Monday 8th July 2019
SPONSOR: Jenson USA
HOST: Carlton Reid
Adrian Montgomery and Scott Montgomery, CrankTank
Mark Sevenoff, Outerbike/Western Spirit
Lori Barrett, Rotor
Chris Schieffer, Zoic
Barton Burdette, Fidlock
Tom Brady, Light & Motion
Cassie Abel, Wild Rye
Zach Spinhirne-Martin, Viathon/WalMart
Peter and Tom Marchment, Luisa Grappone, Hunt Wheels
Product launches and more at CrankTank’s Intent Media Summit and Outerbike, Sun Valley, Idaho.
See: Aerodynamicist Luisa Grappone Designs Fatter Yet Faster Bicycle Wheels on Forbes.com
Welcome to Episode 220 of the spokesman cycling roundtable podcast. This show was recorded Monday, July 8th 2019.
The Spokesman Cycling Roundtable Podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jensonusa.com/thespokesman. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at www.theFred cast.com. I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesman Cycling roundtable podcast. For show notes, links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here are the spokesman.
Carlton Reid 1:09
Hi there, I’m Carlton Reid. And today’s show is a collection of interviews from Crank Tank’s Impact Media Summit held in Sun Valley, Idaho towards the end of June. I talked with folks from Crank Tank who told me why they partnered with the bike demo fest that is outerbike. I talked with Outerbike’s cofounder Mark Sevenoff who also co founded the cycle holiday and guiding company Western Spirit. I got the latest product info from folks representing Rotor, Fidlock, Light and Motion and Wild Rye. Zach from Viathon talked about a Walmart bicycle brand that’s nothing like a Walmart bicycle brand. And today’s show ends with an interview I could have conducted in the UK because I speak with Brits and one Italian from Brighton-based Hunt Wheels. Before that, here’s Adrian and Scott Montgomery – they’re not related – who give me the background to pairing up with Outerbike, and also how the bike industry is having to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.
Adrian, we’ve had some ropey weather here. You get me here because it’s Sun Valley. It’s 90 degrees. And it’s cold. It’s snowing, it’s still beautiful here. So we should expect this weather because we’re in the mountains. Yeah,
Adrian Montgomery 2:33
Yeah, in a mountain town. It does, you know, you’ll get some funny weather and and this is really our spring. This is we’ve kind of only been melted out for a few weeks really. And and yeah, this is the time of year we might get snow flurries or rain or whatever. It’s always a little questionable bringing a group in here. But it’s also one of the best times because the loop in or out in the wild flowers are all around and that the rivers got and the creeks are going and it’s probably awesome out there on Warm Springs road just looking at the river sneaking through the valley. And it’s it’s a beautiful time to be in the mountains. But yeah, you might have to put a shell on.
Carlton Reid 3:12
Yeah, we did. Yeah, definitely. So Outerbike and Crank Tank Summit: they meet in the middle now. So how come?
Adrian Montgomery 3:21
So what we found is that, as suppliers start to bring things to market, there’s, there’s less of a need to show it to the trade well in advance, and more of a need for the consumer to see it. And also the consumer wants to be at something special, when they come to an outer bike, they’re going to see a bike that they might never be able to look at in a retail store. Or that there are some of the first people to see it. So we think that the models changing and how things are released. And we believe that things like outer bike are really important. They’re spread out throughout the country. They are, you know, different times a year. And and this is really a place where somebody can try a $10,000 bike or an $8,000 bike or any bike in this direct to consumer environment. because how else would you know whether you wanted the, you know, one bike versus the other, when you’re buying things direct to consumer, you need an event like this. So back to why we think the impact media summit belongs here is that we believe that, that you can bring something to market, show it to consumers show it to media at the same time and actually have it available to so you know, the consumer can just go and order this thing online right now.
Adrian Montgomery 4:37
I think it’s a good thing. And I think it’s where the industry is going whether it’s consumer events for more mountain or consumer events, more gravel or E bike, and of course everybody, almost every brand here has gravel bike options, too.
Scott Montgomery 4:50
I’m a big fan of it. It’s got what …
Would you mind taking your jacket off?
Scott Montgomery 4:54
Carlton Reid 4:56
It’s noisy. I’m sorry, everything has been noisy – you will be in your underwear in a minute.
Scott Montgomery 5:05
Carlton Reid 5:09
So if you’re going to the consumer, now the whole industry is going to the consumers and not not just your show, but just going to the consumer in general. Does that not mean? You’re really narrowing your options, but we cannot go into the masses anymore. You’re getting the people have already got bikes, the people you’re already kind of talking to. And we should be reaching out and getting new people. So is this not a real danger of your never, ever reach a new audience? If you’re doing things like this, and industry in general?
Scott Montgomery 5:43
Yeah, that is a valid point. But I would say this, when, with this new marketing that we’re all doing, you may not touch 5000 people here. But if we can give some leaders of the of the sport, the person who when you go to a dinner party are going to and you sit down next to him and you say well do what do you like to do for your hobbies, and they say, Oh, I’m a mountain biker, they’ll be the one that that tells you Oh, I was just riding the brand new, amazing Pivot or amazing nine or amazing Santa Cruz or whatever it will be.
And so first of all that you get that you get very strong enthusiasts from that. The second thing is you create all this social media around it. So we’re posting our Facebook and Instagram shots. And we’re generally boosting that. So getting that and that gives our brands authenticity. Because they’re seen as even though, the consumer maybe didn’t come here, they at least see that they’re out. And it, it shows an openness, it kind of a big bear hug. Then, of course, we’re engaging the media, people like yourself, and they’re telling the storey and they’re telling how they and you are the are the masters of the universe, because you’re seen as the person that knows more about it than anybody else. And then later we’re telling it through our newsletters and, and explaining it back. So it’s that it’s that combined envelope of lots of different chunks, that that does reach the larger audience and, and that you need to have the frequency of doing things on a regular basis. So I’ll take 30 active weeks have something going on over maybe one huge event. Because then when that person sees Wow, you came to this event, you came to that event, this race, that action and you add it all up, it starts to build brand authenticity, the prices
Carlton Reid 7:57
Of the bikes that we’ve got here. It’s high-end. It’s an affluent consumer or somebody who’s really wants it.
Scott Montgomery 8:06
Yeah, four to $10,000. I would say yeah.
Carlton Reid 8:09
So that’s a good market, and you want to sell these bikes, but there’s scope for selling thousand dollar bikes. So could these events more? So you you get? I’m trying to get the same question as the previous one. Really, yeah, to expand the audience. So you’re not getting that four to 8000 to $10,000 Bike People, you’re getting people who are entry level, which is the kind of what I thought was always the goal. The industry was to get entry level and yet we’re still seem to be hitting the existing consumers. So we need is a scope for a much broader entry level.
Scott Montgomery 8:54
Well, it certainly is a valid comment. And I also agree with that, that you need or we need to do things that will build the pie or enlarge the pie. And in that way, yes, I think this is where we still have a lot of, let’s say work to do. That Clearly, this isn’t accomplishing, you know, we have women and men, but we don’t have very much ethnicity. Of course, in the state of Idaho, it’s not a very diverse state. But we’re not doing very well with Latino and African Americans. And that so yes, I think in that way, it’s a very good, a very good point to make. But the flip side is Nick is, which is the high school he is breaking through on that and getting young people participating. And they also are having their directors meeting here. And we will have the lat as the last piece of this tonight, a meeting with the naked directors, which is in 27 of the 50 states. So they’ve broken the halfway point. And I think they’re on their way over the next three, four years to get to the point where every state, grade eight to 12 will have a league where you just like you can play American football or soccer or volleyball or basketball, you’ll be able to ride mountain bikes with the Nike programme. So that’s good. And that is helping, and that’s clearly creating another generation. But yeah, I think your point is still a very valid one. I think the only other area that’s really progressive there is of course, he bikes, because it really starts to become a transportation item. And a 20 $500 transportation item is, though that is still expensive. If you compare that to about 400 to 500 a month lease on a car that is still quite inexpensive. And that’s all inclusive, of course, because you’re not buying petrol and you’re not paying insurance. So I think the bike is still probably the promised land for getting more people in. And then almost way once we get them in using a bike for transportation, then hopefully they start using it for recreation.
Carlton Reid 11:27
So last year, was lots of the mountain bikes this year, the theme, if there is a theme is is gravel. So how much of that was will these are the brands that you had? And that’s what they do and they want to grab on? And how much of that is? Well, that’s where the industry is at the moment?
Scott Montgomery 11:43
Well, I think it’s both.
Certainly, there are still a few by companies who are saying we’re not going to do he, I think that’s a mistake. Even though I still absolutely prefer at the end of the day, still riding a non e -ike for recreation, because I like it for the fitness. But you can get just as much fitness on any bike. It’s just a matter of getting obviously used to ever Yeah, and, and going a little faster. But yeah, I know, Todd Tanner at Reynolds with me, he’s actually gone out and measured his watts burned on his bike ride. And it’s equal to when he’s done has his own non-e-bike. So I’m not worried about that. It’s just matter of getting getting used to it. But yes, the gravel is going to come next and is is becoming for least the US. But I think what’s driving gravel is actually not what we really thought it was. It’s really the safety factor of getting off the the asphalt streets, where we just all feel a lot safer. Because I think with the advent of more technology and the cars, whether it’s playing around with your emails or your text, which of course is very much against the law, or just even playing with your GPS and answering your phone and looking at the just the kids who are watching TV, there’s just so many distractions inside the car. I know I feel unsafe riding on the road for very far distances. And even when I ride my bike from the office, which I do quite a bit to the YMCA which is you know our fitness gym, I am when I’m riding through the streets I always very mindful I’ve got to be really careful in the street because people just aren’t looking for for bikes. So so I think what’s driving the gravel is, is really the the fun and joy of it because the bikes are getting so much better. And with the new shifting systems and everything but also you just feel safe because arm for many motorcars on those on those roads.
Carlton Reid 14:04
And America has got an awful lot of gravel roads.
Scott Montgomery 14:08
And yeah, it does vary state by state. I know our friends at Reynolds in Wisconsin actually told me that there are no gravel roads there. Because back when the dairy industry was being developed, they realised that if they pave the roads, and they could pick up the milk all every day of the year, but if you look because of the just sheer size in terms of the number of square kilometres of the US, yeah, we still have quite a few roads because of the states just can’t afford to, to pay them all. So it’s perfect for
Carlton Reid 14:42
Lots of them are actually just left to be aware they were asphalt. And that is left because the it costs too much to maintain them and they gradually become a gravel road again. Yes. And that’s happening more and more, and the US is just cost too much.
Scott Montgomery 14:58
And also situations where maybe they built the road to put in an oil or power lines or because they were oil wells there one time or it would lead to a city that’s even you know, died off. Because maybe the coal mine went away or or what have you. But yeah, we just are very fortunate we have a lot of them, which is I think why it’s getting so embraced in the US is it we just have a lot of those roads in most states anyway.
