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HomeAircraftHelicopterHIROBOOther News  I'm not getting out... I'm starting over...
01-09-2015 03:19 AM  3 years agoPost 81
TMoore

rrMaster

Cookeville, TN

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What y'all seem to ignore is the fact that Hirobo is an automotive company first helicopter company second. Their primary source of income is not models. People in the organization tried to get Hirobo to source parts from other countries and were rebuffed by management. They are sitting on enough parts to put 600 Leptons in a box and probably have well over 2700 Emblas and thousands of Quark EC145's available. There is no telling how many other kits they could assemble. They won't even put a 2.4 version of the Quark SG on the market, I still fly mine on 72. Anyone that pays in advance can buy Hirobo parts from Japan. They will sell to anyone that has money.

None of this makes me hate my models, I still like my machines and still fly them but my liking them doesn't make Hirobo extract their heads from their nethers and come out with new models. Do any of y'all know how long it takes to design the Swash inner and the new head for the Eagle kit just coming out? Minutes. No matter what design software they use to make the models changing the design is trivial, hell they don't even need to test the parts. I use Solidworks and Ironcad and I can do a rotor head in 30 minutes in Ironcad from a clean sheet of paper, a brand new swash in another 15, a main gear and a pinion in another 30. They have a plastic injection mold shop that is state of the art and can make plastic in their sleep. Automotive is on fire and will be for at least 3-5 more years. They don't need to make helicopters.

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01-09-2015 03:35 AM  3 years agoPost 82
Aaron29

rrProfessor

USA

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They are sitting on enough parts to put 600 Leptons in a box and probably have well over 2700 Emblas and thousands of Quark EC145's available. There is no telling how many other kits they could assemble.
This is not good. They will probably want to sell this inventory off before new models come out.

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01-09-2015 04:18 AM  3 years agoPost 83
TMoore

rrMaster

Cookeville, TN

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None of this is new. How long do y'all think we've known all this? Both Ben and I still like the machines. My stuff flies great. I don't need or want 700 size machines screaming at me with 3000 rpm headspeeds and 12hp electric drivetrains. This hobby is supposed to be a pastime, a hobby, a diversion from the day to day slog called work that we all do to pay the bills. MRC didn't want to drop the line but with no new helis to sell what can they do? None of this is about marketing it's about having something to market. The only reason that VRC has decent prices is that the dealer margin is now gone and the exchange rate is better. That's the only difference. MRC wouldn't do that because their business is selling to dealers, that's what they do. All of y'all that have slammed MRC in the past few months for their supposed failures don't have any idea of the truth of the matter. Hirobo can't even sell parts directly from the factory to customers here in the US. They have no mechanism to export a kit directly from the factory to a customer here in the US and arrange the export permits. MRC had to do that. Do any of y'all think that MRC was just one person? Far from it, there are a lot of folks that made Hirobo successful in this country and if anyone hasn't figured out it takes a sh*tload of money to capitalize an RC Model Heli endeavour and not piss off a bunch of customers in the process. Any product manager that works at a model distributorship isn't the dude that's signing the checks, trust me on that. It doesn't matter if it's at MRC or Hobbico. MRC knows how to sell model helicopters but they have to have something relevant to sell the market otherwise between the exchange rate and no new products equals no new sales.

The bottom line is this: the hobby changes quickly, you can't stand on a design in the face of ever changing competition and not come out with updates, engineering changes and upgrades and expect to survive and you certainly can't do any of this by making bad deals with Tamiya and Thunder Tiger along the way. When the Embla came out, Hirobo didn't ask MRC if it was a good idea, they only asked how many will you order. When Frank and Don came to Ben and I asked us what we thought, we told them not only no but Hell NO! That didn't stop Hirobo though....they did it anyway. We needed that machine like a third nut but we got it anyway. Does it fly well? Yeah but the parts prices are too high, it wasn't properly tested for longevity and the Mini Titan version was cheaper. At that time 450's had been out for probably 5 years....way too late to the game. We needed a lot of machines that would have kept Hirobo in the game but a 450 wasn't one of them. The Quark wasn't selling because you can't sell a foam bladed heli for $500 with batteries that cost $50 and last less than a year much less one that uses a 72Mhz radio for control.

