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  1. #1
    Hueston Woods Trail Crew
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    Market Forecasts

    Taking a cue from other posters, it seems a discussion of where and how the Titus brand will be marketed and sold in future is in order.

    How many Titus owners bought their bike from a well-stocked local shop? How many got the chance to ride one when Titus Mikey showed up with a huge truckload of demo bikes?

    How many of you were drawn like a moth to a flame when these previously high-priced frames began to show up as closeouts? What did this do to the perceived value?
    How important is a grass roots racing program to a boutique brand? Does that work well in promoting them?

    Titus' new owners in the UK have to make lots of decisions soon in order to make a go of restoring Titus. Are they best served by selling them online from one or two warehouses in North America and Europe, or a variety of outlets? Do they stop selling the current lineup and start over? Or build on the existing designs?

    What about the worldwide market? Numerous global importers and shops are still out there I personally have Titus customers in every part of the globe, including
    Scandinavia,Lithuania, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Spain.


    Just had to open this can of worms.
    Last edited by Bikerbob.com; 01-13-2011 at 04:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Paper or plastic?
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    My 2 cents: if a direct distribution can work, it'd be for boutique bikes. My guess is that most riders willing to shell $2k plus on a frame do their research online, etc. and don't decide based on what's on the show room. That being said, we all want to ride the bikes before we buy them (although I bought my Motolite sigth unseen), and that's where the LBS comes into play.

    Frankly, I don't know and I did not sleep at an Holiday Inn last night, however, I'm guessing
    that you are probably none too pleased with the fire sale right now, and must be thinking seriously as to whether you move on to another brand.

    BTW, this is not a criticism of Planet X. They're the ones who have to determine what's best for their brand/business.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  3. #3
    Get out of town!
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    The last three bikes I have purchased have been by Turner and Ventana and then the fourth, and most recent was my Titus (from you). I did my research onlline and bought all of them except the Sultan without a test ride. I think most riders don't expect to be able to walk into a shop and demo a boutique bike. Just my .02 though. Most folks that walk into a shop to buy a bike are probably not looking to spend $$$.

    Even if shops do provide demos they are not spec'd with great parts, they are heavy, and are not likely to be set up the way a rider would prefer. Again, this is just from my experience but demo bikes never give me a true sense of how it would ride once I put on my trusty pedals AND seat AND bars AND stem AND wheels AND run it tubeless, etc.

    I say keep the Racer X and Motolite NAME. I do think that a grassroots racing program is still important to help draw more people into what is still a grassroots sport too. At least it still feels grassroots to me when I am out helping to groom the trails that I plan on riding! Most racers I know lusted over a Racer X at some point.
    "You can't discern by calculating in your mind how it will work. You have to feel how it rides differently to understand."

  4. #4
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    That $500 trade-in program was the key for me Bob. Got me out of the ML and kept me on an EG.. All on-line research. My LBS stocks Titus bikes, actually 2 of them do, but their pricing was waay too high, pretty laughable really @ +900 (*that's $900 more than your price), they were only good for the demo. Perceived value for me, came through in the research.. demo, they gotta have demos at key spots.
    Last edited by Deerhill; 01-13-2011 at 10:40 PM.

  5. #5
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    I bought my Racer X sight unseen from a local "boutique" shop whose only ready to ride bikes are the ones built for specific customers and starting in the $4k range and up from there. Many years of support for my road habit led me straight there when I got into the mtb scene. Since then, I have become brand loyal as I love the bike. I am not to concerned about the "fire sale" going on currently as the brand just got bought out and I understand there must be some inventory issues to handle. Going forward, I am after a 29er and Titus will remain at the top of my wish list since their innovation, quality and support made me a convert.

  6. #6
    Not all pain is gain...
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    I bought both of my Titus's sight unseen from bike shops. My 2nd from Bob. I did my research on the phone talking to Titus employees and other people that rode and sold Titus's. I do what I can to buy locally or at a minimum from a brick and mortar shop somewhere else. The online deals look good to be sure but it's not really for me.

