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Thread: Racing

  1. #1
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    Default Racing

    I was wondering how racing fit into the business models of various builders on the forum. For the purposes of discussion individuals have been categorized based on my perception...no offense intended.

    For some, like T.Kellogg and e-Richie, racing involves actively sponsoring racers while at the same time racing themselves. Anyone north of D.C. on the Easy Coast can see these guys racing on road, track, and cross courses and knows what I mean about sponsoring riders.

    Then there are others, who love racing personally, but so far as I know don't sponsor other racers. Their enthusiasm for the sport is contagious and their participation seems to legitimize their product. Zanc is all about cross racing. I know that Garro used to do ultra-endurance MTB races, and I've raced against Drew in the "Killer-B's" so I know he's out there every weekend during cross season. Bozeman builders...there's only four people in town who ride so they've taken up racing cars instead.

    Other's still race or have raced at the highest levels possible and professional racing legitimixes the product they produce. The Jerk did the euro thing and his bikes are the hottest thing out there. If Flux did a line of bikes, people on this forum would be all over them.

    I know that builders who race usually race for the love of it, but how does racing fit into your business model. Do you race? What does that do for your bike business? Do you learn anything about your business from racing? Do people who don't race sell more randoneuring bikes? Would people have trouble buying bikes from a fat guy? How often to you get into a race and see one of your frames riding along next to you (how cool would that be?)?

    For the purposes of this discussion I was hoping to keep it on the idea on racing and not necessarily sponsorship though the two are definitely related.
     

  2. #2
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    my racing and sporting interests preceded my getting on a plane to
    london and starting all this. nothing has changed. the racing comes
    first atmo. framebuilding was something to do during the week atmo.

  3. #3
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    I think everyone started out racing and moved into selling. What I wanted to try and spark was a discussion about how it fits in now. Your racing has to influence your product and it influences those who buy what you make.
     

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbabcock View Post
    I think everyone started out racing and moved into selling. What I wanted to try and spark was a discussion about how it fits in now. Your racing has to influence your product and it influences those who buy what you make.
    they are inseparable atmo.
    folks don't buy frames; they buy framebuilders.

    no shame implied.

  5. #5
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    Default Trying to keep with MJ's question ...

    Although I race 'cuz I love it, honestly, I do believe that I can design and make better bikes because I race, and race like a nut. I do have a better feel for what race bikes need to be able to do and what they must NOT do than those who don't. Racing is just different from other kinds of just as legitimate types of riding. Where I first noticed how racing helped me understand the requirements of real race frames was in my early days of racing on the track. I was one of the local sprinters, just a bit below the level of the national guys. When I was training with Leigh and Jerry, I realized that my track bike, with its generic mid 70s Paramount geometry simply didn't work right at the speeds that we were sprinting at. On most American tracks, holding the bike down in the corners was a real chore. The year I got 6th at the Nationals in Kenosha was the final straw. I couldn't hold the line between turn three and four to save my life. Granted Kenosha back them had a pretty bad transition between three and four, but it got me thinking about how I might change geometry to help racers. Maybe I could make a bike that racers wouldn't have to be conscious of, wouldn't have to fight to get it to go where they wanted. This is just one example, but the problems that come up in races where ALL problems will exhibit themselves have spurred me to figure out ways to solve them. So, yup, racing can improve the breed. Doesn't always happen, but it can. Helps?
    Tom Kellogg
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  6. #6
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    Interesting question and I'm looking forward to see how others respond.

    Until I moved west I never spent much time riding skinny tired bikes and certainly never raced them. I cut my teeth racing mountain bikes starting in the early 90's then got into observed trials big time in the late 90's until the competition scene faded away around '02. My time competing in observed trials had a tremendous impact on how I would design frames and components (I didn't make any of the stuff at the time.) As my trials riding influenced where and how I would ride my mountain bike, it strongly influenced my personal preferences in how a mountain bike should handle where I rode most of the time.

    Although I raced cross last year for the first time, I have practically zero visibility in the local scene and so have to believe that it has minimal influence on what my customers expect in that regard though it did shape my views of what I want. I suspect each year will bring new subtle evolutions. Most of my bikes seem to be 29er MTB's these days anyway and I do think that my off road experience means I can offer a different perspective than most.
     

  7. #7
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    My builds are oftentimes MTB 29ers as well and I come to those from a racing background. Crazy thing is that most local riders are on 6" travel dual susp. rigs. Were near the north shore but the singletrack is prime for a hardtail. I wish I raced track as the super steep indoor burnaby track is super close. Problem is it has something like a 49 degree banking and I don't know if I could even go fast enough to stay on that thing.
     

  8. #8
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    racing changed my life, and pretty much dictated my calendar for 20 years. MTB ultra-endurance was my big thang. nothing <50 miles. i liked 12hr events. {12hr. off-road timetrial, fuck, those hurt} 24hr. solo racing, and my favourite, 100mi. off road epics. it influenced the way i build, the people i know, the material i use, my feelings about handling........the only other thing that influenced me as much is long distance touring and years standing in between a bench and a park stand. that said, i don't make "racing" bikes! i believe that all the things that make an all-day trail riding bike translate direcly into what a racing bike should be - dependable, perfect fit, durable, and stable..........Steve.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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