts the facts were pretty well established...and that the conversation has been pretty civilized.

e-RICHIE
03-15-2012, 02:23 PM
I have no skin in the game...but am curious how this is relevant to the conversation taking place. I don't see a bunch of mudslinging going on...and thoughts the facts were pretty well established...and that the conversation has been pretty civilized.

People seem to be making judgements and having opinions when they were never in the conversation to begin with.
Without knowing what it's like to have been in his queue, or his shoes, how does one post about these issues with
any quality? And PS I have read words (of mine) here that have been appropriated and rearranged just to get a rise.
This is hardly uncivil, but it does get noticed.

Earl Gray
03-15-2012, 02:41 PM
Re Brent and this thread - were any of you in the queue, or have skin in the game?
Or are your opinions based on this simply being a popular type of thread that relates
to something you know about from a distance but have no real connection to? Who
here is directly affected by this?



.


Were/are you in his queue?

b.steelman
03-15-2012, 02:50 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.

mistermo
03-15-2012, 02:52 PM
I've got two Steelmans. I'm biased. I like Brent and have only good things to say about him and my dealings with him (and Katryn). I am not close enough to call him a friend, but I will gladly defend a guy who has treated me right, and he (they) has.

This notion that, because a guy steps outside of a circle, takes some time off, then steps back in re-energized, and that this reflects poorly on his character or his product, is insane-speak. Not one single post here is from someone claiming to have been screwed by him. Why cast uneccesary aspersions on the guy? Why cry fire, when there's no smoke?

If you want a bike that's delivered on time, on budget, without worry, using the latest kanban techniques, custom framebuilders aren't a good place to start.

William
03-15-2012, 02:54 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.

I'm very glad to hear that you've moved forward with the love and help of friends and family. I've only heard good things about your work and I hope you continue to build and create.



William

jr59
03-15-2012, 03:08 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.

I would hope this ends the idea of customers being unhappy.

We can talk about what "might" happen forever. Mr Steelman is ok with his customer base, then I can't see a problem. In fact it was hard to see a problem all round.
Mr Steelman decided not to build frames. He returned the money. This is NOT anything like some other cases we all have heard of.

I would guess that if a customer still wanted a frame, he might get moved up on the list a bit. I can not say that for sure, because I have no idea, but it would seem reasonable. At least to me.

In life, sometimes things happen, some good, some not so good. All you can do is try to make things right. Mr Steelman appears to have tried to do that.

Personally, I wish Mr Steelman well and hope he makes 1,000's of more frames. Mainly because I like the few I have seen.

I don't see a problem at all.

54ny77
03-15-2012, 03:09 PM
e-richie, depending on the civility of the discourse, i don't think it matters whether one has skin in the game or not in terms of evaluating various opinions. for example, there was (or is) one guy here & also (if i recall correctly) on vsalon that had such a hard-on for complaining about your wait list that he took pains to disparage you at every opportunity. clowns like that are easy to filter.

you & someone like kirk, for example, have been around for years and set the bar in terms of professionalism. that's a fairly easy filtering process for a buyer who's reasonably knowledgeable with a custom bike buying decision.

for other newer builders with a high self-developed "cool" factor and well-crafted p.r., well, that's a much harder filtering process. especially if complaints are squashed or go unsaid (some customers simply don't want to air the dirty laundry). i have a few friends who fall into the latter bucket, with frame delivery delays from 1-3+ years since originally promised, and nothing but headaches along the way. that taints my own filtering process for steel, which will likely be my next bike.

am hoping instead to find something exquisite but used and that fits...

Re Brent and this thread - were any of you in the queue, or have skin in the game?
Or are your opinions based on this simply being a popular type of thread that relates
to something you know about from a distance but have no real connection to? Who
here is directly affected by this?



.

crankles
03-15-2012, 03:11 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things. Well, If you have to hang your hat on a single post, this one would be a good example. nicely done.

Earl Gray
03-15-2012, 03:13 PM
.....
This notion that, because a guy steps outside of a circle, takes some time off, then steps back in re-energized, and that this reflects poorly on his character or his product, is insane-speak.....


The notion that the notion can't be spoken of on a public cycling forum in insane-speak.

I suspect everyone here wishes him well, but that doesn't mean every single post about the subject has to be rainbows and butterflies.

I agree that as long as deposits were returned it's no harm, no foul.

However, the discussion is fair game.

Fixed
03-15-2012, 03:21 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.
i have been in that dark space too
i could not work either
i have even more respect for you than before
i know you and your work are much loved in the cycling community
i hope you can move from the shadows into the light
i wish you the best
cheers

vqdriver
03-15-2012, 03:35 PM
i don't know you, but i'm wishing you the best Brent.

zennmotion
03-15-2012, 03:49 PM
The notion that the notion can't be spoken of on a public cycling forum in insane-speak.

I suspect everyone here wishes him well, but that doesn't mean every single post about the subject has to be rainbows and butterflies.

I agree that as long as deposits were returned it's no harm, no foul.

However, the discussion is fair game.

Fair game? To anyone who's suffered with fighting depression it's no game, it is a debilitating disease and can be life threatening. To anyone who hasn't had/doesn't have business with Mr. Steelman a smarmy discussion of his reality, in public, is gratuitous and coarse; to engage in it is nothing more than voyeuristic gossip and demonstrates a lack of respect for basic human dignity.

fourflys
03-15-2012, 04:03 PM
Brent,
glad to hear you are in a better place, that's all that really matters at the end of the day... that you are building again is just icing on the cake...

I briefly had one of your frame/forks and it was a beauty to see and the ride was great, just a little long for me (bought it used)...

I wouldn't hesitate getting in line for another Steelman made just for me...

Keep on Brother!

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 04:09 PM
Fair game? To anyone who's suffered with fighting depression it's no game, it is a debilitating disease and can be life threatening. To anyone who hasn't had/doesn't have business with Mr. Steelman a smarmy discussion of his reality, in public, is gratuitous and coarse; to engage in it is nothing more than voyeuristic gossip and demonstrates a lack of respect for basic human dignity.

