Have you ever wondered how it is possible for brand new bicycyles to cost 299£ or even much less? In other words, how is it possible that their production is still financially rewarding for bicycle producers ?
If big bicycle producers want their businesses to be cost-effective few preconditions need to be fulfilled. First of all, the bicycles must be produced on a massive scale - dozens or hundreds thousand of bikes each year. Playing a game on this scale is not easy even for the players from the bicycle producers’ champions league. Therefore, different brands come together to produce their bikes in a single super huge Chinese factory, where very often they place different logotypes on identical products.
Having met the first precondition, they must deal with the second - to limit the projects’ diversity. In order to achieve this goal, the bikes are designed in such a way that their features as frame painting or assembly are simplified. Eventually, the quality of materials and components is frequently economized.
It is a fact that in big comapnies the cost and the profit must always agree. This is why we can be sure that if a given model features a better derailleur, or any other part, there is some other component which quality leaves something to be desired. It often happens to be a bicycle component not easily seen at first sight like a bottom bracket or a headset.
The world’s bicycle production seen in this light does not seem to be very appealing. However, do not get too gloomy, because there are manufactrers as ours - Loca Bikes, where single speeds, custom fixed gears or quality commuter bikes are built to stem the tide of the massive production.
So how does the production of custom bikes look like at Loca Bikes?
To begin with, I would say that we do it really upstream. Instead of cutting the costs and reaching the bigger scale we make each custom bike to order, individually, from scratch.
One might ask why we do it, or why we get our life so complicated?
The answer is simple - because we believe in bicycles. The wheels are not just a thing for us, a simple mean of transport. The bike stands for something much more for Loca Bikes. It might be a great way to commute, a companion in tripping or eventually the way to express your personality and a help to find a scent of freedom in everyday life.
We believe that massively produced bikes can not give you this thrill which you get while hopping on the bike which has been built to meet your needs, painted to express you, and signed by your nick name. Believe us, we know this feeling very well from our experience! To put it in a nutshell, we realize bike projects listening to you, for you, and we do it with love. Do not matter, whether it is a fixie bike, single speed bike or city commuter bike.
How do we work with our clients?
A conversation with a client and a bicycle design
We always start with a simple talk with our future client. We attempt to investigate his/her needs, that is to say, where and how often he/she will use a bike. Will a bike carry any load? If yes, then what kind of load? We ask for the physical conditions as height, the inner lenght of a leg or thorax. Having established the best suited size of a frame and its configuration, we proceed to the bike painting. We often work together on graphic projects in the form of 3D renders. A few examples below:
Thanks to 3D renders we are able to precisely establish the final visual outcome and omit any disappointment concerning the frame painting. Due to renders we make sure that a given colour shade or the place of graphic elements are just on the spot.
Order confirmation document
After we understood each other perfectly and established the bike’s configuration and design, we always prepare such a document where its all put together - it is called: the configuration confirmation. Everything concerning the project is there: the chosen colour shade of a given component, the 3D render and each deatil which had been discussed with our client. In this way we and the client can be sure that the bike will be exactly as it is described there.
Realization - the frame painting
Realization is started with ordering the bike components which we need to built a bike accordingly to a given order. A lot of them we keep on our stock, nevertheless, some of them are quite rare, and therefore we must import them.
The next step is to paint the frame and all metal parts. The basic colours as well as the finisher are done with powder coating, which is extremely durable paiting technique. The powder needs to melt in the temperature of around 200 °C. for minimum 10 minutes to 15 minutes. The main feature of powder coating technique is its resistance to spalls and chips.
The graphic details are painted by hand with an airbrush, powder coating with masking or by waterslide decal technique. The latter way is a fragile technique made by hand, where the paint must be burnt out in order to be absorbed by the basic paint layer and become really smooth.
Models with glossy effect have even three layers of paint. Because of that, the colours have the proper depth and the paint is very durable. The projects painted in matt colours have the graphics painted directly on it; without the external layer of transparent finisher.
Realization - the assembly
Usually, in the whole process of bike building, painting always takes the longest time. It is so, because it demands a great deal of our attention paid to detzils, and what is more, this process can not be accelarated. The given layers of paint must be burnt out, got dry or done by hand.
When the frame and other parts are ready, the assembly itself takes up to one day when the wheels had been built earlier.
We use only great components to build our bikes, which quality is guaranteed by such brands as Shimano, Sapim, Schwalbe, Selle Royal or Novatec. We draw our attention to those not really distinctive parts as bottom brackets, headsets, which make the bike ride smoothly and swiftly. They need to be high-end quality components, like Novatec hubs with sealed bearings, etc.
Altogether, the whole process of building a bike at Loca Bikes takes one or up to three weeks depending on the amount of orders and on the project’s complexity.
Realization - tests
Having assembled the bike we simply take it for a short ride to make sure that all fits properly. If we find any issue, we fix it instantly.
Your bike is ready
When the bike is finished we handle it personally or pack it meticulously and send straight to your front doors. In order to assembly our bike you do not need to have great bicycle knowledge. It is simple: you install the front wheel, block the brake’s quick realase levers, screw up the pedals and a handlebar firmly. That is it! Now you can take it for a ride. Of course, we are always there to help you in case you need assistance.
If you have ever considered to build your own bike, or to have it built, you can get in touch with us by sending us an e-mail ator giving us a call under this number +48 690 433 252.
Take a sneak peek atand decide if you like any of the models available, if not - that is not a problem, because we can also build your bike from scratch.