I don't understand UDC

UDC seems chaotic lately. As far as I know, they manage the UDC brand, Nimbus Unicycles and Impact Unicycles, and ever since they started managing Impact, I was confused by their choice to offer the Impact Athmos as a beginner 20" trials, sharing a market with the Nimbus ones. Personally, I would have liked for the market to stay the same, with Nimbus as a solid but a bit low tech brand, and Impact/Kris Holm/Mad4One as the premium options. But maybe there is gains to be had that I don’t see, that’s not the part that really confused me.

Did any of you guys notice there are 24" and 26" Impact frames now? I could only find them on UDC UK (noticed it when i saw this: http://www.unicycle.uk.com/blog/new-product-24-impact-gravity-disc-muni/ )

I am not sure when they launched it, but I went back through their Blog to 2015 and could not find a note of it. Blog posts about the red Impact t-shirts being back, but not about a new product? I wonder why it was only a few that bought it… It’s not on the Impact Website either, and I get that when it comes to the complete Uni, since it’s only half Impact parts, but the Frame could be there, don’t you think?

Maybe there is a deep reason I am failing to see, or something I missed, but it looks like UDC needs additional help to me…

And all of the new Nimbus saddle bases (e.g. Stadium) and handles are labeled Impact (DD).

I had noticed this when I bought the Stadium saddle, and went looking to see if Impact had been bought by UDC, but I didn’t see anything. I just assumed they were working together.

As far as the Impact frame, when I was looking for a new 26" muni frame a couple of months ago, I decided against Impact because of the oddball bearing size it uses. The frame does come with the bearings, so maybe that shouldn’t have been a deciding issue, but it probably hurts sales. In the end I bought a Mad4One.

I didn’t know that, weird. if you are going to brand them, why not brand them UDC ?
I mean, I have been following the unicycle market for long enough to know most brands are somewhat related or cooperating in some way or the other (not sure about URC and Mad4One), since it is just such an insanely small market that we are seriously lucky to have multiple brands. But for someone new to unicycling it must be confusing.

As far as I am aware, Impact is run by UDC since at least 3 years ago.

Yep, I don’t understand that part either. I have not had a chance to try a uni with those personally, but no one seems to think of them as a huge advantage. And even then, I thought they were meant as an improvement for unispins and similar tricks, not sure why they would put them on a Muni frame.

They’re lighter, not sure how much that matters. Does it actually matter that they are a different size, how is it inconvenient?

On the question of URC and M4O, I’m pretty sure its the same company, they are both owned by Marco Vitale.

A wheelswap becomes a long job. I used to really like swapping my parts out (mainly round frame for trials, square for flat on my 19" wheelset and swapping the aluminum frame onto my freestyle uni from time to time, when it wasn’t occupied with the 19" ). But you are right it probably inconviniences very few people.

I know that part, I do not quite know the inner workings of how they do or do not collaborate with UDC/KrisHolm/Quax, whereas I have a decent understanding on how these three work together, share the same retailing network etc. (I think).

It is highly inconvenient with swapping wheelsets. Often you may break something and to continue your ride it is easier to just swap the wheel set with another you may have until you fix it. Sometimes friends borrow your wheel for whatever reason (happened last week with me)

Additionally the smaller bearings are shithouse. Originally it was made of two twin bearings to make up the width. These were rubbish and broke so they created a new one which was one bearing and thicker.

I know a rider who has broken 3 bearings since October last year. The first one was the dual bearing, the second two are the “better” single bearing.

The last bearing broke 3 weeks after being installed after being used for flatland. The entire side of the bearing came out and all the ball bearings with it.

The Impact Gravity 24 was at Unicon Spain mid 2016. That was the first I have seen of it.

And if we want to talk about crazy. In 2014 I was told KH only supplies to UDC in each country and if you want to sell KH stuff you have to buy from UDC therefore paying a higher price than UDC pays.
In the past I can see how that was a decent idea as it makes it easier for KH to ship his stuff and they were competing in different markets. However now UDC owns Impact and has a large number of high end unicycles competing against KH.

