Publisher Alan Friedman has put together some obscure, high-tech, and high-end products that are not readily available in retail stores and the catalog itself has an impressive "look and feel". Featured products include:
- M5 Super Lightweight Brakes - $357
- M2 Racer Carbon Saddle - $358 (add $36 for gel padding)
- Extralite E-Bones Cranks - $489
- Schmolke Handlebars - $599
But the question remains...is there a big enough market out there for this stuff? I don't think anyone knows because these parts have never been known or available to the general public. In the past, anyone into these types of parts would have to seek them out, spending time in Internet forums and trying to translate European websites. Preem provides value to their subscribers by doing the legwork and offering technical and purchasing information all in one place.
And if there was ever a time to offer such high-zoot bike porn, now is the time to do it.
The major chink in Preem's armor is their all-Flash website. I realize they're going for ultra high-end but I wish they would have resisted the Flash temptation. Sure, it looks pretty, but the web is about usability just as much as presentation. What if I want to send a link to a friend of a certain page? Can't do it because there are no individual page URLs. What if I'm a journalist or prospective buyer looking to copy/paste some text? Not possible on Flash pages. My advice would be to offer a non-Flash version of the site.
In the end, I respect Preem's guts in taking a risk on an unknown market, and doing it with panache and total commitment. We'll have to wait and see how it goes.