Randall Jacobs, co-founder of Thesis Bike, talks to James Stanfill of the PBMA about a new vision for bicycle creation, support, and distribution.
"With Thesis, I saw an industry that was kind of broken, and broken in a few ways: it doesn’t seem to be serving the rider as well as it could, it doesn’t seem to be providing fair compensation for those parties who are adding value to that ride experience, there is a lot of marketing hooey in the space that is obfuscating the true nature of the products. So, we saw an opportunity to cut out a lot of layers that are not adding value and then take some of that savings and re-invest it in those activities that actually add value to the ride experience."
"We do a factory-direct program, so instead of having a multi-layered supply chain with various warehouses and assemblers and repackaging and trans-shipping, we ship our frames factory-direct and then bundle all of the other parts in one logistics facility in Taiwan and then those ship as a separate box."
"Shops, on average, do not make money on the sale of new bicycles. This is a real big problem, not just for the shop owners, but for everyone who works there. They are not getting that return on that substantial investment. There is what I call the treadmill of debt and inventory. You don’t have control over your shop when you get on that treadmill."
"The vast majority of riders need help with discovery and configuration of their bikes and that is a value added service that needs to be compensated. So, instead of pumping a shop full of inventory and debt, we provide a commission. That is with no commitment to purchase anything from us."
"What professional bicycle mechanics© are doing today, in many cases, is tearing down a factory-built bike and then rebuilding it to make sure that it is done right. Properly torqued bolts, missing lubricants, cables not run properly, etc. I did an analysis on this and found that it is less expensive for me to source and deliver parts to a local bicycle professional than it is to do it upstream in Asia poorly and then paying a mechanic to fix the problems that were introduced to that bike at the factory."
"We believe that a professional build and fit is the single best investment in cycling."
"Not just in bike, but in all industry, manufacturers are having to very quickly transition away from distributed, free, local warehouses for brands, which is what a shop is serving as. If it is legal in your area to run a shop from a garage or a van, and you’ve got the correct certifications, licenses, and liability insurance, and you provide a great service to the rider, you are a shop. You are valuable as a service provider and as an influencer in your community and we think that deserves to be compensated."
"It’s a broader vision for how to run a more ethical, inclusive, and ultimately prosperous bicycle company that partners with other or organizations in the industry that are helping to change the industry for the better."