This is a BIKE FORUM...BIKES are discussed.....BUILDERS are discussed.

"Do the bikes get there when there supposed to?"

"Why don't they?"

"Hey, that guy has re-opened for business...what's going to be different moving forward?" (Seems pretty fair to me)

You speak like people wish the guy ill will and that they're selfless bastards to even talk about the past.

Bottom line is that he will sink or swim. People want to see him swim...but talking about whether the business may or may not be viable or whether you're going to be the first in line is fair game.

You're suffering from Myopia if you don't think all but his close friends and fans aren't asking those questions.....his purchasing demographic is this board and others like it....whether you like it or not.

flydhest
03-15-2012, 04:29 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.

Respect.

climbgdh
03-15-2012, 04:38 PM
Respect.

+1 Million. I've been in the dark place as well. I wish you the best Mr Steelman.

crankles
03-15-2012, 04:55 PM
You speak like people wish the guy ill will and that they're selfless bastards to even talk about the past.

Maybe that's because some of the earlier post came off, at least to me, as a bit snarky.

"says one snark to another" :D

firerescuefin
03-15-2012, 05:00 PM
Maybe that's because some of the earlier post came off, at least to me, as a bit snarky.

"says one snark to another" :D

Maybe lost in the translation :)

Wish I hadn't experienced some of what Brent is going through...Agree with the Big Ups sentiment shared by others for his post here.

mistermo
03-15-2012, 06:16 PM
This matter has personal ties to me that I won't reveal.

I wasn't on the board back then, but I doubt Dario was told he'd lost credibility, had to re-establish himself, and was compared to other builders of questionable repute, when he came back.

Had it occurred, it might have been a "fair" topic, but it would have been in terribly bad taste.

I doubt Brent would know me if he saw me. But when I go on a ride, I see his name on my downtube and think of my interaction with him each time. Some of the best experiences of my life have occurred while looking at that Steelman downtube sticker. I can't help but associate these good experiences to him. That's why we ride custom, handbuilt bikes-because they have a soul. Thank you Brent, for the happiness your product has brought me.

I'm glad your back and wish you all the best. 30 more years!!

rugbysecondrow
03-15-2012, 06:52 PM
This matter has personal ties to me that I won't reveal.

I wasn't on the board back then, but I doubt Dario was told he'd lost credibility, had to re-establish himself, and was compared to other builders of questionable repute, when he came back.

Had it occurred, it might have been a "fair" topic, but it would have been in terribly bad taste.

I doubt Brent would know me if he saw me. But when I go on a ride, I see his name on my downtube and think of my interaction with him each time. Some of the best experiences of my life have occurred while looking at that Steelman downtube sticker. I can't help but associate these good experiences to him. That's why we ride custom, handbuilt bikes-because they have a soul. Thank you Brent, for the happiness your product has brought me.

I'm glad your back and wish you all the best. 30 more years!!

I am not certain he is being compared to builders of questionable dispute. You are a proud owner and a great advocate and so I can see how you might view some of the criticism.

What he went through, is going through, is serious ****, no doubt. With that said, it is reasonable to expect that some customer might not feel comfortable going with him for a bike project. I don't agree with them, I wouldn't flinch in sending him a deposit for a frame if I was in the market. He sounds like an honest, stand up guy and that is worth a lot to me. For others, they have a different comfort level. Stating that opinion though doesn't mean the man is being beaten down, but is an honest point factor in decision making.

cat6
03-15-2012, 07:37 PM
One of my friends and customers brought this discussion to my attention. I think some clarification might help.

Nothing I did in the last year was premeditated. I went into a state of depression, very dark and very deep. Those that have been there know. At the bottom I could only think to close the business and sell all the assets. When that decision was made, an enormous swell of support followed which slowly helped bring me up. We had to return deposits because it was the right thing to do. I did not get any complaints, only support. My customers, friends, and family are beyond reproach.

I have no expectations, but I now know that lots of people are concerned and do care. That in itself is worth any kind of criticism of how I have handled things.

Best of luck, keep up the positive momentum and do your thing.

sarion
03-24-2012, 06:22 PM
http://www.steelmancycles.com/prices_frame_fork_stem.html

steelman's new price list...

$5500 for lugged frameset http://forums.thepaceline.net/images/smilies/eek.gif

SamIAm
03-24-2012, 08:18 PM
http://www.steelmancycles.com/prices_frame_fork_stem.html

steelman's new price list...

$5500 for lugged frameset http://forums.thepaceline.net/images/smilies/eek.gif

I don't see that working for him, but I have been wrong before.

SamIAm
03-24-2012, 08:28 PM
.....

Earl Gray
03-24-2012, 08:45 PM
http://www.steelmancycles.com/prices_frame_fork_stem.html

steelman's new price list...

$5500 for lugged frameset http://forums.thepaceline.net/images/smilies/eek.gif

The Cabal (Collective) controls all!

And I reserve the right to pass on over the top pricing and patron builders with more reasonably pricing like Curtlo.

b.steelman
03-24-2012, 08:54 PM
I don't see that working for him, but I have been wrong before.

I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account.

Spin71
03-24-2012, 09:13 PM
Were the people refunded their deposit allowed to get back in line at the original price they were in contract for? If so, I see it as no harm no foul.

firerescuefin
03-24-2012, 09:15 PM
Brent...what are your expectations at this point...meaning how do you think the new model is going to be received/ work out.

b.steelman
03-24-2012, 09:59 PM
Brent...what are your expectations at this point...meaning how do you think the new model is going to be received/ work out.

As with everyone here, I think, their priority is health (mental and physical) and financial security. I hope to continue to sell and build bikes. If people don't buy them, then it is time to move on to something else, but I would prefer to keep building frames.

I have spoken to several frame builders that want and need to charge more, but feel the market will not accept the necessary prices. Is this a good situation? If a nice custom guitar or horn is 6k why can't a fine bike frame be in the same category? Nobody is getting rich producing labor intensive items, but a respectable wage is not too much to ask.