Hirobo doesn't even listen to their own people. Kimura and Kobayashi know the US and Worldwide market well and they know all to well what they needed to do but you have to have a sympathetic ear at the design and production level and in Japan consensus is everything. When the old guard can't understand the changes in the foreign markets they collapsed back on the home market and eventually that went away too. It always does. "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."

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01-09-2015 04:36 AM  3 years agoPost 84
Dr.Ben

rrMaster

Richmond, VA, USA

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That pretty well sums it up. Every single thing said is the absolute truth. A bitter pill to be sure, but reality bites.

You would not believe what Hirobo wanted to intially sell the Embla for and what the parts prices intially came out for. Terry and I about had a coronary trying to explain to Hirobo via Frank and Don that they were not likely to sell a 450 for over $500 with some parts that were identical to the Titan parts yet 2-3 times as expensive. They were crippled by having to sell with valuation based in the Yen and that's a bitch, but you have to figure out a way to compete, not force a bunch of kits on your US distributor that sold about as well as a case of herpes.

Ben Minor

Peak Aircraft/Team Minicopter Team Futaba Team Kontronik USA

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01-09-2015 04:53 AM  3 years agoPost 85
Aaron29

rrProfessor

USA

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Alright. So a slap in the face back to reality. I'm still confused as to a few things...

Will the parts be available long term for models such as Shuttles, Sceadus, Freyas, D3s & SDXs i.e. what were all flying now??

Parts FROM HIROBO, I mean. I know VRC will do what it can but Japan has to come through and provide them the parts, here. VRC can sell parts but can't make them.

And if that's a yay, can we EVER expect a new lineup? What happens in 2017. 2020? There's a realistic date at which this hiatus kills the brand.

This is my fear with big companies that have other non-heli departments. They may decide to just do other things. Of course that can also be an advantage. They have profits to ride out a storm. Is this something they will ride out and re-emerge?

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01-09-2015 05:15 AM  3 years agoPost 86
TMoore

rrMaster

Cookeville, TN

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Your guess is as good as anyone's. Get what you can get when you can.

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01-09-2015 05:17 AM  3 years agoPost 87
Aaron29

rrProfessor

USA

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Yeah, that's probably not going to work for a lot of folks.

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01-09-2015 05:25 AM  3 years agoPost 88
Dr.Ben

rrMaster

Richmond, VA, USA

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The next place to watch will be Nuremberg. The economy in Japan and the rest of the world is lagging ours which still isn't doing that well. As noted the auto industry is doing well, but the taste for unprofitable endeavors in Japan has waned recently, and companies with small interests capitalization-wise in the modeling world like Futaba, Hirobo, and Sanwa have far less of a taste for doing anything that generates negative cash flow. The model divisions are not a tax write off. The thing that simply blew Terry, my own, and other people like Ruediger's minds was the almost wanton action of Hirobo to do everything exactly contrary to what was needed to remain competitive. There were times in the meetings in Europe around Nuremberg time between MRC, Ruedi, the UK importer and others and Hirobo when it all but came to blows because Hirobo was just sitting there as distributors begged and pleaded for reasonable changes and were utterly ignored. More like blown off. Every company has made a mistakes along the way, but HTF do you choose to enter the FBL marketplace two years too late with a 700 class rotorhead that sells for $600 and rather than simply molding a nice and inexpensive plastic FBL plastic grip and simple headblock to retrofit the SDX with zero needed increase in kit price instead choose to this day to sell the model with NO native flybarless option except another zillion dollar blue bling head which all but doubles the kit cost? Was this simple idea that worked perfectly for Mikado beneath Hirobo ??Without being too dramatic and sarcastic, how ....ing foolish can you get???

Ben Minor

Peak Aircraft/Team Minicopter Team Futaba Team Kontronik USA

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01-09-2015 06:02 AM  3 years agoPost 89
Ace Dude

rrProfessor

USA

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I started in the hobby with the a Shuttle ZXX in the mid-90s. Eventually got a Tsurugi XX and later had a pair of Sceadu Evo 50s. I always enjoyed building and flying my Hirobo models. Unfortunately, when the time came for a new model Hirobo had nothing to offer.