Carlton Reid 15:28
So you’ve been in the industry, and you’ve been on this podcast, four or five times maybe various shows and at various here, Park City with with with the previous Yes, kind of thing like this. But even before that you’ve been in the industry longer than me, which is a long not gonna age you here. But you’ve been in the industry and all for a long time. And the industry, we always said even back then, you know, the industry’s changing. And then it didn’t really change a long time, really. But now it’s just it almost switched overnight, in that we’ve gone very much the Canyon model, the direct consumer model. And that’s just such a change. For everybody, almost.
Scott Montgomery 16:30
Yeah, it is. But, you know, I, I think the way I would look at that is it’s a choice by the consumer for convenience. There are lots of people who still, all of the daughters in my family, particularly they still really love the almost the tribal Miss of visiting and trying on clothes. Sometimes my daughter, Sarah, will go shopping for a full eight hours on holiday. And I go along because I want to be a good supportive dad. And literally, she will spend from nine in the morning till five o’clock, and she won’t buy one thing. But you will have tried on, you know, 50 or 100 items. So I don’t think shopping is going to go away. But I think what the technology and all the information that you can get, whether studying websites, studying digital resources, online magazines, reading, of course, still print magazine, there’s just so much information at your fingertips that people really like to research and study. And then sometimes they’re in the mood to try it on. Because it’s their wedding, and they want to have a beautiful suit. And sometimes they’re just like, you know what, I need four new pairs of socks, the last four have disappeared in the in the wash, and I’m going to just buy them and I know those last time I bought them more good. And I don’t want to. And that’s really, you know, coming from back to bike, it’s the same and particularly we see in the items like gloves and helmets and shoes. And, you know, if you were looking sometimes those companies will have hundreds of SKUs when you look at the sizes, the colours that they have grip are on the hands of the glove or non grip or are they a Velcro opening or they just slide on. And if you go to the average retailer, maybe they can carry 20 styles in four sizes. So the consumer is spoiled by wanting to look at every single one and then being really unique, and having their own look or their own favourite. And I think for those kind of items, then there are other areas which I think they don’t want to do at all. And actually they’re the pendulum swings swings in the other direction where I know for myself, I really do not do much maintenance on my bike, sometimes I will put squirt and ceiling in my tires to do it. And other times I actually don’t even want to bother with changing a tire. And it just comes back to again, I always like to say and and I’m thinking and doing something my time is worth $100 an hour now, debatable at when I’m doing the dishwasher unloading the dishwasher for my family. It’s not anywhere near that. But if I’m going to say on a Saturday or on a Friday afternoon, I’m going to do something I always say okay, is am I saving $100 by doing this? And then if I am Yes, but if it’s if I if I need five inner tubes, do I really want to spend an hour to go go to the shop, make sure I have them, when I could just push a go to a website and know that they would be here tomorrow. So I think it’s just back to convenience. But I don’t see the store model going away, particularly in bike because of the amount of service it’s needed. And also the technical expertise. I think Adrian on our company was just working with your bike that was having a problem with the shifting. Okay, he can figure it out. But most people are just going to bring it back and have the shop the same with a car who really is going to pull out the computer and do the diagnostic on your car to figure out what is wrong with the turbo charger. I don’t think very many people.
Carlton Reid 20:26
So you’ve been in the industry in lots of different parts of the industry. So right now events, PR, but then you’ve also been in manufacturing, you’ve been in r&d back in the Cannondale days. Lots of different parts of the industry. Have you ever been involved in retail?
Scott Montgomery 20:49
I’ve never owned retail, though I did own a restaurant for a while. And I was amazingly bad at it, I think was the most money I’ve ever lost. In a two year period, when I owned a restaurant, restaurant. It was a kind of a quick service restaurant, and they were doing wraps. And it was was not something I was passionate about. And I don’t know why I got into it. But I was between some roles. And I got talked into it by a good salesperson but but yes, I really have not done very much retail. But I’m definitely working with the brand side of retail in terms of companies, we see most companies have four channels of distribution, they have, of course, the distributor model, which still is quite popular when there’s 160 countries and you can’t, if you’re not a huge, huge company, you can’t afford to build your own distribution in each country. So you still use a distributor, of course selling through the shops, bike shop to bike shop, we like to kind of call that b2b model. Then of course the DDC are direct to consumer model. And then of course, if you’re somebody like my Reynolds job, we have an OEM model where you’re, you’re making the parts for them. And that’s the full force channel. And so you need to be I think, good at all of the channels that reflect in effect your brand. And if you’re there are some brands like Canyon that are doing very well with an effect one channel, and I think they will be here to stay. And there will be some that will serve all the all the channels as well. But I don’t see, I don’t see waking up in 2030. And they’re only being direct to consumer, I think it will just be mix, still.
Carlton Reid 22:48
Golf here, golf everywhere, has pretty much disappeared, it’s gone into a massive decline, partly because of the age, the demographic of who’s doing that. Also a very similar demographic of cycling. So white guys, in effect. Are we in danger of cycling becoming the new goals? In a way different to when cycling was the new golf for like executive meeting each other just cycling as the new golf and that it’s going to disappear?
Scott Montgomery 23:24
Well, it’s certainly if if I had to say the biggest, I think failure of would be the traditional countries of say Europe and US. Then we call those traditional countries. But let’s say they were the two largest markets for cycling.
We are definitely too male and too white if just for lack of a better word. I don’t really like that word. But okay. But yes, I think we’ve got to do better with diversity. And I don’t know how we’re doing I think we are getting better with women in general. But I think, to your point, one of the other areas, that’s definitely taking a bite out of least the North American market is things like scooters. The rideshare, whether it’s Lyft, or Uber, and I think also, I really see the rise of things like the peloton in home stationary type bikes, and this the soul cycles and the spin classes. Because particularly, I think women feel very safe in those environments. They don’t have to worry about somebody looking at them as much or, but also, they don’t have to worry that maybe they get 50 miles down the road. And there’s a mechanical problem. Things like that. So yeah, I think in that way, the sport is, is still could has to do better at expanding beyond our traditional market because those areas are are impacting and Gosh, I we haven’t talked about today, but I know in all the cities that I’ve travelled in over the last month, the bike share programmes are just dying and and nobody’s using them you see them sitting in kind of dormant but the the escape scooter with they’re so easy to get around. I think they’re very dangerous. They scare me when I see a young 19 year old rolling through the street at a high speed with no helmet, no gloves, on a on a scooter. But clearly it’s much more popular. And if you’re trying to get to work and you’re not going to be sweaty, I was just in Washington DC for one of my daughter’s graduation from university and very few people on the bike sharing bikes but the scooters we’re all busy and and being used.
Carlton Reid 26:11
Not what’s your second name?
Mark Sevenoff 26:13
Savvy. I spell Oh, my last name is Sevenoff, but my friends call me savvy as a nickname.
Carlton Reid 26:25
Okay. And you’ve got some friends here now. For the first time.
Mark Sevenoff 26:29
I do. Yeah, these are some good friends from where I went to school in Vermont in the late 80s, 87 to 91. And we were just reminiscing about that when I when I was a freshman at Castleten. There were three other guys with mountain bikes my freshman year, but my sophomore year, there were maybe a dozen probably several hundred but it was it was a fun era.
Carlton Reid 27:06
Now I know you because you’ve guided. So the two traps that I’ve dealt with Western spirits. Yes, that’s how I know you. But of course now Western Spirit has this.
Mark Sevenoff 27:15
Yeah, so so I’ll show you my own Western Spirit. And about 10 years ago, after many years of going to Interbike and many of our Western spirit guests asking us how they could go to inter bike we. We said, Wow. You know, these diagrams are killing themselves to assemble these beautiful demo fleets. And they bring them to Vegas, and they’re great. Why don’t we see if we can convince them to bring these demo fleets to Moab for a weekend. We’re close to Las Vegas. And we’ll, we’ll let anybody will let our customers not just our restaurants, your customers, but anybody come and have it a consumer festival. And we they signed on exhibitors. And then the people showed up in the first year, we had a lot of bikes, but you’re not quite as many people. And then the next year, we had a lot of people, and we didn’t quite have enough bikes. But now we’ve got to that number, a little more dialled.
It’s grown quite a bit to where this call is our 10th anniversary of starting Outerbike. But we’ve taken it on the road to where we’re doing four different events and four different locations.
Carlton Reid 28:35
So this is the kickoff event of the year in Sun Valley. You haven’t been to Sun Valley before this is the first time
Mark Sevenoff 28:40
Correct. Yeah, Western Spirit has been coming up here for nearly 25 years doing our five day tripscon the hot springs Rue and a single track crew, but this is our first first after back here. Yeah, after after a couple years of working on it and, and working with the results and the Sun Valley, folks, it’s finally come together.
Carlton Reid 29:04
So tell me after Sun Valley, where do you go? And then what date?
Mark Sevenoff 29:07
Sure. After Sun Valley, our next event is in Crested Butte. And that’s August 16 through 18th. And that’s a similar style event to this base of the lifts has Lyft serves, but also shuttles and cross country riding. And then Moab in early October. That’s are still our original and probably biggest event. And then Bentonville, Arkansas, finish it that just finishes the season off in late October,
Carlton Reid 29:35
right around Halloween. So how many people are you getting it
Mark Sevenoff 29:38
It is about 1000 people and then we have to we have to cap it at that because there’s only so many bikes we can get here. You know, sure the bigger festivals like see you out or have 20 plus thousand people. But But not everybody because first and foremost a demo event. And it’s more of a curated experience where everything buddies invited to the party, and everybody can sit under the you know, the big white tent like a VIP. And you might be sitting next to somebody like Chuck Ibis or zap or, or the person who actually designed the bike or helped to market the bike. And then you might be sitting next to Joe the Plumber from you know, Iowa or Baltimore or wherever the you know, people do come from all over the country and in other countries where you got a crew of guys that come every year from Miami, Florida.
Carlton Reid 30:37
Do you get people the same people
Mark Sevenoff 30:41
we do have some Uber evangelists. Yeah, the groupies sort of speak. Some of these guys like the Chain Breakers that make their own, make their own jerseys every year, and they get about a dozen of them together every year. And we love those guys. But we will work hard, I’m getting new people as well.
But these are people who the industry is here because they want to sell bikes. So these are people who felt like in the next six months, I’m interested in Oh, yeah, like and I’m gonna try one out.
Mark Sevenoff 31:11
Exactly. And we we know that the you know, the industry, one of our main goals is you know, selling more bikes and more product. And so we kind of pride ourselves in getting really good customers that are are interested in shopping, you know, we hold them, and a really high percentage are going to buy a bike in the next six to 12 months. So they, so the exhibitors like that and, and, and we we firmly believe we’re helping to, you know, sell more bikes and helping the the consumer make a better educated decision, especially, especially with the advent of more Consumer Directed by x where, you know, if you want to try if you considering buying a canyon or a Ferrari or, or a common cell phone now, absolutely, then one of the only places to try them on real trails
Carlton Reid 32:15
Do you have cornerstone brands will always be at Outerbike?
