Canyon and the economy

by mathewshotbolt   June 26, 2013  

This is something I've pondered for a while now but with the popularity of canyon ever increasing, this surely must be a bad thing for the uk economy (at least in terms of the micro economy that is bikes) it just strikes me that for all the bikes I see on the roads, all of the money people have paid for them has gone directly to Germany and out of the uk. I know we're a small part of a large picture so I'm not over emphasising the point here but as a one of a great many niche but rapidly growing markets (niche in terms of the high end) it concerns me that if every sport were to do this we'd begin to lose some of the brands closer to home. We all know the argument for supporting local bike shops vs the Internet but this strikes me on a national scale as supporting your local country vs Europe! From a moral standpoint, are there canyon owners out there that genuinely feel bad or did the discount more than make up for it?! Opinions welcomed on what seems a fairly complicated point!

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I always find this argument a bit odd. Yes, it might provide a boost to the economy if we were to only buy British goods, but that would be cancelled out if Germans, say, did the same and stopped buying British exports. If fact, we'd be worse off overall without trade (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage).

posted by lc1981 [47 posts]
26th June 2013 - 7:54

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Is comparative advantage at work here though? We aren't trading bikes in this instance. My thoughts are that surely we are building a stronger German economy as opposed to our own with these purchases.

posted by mathewshotbolt [100 posts]
26th June 2013 - 8:01

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Germany seems to have a comparative advantage in bikes, so we let them make the bikes while we make something else and sell it to them (unfortunately this is probably financial services, which perhaps demonstrates part of the problem with this argument).

posted by lc1981 [47 posts]
26th June 2013 - 8:40

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I'm sure Planet X and Ribble have a lot of trade from outside the uk which would disappear if everyone thought like this. Not to mention the high end uk bike and accessory builders with a lot of overseas custom like Brompton, Enigma, Roberts, Brooks, Rapha, Carradice etc.

posted by benezeir [52 posts]
26th June 2013 - 9:09

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I don't really think this is an economic issue; I think it's related more to the product. If there was an English product of equal value and standing then, I'm sure, we'd all buy British.
VW, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Bosch, AEG, Neff, Siemens.....Seems the Germans believe in investing in their manufacturing sector!

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
26th June 2013 - 9:50

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It's a tricky one -

I have argued on a related forum topic re Canyon that there's more to value for money than simply list price

i.e. better to support your LBS to get the warranty support, service, ability to address niggles, peace of mind etc

- but you're on to a looser trying to convince someone who knows what they're doing - and who wants a great value carbon superbike with Dura Ace or whatever and can save £2k over the LBS equivalent!

The LBS still has a place - in terms of providing a complete service and retail function to newbies and providing a certain amount of expert advice and support to the vast majority of us at some time or another.

We live in a free trade economy and the internet has opened up trade even further. Free trade with the EU is important to our economy. Let the Germans specialise in some things and we'll specialise in others..

posted by 700c [556 posts]
26th June 2013 - 10:34

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I don't know anyone who owns a Canyon so they're not ruling the roost around here.

The EU was set up to enable cross-border trade. Why should free trade be limited to that geo-political area? Wiggle, Planet-X and CRC apparently bypass the main importers and source what used to be termed 'grey import' stock. But they are only buying the same stuff as the official importer, so what's the difference? Michelin and Schwalbe have moved production to the Far East. Are they still French and German? Laura Ashley

Perhaps we shouldn't buy from Canyon, bike-discount.de, Chinese carbon wheels or frames from eBay or any direct seller. But Chinese wheels are often stickered up by PX and wheelbuilders and there are lots of open-mould frames on the market. Buying from outside the UK is mostly fine, but our legal protection as consumers often doesn't apply and there are still plenty of sharks out there.

Choosing good British made stuff is nice - I like Lusso and Shutt VR, for example. But blind loyalty to British manufacturing resulted in the death of the original Triumph motorcycles because they rested on their laurels and didn't take the Japanese seriously. And what about the shoddy crap that British Leyland turned out in the 1970s (that is, when they weren't on strike)? My Dad's MK 1 Golf was far, far better than the Austin sh*theap we had before.

There are British designers like Cotic, Genesis, Islabikes and Brandt Richards (On-One, Ragley & more) using overseas manufacturing. All of them have found that the only place to get frames made expertly in quantity is Taiwan. Attention to detail and QC are second to none. There's some great stuff from Genesis in their blog.

So how 'British' do you want your frame etc to be? What proportion of its value is kept here? Does it matter? IMHO it's more important to buy British/locally grown food where possible and support small traders instead of doing your shopping solely at the big supermarkets or via tax-dodging multinationals like Amazon. That way more of the money you spend stays in the local economy.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1915 posts]
26th June 2013 - 13:06

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It's alright - things will change when we bring in directive 10-289.

posted by merckxissimo [59 posts]
26th June 2013 - 13:54

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Makes a change to sending all of our money to Italy for handlebars and tiny jerseys. They sent Michael Caine in to get some of it back but I am not sure if it worked out.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1188 posts]
26th June 2013 - 14:35

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Very good, bikeboy Cool

From a piece by The Guardian on the tennis balls used at Wimbledon.

"For over a century, the Slazenger tennis balls used at Wimbledon made the short journey from the company's Barnsley factory to centre court. Today, a new analysis has revealed, the official balls travel over 50,000 miles around the world before finally arriving from the Philippines factory in which they are now made."

Ridiculous.

And if the government cared enough to do something about this country's rich tax dodger - both individuals and companies making massive profits - we wouldn't have a hole in the economy. So it's not Canyon's fault at all!

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posted by Simon E [1915 posts]
26th June 2013 - 14:48

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