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Wow, Serotta out of business
Last Post 08/01/2013 10:05 PM by bob etzler. 5 Replies.
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Ride On


08/01/2013 08:33 AM
It is a hard world out there
Cosmic Kid


08/01/2013 09:21 AM
Yeah, noted that over in the coffee shop. Ben is a great guy, but every time he has gotten involved in groups like this, he gets screwed.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


08/01/2013 09:44 AM
The writings been on the wall for a few years now. Had Ben continued to make Steel/Ti frames,remained a small shop to produce frames for a core customers like RS, D. Kirk or Waterford to name a few he'd been fine. But he wanted to be the best and biggest in custom in both metal and CF from the ground up which required capitol that was added to the cost of the frames that priced Serotta's out of the market. IMO
Orange Crush


08/01/2013 11:45 AM
I thought cycling was the new golf which should mean big bussiness given that there's a lot of old farts with cash in their pockets around?

This giant store just opened in my neck of the woods
Yo Mike


08/01/2013 02:25 PM
That is a shame. Always sad to see Quality go out the back door.


08/01/2013 10:05 PM
Found this take over at the Paceline forum

sfscott sfscott is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 200
So many mistakes
I bought my first Serotta around 2003. It was a Legend. At that time, I could tell you about Colorado Concept, ST dropouts, characteristic of the carbon fork etc. The point is that Serotta had a story to tell from a R&D and tech perspective, not just a racing legacy or "reputation for quality."

This continued with the Ottrot, and I bought one of those in 2008. Right after that, things changed with the Mevici. Oh sure, it was full custom carbon, which at the time was unique. But other than that, the brand stopped innovating, talking about what made it a special bike (at any price) and focused on the Porsche model of charging a lot to a few for elaborate cosmetic upgrades.

Whether you agree with such "innovations" as oversized BBs, tapered head tubes, different tube shapes as being worthwhile, other brands did, be it for marketing or actual performance. Serotta? Nada. They knew better than you what worked and what you want. Drilling for electronic gruppos? Nope, they are purists. Instead, they invested in their own carbon production because there could not be *any* possible supplier that was satisfactory? Toray in Japan that builds CF for Ferarri F1 cars? Nope, better to vertically integrate and charge more for it.

All the while, cycling in the US was in a Renaissance due to Lance Armstrong making the sport cool and an affluent boomer population looking for a new fitness option. Rather than make the brand accessible with some gateway models, Serotta cut back and raised prices. So that new rider looking to spend $3-$4k? Sorry, no soup for you.

Porsche saw the light even. They created models like the Boxster and Cayman that allowed a broader set of customers to buy into the brand..and then move them up to a 911 later.

Meanwhile, while no one was looking, Taiwan actually started to make some really good bikes. Many manufacturers had their own takes on frame design which could engage the consumer in a discussion and evaluation. They created price points to broaden the market. They expanded their sizing to enable better fits off of stock bikes. They created brand identities that appealed to many people, not just those who remember Lemonde, let alone Merckx and Coppi. Serotta in this period? Raise prices, offer the same frames and don't even operate a web store for swag.

What about fit, custom tube selection and aesthetics? Didn't Serotta always have that advantage? Well, maybe once. The FitCycle was an innovation. Now, what fitter doesn't use some combination of Specialized Body Geometry, Retul or other systems? You say those are all smoke and mirrors? Maybe, but the industry has moved on, more vendors are offering personalization if not customization.

So, with all those former competitive edges gone, you would think a company would evolve or shift strategy. How about focus on service? Why not be like the high-end clothing store that has less selection and higher prices than Nordstrom but gives the best service and goes the extra mile? They did not do that, either.

Instead, those few who valued the interaction with a builder went to Dario, Kirk, Kellogg or whomever. Those that wanted more faddish high-tech rides could get great stuff from mass production or shop IF, Crumpton, Guru or any other boutique. Don't like Asian manufacturing? Time and Look come right out of the Alps.

The point is that is you aren't getting better, you're getting worse. It took Ben about 8 years to figure that out.

I, like everyone, am saddened. Long hours on my Legend Ti gave me respite from a very difficult period in my life. I took pride in riding something cutting edge, special and coveted.

I bought a new bike last year. I wanted something with a new design, good fit, quality manufacturing and some panache. I bought a Colnago C59. I liked that one the best, but Ernesto had a nice range of frames to choose from, all with pretty great quality-even if from Asia. I could find a fit and certainly picked up a bike with a great pedigree and panache. It cost about $4K less than a Meivci.

We can lament the death of a friend and the people that friend's death impacted. The sad truth is that our friend smoked 5 packs of cigs a day, drank too much, ate every meal at McDonalds and never exercised. We should not be surprised that he dropped dead.
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