Ullrich Bikes “Disappointed, Baffled” by Lackluster First Year Sales

04.10.2007 | 3:30 pm

Karlsruhe, Germany (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – Reporting to anxious investors at the first annual shareholders’ meeting for Jan Ullrich Bicycles, LLC, Tobias Steinhauser — co-developer of the Jan Ullrich signature bike line — looked worried.

“I do not want to beat around the bush,” said Steinhauser. “I am sad to say that our first-year earnings of our bicycle company have not been as brisk as we would have liked. We have picked up very little market share, and as of this moment our sales are actually declining precipitously.”

Almost as if choreographed, several hands simultaneously shot into the air.

“Why is this so?” asked one dignified-looking gentleman. “Didn’t you get press in CyclingNews for the launch of this bike line?”

 ”Yes, yes we did. And the bikes were received extremely positively,” said Steinhauser, staring hard at the podium.

“Did you not tell us last year,” piped in a woman in a sensible business suit, “that you would be launching the Jan Ullrich Bicycle line just before the Tour de France, when interest in Ullrich would be very high?”

“Yes, we did that too, just as we promised,” said Steinhauser, squirming slightly.

“Well, isn’t Jan a winner of the Tour de France?” asked a lad of no more than eleven, wearing cycling knickers and a junior-league cycling jersey.

“Of course he is, and he has taken second many times as well. There is no more famous cyclist in all of Germany,” replied Steinhauser, reddening a little.

“Well,” said several shareholders, in unison, “Why is the Jan Ullrich Bicycle line doing so poorly?”

“I don’t know,” said Steinhauser, dejectedly. “I just don’t get it.”

No Easy Answers
Interviewed after the devastating investor meeting, Steinhauser tried to make his case for the Jan Ullrich Bicycle line.

“These are handmade, Italian bicycles. They are beautiful to look at, lighter than air, and designed with the input of one of the winningest, most experienced pro cyclists in the history of the sport. I honestly cannot understand why anyone would not want to ride a Jan Ullrich bike.”

Asked for an explanation of why, from his perspective, so few bikes have been sold since they have been made available to the public, Steinhauser seemed puzzled. “That’s exactly the question I have been asking myself, endlessly. You have no idea how much sleep I have lost over that precise question.”

“Did we overprice the frames? Our focus groups say that for a bike of this quality, we did not.”

“Do we not have enough name recognition? That is ridiculous; everyone knows who Jan is — that’s one of the reasons we went with his name on the bike line.”

“Maybe we should have offered complete bicycles instead of just the frame / fork combination,” mused Steinhauser. “That’s really the only thing I can think of.”

Trying to stay upbeat, Steinhauser went on, “Well, that’s all water under the bridge. We’ll learn from our mistakes, and redouble our marketing and PR efforts.”

Concluded Steinhauser, “Hopefully this next year will be a better one for Jan Ullrich Bicycles.”


  1. Comment by LMouse | 04.10.2007 | 4:34 pm

    Hmm, Italian made, eh? I love Italian. Ok, I’ll buy a Jan bike as long as I can get it in Celeste green to match my kitchen.

  2. Comment by srettig | 04.10.2007 | 5:04 pm

    I’ll take mine in pea soup green to match my circa 1978 refrigerator.

  3. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.10.2007 | 5:41 pm

    Yeah, they’re fine freakin’ bicycles.

    The only problem is, to ride the dang thing, you have to take all the old air out of the tires, capture it in plastic bags, store it in a refrigerator in Spain overseen by a high priced Spanish physician with a Bermuda Med T-shirt, who will then purify the air and fortify it with O3 molecules, leave the tires flat and flabby all winter, then pump up the tires with somebody else’s pump, then re-insert the air you took out of the tires six months earlier a couple days before your first race. Then she’s ready to ride.

    You can see why the bike is having sales problems… people would buy it if they didn’t know about the elaborate draining / bagging / storage / replacement procedure, even if they suspected there might be more to the bike than meets the eye.

    But once they actually *know* how the bike operates, it just seems sort of… well… dopey.

  4. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.10.2007 | 5:45 pm

    Personally, I’m riding a brand new Basso. It has no wheels, no handlebars, no brakes, a straight pipe for a saddle, and in the end it is likely to leave me badly hurt. But it is good riding in the meantime, especially through the rough patches, since it relies on a new form of passive shock absorption similar to Zertz inserts, called Suspended Disbeliefâ„¢. As long as the Suspended Disbeliefâ„¢ holds up, the Basso is sittin’ pretty. And yes, the Basso rides pretty darned well. We’re just not sure how durable it’s going to be, is all.

    Yep, the Basso may be sketchy, but it sure beats the Hamiltonian. *That* thing just lies there.

  5. Comment by DOM | 04.10.2007 | 5:54 pm

    Jan’s lawyer has one in Spain, one in France, and another that’s he’s not sure where it is. He has them all over the place.