Louis
03-24-2012, 10:40 PM
Were the people refunded their deposit allowed to get back in line at the original price they were in contract for?

I see things differently: If a builder decides that Business Model A is just not the right thing for him, so he refunds deposits, reorganizes, and shifts over to Business Model B, I see no reason why he would be obliged to go back to the Model A pricing for the folks who were previously in line.

(caveat: I'm not a lawyer)

Uncle Jam's Army
03-24-2012, 11:09 PM
Brent, I am very happy you decided to keep at building bikes, as you are incredibly talented. Selfishly, I am happy I bought my frameset from you when I did, but I completely understand your need to price your work in a rationale way that allows you to earn a decent living. I hope that this new model brings you that.

pdmtong
03-24-2012, 11:16 PM
I see things differently: If a builder decides that Business Model A is just not the right thing for him, so he refunds deposits, reorganizes, and shifts over to Business Model B, I see no reason why he would be obliged to go back to the Model A pricing for the folks who were previously in line. (caveat: I'm not a lawyer)

While the amounts in question are non-trivial, IMHO they are not large enough to warrant a litagation ... which means that in the end, it's an unfortunate circumstance for the folks in line and they can chose to get back in line at the new pricing or go somewhere else. how they feel about the situation or brent is up to them...they just happen to be in the wrong place at wrong time. life is full of mis-timings...so while easy ot say, it's best to just get over it and move on. moaning about what could or should have been won't help. good luck to brent...and hope it all works out for him.

efleigh
03-24-2012, 11:31 PM
so now is probably a bad time to order a long sleeve jersey off of his website huh...

Spin71
03-24-2012, 11:45 PM
I wasn't on the board back then, but I doubt Dario was told he'd lost credibility, had to re-establish himself, and was compared to other builders of questionable repute, when he came back.

Are you seriously comparing the two situations?

Marcusaurelius
03-24-2012, 11:46 PM
Well I can see making a decent wage for your labours. Building a bicycle frame by hand takes many hours of sweat and toil (I tried to repaint a frame and that was enough for me).

Good luck on your adventure.

weiwentg
03-25-2012, 07:00 AM
http://www.steelmancycles.com/prices_frame_fork_stem.html

steelman's new price list...

$5500 for lugged frameset http://forums.thepaceline.net/images/smilies/eek.gif

This is for a top notch builder who has thousands of frames out there. If the market can't bear that price, he'll just have to drop it - and I think he commented here or across the hall that some framebuilders thought he could and should charge higher.

That said, if you Google Baumol's cost disease (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol's_cost_disease) ... when some sectors of the economy display a rise in labor productivity and some don't, the ones that don't have their prices go up a lot faster, which is the Baumol effect aka disease. The big framebuilders can and do mass produce, which is the very definition of increased labor productivity. The one man custom shops of the world have to build by hand, and I don't foresee that their labor productivity can increase (once you get up to a certain skill level, that's about it). So, I think the one man shops are either going to get more expensive, or they'll have to accept lower wages if the market can't bear their price.

From what Steelman said, he was doing the latter. That's not right. Imo labor is generally under-compensated in the US - there are certainly a number of egregious union contracts, but given that most of the US is not unionized, they would be the exception. But on the flip side, that means that gradually, the one man shops are going to get less affordable for cyclists.

I could afford a Vanilla at my relatively young age as I got clobbered by a truck and I got a settlement from the guy's insurance company (albeit it could have been 3x larger and it still wouldn't have been worth it). If I hadn't, I'm honestly not sure it would have been worth it to me with what I'm presently earning, which is good but not Wall Street (and imo Wall Street is way overcompensated relative to the actual value they produce). I'm not saying it wasn't, just that I'm not sure I would have been able to produce the change.

Earl Gray
03-25-2012, 08:07 AM
......Imo labor is generally under-compensated in the US .....

Really!?

Relative to what? Certainly not the rest of the world.

SamIAm
03-26-2012, 12:25 PM
I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account.

I don't think its evil at all. I'm all for making as much money as the market allows. Its just that products, typically, have to be priced in line with the competition. Clearly there is technically no competition for a Steelman, as you are the only outlet. But there are many framebuilders who can build a very similar product and currently charge a substantially lower price. The fact that you have 30 years experience is only relevant to pricing power if it translates into differentiated product in the eyes of the consumer.

I recall speaking with Bruce Gordon a couple years ago about one of his customs, the price tag was north of 5k and he felt quite justified in his pricing when considering the time, effort and experience that went into it and maybe he was right, but that was still too much money for me and I will bet he didn't sell too many of them.

Perhaps the price of a handmade steel frame is artifically low because some of the artisans have working wives with benefits, lower overhead, less monetary ambition, high quality of life etc.

No question you do some mighty fine work, so best of luck going forward.

weiwentg
03-26-2012, 12:48 PM
Really!?

Relative to what? Certainly not the rest of the world.

That was unclear. I meant labor vs capital, in the US. Yes, our overall labor costs are higher than anywhere else.

mistermo
03-26-2012, 01:50 PM
Are you seriously comparing the two situations?
Yes, indeed I am. PM me if you want to discuss.

BCS
03-26-2012, 01:59 PM
Originally Posted by b.steelman
"I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account."

Assuming you have built between 100 and 200 frames per year, this would imply a per frame profit of less than $200. Frame builders must really love their work. FYI, you can probably qualify for Medicaid at 21K per year.

Best of luck with all future endeavors.

rugbysecondrow
03-26-2012, 02:02 PM
Originally Posted by b.steelman
"I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account."

Assuming you have built between 100 and 200 frames per year, this would imply a per frame profit of less than $200. Frame builders must really love their work. FYI, you can probably qualify for Medicaid at 21K per year.

Best of luck with all future endeavors.

100-200? Don't most frame builders only build 45-65 a year? One frame a week average with time built in for shows, time off etc?

mistermo
03-26-2012, 02:08 PM
As compared to the new Serotta pricing, Steelman pricing seems to be in line. Serottas now go for $3800-$8600 for frame/fork.

