Issue 10 of peloton magazine is on newstands now, and in it you will find an article about the bicycle studio movement, a new wave of smaller, more fit and service focussed shops. Bicycle studios tend to have less clutter, less commodity and things you can get just anywhere. Instead they feature custom brands and high end accessories for riders who live their whole lives by bike. Think of the classic “pro” shop, then pare it down to an elegant austerity, and you have the modern bicycle studio.
The forebear of this new breed of shops was City Cycle of San Francisco under the stewardship of bike industry legend Clay Mankin. Mankin proved that you could build great bikes and make good money out of a very small space, if only you sold the right products. That shop, which continues on after Mankin’s early passing, began selling Seven when we were just a start up in 1997. Mankin’s loyalty to the brands he carried was off the charts. Though no longer, strictly speaking, a studio, City Cycle’s new owner Cory Farrer has kept Seven on the floor, even as other bike brands have come and gone.
In fact, here at Seven we were deeply gratified to see that, of the ten studios mentioned, seven of them are Seven dealers (ooooh, symmetry). In addition to City Cycle, those include Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle, owned by former Seveneer Zac Daab; Velosmith Bicycle Studio just outside Chicago, owned by another Seven alum, Tony Bustamante; Paul Levine’s Signature Cyles of Manhattan, Greenwich, CT and Central Valley, NY; Bespoke Cycles of San Francisco, Bike Effect in Los Angeles and the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA.
In our experience, the studios are our most demanding customers. They’re the ones pushing us toward perfection. When you take the kind of time with each customer that they take, every detail has to be correct. Cascade Bicycle Studio and Velosmith in particular, because they’re run by former Seven employees, can be counted on for unfiltered, candid feedback on every bike we build for them.
Obviously, we are deeply committed to all the shops that sell our bikes. The studio concept, which has only proven viable in large urban markets up to this point, simply represents a new approach to bicycle retailing, the cutting edge of high end bike sales. To be represented by so many of these forward-thinking shops is a great validation of the work we do and an inspiration for us to keep pushing forward.