I have taken the partialy completed sets of my cranks that I have been working on, stuffed them in a shoebox and put them on the shelf.
I only started to build these because many people assured me that there were lots of folks that wanted them. I guess that listening to them was my mistake, I won’t ever let that happen again either.
I enjoy making one of a kind parts that make my unis work the way I want them to, and in the future I’ll just have to ignore comments like; “Wow thats fantastic! I’d love to have a set of those too” Ethusiasm is cheep, dozens of hours of my labor shouldn’t be.
I tried a pair of double-holed cranks, which were good, but it was still a pain having to get out the pedal spanner and fiddle in order to change gears. I’m using a self-extracting cotterless crank system at the moment, which also works well, but also requires fiddling with tools and difficult-to-remove things.
Your tool-free crazy arm cranks look like an interesting design. When I first read about (I assume now that this was a post by you) using a quick release to control an adjustable crank arm I was pretty skeptical. But actually, your design makes more sense to me now I’ve seen it and looks stronger than I’d imagined. I’m moderately happy with my current setup but these did look like the sort of thing I’d consider in future - particularly if they received favourable reviews.
It’s a shame that you’ve decided to cut your losses, but I can understand why you would want to do so; it’s not an easy task selling to a small market, or putting in effort that you’re not sure you’ll be paid for. If you’re in something for fun, it’s important that you do enjoy it. I hope that you’ll consider posting future cool designs you come up with on the forums anyhow - I’m sure they’d make interesting reading.
Hey Al, There’s alot of “talk” about wants and less of actual willingness to follow through, or maybe the ability to follow through. Especially with some of the younger posters. Since you’ve come pretty far, perhaps you can keep them “on the market” and finish them on an as ordered basis. At least keep us posted on your innovations even if you don’t make them available to all.
Honestly, I think its a really good idea. As I said in the thread, I’d buy them if they were less expensive. Actually, I’d buy them at the price listed if I could afford it. Of course you have to make yourself a profit and factor in the amount of labor that you put into them. I don’t know how much it cost you for supplies and such, but if you’re capable of doing so, lowering the price always intrigues people. If I saw a price that I liked, I’d buy a pair, I promise.
I am sad for the community, but think what you did is definately for the best. I also had my own business not too long ago. I was often told my service was exceptional. I sold insurance (so the pricing was the same no matter where you went). But in the end, I didn’t have enough clients and buying more leads just killed me. I still get calls from referrals, but it is too late. I am with a largest firm in the world now, so I am not bitter about the industry. So I hope you still have a positive attitude eventough many people have flaked on you. Whether they’re 14 or 90, people will flake on you or egg you on. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.
Yes, lots of people (especially younger) are used to the prices they get on products mass produced in taiwan. The price you originally were thinking of is a bargain, especially compared to the alternatives which are scarce.
Don’t let the vocal kiddies get you down, there are more than a few people who are willing to pay for quality workmanship, especially from one of our own.
…especially if they work, and they’re already made.
O.K. for all you young folks; here is how the free market really works, in terms that persons on your maturity can understand,
Na-na–Nuh–Na-na I got what you want and you can’t get it.
Should I lower the price?? To match what competition, What is available is priced from $250-$450. And are bicycle components that have to be modified to work on a Uni.
At this point I don’t care if Ya’ll are insulted, in fact that is what I am looking for. Someone who want’s these so bad that even if I throws rocks at yer dog and calls yer sister names, you’d still buy 'em any way.
The rest of you will get by just fine without them.
However, I have to admit that for homemade cranks, if I were in the market for some adjustable cranks (which I’m not, sorry), I wouldn’t want to put down that kind of money unless I was able to try them first, or have some sort of guarantee. Cokers put huge stress demands on their cranks, and even manufactured cranks often fail.
Cranks like the Kookas or the DaVincis can charge more because they are proven. Also because they are aluminum, but that advantage is minimal.
The DaVincis cost more because the company that makes them probably wants to make a profit.
How much do you think al_lieffring winds up paying himself after the costs of materials? This doesn’t take into account the machinery required (and maintenance) and years of training. Also, he gets a big ZERO for R&D.
I’d be irritated too by people asking him to pay himself what probably works out to be minimum wage at best. (or at a loss)
Ahahaha. Al, I support your decision. Small one-off projects should be done for the love, because as you can see, someone’s going to try to fleece you of the profit. I see no reason for you to lower your prices at all, and honestly, anyone complaining about “scaring off customers” is missing the point. Your industry is metalwork, not freakin’ retail.
I seriously considered (to the point where I sourced materials, and made the computer models) making a titanium KH hub and offering it for sale here. What stopped me was pretty much what stopped you. I could not charge enough per hub to mitigate how much I hate working retail, and most people would be blown away by the price and somehow think they should be charged less.
P.S. If anyone’s wondering, average machine shop HOURLY rate is $100/hr. The place I work charges anywhere from $150-185/hr for jobs, with a 1-hr minimum (some of the machines have an operating overhead of $65+/hr…). That means if you walk in and want me to tighten a screw or drill a hole in your shoe, it’s $150, minimum. Bearing that in mind, maybe now it makes sense why parts made by guys like Al can be so damn expensive.
Ouch… no matter what people have said to you in other threads I don’t think that was called for here. Nobody is being rude to you, or deliberately saying anything to offend you. Obviously the whole business has made you feel frustrated but unfairly lashing out against “young folks” isn’t helping anyone.
I don’t think anybody here has made any immature or unreasonable comments on your invention. I realise you’re probably selling these below cost when taking into account what you could make by spending the same amount of time on your day job. Obviously charging less wouldn’t make much sense, unless you’re trying to cut your losses financially.
The comments about price are feedback from potential customers. I don’t believe they’re saying you should work for free, they’re saying they can’t afford your product. It’s feedback. If you could find a cheaper way of building cranks - maybe a more limited design - maybe they’d be able to buy it. But that probably doesn’t matter right now, because for the Crazy Arm Cranks they probably aren’t in that market segment anyhow.
The main use I see here is fairly serious 36er riders. Folks who are seriously into distance riding and cokering typically have deeper pockets - the good kit is quite expensive. These guys can afford your work, but they’re thinner on the ground, so you’re going to see less comments from them here. it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though.
I wouldn’t count myself as a particularly accomplished distance rider, but nevertheless I have the spare cash and am always interested in new innovations, custom work, etc. I’m prepared to shell out fairly steep prices to get something that Just Works for doing comfortable long distance / commuting / muni all on the coker. Your cranks being tool-free is a bonus that no other solutions I’ve tried have. There are plenty of folks out there who are similar to me in this respect. I’m not going to pretend I’d rush out and order your cranks straight away, I’d at least need to read some good reviews and then lust over them a bit before stumping up the cash. But they do look like something that could be good for the niche of serious Cokeurs doing varied riding.
Yes, they’ll get by - free market and all.
Here’s what I hope is a more constructive and feasible suggestion if you have any interest at all in selling some of these, or maybe just in showing people what you did. Why not finish off one set, and see if you can loan them to Uni Magazine for review. If the Uni folks find they’re good then maybe you’ll get some more interest and be able to reach a wider audience than the regular forum readers. Worst case, you’re without one set of cranks for a little while, then you get them back.
If you’re really sick of getting negative comments on your project then I understand you giving up. Internet forums are an abundant source of “stop energy” and it’s hard to make people understand what you’re trying to do and why. For the record I think the design looks potentially very interesting - and I’m speaking as a consumer, not as an engineer (because clearly your knowhow outstrips me).