Mark Sevenoff 32:18
Yes, yes, absolutely. Some of those brands include Yeti and pivot and Specialized. And they those three, there’s many more, but they firmly believe the best way to sell a bike is to have potential customers try it, you know, and then if they fall in love with it, then that’s, that’s a big part of that sales process. Others will come to two or three, some of them, you know, there’s more, there’s more events that have date conflict. So some of them simply, you know, can’t if they only have one, demo van.
Chris Schieffer 33:01
I am Chris Schieffer, and I work for Zoic clothing.
Carlton Reid 33:05
And what are you doing here at Outerbike stroke Crank Tank summit, you’ve got some gonna rack some clothing here. So what is it you do?
Chris Schieffer 33:12
Yes. So a little history though, like we were the very first mountain bike baggy short. So 25 years ago, actually, this year, we quote unquote, invented baggy shorts for mountain biking. And really what set us apart in that was eventually we also started integrating the Xiaomi. So I don’t know if you remember mountain biking, back in the day, the Xiaomi was actually sewn into the shorts. So when you pulled your pants down, it came with it, we don’t find that people found that as as bad of a problem as as they did back then. So we’ve stopped sewing them in, but we can still integrate them with little snaps inside, etc. But we’ve also found that people don’t necessarily want to share me that comes with it. So one of the huge things that we tend to do is ourselves, jammies, different, different varieties of jammies, separately, and then you can choose to purchase them together and get decide on that kind of thing.
Carlton Reid 34:04
And your’re international?
Chris Schieffer 34:06
We are not currently international, no, we’re based in the US and California, Southern California, San Diego, and we are available from retailers or online retailers, such as Amazon and Backcountry – hey will ship internationally, if you were to purchase from our website, we do not have that capability currently. Nor do I know for growing into that market. And if we do, it’ll probably be more like Canada.
Carlton Reid 34:27
Okay. And wherever you come from in the industry, have you come from other companies?
Chris Schieffer 34:32
me personally, yeah, I so I used to work for the International Mountain Bicycling Association, you have that IMBA jacket on right now, which was more of the advocacy side of mountain biking. So we basically are trying to build trails, maintain trails, maintain access to trails, that kind of thing. But basically, I’ve advocating for mountain biker rights really to be on the trails, I don’t know if you’ve seen the signs in the US, but we’re at the very bottom of that yield triangle, always. So trying to show our value, so to speak, which is actually kind of where our bikes, the owner of our bikes, she came from that world as well, in the sense that, you know, she was lobbying for public land access, and that type of stuff. So my background is in advocacy, but I moved to a parallel because quite honestly, advocacy is so personal, and it’s so hard, it’s hard to take the criticism when you very much care about what you’re doing. Because we definitely got a lot of criticism as you tend to do in nonprofit world, you know, imagine working from Planned Parenthood, like, if you really cared about him Parenthood, it would be just so jarring to get constant hate mail, you know, and it’s similar to that, but not even close to that scale in the mountain biking world. So I wanted to move away from that. And just, I mean, you either like or you don’t like our clothes, you know, that’s not a it’s not personal to me, you know, getting angry my day, you know, shorts, right? Like, you know, want to wear the leopard print shorts, that’s totally up to you. Um, it’s not, it’s, I’m not going to take it personal. But if you don’t care about trails, and I can’t make you care, it’s really difficult for me to, to interact with you because we don’t we’re not like caring about the same things. And so it’s hard, like mentally and emotionally hard to work in that space. So now I switch to a parallel, and that’s pretty easy.
Carlton Reid 36:18
So tell me about the line – so what do you what are you now selling most? Are you still selling the shorts? Most of?
Chris Schieffer 36:24
Yes. So currently, our biggest sellers, the men’s Ether short, I’ll walk you over to it. So our biggest sellers, the man’s either short, this is the longest version of that short, which is 14 inches long, there’s a standard length, which is 13. And then we have a short version, which is this one here, which is nine, the big features about this short that people really tend to like and what makes it our staple overall, is that in the back, we have a little bit of a stretch in the waistband. And that’s to accommodate for weight gain. And it’s also just for comfort people like just being able to pull it on and off and not having to unbuttoned it is a bit, although those are still options. And then you’ve got this additional adjustment on the side, too. So in that sense, you know, if you gained 20 pounds, you might still actually fit in your shorts. And here in the US anyway, and especially like these parts where it’s when definitely winter sometimes and definitely summer, people tend to gain a little bit here and there and then lose a little bit. So I think that’s one of the huge selling points. But then additionally, it’s got all the pockets. So if you look we’ve got, let’s see 12345 pockets, six pockets on this. All the side pockets hold the biggest iPhone, the biggest Android you know you name it, we’ve obviously made it to phones because people have those. And then the other thing is the gusset in between. It’s just like a nice strip so you’re not getting your your crotch stuck on your seat.
Carlton Reid 37:57
So you mountain bike O’Neill, you got gravel.
Chris Schieffer 38:00
Yes, so as in terms of our products, we don’t specifically make anything but mountain bike clothing. However, I will say in our women’s line, not our men’s but our women’s, we have products that will carry over to gravel. If people want to ride and baggy shorts for gravel, that’s great. I don’t tend to see that being the case, it’s mostly spandex kit, similar to road biking, or cross country mountain biking. So in that sense, the men’s line, we don’t have any of that in the women’s line. However, we have what we call it all cycle short. And those are actual cycling shorts that are just spandex. And the big thing I love about those and unfortunately, I don’t have any to show you is that they’re printed. So let’s take a walk over here.
So they’re printed, this is the print here and as tech print. So they’re fun still, you a lot of people were bag is because it can be colours, and they can be fun. And, and they’re not just black cycling shorts, right, or they’re not full road bike kid. But I think we may go nice women’s cycling short that can be used for gravel, that’s still fun, it makes me feel good. I want to ride when I feel like I look good. So maybe that’s fine. But whatever keeps me out there, right. So we have the cycling short for women. And then we do have women’s jersey that’s a little more gravel oriented in that it has a zipper in the front, it’s short sleeve, and then you’ve got the pockets. So you don’t have to have a backpack, I’d say one of the primary things that I’ve seen is gravel riders aren’t wearing backpacks. Because gravel is where it’s at, at the moment, I guess the growth area. So it is gravel specific, right. And I will say our company is very small. So there’s six full time employees. And they’ve been around for 25 years, and both of the owners still work there. So in that sense, we’re pretty grassroots, it is difficult for us to grow in a way and especially for us to hit all of the markets of mountain biking because there are so many. So where’s we’re currently trying to grow more of the enduro scene on our end, because you kind of have to pick one or the other, you know, you can be cross country and you can be gravel or you can be enduro, or you could, you can’t hit it all. So our focus is more on on clothing that’s comfortable and stylish. And you can go from riding to the bar or riding to work or work to riding. So you’ll see a lot of our men’s jerseys are collared, they look more like work shirts, but they’re still performance, wiki, you know, moisture wicking performance material, they have hidden pockets so that you can do all those things. So in that way, we’re not we’re not going towards gravel currently, I can’t say that would never be a thing. But right now we’re more of a lifestyle. more of an all I guess all mountain riders all you know, lifestyle writers, is what I would say we cater to the most
Carlton Reid 40:48
So that I haven’t gone through the bag in great depth there. But I think I believe there is some stuff in there that we’ve got to test. What are we what are we writing? What are the journalists writing all we all writing something different?
Chris Schieffer 40:58
You’re riding something different? So you say that? Do you want to open it up?
And I’ll tell you what, you go for it because I’m holding the microphone here.
Chris Schieffer 41:06
Well, first of all, these are nice.
Chris Schieffer 41:10
You don’t mind me digging around in your bags
Carlton Reid 41:11
This is none of my stuff. This is just giving me today. So it’s not my bag.
Chris Schieffer 41:21
Okay, cool. So you have you have our carbon liner. So one of our most popular products do. Would you like me to stand up?
Carlton Reid 41:30
I can, I can.
Chris Schieffer 41:31
Okay, I can send them I
One of our more popular products are actually our liners. So we do sell cycling liners. If you wanted to, you could double them up as just cycling shorts, because they’re thick enough where it wouldn’t make a difference. But I’m going to open it up so you can kind of touch it here. So this is our carbon liner. This is our nicest liner. That’s not it comes in a bib as well. This one’s not in the bib. But the real difference here is these ones are made in Italy. So they’re nice and soft. And people tend to really like this particular webinar. So good for you for looking out on getting that one. But we do sell a variety of different styles. This is the again, the high end one, but there’s three in between the high end, the low end, the low end comes with our shorts, if you choose to purchase it with it. Like I said, we also sell our shorts without liners because we hook in, they do okay, they’ve got the
Carlton Reid 42:23
Yeah, yes. At the top. Yeah.
Chris Schieffer 42:28
Yeah, right, yes. And then inside the actual short, you’ve got the loop to loop that down to it. Some people don’t, I usually actually cut those out of my shorts, I don’t need to have them connected, but a lot of people like it. So we still offer that. Let’s see, the other thing you got, you got the less less lifestyle of our line actually. So this is a true omen. See, this is performance. So this is a true jersey, it’s the you know, standard moisture wicking jersey material, if you feel it’s really light. And this is the Wyatt know, the serious, serious jersey, what I like about this one that they’ve kind of improved over the years is the necklines a little bit different. So it’s not just it’s just not hitting you right here, you know, it’s got more of a an Angular shape, I would say and it’s a little bit more flattering in that way. And then the sleeves, they’re not short, but they’re not long. One thing we don’t yet make is a three quarter length jersey, but we’re trying to get there for men, for women, we definitely have a three quarter length jersey, seem to be a more popular thing for women at the time. So this is our short sleeve performance jersey. And if you don’t want this one by the way, just let me know. And we’ll switch it out for you. But then you got you got
one of our liner shorts.
Chris Schieffer 43:46
So this is not our best seller currently, but I feel like this is going to become one of the best sellers. So this is the Ether one. So just touch the light, light material, it’s really durable.