Steelman could be a "bargain" at $4350-$5500! Speaking for myself, I'd rather have the Steelman.

Lest we need reminding, Serotta and Steelman aren't competing with Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc. They are "luxury goods" and competing with other luxury goods like Ducati's, Benz's, Rolex's, etc. Pricing for luxury goods is less elastic than pricing for a Trek.

BCS
03-26-2012, 02:11 PM
100-200? Don't most frame builders only build 45-65 a year? One frame a week average with time built in for shows, time off etc?

This was based on 25+ years at the bench and having handled thousands of frames-direct quotes from across the hall. Who knows what this really means. The numbers still suck. IMO, prognosis is guarded

Joachim
03-26-2012, 02:32 PM
As compared to the new Serotta pricing, Steelman pricing seems to be in line. Serottas now go for $3800-$8600 for frame/fork.

Steelman could be a "bargain" at $4350-$5500! Speaking for myself, I'd rather have the Steelman

I guess that would make Spectrum, Firefly and Dave Kirk a lower/middle tier builder on pricing. Now that is a bargain!

firerescuefin
03-26-2012, 02:44 PM
I guess that would make Spectrum, Firefly and Dave Kirk a lower/middle tier builder on pricing. Now that is a bargain!

Amen.

I don't know if I would target Serotta's pricepoint...it doesn't seem to be working for them too well right now. Basic economic theory tells us very few people, in any industry, can dictate price. Hard to look at the Zanc, Kirk, Spectrum,Strong, Peg, IF, Firefly, Vanilla, etc. and justify that pricepoint (as a consumer). Time will soon tell.

Spin71
03-26-2012, 03:37 PM
Yes, indeed I am. PM me if you want to discuss.

He never closed his shop. Never returned deposits (to the best of my knowledge) Production never completely stopped, wait time just increased. Pegoretti isn't a one man shop. He didn't re open after his clean bill of health with a huge price increase and told the people he refunded deposits they could get back on line with a huge increase. Apples and oranges.

mistermo
03-26-2012, 03:40 PM
He never closed his shop. Never returned deposits (to the best of my knowledge) Production never completely stopped, wait time just increased. Pegoretti isn't a one man shop. He didn't re open after his clean bill of health with a huge price increase and told the people he refunded deposits they could get back on line with a huge increase. Apples and oranges.
Your knowledge is wrong. PM me if you want to continue. This isn't the place.

clweed
03-26-2012, 05:20 PM
Here is podcast of an interview with the Outspoken Cyclist and Brent (http://www.wjcu.org/media/audio/shows/outspokencyclist/page/5) in June of 2011

Pretty interesting stuff.

d_douglas
08-14-2012, 03:49 PM
I just looked at Steelman's website thanks to WIlliam's Builders list and damn, his bikes are exxxpensive!

I think he builds beautiful bikes, but correct me if I am wrong, he must be at the top of the price-heap in terms of steel bikes ?!?

Maybe Maestros Sachs or Pegoretti and surely Mr. White's crazy creations exceed these prices, but for a standard (and gorgeous) road frame - wow.

It must be a tough sell, when you are looking for business, versus Sachs or Pego who are full of work for the foreseeable future.

clweed
08-14-2012, 04:16 PM
Brent's craftsmanship is top notch along with Kieth Andersons paint job. The bike is awesome!!

d_douglas
08-14-2012, 04:39 PM
I retract my *seemingly* negative comment about Steelman.

Your bike is sublime.

deanster
08-14-2012, 05:04 PM
Business is business...sometimes people think that a bike builder is having so much fun building bikes that money discussions are a crass blemish on a purist endeavor...thanks for the reality check.

Thats'a good question.

The reason is simple - so both sides have some skin in the game. I ask for a $300 to hold the clients place in line - that is their skin. Mine is that I'm making cash flow and business plans based on the promise of that future business. Without predictable and reliable cashflow there is no way a builder can plan and do anything more than survive day to day.

For a short period many years ago I put people in the queue without taking an even small deposit - I just took them at their word. Unfortunately no matter how well intended they were and how much they really wanted a bike when I contacted them and told them is was time to go they bailed - one after another. Lesson learned. So now I ask for that $300 and it keeps to impulse purchases that will never be followed through on to a minimum and now I can plan ahead and run my business much more efficiently........and the customer is assured a spot in the queue. We both have something at risk.

dave

Peter P.
08-14-2012, 05:08 PM
While I agree that his prices, both for his TIG and lugged models, are significantly higher than most, who am I to criticize him? If he's comfortable with his pricing and is making a living then all the more power to him. If the pricing reduces demand, he'll either get the hint or go out of business.

In his defense, he has the reputation, longevity, and quality to justify premium pricing.

djg
08-14-2012, 06:20 PM
I just looked at Steelman's website thanks to WIlliam's Builders list and damn, his bikes are exxxpensive!

I think he builds beautiful bikes, but correct me if I am wrong, he must be at the top of the price-heap in terms of steel bikes ?!?

Maybe Maestros Sachs or Pegoretti and surely Mr. White's crazy creations exceed these prices, but for a standard (and gorgeous) road frame - wow.

It must be a tough sell, when you are looking for business, versus Sachs or Pego who are full of work for the foreseeable future.


Well, right, most builders of steel frames who post prices post lower prices, and maybe this is somewhere in the vicinity of the top, but why should that matter? I've got no skin in the game here, but what's wrong with looking for a viable business model and making adjustments as you go? I have a team mate with a Steelman cross bike. He thinks it's great. I've no idea what he'd pay for another, but I reckon (a) that there's no single universally accepted heirarchy of frame builders, (b) that Mr. Steelman has his fans -- is very well known, and very well regarded, at least by some, (c) that Steelman fans will pay some premium to deal with him, and (d) there's one way to find out how many will pay how much.