  7. #7
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    I can say one thing. More T-shirts! I'd love to rock some sort of cool EG or just plain titus shirt insted of my standard chris king shirts (must have a dozen).

    That being said it seems like the bikes almost always get good reviews in mags and online. I've never seen a bad review of an EG and only a few gripes about the FTM. I'm no marketing guy so the things I see are from a local bike shop level.

    As far as marketing goes, I'd like to see a few full build titus bikes in our shop but they just don't sell around here.

    When I spoke to the last rep we had (he wasn't with titus when I ordered my EG in August). He had some great terms and deals. We could get any two bikes in a 2nd from the top build for the shop for standard dealer cost, and if they didn't sell in 6 months titus would buy them back. Things like that are great for a shop thats sells 70-80% of it's bikes for less than 1k$. We can't justify a 4$+ bike sitting in the window for a year. But just being able to set some eye candy out and not take a huge loss is really nice.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  8. #8
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    I think the perceived value of Titus frames tanked when it was announced the company was going belly up. The closeout prices were/are probably in line with what people are willing to pay for them, considering the uncertain future of the company, warranties, etc. We still don't have answers to many of those uncertainties.

    JensonUSA was one of the first to do a mass closeout and that was many weeks ago. They saw the writing on the wall and decided to minimize their losses. It's not every day a manufacturer goes bankrupt, so taking action as soon as they did allowed them to minimize losses and probably even still make a small profit.

    It is unfortunate for dealers, especially smaller dealers like BikerBob that have a more personal relationship with their customers, and a brand loyalty, who did not want to give up on the company quite so fast. I don't think anyone can really blame the new owners for wanting to liquidate and start anew though.

    I think a racing team is a great idea. I personally would like to see BikerBob more involved with the future of the brand. I think he has been a great asset to the Titus community, and few dealers can equal his passion and commitment. The new Titus would be wise to open talks with him in this regard.

  9. #9
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    I'll give a quick response now, but may add more later.

    I will not buy another Titus or any boutique brand that uses a distributor in Canada instead of selling directly to shops. I want to support my LBS, but the middlemen in Canada make that very hard to do because of their markup. Buying online from the US is not something I want to consider unless I live in the US. It also does not support my LBS, but someone else's LBS, and that makes my local trails and economy sad. I don't want them to be sad. Does Titus want them to be sad?

    Titus sold directly to Canadian shops in the past, and they can do it again especially if they're following the same model in the US. We speak English. We have free trade agreements. We have an unguarded (or is it unpatrolled) border. Canadians want our bikes and parts without the scummy markup.

  10. #10
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    Speaking honestly, I think the best thing would be for Titus to be a direct to order dealer for a while. Right now, the brands reputation is in the crapper. They need to restore that.

    The FTM and X changeovers were a fiasco. Badly marketed and, from the sounds of it, badly designed. Hearing that the FTMc had major design issues is amazing and makes me think that everything the haters said about titus post-CC was true.

    The EG was/is a great bike. That should stay somehow. If that becomes the only bike that Titus makes, it would not be bad. The FTM should be laid to rest. Titus needs a proper 29" FS bike as well. The rockstar may be it but it needs a new name. That name is just stupid.

    I still think they should have the EG, an EG-lite and a 120mm 29" offering.

    The HL works great and is totally acceptable but is becoming a sales dude. Need to modify it somehow to make it more sexy. Don't know how, but they have to do something.


    Hate to sound like a hater but I think I am just stating the obvious. The demise of Titus was not just a bad economy but rather poor product and poor business.

  11. #11
    "Its All Good"
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    BikerBob, a great thread and a robust discussion that I guess is fully needed.... I have very little to add, except that my Titus Motolite was a great frame, which translated into a bike that gave me immense pleasure riding wise...

    For a vast number of companies, it must be hard to move from being boutique size but also take on the big 3 lets say.... But I doubt in my opinion that the demise of Titus was solely due to the global economy being in the toilet, of which it still very much is in the toilet.

