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  1. #1
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    Your favourite bikes for the Midwest

    (Especially Indiana)

    I own a small bike shop in Indiana and am trying to decide on what boutique brand to carry for MTB. So I thought I would ask everyone what bikes they have and/or like.

    Currently I am carrying KHS, BH, and Redline for MTB (Plus Ciocc, Debernardi, Cyfac, BH, KHS, and Co-motion for road). I am leaning toward Pivot, but I would also consider Turner, Yeti, Niner.... Any suggestions?

    Demographics: Far north side of Indy, average household income in the area is around $144,000/year. Very close to Hazel Dell, which leads to Town Run Trail Park. Most shops in the area are brand-shops. ie: Specialized or Trek and not much more.

    So... give me your dream-bike list!

  2. #2
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    Turner, Knolly

  3. #3
    JmZ
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    I'm on a Ventana for my main bike. I've been exceptionally happy with the bike, the sizing & geometry, and the support. But I've only seen the one(s) I own.

    Hard to say what would be a great choice though, as something different can be good, or something that is great, but will languish because people don't know what brand X is.

    IF price is comparable, I'd look at someone who does something in the US. I'll pay a few extra bucks for something made here. Last I checked, (and it has been a while) that'd be Ventana, Turner, Foes, Moots, Eriksen. A quick check has both Moots and Eriksen with road and mountain offerings.

    Other bikes that I'd still drool over would be Pivot, Yeti, Santa Cruz.
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  4. #4
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    Honestly, if I were you, I'd seriously look at stocking some bikes from bikes direct. Can't really be beat for the price, but I'm not sure how much you could realistically charge without people just buying them direct. I know a few shops do this, but they are up in the northwest.

    Then again, I'm not the kind to just walk into a bike shop and plop down 4k+ for a few bike. I usually buy used. But if a local shop near me carried a sub-1k fat bike I could look at/test, or a descent womens MTB in the $500 range(men have SOO much more selection at that 500-1000range than women) I more than likely would have already bought them.

    Your avg income level in the area is pretty good, so not sure how much interest you would get on those, but if I was to say have infinite money, and want to walk into a store to look at the coolest stuff, I'd have to say, Moots, Yeti, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Kona, Surley, Salsa are all brands I'd love to see, or have.

    I still think a shop that had motobecane/BD bikes would seriously destroy any trek/specialized/giant house/high volume type brand shop. Probably the biggest reason anyone doesn't get a online bike is because of the service/support a local shop can give you. Keep in mind, not everyone wants to spend thousands on a bike, some just getting started want to go in, grab a bike for $300-$500 thats significantly better than a walmart/rei/***** special and call it a day.

  5. #5
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    I live on the southside, so I've been to BGI and Performance, as well as Matthews on the east side. They all carry about the same bikes, Trek, Spec, Giant etc. I visited the shop in Broad Ripple a few years back, and from what I remember it was similar. As suggested, Knolly and Turner would be good. Might also look at Kona, I don't know of any shop around that sells them, are still made in North America, and offer both MTB and road bikes. They have bikes in the $1k-$2k and up from there, plus they have FS and hardtails, both of which are popular around here. If you want, I can try and hook you up with out cycling team coach, he may be able to offer some insight on to what would sell best around here. We just opened up a Power Booster at Clay Terrace, so he's around your area often.

  6. #6
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    I'm in Northern Indiana, less than two hours from you. I just recently bought a Rip9 RDO frame but I seriously wanted to look at Santa Cruz, Pivot, Intense, Ibis, and Yeti. All five of those brands are under represented in your area, I believe, with zero Pivot dealers in Indiana that I'm aware of.
    "Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveohio View Post
    Honestly, if I were you, I'd seriously look at stocking some bikes from bikes direct. Can't really be beat for the price, but I'm not sure how much you could realistically charge without people just buying them direct. I know a few shops do this, but they are up in the northwest.

    Then again, I'm not the kind to just walk into a bike shop and plop down 4k+ for a few bike. I usually buy used. But if a local shop near me carried a sub-1k fat bike I could look at/test, or a descent womens MTB in the $500 range(men have SOO much more selection at that 500-1000range than women) I more than likely would have already bought them.

    Your avg income level in the area is pretty good, so not sure how much interest you would get on those, but if I was to say have infinite money, and want to walk into a store to look at the coolest stuff, I'd have to say, Moots, Yeti, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Kona, Surley, Salsa are all brands I'd love to see, or have.

