IF Selling Out to Mass Market Shops??

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    Mike Costa

    Imagine my delight with my new Crown Jewel SEC last Summer. This was the exclamation point on my 35 years of riding.

    Imagine my disappointmnet when I heard that IF is now planning to sell to a mass-market shop (Trek/SBC) about 1 mile away from the bona fide pro dealer here in town.

    My conversation with IF on this matter was mainly blah-blah-blah from them. I suppose if the new owner helped drive Timberland into the ground, he can certainly do the same for IF.

    As far as selling to mass-market shops under the guise that they’ll have a pro shop inside….you can put lipstick on a pig….

    Cris Bloomfield


    I’m not sure I get what you’re saying. It reads as though you’re commenting on the fact that IF are now supplying a dealer that sells bikes from Specialized and Trek rather than a shop that only deals in boutique brands.

    It certainly wouldn’t be unusual for an IF dealer to have dealings with one of those firms and possibly both SBC and Trek. In fact you only need to go through the photos on this site to see how many people are using products from those companies on their bikes.

    As long as the staff are trained up on the product, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get excellent service from this new store. It’s certainly not like you’re going to find Indy Fabs turning up for sale in your local Walmart ;)

    Dave Bradley

    Not only to piggyback those thoughts, but bike shops cannot survive on “custom boutique” bikes. They have to sell the $200 to $500 to keep the lights on.

    I know for a fact that IF respects brands of all sizes and availablilty. Their goal is to get people on bikes riding and put the best bikes underneath them. How is getting your brand in a bike shop, of any kind “selling out?”

    Wth all due respect the argument is lame. What bike company doesn’t want to sell their stuff?

    As for your comments regarding Gary…you don’t know the man. He has been at IF for over a year and taken them to new heights. They are one of the few custom bike companies who are slammed with orders. “Busiest winter ever” is a direct quote from Joe.

    I was able to hang out with Gary at the show and to hear his passion for not only the company, but his fierce desire to see IF grow into what it can is contagious. The man has made his way in business the hard way…through tireless work, determination, and vision. That is the guy I would want to lead my company. From my personal experience your comments are like pissing into a strong headwind.

    You are more then entitled to your opinion, but it is flat out wrong.

    Andy Corso

    Mike, I kinda see where you’re coming from. I was quite disappointed when I heard Matt Bracken had left and saw Gary as being someone who might ‘water down’ the brand. This opinion has changed since following Gary’s posts on http://www.velocipedesalon.com (a Forum with quite a few industry folk posting).

    Dave’s experience of talking with Gary echoes what I’ve read in Gary’s posts…. he really is interested in IF on a personal level, not just for it’s investment potential.

    I think IF will grow with Gary on board, wether you believe that is a good thing or not is of course up to you.

    Keep the Faith


    Mike Costa

    Okay All:

    Why have 2 dealers within a mile of each other? This is certainly lame…

    Dave Bradley

    Why? Both shops wish to carry a great custom bike. Why is it lame? Use it for buying leverage. I still think you have an opportunity to get the word out and maybe one shops carries a models and the other only does it by custom order.

    Stores that compete against each other for the same customer often need to have the same product. If both shops sell tons of IF’s then how is this bad? If neither sells an IF then yeah it seems lame. I can’t get a shop to promote them close to where I am. Trust me I keep trying.

    I am trying to understand your point, that you might not be used to seeing IF sold along with Specialized and Treks, but how does that dimish the brand? I think they can compete and surely out do any hardtail or road bike those two companies can come up with. S-Works and Madones cost more then IF’s now so if you are selling those to customers, why not have somethig buiolt tailored to the customer instead of the stock crap?

    Not trying to put you down, I just don’t see the bad part in getting the brand out. Maybe someone only knows about serotta for custom and sees and loves IF. I see win win all the way.

    But maybe I am lame. :)

    John May

    Two shops within a mile of each other does seem odd. I suspect there is more to the story and I am not about to specualte about it in an open forum out of respect for all parties involved.

