Updated: May 23, 2018
Ok, so first of all thanks for looking at this, my first ever attempt at a blog!
I acquired Bike-Quip in January of this year and it was another 6 weeks or so before the new website went live. One of the biggest problems was in setting the postal and shipping rates. The platform used (Wix) only allows 3 or 4 options for shipping; Free, Percentage of Cost Price, Flat Rate or by Weight. You can't mix and match these either so whatever method I use to send a set of stickers 'oop t'north' is the same method I have to use to send a box (60x60x20 cm, weighing 2.5 kilos) to Albuquerque, New Mexico - (any screen buyers will know what I am on about). Glad it's sorted for the most part now (phew!)
We have covered a lot of ground since then and I am very pleased to say that the site is going well, one mention to one of my first customers who was 'allowed' to purchase and pay for a Headlamp Protector for his ST1300, only to find out the item was not in stock! I quickly realised the error, offered a refund then set the stock levels on the site so that now, if you can actually get the item into your Shopping Cart then it's in stock and can be shipped immediately - once I process the order. I do try and do it the same day but if you order after 1500hrs then it's a bit of a rush to process, pack and get to the post office in time for the evening pick up. Packages are always sent First Class so any delay at my end is hopefully balanced by that fact. Incidentally, said customer declined the refund (preferring to wait it out) and was suitably rewarded for his patience. Somebody else recently got a freebie too after more delays with suppliers!
I have had custom boxes made for the Screens and Bar Risers as these are high cost/value and delicate items. The screen boxes save on volume (costly) but have the ability to hold one of EVERY item I sell so, should you be feeling extravagant, at least the shipping charges will be less. I do know the boxes can and do get punctured and yes they could be thicker but then that's more cost and shipping weight and the fork lift would STILL go through the double thickness boxes anyways. I drove HGVs (for an agency) into hubs for several of these parcel delivery companies and believe me, you don't want to see what happens to your precious cargo!Interestingly enough, apart from one slight scuff which polished out, not one screen has been damaged and I have shipped around 20, at least 4 to the USA, 3 to Ireland and a couple to Europe as well as several around the local (UK) market too.
I do give an unconditional guarantee that should you not be 100% satisfied with your product when you receive it, then just let me know and we will arrange for a return and a refund of 100% of your costs. All I ask is the item is still saleable and therefore not marked, damaged or showing signs of obviously being used. You have a full 30 days to use that guarantee on every product I sell. Like I say "If you like what I do, tell your mates and if not then tell me!"
I have had a few people send suggestions and so I thought this might be a way of giving wider feedback on some of them:
Several of you seem dissatisfied with your lighting and have asked if I can supply various lighting accessories. The short answer is no! There are specialist lighting companies out there who know a lot more than me (or you) about lighting and the kits they sell are generally good quality. I see little reason to try and undersell these specialists. If I bought Chinese (which I never will btw) the biggest problem for me and (therefore you) is quality control. When I sell my goods I know where they are made and I generally know the person who makes them by their first name, I have met them and they know my requirements and they know that quality is the over riding factor in my dealing with them. I don't want to compete with some outfit in Shenzhen selling rubber wotsits at a third of the cost of the genuine articles sold elsewhere ... why would I or more importantly, why would you ... you have invested in a quality machine costing thousands of pounds so why scrimp on a few quid to get products of dubious origin and doubtful quality with little or no hope of being able to return it should it prove problematic. Whilst we are on lighting, I can get decent discounts on ALL Denali lighting so drop me an email if you want quality lighting but also bear in mind the new MOT rules which might affect your 'laser beams and light sabres'!
A fair few of you have asked about the rear panels which go in place of the panniers. A pretty full explanation is on the site and more recently, updates are there as progress is made but .. at the time of writing this, I have found a fibre glass guru who builds his own brand boats and sells them on the international stage (so he's good!) Also, I have hopefully come up with an alternative method of getting the brackets into EXACTLY the right place. This was the main problem in the past and this in turn caused QC issues which were too big to allow us to continue with their production. I am hoping to have the first run of these ready by the end of the Summer keep your eye on the site for the latest updates - probably monthly until things get moving then perhaps more frequently. I know you guys in the USA are very keen!
I will reiterate though, that if these prove as problematic as they have in the past then I will regrettably have to pull the plug - My R & D costs are not recouped if I can't sell anything and at the moment (believe me) I am owed! There's a good reason why no one else in the world makes these .. but I do like a challenge!
Investment in new Products
Whilst we're at it, that R&D outlay applies to every new product which is why I can't just go make everything for everyone ... I need to go to a supplier/manufacturer and know that they will do a good job (repeatedly) and that you the customer will be happy and willing to support my investment. Tooling up and producing lighting brackets for the 6 guys that might eventually buy them isn't a good investment. Someone asked me to provide quality power supply options, so I got in touch with the biggest supplier in UK, struck a good deal and we now have Denali power hubs (and horns) available ... did the original enquirer purchase one?
My Mikalor clamps are the best value in the UK ... a full set of 3 too - most others just sell a pair for the silencers but forget about the balance pipe underneath! Likewise the ROCOL Moly paste is a great price and for the best quality too - not moly grease (as some turn out to be).
I am also responding to another suggestion and looking at producing a flat, lightweight tray for you 'Blood Bikers' out there (and others who like to put a longer load onboard - when the pillion/top box is not used) so you can get your 'boxes' secured onto the rear of the bike and, by shifting the weight further forward, improve stability. If you want input drop me a line at the email address below.
I would ask you to keep suggesting products, I do keep them and often respond quickly and directly to the originator so don't lose heart. I am particularly interested in providing more for the ST1100 as there's still a lot of them out there and we don't do much so let me know what you want! Bear in mind though that your mileage may vary and what you think is a great idea might be for you but ask yourself two questions... Firstly, does someone else already provide it? Secondly, how many other riders will agree with you on how good/useful/worthwhile it is?
Finally, I will be seeking permission to put a few 'Polls' on the various established FaceBook sites to ask your views (yes or no) about products etc., and I plan to set up a 'Bike-Quip FaceBook Page' eventually but this will primarily be for one-way traffic (from me to you) ... I just don't have the time to babysit FaceBook comments so I will open it up for comments on limited occasions only.
Well, that's it for my first blog, hopefully it has given you an insight to what we do and what our plans are in the short to medium term. In just 10 weeks we have fulfilled almost 100 orders and supplied over 160 products, we've also added 5 new products and, with your continued support we can continue to grow and uphold the great name and reputation the Bike-Quip brand brings!
If you want to send feedback on this or on anything else to do with Bike-Quip then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and also, use that address if you have any pictures of Bike-Quip products on your bike (min res 800x800) and I will get the gallery page up and running for you 'Stars and Celebrities' to show off your machines! Good shots might be used to replace the stock pics on the home page etc. so come on, don't be shy!
Cheers, Ride Safe!
03 May 2018