I've actually got a new frame in paint with a particular fellow in Pennsylvania. I wanted a bike from him, and was willing to pay what he was asking. I didn't care -- this time -- to go to somebody else, even somebody well-regarded, who might have charged 500 bucks less for a frame. Or even 1,000. And I certainly didn't go where I did because some other guy was charging 400 bucks more. I didn't settle. I wanted to deal with a particular guy. I'm happy to be dealing with him. Which is not to say that I was entirely indifferent to price. The sky wasn't the limit. The limit was the limit -- someplace real that I didn't have to investigate or struggle with in this particular case.

Somebody else might very well shop differently. I've done it before myself. You have perferences, interests, budget constraints, and you do what you do.

I reckon that Mr. Steelman will find out whether 3 or 30 or 300 people will line up at the currently contemplated prices. I have no basis on which to predict the results, but I wish him well in all regards.

d_douglas
08-14-2012, 06:51 PM
Me too. You are right, there is no established hierarchy.

I own a Speedvagen, and I choked at the thought of spending $3500 on a steel frame set, and whaddya know, now I own one! I would buy another Vanilla, so I guess Sacha's pricing scale worked for me.

Steelmand has certainly been building nice frames for longer than Sacha and many others; this indicates nothing except that there is no formula for predicting prices, demand, and also quality.

I hope he is turning people away (no, actually, I hope he has just the right number of customers). If I won a lottery, I would buy one of his bikes, no doubt.

Jack Brunk
08-14-2012, 09:42 PM
but his prices are a joke. I can get a better built, custom titanium frame either road or mountain from Firefly and others. I'd hate to see him become a titanium builder. Maybe close to 10k for a frame. Nice looking frame though on the last frame posted. Maybe most of the money is in the paint.

wc1934
08-14-2012, 09:45 PM
I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account.

Good for you! You need to do what you think is best for you and your family because if you don't, no one else will. As was stated before, most here do not have a skin in this game, don't know all the particulars, yet freely offer opinions and suggestions (both + and -) as that is the nature of forums.
Your frames are a thing of beauty and you are a true artist/craftsman. You are in business to make money, so pricing is your call - charge whatever you want - As you said, let the market decide if your price is fair. I hope that maybe those who were in line can somehow get back in cue (if they so desire), as opposed to starting their wait all over.
I do not know you, but best of luck. It sounds like you have had quite an ordeal and I wish you well.

monkeybanana86
08-14-2012, 10:13 PM
I know the new prices seem high. After my brain crashed and burned, and the decision was made to start over, some serious reevaluation was necessary to avoid a repeat. I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have sold a lot of bikes. Outside the satisfaction derived from seeing happy customers, the ratio of reward to hard work is out of balance. If you want to call me I will tell you the average bottom line on the schedule c for those years of work. It is embarrassing. Is it an evil thing if I want my wife and I to live on 60K instead of 21k? Most people in America make much more than a good frame builder and they don't work nearly as hard. If I don't sell bikes at the new prices, which are based on real costs and a decent wage, then it shows the market is unwilling to reward the skills needed to produce a top level product. I am not embarrassed by the prices because they are actually a fair value. You get a great bike and maybe I can buy some health insurance and start a small retirement account.


Cool to see you here! You might not remember me but I visited your shop three or four years back and your wife gave my friend and me a tour of your place. I was gathering information on frame building to make my own bike which I did! So thanks and thanks? for the calendar of all the naked northern cal. builders haha

I can't believe I never saw this thread before. I would hate to see one less bay area builder.

Uncle Jam's Army
08-14-2012, 11:55 PM
Brent's craftsmanship is top notch along with Kieth Andersons paint job. The bike is awesome!!

Lee, that bike is sweet. Enjoy!

krhea
08-15-2012, 02:08 AM
but his prices are a joke. I can get a better built, custom titanium frame either road or mountain from Firefly and others. I'd hate to see him become a titanium builder. Maybe close to 10k for a frame. Nice looking frame though on the last frame posted. Maybe most of the money is in the paint.

Without owning and spending time on a bike how exactly do you define a "better build"? Isn't "better" defined by the butt that's actually riding or has ridden the bike?
Tough call to just throw out such a bold statement of contempt when you don't have actual facts or a decent premise other than your opinion to back it up. Fireflys are great frames, I think, but I've only seen pics and haven't ridden one so then again, maybe they aren't...to me. But I'd never say they were a better build then say a top of the line Lynsky without riding them both. FF certainly have it in terms of "finish" but I don't ride the "finish", I ride the entire build.
As individual as high end bikes are, especially custom builds it seems odd to have such a preconceived and demonstrative opinion of any certain builder.

I always wondered about the allure of Pegs. I'd seen them but never ridden or owned one. That changed one day and not to long after that that bike left my stable because it wasn't so special after all. Blindfolded I couldn't tell the difference between it and my CDA, however, there was a big step up when I mounted the Strong. The paint part of the Peg "build" was certainly above the rest but the actual ride and welds were meh, no better, no worse than lots of custom steel in my stable.

Anyway Jack, I'm just curious about your comment/thoughts since you've owned a lot of bikes, as have I and number of other forum guys, as to how you define "better build".

KRhea

Fixed
08-15-2012, 02:26 AM
Steelman have been around for a long time I remember his adds in cycling mags in the early 80's he had an eye catching logo:)
If I were buying now it would be a Tom Kellogg frame ,I have always liked what he writes about bikes and I have never heard anyone say they did not love a bike he made for them . But that is me ,I know Steelman makes. a great bike with tons of expernce in it as well .But with a name like Steelman ,please do not make a ti frame :)
IMHO :)
Cheers and best of luck
There is this guy that lives near me j. Greene that I would bet could build a bike as good as any around
I would give his frames a serious look if I were buying he is one smart cat as The master would say

cat6
08-15-2012, 02:44 AM
but his prices are a joke. I can get a better built, custom titanium frame either road or mountain from Firefly and others. I'd hate to see him become a titanium builder. Maybe close to 10k for a frame. Nice looking frame though on the last frame posted. Maybe most of the money is in the paint.