I’m now touching my other shorts, which are definitely thicker, right and and not as pliable,
Chris Schieffer 44:09
right. So even though it’s really thin, it’s still really durable. So when people crash, this doesn’t tend to rip right away, it is a fabric that is is quite strong for how light it is. The ether ones are what I have here for you. And the big difference here is that I showed you the regular ether has that stretch you back. These do not. So this has a flat back in them in the waist. So if you had a hip pack might be a little more comfortable to wear a hit pack without that material. But you saw those side adjustments. So you can make adjustments like you’re you know, you’re pretty small guy. So maybe you have to pull that in a little bit, I don’t know. And like I said, if the sides don’t fit, come find us and we’ll get the the right ones. But essentially, it’s a great summer short, and people tend to race in the shorts too, because they’re so durable, and they’re long, and they’re still really light. So if you’re doing an enduro or something to that aspect or effect. You’re doing 35 plus miles. Typically it’s hot here where we are. It’s quite cold right now. But we brought a lot of these because it was you know, it’s usually hot here in Sun Valley. So yeah, you’ve got our up and coming best seller. In my opinion, we have a few shorts currently, that are going to mould into one short and this is one that either one. So there it’s all going to be somewhat like this or the standard either. But light, light light. That’s what I would say about that.
Okay, thank you.
Chris Schieffer 45:31
Yes, you’re welcome. By the way, I love your shoes. They’re so bright.
Carlton Reid 45:36
Yeah. I use them at events like this because I can go from a mountain bike to a road bike
Okay, I’ve got to admit that the first time anybody’s ever complimented me for my bicycling shoes. Anyway, before we get on to the rest of the interviews from Crank Tank’s impact media summit in Ketchum, Idaho. Here is David with a little bit of an ad break.
David Bernstein 46:37
Hi Carlton. Thanks so much. And hi everybody. It’s David, and I am here. Well, you know why I’m here. I’m here to talk about our longtime loyal and fantastic sponsor, Jenson, USA at Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Remember, that’s je n s o n usa.com. Now, what’s Jenson USA? Well, if you don’t know by now you should. Jenson usa.com is the place where you’re going to find all of the things that you need for your complete cycling lifestyle, complete bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel grinders, everything in between components, apparel, accessory, tools, shoes, really gifts, everything you can imagine that you would need for your cycling lifestyle. And we’re not talking about off branded stuff. We are talking about name brands that you know, love and need for your cycling lifestyle. You’re going to find those name brands at incredible low prices. And that’s all going to be coupled with on paralleled customer service. If you haven’t been to Jenson, USA before, I urge you to do it right now. And every time you need something for cycling because they’re going to have it at great prices. And you’re going to be very, very satisfied with their customer service. Go ahead and check them out. That’s it Jenson usa.com slash the spokesman. Our thanks to Jenson USA for supporting the spokesman cycling roundtable podcast. And our thanks to you for supporting our sponsor, Jenson, USA. Alright, Carlton, back to you.
Carlton Reid 48:17
Thanks, David. And let’s continue with the interviews from contents impact media summit, and here with the description of a very clikey bottle, a magnetic bottle and I am using it now that I’m in the UK and I’ve taken a lot of the bottle kids of my bikes, and I am using this product it is it is really, really good. And it’s a German product, which I should have seen, as I say in the piece. I I should have seen it at unibody. But I haven’t. So it’s good to go to events where you get shown these things in the flesh, and then you can actually see how they work. And then you’re you’re a convert. So this is Barton Burdette, he’s the brand manager for Fid Lock.
Barton Burdette 48:57
Fidlock. Yeah, one word. Fidlock, actually is a name was taken from the founder of headlock. His name’s Joachim Fiedler. He’s a German guy. And he’s his background is in music. He’s a cellist in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
So he made this product, not for outdoor originally, or he’s an outdoor person, not he is an outdoor person. And but the very first product he invented was not for outdoor at all, it was actually to hold his cello client. It was a clamp for his cello bow in his cello case, and that was where the it started and took that technology out. But so fetlock was founded in 2007. headquarters in Hanover, Germany. And it’s been a big successful business for a long time, but the names been obscured because it’s a what we call an ingredient brand, like a primal author cortex. But we make OEM parts for other brands, our big section and outdoor is we make the magnetic helmet buckles for all the bike and ski helmets. And we also do some for motor bike helmets that we do t and ECG certifications,
Carlton Reid 50:19
So I’m using Fidlock product but don’t even know it?
Barton Burdette 50:21
Right. And then about two years ago, we developed this new bike product and decided to start our own retail division, which is built on this system, we call the twist. And this is a cageless magnetic water bottle, kind of the first of all the principles of fit locker, everything we do is magnetic, but everything has a patented mechanical locking mechanism that carries all the load to make it secure. Anybody can put a magnet into something and it’s fun and cute. But the real benefit is in a real special locking mechanism that secures the load. And that’s how we’re able to do a helmet buckle that you can open and closed with one hand with gloves on, but still meet the testing certifications required by the helmet industry. And so that’s we always do that in every we want everything to be operated with one hand and be fun and satisfying, but perform really well. So what we’re doing in the bike industry now is our mostly are our push technology and our twist technology that twist technology is kind of the core of the line, which is our cageless water bottle system. And we’ve integrated a kind of an just a plastic bike water bottle into our twist system where we have a cageless mount. It’s a real lightweight, small, discreet, sturdy cage, integrated with magnets, of course, that allows the water bottle to kind of guide itself home and then the mechanical locks secures it. So it can only be removed from the bike by rotating it. But it’s strong enough that you could essentially lift the bike by pulling straight up on So
Carlton Reid 51:57
Scott had some on his bike yesterday, we were doing some pretty bumpy roads, gravel roads, yes, congregations and it wasn’t moving. So
Barton Burdette 52:06
It’s absolutely more secure than a standard bottling cage. So that’s kind of the counterintuitive piece to it that when something’s that easy to use, everyone assumes it’s not as secure but it’s actually more secure. We’ve had multiple enduro racers race it in the UWS air and when riding on his inaugural bike we have some we partnered with some enduro teams in Europe, the race it the Ibis big block, enduro team, and I this works. Women’s interruption, both in Europe, we had did some we were partnered with the pivot debo team in Europe for a while as well, which is our we’re a lot larger in Europe than we are right now. So we’re trying to bring it, bring it north, or excuse me, bring it West. to the US. It’s really good. So it’s really good for really aggressive writing. But so easy to use can be used on anybody. It’s great for kids bikes. And we found now that’s also fantastic for gravel, were surprised, kind of surprised, guys, that right gravel, notice that it’s hard on water bottles than mountain biking, because there’s zero shock absorption from the bike. So especially guys that compete in gravel racing, especially around the western US, they write some really tough terrain on gravel bikes, and they launch bottles all the time. So it’s great for that. It’s also really great for really tight frame clearances, because the bottle comes out totally sideways. So small, full suspension frames are, there’s very little room for water bottles, especially with piggyback shocks and everything else. And the geometries you see now and from evil and Yeti and pivot. These worked really well in that scenario. And even bikes that have don’t carry a water bottle in the frame, but allow you to mount it underneath the down to secure enough to ride really aggressive terrain with the bottle suspended underneath.
Carlton Reid 53:59
And then there’s an ecosystem. So once you’ve got the, what do you call the, the actual unit?
Barton Burdette 54:07
That’s so the x bar standard base that sits on the bicycle that just screws into the grey zones where your normal cage goes, that’s our bike base. Okay. And then we’ve started to expand that out to be used in other areas. One of the those examples is what we call our tech space, in textile. So it can be used on fabric bags belt, Molly webbing.
Carlton Reid 54:30
Does it work?
Barton Burdette 54:31
Yes, of course, everything’s interchange, I can go on the same one.
Barton Burdette 54:35
So this was a little collaboration we did with high above, which is a they make really great hit packs. They’re handmade in Bellingham, Washington. And they’ve integrated our tech space into the bag here. And so the your bike bottle, can go from your bike to your bag, and is a great way to carry extra water. In this case, it worked out so well I’m in most cases drinking from my the bottle on my hip pack while I ride, and I’m carrying an extra bottle on my bike. And then when my hip bag is empty, I swapped the bottles, because it’s so much easier to drink from here, then to reach down, because my water bottle so close to my bottom bracket.
Carlton Reid 55:15
And again, is this is a joke product? This is a genuine the time looking at banana.
Barton Burdette 55:21
Yeah, so it’s definitely a very genuine product and works great, but it’s a little tongue in cheek, but we suggest that you could hold bananas with it. So this is what we call our unique connector. This was originally designed for people that liked our system, but want to use the 12 bottles they have in our kitchen cupboard at home, and not adopt our our integrated bottle. So we’ve integrated Boa into our system. And we have these bullet laces here I can expand out. And so this is for those guys that want to rotate all the bottles they have but organically it’s become really popular with carrying all kinds of other things from tool roles to extra clothes to food kind of stuff. Exactly. Oftentimes when I ride especially in the fall when it’s temperatures very warm when we start writing and we’re writing uphill, it gets very cold in the evening when we’re writing downhill. All thread another jacket in here on top of my water bottle to carry it up hill for me and then I pull it out, put the jacket on, bottle still secure and write down with it.
Barton Burdette 56:27
Also we have one of our other technologies we call the push family. We developed this waterproof saddleback. This is a 600 millilitre capacity, waterproof fabric, waterproof zipper, reflective logo and also a light for a loop tail light loop attachment. And of course, its magnetic locks mechanically, with a discreet saddle base that attaches to the saddle rails underneath the saddle. And this is great for people that access their saddlebag a lot whether they commute and have their phone and wallet in here, or they have multiple bikes and they spill this with a tube co2 tools, and they want to move it from the road bike to the gravel bike to their mountain bike. We have spare basis so you can carry a base on each saddle and move this bag as you need it. We also have the same design available in a 400 millilitre capacity. And that’ll be that’s a little debut in the US and 30 days, more or less.
Tom Brady 57:30
Hi, my name is Tom Brady, I’m with Light and Motion from Marin, California. We’re going to go through our bike line today.
Tom Brady 57:38
This is the first ultra high powered taillight. First, hot all in one Holic powered trail eight, which is patented from anyone else. And we got multiple patents. And the list goes on and on.
