As we head into March and spring gets ever nearer, I wanted to take a minute to share with you what’s been happening since the New Year as 2019 started with a big decision for us. Back in January we finally made the move to a new vinyl supplier for our protective clear film.
For the past couple of years I’d had my reservations about the film we used. Customer feedback has always been positive and the failure rate was near zero, but I still wasn’t in love with the end product. So with this in mind I set out to find a replacement, which proved to be a long and painful road.
When it came to sourcing a new film, the most important factor for us was price point. Price is what gives the customer a frame of reference by which to uphold an item or service and determine if it represents value to them. This is important to us because some alternative film options would have required a 3x price increase, which gave me serious pause when it came to ‘representing true value’. I say this because a 3x increase in price would not equate to a 3x increase in film performance or longevity.
The vinyl we use (and did use) is rated for 5-7 year exterior use. But this rating only refers to the UV degradation of the adhesive and failure of the film. This rating does not account for the user experience of a crank protector. Riders who have an aggressive cleat angle may need to replace their protectors once a season, but others find they swap bikes before the protector reaches the end of its lifecycle. This is then one of our limiting factors around representing value. For the heavy user who is forced to replace their protector once a year regardless, a price point of £5 is presumably better than £15.
There are other considerations too, including vinyl thickness, adhesive quality, film clarity…and even what backing paper the film was on. Sadly we don’t do the type of volume that would be required to have a custom solution manufactured, so we were limited to what’s already on the market. This lead to 2 years of emails, samples and testing which never produced an option that was viable. Late in 2018 however, we found it!
So vinyl 2.0 as I call it is a marked improvement in all of the technical specifications we required. But beyond the adhesive clarity and gsm ratings, i’m more proud of the final product. It feels much closer to my ideals than before and I think that translates when customers first open their order. That initial contact and experience is very important to me, and something I look for as a customer.
That leaves us with the issue of price point. The new vinyl is more expensive than vinyl 1.0, but we’ve made the decision to not pass this cost onto you. As a business that relies on positive experiences and word of mouth, we see this as just an investment where it matters most. And as such we will continue the endeavour of perfection and bringing those who support us, the best possible products.