It’s easy for us to come across as dismissive when we talk about technological advances. Our mission is to provide you with “REALLY GOOD” racing equipment at “REALLY GOOD” prices. Our innovation, such as it is*, comes entirely downstream of the creative process. Look no further than the name of our signature build, the Max Perkins, for evidence of that. But if the skilled editors are ever to have their day in the sun, there need to be some good writers out there putting pen to paper. Some of the more noteworthy ideas and products out there:
- Cervelo's R5, born out of Project California, tips the scales at under 800g for a 56cm frame. That's almost half a pound less than what other brands call their "superlight" frames.
- At Eurobike, Canyon debuted a reversible fork dropout, that changes the fork rake and the bike's handling. Insanely clever, and an innovation that actually creates a meaningful impact on a rider.
- Zipp knows as much about aerodynamics as NASA. If they say they have developed a 30mm alloy clincher wheel that is as slippery through the air as most deep section carbon wheelsets, I'm inclined to believe them.
- Trek's DuoTrap sensor and integrated frame design is nothing short of inspired.
So a cynic might question the real world durability of a frame that weighs about as much as a pair of dirty (but not wet) mountain biking shoes (and weep at the mere thought of crashing a frame that costs about a year’s worth of mortgage payments), and the practicality of a reversible fork, or turn up his nose at a 1500g pair of aluminum clinchers that costs $1,100 (I find it a bit difficult to be cynical about the DuoTrap – it’s just a really neat idea). But the bike geek looks at those things and even if he’s not inspired (or able) to run out and plunk down for them, he knows they’re cool. And who among us doesn’t have a bit of the bike geek in him?
While we appreciate and applaud all of these innovations, none of them are in our wheelhouse, or our Wheelhouse. All of these breakthroughs at the bleeding edge of the sport contribute to very small incremental gains, at prices for the customer that have not been normalized through a period of adoption and competition. Maybe these wheels or that bottom bracket design will make you 1% or 2% faster, but that gain comes at 2, 3 or 4 times the cost. Or more. All of this stuff is great for cycling and we have a lot of respect for the companies who choose to be pioneers in technology. The nature of the market and the industry automatically serves the deep pocketed guy who’s out for the latest and great, no matter the cost and the pucker-inducing prospect of racing aggressively on questionable roads on REALLY expensive stuff. But the market doesn’t always do such a great job of looking out for the guy who prefers toys that he’s not afraid to get nasty with, and isn’t so hasty to chase incremental gains at exponential cost. Our ideal customer is more interested in the 99% of the bike that's similar from one brand to the next, instead of the final and expensive 1% that companies use to differentiate.
We choose to innovate - and differentiate - through our model, which allows us to deliver 99% of the technology and function that other brands sell, but at a fraction of the price.
*Though even our model is more derivative than purely innovative. If you pro-deal a frameset or wheelset, you're very likely pre-ordering it already. Same with the custom kit order you participate in through your team right about this time of year. The innovation we offer is that you don't have to have a great hookup through your buddy at the shop, or have an ex-college roommate who is a product marketing manager for a bike company and sneaks you employee pricing on fancy gear. With us, all you have to do for the same kind of deal on the same kind of gear is order by November 19th.