Carlton Reid 57:54
crowded markets and said so 30 years ago, you were that many brands doing what you were doing. But now it’s crowded market. So
Tom Brady 58:01
Yeah, so we keep we keep innovating, you know, everyone has been driving lemons, lemons, lemons, and you can have a lot of light power, it’s what you do with it and how you focus it and drive it. And that’s what we really focused on. So there’s a lot of, you know, big, you know, big high lumen lights out there, but they don’t focus the light, so you don’t have the impact. And that’s really what we do. So you know, our beam patterns, the way we throw light, the way we shape the light, that’s how we can have a really small light do a lot of a lot of things. So that’s where, you know, we were different. The other thing is we have a team of engineers, we have a whole team, everything’s done in house. So we design everything from the chips to the designer, that the light itself, what the LEDs are going to be, and everything’s done in house, and then we, we build the tooling, and we build it in our facility. So it’s all done right there. And so all we do is lights, you know, there’s a lot of companies out there that they do lights, and racks and fenders and all this other stuff. We’re focused on this. And you know, we’re, we’re a leader in in, you know, three different categories with dive, bike and camera. So that’s how we really differentiate ourselves, just keeping ahead doing new and innovative things, and really driving for what the customer wants. So one of the things back a ways, everyone started talking about lemon powered lights. And everyone say, Oh, this light is you know, 1000 lumens is light. 2000 lumens is lights 800 lumens. Well, our owner didn’t didn’t believe them and actually started testing lights. And we found that a lot of them were were not accurate. So we actually have a website called we test lights. So you can go on there. And you can actually compare
Tom Brady 59:45
like lights and dive lights and photo lights
Tom Brady 59:48
to see what the actual run times and the power level light are here. So this is an example of that this from our website. So you can see our light poles that will be say it’s going to do at 1200 lumens. And that gets to a point where and the firmware says okay, it’s time to shut down a little bit, kind of give you a little more runtime, the Bontrager is really unstable, and then it’s stable a little bit and then gets really unstable again, probably because of heat, and then it fades off pretty pretty quickly. So you know, what they’re saying is, you know, at at 1200 lumens, or 1500 lumens is actually a lot lower. And that’s what we found is a lot of companies, they claim a lumen rating of x, and it quickly drops off to almost 30 or 40% of what it was supposed to be. So you’re actually not getting what you what you’re paying for. So this is something across the line we’re really, really adamant about. So we actually have a Loomis sphere on site, we’ve, you know, spent 10s of thousands of dollars to have the hardware and software so we can test these lights and make sure that not only that our lights are what we expect, but you know what’s going on in the marketplace. And we actually have companies send us their lights, could you test them and put them on your website cuz we’re validating, you know, what their lights are doing so and then all real lights for lighting motion are waterproof. So not just weather weather resistant, but IP six, seven, so 3030 minutes and a metre of water. So, you know, we’ve been doing dive lights, so we’re like, why not like we can do it. So we always make all our lights, waterproof. So the Northwest, they love our lights, pouring rain, that sort of thing. And then they’re all dropped tested. So we make sure that they’re going to hold up. So you know, bikes, people are crashing, things like that, make sure they’re going to be durable and, and and withstand the abuse that bikes go through. Unfortunately,
Carlton Reid 1:01:32
Your line is going to be the 24 hour, guys, the lights they need through to commute like
Tom Brady 1:01:39
Yep, everything, recover everything. So So starting with our trail lights, the mack daddy is the sake so we do a 2500 and a 2000. The interesting thing about our trail lights is that we have we have specific light patterns, uh, it’s enhanced trail site. And what we do is we actually have a dual a dual lens, so you have high, you got spots that are throwing way down the trail, and then down low, you’ve got floods that are that are lighting, your front tire and across and out. So those to meet and connect to give you this great throw of light. See a very natural writing experience, you’re not chasing this big snowball light, like a lot of people experience. And that’s the problem is that people, that’s their experience writing at night, it’s like, yeah, you know, like, they don’t know, this is there. So this is, this is really, you know, it’s unique to us. And we really, you know, provide this experience that really makes writing at night, you know, just as fun and just as easy and you’re not surprised on the trail. So and that’s what’s really neat about so you get this, you know, really more natural wide, you don’t have these black holes, that gives you a really good good experience. So Sega has that and then also the tasks. So the task is a patented design, it’s an all in one.
Tom Brady 1:03:01
So the batteries on board. So it’s a rechargeable lithium battery, it has the enhanced trail site ETFs. So it gives you this great throw a colour but the great thing is, is that you don’t have the external battery like the Vega.
Tom Brady 1:03:14
So you have a 2000 lumen light all wrapped up in one package. So in headlights.
Tom Brady 1:03:23
These are really important. And so we we designed this light and we’re the only company that makes it. So you have the 360. So you’ve got a 600 lumen light up front, you have a 25 lumen light in the back with a really powerful lens with throws, about a kilometre two kilometres down the trip down the road. And then you also have sidelights. So 70% of the accidents on roads are side impact, people getting t boned. So, and usually not, you’ve got like going forward, like going backward, but you’ve nothing to the side. So we all have our lights, you’ll notice they all have side lights, on all of our lights, you’ve got this big throw light to the side so that people can see you. The great thing about this is it’s really lightweight and really balanced. So you don’t feel like you know, a lot of people like I don’t want to have a light on my helmet because it’s top heavy, it feels weird, this feels really natural, adds very little late weight to the helmet. The great thing is, it’s just easy quick, on off, up on and off. So you can go charge it, you know, if you don’t need it, you know, you can just leave the that on there. It’s easy to pop, you know, back on and off really easy. And, you know, super simple. But, you know, just like all cars now have a third block brake light up. Hi, this is what you got here. So, you know, when you’re competing, and you’re in a throw cars, you’re all your bike lights are down at the car level, and they’re essentially getting blocked in that light noise. Right. So your bike, your headlight, your taillight, they’re all in that that car noise all of a sudden you put something up Hi, you’ve got this upper light profile that’s literally in the in the drivers, you know drivers eyes, st being here, like if you’re driving, you know, coming through the intersection, you know, they’re gonna they’re gonna see you the side lights are up high, you got a headlight up high.
Tom Brady 1:05:08
So it’s it’s pretty cool. And then so this is nice but charged, but seeing see the side lights amber lights, and then
Tom Brady 1:05:19
we do instead of blinking lights and flashing lights, blinking lights are flashing lights are actually detrimental and dangerous. Because motorists don’t have good depth perception against those the mind can’t process where that is because it’s not enough information. So what they found is that people close close the distance on those lights faster than they think. So you get incidence of accidents and things like that they actually did research with highway patrolman, they put a static blinking red light down the road, and they asked them, What is that light doing half of them thought the light was going away half them but the light was coming towards them. So they’ve also seen more incidents with flashing lights on snow ploughs and the winner getting hit if they’re flashing lights. And then you’ll notice that like Highway Patrol and stuff, they don’t have flashing their flashers on when they’re on the side of the road. They either have a roll bar, sending people to the left, or they’ve got static lights on because the same thing people just drag along they see this flashing lights. And they they plough right into truecar Cosmo Cosmo accent. So this is our staples, she has noticed that it it doesn’t it’s not seconds, it’s pulsing and then there’s a little flicker to catch your attention. So there’s always light on, you don’t have these pulses of light is blinking light is this the soft on and off course that gets the attention and there’s a little flicker just and that
Carlton Reid 1:06:38
That’s heading my eyes, even in full daylight.
Tom Brady 1:06:43
This is the brightest light in the industry. So we don’t mess around.
Carlton Reid 1:06:48
Next up, I spoke with Lori Barrett of Rotor.
Lori Barrett 1:06:52
So we actually just launched a 13 speed group set. So we’re here and we have different brand partners that were also kind of highlighted. Obviously, we’re enjoying the beautiful weather and you know, the consumers that will come through we’re you know, we’re introducing rotor product. So rotor by components were based out of Spain, were founded in the 80s. Over there, we’re pretty well known in Europe, we’re far more, you know, like developmental in North America. And so our job in North America is, you know, explaining the brand to the North American customer, a lot of what I end up doing, because we end up being a very technical brand. on the product side, very product focused is trying to simplify the brand messaging and translate it to a North American, you know, kind of customer base. So that’s a large part of what we’re doing.
Carlton Reid 1:07:39
So are you doing all four, or as your first one?
Lori Barrett 1:07:44
This event will probably be the only one we do we have our event calendar. We’re a small team in North America. So we pick and choose, we of course do sea otter this year we’re adding crank works will also be because we have a bunch of World Cup mountain bike teams who will also be at Mount St. And then there’s a UCI World Cup race right after that will also be at the Ws at Whistler, and Northstar in Northern California. So we have have all of these are these kind of events that we’re supporting athletes with. And then we do a few more consumer facing ones like say Philly bike Expo will be at in the Greater New York area in the fall, huh? Yeah. So this will be the only one this is our fun, you know, fun, friendly, like, let’s high five people, you know, hang out with our brand partners. And then like, maybe ride some bikes, if we’re lucky.
Carlton Reid 1:08:32
Are you putting people out on your stuff?
Lori Barrett 1:08:35
Some but we only have a couple of demo bikes. So you know, mostly like, we’re, we’re letting people ride them. But they’re, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s more about like, kind of explaining the brand to people and then letting them go pedal around. I mean, we have a mosaic and a moose for free. So they’re wonderful Brand Partners, like as they make more of a bespoke product. And handmade. And, you know, since we manufacture in Spain, it’s a, you have like a big focus on quality.
Carlton Reid 1:09:10
You’re talking about groupset. So am I looking
Lori Barrett 1:09:12
At the Yeah, you’re looking at versions. It’s a single long page, retail, your first of all, it’s the world’s first 13 speaker, etc. So it’s kind of an interesting step forward there. Of course, on road bikes, we’re used to having a friend earlier. And this is the first group that functionally allows you to get rid of your front trailer if you were to choose, right. So it’s a long page route earlier that you can either pair with a mountain bike, shifter, or road bike shifter. So it’s kind of interesting that way, it’s a hydraulic x rated group set. So it’s lighter, it’s a closed system. So you’re not subject to contaminants like winter debris, you know, cables, stretch, friction, that sort of thing. Very low maintenance set and forget, you never like touch it again. Obviously no batteries or anything like that. And it’s it’s got a clutch mechanism. So that keeps you know, that keeps the chain in content tact. Better, since you have a range of cassettes that can get quite big. Anyway, yeah, it’s meant to be kind of multifunctional. We see like here, we’re mostly kind of showing it as a gravel product. Because I think that’s a really exciting use mountain bike. Yes, it’s an additional cog, we have a 1052 cassette, 314 grammes, which is just ridiculously light. But the gravel application, you can actually get your front drill, you have your full gear range, and all your steps that you would have with a two by 11 system.
Carlton Reid 1:10:30
So are you OEM or aftermarket?
Lori Barrett 1:10:33
So we’re both we are so we just launched it for aftermarket in April. And so we’re now shipping them, but like a lot of the cycles, of course, are a little longer. So we’re talking with, you know, some bigger brands, and if that’s you know, matriculate, then that’ll mean 2021. We have brand partnerships with them. But we’re also, again, because we’re high end focused on a customer that wants something handwritten, grafted and beautiful. And we are also we’re working with kind of key. You know, like more custom manufacturers, which is the reason that we have like, say, the roots in the mosaic. Right. So, yeah, all of the above, I guess.
Carlton Reid 1:11:16
And when was it launched?
Lori Barrett 1:11:17
So April. Well, we showed it Sea Otter last year, and then we started shipping it in April of this year.
Carlton Reid 1:11:24
So that’s my next question. So these are physically available. Yeah, there’s no,
Lori Barrett 1:11:28
This right here is Adrian’s bike that he will be riding. And we just got this groupset in, I don’t know two days ago. And we’re building it up for him. So he can write it on some gravel stuff here. Nice. Yeah, it’s really exciting.