    I still think a shop that had motobecane/BD bikes would seriously destroy any trek/specialized/giant house/high volume type brand shop. Probably the biggest reason anyone doesn't get a online bike is because of the service/support a local shop can give you. Keep in mind, not everyone wants to spend thousands on a bike, some just getting started want to go in, grab a bike for $300-$500 thats significantly better than a walmart/rei/***** special and call it a day.
    I picked up KHS for the low and midrange MTBs, so those are covered. Neither BikesDirect nor Fuji (who makes most of BD's bikes) will ever be in my store. I've played the "cheap" game before. It put me out of business (my previous store). I'll sell used bikes, but I will never sell *cheap* bikes again. They take 3 times as long to build, and after shipping is factored in, and the inevitable "haggling", you make about $21 on a $300 bike. Sell enough of those and you're out of business.


    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ View Post
    I'm on a Ventana for my main bike. I've been exceptionally happy with the bike, the sizing & geometry, and the support. But I've only seen the one(s) I own.

    Hard to say what would be a great choice though, as something different can be good, or something that is great, but will languish because people don't know what brand X is.

    IF price is comparable, I'd look at someone who does something in the US. I'll pay a few extra bucks for something made here. Last I checked, (and it has been a while) that'd be Ventana, Turner, Foes, Moots, Eriksen. A quick check has both Moots and Eriksen with road and mountain offerings.

    Other bikes that I'd still drool over would be Pivot, Yeti, Santa Cruz.
    Moots is carried by a store 15-20 miles from me. Ditto for Santa Cruz. I think someone close is selling Yeti as well (which sucks, since I love Yeti). Pivot is one I'm considering. I just contacted Ventana. Honestly, I didn't know they were still in business. I haven't seen one in 10 years. Not sure, but I think someone sells Foes online for close to wholesale, making them a no-go for me.
    Last edited by MidwestBike; 02-12-2014 at 02:17 PM.

  8. #8
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestBike View Post
    Moots is carried by a store 15-20 miles from me. Ditto for Santa Cruz. I someone close is selling Yeti as well (which sucks, since I love Yeti). Pivot is one I'm considering. I just contacted Ventana. Honestly, I didn't know they were still in business. I haven't seen one in 10 years. Not sure, but I think someone sells Foes online for close to wholesale, making them a no-go for me.
    Yeah, spend a few minutes if you can spare 'em looking at the Ventana forum. I was looking at a Titus/Turner/Ventana when I bought my Ventana. And still think I got the right one for me. But I understand about having brands that people don't know about. Local shop in South Bend used to carry Rocky Mountains, but they couldn't move them nearly as well as the Treks they had. The Rockys were about the same price, but people didn't know 'em, so they didn't sell. Guess it was a bit of a chicken and egg problem.

    Remembered one more I've always wanted to see -> Intense.
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ View Post
    Yeah, spend a few minutes if you can spare 'em looking at the Ventana forum. I was looking at a Titus/Turner/Ventana when I bought my Ventana. And still think I got the right one for me. But I understand about having brands that people don't know about. Local shop in South Bend used to carry Rocky Mountains, but they couldn't move them nearly as well as the Treks they had. The Rockys were about the same price, but people didn't know 'em, so they didn't sell. Guess it was a bit of a chicken and egg problem.

    Remembered one more I've always wanted to see -> Intense.
    I ride a 1999 Rocky Mountain Vertex. I ♥ Rocky Mountain (well, I did...until they moved production to China). We sold Rocky at the shop I worked for back in the early 2000s. Same problem. "Who? Don't you sell Trek?" Add that to a $30,000 minimum yearly commitment (wholesale, not retail), and it's obvious why there aren't many Rocky dealers around here.

    Intense... I have many great memories of an Intense M1 and an Uzzi SL. However...until they stop selling them on PricePoint, they won't be in many shops.

  10. #10
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    I don't think Knolly would sell well. Not enough aggressive terrain around here, and those bikes trend towards the aggressive.

    I don't like press-fit bb's, so it would take some serious convincing to get me to buy one.

    For that matter, you'd be best served to use a company that offered a light race hardtail in its lineup, considering this is Indiana you're talking about. Pivot used to be represented in Indy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I don't think Knolly would sell well. Not enough aggressive terrain around here, and those bikes trend towards the aggressive.

