Sonoma Bike Launches

Dynacraft launches Sonoma Bike, exclusively online

… a new line of adult bicycles designed to offer today’s rider superior value and performance. With bikes designed for both serious riders and recreational riders, Sonoma will debut with eight models for men and women ranging from the Karma Beach Cruiser ($249) to the top of the line CN:7 full carbon fiber road bike ($2,499) … Online sales are a core strategy for Dynacraft SRG. Based on the success we’ve had with selling some of our other models online, we’ve decided to sell Sonoma exclusively through its own website

sonoma_bikes.jpg Is there finally a market for online bike sales? Many have tried and failed with various strategies – I met a fellow roadie who was riding an Airborne a couple weeks ago.

I’m thinking, probably and you can bet the purchasers will take those to their local IBD. Dynacraft SRG also markets Tony Hawk’s Huckjam Bikes.



9 Comments

Airborne is apparently defunct, after selling off their name (sometime in ‘05?). Some of Airborne’s staff apparently started a new company, called Flyte, which looks to have fallen off the face of the earth in early ‘07. (Ref: What happened to Airborne? and Flyte Bicycles gone?)

I had a friend with an Airborne Ti ATB who loved it, but not because he got it off the internet: He worked with the frame builder to get a longer front center, based loosely on the geometry of his Gary Fisher.

It’s fine if a manufacturer wants to sell on the internet, but if they’re just selling frames from China that are equivalent to Giant/Specialized/Trek, they’re going to get steamrollered if Giant, Specialized, or Trek ever decide to sell online. Think they won’t do it to protect their dealers? How about a sub-brand: “Big Bikes by Giant” or “Waterloo Designs by Trek”.

Despite Airborne’s fate, they had the internet model right: It should be possible to do “mass customization” of bikes in much the same way Dell does with computers. Enter a few dimensions and preferences, get back a list of suggested frames, then choose one, choose components and a paint scheme, and a few weeks later, here’s your new ride.

Cannondale used to tout this ability, and I’ve seen them suggested as a counterexample because of their corporate difficulties, but I don’t think the two are really related.

There are a few companies that do this now, but not necessarily online: Bike Friday leaps to mind.

Having been born and lived eighteen years in Sonoma County, goddammit.

There was also bikeshop.com, Raleigh’s attempt to help consumers shop online and then pickup the bike at the dealer. Less margins, shipping a bike that dealer may have already in stock, and an industry reeling from the mail order discounters led to it’s demise. Back in the day, I turned away a few customers myself who came in with prices from Excel or Colorado expecting a “deal.”

A site that works—for better or worse—is [bikesdirect.com](http://www.bikesdirect.com/)

BikesDirect.com is hard to beat for price.  frames are more or less replaceable, but for a grand you can get race-quality components on a bike ready to ride.

the issue - try bringing a new BikesDirect Motobecane into your LBS and see if they don’t give you the mail-order up-charge.  I certainly would.

Wow - they want $2500 for their “top of the line” 105-equiped carbon fiber P.O.S.  You can do a LOT better than that at most any LBS.

The UK has a number of reasonably successful bike manufacturers selling only online.  On-One (http://www.on-one.co.uk) and Planet X (http://www.planet-x-bikes.com) are the most visible, but Cotic is another example.  They’ve been going for some years now and staying afloat quite nicely.  Of course, they’re pretty small operations - the real question is whether a buy-a-bike-online model would translate to the mass market.  I’m a bit more skeptical about that - I’m quite happy to buy a bike online because I’ve been cycling for a few years, know what I want, and know roughly what sort of frame geometry it translates into.  By and large, though, most people are still going to want to get their legs over something before they shell out the cash (and fair enough too).

All the components their top bike offers seems to be worth the $2500. It does not seem to be a P.O.S. at all.

It’s equiped with 105.  That component group costs roughly $800 retail.  There’s plenty of similarly equiped bikes with similar frames available at your LBS at that same price point. 

If you’re going to buy online for the components, BikesDirect has a Motobecane Grand Sprint with Ultegra for under a grand shipped.  Want a carbon frame and a real brand-name: get the Kestral RT700 for under 2 trimmed out with WCS Ritchey kit!

Sam,

It’s also a different market and probably with a future ad campaign or maybe even an infomercial. While the enthusiast my balk at this bike, that’s not saying a baby boomer reading Sunset mag would.

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