Soma announced their new Lauterwasser handlebar today. It is apparently the revival of a handlebar popular quite a long time ago, like those on this Silver Record illustrated in Raleigh’s 1939 catalog. A very nice Lauterwasser equipped Humber Sports can be seen frequently over at 3 Speed Touring in Japan. In all, it’s very cool that Soma has made the initial investment in getting these bars back on the market after a very long absence. Let’s hope they catch on.
I’ll grant that Soma’s taking a bit of a risk and needs to recoup their initial investment. There’s design work, contracts, lawyers (there are always lawyers), machine setup fees, probably a minimum order, shipping, marketing and so on. The aluminium bars are currently priced at $74, whilst the steel will set you back a more modest $50. Somebody’s smokin’ crack.
But, but, but Sloth, you said it yourself. They had to shell out lotsa mon-ay just to get them made.
I did. And I meant it. But (there’s always a but) so does everyone else. Take Velo-Orange for instance. They just introduced their own brand of Maes and Rando drops. I’ll assume that they had to shell out a bunch of the same expenses to have them made to their own specifications. VO, however, didn’t use the stratospherical price gun when they applied the price tags. Their bars are around $5 less, LESS, than the competition’s bars.
The fine folks at Wald crank out American made handlebars every damn day, which I can purchase for about $15. They don’t have one-time setup fees and design expenses. Those were consumed long, long ago. But still, $15 for American steel. But they don’t have a Lauterwasser.
So where does that leave us? Premium pricing.
Soma is, ATMO, engaging in a premium pricing scheme because they’re the only game in town. If these catch on, wait a year. Then buy the Origin-8 copy for $20.
That’s my opinion, anyway. Meh.