Can I Purchase One of Your Adapted Bikes? (part 2)

I must first clarify that the bikes which I have designed and created are not presently offered for sale.  Instead, they are made available under a lease contract with the iCan Shine Inc. charity. At the moment, this lease is exclusive.  I’m sure that you might be wondering why the bikes are not sold, but rather leased.  There are many reasons.

In short (see my long answer below):

1.) Insurance

2.) Manufacturing cost

3.) Interchangeable parts

4.) Proprietary Designs

5.) Current limitations


However, the long answer below will give you a better idea of why the bikes are not for sale.
(1)  Liability insurance and product liability insurance are extremely expensive, if not even impossible for me to afford or to even get an underwriter willing to write me a quote.  Under the lease with iCan Shine they do have an insurance policy.  Moreover, that policy names me as an additional insured.

(2)  Because the bikes are hand-crafted and hand assembled, the cost, even if sold, would be far higher than what most “buyers” would be willing to pay.  As a ballpark figure, for internal purposes I value a fleet of 26 custom bikes in six-figures.

(3)  If bikes were to ever be sold, then I as seller would be required to make replacement parts available.  That would be an impossibility, as the bikes being hand-crafted are not assembly line built and thus each needed part would have to be hand-crafted as well.

(4)  My adapted bike designs are proprietary.  Said another way, I do not have nor do I believe in patent protection.  My choice instead is to keep the designs, sources of materials, venders, and the assembly process as trade secrets.  If my bikes were to ever be sold and thus pass out of my control, then a potential competitor could “reverse engineer” the product by taking one bike apart and arriving at detailed blueprints.  The Chinese, for example, are notorious for reverse engineering.  Also, Chinese courts will not enforce nor honor patents of other nations. Because of this, giving my plans away is simply bad business. The plans are not for sale, for the same reason as the bikes. Once I start to sell or give away my plans, a competitor would be given the inside information into what I have spent the last 35 years creating.

(5)  If and when a day comes that the sale of bikes is considered, the demand would be greater than my ability to produce bikes.  At present, the time for me working in my shop to produce one fleet (26 bikes plus support equipment) is approximately about six months. That translates 4 bikes a month.  Also, any increase in volume of production would require vast sums of investment as far as tooling, inventory, product liability protection, creation of a sales network, and related infrastructure.  Even the State of California has laws stipulating what features a bike to be sold must have.  One example, although trivial in one sense, is the matter of reflectors.  I don’t put reflectors on my bikes because the bikes are used in clinics under supervision and not on the street.  Reflectors if mounted would represent more jagged edges, and thus increase my liability.  I am not willing to alter my design to comply with the myriad of consumer product standards and regulations.  In short, the present anti-corporation sentiment in America has soured me on the idea of trying to sell a product.  Liberalism might be great in the view of some (and California leads the pack in terms of invoking more and more restrictions on commercial products), but for me I would opt to run a country differently.

I could elaborate more but hopefully I have made my point.  My bikes are not for sale because I choose not to sell them.  That is my prerogative, and there is no law saying that I have to sell something that I have made.  If you want information pertaining to possible lease arrangements, please advise.

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