Funny how things change. It’s always hard to keep up but recently I was checking out the Brompton Australia Distributor’s website (http://www.kobie.com.au/brompton-bikes.html) & was rather shocked to see how prices have changed. I’m not talking about all the Brompton parts on the website (those parts & accessories that would previously have required an online purchase from overseas – or very slow supply via a dealer order?) but indeed the prices for the stock Bromptons available on the website!
It’s been quite some time since I first noticed Bromptons included on Kobie’s site & what was immediately disappointing was that prices seemed so much higher than what the Brompton Bike Builder system suggested should be the A$ MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). When the local pricing is hard to define for Bromptons that need to be ordered as B-Spoke supplies & with inordinate/vague lead-times, perhaps the Kobie site prices were true local prices? Still, no need to involve myself as Ralph & Robinson were sitting happily at home & our Brompton family seemed settled? Of course, another o/s trip is always an appealing way of picking up a new Brompton (at a competitive price?) isn’t it?
However, my recent Kobie website shock was in fact, a very pleasant surprise. First, the number & range of Bromptons listed had grown. Next, the later entries were shown with prices the same as Brompton’s A$ MSRP figures! Finally, I was amazed to see “Special prices” listed for these new entries, with discounts that seemed about 10% Surely I was dreaming? A bit of research needed here, I decided.
Back at the Brompton website, there were more surprises in store! (How does one keep up with change?) Aside from seeing that Australia was now listed as having a 2014 Brompton National Championship event (albeit still to be confirmed), the Australian dealer listing was nothing like I remember & for example, showed 5 dealers in Sydney. Gotta look into this I thought & headed out for some visits. At the end of the day (as some are fond of saying?) I was still confused. While those dealers I visited were mostly still pale imitations of what I expected a good Brompton dealer to look like (decent stock of bikes & accessories, professional display of product, knowledgeable staff?), at least things are happening? As for the new prices I’d seen at Kobie’s website, I got the impression no-one knew much about it? (Belatedly a CheekyTransport dealer website update appeared about the “supplier receiving a huge shipment” – but with nothing up-front about pricing?)
With the tantalising new prices & some stock bikes that were very appealing, it wasn’t long before an order was placed for the S6E Brompton in Cobalt Blue for Mrs Aussie. Woohoo!
It’s a little surprising they took so long (at least months, since late Oct/early Nov 2013) to fix Bike Builder to quote the updated Australian prices. It’s still inexplicably a lot dearer than the build in US dollars – at least until the Aussie dollar falls to about US$0.67 again, I guess. Those not familiar with the new association with Kobie after visiting the official Brompton bike builder page would have been shocked to discover apparently incongruous pricing upon a visit to the local dealer.
Anyway, B-Spoke builds are still a lot pricier than the 2013 prices a few months ago – about 20-28%, but I guess things in future will never get cheaper for anything, so perhaps the pre-built models look better this way in comparison. At least in the long run, it’s still a more attractive option than public transport here in Brisbane where they “increase” GoCard discounts over paper ticketing mostly through an annual 7.5% price rise.
Thanks for the comment Raymond, although I can’t say that I’ve noticed much variation with Brompton’s Bike Builder pricing? What I have been disappointed in has been the original Kobie prices that were so much dearer than the Bike Builder. I’ve not been a candidate for a B-Spoke quote (didn’t want to torment myself?) & by observation of bike pricing through various Aust dealer websites I’ve been thinking that local pricing was prohibitive (or uninspiring?). Until the latest Kobie stock bikes & pricing I imagined any new Brompton for me was going to be purchased while overseas?
Factoring in customs / GST*, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the US base price and Australian one, but as soon as you start taking advantage of some B-Spoke upper end speccing, it shoots right up (the SON hub & Cyo kit for instance has probably shot up most: $580.80 to $789 at a 35.85% increase). But, with the current wait; I suppose that gives time for the savings account to recover. 😉
It’s interesting how they instead have better savings for the stock bikes (which I admittedly haven’t much at) even though they say that every Brompton is B-Spoke – I suppose that’s actually good business sense now that I’ve thought more about it.
* Correction for my first comment – I forgot to factor in taxes; so therefore the Aussie dollar won’t have to fall so far as US$0.67 for the deal to start looking quite alright.