Monday, October 08, 2007

sustainable cycling

Beautiful, functional, the last hub you will ever buy. Chris King SS Disc.
Sometime my mind races more than I do on my rides, contemplation of life, sport and a wide array of topics roll through my head like the revolution of my wheels. I thought about bike/ component companies and their role in manufacturing/ production vs. affordable-quality products.

I'm a whore when it comes to tech and bike gear, but I like to think one a with some virtue. For instance, I ride for KING, something I am very proud of for 1) the quality of product they put out - second to none, 2) their social awareness (sustainable manufacturing, made in USA, support of bicycle advocacy - the company as a whole). I have a 17t & 18t that I have raced on since 2001, both are in great shape, and there is no reason for changing them - just to get something new. My headsets and hubs all have several thousand miles on them, and look as nice as the day I put them on my bike.

Independent, they have built me some sweet bikes, and while I have recently added a couple to my quiver, my single speed has 3 season and no signs of retiring. Unless I am testing new products for them, my quiver will likely look the same in 10 years.

I have toyed around with the idea of springing into the componentry business myself, racer driven components, built by hand or least by a skilled local tech, using sustainable practices & designs. I wonder if there is a demand for that? Will consumers pay more for something that is not only a great design, but has a larger social component to it? KING thinks so.

It has come to my attention that a couple component manufactures are going abroad to save some money in manufacturing costs. This doesn't sit well with me because it will take more resources to ship these items back over here, and someone will be losing a job. I say create a better product, something that is better than the rest, will last longer, and has added social value. We as consumers have the responsibility to patron companies that will fill our need as enthusiasts and ensure that we will have a future in riding by protecting the resources at hand.


Scott Dunsmuir said...

Lately I've been thinking along the same lines. Almost all of my gear makes it many, many years before I replace. When it comes time to replace it I want to replace it knowing I've put food on the table for some one else who cares as much as I do.

weak and feeble said...

I agree with your thinking, and as long as the product rocks and lives up to the reputation people will buy it- but it's got to be the real deal.


Colin Osborn said...

Hey Ken, heard you've been super busy. Hopefully not to busy to get out and enjoy this excellent fall weather, hopefull with Colin and Sandi too. Hope all is well.