KH 24-36 all compete with Oracles and nightfox
Kh20s compete with Equinox and Impact Gravity Reagent.

UDC has no incentive that I can see for pushing KH over their own brand, they will almost certainly make a higher profit selling their own stuff unless their manufacturing costs are crazy expensive. At Unicon 2014 the Impact Gravity was everywhere in their store with the KHs tucked away in the back of their truck that you didn’t see.

Why would you exclusively supply to what is now your main competitor?

Perhaps things have changed since then or perhaps the person who told me had old information but looking at individuals who sell unicycles in most countries it appears to be true. They rarely sell KH, almost always Quax which are easier to get hold of. Only big stores like CDK france and Marco Vitales Unirota sell KH

Those Impact frames are sexy, I’m glad to see they’re getting bigger :smiley: But damn they’re expensive!

I also had no idea that UDC owns Impact either. Let’s hope they don’t become some sort of monopoly :astonished:

A unopoly.

I don’t think that’s true anymore (if ever). KH 26" on ajata.com :669€, on municycle.com (udc Germany) 669€. Their supply chains are linked I think, but I believe you are making the unicycle market more hostile than it is.

I disagree with most of these. Maybe the 36" Oracle and the Impact Gravity compete with the equivalent KH. The Equinox just is not as good in stock form, and neither are the Oracles. They aren’t meant to be.

Let’s be honest:

1. There are now more good quality Unicycle brands than ever. Impact, Kris Holm, Qu-ax (has a high end lineup now too), Mad4One, Nimbus, URC.
2. The Unicycle.com Network has almost always been the primary dealer of unicycles. I don’t think Kris Holm unicycles or Impact unicycles would have ever had a chance without an existing distribution network.

With that said, what I am really interested in is what UDC’s thinking was (if any occured) when launching a product so silently that I could hardly find information about it, and what their brand strategy of the Impact Athmos vs. the Nimbus Trials (these two ARE direct competitors, Pinoclean) is, since having them occupy different market’s like Kris Holm and Nimbus do does not seem to be entirely it.

Just because ajata.com and municycle.com sell the unicycle for the same price does not mean they buy it for the same price. Assuming that unicycles have a markup of greater than 2x cost price, a unicycle that costs $200 to make by KH is sold to UDC for $300. If UDC distributes it to ajata they almost certainly sell it for more than they buy it from KH, say $330. Both UDC and Ajata then sell it for the $600, if Ajata sold it for more to make back the $30 no one would buy from them. Selling it for the same price as UDC Ajata still makes a large profit on it, but less than UDC makes. So we cannot assume that because another company sells for the same price as UDC that they receive it for the same price.

The person who told me the details ran their own store, and sold KH’s so it was definitely true at one point. I am assuming it still is true based on the fact that it is so rare that individual stores sell KH’s.

They may not compete exactly 1 to 1 in stock form however if you compare the UDC UK store the Oracle 26 is $660* the KH is $860*. For the $200 extra you can change parts before purchase or change parts after purchase and I am sure you will end up with a unicycle that is basically as good as the KH or very few will notice a difference. Similar with Equinox ($490) KH 20 ($615).

Because of this I think they are very much competing, unlike before where the only nimbus trials was the “Nimbus II” knee basher in steel, and the nimbus II heavy as a tank mountain uni.

*Ive used Australian dollars equivalent of the gbp in prices because the pound is harder for me to work out differences.

Did you know that Kris Holm has another job unrelated to unicycles? Pretty amazing that that he essentially has two jobs and a family. Maybe this is one of the reason his products are distributed through UDC.

URC and Mad4One are the same company with 2 levels of quality, now Marco Vitale is producing in Taiwan, no more in Italy, much more cheaper solution

Kris is 50% geologist, 50% KHU manager

CDK is buing KH unicycles from Municycle if I’m right, may be with special discount considering the high volumes of sales; CDK is getting Impact unis from UDC.UK. CDK is still getting QU-AX unis from Laribouldingue even Laribouldingue has very low sales for unis.