In today's tough competitive business marketplace it's hard to justify low margin low volume items. Many companies are focusing on their core business and outsourcing services they need that aren't part of core business (e.g., IT) and selling off business areas that don't have a strong long term outlook. It's actually quite surprising that after all these years Hirobo hasn't completely shut down or sold off their RC business.

  

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01-10-2015 03:10 PM  3 years agoPost 90
Steve_JR

rrVeteran

Mount Joy, PA

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What I don't get, or just can't get, is how Hirobo is still in business? I have been searching for a break down of Hirobo's interests but can't seem to find anything solid. What element of their company is producing profits to keep all the obvious from taking them down?

You guys keep mentioning the car market. What does that have to do with Hirobo?

Steve - Mount Joy RC Club

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01-10-2015 03:42 PM  3 years agoPost 91
dschertz

rrApprentice

Jackson, MI

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Their still in business because they still make money(whether its helicopter or other things). Most things said on here is just "talk/speculation". Don't believe most of it.I give up arguing this stuff, people will believe and do what they want.

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01-10-2015 03:46 PM  3 years agoPost 92
Ace Dude

rrProfessor

USA

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It's in the name: Hiroshima Textiles

The "HIR" in HIROBO is for Hiroshima, they city where they're located in Japan.

The "OBO" in HIROBO is translated as textiles.

Like many companies, Hirobo has several different business lines (e.g., automotive as mentioned previously) that are generating revenue for the company.

  

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01-10-2015 04:22 PM  3 years agoPost 93
TMoore

rrMaster

Cookeville, TN

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What I don't get, or just can't get, is how Hirobo is still in business? I have been searching for a break down of Hirobo's interests but can't seem to find anything solid. What element of their company is producing profits to keep all the obvious from taking them down?
You guys keep mentioning the car market. What does that have to do with Hirobo?
Plastic injection molding for one thing, which BTW is huge. The main business is automotive parts. Look at the plastic work on their helis. It's the class of the model industry. They roll their own.

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01-12-2015 09:17 PM  3 years agoPost 94
ampex456

rrApprentice

La Verne, CA

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Wow, you guys got pretty bitter. That was then and in reality this is now. Lots of things have changed. VRC and I buy from Hirobo direct just like RC Japan. This allows us to be competitive along with a flip in the Yen to dollar rate. So those interested, check out our pricing on http://www.vrchobbies.com. If there was a dealer market and dealers would stock Hirobo stuff, there is room for us to work. But right now, small quads are the hot item that the dealers are interested in carrying. Not rc helicopters really that much.

VRC and I do have business interests here and feel we are servicing and supporting the Hirobo pilots. At the AMA show all the response was positive to our being there. Many did not even know models like the SDX EP SWM SL kit existed. More or less Hirobo just released a 800mm Eagle that sold out first production run (and yes they made more than 2, 20 etc.).

Product Managers are actually the "ones who sign the checks" as it is up to them to market, sell, and earn the $$$ so the checks can be signed. If they don't do the work, no $$ come in and no "checks are signed" for resources.

Terry, Ben, I respect your involvement and opinions, but I worked through yen changes, good and bad, as well as being model competitive in the market. As usual there is always more info to the story as well. And unless you were with MRC in those meetings you are not getting the whole story and should refrain from any accusations based on second hand knowledge or speculation. I am not saying this in any negative meaning or manor. I have been in those meetings, and while frustrating at times, there was always a solution.

The past is the past. There is "no tomorrow in yesterday". Who cares how much of this or that they have in Japan? No one outside of Hirobo has access to their inventory control in Japan. Are we in their offices? No, so all you hear is second hand information that may even be distorted or not for outside ears as posted. By posting this "opinion" MRC gets a bad rap due to lack of professionalism. Ben, you are a rep for TT, dude really? Reps are not given this information by any manufacturers for this very reason. Not their place to know. (remember MA, the Schoonard days). What good does speculation achieve other than cause misinformation and discontent? That has never happened in this hobby. Sure...... LOL.

