Sunday, February 8, 2009

FAQ - Part 1

Frequently Asked Questions

So, in an effort to make answering emails a bit easier for me and to allow people to get to know us a bit better, I've put together some answers to common questions. I'll try to do one or two a day until I run out. If you have any more for me, please let me know.

Who are you and why are you here?

This question has been partly addressed here & here. Basically, instead of basing our wheel designs on what can be done or what market research suggests that people want, we are making wheels that we would want to ride at a price that we are willing to pay. So let me answer by trying to articulate our philosophy when it comes to bicycle equipment.

The law of diminishing returns can be applied pretty easily to bicycle racing. We are lucky in that we participate in a sport that allows us easy access to the exact same equipment that pros are using. If you have the cash, you can go right out and buy the bike that was purposely built for elite superhuman riders to conquer the monuments of our sport. Will you be able to utilize the full potential of the machine? Probably not. As a mere mortal, you may get a teeny performance advantage on the $10,000 bike compared to the $3,000 bike but it's extremely unlikely that the $7,000 difference will keep you from winning races. I'm not going to begrudge anyone who wants to spend that much on a bike. Someone has to and I appreciate that those consumers keep the industry afloat and allow companies like Cervelo to have the cash to front a ProTour team.

My point is that you can achieve 99% of the performance of the top level stuff at 50% of the price. This is what we aim for when we design and spec our wheels. We hit that sweet spot that gives you a strong, light and fast wheel at a very affordable price. Now if you ride our wheels and take a close look at the specs, you'll find that they are lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic than wheels that can cost much, much more. This brings us to the next question.

Why are your wheels so cheap?

Please, we prefer inexpensive. Or better yet, "Why are your wheels such a fantastic value?" Well, thank you for asking. The answer is twofold: 1. Low Overhead 2. Direct sales.

First, we maintain fairly spartan operations. We do very little in the way of expensive marketing and prefer to grow slowly by word of mouth. Having low fixed costs allow us to sell our wheels to you for not a whole lot more than it costs us to buy the components that they're made of.

This leads us to our second point: we sell directly to you. If we went with the traditional multi-channeled sales approach, we would manufacture our wheels and sell them to a distributor who would mark them up and sell them to retailers who would mark them up and sell them to you. We skip a few steps and just sell directly to you for about half of what we'd have to charge if using the traditional model. Is there anything wrong with that model? No. We would never disparage distributors or bike shops who provide extremely vital services to the industry and to you, the consumer. In fact, as soon as you are done purchasing wheels from us, go directly to your local bike shop, and use the money you've saved to purchase a cassette, some tires and maybe some fresh bar tape.

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