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  1. #1
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    Making a rental Fatty under $1000 (VIK feel free to add your 2 cents)

    So here is the deal. With the promise of selling my loud overpriced (always needing parts) ATV's. I get to buy as many fat bikes as I can with a $10,000 budget. So why rental? we put our eggs in one basket and bought a small hotel in a national park. (amazing how remodeling always needs money ) so little is left after home repairs, none for marketing...But hopefully a few fat bikes will stir some interest..

    back story done..

    So, making that 10g go as far as it can... Looked at fat sand terrain destroyer, pugs and even walmart.... eyes are bigger than the wallet. I can build a custom ATV, but a fat bike? Nope...mentally challenged going from gas and oil to green...back to the point

    Internal hub A8 (its a must....to many jobs to do. Cant be cleaning bikes everyday, let alone adjustments)

    Racks for the beer

    Mechanic disk (or maybe a coaster brakes....but beer + rental bike + coaster brake= really cool skids= mo money for tires

    did I forget to mention that our trails have two river crossings (yes we have liability release forms, kinda funny....if you cant swim please dont rent bike )

    Framebags are great for balance, but racks are great for backpacks and bungee cords (or beer)

    I have done a lot reading, the point to the post is I am at impasse with myself. Cant seem to pull the trigger without some feel good advice. I would consult the LBS but, since I am in Lithuania (wife is lithuanian ) and I speak barely passable lithuanian, and the term fat bikes gives the local dealer the deer in the headlight look, that option is out...

    If your ever in my neck of the woods....beer is on me

  2. #2
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    Small Business Loan ?

  3. #3
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    na, hard earned cash....with the promise of selling my toys. I convinced the boss (the wife) the sewer repair can wait

  4. #4
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    Tough budget, then ... Perhaps start with a few bikes, and build as the business needs grow.

    From an insurance perspective, I'm thinking buy them built, rather than building them ... Documentation will be easier.

    YMMV, and best of luck with this.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, my new world judo math says eight units is the magic number to make ROI make sense

  6. #6
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    I watched my Uncle grow a canoe rental from 20 canoes to 100 over a decade, while adding a few cabins as things grew.

    If the location is good, you'll get along fine.

    Get in good with the locals !!!
    That's the best thing I know about such things ... He threw a FREE beer & BBQ party and invited the closest town.
    Cost him a few pennies, but the recommendations made it worth the price.

  7. #7
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    I'd think that a dealer would be willing to give you some kind of volume discount.
    You mentioned Alfine 8 and coaster brake. Pretty sure you can't have both, but there's a 3-speed internal hub with coaster brake.

    Seems like a complete bike with all or most of what you want would be the way to go, as building up bikes from scratch is usually more expensive.

  8. #8
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    My buddy owns Arctic Cycles in Anchorage, AK. His money makers are his Pugslys.
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  9. #9
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    the only internal gear stock fatbikes are the 907 tusken($2950), origin8 Crawler($1400??) that I know of.
    I guess Fat sand bikes makes an 8sp alfine bike, but it is not worth the money at $1300. it has walmart quality parts. better off getting a mongoose, and lowering the gearing.

    for beer guzzling renters, a low geared single speed may be the best answer. that way they can climb some hills and won't be able to go too fast,

  10. #10
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    I would be tempted to throw a 3 speed wide SA hub from Choppers US in the back of a Mongoose, give it some brakes and call it good.

    Oh and fab us some front and rear racks sturdy enough for the two-four.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, in this case I would look at building up either Pugsley's or 9:zero:7's because they can both be had with internal gearing. That said, I can't see them happening for $1k. For something that is rentable (i.e. you won't need to fix them all the damn time) the part spec should be a bit more sturdy than a barebones set up would get. I think sending a line to both Surly and 9:ZERO:7 inquiring about specific builds, noting where you are and the use you have in mind, might answer the question better.

    Fortunately, aside from tires and rims, the other parts would be standard so the LBS should be able to correct any customer undoings (assuming the LBS actually knows anything about bikes).

  12. #12
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    I think your best bet is to get a few Walgooses; slime the tubes, lower the gearing and add porter racks.

  13. #13
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    Well...I dropped a line with QBP a while back. Suggested not worth to buy complete bike. Frame and Fork standard...IGH. Then....no more advise.

    I thought about the Walmart super saver special. $200 is just wow. But is that the way to introduce fatties into the market. The bigger picture is too rent for two seasons, sell at cost (or market demand) buy some more. Dont see that happening with Wallies fatty. You can only polish a turd so much.

    So lets assume, I can source a worthy frame ( at under $400 ???). But what about the rest?
    Maybe a single rear disk is enough, or skip the disk? go standard.

