I started this not as a business, but as a way to pay race entry fees. It was early 2002 and I imported 50 carbon seat posts from Taiwan and sold them out of my trunk at races. Before long some would ask if I had a matching stem or bottle cages. The answer was unfortunately no, I only had enough cash to purchase the 50 posts and I was putting the proceeds towards racing.
Jump ahead a few months and I'd imported some carbon bottle cages to sell along side the seat posts by skipping races and putting all the proceeds towards buying more stock. I did this without much thought of expansion for the next 15 months, into late summer 2004. As luck would have it I lost my job in October 2004. I was sitting in the interview room at the job I was hoping to get, thinking about how fun selling bike components was and not wanting to wear a suit anymore. In a move that unknowingly would set the tone for the next 13 years, I stood up and walked out of the interview.
When I got home and told my wife what I had done, rather than get mad, she just said that she knew this was what I wanted to do.
With no formal business training or rich friends and family to borrow money from, I set out to save as much as I could to put back into the business. I converted a spare bedroom and turned it into my office, stockroom and fulfillment center. I researched what cycling trends were gaining popularity and tried to move into those markets as early as possible. I partnered with several well known component manufacturers in both the USA & Taiwan. I came out with my first ceramic bottom bracket in 2004, years before they gained any real marketplace acceptance. I laugh to myself now at how many companies offer ceramic bearings. When I sold my first, there were only 4 other companies, now it seems there are 4 new companies a week selling ceramic bearings.
I've tried to think of unique items that others have over-looked. For example, my one-piece headset spacers. Many companies will have the standard 5, 10, 20 and maybe 40mm spacers, but I took it a step further and made 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50mm spacers. Why? I once tracked a creaking handlebar down to a 20mm and 10mm spacer stacked together. It drove me nuts until I finally figured out it was the spacers. Problem Solved!
My stems, I sought out to make lightweight, pretty and affordable stems to rival the big brands. I offer two types, a heavy, strong, whopper of a stem (the TEAM stem) and a lightweight (but not so lightweight to have a weight limit) PRO stem.
Similarly my carbon seat posts are pretty to look at, yet affordable. Light enough to show up on a 6.8 kg bike but strong enough to not have to worry.
At times I've hired extra help when needed, but for the most part I've been a one man operation. I am VERY HAPPY to say that I have teamed up with some great companies and will be offering MADE IN THE USA products to celebrate our 15th Anniversary!
Matt Speer (Owner & Founder)
Is it real? Most doubters of ceramic bearings claim what you feel with ceramic bearings is just better seals with less drag. That is partially correct. Our Ceramic bearings are more resistant to contamination so the seals can be lighter than what a steel bearing needs. Seal drag is real (though minor) and lighter seals [...]
Many Mavic wheel owners know that familiar noise, the high pitched squeal that happens when coasting. But what causes it? Is it the bearings? Not likely.Mavic freehubs are known to squeal but it is not because of the bearings. The freehub uses a nylon bushing and one bearing while most freehubs use multiple bearings and [...]
We all ride lots of miles and a silent bike is much more enjoyable to ride than a noisy bike. But we've all experienced it... that clicking and creaking that pops up out of the blue. Most people will look to the BB first and point the finger there as it seems to [...]
A question we get from customers is: Why don't you offer full ceramic bearings? First, let's explain what a full ceramic bearing is and what a hybrid ceramic bearing is. Both use ceramic balls, so they are the same there. The difference is that hybrid ceramic bearings use a special hardened metal race (hardened [...]
When I first starting racing, I would pump my tires to the maximum PSI on the label. I often would be at 150 PSI. Then on one long hilly road race, my rear tire exploded. I kind of new it was because of the high PSI combined with heat, that made things [...]
Most readers of this blog know about the many new types of BBs used today. We offer virtually every type of BB used today in ceramic versions. We do this because the industry has changed from one of very simple BB styles, to one where almost every frame maker has to design their [...]
We thought we'd post some info on grease fill and how it effects a bearing. Grease fill or commonly referred to grease fill % is how much grease is applied to the bearing. 100% would be a bearing completely stuffed full of grease, while 50% would be half as much.The lower the grease [...]
We get this question quite a bit. I thought a blog post would clear it up. First, our cyclocross seals are not just for cyclocross. They are for anyone who rides in bad weather, races a lot or just wants to protect their bearings a little better.Our cyclocross seal is a unique [...]