The Perfect Blend
A couple weeks ago, a man came in (we'll call him Jim) during a busy spot in the day on a Thursday afternoon. I had just walked up from the frame shop, and noticed that Smiley and Scott had their hands full, so I stepped in to help him. He said he was looking for a new 'go fast' bike. I asked him what he was currently riding. He said "well, I've got a 25 year old Motobecane." I asked him if he'd been test riding other bikes, and if he'd ridden anything that he'd liked. He said "as a matter of fact, I've been test riding bikes for a year but I haven't ridden a bike that I liked better than my Motobecane." He was about to give up looking, but then a friend of his suggested that he look over our website (thanks friend). He liked our focus on comfort as well as performance, and thought our Rodriguez Arrow Race (now the SL Veloce) would be worth a try. I fit him to an Arrow Race, and set him up for a test ride.
As he left the shop for his test ride, a woman (we'll call her Jane) happened in to air her tires. Coincidentally, she was also riding a 1970 - 80's vintage Motobecane. As I helped her air her tires, I told her about the man that had just left for a test ride whose current bike is just like hers. She said "this isn't my only bike, it's just the bike I ride all the time. I have an expensive bike I bought 2 years ago, but I don't like it." I asked her what kind of bike it was. She said that it was a carbon fiber race bike that she thought would make her fast, but instead only made her uncomfortable. I suggested that she schedule with me for some fit work, but she said "I think I'll just keep riding the Motobecane....it's comfortable." She went on her way. Well, 30 minutes or so later, Jim returned from his test ride. The verdict...all smiles. "Wrap it up!" He said, "this one's mine". After a year long search, Jim decided that the bike to send the Motobecane out to pasture would be a stock Rodriguez Arrow Race.
The point to my story is two fold:
First: Our commitment to blending comfort and performance has grown out of listening to you, and listening to our own common sense. When we build a 16 pound race bike for a customer, we want that bike to be not only light and fast, but the most comfortable bike they've ever ridden....a bike they WANT to ride every day. If I were going to race in the Daytona 500, I would want to drive a Nextel Cup car. Comfort and convenience wouldn't matter as I would be hopped up on adrenaline. But if I were going to buy a high performance sports car to drive down the coast, I don't want to have to crawl in through the window. I'm going to want a radio, air conditioner, a heater, and doors that open. I might even want somewhere to pack a small duffel bag, and a seat for my wife (I know what you're thinking Scott, and she didn't make me put that in).
The point is, even though I would be driving a high performance sports car, it wouldn't be the same car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would drive in the Daytona 500. The same is true for a bicycle. Jane was sold the "Lance Armstrong, 16 pound, gonna go win the Tour De France" model. But she's not Lance Armstrong, and she's not going to race in the Tour. She commutes, and she rides long weekend fun rides with her friends. She would be much more comfortable on a 16 pound bike designed for her style of riding. It should be set up by someone who listens to what she's going to do with the bike, and fits her to it accordingly.
Second: I want to thank Jim's friend and all of you who send your buddies our way. Word of mouth is really the only avenue that a business like ours can count on to develop new customers. Every day new customers come into the shop who were sent to us by a friend of theirs. I hope you know how much we appreciate that.