Aspen Times Weekly: The Business of Bicycles
NEED TO KNOW
Cima Cycles: Find them at Ute City Cycles, online at http://www.cimacycles.com or on Facebook
But if you’re just getting into cycling or are looking to up your game with some better equipment, price can be a deterrent. To get a local to ride a high-end bike, Bubba Scott, owner of Ute City Cycles shop on Main Street, said he practically had to give away used or older models.
“It helped us grow, but it’s definitely not sustainable,” Scott said.
So three years ago, Scott and partner P.J. Clotfelter decided to develop a direct-to-consumer model of selling bikes.
The high price of quality bikes is driven by a
three-tiered business model that much of the industry adheres to, not by how much it costs to make the bikes, said Will Golde, who joined the team last year. By selling only online or through one of Scott’s two stores (the other is in Florida), Cima Cycles eliminates the markup that comes when a bike manufacturer goes through distributors and local stores to reach their customers.
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Cima’s two road bike models, two mountain bikes and one fat bike are anywhere from 30 to 50 percent cheaper than a similar product from any of their competitors, Golde said.
“We have a goal to build bikes people will love to ride without paying prices they don’t want to pay,” Golde said.
But Scott is quick to point out that doesn’t mean they’re “cheap” bikes. Cima frames are fully carbon, no alloys, which results in light, durable bicycles for whatever terrain they’re built for.
“It’s the same carbon-to-resin ratios as high-end carbon bikes without charging an arm and a leg for it,” Golde said.
And the bikes are made in the same plants that most major cycling companies contract with.
“We’re not creating any new technology or anything,” Golde said. “Every bike we sell we ride, and the only reason we would sell it is because we like it.”
There’s an assumption that an affordable bike must be aluminum or not made as well, Scott said. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
“I’m very particular about a mountain bike, and I was blown away when I rode these,” he said.
Golde, also a technician at Ute City, joined the team last summer when Scott brought him on to develop the company’s website. That was Cima’s first season selling bikes, and this winter, it sold out of its first run of fat bikes.
Now, Cima is sponsoring a road race team and a pro athlete in Mexico and has partnered with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association on a trail building program.
“The heart of our business model is to get people on good bikes who might not have been able to afford it,” Golde said.
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This weekend we go local. After the bacchanalia that was the Food & Wine Classic last week, we turn to Snowmass for a kinder, gentler wine gathering as the 19th Snowmass Wine Festival gets underway.