Carlton Reid 1:11:42
And what price points are talking here,
Lori Barrett 1:11:44
So you can buy the 12 speed version of it for 2200. And that includes crank ring, shifter, break driller, cassette, right. And the 13 speed, we changed the hub plan space in slightly, it’s built around 12 speed spacing, sorry to get like technology, but and so you need a little bit different hub. And so with the hubs, it starts at 2800 US dollars, and then you can build that into whatever we’ll we also can set you up with wheels as well, power metres, you know, you can, it’s a modular system. So we really wanted to go deeper into kind of the compatibility storey. So functionally, because the interface is the same on this road crank, you can run down to a 26 to mountain biking up to a 54 to, you know, one by road ring. I mean, so that whole range is compatible. And like with, you can either pick a regular road spindle and offset spindle. If it’s on the mountain bike, you know, it’s boost or super boost or standard. I mean, anyway, it’s kind of neat, because you can set it up to fit exactly what you’re trying to build out.
Carlton Reid 1:12:57
So, many other companies have tried to break into this space. So where do you see yourself fitting in with those monolithic companies who everybody else is backing? Because it’s not the easiest thing to do?
Lori Barrett 1:13:19
It’s the easiest, and it’s the cheapest, we’re manufacturing on the euro. My joke is, if you like fair trade coffee, can I present fair trade bike parts? Like, you know, but it’s something people don’t think about, they also often don’t realise they have the option for right. And so we’re introducing it. So we’re, we’re Baby, you know, but we’re also we’re also going only for the high end, you know what I mean? Like, she monitors an incredible job with a 105 groups at like SRAM does a great job with the four or force or rival group set, like, We’re not trying to compete in that space, that’s, they do such a fantastic job, how could we do that, manufacture it on the euro. And, you know, and beat them at their own game, no, just you know, that’s theirs, they’ll own it. And we want to work with people that are looking for a different kind of product, you know, that are really going for top of the line performance, we try and use more durable materials, we’re like not to get too deep into like nerdy material science, but like the, we use a seven series aluminium for most everything, our road chain rings have always had a lifetime warranty against where you can wear them out, you will probably wear out your bicycle first. You know, like there was just another guy in here who was a former pro road rider. And he’s actually riding rotor oval chain ring, which is pretty cool. And he’s had the same set for the last four years. And he the penny didn’t drop with him until I said that thing about, you know, the chain rings lasting so much longer. And he’s like, for sure eight, you know, and so the idea is that will make a better product, and people will appreciate it for the durability and the craftsmanship. And you know, is it going to be? Are we going to be a billion dollar company? You know, next year? No. But I mean, is that the expectation? So now? So are we succeeding and carving out like a tiny chunk of the market? Yes. And I mean, in the Spanish, they don’t want to make a me to product. That’s the way they say you don’t want to make a major product. So scare quotes. But they want to really innovate. And that’s part of the feedback. For instance, we got with a 13 speed because it is the first group set that makes it front really are optional. So a function functionally a two by 11 group set, because of gear overlap, you functionally only have 14 years. And if you’re going to go through them sequentially, you would shift up and down in front a dozen times and nobody does that. So you end up making kind of bigger jumps as you just kind of mostly shipped in the back. And so we’re able to even that out and give you the full gear range. So it’s kind of a cool revolutionary product that way.
Carlton Reid 1:15:47
Okay, where in Spain?
Lori Barrett 1:15:49
Madrid, just outside of Madrid.
Carlton Reid 1:15:53
So you get across there?
Lori Barrett 1:15:54
Oh, yeah, yeah, of course. Um, so I go usually three or four times a year. And then I go to Asia once a year just for Taichung Bike Week, even though we don’t manufacturer there. We have OE partners that assemble there. So we also, of course, have an Asian office that coordinates, you know, shipment of product in Asia and assembly for manufacturers that manufacture that.
Lori Barrett 1:16:16
Lori Barrett 1:16:17
Yeah, it’s wonderful. The other offices are great. I mean, it’s cool. It’s like this is product that like they want to make it. Like I have a 1052 cassette right here. So this is milled out of a single piece of seven series aluminium bonded to a single piece of hardened steel. If it’s on a standard Shimano hg for you have body which is shocking. This is a 13 speed cassette, twice 314 grammes. It’s about 60 grammes lighter than the lightest 12 speed cassette out there. I mean, and so. And if you look at it, it’s beautifully crafted. And also, we’ve been doing road because it’s like this for a long time with the steel and aluminium. And they were like iron is great. But I mean, so people get excited, because it’s the
Lori Barrett 1:17:00
it’s an improvement. You know, it’s not just
Lori Barrett 1:17:05
not just shaving grammes, it’s actually significant steps forward in durability and our performance.
Carlton Reid 1:17:11
So Rotor is from Spain and Hunt Wheels, who you will hear from in a moment, are from the UK. But here’s a brand that didn’t travel too far – this is Cassie Abel from Wild Rye.
Cassie Abel 1:17:25
I’m the co founder and CEO of Wild Rye. We are a family-based women’s mountain apparel brand. And we’re dedicated to bringing women well fitting, beautiful and technical apparel.
Carlton Reid 1:17:37
So why Sun Valley?
Cassie Abel 1:17:39
So yeah, so my background I was in house at Smith Optics as the global communications manager
Carlton Reid 1:17:45
when they moved … then they relocated to Portland, Oregon,
After much stress and having an … and trying to decide what to do with my life, decided to stay here. And so I actually run a PR and marketing consulting business, but then also co founded Wild Rye. And I co founded Wild Rye with my former business partner who was based out of Lake Tahoe, California, and I’ve always been here, I ended up buying out my business partner at the start of 2019. And moved everything all operations all design everything to Sun Valley, Idaho.
Carlton Reid 1:18:23
So is that kind of common when when Smith Optics left? And an awful lot of people did go with them. But then
Cassie Abel 1:18:39
Yeah. So I mean, a, you know, a handful of people move to Smith, a lot of us stayed, and honestly, a lot of people have moved back. Since the move to Portland just kind of a different. It’s just different and different lifestyle. And you know, it’s really hard to beat the Sun Valley lifestyle. And yeah, I would say that I mean, honestly, I equated the move to a wildfire, super devastating at first, and then the regrowth is just really, really beautiful. So, you know, everyone who ended up staying here, or has since we’re back has done something really cool with our talents, started consulting businesses joined other growing brands helping to bring them to the next level. So yeah, it’s been a I mean, it’s sad to see those big brands leave, and we’d never encouraged out or wish that but it’s really great. Seeing what people have done with their, their talents.
Carlton Reid 1:19:40
And then Wild Rye is available nationally, internationally, what’s your distribution model?
Cassie Abel 1:19:47
So we’re predominantly a North American brand, however, we do sell direct to consumer internationally. So by the way, it’s just by our website, which is Wild dash Rye dotcom.
Carlton Reid 1:19:59
How are people are finding it? Instagram?
Cassie Abel 1:20:04
Yeah, Instagram, PR hits, word of mouth. I mean, there’s not many people, if anyone doing what we’re doing in the mountain bike space, so you know.
What are your USPS.
Cassie Abel 1:20:20
So our number one priority is fit. I mean, women are, you know, are we have different shape bodies were harder to fit. Historically, a lot of mountain bike brands had adapted a men short to fit women, which just didn’t work. And number two is technical. So technical materials, performance features, sort of considered design features that really work for women. For example, our side leg pocket, or zipper pocket is big enough to fit an iPhone Plus. Doesn’t sound that important. But especially, I don’t know, I mean, especially for women, like, historically, shorts, have had really small unusable pockets on the side. And so that’s been really great for us. We use belt loops, instead of waste fasteners that lead to extra bulk. We use performance materials. So our flagship product, the frill short is a nylon four way stretch. And then we’re just introducing a new poly lasting blend short to bring a lower price point option to our line. And then our third priority is contemporary styling. So you know, not like overly girly, but with a feminine touch. So we look to the outdoor and bike industry, of course, but we also look to the fashion industry to see what colours are trending and, you know, some playful patterns that aren’t too in your face, but playful yet sophisticated. So those are some of our primary tenants. And then also just, I mean, a big thing about our brand that’s unique is we’re not about the races are not about the not to say we don’t support women that do race. And we’re not about like, the fastest people necessarily. We’re about celebrating however you enjoy mountain biking, about the community about the snack breaks about the laughs, photos, sort of the whole journey and experience of getting on your bike with friends. Which has been really, really great. Because while there’s some phenomenal elite athletes in the mountain bike space, no question and the bulk of us women are riding for fun with our friends. And I feel that a lot of the marketing of the past has been fairly alienating to those women.
Carlton Reid 1:22:39
Cassie Abel 1:22:41
Yeah, just a little too aggressive. You know, it’s intimidating. It’s hot, it’s and we want to be really welcoming and then encourage new women to try it and you know, celebrate the little failures along the way, you know, falling off your bike and getting back on and that’s part of biking.
Carlton Reid 1:22:58
My final two interviews are with Zach Spinhirne-Martin of Viathon. Have you heard of that brand before? It’s actually a Walmart brand. But not have you think a Walmart brand would look or perform like, and after Zach we have got folks from the UK from Hunt Wheels.
Zach, we are here at Outerbike stroke Crank Tank summit. And this is a brand that I’m not aware of, but it’s a Walmart brand. So tell me about Walmart.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:23:39
Yeah, yeah, I was recruited to work coming to Walmart about two years ago, two and a half years ago now. And I was brought in to, to kind of raise the game and what Walmart can deliver in terms of bikes. So with that, I developed the Python brand. And in order to reach a higher end customer provide higher end product. You know, Walmart already is the largest retailer for bikes in America by a good margin. into we already service, everybody, you know, with the Walmart stores, Walmart online, most of like 99% of America walks into a Walmart store every week. So it’s, we have the great potential to reach a larger subset of the American population than any bike shop, or any other brand. So I was looking to raise bicycle awareness within the total United States. And that was kind of the whole concept of violence to try and help be able to have a brand that we can show customers, the general populace of America, that there is a better bike out there, there are higher end bikes and what makes them different. What makes them worth their time and money to purchase is if you know I think about my family, my my cousins, and in people who don’t bike, they’re like, why would you buy a bike that’s over $200 that’s just crazy, you’re going to it’s going to sit in the backyard and rust. But when they actually go ride my bikes, they’re amazed about how comfortable they are, how well they work and how fun they are. And so my mind with coming to Walmart is to how to how to grow biking with the United States by making making it easier for more people to reach to reach the bikes.