  6. Comment by Aaron | 04.10.2007 | 7:10 pm

    Al – you haven’t proven anything. The mere fact that you found bags of air from the tires doesn’t prove anything! You can’t prove that the air is being fortified with O3! I’m blameless!

  7. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 04.10.2007 | 7:25 pm

    Do you know what’s scaring away the customers? It’s the automated syringe mechanism that springs up out of the headstem when you clip in your first cleat. If you’ve never felt the rush of… um… enhanced performance, then you sure as hell aren’t going to invest in one of these mobile chemistry labs.

  8. Comment by Lurch | 04.11.2007 | 2:17 am

    We’ve never found the “mobile chemistry labs”, though I’m sure they exist.

  9. Comment by Eufemiano Fuentes | 04.11.2007 | 3:23 am

    Al, I am really not that high priced. ask around and compare prices.

  10. Comment by Tim D | 04.11.2007 | 4:41 am

    Of course the real reason they haven’t sold is that despite a full winter of training and carefully watching your diet, a soon as you wheel one of these bikes out, everyone starts saying “Looks like you’re carrying a few extra pounds” “Who ate all the pies” “Beer and bratwurst?” etc. No matter how hard you have trained, these bikes will make you look fat.

  11. Comment by Boz | 04.11.2007 | 4:59 am

    No wonder the Jan’s bikes aren’t selling. The much ballyhooed “Soul Crusher ” model hasn’t hit the shops yet. That’s the one I’m holding out for.

  12. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.11.2007 | 6:05 am

    No Boz, the Soul Crusher hasn’t shown up yet. Fortunately, you can get the Suffering Fat Sow model at deep discount prices.

    Eufemiano, is it true that Pot Belge is actually a Flandrian version of fondue?

  13. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.11.2007 | 9:47 am

    You know, what they need is a name change. I’m thinking something that will be more appealing to a broad spectrum of cyclists. Hmm, lessee, cyclists like to ride bikes = like to pedal bikes. . . pedalers, pedal lovers. . .

    I’VE GOT IT!! This is totally going to turn their sales around: “Pedaphile Bicycles!”

    “Forget your cares. Become a luxury body. Become a Pedaphile biker!”

  14. Comment by Den | 04.11.2007 | 10:46 am

    Al and Botched – I’m still laughing… that was priceless.

  15. Comment by Boz | 04.11.2007 | 10:52 am

    I just got back from my LBS to check out price and availablity on the Jan’s bike. They said they had some they would discount due to cosmetic bleamishes. Seem a Mr Dick Pound came with armed with a cordless saws-all and a warrant and proceeded to cut up several frames to see what sort of performance enhancing drugs might be hiding in the tubes. Nothing but brautwurst, sauerkraut and apple dumplings. The Jan doesnt live on EPO alone. I’m pretty good with a tig welder, so maybe…..

  16. Comment by cheapie | 04.11.2007 | 10:57 pm

    i had some comments but they’re not nearly as funny as the above posts so i’ll just laugh. haha. haha. good stuff.

  17. Comment by the weak link | 04.12.2007 | 6:29 pm

    This thread mystifies me for some reason, like a private family joke that I’m not in on.

    I’ll tell you what, though, one reason for poor sales in the US is that Ullrich’s website is pretty much mispelled. I can’t tell a damn thing about what they’re talking about.

  18. Comment by Boz | 04.13.2007 | 5:27 am

    TWL – Jan Ullrich is a German cyclist who has been disgraced via the Spanish drug scandal, his blood was found in the clutches of an evil sports doctor. The Jan “retired” , so now his bike line has suffered. Thus the tounge-in-cheek fake news story so well written by FC. I think FC has a thing for Jan, as his weight yo-yo’s like his hero. Ullrich often stater the season looking like me, then proceded to slim down and dominate. Many have speculated this transformation was not always on the up-and-up, so his problems are of no surprise. Yet, he was still one of the most popular and colorful characters in the peloton, probably because he was alway chasing Lance, but could never catch him. He could push a big gear at a slow cadance, andwas an excellent time trialer. I’m going to miss him.

  19. Comment by barry1021 | 04.13.2007 | 1:11 pm

    Wait, you mean this is really a fake story? I thought the term “Fake” in the name of the news service was pronounced Fah-kay, and it was just another stupid french news service with their slant on things. geesh……

  20. Comment by George | 05.5.2008 | 1:11 pm

    They should erase the Jan’s name and put Armstrong’s on the bike, so it will be a bike on drugs and will go faster..

  21. Trackback by Class action suit against plavix. | 09.4.2008 | 8:41 am

    Generic plavix warning….

    Plavix side effects reactions….

  22. Trackback by Viagra. | 10.29.2008 | 5:29 pm



  23. Comment by Owlman | 02.14.2010 | 8:59 pm

    First couple of posts were funny, but it quickly got worn out…move on.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.