    So far QBP is down with some discounts on surly and salsa. (I have no clue on pricing yet...still working on that)

    but better deals might be ebay....for the rest

  14. #14
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    If you have access to a LBS that is pretty decent, you might be able to work out a discounted price, and a service contract on some Surly bikes. It would definitely be cheaper to stick with the derailleurs, but depending on the shop, they might give you some credit for the parts removed.

    If you could find somebody to help you keep the derailleur drivetrains in order, and maybe show you how to do a few of the more common repairs, I think it would work out as well as the IGH bikes.

    As far as the IGH bikes though, the origin8 is going to be the best value by far. It would probably be as durable and bombproof as a Pugsley with an IGH. And it is sold through regular Bike Shops, with the normal high markup, so there should be a bike shop somewhere that you can get a nice discount on 10 or so bikes.

    You might want to start with a smaller number of stock pugsleys and put off modifying them to IGH, or getting more of them till you know if the market is there, and the drivetrains on the first ones are starting to wear out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by autodoctor911 View Post
    If you have access to a LBS that is pretty decent, you might be able to work out a discounted price, and a service contract on some Surly bikes. It would definitely be cheaper to stick with the derailleurs, but depending on the shop, they might give you some credit for the parts removed.

    If you could find somebody to help you keep the derailleur drivetrains in order, and maybe show you how to do a few of the more common repairs, I think it would work out as well as the IGH bikes.

    As far as the IGH bikes though, the origin8 is going to be the best value by far. It would probably be as durable and bombproof as a Pugsley with an IGH. And it is sold through regular Bike Shops, with the normal high markup, so there should be a bike shop somewhere that you can get a nice discount on 10 or so bikes.

    You might want to start with a smaller number of stock pugsleys and put off modifying them to IGH, or getting more of them till you know if the market is there, and the drivetrains on the first ones are starting to wear out.
    Since I am in Lithuania....local shops are out. They have some russian old school mentality that I should be happy that they exist, and privileged that I am able to buy from them. But you make sense with the Pugsley....and FYI....there is no fat bike dealer in all Eastern Europe. So i need to do it myself

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TikiInn View Post
    So here is the deal. With the promise of selling my loud overpriced (always needing parts) ATV's. I get to buy as many fat bikes as I can with a $10,000 budget. So why rental? we put our eggs in one basket and bought a small hotel in a national park. (amazing how remodeling always needs money ) so little is left after home repairs, none for marketing...But hopefully a few fat bikes will stir some interest..

    back story done..

    So, making that 10g go as far as it can... Looked at fat sand terrain destroyer, pugs and even walmart.... eyes are bigger than the wallet. I can build a custom ATV, but a fat bike? Nope...mentally challenged going from gas and oil to green...back to the point

    Internal hub A8 (its a must....to many jobs to do. Cant be cleaning bikes everyday, let alone adjustments)

    Racks for the beer

    Mechanic disk (or maybe a coaster brakes....but beer + rental bike + coaster brake= really cool skids= mo money for tires

    did I forget to mention that our trails have two river crossings (yes we have liability release forms, kinda funny....if you cant swim please dont rent bike )

    Framebags are great for balance, but racks are great for backpacks and bungee cords (or beer)

    I have done a lot reading, the point to the post is I am at impasse with myself. Cant seem to pull the trigger without some feel good advice. I would consult the LBS but, since I am in Lithuania (wife is lithuanian ) and I speak barely passable lithuanian, and the term fat bikes gives the local dealer the deer in the headlight look, that option is out...

    If your ever in my neck of the woods....beer is on me
    The vibe through the grapevine is that fat bikes are coming from some of the big brands. That's gonna mean some cheaper prices.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlikedog View Post
    The vibe through the grapevine is that fat bikes are coming from some of the big brands. That's gonna mean some cheaper prices.
    Three days of google, and it all points to fat bikes will no longer be a niche market, but mainstream. Kona...Trek and even the guys with Ideal europe in poland are re-tooling...(only managed to get a sliver of info)

    The big question is who will drop pants first?

  18. #18
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    drop on-one a line, they are in your hemisphere...but that origin8 with the NuVinci would be very appealing to be...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  19. #19
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    I spoke with on-one. No flex in pricing...I thought too they would be the perfect choice, but their sales setup is manufacturer direct. And with On-One we have a supply demand issue. More demand than supply means 5 to 10% volume discount only. Plus, after sales? If I sell a few bikes after a season, I have residual income with customers.

    I need to drop origin8 a line, anybody with any experience with J&B importers? I looked for any mainstream EU distributors, but came up empty

  20. #20
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    A fatty rental fleet is an interesting idea. I'm happy to throw out some thoughts, but I have to say that the issues with a personal bike used hard and a rental bike may not be the same. So take these comments with a grain of salt.

