Monday, February 26, 2007

Choosing a bike company

These next few weeks I find myself in the enviable position of having to decide on a bike company to ride for. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, it is pretty cool, but it is an important decision to be made.

Many would say, "Just go with the company that gives you the most money!" If you said that, then you aren't really aware of what's going on in the bike industry. There is little to no money to be had. Those who get the money are at the very top, (ie Normann, Michellie, etc).

So if money's not the issue, what is? Good question. Here are some of the points I'm having to weigh:

1. What companies do I like? Luckily, I've narrowed it down to the 3 companies I like, Specialized, BMC and Kuota.

2. What are the companies giving you? This is probably the most important factor, besides liking the bikes. Obviously, I need to consider what is best for me, and what support they will provide to help me reach the highest level possible.

3. What is the potential for growth? I have had the same sponsors for over 3 years, since I started triathlon. I have never had an official sponsorship with Specialized, but have been locally supported by the reps for the past few years. I have been hoping this would grow into something bigger and better, but that hasn't happened as much as I would like.

I actually was turned down by their corporate office for a "Global Athlete Sponsorship", but was told they would be contacting me again with an offer, as they want to support me. That was a month ago. They don't have an American, or even a top level Ironman athlete. They're a California based company, and I'm a sponsored athlete from one of their biggest and best retailers. Who knows what will happen? I hope to hear from them this week. One thing I've learned from this is that the major corporations don't have the same timetable as athletes. They drag their feet.

BMC seems to be one of the coolest companies, or perhaps the most glamorous. Bikes like the Time Machine, Pro Machine and Fourstroke. All beautiful, impressive bikes. BMC has one major female triathlete, but no males, no Americans. This could be the opportunity I need. We are discussing more things, and the final offer is yet to be made from them.

Kuota is the smallest company of the three, and honestly, they seem the most eager to get me on their bikes. Of course, they also have Normann, so I may have to play second fiddle to him for awhile. Tomorrow afternoon I will be picking up a Kuota Kalibur and test riding it for a few weeks, to see what I think. Still working out the details, which will come after the test period.

In the end, I simply want to find a company that will stand by me and support me as much as they expect me to support them. I want to commit to a company, and have them commit to me. I don't want to jump around from year to year. Let's hope that happens. Stay tuned for more, I'll try and post some pictures of the Kuota Kalibur when I get it.

Vance - 2007 NFA


moonpie said...

What a great opportunity! From what I know about BMC they are a very cool company and it really wouldn't suck to have to ride around on a Time Machine ;)

I also think it would be better to be a company's primary triathlete rather than their second tier one. You don't wanna be getting Normann's hand me downs - we all know how he glues his tires on!

Jim Vance said...

Yeah, but unfortunately, they are not offering up the high end Time Machine, only the TT02. It's still a great bike, as their pro cycling team rides it, but the aura of the Time Machine is something else. Of course, the Time Machine is nearly $13K! That's pretty much why they won't/can't give me one.

moonpie said...

What? No frickin' TT01 for their premier triathlete? OK're gonna have to step it up a notch and place in Kona - then the TT01 is yours :)

I bet you wouldn't even get a custom paint job on your Kalibur with Kuota ;)