No Bro

We almost made it to Interbike, honest. Had the credentials all set, pored over the exhibitor lists to pre-arrange a planned surgical strike of get there-see there-get the hell out of there that accommodated seeing Cross Vegas. A couple of positive developments made it unnecessary to go, though. Eurobike is really where you need to go for sourcing missions anyhow, and since a penny saved is a penny earned we bailed. Which means that we didn't get any of these awesome (yes, that was a sarcastic awesome) socks that were included in each attendee bag.

Image stolen from the InternetLet me start out by saying that neither Mike nor I are women, have never been, and unless he's keeping something secret, neither of us has plans to become one. So we're part of the problem in that, even though my sister-in-law does some part time work for us, our business really is the same-old-same-old owned and run by dudes bike thing. Not being women, this is also more of an example of the bike industry's continued refusal to grow up, rather than our fight. It would be a misappropriation for us to claim first person rage over this, if that makes any sense. 

Some knuckle-dragging mouth-breather out there is reading this right now, thinking okay great those fun sponges (I remembered it! We got called that on some forum a long time ago, one of those "wear it as a badge of honor" deals) at November are at it again, with enough self-righteousness for the whole room. Great.

Study the bike industry classifieds for an hour sometime. You can see them here and here, among other places. Universal requirement? Significant industry experience. I emphasized industry, because as far as the bike industry goes, you're either in it or not. It implies knowing and subscribing to the great and mighty "how things are done." Mike and I very studiously consider ourselves not to be in it, as we spend most of every day trying to disrupt "how things are done." 

And why wouldn't you reject "how things are done"? Shove a bunch of inventory onto dealers and then, on the first week in July, when customers are REALLY streaming into shops, obsolete all of that inventory with tech launches at le Tour. That's how it's done. Mark things with the lowest plausible weight that one of them might ever have come in at, knowing that the real product is heavier, but also knowing that few if any people will ever weigh what they get. That's how it's done. Protect "empty calorie" distribution systems that keep insiders rolling along but raise prices and create confusion in the marketplace? How it's done. And, probably our favorite, have standard prices so elevated that people think only idiots pay asking price and are sure that there's some "behind the curtain" price and everybody selling bike stuff is just screwing the public blind. That's how it's done! The "bro deal," in all its many forms, is the bike industry's ultimate tell that it's really not about growing the sport or reaching out to marginally engaged people with inclusion - no, it's about making sure those on the inside have a velvet rope so they can feel special.  

I nearly wept with joy the other day when this thread got to the thesis that our Nimbus Ti Alloy and Nimbus Ti CLD pricing is a bro deal for everyone. Which it is. If we had a proper CFO, she (see what I did there?) would absolutely neck punch us for how we've priced those builds - DECIDEDLY NOT "how it's done." Still people ask us if there's a better price, because they're trained to. We HATE IT when people do it, because it takes a serious suspension of disbelief to think that a better price is there for the asking, but we understand where it comes from. Incidentally, no one who asks for a better price ever buys. It's a though having a better price just for them is more important than having a way better best price for everyone. Which we think is precisely the psychology behind that dynamic. 

So, yeah, the socks are offensive as hell to women, but they're just what's to be expected of an industry where acronyms pass for innovation, retread leadership rides the merry-go-round, and anything that threatens the great "how things are done" is shunned. 

Back to blog


Preach on, Brother!


Love my Rail 32's, love the price.'buff said.

Steve D.

Nice one ND. Just do your own thing. You're doing it right.

Mike T.

A nice piece overall, but I have to point out, as I always do when I see it…The "bro deal," in all its many forms, is the bike industry's ultimate tell that it's really not about growing the sport or reaching out to marginally engaged people with inclusion – no, it's about making sure those on the inside have a velvet rope so they can feel special. You can't grow a sport. You can grow a carrot. You can grow a turnip. You can't grow a sport. You can't grow a business. You can increase participation. You can expand your base of fans. You can encourage more cyclists. But, you can't grow a sport. This is current "buzz speak" that is grammatically incorrect.


Assuming this is Jim M – if they'd hire me having written this, then that's a job I might actually take if I needed one. Significant change, in large part, needs to be driven by some of the huge companies. If they want a retread "how it's done" yes man, I'd no sooner have them than they me. They still call their hallmark bike the Madone, though. Might as well call it the Lance. Not saying they don't make good stuff, but I don't exactly see them as change visionaries.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.