Carlton Reid 1:25:17
But these are direct consumer buys. So these are not something that you walk into a Walmart store and
walk out … so it’s the Canyon model.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:25:25
Yes. So I work for e com walmart.com. And I come from a ecommerce bike driven background so I it’s easier it’s faster for me to expand or bike offering online than it is to go into stores. stores. It’s a really big machine with for the over 4000 stores. So to build out I can build concept proof of concept online and then push over time into stores. But that’s that’s TBD. And then
Carlton Reid 1:25:52
Walmart has a bike connexion like a high end bike connexion with the grandsons of the company founder Sam Walton, I mean in Bentonville
Carlton Reid 1:26:03
Steuart and Tom Walton.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:26:07
I built the whole brand without them knowing about it at all they knew about it prior to launch, so I happened to meet Steuart in our office in January 2019 so I was able to show them a couple pictures and show them some bikes and
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:26:23
use a cool
Carlton Reid 1:26:26
so that they’re both into mountain biking you, bought Rapha RZC which owns Rafa and ally or a large portion this has nothing to do with the that connexion This is all completely separate?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:26:42
Correct. Their investments are totally separate from WalMart even though Steuart’s on the board but they are their personal but RZC is a personal investment versus
Carlton Reid 1:26:54
So describe the kind of bikes you got here so these are if we said a Walmart bike and the at the at the image that from people and what I’m looking at now that if you didn’t tell me that was a Walmart nike I wouldn’t know that so Roma bikes these high end that black bear sexy looking back, so tell me what you got.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:27:13
So yeah, I wanted to make bikes that I want to ride and so I made a gravel cart all carbon fibre gravel bike, road bike and mountain bike. I wanted to make each bike exactly what I would want to ride so the gravel bike you can it’s got the rack mount Fender mounts, tire clearance that you can go do pretty much anything you do on a on a skinnier ish tire, the mountain bikes a hard tail, but it’s got a more modern cross country design where it’s got a slacker head to 2.4 inch clearance in the back four tires, so it’s super capable.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:27:48
In the road bike, I wanted it to have
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:27:52
race inspired yet confidence for descending stability for descending geometry. So I kind of emulated a couple different bikes I’ve written to the years
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:28:03
due to the fact that so I made the bikes they are all reasonable but they’re they’re not only race bike race oriented,
Carlton Reid 1:28:11
How much how much are consumers going to be paying for these when they buy them online?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:28:15
So the like the mountain bike in one with gx Eagle grupo and a Reba fork stands wheels is 2400 and the one to five road bike and grab a bike or both 2300 and they go up to the prize with a race bike. It’s 5850 and the XX one with a sitar LC mountain bike is 6000.
Carlton Reid 1:28:40
And how long have they been available to consumers?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:28:43
We launched the brand at Sea Otter 2019. So April night, so not long,
Carlton Reid 1:28:50
not long, we are definitely a few months. Okay. And what are you hoping to do with the brand and what’s what’s what’s the plan? What’s the long term plan?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:28:57
Our long term plan is to kind of grow the brand a little bit grow mostly though, to grow the the consumer base at Walmart to be able to service high end bike really trying to bring in and grow bike within the US like how can I get more bikes and more people’s hands get more people riding bikes again, there’s a lot of different theories, but how to get just make it easier for people in today’s culture, to ride bikes. And I think that’s part of the gravel scene. That’s why it’s exploding right now is is people are afraid of riding and traffic. People but not everybody has great trail access, but almost everybody has access to dirt roads. Do all of America.
Carlton Reid 1:29:38
So you’ve been at Sea Otter, you are now here at Outerbike. How else? Are you telling consumers you exist? And are you absolutely upfront with Walmart? I mean, how is that part of the storey? That’s like you want people to know it’s Walmart?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:29:56
I mean it’s we’re not definitely not hiding it that is with Walmart own brand Walmart developed brand.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:30:03
But it’s not the main purpose the or that’s not the main main thing. The main thing is just the product itself. The product I want the product to stand for itself. It’s these are high quality, very high quality frames in inbuilt spec. So I want them all to stand by themselves. You know, being backed by Walmart is definitely has its own storey, but it’s not the main focal point really.
Carlton Reid 1:30:30
And telling consumers about how the brand exists. How are you how are you
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:30:34
doing standard media through online social campaigns, the state like every which million ways possible, you can possibly reach people today.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:30:44
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, like doing ad campaigns on you know, getting by mostly getting bike reviews with media to get like a third party unbiased opinion. You know, getting this Oh, it’s independent, like getting an independent media source to ride the bikes give their opinion and validate that the bikes are
Carlton Reid 1:31:03
quality and quality with a keen price because Walmart, big, big company can console stuff that may be in bite trade terms. That’s that’s massive, defying potential that you’ve got compared to most
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:31:17
Yeah, like, yes,
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:31:18
it is massive, we are starting really small. So I mean, we’re not at scale by any means yet. But you know, as, as we look forward, looking at the future, there’s bet more and more potential for us to make it better and better deal for people. But you are benefiting from that scale. And the scale, the shipping, our logistics are unparalleled in the bike industry
Carlton Reid 1:31:41
starting small, but you could you could go massive if you’re backed by. And if you’re part of that huge retailer.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:31:48
Yeah, scale, scaling quickly is not going to be an issue. So it’s mostly continuing to get the name out, get the brand out and
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:31:57
just build the brand itself by itself. And then with with the backing of Walmart, we can scale very quickly.
Carlton Reid 1:32:04
Tell me about exactly where you come from Zach in the industry.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:32:08
I worked for 10 years at Competitivecyclist which was acquired by Backcountry.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:32:13
So I’ve been in the industry, I was US national team mechanic for a year. As I finished up college, I was a bike racer, I you know, went to Belgium for a couple years in Spain for a year race road. Started out mountain biking with my brother back when the 90 so it’s been in bike bikes forever. Love bikes, I just I want more people to enjoy bike, the bike culture and the bike where the bikes can bring you.
Carlton Reid 1:32:40
And how did you get into this particular to you kind of brought on board?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:32:46
to develop this brands and not really to develop this brand necessarily. I pitched the brand. But yeah, I was recruited from back country into Walmart a couple years ago and with the intention of changing the game for Walmart, e commerce by division. So trying to really bring the higher level of customer service, high level of product awareness to the site and to their our offering. And so we as part as I was going through that, with different acquisitions that company had I found a niche where we could create a brand, a high quality brand that we would help us get to our end goal of having higher product level product on the site more quickly. And so that’s that was the impetus behind the brand.
Carlton Reid 1:33:28
And are you based in Bentonville?
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:33:31
I am in San Bruno. So we’ve got it. Our e commerce buildings are split between San Bernardino Bay Area in New York, in Hoboken. And then we’ve got like Moose Jaw for specialty outdoor in Michigan, we’ve got home office in Bentonville with like the whole, all the trails and all the infrastructure that they’re building. They’re constantly upgrading every day. So we I’m, you know, then I’ve got my global sourcing team for all in Walmart imports in China, in Shanghai, so I’m going all over the place all the time,
Carlton Reid 1:34:03
I’ll be talking to us only or have you got global ambitions here.
Zach Spinhirne-Martin 1:34:06
I’m focusing on US right now. I’ve already gotten questions for people internationally, you know, we own we can ship internationally, it’s just I’m concerned about customer service, because I don’t have distributor partners that globally. Besides Walmart, Walmart infrastructure, so it’s, but I want a high level quality cert customer service to begin with, and I can control that in the US. And as I can partner out in the US around the globe, then I can expand
Carlton Reid 1:34:31
said by that. Do you mean like the mobile mechanics kind of things you ship to a customer and say get a mobile mechanic to instal?
Yeah, like if I like we can ship direct to them. But make sure that you know you shipping across the world, the bikes gonna get rattled, just make sure it’s dial before they write it. Make sure there’s nothing wrong most most 99% of time, no problem. But just to be sure, you know, like it, it’s just I just want to make sure the customer gets exactly what they want. And there’s nothing wrong. The first time.
Tom Marchment 1:34:59
I am Tom Marchmont and one of the co founders with my brother of Hunt Bike Wheels, and where our company’s actually called The Rider Firm. So we own Hunt Wheels. And yeah, we’re here impact media summit, kind of one of the big things here is we’re launching a wheel set that we’ve tested using kind of industry standard wind tunnel testing is the world’s fastest will up to and including 15 millimetres for disparate road bikes. So So yes, it’s pretty busy at the moment.
Carlton Reid 1:35:27
So look, I’m going to get on to the actual products in a second. But tell me a bit more about where you’ve come from, because you had an entity. Yep, website, and I bought from that fat.
Tom Marchment 1:35:37
Carlton Reid 1:35:37
So how did you go from innerTubeshop web sho tro what I see here?
Tom Marchment 1:35:45
Yeah. I mean, it may seem is about six years ago, Pete launched in the chip shop.com. So as I mentioned, my brother, and that was in the carriage when he was living in my house in the spare room. And it was is literally was your first step into starting a business. And obviously, we’re both riders, and everyone at the rider firm, pretty much rides, bikes, you know, as a big core focus. And you just saw a problem to solve for riders there where you want to help make it easy for people to find the right industry, but also a relatively, you know, competitive package. And at the time, no one else really did that people were charging quite a lot for initiatives. And I think Pete just saw that and said, Well, I can help people and just do things a little bit differently, innovate, but step by step, learn how to do that. And then when I my history was in the bike industry working for upgrade bikes, which be decent sized distributor in the UK, previous to that was in a bike shop. And they also had some own brands upgrade where they developed products, bikes and wheels and things like that. And also, then I worked for a distributor called I ride who distributes a lot of high end road and mountain bike products and things like speed play on 18. Corner, up called on to Rosa and fulcrum, token wheels, three t product as well. And obviously previously rentals upgrade. So we kind of I left our ride in 2014 and started with Pete and we kind of saw an opportunity where maybe other people weren’t serving riders, especially with the wheels that most people want to use every day, we most of us will maybe have one or two sets of carbon wheels, we definitely are a lot of opportunity and Allah wills. But overall, we saw the capabilities of bringing and pushing forward. For riders like us, we’re just wanting slightly better products. One of the big things for us was to lyst maybe using the best triple butted spokes using better, better bearings and things like even the cassettes, for your bodies, you know, we all pretty much use wheels with our bodies, because they’re a bit lighter, but quality getting cassette digging in most of those. So we were saying that, you know, all these little things need to be think thought about so. And that’s really what how we started it and just started working with Mason on one of the wheels as well as I remember it wills because they are the time doesn’t seem that long ago, the 2014 2015 There weren’t many disparate fights out there. And there were not very many options for road disc brakes wheels at sensible price. And they’re the kind of weights you could build a 29 a mountain bike race, this will. But you know, we knew we could do that for road for season desperate type bikes. And that’s where it came from. That’s where it took off to. Now we got 36
Tom Marchment 1:38:23
people, I think working
Tom Marchment 1:38:25
some part time, some full time, some incredible light experience in the company with Luisa coming from company yellow for Chrome and 3T previous to that or that 10 years of previous to come into us testing and developing wind tunnel in the wind tunnel aerodynamic wheels. And then also some other incredible people from the bike industry in the UK and a load of people who are coming in and who’s Yeah, stick to just serve riders. And that’s what it’s about.
