Passion Bicycle

Premium Custom Bicycles, Built to Your Unique Style

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Will Imholte@willimholte · Designer, Prime
Would love to hear people report on the quality of these. Quite a bit more expensive than others I've seen, for example, Pure Fix has ss/fixed gears for less than half the price: http://www.purefixcycles.com I own a PF bike, as a casual rider I've been very happy with it.
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
@willimholte One difference I can see is that Passion uses Reynolds 525 tubing over tensile steel or some other generic chromoly. It doesn't mean that they're better made (it's highly probable that many bike frames of different make come from the same factories...), but it's at least better quality materials for bike frames... So there's that... :P
Will Imholte@willimholte · Designer, Prime
@machinehuman Totally makes sense, I don't remember which type PF uses, but it's definitely cheap.
Josh Liu@uniquejosh
Yes, we are using the best components we can find and great frame makers to make the lugged frames, which are really rare and expensive now. We know there are many good economy bike brands, like PureFix, State Bicycles, BigShots and so on. We are targeting at different demographic in the premium custom bikes market. Better comparison is probably Mission Bicycle or Heritage Bicycles.
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
I have often dreamed of working on a project involving startups and bicycles... This would probably be the result... :D
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
@uniquejosh Any plans for Passion Bikes to include other kinds of components? e.g. http://www.whiteind.com/single-s...
Josh Liu@uniquejosh
@machinehuman Wow, that looks really neat!! The most wanted component from the potential customers now is the internal gear hubs. Ha, people just need gears for the SF hills. We definitely would love to introduce other kind of components, or even other type of bikes. Now we are lean and validating some hypothesis. Once we start to scale, it would be much easier for us to introduce more component options. :)
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
@uniquejosh It's good stuff. I have White Industries parts on my bike. It's rock solid... But internal hubs makes sense... LOL! I'd also really like to hear how you guys got started, what have been some of the big challenges with starting something that seems fairly niche, yet cycling is pretty huge right now... etc. Wanna share your story? :D
Patrick Liu@patrickliu86 · Passion Bicycle
@machinehuman Not a problem! We’ve definitely learned a TON along the way, and don’t mind sharing at all. Do WHATEVER it takes to build trust, especially as a new brand: When we started out, we totally underestimated how hard it was to get people to trust us. Even though we had awesome specs and a sweet looking bike, it didn’t take us long to figure out that it’s not easy to get people to shell out $899, no matter what brand you are, let alone a new one. Kickstarter is something we considered, since that community has a good number of early adopters willing to take a risk on cool new toys. Problem was that our product’s price point is a lot higher than average for a Kickstarter, and turned out not to be a good fit. So from there, how can we build trust with our potential customers? Talk to potential targets, and get the product in people’s hands to start getting testimonials. Forget about margins at the moment, and just offer discounts to get customers to agree on doing interviews, reviews and testimonials. Or, leverage your network, like friends and family, to help spread the word for you. People trust people instead of an unknown online brand, no matter how fancy-schmancy your site looks. Make sure your customers compare your brand to the right competitors: When you are a new brand, people have NO IDEA what you stand for, so you have to carefully communicate where you are in the landscape. Before we realized that we had to anchor ourselves to other bike companies, many people compared us to lower-end economy bike brands, like PureFix and State Bicycles. That hurt us in the beginning, because customers thought we were way too expensive, even though the comparison is very inaccurate! Do not expect quick sales. Especially if you are selling high priced products online: We are extremely fortunate to have a great designer on board (shout out to http://jjleedesign.com/). Our website is beautiful and truly engaging. It’s easy for people to check out our site and have fun with the bike builder. Problem is, we lose them where it counts: at the cart. We realized quickly that we had unrealistic expectations. When people are spending almost $1,000 on anything, they do their homework. They’re not going to buy on the spot. So we learned and changed things up! In order to better know our customers, we asked people to give us their email before they start the bike building process on our websites. From there, we figure that people who don’t bother to give us their email are not serious buyers anyway. At that point, we created a lead nurturing cycle, offering useful cycling information, details about how to look at bikes, and a simple discount to help convert people. This has definitely been a key factor in building trust in our brand! SO, we’ve definitely had our troubles; from building a quality brand to getting our prototype bicycle stolen. BUT, we’re learning and helping people build their dream bike. And that’s what counts :).
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
@patrickliu86 This is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I definitely get the trust issue. Especially with bikes, justifying an $899 purchase to a new bike owner is challenging because there is very little (at first) distinguishing one bike from another. I like the idea of educating before purchase. Makes total sense! Your website is awesome. Though I admit I entered a fake email, just to check out the bike building UI (sorry!). But one suggestion... On the mechanic page, I sorta feel like a different images should be used since it looks like all he's doing is tightening the collar on the seat tube... (it's not the most difficult thing to adjust on a bike :P) So who would you say your competitors are, if it's not the PureFix/State Bicycles type of manufacturers?
Josh Liu@uniquejosh
we actually just update our pricing page. www.passionbicyle.com/price we put a chart there, comparing us to similar competitors. Mission Bicycle and Heritage Bicycles. There are more, of course.
Chris LHunter@machinehuman · UX Designer
@uniquejosh Oh right. You mentioned that a couple days ago... :P