MadFiber, Serotta and Blue Now Owned by Divine Cycling

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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

On August 22, http://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2013/08/22/serotta-lowers-prices-accepting-frame-orders wrote:In a statement Thursday, Serotta chairman and DCG director Brian Case said restructuring is underway at Serotta.

“The contract frame-building agreements we are negotiating will stabilize our business and allow our American craftsmen to continue to do what they love doing: Building great bikes here in Saratoga Springs,” said Case.

“We aim to build our manufacturing business around multiple customers across multiple distribution channels,” Case said. “In addition to handling contract framebuilding for other brands, we will offer private label framesets designed and crafted for top dealers and fit studios. This, in turn, will support the continued production of our legendary high-performance custom and stock frames.”

The company is accepting orders for the fully custom Ottrott SE, Legend SE and Viaggio SE models, as well as for Standard Geometry MeiVici SG, Legend SG, Pronto SG and Fondo SG framesets. With the exception of the Pronto and Fondo, the MSRP has been reduced for all models by up to 20 percent.

“We’re also improving margins for our dealers,” Case said.

Serotta also reduced its repair and refinishing prices by 25 percent and will now accept refinishing work for other brands.
So Serotta is accepting orders for custom frames for some models, but not for MeiVici (which unlike the models for which they are still accepting custom orders, requires custom carbon tubes?). Some of the article commenters are rather skeptical.

rustychain
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by rustychain

Ref custom vs off the shelf. Why should "custom makers" marketing lies be viewed any differently then the lies told but mass market manufacturers? As I see it, marketing foolishness and fantasy is rampant throughout the industry, if anything, custom builders are just trying to keep up with the mass marketing lies and gimmicks that sell what amounts to snake oil. That does not make such "exaggerations" right, but it should be kept in context of the current state of the industry.

I'm sad to see jobs lost and our cycling options reduced. I hope Ben Serotta returns to the shop floor were he started and spends his time and expertise creating something unique, forget the bean counters, and the brand crap. Ben, do what you know best. Make a nice bike. On the other hand, with respect to the aging demographic of our sport, perhaps custom three wheeled recombents (shudder) :beerchug:
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sawyer
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by sawyer

rustychain wrote:Ref custom vs off the shelf. Why should "custom makers" marketing lies be viewed any differently then the lies told but mass market manufacturers? As I see it, marketing foolishness and fantasy is rampant throughout the industry, if anything, custom builders are just trying to keep up with the mass marketing lies and gimmicks that sell what amounts to snake oil. That does not make such "exaggerations" right, but it should be kept in context of the current state of the industry.



I agree with you more or less rustychain. You're absolutely right there is tons of BS whether from customer builders or not.

Has to be said the custom builders are seeking to justify a generally huge premium for the service/product they are offering, and Serrotta was certainly one of these.

You're dead right about the industry. In the sector I work in would in you'd be closed down the regulator for the mis-leading advertising practiced in cycling.
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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

Well, the goings on at Divine Cycling Group make palace intrigue in the Kremlin look transparent by comparison.

Here are the highlights from http://www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2013/09/12/divine-cycling-group-turmoil-continues-blue-block-serotta-divided#.UjJhOT9BLfh
http://www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2013/09/12/divine-cycling-group-turmoil-continues-blue-block-serotta-divided#.UjJhOT9BLfh wrote:
    Despite announcing the merger in June, DCG principals say they never completed the merger of Blue Competition Cycles. DCG director Brian Case said the group has "no interest" in the company.

    Blue's CEO, industry veteran Steven Harad, says the company will shut down if it doesn't find an investor or buyer by Friday. He said Blue has $1 million in inventory — 2014 model year bikes — unpaid for and "sitting on a dock in Asia."

    Blue Competition Cycles remains owned by Lake Rudd Capital, which bought the brand from its founders late last year. Lake Rudd principal Bill Overbay has not returned calls from BRAIN seeking comment; Case said he is not in contact with Overbay.

    An amateur women's cycling team says its members paid $22,000 in deposits on an order for frames and bikes from Blue that were never delivered. Harad said he is aware of the dispute but can't comment on it.

    Serotta is being "bifurcated." The brand name will remain the property of DCG. But its upstate manufacturing facility is being renamed Saratoga Frameworks, and is now owned by Bradway Capital, the company that bought Serotta last year. Case, Bradway's managing partner, is overseeing the facility, which is being run by the same team that has been in place for years; Case also remains a director of DCG.

    Saratoga Frameworks has its first contract framebuilding customer: Planet X, which has hired the company to make a prototype Tomac-branded gravel grinder bike.

    Case said the Serotta brand might eventually be sold or otherwise commercialized, but for now it needs to "cool off."

    Mad Fiber is continuing to produce wheels in Seattle with a reduced workforce.

    Ben Serotta, whom Case fired last month from the company he founded 40 years ago — told BRAIN that he expects to announce news about his next career step later this week.

    Finally, Case said that he and DCG founder Dan Divine are currently too focused on managing their existing ongoing brands — Mad Fiber, Serotta and Saratoga Frameworks — to resume DCG's original business plan immediately.


There are plenty of additional sordid details on the whole Divine Cycling Group empire and its constituent pieces in the article. Here's another blurb on Mad Fiber
Last month, Mad Fiber laid off seven employees at its Seattle factory and a company spokesman said Mad Fiber planned to set up production in Asia to serve OE bike makers.

According to Case, Mad Fiber is still manufacturing wheels with a reduced staff in Seattle. Asked if Mad Fiber had made significant moves toward establishing an Asian factory, Case said, "No."


Despite the quote above, 'Despite announcing the merger in June, DCG principals say they never completed the merger of Blue Competition Cycles. DCG director Brian Case said the group has "no interest" in the company. ', the Divine Cycling Group website still lists Blue under Divine Cycling Group Companies http://www.divinecycles.com/blue.php

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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

OMG, this guy is hilarious. I don't think the consulting thing makes any sense, but maybe he could become a late night comedian.

http://benserotta.com/2013/09/15/what-ive-been-up-to/#more-15 wrote:My three short term projects are: re-engage the bicycle fitting community in which I had played such an active role in creating; launch a personal, non-commercial blog site; and provide consulting services.

...

Consulting.

A long time ago I’d had some inadequate advice from a Harvard MBA turned professor and advisor. Later on, I was introduced to a consultant who was pretty much on it, but I ran up a pretty good tab by first teaching him about the bike industry before we really got down to my business. Both times what I needed was someone with cycling industry experience who could efficiently and effectively evaluate my business challenges and offer fresh insight, helping me identify realistic options. At other junctures what I could have used was a short term or part time champion executive to help implement a strategic initiative or to help evaluate potential investors. After serving as an officer in the Military, Bill Watkins, built a highly successful business career primarily in medical compression garments where his executive and leadership skills built an International success story. The point is, over our years in business, we’ve made plenty of mistakes to go along with the good decisions, and have learned from them all. Together, with our combined 70 years of business experience, we can provide a broad range of support services from short term assessments to direct engagement while implementing solutions including advising on capital resources and M&A on either side of the table.
Ah, so he's saying that because he's screwed up in business so many times, now he knows what he's doing, and should advise others. Well, there's no evidence he's gotten it right yet. Anyone who hires him (and Bill Watkins) to advise on capital resources or M&A <mergers and acquisitions> on either side of the table deserves what they get.

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53x12
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by 53x12

So it looks like MadFiber is done in the States? That is too bad. Now probably looking at some factory in Asia to start up production again. Too bad MadFiber got bought out by Divine. I guess a set of MadFiber wheels were suppose to be given out as a door prize at Kona Ironman this month. But neither the wheels nor a MadFiber rep showed up to the event. lol

So much potential, so kinda sad to see another American startup get bought out and then fail. Then see them eventually moved to Asia and tried to be jump started again.

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/Mad_fiber-_Anyone_know_whats_going_on_there_P4804645/


My final questions to Case regarded Mad Fiber and what would happen with that company. Currently, the web site has a single page asking visitors to check back later and the phone isn’t being answered. He admitted that production had been shut down and operations had been suspended in the short term.


http://redkiteprayer.com/tag/mad-fiber/
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

Danza
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by Danza

Wonder if that's why they're all over ebay now

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53x12
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by 53x12

^ I haven't followed how often they are on eBay but just looked now. Is that more than are typically listed for sale? I would be hard pressed to spend that much on them knowing MadFiber is caput (at least in its current form) and no warranty support.
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

Danza
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by Danza

They've always been up there, but it seems (haven't actively tracked) like they dominate your searches now with all the decals etc.

gitsome
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by gitsome

WOw

This all sucks, I wonder if it reflects a massive slow-down or fall-off in sales in the high end cycling industry overall. That would be bad.

And I agree for anyone considering buying a wheel like Madfiber with so much proprietary technology and components, warrantee and repair issues over the long-term would have be a real source of worry and doubt, at least for me and I've been a fan for a long time. Seems like "traditional" wheels are still the way to go for practicality (see Lew for example...) and long-term durability/serviceablility. Which kind of sucks as I think it moves the industry away form experimentation, risk-taking and innovation in favor of more-of-the-same-but-better approaches.

All I can say is I'm still so glad I bought my Moots SL when I did.... who knows who's next.

Ive also noticed somany brands, manufacturers and even apparel designers like Assos have gone for lower-end lines of product, cheaper and "outlet" style sales to increase revenue instead of high-end, limited production like they used to. Wonder if its all connected to either drastically reduced revenue overall or attempts to grow and expand marketshare and increase profits at the expense of quality and production-costs. I have noticed a definite decline in Asso quality as their lines have expanded. (Dont mean to sound snoby but its just an observation) As others like Capo and the rest have tried to catch up to Assos in regards to design and fabrics, etc.

Maybe this reflects an industry-wide trend?
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53x12
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by 53x12

gitsome, those are some interesting questions. I don't know the true answer, but I can only hazard a guess that the economic slowdown that is happening world wide is having an affect on cycling products. Maybe guys are not upgrading their equipment quite as often as they have in the past. Maybe more guys are waiting for sales before picking something up. I don't think cycling is immune to what is happening worldwide financially.
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

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jmilliron
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by jmilliron

gitsome wrote:And I agree for anyone considering buying a wheel like Madfiber with so much proprietary technology and components, warrantee and repair issues over the long-term would have be a real source of worry and doubt, at least for me and I've been a fan for a long time.


And MF jumped into the market with a deep and narrow wheel just as that was going out of style. It's all about wide and relatively shallow now. Something they couldn't easily migrate to due to their design.
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53x12
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by 53x12

I think that is a great point. Especially considering the competitive market for high end wheels (LW, Zipp, Enve, Reynolds...etc.). They were at a disadvantage as the new kid on the block plus coming in at the end of that design life.
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

Johnny Rad
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by Johnny Rad

@ 53x12 and @Dana - With respect to "MF's all over eBay now," yes the total number of wheelsets appears greater than average to me, but the total number of sellers offering them appears well below average. Looks like someone (or a couple of someones) emptied out their inventory of new MFs and the Pro's Closet is moving them on eBay.

Might be MF themselves (!!!), which would reek of "shuttering the company" and not "coming back soon."

gitsome
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by gitsome

I really hope not, they were such a unique, innovative and interesting source of engineering/design possibilities.

Even though this is all pure speculation, I wonder (if any of this is true) whether they wouldn't be a good match for a partnership or buy out from the likes of ENVE who does not seem to be slipping financially and whose technical knowhow and resources would seem a perfect fit for future innovation and perhaps lower production costs, etc for them. I don't think taking over one's competition would be such a bad thing as ENVE's direct competition is far more ZIPP than MF anyway so 2 lines of wheels wouldn't conflict and might be really cool and cross-fertilization of ideas, techniques, materials etc.

At least then MF might get away from the carbon-weave thing aesthetically, lol, which I find so 1990's
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