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Build your own damn bike

For years, there has been an Anne Taintor Make Your Own Damn Dinner post card on my father's refrigerator door. It think it is an invitation or a thank you card. I always laugh when I see it: the smiling and willing 1950s housewife proudly gesturing to the stuffed refrigerator juxtaposed to the coarse and blunt message. It is the obvious inspiration for the meme Build Your Own Damn Bike.

The original bike shop convention of "riding the bike out the door" has in the era of online direct to consumer bike brands evolved into "ride the bike out your own door". Order everything from the brand website, make all the choices (Good Better Best group set and wheels, handlebar width, stem length, gearing, crank arm length) and then wait two weeks if you are lucky for the bike to be built and appear at your door for you to then ride out of.

Direct to consumer bike brands are doing this because they believe that the consumer still wants a complete bike (Learn more about N+1 Thought here). I tried doing this years ago. It was complicated, very difficult to manage and to do it properly would have required a huge investment in the website (and even then it would have been a pain in the neck). And although I had all the options available for all models, colors sizes and categories, it was easier to just find out the customer's budget and provide an estimate based on that. Half the time, the customer already had the wheels and a group set.

The "ride the bike out your own door" convention is long overdue for disruption. Build your own damn bike! The fact is that you can obtain a group set on ebay for the same or less than what I can, you already have the wheels and if you want new ones, I can certainly recommend and direct you to the right places; the saddles and bars from your old bike are probably fine and you certainly know some one who can build your bike faster and better than I ever could. Plus, you avoid paying oversized shipping to get a complete bike to you that still may need some fine tuning.

build your own damn bike

So many A-D customers have built their own A-D. It creates serious value, allows participation in the build process, stimulates creativity, creates connection to the completed bike and it facilitates sustainability. Marketing muse, Philip VanDusen, perfectly identifies the power of letting the customer the ability to create in his article Mr. Potato Head was Right.

These same customers will use the Frame and Wheel FedEx Inbound Shipping Portal to send us the framesets, wheels and components that are left over from this exercise for us to deproduce and sell. This is the A-D Bikes Sustainability Program and it allows you to consolidate all of your old cycling gear into one new A-D and get paid for doing it.

Smaller direct to consumer brands offer good better best options but they do the build themselves. Once you have paid in full (or a deposit), they use that money to order components and wheels from the supplier (s). If everything is available, you are looking at a waiting time of two to three weeks. Larger direct to consumer brands are ordering all models, colors, sizes and categories (good better best) fully assembled from their supplier. The bikes never leave the box and they are on the way to you within days of payment. 

This is the Build It and Hope They Will Come model. It is expensive, risky and unsustainable (take a look at the hundred of bikes on closeout at Canyon USA). The We Will Build it For You model is slow and expensive. It is much faster and rewarding for you to buy just the frameset, the bottom bracket and headset from us and buy the components and wheels you want yourself (or use what you have). Of course, we can provide guidance on what works and we can source group sets and wheels on your behalf if you want us too, but we are just going to ship everything to you and you are going to have to Build Your Own Damn Bike. You will be glad you did.

 build your own damn bike



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