    I don't like press-fit bb's, so it would take some serious convincing to get me to buy one.

    For that matter, you'd be best served to use a company that offered a light race hardtail in its lineup, considering this is Indiana you're talking about. Pivot used to be represented in Indy.
    I agree. Knolly looks cool, but this is Indiana. Unless you travel a lot, where are you going to use a bike like that?

    Who was the Pivot dealer? Just curious. When a brand is present in Indy and then it isn't, it probably didn't sell well - or the shop went out of business.

    Pivot and Ventana are the 2 top choices at the moment.

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    Your favourite bikes for the Midwest

    Nebo some years back

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    As the former Executive Director of Marketing for CAMBr, I was asked this same question from a shop in the area a couple of years ago. I am a huge fan of DW-Link and ride an Ibis Mojo SL 650b and have been very happy with the bike and Ibis customer service. That being said at the time Ibis did not have a 29" wheeled bike and I could not recommend them for the shop. Now they have the Ripley which is an awesome bike for the Midwest. Ibis needs a 29" inch hard tail! If I were you I might email Ibis and let them know of your plans. Who knows, since they stopped making the 26" Tranny, maybe a 29" hard tail is in the works. Ibis to me is a little more "boutique" then some of the others.

    P.S. I now live in Ketchum, Idaho. Miss riding Brown, French Lick, Versailles. Great trails.

  14. #14
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    Fan of Niner but I know local dealers in OH have been frustrated by buyers able to get much better deals online and therefore undercutting them. Great bikes though.

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    No one said transition or norc? Both are killer bikes with solid line ups.... transition is one of the best brands out there IMO.... rider owned rider designed! And norco has some killer bikes and neither are really available in the Midwest. Only place I've seen them is in the UP

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuttermax View Post
    Fan of Niner but I know local dealers in OH have been frustrated by buyers able to get much better deals online and therefore undercutting them. Great bikes though.
    That's why I won't carry Niner.



    Quote Originally Posted by cglasford View Post
    No one said transition or norc? Both are killer bikes with solid line ups.... transition is one of the best brands out there IMO.... rider owned rider designed! And norco has some killer bikes and neither are really available in the Midwest. Only place I've seen them is in the UP
    Norco is one of the companies that hasn't replied to my requests for dealer info. I've asked twice now. I don't ask a third time.


    Until they changed distribution last year, I was a Lapierre dealer. Now I'm contemplating signing up with them again. And they have some bad-ass MTBs...

  17. #17
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    And transition?

  18. #18
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    Never heard of them.
    Keep in mind, I haven't ridden anything but road or town bikes since 2003-ish. At my last store, which was open for 4 years, MTBs accounted for maybe 3% of my business (customer choice, not mine).

    I'll check them out. However...being in the PNW, I don't know how well the bikes would ride in the backwoods of Indiana (Kinda like Cove. I love Cove, but they aren't really made for Indiana). Also, shipping costs would kill me.

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    Yeah check them out... they are way different than cove and offer a solid trail bike line up and even have cyclo cross and a hard tail ...

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    Do you carry fat bikes?

    Seems like the market is growing and I rode this morning FWITW.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low Pressure View Post
    Do you carry fat bikes?

    Seems like the market is growing and I rode this morning FWITW.
    The usual - Surly. KHS has a fat bike coming out this year, too. I've tried contacting 9:zero:7 2 or 3 times and haven't heard back from them. I just sent another email to them as I was typing this. We'll see what happens.

    Me, I have a Walgoose Beast that I've upgraded with gears, brakes, non-**** cranks, etc.

  22. #22
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    I just picked up Ventana...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestBike View Post
    I just picked up Ventana...
    Hi from Indy, good luck with the shop. (Btw the ventana link on your site is broken- it loads as http://http//ventana.com)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec157 View Post
    Hi from Indy, good luck with the shop. (Btw the ventana link on your site is broken- it loads as http://http//ventana.com)
    Fixed.

    I'll be going over the whole site in a few days. The current site was put together in about 2 hours so I could have something up. Now I need to take the time to make it look good.

  25. #25
    Rod
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    Congrats on the bike shop. I wish you the best of luck and it sounds like you have some very good brands, which should bring in some business from surrounding areas.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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