    For me, I really loved the point of difference that Titus offered in the old days lets say, I loved the ExoGrid tubing etc, I then moved my riding where by I would have broken the MotoLite, that is NOT being critical of the frame. i then moved toward an El G, of which I wanted a Ti El G, but Titus could not move with the timeframes they laid down for me.. Again, just being honest here... Not sure where I am headed with this post now, lol...

    Being able to test ride a bike for me is not a biggie, I have never been able to test ride a bike, thinking about it, nor have my bike riding crew... When you get up to the higher end of the frame value, 2K USD above, I think the customer base becomes far more educated in what they want etc...

    Lost track of thoughts.... Main thing is, I dont think any of us would like to see Titus not succeed in whatever form / business model they come back and execute
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  12. #12
    MC MasterShake
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    Great thread!

    Titus needs to bring back the old names but with fresher designs. They need to start beefing up their bikes a little. Way too many breakage issues with Titus bikes over the years and people are starting to push their bikes harder and harder. To rebuild their brand they're going to have to low ball their frame prices for a couple of seasons until they come up with some fresh re-designs. Customer Service needs to be completely top shelf or it won't work.

    Racer-X: The original Strong/Stiff/light 4x4 XC race bike. To compete they'll need to really focus on their carbon model. Dropping weight but keep it strong.

    Dump the FTM brand and go back to Moto-Lite. Make this your 5x5 trail bike. Make it stronger and stiffer than the FTM. Fix the rear triangle issues. Maybe go with the Maxle or 12mm rear axle to increase stiffness and lighten things up. Add ISCG tabs for Hammerschmidt or 1x9 chainguide.

    El Guapo: Best bike in the lineup. 6x6 AM bike. It's amazing that it has not become more popular. I'd slack out the HA by another degree or so and add a 12mm maxle.

    New Bike: 7x7 Freeride/light DH bike. Something to compete with the Firebird, Delirium, RFX level of bikes.

    29'r's: I'm not a 29'r kind of guy but they are popular. Dump the Rockstar name, that's cheasy. Come up with a better name and a fresher design. 5x5 29'rs seem to be all the rage look into one of those.

  13. #13
    searcher
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    I didn't have a chance to test ride any of my Titus bikes before. I definitely would have if I had had the chance, but I rely on information from the bike tests and the from this specific forums here. Once you are in riding mountain bikes seriously, you can read between the lines when you read reviews and you know how to compare the informations on the forums as well. At least it works for me. A test ride can help for sure, but it will not give you a fair idea how the rides , only if you ride it for weeks.

    Will be interesting to see how the new owners will go. Its not an easy task to decide.
    I don't think it was the bikes fault that they went down. The bikes are great, it must have been something else. As I am not in the business , it is hard to tell.
    Keeping the X , the FTM, and the Guapo would be a good idea IMO. And they will need a dedicated freeride bike as well, 7 or 8 inches. That is somehow missing from the line.
    And exogrid, oh! These unique things were one the big reasons that I started to long for a Titus.
    Kovi

  14. #14
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    For those that keep saying loose the FTM, Do you mean the name or the bike? If you say Bike, have you actually owned on? Have you ridden one. I have over a year on mine, with no issues with the construction or handling. It does everything I need it to and well. Yeah, the rear end is not their best acheivement, re-design it (I have not had an issue - 200Lbs). Overall frame construction is good.

    I agree on the 4 levels of Fullsuspension needed.

    Race - X
    Trail - FTM ( or renamed )
    All Mountain - EG
    Down Hill - ????

    29er

    Race - HT 29er
    Race FS - Rockstar or Re-name.
    Trail - 29er ?????
    2009 Titus FTM

    2009 Gary Fisher Rig

    1997 Kona Ku
    (Resurection in Progress)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxr-racer
    For those that keep saying loose the FTM, Do you mean the name or the bike? If you say Bike, have you actually owned on? Have you ridden one. I have over a year on mine, with no issues with the construction or handling. It does everything I need it to and well. Yeah, the rear end is not their best acheivement, re-design it (I have not had an issue - 200Lbs). Overall frame construction is good.

