Rob Templin wrote: "You would think that companies like Co-Motion and Santana might be relieved to have one less competitor in the marketplace; but, typically, their higher-end bikes didn't compete with Burley's line to start with - so ... I'm pretty sure they're just as sad to see another tandem company go away as the rest of us...."
Rob is 100% correct. While I never pretended to understand Burley's business, they never did anything to bother me. On the contrary, their support of tandeming was highly appreciated. The first thing that comes to mind was their initiation of the Duet Classic, which at the time was a huge shot in the arm for our sport. Even after they retired from race promotion (I understand that many members of the cooperative stayed-on as race volunteers), Burley continued to "fly the flag" of tandeming by, among other things, paying Rob Templin to bend the ear of magazine editors --- who would often follow up with a story that boosted tandem sales for everyone. Most important, Burley brought new customers into our sport by advertising tandems in magazines (something which Trek and Cannondale have never done --- not even once).
Because Burley was a respected partner in promoting the sport of tandeming, Santana is very sorry to lose them as an ally.
PS: Diane Lees wonders if another company will step in [to tandems] to "pick up the slack." I agree with Dwan's assessment that Burley's tandem sales have trailed off through the past decade. I would guess that they slowly slipped from second place (behind Santana) to sixth as they were passed by Cannondale, Trek, Co-Motion and KHS. In that their share of the tandem market was below 10%, Burley's exit won't create a vacuum big enough to induce new builders. Actually, when past major players have abandoned tandems (i.e. Fisher, GT, Specialized and Trek (back in '97)) the sudden glut of close-outs depressed the market for everyone else. While I don't have any idea how many unsold Burley tandems remain in bike shops and warehouses, they certainly won't be sold at anything approaching full price. While discounted Burleys won't hurt Santana, Calfee or Co-Motion, this will certainly affect the profits of many of the best tandem dealers.
PPS: As for Santana, our sales were way, way up in 2006. We not only added new employees, we ran overtime shifts the entire spring and summer. In spite of increased production, we delivered hundreds more tandems than we built. As a result, our inventory of ready-to-ship tandem frames is less than half of year-ago levels. Last week I asked Rob Templin to tell any of his newly-unemployed friends that Santana has numerous immediate openings in tandem-specific manufacturing, marketing and customer service.
PPPS: And GOOD LUCK to Burley in trailers, a much larger consumer market where Burley was the #1 builder, marketer and innovator for decades. Burley not only created the trailer market, they are the only brand that has consistently promoted bike trailers as part of a healthy family lifestyle. If Burley fails here, this entire segment will be lost to overseas factories, and the entire bicycle industry could be affected as the other "players" ignore trailer promotion and innovation.