Rahul here… Builder noob from Bengaluru, India.
The plan is to host a Custom - Bike Show in India next year.
Most premium bikes sold in are Giants, Treks, specialized, Bianchi’s and the like. Majority of the riders don’t have an idea of custom, steel or Ti bikes. There are 3 custom bike manufacturers in the country (and I’ll hopefully be on that list someday.)
So the idea was to expose the riders to Steel / Ti bikes in general and custom bikes in specific. To let them know that there is this whole other universe aside from the general carbon options at the store windows. If this works out, it’s probably going to be the 1st of its kind in India.
- Hire a college ground for a weekend, set up a covered space, carpets and display spaces, in a cost effective manner.
- Call the bike builders and a few component suppliers and maybe a few nutrition guys to set up shop at the ground. The 3 builders will get their best bikes for display. (Will probably try to pull in Surly, VO and Ritchey if possible as 3 bikes won’t make a show.)
- Try to provide economical accommodation to the builders (at their expense) nearby to the venue.
- Talks about Steel / Ti / custom / bike Geo / fit / etc. on both nights.
Guys… I’ll need your help to add on to the above concept… If some of you can list out what are the do’s, dont’s and maybe’s. What can be done to spice up the event for the average cyclist. What can be done to make the life of a builder easier. Who else can be included in the show apart from bike builders. Etc. (I’ve never been to a cycling trade fare before but I’ve experience in organising events.)
With three builders, instead of a bike show I would call it “meet-up” - you could organize some sort of BBQ with a ride and in the evening a meet & greet.
Easier to organize and it can always turn into a bigger event the following years.
Here in India, many folks just assume that steel means ‘mild steel’. (Majority of the millions of bikes sold in India are made of mild steel and mostly for under 120$. Unlike US, UK or Europe, we’ve never had a chapter on ‘the modern steel bike’.) So, there is a perception issue. Plus, the requirement was to also introduce the concept of modern metal / custom bikes as an option to the average cyclist.
Now, a ride meet up would certainly be good (‘Sunday morning metal head ride’) & the builders are game to travel from different parts of the country for anything as this is being planned for the 1st time. Having an option to showcase the builders latest builds to cyclists and potentially grabbing some orders would also be nice for everyone involved.
And yeah… Agree that 3 is a small number.
So, would having all the LBS to do a Surly / VO / other off-the-shelf steel bike builds + requesting existing custom bike customers to bring their bikes as show pieces help propel the gospel of steel/metal? Any other ideas?
I think the idea of having it in a university is great I don’t think I have seen a bike show use that angle before. There could be some funding and resources to host a showcase if you can connect with the engineering department. You also get access to young, enthusiastic people with vision.
For example, there is a university in California: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO), which has a bike club: https://www.calpolybikebuilders.com/
I believe they get funding and resources from industry partners and also the engineering department
I am hoping to do a similar small builder show in SF sometime next year. Here are some of my thoughts:
- aligning the bikes with the art world
– art has a broader appeal
– art has higher prices
– framebuilding is art!
- quality over quantity
– three bikes with very high-quality displays are better than 30 bikes sitting on the ground
- find a dedicated photographer
– bike shows happen in person, but have a big online presence
- invite media
– the online reach is just as important as the local reach
I think the most useful aspect of the bike show was meeting and learning from other builders and manufacturers. Conferences are an important place to share and develop ideas.
Example of a stand:
Other random ideas:
- have a week-long gallery display in a cool urban area (coffee shop? art gallery?)
- invite international builders to come or send their bikes
- try to get bike industry sponsorship
- reach out to western media
- host a biking event
- partner with a bike shop
That’s a truck load of implement-able suggestions!!!
There’s a tonne of ideas in that, I’d love to copy paste
Thanks a lot Daniel! Will keep you posted
Also, if anyone (frame builders or otherwise) wants to take a vacation to south India, towards Jan end, (that’s when and where the bike show will be held) we’ll only be glad to host you at Bangalore and maybe help plan a kick ass bike packing route via Karnatak & Kerala as the icing on the cake
This is an awesome idea! My wife has family in Mumbai and Nashik and we go out and visit every couple years. I know they are not close to Bangalore, but next time we make a trip out I’d love to connect. This coming Jan will not be in the cards for me, but Jan/Feb is normally when we make the trip. Ive been to Kerala. South India is stunning. A bike packing trip in south India would be amazing!
It’ll be awesome to catch you in India, next time you are here, Dave. Between, I am from Kerala. (Although residence and work is at Bangalore.)
Yup , Nov-Feb is the best time to visit most states. And yup, I agree with you, a South Indian bike packing trip would be awesome… Infact, Mumbai to Kerala (~1500 kms) has coastal cycling routes via villages (off traffic-y roads), secret beaches, old forts and green mountains… Do get your bike along, next time
Are you sure there are only 3 in India? Just off the top of my head, I can think of 4.
Praveen Prabhakaran/Intent Bikes - Pune
Scolarian Bikes - Coimbatore
Aurovelo - Auroville
Posst Bikes - Chennai
Also, custom doesn’t have to be steel or Ti. I ride a custom gravel bike, made by Praveen. It’s made of Dedacciai Aegis tubing, 7005 alloy.
Those are exactly the 4 folks who’ve agreed to join in as of today!
There’s another lady from Thane, and another small batch mfg company from Pune. But not sure if they are participating… (Do connect with me if you know of any more builders👍)
Also, the (Steel and Ti) bike show is a working title… So alloy, carbon and bamboo bikes are totally welcome as long as they aren’t mass market produce! (Infact, Intent is planning to showcase an alloy electric bike.)
Will keep you posted here.
Do join in for the show if you are free around Jan end.
There’s a lady making custom bikes in India??!! Wow. Didn’t know that. Any details?