Was your Steelman crap compared to your Firefly? How did you compare the quality?

charliedid
08-15-2012, 08:54 AM
but his prices are a joke. I can get a better built, custom titanium frame either road or mountain from Firefly and others. I'd hate to see him become a titanium builder. Maybe close to 10k for a frame. Nice looking frame though on the last frame posted. Maybe most of the money is in the paint.

Sorry indeed,

If you think that Firefly and "others" make a BETTER bike you are up to your eyeballs in Kool-Aid Jack.

It's all a matter of taste, sensibility, and who you want to give your cold hard cash to.

What exactly did you not like about the build quality and ride characteristics of the Steelman bike or bikes you have ridden?

Jack Brunk
08-15-2012, 09:43 AM
My point is there's much better value in the market. I find it hard to believe based on what my butt has told me up to know that for what he charges that his frames are that much better.

I've drank some really good kool aid in the past. I know what favors i like now. I'm sure his frames are nice and all but I strongly feel that their priced way too high. I'm just voiceing my opinon. If you like his work and all then by all means jump in. It's all good.

charliedid
08-15-2012, 09:45 AM
My point is there's much better value in the market. I find it hard to believe based on what my butt has told me up to know that for what he charges that his frames are that much better.

I've drank some really good kool aid in the past. I know what favors i like now. I'm sure his frames are nice and all but I strongly feel that their priced way too high. I'm just voiceing my opinon. If you like his work and all then by all means jump in. It's all good.

Smile

FlaRider
08-15-2012, 10:51 AM
I am sure that Brent makes great bikes, although I have not had the pleasure of riding one. That said, you can get a kickass TIG welded bike from the likes of Erik Rolf (Alliance) and Carl Strong for the fraction of the cost of a Steelman. I can afford a Steelman but prefer to order from Erik and Carl and support their bikes.

All of us who post on this Forum have drank the Kool Aid to a certain extent. If we hadn't, we'd all be riding mid-range Cannondales and be perfectly happy. :banana:

PaMtbRider
08-15-2012, 11:07 AM
Sorry indeed,

If you think that Firefly and "others" make a BETTER bike you are up to your eyeballs in Kool-Aid Jack.

It's all a matter of taste, sensibility, and who you want to give your cold hard cash to.

What exactly did you not like about the build quality and ride characteristics of the Steelman bike or bikes you have ridden?

I don't know or have ever met Jack, but I have been here long enough to value his opinion. He is one of few people that can give a comparison of high end frames though actual ownership, and not just repeating what he might have read elsewhere.

jr59
08-15-2012, 11:18 AM
I have never ridden on a Steelman frame.

But, it will be a very sad day when I tell somebody how they should run their business. And a even colder day when I tell somebody how to price their own work, when I know little about said business.

I think a lot of bicycling stuff is way over priced. Look no farther than the top left hand corner of this forum. Not picking on them, just an example.

People who I trust, tell me that Mr. Steelman builds very nice stuff.
I think if he feels he can get that price for his frames and his customers want to pay that price, then good on him.

Fixed
08-15-2012, 11:19 AM
I don't know or have ever met Jack, but I have been here long enough to value his opinion. He is one of few people that can give a comparison of high end frames though actual ownership, and not just repeating what he might have read elsewhere.

+ 1 Jack is a smart guy and known all over not just for his bikes but for his riding as well the guy is the real deal

Cheers

Joachim
08-15-2012, 11:29 AM
It's about point of reference. I think a Bugatti Veyron is overpriced. That doesn't mean there is not a market for it OR that it's not worth the price. All just a bunch of opinions, pretty worthless, but we are allowed to have one. We may as well say Super Record is overpriced, I bet the margins on that for Campagnolo are more than the margins on a Steelman.

jr59
08-15-2012, 11:31 AM
It's about point of reference. I think a Bugatti Veyron is overpriced. That doesn't mean there is not a market for it OR that it's not worth the price. All just a bunch of opinions.

I don't think that is over priced one bit! :)

Trouble is, I can't afford it, no matter how I look at it! :mad:
Because if money was no object, I would have a bunch of VERY pricey toys!

Joachim
08-15-2012, 11:38 AM
I don't think that is over priced one bit! :)

Trouble is, I can't afford it, no matter how I look at it! :mad:
Because if money was no object, I would have a bunch of VERY pricey toys!

If you want to have some fun with that, play around with the online color schemes to see what your future Veyron will look like.

ps. I think its totally worth it and want one in lime metallic green with metallic orange accents.

54ny77
08-15-2012, 12:07 PM
The Veyron is totally overpriced. An '82 Honda Civic will get you to the grocery store just the same in rush hour traffic. Better yet, Peapod or Freshdirect can arguably get food delivered to your door faster & cheaper than the all-in cost of car ownership and the associated trips to grocery store (not to mention reduced liability), so even the '82 Civic is overpriced...;)

It's about point of reference. I think a Bugatti Veyron is overpriced. That doesn't mean there is not a market for it OR that it's not worth the price. All just a bunch of opinions, pretty worthless, but we are allowed to have one. We may as well say Super Record is overpriced, I bet the margins on that for Campagnolo are more than the margins on a Steelman.

charliedid
08-15-2012, 01:12 PM
I don't know or have ever met Jack, but I have been here long enough to value his opinion. He is one of few people that can give a comparison of high end frames though actual ownership, and not just repeating what he might have read elsewhere.

Did Jack send you a free t-shirt to write this ringing endorsement?

Nice of you Pat.

;)

zennmotion
08-15-2012, 01:13 PM
The Veyron is totally overpriced. An '82 Honda Civic will get you to the grocery store just the same in rush hour traffic. Better yet, Peapod or Freshdirect can arguably get food delivered to your door faster & cheaper than the all-in cost of car ownership and the associated trips to grocery store (not to mention reduced liability), so even the '82 Civic is overpriced...;)

The cheapest option is to buy the Steelman and a backpack or messenger bag and ride to the store. For the sake of the bespoke community/industry, I hope these hard economic realities can be similarly addressed by other builders, everyone has a right to a comfortable living wage, especially by a highly skilled artisan. I don't want an "affordable" frame that the builder has sacrificed to produce. Bad juju. I'll save up, maybe buy fewer bikes and find other ways to save. If the economies of scale that reflect decent wages dictate higher prices for me, and the "market" shrinks as a result, then so be it. Good for Brent, I hope others feel they're able to follow suit as they crunch the numbers for themselves. I DON'T WANT A BIKE MADE IN POVERTY.