MRC does not need to be defended. They are a business and need to make a profit. Yes they are a "dealer minded" business but take a look around, just about all the heli manufacturers have direct outlets with competitive pricing and no real exclusivity. The business model for rc helicopters has changed. This is today and not 40 years ago or even 2 years ago. MRC is a great company that has been there and done that more than any other rc company out there that is still around. That is a testament to Frank's, Akiko's, Don's and staff at MRC hard work. To sell rc helicopters a company does need a product manager to take ownership, instill, invoke, evangelize, establish and prove value in their products in any sort of competitive environment. After the last two product managers, unfortunately that action was lost.

Hirobo products are some of the best. The SL (FBL) heads fixed or resolved many of the issues I and our team worked on. Even the Shuttle has a FBL head and Sceadu inspired tail even if it is identical. I don't have to say what complaints were addressed there.

If someone wants a Hirobo to be like a TREX, Goblin, etc, then get one of those. Simple. But with FBL now part of the Hirobo main stay and pricing revamped, for those that appreciate a Hirobo model, nothing is limiting performance wise.

Personally, I will take a plastic framed heli any day. Carbon is cool too no doubt, but even the cheapest carbon frame is expensive even from Taiwan when put next to a good plastic side frame like the SDX. That model is really a fantastic evolution of the Sceadu (no pun intended) Far cry from the first release that I was privileged to be a part of.

Does it appear sometimes info falls on deaf ears with Hirobo? On the surface, sure, but funny how things ends up eventually and for the better. I take the Sprague bearing auto hubs. That was a "fight" but the result? Now common and that problem is fixed! THANK GOD!!! LOL

I guess Hirobo is still in business due to their management in the Model Division and preservation of Matuszaka San's vision and legacy. MRC did the same thing in the split with Tamiya and for their owners. They both bounced back reinvented. That is a good thing! As I understood from prior 2008, Model Division had to stand on its own away from Hirobo primary, including funding. They must have done something right somewhere to still be around. MRC did too. Kudos to both companies. Hirobo's Model Division has to use Hirobo MFG primarily for their products. One, this helps the entire company and two, they have complete quality control. Money is kept in house but sometimes that can be restricting too.

The easy way out is to just say "make us a TREX" and make it cheap by going to China, etc. The real challenge is to keep the core customer base happy as best as you can at any given time. This is in service, information, How to's, and knowledge demonstration. Helis are cyclical. Today Hirobo would look new except for maybe non main shaft mounted servos, and speed fuse. Hirobo has the Nova 3 speed fuse long before these others.

In case where a simple obvious part should be made, yep that is right. But in most cases it is more productive to find a way to make an existing part address the issues (X-Spec). When that is done, Hirobo does "wink and listen more intently".

Terry, Ben, again, I respect your opinions and certainly can understand them more than anybody else from working with Hirobo for over 13 years. When someone blasts, negatively criticizes, or complains profusely to someone you are trying to get to do something, the receiver usually tunes out. Hirobo is not a new company, they have been making helicopters since the 80's and withstood many cycles and competitive challenges. Maybe the perceived indifference is more confidence in a bigger picture and their abilities.

Hirobo has heard it all and they are still here reinventing themselves. It is a common case, to make new or totally reinvent something, product must be sold out or near that which falls on the shoulders of the product manager at the forefront. Then there has to be a need. When something works well, then keep using it until that something no longer works as needed. There are lots of need little ideas out there, but in reality, rc Helicopter technology has hit a wall. I heard it from the best this weekend at AMA and feel the same way. BTW, main shaft direct control mounted servos are not new. Hirobo Scale machines have used this long before the other current brands. Just a little FYI.

Today, we are proud to offer Hirobo products. At AMA this weekend kit sales were brisk. Eyes were opened, prices were welcomed, and value was being re-established. It is different today than a few years ago. But that was then and VRC and I are concentrating on today and the what lies ahead. We can only go up and bring the Hirobo fans the service, support, how to's and knowledge important to a helicopter brand like Hirobo.

