Why We Discontinue Models…
This is a topic that’s been on our mind lately as we’ve recently heard from a number of Space Horse and Nature Boy rim brake owners who are bummed to see their beloved model leave our lineup.
We get it.
We feel it, too.
Often announcements of these discontinuations are also accompanied by cries of foul and conspiracy theory comments from the dark edges of the bicycle loving internet. “They’re just trying to force discs down everyone’s throat.” “They don’t have the best intentions for their customers, this is a money grab.” “They have to push the NEW THING.” “They sold out.” Etc, etc.
In case you were wondering where the “truth” lies here, we’ll lay out our philosophies on the topic. Years back we even wrote an article on the Canti’s vs Disc thing in Annual No. 4. Here’s the final paragraph from that article which still rings true:
“As it relates to All-City, we will be expanding our disc line in the years to come, but will not stop supporting cantilevers until our customers and dealers make it clear that it’s the right time to do so. Let the free market decide.”
The Riders Decide
What we’d like you to understand is that these bikes are our babies. So much work and struggle goes into their creation and putting them into bike shops. We love them all dearly and deeply. We love that you love them. Creating something that has the ability to potentially improve someone’s life by making riding a bicycle more enjoyable is why we do this. At the time of their creation they represent the best work we know how to do for the job that they are intended for.
Heck, if we had our way we’d still be making the Def Wish since riding a monster truck fixed gear is super awesome, and we think more people should try off-road fixed. But we don’t necessarily get to have it our way. In the end you, the customer, do. And there inevitably comes a time when the majority of you decide that you prefer one thing over another. The shops tell us that sales are slowing down, that it’s no longer what the people want. That they’re choosing other bikes over ours because of a lack of a certain technology or change in trend or riding styles. There are also whole regions of the country that have different asks of us. For instance, the Pacific Northwest wants disc brakes and fender mounts, on everything, owing to the amount of rain they receive.
Sales slow down, and inevitably we must yield to the writing on the wall.
When you move on, so must we, and hopefully if we’re doing our job well we’ve already got that next thing you’re looking for in the lineup.
Now don’t get us wrong, this isn’t some sort of acknowledgement that we’re strictly beholden to industry trends. We build the bikes that we as a team of bike nerds and lovers wish existed, and that often puts us a bit out of step with the “industry.” Which is fine by us, we choose to put time and energy into things that most overlook, such as developing our own frame parts to make our bikes truly unique, E.D. coating our frames so they last, highly detailed wet paint, and utilizing world class tubing.
Other times, we make a rad bike, that simply doesn’t have a huge audience. The Log Lady is a prime example of this.
We made a barn-stormer of a single speed cross country race bike, it is an absolute demon at cutting through tight techy singletrack. It’s A.C.E. tubed frame is exceptionally light weight, the segmented fork is gorgeous, and the geo crushes. Well, it turns out the audience for a rigid, cross country, 27.5”, single speed is pretty small in 2018. Two runs and done. We’re stoked that this thing exists, and that a number of people bought one and love it. In fact they’re doing things on it that we never dreamed of like extended bike packing trips.
photo by Brad Serls
But not enough people want one for it be realistic to continue making them moving forward.
That’s just the way it goes sometimes. It stinks, but they can’t all be smash hits. We made the thing we wanted to make, and the folks who also wanted that thing have / had the chance to pick one up. (There are still Log Ladies available) Sometimes that’s all you can do.
For those of you who own one of the models that we’ve discontinued and are bummed to see it go, we feel you. But it’s not like we’re coming to take them out of your hands, keep riding them, keep loving them. Your warranty’s still good (three years from date of purchase), and if there ever comes a time when you want another bike, hopefully we’ll have something that you’ll love just as much.