Keith A
08-15-2012, 01:38 PM
Did Jack send you a free t-shirt to write this ringing endorsement?

Nice of you Pat.

;)Well not that Jack needs it, I'll certainly give him a second endorsement. I've had the good pleasure of meeting, dining and riding with Jack. He's had a significant amount high end stuff go through his garage and so he is able provide good information with his personal experiences.

PaMtbRider
08-15-2012, 01:41 PM
Did Jack send you a free t-shirt to write this ringing endorsement?

Nice of you Pat.

;)

He wouldn't even know my size.

d_douglas
08-15-2012, 04:28 PM
It was a market observation, not a personal jab at Mr. Steelman. He is free to ask whatever he wants and I am sure there are people who will pay it. If there aren't, he will adjust his pricing/approach accordingly.

He makes gorgeous bikes and I go on record by saying that I do not agree with Mr. Brunk that Firefly or others make better bikes. As mentioned, it is a matter of taste and Steelman is more experienced than most. One may not like his personality or his business model, but I don't think his frame building chops can be called into question.

Darren


PS ow that I think of it, my first CX bike was a Bontrager with a Steelman fork - damn, I am part of the club ;).

crankles
08-15-2012, 04:38 PM
but his prices are a joke. I can get a better built, custom titanium frame either road or mountain from Firefly and others.

My point is there's much better value in the market.

I only know Jack from his posts. Which means I don't know him at all.

I guess the problem I have with statements like above, especially from forumites who have a certain level of perceived expertise, is that the subjectivity is almost unassailable, yet potentially damaging. It would sadden me if such statements moved Brent to the bottom of a potential buyers list. I've owned 4 Steelmans. One still hangs in the garage. I also have two Alliances, two Speedvagens, an IF and some carbon thingamajig. I can also TIG with the worst of them. While I may not own the biggest stable on this forum, or have post counts in the zillions, I've put some mile on a fairly large range of bikes in the past ...ahem...lets say 4o+ years.

All my bikes ride great, the best riding ones have had tubesets/geometry tweaked by the builder to match my desired riding characteristics. What Brent brings to the table besides 30 years at the bench and a real knowledge of tubing/geometry, is a level of craftsmanship that often lies under the paint.

That may not be worth a dime for someone looking for the "best value", but it means something to some of us.

..and while ringing endorsements from formers customers can't hurt, the best endorsements for Brent's frames/prices have come from his fellow frame builders. They are the ones who told him his frames were worth twice what he was charging and should give it another go.

e-RICHIE
08-15-2012, 04:46 PM
<cut> the best endorsements for Brent's frames/prices have come from his fellow frame builders.
They are the ones who told him his frames were worth twice what he was charging and should
give it another go.



Gets it atmo.

ps

arrange disorder

:):):cool:
:cool::):rolleyes:
;):cool::rolleyes:

Jack Brunk
08-15-2012, 05:05 PM
I only know Jack from his posts. Which means I don't know him at all.

I guess the problem I have with statements like above, especially from forumites who have a certain level of perceived expertise, is that the subjectivity is almost unassailable, yet potentially damaging. It would sadden me if such statements moved Brent to the bottom of a potential buyers list. I've owned 4 Steelmans. One still hangs in the garage. I also have two Alliances, two Speedvagens, an IF and some carbon thingamajig. I can also TIG with the worst of them. While I may not own the biggest stable on this forum, or have post counts in the zillions, I've put some mile on a fairly large range of bikes in the past ...ahem...lets say 4o+ years.

All my bikes ride great, the best riding ones have had tubesets/geometry tweaked by the builder to match my desired riding characteristics. What Brent brings to the table besides 30 years at the bench and a real knowledge of tubing/geometry, is a level of craftsmanship that often lies under the paint.

That may not be worth a dime for someone looking for the "best value", but it means something to some of us.

..and while ringing endorsements from formers customers can't hurt, the best endorsements for Brent's frames/prices have come from his fellow frame builders. They are the ones who told him his frames were worth twice what he was charging and should give it another go.

I haven't been the only person to state my feelings about his prices. I only stated my opinon on the matter. Any one of you are allowed to disagree with me and that's cool. I have no skin in this game. but, i will again say that based on my dealings with Hampsten, Firefly, Kirk and many others, his prices are too high for me. I'd rather have 2 Hampsten tig'd frames than 1 Steelman tig'd frame for around the same dollar amount. Sorry but it's a better deal for me around based on quality and value.. Also I haven't taken shots at anyone here. I wouldn't put too much of anything behind my opinon. It's just mine. And there was nothing about my post that was meant to be harmful to Mr. Steelman. It seems he does make very nice bikes.

G-Reg
08-15-2012, 06:09 PM
..... It would sadden me if such statements moved Brent to the bottom of a potential buyers list.......

If Brent or any other builder is dependant on reviews from this or any other fourm for buisness, they are doomed to begin with.

Bunks opinion was only regarding his price not his quality.

We all love to bitch about the price of a steel Serotta but that would seem a bargin in comparison.

At least that is the opinion I have.

G-Reg
08-15-2012, 06:10 PM
..., the best endorsements for Brent's frames/prices have come from his fellow frame builders. They are the ones who told him his frames were worth twice what he was charging and should give it another go.