    I was at the 2009 model/catalogue launch in Boston last week and I had the chance to meet with the people who built the Crown Jewel SE that I just received. I have also been lucky enough to visit the factory and get a glimpse of things. I would be suprised if any of the individuals at Independent Fabrication would allow anyone to run that company into the ground. There is too much well deserved pride for that. And while I did not have the chance to meet with Gary, I fail to see him as Gordon Gekko.

    Further, I fail to see how the IF Brand would lose its exclusivity image if sold in a shop that carried Trek or Giant or any other mass market company. It’s in a different market segment.

    Mike Costa


    I view IF as “special” and not available in mass market shops. This is why I bought one. Also, if IF hadn’t fibbed to me about the premise of opening up the MM shop, maybe I wouldn’t be so bent.

    If I employ some of the logic I’ve read here, then I should have bought a Mongoose…


    Mike. What is a mass market shop? I bought my IF from a shop that also sold other brands, like Surly, Giant, Trek. Is this bad? Is my IF of lesser quality, or is it infected with some larger brand germs? It did hang in the shop for a few days as those other bikes sat around it, gazing in awe.

    Did IF say that they are going to start making “stock” sizes again? They haven’t done that in awhile. I’m not sure when they stopped, but I would guess 2002. We need some more information from you here. That’s the only way that your situation makes sense, if they were too again start making a “general” 17 inch frame/54cm frame. Do you all think they are going to start doing that?

    Maybe you got fitted and picked up your IF from a special bike shop that I have yet to hear about. Please tell us more.

    Mike Costa


    Yes, I wanted a boutique bike, and I was custom-fit and purchased it from a boutique shop.

    Picture Halle Berry wanting a special dress, and having it custom-fit for her from a little dress shop in SoHo. Then she learns the same dresses are being offered by a mass-market store just a few blocks away. So much for the “boutique feeling”….

    Also, IF told me that the push behind opening the mass-market shop was due to local hero, Andy Pruitt. As it turns out, this was just an fabrication. Andy is still working for SBC.

    Regardless, as a consumer, I feel opening 2 dealers within 1 mile of each other for such a highly regarded brand is not good brand management.

    For those of you who think that the new IF regime is doing the brand well, then I suggest you take notice of the IF old guard who have voted with their feet recently…


    Please explain what you mean by a boutique shop vs. a shop that is not boutique. Seriously.

    Also, what do you mean by the old IF guard voting with their feet? Would love to know what this means.

    I can respect your opinion about your feelings about opening 2 dealers within 1 mile of each other. To each his own.


    I’m sorry, I’ve been out riding my new IF. What’s all this blubbering about again?

    Dave Bradley

    Does selling a handmade bike in a shop that also sells mass produced bikes change how the bike was made?

    If you bought an IF in a shop that only sells IF, Moots, Seven, and Serotta would it be created any differently then if it was sold in a shop that sells Trek, Cannondale, or Specialized?

    I think I understand your point that IF is special, but where it sold does not affect how it was made or how it will ride.

    As for what you think IF owes you regarding their business practices, that seems a bit arrogant. IF has and will continue to make amazing bikes. They continue t support their dealierships as best they can. They continue to progress the work they do and continue to love building and especially riding bikes.

    I think you need to pull your head out of your ass and get over it. If you are bent on where you buy your IF being a determining factor…I am sure they don’t need you.

    Stop trolling and move on.

    John May

    I’m just wondering what frame would look the best with Halle Berry on the saddle….I’m thinking an XS with the burgundy tinted carbon tubes and the lugs with a rose satin finish, Campy Record, and pink Terry Damself saddle…..ouch!

    I’m also wondering, if Halle had a twin sister on the same bike just two miles away, would she be any less hot?

    Excuse me while I ponder the possibilities….

    Dave Bradley

    Oh, but what if they made a tandem, then both girls one bke and the two shops could share!

    MMMMMM small markets!

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