Around two weeks ago the buzz came around about a limited edition bike from Giant that will retail for NT39,800–at today’s exchange rate that is US1,237. The May/June (Vol.30) edition of Bikeman magazine covers this new offering in some detail.
Last weekend on my Sunday ride a guy pulled up at the lights next to me on one. It looks pretty nice. A decisive strike on the local market as the bicycling season powers ahead? Or is there something else going on here?
Here’s a few details from Bikeman’s liftout spread. The offering comes in the form of one roadbike frame, three roadbike options. The first one, and the target of this strategy is the TCR Composite 1. Sizes are XS/S/M. Shimano 105 Groupset. Weight 8.5kg for the small size without the pedals.
The second offering is, same frame, same sizes.
This comes, however, with SRAM’s new APEX groupset. Weight 8.3 kg small size. NT42,800 or US1,331 at today’s exchange rate.
The third is the FCR Composite. Same as the TCR Composite 1, but in a flatbar offering.
This comes in at the same retail price as the first.
The question being asked is how can a carbon bike (T600 carbon) be delivered up so cheaply? The official word is that the frame is produced in Taiwan, even more remarkable. However, on this one, an extremely reliable source informs me that it is in fact produced in China, there being probably no way that such a Taiwan-produced frame could be offered at this price. Perhaps.
The wheelset is an important element in the equation. It looks to be very basic. An upgrade to a (considerably?) better quality wheelset would put the price up in the range of, and in excess of, light-weight triple butted alloy frame bikes.
Anyhow, what might be the strategy behind this? It seems that this is a testing of the water temperature. If the reaction to this in the local market is favorable then it can be extended to other markets. The economics would be one of tight margins on high volumes to make it profitable–entry level high-end with a middle-end price tag.
It’s very early days yet, but reaction online and the “whisperings” elsewhere are generally quite positive. Like everything else, time will tell. Hardly ever a dull moment in this industry these days!