KH unis prices are “recommended” by KHU, in the past some shops in USA were selling KH unis with very good price, now they don’t sell KH unis anymore …

Yoggi who was trial world champion created Koxx One in association with French BMX bike company Koxx, then he created Impact when he left Koxx One, he sold Impact to UDC because of not enough market to make money. Koxx and Koxx One are no more existing

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200$ extra is roughly 30% of the original price. Yes, the difference in quality not huge except for the cranks, but but every single part of a Kris Holm is a bit better, and one of the best on the market (excluding the super premium triton/ made in italy mad4one stuff). I ride an oracle 26" with some different parts on it as my muni as well, and like it, but the decision for it was made because it was second hand and cheap. I might have lost the beginners perspective a bit, but things like a stiffer frame are great, the difference between 25.4mm vs 27.2mm seatpost is not noticable when riding, but 25.4mm posts break too easily, a lighter wheel is nice, things like that.

I am sorry if you bought one, but the Nimbus Equinox (Trials) is not even available anymore in most places. They put essentially a freestyle frame on a Trials Uni, and they broke easily.

Nimbus has evolved yes, but so has Kris Holm and all other brands. But just because the Nimbus stuff now is better than the Nimbus stuff back in the day, it does not mean that the Kris Holm stuff has not evolved along. There are almost no cases of broken KH frames anymore. The Seatposts last longer. The Hubs don’t have breaking flanges or make creaking noises.

Kris Holm unicycles are 200$ “better” than Nimbus. If almost every part on something is a bit better, and there is a 24% price difference, they are not competing directly in my eyes. Maybe think of them as 600$ vs 800$ Laptops of the same model, the 800$ one will have a faster response, more storage, maybe a better screen. Both will get your emails fine, browse the internet but you will have to have them run some really demanding to notice a bigger difference.

I didn’t want to turn this in a KH vs. Nimbus debate, so this will be the last post I make on the are Nimbus and Kris Holm competitors topic.

I don’t own a nimbus I do own 4 kh’s and 4 impacts. I don’t want irregular seat post sizes and I hate ventures. I still think it’s a dumb ass business decision to give exclusive distribution to your biggest competitor though.

What is their alternative? If their aim is to sell as many unicycles as possible, then it is clear they will do that better distributing through UDC than they will going it alone (if you’re suggesting they should set up their own distributors in multiple countries, then I suspect you don’t realise the cost of doing so). Clearly just reading this thread there is a market for KH amongst enthusiasts who will buy them however they are distributed, and it’s unlikely any other method of distribution would widen that market.

My understanding is also that Kris and Roger are friends and that they collaborate on some things.

Regarding some of the minor points - what do you consider an irregular seatpost size? In what way is an alu KH frame stiffer than an alu Oracle frame with similar leg dimensions and similar weight?

My unicycles are a mix, with some decisions being made on budget, but I got an Oracle 29er frame rather than a KH out of choice (the difference in price when I bought was minimal - I prefer a round crown for muni, and not keen on the blue!) though it is fitted with Spirit cranks. Interested to see the comment on the Equinox trials as I have one of those - though it is a custom build I got before UDC did a complete uni with an Equinox frame and a 19" wheel (I sometimes wonder if they copied my spec, as it is very similar to what I have!) But then I’m not hardcore enough to be breaking things, so any tendency of that frame or 25.4 seatposts to break isn’t really an issue (though regarding seatposts failing, that’s surely down to manufacture rather than size - I’ve had one fail at the welds which is independent of the diameter).

I am not saying they shouldn’t sell to UDC I am saying they shouldn’t give UDC exclusive rights to sell, if someone comes along from a country that has a UDC but also wants to sell KH, let them sell it by buying from KH not having to buy them from UDC. Quax appears to sell to anyone who wants to sell. There are at least three unicyclists selling Quax unicycles in Australia and every bike shop here appears to stock only Torkers. I am sure if the unicyclists were able to sell KH they would probably choose to over Quax.

I think that is not true. Quax though previously extremely uncommon in Australia is now probably the number one ridden frame by young riders in clubs in Australia because that’s what the people who are at the club distribute. If that continues and young riders continue to ride what they are comfortable with then I think you will probably see Quax increasing marketshare in Australia which is quite amazing as 3 years ago Quax was unheard of here.

