Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Brand Loyalties

I was thinking today of my brand loyalties in the bicycle world. I can be a finicky consumer, and one little interaction can sway my loyalty for years to come. It can be a simple as an email or a phonecall to a question or problem, or sponsoring our team years ago. My loyalty can be swayed by seeing a company post on a forum or a blog. One bad experience and a company may be on my black list. Interestingly enough, one good experience will often overcome any future bad experiences.

Here are some of my current Loyalties and boycotts in the bicycle world.

Answer - Manitou

I've been on a Manitou fork since 1994 with a Manitou 3 fork. Since then I've owned 6 or so forks. I tried a Marzocchi once, never again. The only fork I'd even remotely consider is the Reba given how many good things I've heard about it.

I'm not sure why I am so fiercely loyal. For many years they sponsored our race team. They have always been so easy to maintain, anad tinker with.

Have I had problems with the forks? Sure. But that doesn't bother me. Because I have had problems with or broken almost everything on a bike at one time or another. What really sets Answer apart is how they deal with customer service.

Bar none, the best customer service in the bicycle industry that I have dealt with in the 16+ years I've been riding.


My wife and I won some SRAM shifters at a grass roots small race in 1994. We've been on them ever since.

Maybe it was the anti-Shimano sentiment, and the David- Goliath imagery of SRAM vs Shimano. Maybe it was the fact that with Grip shift you didn't need super strong hands/thumbs to shift.

One of their tech reps - Edmund used to post on mtbr. I still have some of those posts saved. Pure gold. Tips on dialing in the drivetrains and how to open a quick link.

Iron Horse / DW-link

This has been a recently developed loyalty. After my very first FS bike, I researched a ton for the next. The DW-link promised a lot and it seems to be delivering. Again I'm not sure why I'm in the cult.
-Good value. Made in Taiwan, sold at an affordable price but with top level suspension
-Posting on the forums. Both DW and the product managers at IH post on the public forums. This just seems to carry a lot of weight with me.

There are so many FS bikes out there,a lot are to drool for but honestly there is only one I have my eye on. I'll probably wait another year for a design iteration though.

Again not sure why. Maybe it just that I know it works, and don't feel like trying out others.

Honorable mentions.
Companies I like a lot.
-LH Thomson
Odds and Endoes-Stan-BREW Racing Frames I've actually had some issues with frames over the years. But they are just such nice people it doesn't bother me. I'd like a new hardtail soon. I've been thinking Ti but I'd still give Steve a shot to build me a steel one too.


When my wife had a Terry before we got married. She crashed it into cutout in the road that wasn't marked well. The down tube folded. Everything else was fine on the bike, just the frame was wrecked. The bike fit her well, and it had one of those funky designs with different wheel sizes between the front/rear. So she already had an investment in the components that worked on it.

Terry flat out refused to just sell her a frame alone. This wasn't a warranty JRA issue. This was just a situation where they would not sell a frame alone and would only sell the complete bike, and they wouldn't make any compromise.

Never again purchased any Terry component. Never will.


At 3:35 PM, Blogger Paul said...

You can't go wrong with Ironhorse or SRAM.


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