Maybe they should buy his frames

rwsaunders
08-15-2012, 08:24 PM
I haven't been the only person to state my feelings about his prices. I only stated my opinon on the matter. Any one of you are allowed to disagree with me and that's cool. I have no skin in this game. but, i will again say that based on my dealings with Hampsten, Firefly, Kirk and many others, his prices are too high for me. I'd rather have 2 Hampsten tig'd frames than 1 Steelman tig'd frame for around the same dollar amount. Sorry but it's a better deal for me around based on quality and value.. Also I haven't taken shots at anyone here. I wouldn't put too much of anything behind my opinon. It's just mine. And there was nothing about my post that was meant to be harmful to Mr. Steelman. It seems he does make very nice bikes.

I'd have to venture that most of us do cost/value comparisons when buying any type of high end gear, and I find myself aligning with Jack's comments.

54ny77
08-15-2012, 09:33 PM
these kinds of threads make me appreciate two things that i've come to do with respect to bike frames:

1) buy high end custom or semi-custom frames used.
2) buy bigbikeco. off-the-shelf high(er) end frames used.

:)

charliedid
08-15-2012, 09:44 PM
Well not that Jack needs it, I'll certainly give him a second endorsement. I've had the good pleasure of meeting, dining and riding with Jack. He's had a significant amount high end stuff go through his garage and so he is able provide good information with his personal experiences.

I know....I was just having a little fun. I'm pretty certain I didn't hurt Jack's feelings.

krhea
08-15-2012, 11:00 PM
My comment/question was answered when Jack clarified what he meant to say. We all know a "better value" is not the same as "better build". I now understand where jack was coming from.

Jack Brunk
08-15-2012, 11:00 PM
I know....I was just having a little fun. I'm pretty certain I didn't hurt Jack's feelings.

NO worries my friend it's all good.

Spin71
08-15-2012, 11:56 PM
Gets it atmo.

Yawn.

pdmtong
08-16-2012, 12:11 AM
better value...?

better build...?

what does it matter? people need to make their own value purchase evaluations. get some opinions, make up your own mind. maybe take a chance. or not.

some folks happily pay $8k for a meivici...that makes the steelman pricing right in line.

plenty of steel choices out there. as has been often said, you have to find the builder who speaks to you. once that happens, it either fits your budget or doesnt. or, you save to make it happen becasue you believe.

get the geo right, and the bike will sing. the rest, it just makes for the beautiful aura we all want as part of the handmade journey.

whoa, did I just write this? time for another pour.

PS...jack b. is definitely one of the good guys. make no mistake about it.

beeatnik
08-16-2012, 01:18 AM
as my girl always says, bike dudes are a trip.

i think we place too much value in the opinion of cyclists who can afford to flip high end bikes. I mean, if you've gone through 2 or 3 Vanillas, a few Sachs and 5 or 6 Serottas, do you really know what you like or want? The grass is always greener and all that.

i used to play golf with a dude who had a mismatched set of clubs (a thrift store ping from 95, a taylor made from 2000, a nike from 05). he was scratch. i bet that guy could tell me more about the characteristics of a nice iron than the 10 handicap who buys a new set of $1000 irons yearly.

binxnyrwarrsoul
08-16-2012, 06:04 AM
The man makes ridiculous frames, IMHO. Yeah, the frame I want was $1500, now it's $2750. And if I had the scratch, I'd pay for the mark up. But, that's me. What it's worth has more to do with what you're willing to pay. The man is an artist. But, W-the-F do I know, I still ride lugged steel, with alloy 10S Campy and "regular," handbuilt 32X wheels. :rolleyes:

rugbysecondrow
08-16-2012, 06:44 AM
The man makes ridiculous frames, IMHO. Yeah, the frame I want was $1500, now it's $2750. And if I had the scratch, I'd pay for the mark up. But, that's me. What it's worth has more to do with what you're willing to pay. The man is an artist. But, W-the-F do I know, I still ride lugged steel, with alloy 10S Campy and "regular," handbuilt 32X wheels. :rolleyes:

Yep. Price is set by the builder but value is determined by the customer. If the price is set, and orders are coming in with frames going out the door, then the formula works.

In my own opinion, I think many framebuilders charge too little. If all they did was churn out a widget like some Taiwanese factory, then maybe not, but that is not what they do. The handholding, the scope development, honing down what the customer actually wants, not just caring if the frame is built but caring that is rides like the wind, the project management involved with ordering parts, paint, possibly assembling the bike for customers, the detailed items like a stem or a rack, the unique ideas and perspective which might make the rider experience better...this is what you pay for, this is what is rolled up in the frame, in the rider experience.

Kelly Bedford charges $2595 Tig Comp Road Frame and Fork, I am glad to see his prices are higher than they were when I bought my 3 frames from him, I thought I was getting one hell of a bargin at the time, I think $2600 is still a great deal and I will explain why. I bought my last bike frame 1 year and 8 months ago, my Bedford sport tourer, and have not lusted after another bike since. I also have a Bedford Club Racer type of bike, love it. My wife loves hers as well. Spend a little more for the right guy to build the right frame and it will likely save you money in the long run. You will stop the business if shuttling **** in and **** out the door. Buying my Bedford eliminated my bike lust to the point where I don't even look in the Classifieds anymore, no need to as I am set. I bet that alone saves me $400 each year.

I suspect a gentlemen like Steelman would treat you like Kelly treated me and my wife, creating happy customers. That is worth quite a lot to me, more that the extra $400 extra I might spend on a frame, but like I said you are not purcahsing the frame in a vaccum, you purchase a frame built with service and years of experience in mind. The question I would as is not why is Steelmen charging so much (he isn't) but why are some guys charging so little? Steelman seems to be charging a fair amount, but for what you are getting, you are likely still getting a bargin.

Just my opinion, and like Jack's, you can take it or leave it.

Cheers

slowgoing
08-16-2012, 07:20 AM
the best endorsements for Brent's frames/prices have come from his fellow frame builders. They are the ones who told him his frames were worth twice what he was charging and should give it another go.

Not sure these are as much endorsements as an attempt by some builders to move overall industry prices higher, which is in every builder's best interest.

William
08-16-2012, 07:23 AM
All right folks, I'm going to close this thread. Brent has opened up shop again and is producing great frames. If you would like to start another thread on frame pricing etc... please feel free to do so.




William