I consider 25.4 irregular because my first ever riding was urban and KH and Impacts all had 27.2. The posts are definitely stronger for urban riders, however I agree almost all posts break at the metal plate on top not at the tube so I am unsure of how the diameter makes a difference. All my unicycles including my hockey unicycles and munis use 27.2 so that whenever something breaks I can switch my seatpost over and keep riding until I get a new one. The comment on stiffness was made by Finn, I am not sure I can feel difference in frame stiffness so I have no idea between a KH and Oracle and how stiff they feel.

The difference in price of Oracles and KH’s used to be minimal but at that point the KH came without brake and the Oracles did, so they still were not comparable in price. Now the KH is $200 more but it comes with a brake as well.

I have never seen a broken Equinox frame but perhaps people do not ride them in urban styles enough. The shape looks horrible for trials r.e. knees.

In the beginning, all was dark and there was no unicycle market to speak of. There was an Internet, but at the time, it was just a unicycling mailing list, which was followed by rec.sport.unicycling, a Usenet newsgroup. Unicycles were basically not for sale online, though you might have been able to find a used one in eBay or something.

Semcycle, and probably a few others, had websites, but e-commerce was still in its infancy, and you had to know there was such a thing as a Semcycle, or DM Engineering, to be able to go there and order a unicycle from them. You certainly couldn’t Google it; Google didn’t exist yet.

Then, in 1998, a technical writer at IBM got the idea of creating an online store for unicycles. He didn’t know much about unicycles, and especially about the “bicycling” market, but he persisted. He called his company Unicycle Source International. He later spent the ridiculous sum of $5000 US to buy a more “marketable” domain name, unicycle.com. We thought he was crazy (probably especially Amy, at the time)!

But the Drummonds were far-sighted. They envisioned the idea of a unicycle market; something that essentially didn’t exist yet. Unicycles built to specific price points, and to fill gaps in the types and cost levels that existed as things developed. Before unicycle.com, the vast majority of unicycles came from bike shops. But the majority of bike shops were never experts on unicycles, and less than 1% of them would carry multiple brands. Usually nothing but a 20" and a 24", and maybe a giraffe, and that was it. People didn’t know there were more interesting unicycles available.

If you were in-the-know, you had heard about higher-end products, from companies like Miyata, Semcycle, DM, Pashley and others. But that was almost all word of mouth, and mail order. Miyata only sent two containers of unicycles/parts to the USA per year. Once they ran out, you were SOL until the next container arrived. That sucked.

So by thinking in terms of a market, the folks at UDC (which included Roger Davies and others at this point) created a place where you could actually shop for unicycles! This was basically unheard of before, unless you went to a unicycle convention or similar type of event. Fast-forward a few years, and you can see in the unicyclist.com archives, thread after thread after thread of people asking which unicycle to buy? Because they had a choice. Those are probably still the most common type of thread on here.

So today, shopping at UDC is kind of like shopping at Fry’s Electronics. Fry’s is a gigantic store that caters to nerds (and now general consumers as well), with a dizzying array of what seems like every brand and type of computer, component and accessory you can find. They try to have it all under one roof so the consumer can decide what he/she wants. I think that’s the idea at UDC also, though they don’t have absolutely everything.

In the case of some of those specific products, sometimes the odd behavior might be related to quantity. If 24" and 26" frames were made, but it was a one-time deal, or not very many are available, they may keep it on the down-low rather than have people wanting something that suddenly becomes unavailable. UDC wants customers to be able to order whatever’s on the site, though we know unicycles are made in small batches, so they do run out from time to time.

That’s why they don’t sell Schlumpf hubs/unicycles, for instance, because they are in such high demand they are often mostly sold by the time they’re actually made. You want for your customers to be able to receive whatever you’re selling, without any long wait.

Disclaimer: This “capsule history” of online unicycle sales was done without any specific research; just based on my memories of what has occurred. Parts of it are basically guaranteed to be inaccurate. It contains no intentionally alternate facts. :slight_smile:

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I love your knowledge of unicycle history John