Carlton Reid 1:38:48
So are you an international company or you are you like, Are you an English company? Where are you in your headspace?
Tom Marchment 1:38:55
So in our headspace, we’re based in the UK, but we serve riders around the world. I mean, I guess a very simple way to look at it is you know, there’s a few companies now that, obviously are doing very well for seven years with an incredible product that’s engineered at the, at the, you know, the best level winning top world events, but serving in a kind of a slightly more direct way. We’re that four wheels, really. And we feel like we’re kind of the leader in that area. We did it before anybody else did. There’s obviously quite a few other people having a go at now. But we took that step first. And we’re innovating ahead of everyone else in that area really. And now we’re at the level where we are now originally we were competitive. And in a group test, we would almost kind of like most of the time when the group test against other people because our products are incredibly well SPECT for what you are paying for them. But now we’re at the level where we saw we could push to the point where we had world leading product regardless of what the prices. And that’s where we’re moving now with the engineering side of what we do. And obviously Pete’s material scientist, he went to Cambridge University as a MSc in aerospace engineering, and lots of knowledge and competence. I father’s materials engineer, materials engineer and worked in composites. So there’s an awful lot of knowledge. And also, he knows a lot about aluminium materials and things like that. There’s a lot of knowledge that goes into that product. But also a lot of us are writers, and we know how to we can see the trends coming. And we’re so close to the customer, because we’re responding to people on Facebook, social media, but to dealing with those orders. And speaking to those customers every day, we don’t have a separation of three, four or five layers between us and the customer. We do work with local bike shops, and they can definitely purchase from us. We have a consolidated business model so and we want to work with good local bike shops who want good product so their riders with so but we obviously have a pretty efficient business model as well. So we see that as the way forward. It’s kind of a multi channel but not costing the rider more to achieve that. So that makes sense.
Carlton Reid 1:40:54
Okay, let’s bring Luisa and then so I was explaining some of your your your background, maybe you can tell me that again. So how did you get involved with Hunt Wheels?
Luisa Grappone 1:41:03
Well, I should say when he was two
Luisa Grappone 1:41:06
years ago that I approached them because I am an aerospace engineer. So I started in long, long time ago in our aerospace company in Italy. But yeah, I was really bored of what I was doing. I was doing a stress analysis on the fuselage of the 787 Boing project. But that was really boring, I have to say it was like I couldn’t even see what was the component I was working on. So at that time, already, I was approached by 3T cycling, so I spent five years with them. Then I was I moved to Campagnolo, and I’ve been working with the r&d department in Campagnolo. But then I was starting to know, I mean, the industry was talking about these guys in UK doing cool stuff being like, so close to the riders and what the what people like me want because we are as Tom said, We are all riders. So we we know, that needs of our riders because we simply know our needs, and we want to do something good for ourselves before. So I approached them and said look, I I really would love to, to work with you. Because you look cool, you do cool stuff. And I have some really cool idea in mind that we could really achieve together and make that possible. So as soon as I just joined them, it was August, two years ago, we went straight to the wind tunnel the first time, and we started to put down ideas on this model. And then it became I mean now after two years if it’s something real through and yeah, we we did a lot of we presented an idea on this, we have filed a patent for making these projects possible. And we’ve been doing a lot of testing, wind tunnel, riding test. And we I mean, we’ve been working together in a great way. That’s the thing, we add ideas. We were talking together, putting down.
Luisa Grappone 1:43:01
Yeah, and then
Luisa Grappone 1:43:02
it was interesting, because you were surprised that we weren’t limited in what we
Luisa Grappone 1:43:08
I could do in like two years ago what in other companies. It’s a long time process, you know, because you need to prove your ideas, you need to be sure you need to convince people of innovation, this product is completely new. It’s 34 millimetre wide rim and Okay, now people company like 3d came out with a 32. But we were already been working on that. So it was cool to know that Okay, that’s the direction to go. And we we took a bit more time because we wanted to validate the projects and doing more testing, and we had this patent on so we wanted to be sure about the the manufacturing process of combining these polymer these low density polymer into the rim because that said, This rim is 34.3 millimetres wides, but the internal class of the rim is a conventional one is just 22.5. So you could put on these wheel 23 millimetres style 25 that are not limitation on tire compatibility. But yeah, to achieve that, we could have done that in a conventional way, adding a lot of carbon pre preg materials, and that would have caused us a lot of weight. So we started to think about a possibility of making lighter rime or any way trying to feel the additional part of the material with not structural material where it’s not needed. So, we together with the supplier, we are working we put down this idea of commodes, low density expanded polymer into the side of the rim. So what is is doing what we are doing with this rim we cure the rim twice we make the rim
Luisa Grappone 1:45:04
with the first curing process and
Luisa Grappone 1:45:09
out of the mold like this with this group on the outside then we put the low density polymer into this groove and we post cure it again and what comes out is this is a normal rim, but the weight is 50 gram less of what we would have achieved with a normal process of using old carbon pre pregs. And we presented these ideas so now we just we you kind of find find the pattern because it is file so we will have 18 months to be published. But we are now covered. No one could do this in and yeah, we we’ve been doing a lot of tests last time we went to the wind tunnel just two weeks ago, and we’ve been testing these rims against great competitors like Zip and Enve and DT SWiss, Mavic and we are the best so far under 50 millimetres rim.
Carlton Reid 1:46:06
This is the wheel that’s
Carlton Reid 1:46:07
Luisa Grappone 1:46:15
Yes, exactly. This is the 48 limitless
Luisa Grappone 1:46:20
Of course I’m not English.
My next question, are you still based in Italy?
Luisa Grappone 1:46:26
No, no, I moved to England two years ago and yeah, that was another reason I really wanted to I mean, since I was like 18 I wanted to go to UK because London was like my place and finally said Oh, cool. These guys are even in a better place because I live in Brighton so rather nice cooler the London because it’s more you know you can say Wow, that’s great. I can do what I like for my work and I can live in UK and
Carlton Reid 1:46:51
Brighton but there’s a B word there’s a Brexit What does that
Carlton Reid 1:46:56
like you guys?
Luisa Grappone 1:46:57
Yeah, I know but you know what
Luisa Grappone 1:46:59
do nice as well. I mean English people anyway nice. So they won’t charge now but I guess I wouldn’t have any problem because you know, I will be part of the high qualified skilled people.
Aerospace engineers come before fruit pickers? Is that what you’re saying?
Luisa Grappone 1:47:19
Tom Marchment 1:47:21
We do have several people employed from the EU and
Luisa Grappone 1:47:23
Probably Brexit won’t happen
Tom Marchment 1:47:26
I think you know, it really wants wants people are based here and working we don’t we’ve looked into it because we’re wired for those people to feature them is but it looks fairly secure if you’re hearing working well.
Luisa Grappone 1:47:40
I tell you something funny. I was doing the checking for tomorrow and they didn’t allow me to do the checking because they cannot check my I’m not granted to stay in UK for my money champion. I have no idea so I need to figure out what’s going on tomorrow as you
Tom Marchment 1:48:03
Well she’s doing what he wants to do in UK. Yeah, that’s a bit yeah it’s been interesting because Brighton it may not appear the most obvious place to run a business like ours but obviously is quite good cylcing culture there and I think you know especially starting the industry it combines quite an amazing kind of lifestyle by the sea and the alternative culture and you know progressive really about ut also got South Downs ourselves completely wasted by like 7000 8000 foot mountain to just about a 10th of the height
Tom Marchment 1:48:32
but they’re pretty steep
Tom Marchment 1:48:33
and the some amazing trails and amazing lanes and riding and and it’s definitely been a part of what’s created a great culture of people that are placing people excited to ride bikes. So you know, while still small England, especially southeast of England doesn’t always appear as an amazing cycling destination actually and we’ve got some incredible gravel you know, links around us as well so you know really good combination
Tom Marchment 1:48:54
glam being because yeah, you cannot really climb that much where we are but I have to say that up and down which sometimes even tougher because I’m yeah, I’m not the powerful guy was good in climbing so I could get my advantage when I was climbing but it’s not that easy cycling in that area in England. So yeah, it’s it’s not but
Carlton Reid 1:49:16
let’s talk about where we are now. So we are in Sun Valley. We are surrounded as you just said there by some beautiful high mountains there’s there’s Lyft access up there which didn’t have Lyft access. And
Tom Marchment 1:49:27
yeah, we have in Brighton. We haven’t had chance to ride it out on getting the white paper ready. But hopefully
Carlton Reid 1:49:34
Amazing ride around here. I’ve been here a few times. Now. How big is the American market for you? And is that why you’re here to expand on that market? Or are you
Tom Marchment 1:49:43
It’s definitely a significant part of what we do already. Obviously, we’re a small company and in a way we kind of slightly fly under the radar so we don’t so want to give everybody else a lot fingers about what we do.
Luisa Grappone 1:49:54
But yeah, definitely receive good opportunities
Tom Marchment 1:49:56
over here is good riders appreciate what we do already. They are progressive in their writing choices and styles and looking forward to how they can explore more and enjoy their bike riding more. So for us, what we do in the way we think about things clearly seems to serve them but also we want to learn more about how to serve them better. So Ken’s just started with us based in California. And yeah, we’re going to do everything we can to learn more about American writers so that we can continue to serve British writers which is who we are and where we’re based. So of Europeans really well we already have a good market and in other areas of the world as well but definitely America for anybody in the bike industry would be slightly naive not to look at America as an important place to to serve serve customers I think so and there’s
Carlton Reid 1:50:42
there’s some product that you’re going to be keeping EU and give me some for us what what does the US need maybe different UK you
Tom Marchment 1:50:50
Definitely the US has gravel adventure was an area that we probably had the first in the world to have gravel specific wheels. Other people have followed that trend. But the US was a place where that’s really taken off at 650 v definitely. You know we see is for strong sales for 650 being in the USA. So but yeah, obviously road is big here. But mountain bike is obviously a very big area as well in America, we have a huge amount of product yet even though actually most of us are mountain bikers Originally, we started in road in Cyprus, but we’ve definitely got some new products coming in mountain bike side as well. So should be some exciting things over here for that. And then other areas obviously you would probably not surprised to know as Luisa’s got a lot of experience in aerodynamics, and can also who’s obviously decided in America has been to the Ironman World Championships. So you some of that knowledge combined together would not make sense for us to ignore the opportunities there as well in triathlon, and deeper section arrow where we can survive this collapse.
Carlton Reid 1:51:56
Thanks to all the brand reps who talked with me there at Crank Tank’s impact media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho. All the URLs you need to get more info on those brands can be found in the show notes at www.the-spokesman.com. Thanks to you for listening to what was almost a two hour show. If you enjoyed this episode, or any of the hundred and 19 previous ones, please take a few seconds to rate the show on iTunes, if that’s where you catch your podcasts.
Carlton Reid 1:52:30
Meanwhile, get out there and ride.
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