Early this year, I had written a post on the Isotruss bike frame from a strictly structural and engineering point of view. Read it here if you haven't.
While it was not known then how exactly the folks behind the bike would manufacture it and bring down the costs, we now know that they have taken many streamlining steps in both their manufacturing and management areas.
However, while all this has served to get all the production inhouse, giving the ability to lower costs, control quality more and produce a higher number of frames per year, they still haven't tackled some of the issues everyone has been talking about ever since the news of this design hit the media.
For example, apart from "the cheesgrater" and the "mobile geological reservoir" that people have been naming it, I see two other disadvantages that may or may not seem obvious.
Many new bicycle manufacturers getting into the cycling scene think being "light weight", "super-strong" and seeming "fast" are everything.
While those are important, a lot of them do miss on function, the aesthetics, the overall riding experience and most importantly, customer satisfaction.
With so many companies in cycling competing with each other for customers, if one of them effectively fail to address these issues, they are in danger of easily losing to someone else. The customer is everything! Ignoring that aspect is a trade off you can't afford to make.
If anyone from Delta 7 is reading this, like you did on my previous post, you're most welcome to post some comments as to how you're going to tackle each of the issues. Where is the frame 'skin' that you've been talking about? Is that an add-on or are you not considering its possibility any longer?
Update : There were mentions of glue-on water bottle bosses in the comments to this post. A reader alerted me to a closeup picture where you can see this.
So here it is :
Update (10/3/2008) :
Cozy Beehive reader Jon commented that during his test ride on the Arantix Mountain Bike at this year's Interbike, he found the ride performance only so-so compared to equally priced MTB models. But another interesting comment from him was that he found the seatstay-seat tube junction was so "huge" that it was hitting his legs on "almost every pedal stroke".
Looks like this is something Delta 7 has to sort out - yet another bone in its throat on the MTB side.
UPDATE (10/3/2008) : I just wanted to let you all know that during the outdoor demo of this year's Interbike, there were multiple failures on some of the Isotruss demo bikes!! Here's the confession from Delta 7 (via reader comments on Bike Rumor) :
" Unfortunately there were two failures during the demonstration at Bootleg Canyon. The batch of bikes made specifically for the event had an epoxy failure and the head lug disconnected (came apart) from the IsoTruss tubing. Complete analysis is still being worked on. The company went to great lengths to gather a few bikes from previous production runs to have available for the demonstration. "
Additionally, also see a related post from Bike Magic.