Jeff Green
MRC 1995-2008, Hirobo Sr. Product manager
HeliWholesaler 2008-2012
Entrepreneur 2012- present
Principle @ Hirobo USA Fan store.
http://www.hirobofanusa.com (soon to be published)

Still no problems, only solutions, governed by MARSHALL AMPLIFICATION. I'm a HIROBO Fan, R U?

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01-12-2015 09:58 PM  3 years agoPost 95
payne1967

rrElite Veteran

uk

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jeff you know my vote is for
vrchobbieshirobo.co.uk

i'm not the only one that thinks a good plastic frame that the hirobo uses is better than a poor quality cheap carbon frame

as most things do it will go full circle and the new thing to have will be a metal frame followed by a plastic one

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01-12-2015 11:56 PM  3 years agoPost 96
Mike0251

rrVeteran

Hills of the Blue Ridge VA

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I have nothing but praise for MRC and Hirobo both. A couple of years ago or so I was after a special Hirobo kit that was no longer manufactured. Could not find it anywhere in the world and I spent many days and hours looking. Hirobo found one for me or either they kitted one, either way, they contacted me after my email to them asking for help. And yes, this is Hirobo Japan. However, they could not invoice me, I am not a retailer ala MRC, VRC, RCJapan, etc. So I contacted MRC and they stepped right up to the plate. Mike we can have than kit put in our next order and will send you an invoice when it clears customs. Boom, kit came in, MRC shipped it to me, sent me an email invoice and then I called them with my CC. Did you get that? They sent the kit before I paid!
Jeff keep up the great work and thank you for getting back involved with Hirobo! Don and Kimura were wonderful to work with, great people, fantastic ending to my search. My loyalty remains firm to the brand and my 10 Hirobo machines which are all still flying and in immaculate as new condition. They just never wear out
Kind regards,
Mike

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01-13-2015 01:50 AM  3 years agoPost 97
ampex456

rrApprentice

La Verne, CA

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Agreed! What kit was that?

No problem. This will be fun for all. The subject of a team came up a the AMA show this weekend. Right now I have no plans for a sponsored pilot team as I regard all our customers as Team Pilots. I have some plans for this notion as well.

I want to thank all for the support shown. This is very cool and will never be forgotten. Any questions just ask. I'll be transparent but understand there are topics I will not answer out of respect for MRC and my friends there. MRC is a great company and I enjoyed working with them.

Will keep going onward and upward!

Jeff

Still no problems, only solutions, governed by MARSHALL AMPLIFICATION. I'm a HIROBO Fan, R U?

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01-15-2015 10:38 PM  3 years agoPost 98
payne1967

rrElite Veteran

uk

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Jeff
do you know what is included in the 0414-455 rotor head assemble
as the one uk shop has them at a very good price at 61% off rrp
and in the new arrivals section
so i'm thinking of a new addition to my pre-evo freya

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01-15-2015 11:45 PM  3 years agoPost 99
ampex456

rrApprentice

La Verne, CA

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Everything to make it work on your heli. They are usually factory assembled and include the hardware needed including linkage rods and links.

Blade washer set is also included.

Enjoy!

Jeff

Still no problems, only solutions, governed by MARSHALL AMPLIFICATION. I'm a HIROBO Fan, R U?

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01-16-2015 12:18 AM  3 years agoPost 100
TMoore

rrMaster

Cookeville, TN

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Jeff, you've been gone for awhile, perhaps I might be of some small assistance since I have three of those heads here.

The heads come put together, they are not assembled. I highly suggest you go through them carefully before you install the head on a new heli. Here is a photo of what comes in the box and what you will need in the way of accessories to make it work on the typical Freya/X-Spec.

The stock TD3 V1 head blade washers are a bit of a PIA and I highly recommend that they be machined out since the heads were changed on the V2 to alleviate having to use the threaded washers that were such a pain and were prone to backing out over time. The V2 uses a set of blade grips that have a set of washers machined with a boss on them that fit up inside the V2 blade grips in a counter bored recess.

Ben and I also handled tech support at MRC for a couple of years.

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