JeffOYB wrote:It seems like short run boutique CAD companies helped revolutionize the biking industry. Is there any potential for something like this in skiing? Where a small company could go to a large ski maker and order small batches of skis to their own specifications online at cheap unit prices which they then resell online
My guess is that there is NOT the potential for this happening with skis.
I have to preface this guess with a number of qualifications, a partial list of which would include that I don't really know how skis are constructed, and I don't know anything about metallurgy or materials science or manufacturing.
NONETHELESS: My guess is that a bicycle frame is an easier product to manufacture than a ski. Before the advent of carbon fiber, a bicycle frame consisted essentially of a set of metal tubes that were metallurgically attached to each other. And maybe there was a particular alloy involved. But (I am guessing) it was pretty easy to write up a set of specifications for the dimensions of these tubes. I know even less about carbon fiber than about metals, but, in general terms, I think it is relatively easy to write up a description for the shape of the carbon fiber object that you want to produce.
By comparison, I'm thinking that manufacturing a ski is somehow more complicated than just making some substance into a specified shape. I think a ski probably involves more than one substance.
FURTHERMORE: My guess is that, for the types of fabrication needed for making a bicycle frame, there are low-cost fabricators available, for example and especially, in China, that can take a set of specifications and give you the desired substance in the desired shape, even in small batches.
I do not think it is true, as Jeff suggests, that boutique bicycle frame designers hired Trek or Giant or Bianchi to do their manufacturing.
And, to complete my list of guesses/assumptions, I do not think there are low-cost fabricators available that can make up a ski to someone's specifications, because of my guess/assumption that the product is more complicated.
Anyone who actually knows anything about skis, bicycle frames, materials science, or fabrication should feel free to knock down any or all of this straw man.