Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this sale and the implications for their business… However, its a good opportunity to pick up materials if you need it.
Protip: If you go to the upper left and view the store as a list, it more clearly shows what is available:
On a somewhat related tangent:
I really enjoyed watching Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares:
One common tactic that Gordon uses to turn around the business is to trim the number of menu items to tighten up the supply chain, efficiency, and quality.
I understand the diversity of tubing and framebuilding styles is what makes framebuiding so fun and unique. But I think times are changing. Major manufacturers are not ordering steel tubes anymore. Their only market is custom framebuilding. If having 8 different butted 31.8 tubes means 7 will always be out of stock, I don’t think it’s worth it.
To help these suppliers and manufacturers succeed, I think framebuilders need to step, call some shots, and help them consolidate their inventory.
I placed a really large order that would normally be $1130CAD for $730CAD w/ shipping.
I use Nova as a last resort supplier. I dislike their website and the lack of information for the majority of products they offer. I can’t buy your chainstays if I don’t know the dimensions…
I prefer BFS and framebuilder supply. What’s weird about Nova is how erratic their stock is. I only bought top tubes and down tubes because nothing else on the site is really useful for me. In 2023 I’ll place another order, but with BFS, for the rest of the stuff I use…
BFS for me is almost a one stop shop. If I need something that Andrew doesn’t have, Framebuilder Supply does.
Just received my Nova order.
It came wicked fast. California to Quebec with Fedex ground in 2 business days.
Couple peculiarities with the shipment.
They shipped all of the tubes packed on top of each other with no wrapping / paper or separation. Only some of the VeloSpec tubes came with bubble wrap on them, which is always present when I order from BFS.
Nothing was labelled. I can figure out what tube is which by measuring / deduction / logic but when I order from BFS every single item is labelled clearly and well. When taking them out of storage for a build, I automatically know what it is because Andrew has labelled it well. I enjoy that it saves me a lot of time. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I only ordered a few models chainstays but they just threw them in the box with no labels.
I also received a Paragon Machine Works shipment today. Everything I ordered was individually wrapped, labelled, and the box was lined with corrugated packing paper. I always thought PMW shipping was unbearably high to Canada, but if you contrast the quality of the packing it is definitely worth it.
Overall I’m still happy. None of the tubes are damaged. I saved a ton of money. It’s just interesting to contrast with what I’m use to receiving.
For those who don’t know, Nova was Lon Kennedy’s baby for something like 30 years. Lon is a great guy and was always calling up builders to find out what they needed/wanted, and then making it happen.
A few years ago he sold the business to some folks (who I don’t know) that I’ve heard are not really bike industry people. They don’t tend to respond to emails or know anything much about framebuilding. The business has been going downhill for years now, and I’d interpret this sale as a signal that the end is nigh.
This is not the first time a big supplier (bikelugs.com, henryjames, etc, etc) has gone away. Just like building bikes, supplying tubes is not a super profitable gig and requires a lot of love for the craft. People burn out and quit and are replaced by new bright eyed/bushy tailed folks.
So go support Andrew/BikeFabSupply and keep a few thousand bucks in your back pocket to have something drawn by the Fairing folks. The tubes will still be out there if you need them.
that’s not quite right. Lon sold out to a framebuilder who ended up tanking the business. The current folks managed to bring it back from the dead. It hasn’t been the same as under Lon, but from what I can tell there was nothing left. It’s not too hard to find out who the framebuilder was, AFAIK, he’s still building.
Thanks for clarifying. Regardless, I’d assume it’s dead for the purposes of planning your tube sourcing going forward. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised.
I want to thank you all for your support and encouraging builder to support Bicycle Fabrication Supply.
with in terms to these last to comments , I can tell you like Lon/Nova , BikeFabSupply.com is my baby. I built this out from the ground , with a solid game plan and future plans laid, lots to go, its been 5 years this year and I hope to do 30 years plus of supporting the bicycle business, and hopefully one of my kids will take it on some day to support their generations of building.
I love doing this work , its not easy or glamorous job, but its absolutely what I have wanted to do for a living. I will have to sit down and give all the info in the introduction section on how and why I am doing this for a living.
Just to maybe clarify on the Nova thing, as I looked at buying it at the same time as the current group did. Lon I believe was going to sell to a employee/builder but it fell through. It was purchased by an older guy who owned some kind of electronics component company. The man passed away in 2020 I think , and all of the Nova side of business was held under the other companies llc or corp. In course of this his company was going under and was tied up in the courts to pay off the creditors. I spoke with the person in charge of all of it, and was looking at buying out all the inventory , but it was a mess of a deal and ton of dead old inventory that I had no interest in and asking price would not be wise money spent in my opinion. The group who did buy it are not from the bike industry , not bike builders on any level from what I knew. I believe they knew Lon and had some desire to try and keep nova alive. I have no other knowledge of them. No clue what their future holds.
Know this - Bicycle Fabrication Supply and I are in for the long haul. I have many more plans to expand our offerings beyond the current, always improving selections across our materials, and aimed at keeping up with modern frame building, modern bicycle frames ,concepts and styles.
look forward to supporting you all now and into the future
Cheers - Andrew
To echo what others have said I’ve also notice a downturn in the “quality” of Nova since it left Lon’s hands which is a bummer. I’m returning a bunch of tubes from my recent order because of significant rust pitting and significant weld seam porosity. To me these tubes shouldn’t have ever reached their web stock and should have been rejected when they received from their suppliers. There was also basically no packaging or labeling of ~60 tubes in a barely taped closed box. As others have mentioned a dramatic difference from the level of care from other suppliers.
I don’t know anything about the situation but the 40% sale does feel like a clearout to me. Guess we will see what happens.