    I agree on the 4 levels of Fullsuspension needed.

    Race - X
    Trail - FTM ( or renamed )
    All Mountain - EG
    Down Hill - ????

    29er

    Race - HT 29er
    Race FS - Rockstar or Re-name.
    Trail - 29er ?????
    I say kill it totally. The EG is the best Titus bike right now. Keep that and work down.

    They need a EG-lite. I keep saying that and I really think that is what people want. Keep the EG as it is, or raise travel to 170mm and make another bike, with a tapered head tube (I would say keep 1 1/8" but the tapered is all the rage), 140 mm of travel, 17" stays, a 68 HA, a 72-73 SA, and a 13.5" bb. All when set up with a 150mm fork.

    They could use a 2.25" shock on the EG to start with.

    When they get those bikes sorted, work on a 29" bike and move to a 4" race bike.

    I know you love the FTM but it seems to be plagued with problems.

  16. #16
    Get out of town!
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    RACER X....RACER X......RACER X!!!! You could create a lot of hype with the right marketing if you bring that beauty back.
    "You can't discern by calculating in your mind how it will work. You have to feel how it rides differently to understand."

  17. #17
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    Hey vesp. the eg is way overkill for my trails. My ftm is almost overkill. You call for an eg lite, but what your describing sounds more like an ftm/motolite with approx 150mm of travel. Why redesign the wheel. Yeah there are a few ftm's with failed rear ends. But I would guess there are far more with no issues.
    2009 Titus FTM

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    1997 Kona Ku
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  18. #18
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    One of the key things that the new Titus should have is reliability both in product and price. If they produce a good bike with a price that does not skyrocket downwards in a couple of years. They could be back to restoring the brand image. All these dropped price sales that has been going on could serve as an introduction for people to the brand. So that they can experience how good Titus is. So that they will aspire for the all new 2012 Motolite and Racer-X. Preferably in exogrid!

  19. #19
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    I agree with the FTM being a light EG. At the end of the day that's what it is. Give it a new rearstay, tapered headtube if you like, call it something else , a little more travel and you're ready. The bike itself is great. The reviews say it all.
    The new owners have a great base to work with (am talking about all of the bikes in the range) and they probably know it. The rest is marketing.
    Kovi

  20. #20
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    Well, I got my ML from you bob, and it was the ride that really sold me. I was drawn like a moth to an awesome price, but the value is still there, because I've only been on big box bikes before (fisher, specialized, trek, well, except for gunnar). I think a grassroots program would be great, especially if they'd throw some swag my way, since I'll be racing the ML anyways. As said before ML and racer-x were some of the favorite rides, which may have needed slight updates, but not the whole overhaul that they got. I'd buy another titus from you, bob, over a central outlet.

  21. #21
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    I'd buy another titus from you, bob, over a central outlet.

    Well, that makes two of us.
    Kovi

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvucyclist
    I'd buy another titus from you, bob, over a central outlet.
    I would second this as well. Bob offered better service and attention than any of my local bike shops. On-one would be smart to sign bob up and make him a big part of their US efforts.

  23. #23
    Jamin, Applesause, No?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    I would second this as well. Bob offered better service and attention than any of my local bike shops. On-one would be smart to sign bob up and make him a big part of their US efforts.

    Ditto!!!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    I would second this as well. Bob offered better service and attention than any of my local bike shops. On-one would be smart to sign bob up and make him a big part of their US efforts.
    That I can agree with you on!
    2009 Titus FTM

    2009 Gary Fisher Rig

    1997 Kona Ku
    (Resurection in Progress)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    I would second this as well. Bob offered better service and attention than any of my local bike shops. On-one would be smart to sign bob up and make him a big part of their US efforts.
    Lucky for me, he is one of my (somewhat) local bike shops, shop being a loose word. Not only did he let me extensively test ride my ML, but he almost insisted that I ride a racer-x and rockstar.

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