the best bankruptcy story has been going round for more than 3 years now while Best keeps making amazing gear.
as far as I can tell best is now doing what switch does - cutting out the middle men and therefore being able to sell their gear 40%-45% cheaper.
here the link: notice the words "online shop launch" in the link? http://www.bestkiteboarding.com/en-us/f ... e-with-us/
and here the new gear with new prices - http://www.bestkiteboarding.com/en-us/gear/deals-2017
best TS for 700 bucks instead of 1200 !! sounds like a good deal : )
toby please post the link to the german forum, i wanna read up on it.
PS: ill keep riding and buying Best, to me its a rock solid product and I like the colors
Was it not Best that started the whole no middle man model back in the day? Pretty sure when I started kiting everyone on Bunch Beach told me never to buy Best cause they were all pissed about it?
was a while ago so maybe it was another company but I am pretty sure it was Best that came up with the idea... maybe switch should pay them for it...lol
Other brands are watching closely. Specifically, they are trying not to be Best. The model of starting out as an "affordable alternative" has lead many a corporation into the trap of becoming successful enough to expand into the "high end" market. I can think of many brands in many industries that have gone extinct via this approach. The only way to assure success in this model is to change the name and make sure your customers do not associate your price point brand with your high end brand. Bad example, but same principle - Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura.
I still use Best kites, though I have no newer models than 2015. I also would not purchase new Best products. Besides the horrible customer service I have received from Best, having a warranty (even a worthless one) with them is still not a good idea if the company is struggling.
To the early Best kiteboarding's staff and Shannon himself - Thanks for making kiteboarding what it is today.
To the current Best kiteboarding's staff - You should consider getting into government.
I also would not purchase new Best products. Besides the horrible customer service I have received from Best, having a warranty (even a worthless one) with them is still not a good idea if the company is struggling.
odd how experiences vary, I had a problem with my 2015 kite bladders and best immediately sent me new ones via 2 day shipping and it cost me nothing, zero, nada. they even offered for me to send the kites over to them and they install the bladders for me etc. which I found to be rather impressive as far as going out of their way for me.
needless to say I am very happy with the customer service they provide but I totally get your frustration after having such a bad experience.
edit,ps: I read the first post of the german forum, it states that some of the staff left Best but nothing about Best shutting down.
seems more like someone badmouthing a company after leaving it... but what do i know
It's hard to imagine that the dealer system will survive for kites, for the most part. Keeping a shop open near the water is an expensive prospect, and there just aren't huge volumes of kites sold. Indeed, sales volumes almost certainly go up when made direct online. Sure would be great to try all kites before you buy - that's very expensive too for shops and manufacturers. Is it worth it to pay 2x the price to have a chance to test a couple of kites? Opinions on that question will vary, but my guess is that the votes will be cast with dollars, and those will go to online sales. If online sales win, might as well be direct from the manufacturer, since kites will be much cheaper.
As far as Best, I have had zero issues with my kites, but have a friend who had strut separate from the leading edge in a crash (and exploded bladder to match), Best fixed no charge, no hassle. Personally I thought this remarkable because the trauma was so obviously from user error. I suspect that sometimes these cases of user-error get turned away, and from there comes some of the contention Best isn't the best with warranties. Anyway, I have read complaints about virtually every company on this site over the years - for manufacturers, trying to figure out a reasonable approach to "Lifetime Warranty" (which is madness IMHO) is a universal issue.
Tried to order a Roca 17m from the Best site yesterday paying with PayPal Express, and got message that the vendor could not be authenticated. Not good. Emailed to find out what's going on, awaiting response.
Be sooooo much cheaper for a company to have a mobile demo fleet of kites with maybe one or two reps constantly on the road compared to a single brick and mortar shop.
Best had that going on for a bit. They had a young couple, both pretty decent riders with a van loaded with gear touring the US and Canada on the company dime and it got their kites demoed by people who have never had the opportunity to demo a kite before.
Most people looking to upgrade their old bagged out gear will love whatever crispy new kite (in their riding style) that a rep puts in their hands.
Dimitri has built his whole business on it and will send kites far and wide to get you to try one.
Switch have tried to download the demo to their beach ambassadors, but that seems less effective as the sale is contingent on the personality of the local fanboy rider. If their a hot shot, they can get a whole region on board, if their a kook, they likely lose an entire region.
local kite shops will be around forever. The reason has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with lifestyle. It's like being in a rock and roll band. Most, I mean nearly every band out there loses money. You go look at how much they spend on their gear the amps, travel, hotels, and how much they get paid and for the merch they are not making money and usually losing money. Why? For the dream. Being a kite dealer is the same way. They aren't in it for the money but for the dream. The dream is to kite every day and earn your living while doing it. Even if brick and mortars lose money, a new shop will open up every time an old one closes down. This is a lot different than say, how Amazon killed the local book stores. Now I know there are a handful of people out there that their dream was to operate a book store, but most people, that's just not their dream. So when it quit being economically feasible for book stores to stay open they just shut down and nothing replaced them. Restaurants by the way are the same. Most restaurants lose money, and the only reason people start them up is for the dream of operating your own restaurant. So any time a restaurant fails, there's always a new one that opens up in the same spot ready to try it. Kiteboarding is not just economics, it's a rock and roll dream. There will always be brick and mortar. Don't know anything about the economic situation at Best, I'm waiting for more information there.