Why are Elephant bikes so inexpensive?

posted on October 18, 2011 by John

Why are Elephant bikes so inexpensive?

As we put this site together, this question came up a lot. Glen’s prices may not always be this inexpensive. But for now they are.

Glen’s response to this question follows:

Experience. Efficiency. Low inventory. Low overhead.

Experience: I have built a lot of custom frames, as have most builders. I have also managed the production of some large batches of very high-end production frames. It’s a lot harder, in my opinion, to make sure everything comes out right on hundreds of frames in varying sizes than it is to manage one frame at a time. And when I’m working on your frame, that is the only one I’m working on.

Efficiency: I work by myself. I am a poor multi-tasker. I can’t talk to visitors and do good work at the same time. I don’t forsee this changing. Shop visits are welcome by appointment. I would go on, but I have work to do.

Low inventory: The materials I keep around are only the ones I use. My heavy-duty seat collar, wishbone parts and headtube rings are all made locally to my specs, the stuff that makes an Elephant an Elephant. I only keep enough tubing in stock to make 3-4 bikes. The dropouts I use are chosen for their blend of strength and ease of use.

Low overhead: I work from my own shop. I have accumulated my tools and equipment over the course of about 20 years. I have no employees, I don’t sponsor a racing team, don’t have a shop vehicle. I use a powder coater who does better work for less money.