Make tires available in tiny batches, then never bother to make them again.
Yes, Surly has had stock issues, but things do come back, sort of on time, and in quantities where at least I can source them now as needed.
When was the last time we saw restock from 45? Right, never.
Now they have new tires?
50 will show up, get sold in a day, then we get to watch them never show up again.
The Escalator is a great tire, kind of the best of both worlds, more bite than a HuDu or a Larry, faster rolling than a Nate, too bad they're the unicorn of unicorns of fatbike tires. Wouldn't mind being able to sell them to my customers, alas, I got one in the Fall, pfffft, gone by the next week. Don't even get me started on the Wolvhammers.
I'll take halfway decent stock of existing tires, before I get frothed about new, never to be seen past initial small launch, product.
These guys have to be talking to one another, they all work under Q's umbrella. I fail to believe they are clueless about anticipated stock sell through......
Bah, too much rain, I need to get to a sunny beach somewhere with a fatbike and a case of cold beer.
This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!
QBP's manufacturing processes seem strange. The brands either are inept at forecasting demand, they're so tightly leashed that they have a zero closeout policy or they're crafty marketers who create insane demand for their products, but make just enough to satisfy 60% of that demand, leaving perpetual desire and buzz for their products. There you have it: QBP: Incompetent, Restrained or Genius?
I'm still amazed that the likes of Specialized, Bontrager, Maxxis, et. al. have not stepped into the 'fat' tire biz. Yes, fat tires are likely mice nuts compared to the 26er and 29er biz, but they really only need to make a couple of tires (winter aggressive, summer fast rolling) to make an impact and, importantly, make them money.
On the 29+, I'd love to have more than one option. I am hopeful by the time my Knards wear out, there will be a few more choices.
I think it's a bit early to bash on 45 Nrth for making a single run of products. Most companies that make seasonal products like 45 Nrth will only do 1 product run a year in preparation for their target season. By the time a company that uses overseas contract manufacturing realizes that their forecasts are low, it's way too late to "quickly make another run" in time prior to the season ending. So, they run another batch next year with the new products they are going to develop.
This isn't an cycling that only QBP faces, all season sporting goods companies face this issue. Yes it sucks but there is a reason QBP continues to grow - it's becuase they don't over commit and get suck with crap inventory that nobody wants. May great brands have died when they doubled down, over-committed and couldn't move the inventory.
I think it's a bit early to bash on 45 Nrth for making a single run of products.
All due respect? I disagree.
Were they a tiny little company, in the middle of say, the moon, sure, I could get on board with feeling as thought they were having growing pains, and wanted to be careful.
But, they are under the umbrella of the single largest current driving force in Fatbikes, (no offense to all the smaller fellas who got it to where it is today).
As such, they know quite well, how many tires their other brand sold, and to not use that info, is to assume they are blind, deaf and dumb.
As for seasonal only product? I think they know better than that too, studded offerings, I'll give you though. To say the HuDu or Escalator are winter only tires? Mmmm, no.
To think that Surly can sell (hypothetical number here) 5000 tires across at least 10 different SKU's, so they should only do 50, is kinda silly, and I don't buy new company, being careful, as an excuse.
All grousing aside though, love the product, and tend to agree with Gigantics assessment/labeling.
Come on 45 North, bring the fat tire love already, will ya?
This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!
I look at things from a business perspective and not from the emotional, enthusiast's eye. While QBP may be the largest bike parts distributor in the country and leader in the fat bike market, we need to remember that each business unit operates as a independent entity. This means 45 Nrth won't have the resources available to them that a Surly would.
Even if that weren't the case, a business of any size wouldn't (maybe responsible is the right word) invest a sizable amount of capital into an untested market. By untested I mean ultra high end fat bike/winter gear (example: tires area already 40-100% more expensive than a 27tpi Larry, which is still expensive compared to a typical MTB tire).
A final thing, that I have no clue if it impacts QBP is the finance market. The majority of sporting good manufactures use credit to pay for inventory. On new, untested markets, many banks are less willing to extend large amounts of inventory credit even if the company as a whole has a proven track record.
So I guess this boils down to, I'm happy they are a responsible company. This means they will continue to support the sport we all enjoy, even if the market growth isn't as fast as we'd like - I'd rather they be here than be bankrupt.
Most of my winter riding is commuting on ice. I am hoping its a relatively smooth tire with studs down the center stripe--basically a slightly larger version of the Schwalbe Winter Marathon. The big problem with the Dillinger and Xerxes is no studding down the center.
NONE of the bike companies are producing near the inventory they did 8-10 years ago. There was a massive glut of sale stuff every Fall back then, with insanely cheap prices on top line stuff. Not anymore! Tight inventory means bigger potential profits.
Don't underestimate the economic angle. Go out to your local Lowes/HD and look at what stuff costs today. You wont hear about it on your tightly controlled mainstream evening news, but inflation is EXPLODING. The cost of very basic and simple items has doubled in the last 5 years. Looking ahead, with insane levels of taxation & regulation on the horizon (did you know there is a new tax on Christmas trees?), companies have to be VERY careful.
Sure, like everyone else I'd like to see better quantity, but 45 North has some great products. I hope they continue to walk the tightrope successfully.
I've got a set of Floaters coming across the pond right now. The 120TPI HuDu has been a great tire in terms of performance, but the longevity is pretty poor from my perspective. No... the tread on mine is doing just fine, thank you. I make it a point stay off of pavement and it is holding up pretty well, even riding year'round. However, the sidewalls (mostly the rear) are getting thread bare in their second year of use, which disappoints me GREATLY. I'd gladly suffer hauling around a few more ounces of rubber to get better life than this. Even if I could find (or afford) another set of 120 HuDus, I'd not buy them again.
Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
- John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker