200 binders, you need a front rack and new pricing.

This may end up being a long post.

I try to use this blog to keep people informed about ANT and to not use it to rant about my dealings with traffic, politics, getting hassled on the road etc… and to keep the post short so I can get back to work on bikes, but sometimes I want to let the s#%t fly. I am not a fast typer or a good speller or writer, so these post and my emails take me a long time to write.
So much has been going on and the interruptions to my frame building have been 10 fold, most of it good for the shop, just not exactly in the priority that had intended.
Any frame builders or new frame builders or people in the bike business, that have or plan to get in touch….I am sorry I just can not take the time to answer your questions. The calls I keep getting about someone wanting to buy me a cup of coffee/beer and pick my brain about their project or frame building knowledge they want from me, just keep growing and growing. Anyone that knows me or has had business with me knows that I enjoy people and talking and I do not like to say no, but I have a lot of very nice and patience customers that have paid a deposit for a bike and I really want to deliver.
The parts in the photo are of my binders for stems [takes 2 per stem]. My old distributor told me that this part was being discontinued [made in Japan], so I bought all they had. When I was getting low on them I went to my local machine shop to have them made….of course at a much higher price and in quantity. Turns out after I had these made that the original parts are not discontinued! All well I am always making a stink about made in USA, so this takes it to another level for me:)  The shop is about 2 miles away and I picked up the parts with my bike. This shop also make my cone ends caps [that I used to make myself one at a time]. Nice shop and the owner rides a bike..not an ANT, but a cheap hybrid..none the less he and his wife do ride:)
My bike is equipped with a front flatbed rack and a rear pannier rack. I just can not get by with out both and I think everyone should have a bike with a front flatbed rack. Once you have one you will never go back. It will be a long time [if ever] before I can make a rack to be fitted to other bike forks, so I will suggest buying from either http://cetmaracks.com/index.html or http://www.passstow.com/index.html If I ever run out of bicycle orders I will get on it to provide racks  for non-ant bikes too
My lease for my shop is up in October. I have been looking around for space to see what my options are. My rent goes up every year and just went up last month. My overheads are good I guess, but the cost keep increasing for me. I will probably end up staying in my space [of the last 5 years].
Many of you have emailed me about the price increase on the Light Roadster. Anyone that has placed an order with me is locked in at the price that was listed, so do not worry about that:)
This is only for new orders from now on.
I am not sure if I can eloquently convey all of the reasons for the price increase and I am not sure if I can, in one post, explain all the ins and outs of the bicycle industry and my life history in the business and the bicycle industries lack of adequate compensation. I will try and shed a little light on the subject. I love what I do and have been in the industry all my life and pretty much have accepted my low income life. I am industrious, happy and make the best of it.
Since my beginnings in bicycles I have been interested in providing and inexpensive, complete, but very well equipped Roadster commuter bicycle [long before I started ANT]. Over the years I have tried to come up with an ultimate complete bike that fits a lot of areas. I started with the original Light Roadster, then the Boston Roadster. The BR went through many changes based on customers feedback and my own discoveries. The first BR had the incredible low price of $1,200.00 with no options, but people keep treating it like a custom bicycle. I was not happy with the parts to keep at that price and people wanted other options on it. Over the years I improved it a lot and raised the price a little and ended up at the market barrier of $2K.
I still felt the bike should be better, but to make it better would put it out of reach for many people that could actually use it. I wanted to build the ultimate bike and squeeze it into the $2K barrier. It is just not possible. You can buy a Civia [made in Taiwan] for $2K, which is no where near as nice or equipped as well and is not custom fitted.
Over a short time with the newly introduced very well equipped Light Roadster, I realized that if I continued to take orders at that price ANT would cease to exist.
This also came about from feedback from many of my customers telling me that I need to raise my price…these are people that have placed orders.
I understand that this may push the bike out of reach for some people, but I just can’t bring myself to spec an additional bike in my line with less components and offerings than this bike I have come up with.
I hope this explains a little and hope that I stay in the position of providing really useful bicycles.
Sincerely Mike Flanigan

About antbikemike

Bicycle frame builder
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15 Responses to 200 binders, you need a front rack and new pricing.

  1. David P. says:

    Yea! The cool tagline is back! The blog colors and layout are sleek and uncluttered. My ANT bikes are doing awesome duties and I’m having fun! Keep up the good work.

  2. antbikemike says:

    Hey David, Thanks! Glad to hear that your bikes are serving you well. I like this new blog design, but it looses some of the pages [they are on the side now]. I may change it to another design, but it will still allow the tag line. If I knew more about wordpress I would use the more complicated version, but for now the basic is for me.

  3. Molnar says:

    Mike, not only does it make sense to raise your prices so that you can afford to eat a decent meal once in a while, but it might also help prevent your waiting list from reaching Sachsian proportions. No one who really needs a new bike is in a position to wait years to get one, so, like it or not, your bikes are in the process of turning into a sort of luxury item: if only those with extra time or extra money can get one, you might as well take the money. Besides, if your newfound fame means you can charge more money and still get plenty of business, it puts you in a good position to continue you charity work.

    By the way, I bought the July Bicycling, so if you still don’t have it I can ride it over to the shop on my Boston Roadster (so new, and already a collector’s item!) one of these days.

  4. antbikemike says:

    Hey S. Molnar, thank you:) I bought a few of the Bicyclings (sent one to my mom;) Your are welcome to drop by on your BR anytime…people that actually by a bike can have those perks;)

  5. Dario D. says:

    Hello Mike,

    Thanks for explaining your thinking. I agree with Molnar that raising your prices to meet your own (artisanal) and customers’ expectations about “quality” is more than reasonable. Your customers (or people who consider purchasing a beautiful and functional all-around bike, like the Light Roadster) understand value and are willing to pay for it. For those that don’t, well … there are a host of other options (and that is perfectly fine and understandable). Over these many years of building bikes and, especially of building a certain style of bike, you’ve helped create a niche market for the aesthetically pleasing and very functional commuting bike, and this market will continue to develop (because of gas prices, people seeking a healthier life-style, fun). Let me generalize what you say about your own experience in the bike business to other things, that is, you pursue your passion of making bicycles even though you’re making a modest living. In general, society benefits from people doing what they do out of passion than out of lucre (although we need to make a living obviously), something about positive externalities and such. So, yeah, raise your prices so that you can continue to pursue your passion! In any case, thanks for your post and for the cool bikes.

    — dario

  6. steve garro says:

    cool, mike. i’m there too. can i just take your post, delete all the ANT-specific info and post it at my site so i can build bikes in the time it would take me to type it? rock on. off to bend tubes, throw chips and melt metal. steve.

  7. Mike,
    If you need to raise your prices it is nothing you need to explain. I feel your bikes are priceless and deserve even more than you are charging. It is very admirable that you explained yourself. I think in our current economy and our business it is only fair to raise the prices. If people want the companies to survive we need to charge enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. this includes family vacations, health care, a home and plenty of other expenses. Always been a fan as far back as Fat City. Hope your search for the perfect workshop ends sometime soon.

    Cheers,
    Drew
    ps- i completely understand the spelling and grammar thing i proofread this post 5 times!

  8. -dan says:

    I have no problem with the price. In fact, I still am amazed at the quote you gave me months ago. (THANK YOU!) If you need to charge more, do. The idea of a super-commuter/carry all bike at even $3k is a good deal for someone that does not use a car. $2k, well, that is a bargain in my mind.

    Yet again, I enjoy the anxiety of waiting for my custom ANT.

  9. ira ryan says:

    mike and rack lovers, front racks are the best for daily riding and using your bike in place of a car. good on ya! a friend in portland started making racks because neither ahearne or myself (ira ryan) are building racks other than for the forks we make. his name is tad and his “website” is http://the-tcb-racks.blogspot.com/ also, prices keep going up and we can’t build bikes for free. raise your prices.

    spread the love.
    ira

  10. therecumbentblog says:

    Mike,

    The new, higher price is well-justified by the quality of your work. It may put your bikes beyond the reach of some individuals, but I’m sure there are plenty of people willing and able to pay that kind of money for a beautiful, hand-made product. And really, $2500 is an insignificant amount of money when put into context with other transportation modes. As long as your order book stays full (I know it will), I’m sure it was a wise decision.

    Regards,
    Alan
    EcoVelo

  11. Rich says:

    This is why you have the respect you do Mike. You’re a good man… keep up the fight and great to hear that business is good. I’m giddy that cross season is getting closer. I’ve been spending more time with my giANT baby…

  12. christian says:

    Hi Mike,

    from looking at your site, it’s not clear if you accept frame-only orders or not (unless I missed something).

    If you do accept frame-only orders, it would be great to have this information posted as some potential customers who need transportation right now might want to use expensive and durable parts (I’m thinking of Rohloff hubs, specifically) with placeholder frames (which could be passed on to relatives, broke friends, etc once you get to them in your queue).

    thanks!

  13. antbikemike says:

    Thank you to all for the nice comments [on and off line].

  14. bobby says:

    You’re an idiot. You are not nearly is great as you think you are. Get over yourself.

  15. bob phillips says:

    i always wondered how you could sell the LR at such a low price. i’m glad i got my order in at the older price, but would gladly still order one at the new price (for which you explained it well in the blog). i guess most folks know (or maybe not) that you’re one of the founders of IF and their frame prices are through the roof now. i look at it as getting an IF level quality frame built up with fantastic components at a very lowprice. i can’t wait for mine.

    sounds like business is good too, mike.

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