    You've got three main objectives:

    - buy bikes you can afford
    - buy bikes people would want to rent
    - buy bikes that are robust enough to keep maintenance costs/efforts in check

    From a cost perspective you need to factor in the purchase cost and maintenance cost. So I would put together a budget for the two years you plan to rent these bikes and work out and estimate of both and come up with a bottomline you can live with. It's easy to blow your whole budget on the captial acquisition phase and then be left with unsuable bikes because you can't afford to maintain them.

    I would settle on a spec you can live with and buy 2-4 bikes to get things started. Then add bikes as you have money and you come across good deals. If you stick with 170mm or 135mm offset frames the parts will swap across. I'd have suggestions for where to look for deals in North America....I've got no idea what to suggest for Europe.

    Check out this low cost fat bike frame thread:

    My custom (budget) fatbike

    Maybe you can get these frames/forks and then source a build kit separately? The mark up on parts is pretty good so if you buy 4 build kits a shop should be able to give you a solid discount. Since you are running a business you can apply for an account with a distributor and get parts directly at wholesale cost.

    If you were building up some fat bikes for you and your lady and asked me about IGHs - specifically A8's I'd say that was a great idea. I'm not so sure it would be a great idea on rental bikes. You have to slightly ease up when shifting on an IGH. If you ride them frequently this is something you don't even think about as you ride. I'm not sure what would happen if a rental A8 got mashed ride after ride? I never submerge my Pugsley in water because I don't want to service the hubs and BB. With two river crossings near you I suspect you'd be opening up the A8 frequently to get the water out and lubricate it. It would also be hard to inspect an IGH at the end of the rental and observe damage.

    If your local terrain is SS freindly that may be the best way to go. If you need gears maybe a 1 x 9 setup would work. The trade off in tweaking derailleurs is that you can check the drivetrain at the end of rental easier and charge for damage as needed.

    I'm in Sedona AZ at the moment and my friend does MTB rentals. I'll ask him what his thoughts are on a rental fleet spec.

    My general business advice is start slow, hope for the best, but be ready for failure. If you buy 2 or 4 bikes you can afford and would like to ride you can go out riding with family and friends even if the rental business doesn't take off. If you find yourself renting out the bikes you have regularly you know it's a good idea to invest more $$. If it's a good idea starting modestly won't hurt and if it's a bad idea you'll be glad you didn't spend every penny on Day 1.

    Good luck!...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  21. #21
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    Great advice from vikb. I think the SS suggestion makes a lot of sense unless your area is hilly. You might also consider Surly Knard 29" tires for the fatbikes since they can fit on much cheaper and easily serviceable rims/wheels.
    Last edited by fos'l; 04-16-2013 at 03:56 PM.

  22. #22
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    Dude you are the bomb we dont have too much hills, might be slow going in some sandy areas. but overall....maybe not a bad idea...1x9 might be better given the high end nature of the bikes themselves.

    So what's the thought on brake setup?

    I will be back on the phone with QBP today, regarding a custom kit. they are interested in the rental setup. Maybe another niche market.

    Vikb, I know from reading your blogs, your a straight shooter when it comes to reviews, you really think IGH seals won't hold up to submersion?
    You have done some brutal riding. Your bike before strip and shine looks like my ATV's now.

    I am a bit on the extreme side...that said...our customers may decide that a river crossing is not their cup of tea. I hate it when I make the exception the rule.

    No thoughts on a SS diminishing the overall experience?

    Got a buddy in CA, offered buy 20 of the wally fats, set and forget. sell when the paint chips.. But, thats not a good way to start a micro business. Thats like drinking a bottle of jack, thinking you're going to wake up with cinderella

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    Great advice from vikb. I think the SS suggestion makes a lot of sense unless you're area is hilly. You might also consider Surly Knard 29" tires for the fatbikes since they can fit on marginally wider, much cheaper, and easily serviceable rims/wheels.
    thanks for the tip...i wrote that one down

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by autodoctor911 View Post
    the only internal gear stock fatbikes are the 907 tusken($2950), origin8 Crawler($1400??) that I know of.
    I guess Fat sand bikes makes an 8sp alfine bike, but it is not worth the money at $1300. it has walmart quality parts. better off getting a mongoose, and lowering the gearing.

    for beer guzzling renters, a low geared single speed may be the best answer. that way they can climb some hills and won't be able to go too fast,
    just got off the phone with origin8...didnt even want to talk about export of any units to me. Correct me if I am wrong...isnt 8 bikes on par with stocking bike shops? geeze

  25. #25
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    Maybe I should take a picture of my ATV lifts and tools, throw up a neon sign thats say bike shop.

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