December 29, 2015

Have you heard of this saying? ‘The best you know, is the best you’ve ridden.’ Don’t look past Banshee Bikes. What makes them different? Each bike they make is for real riders.

Read this post and you will quickly realise that these guys have soul: “The thing that really juices us and gets us up in the morning is not the product we make, but the feelings we give people. We’re making good times and good memories. Even your worst day out on your bike – rain is coming down, its cold, you might have landed on your ass a couple times and have the bruises to prove it – but you’re out with your buds, getting muddy and enjoying what life has to offer.”

Awesome stuff!

What does your business do?

We are Banshee Bikes, a manufacturer of high performance mountain bikes. You can check us out here.

Making high-calibre bicycles requires cutting edge technology, paired with innovative design, and aerospace-level materials. With the outsourcing trend starting in the late 90s, suppliers of materials outsourced operations, and increasingly stringent zoning hampered the ability to produce in Vancouver, Canada, where Banshee calls home. Currently we work with the world’s leading country in bicycle manufacturing, which can be found in Taiwan. I now call this little island home. We still have a base of operation in North America with people in Vancouver, Colorado, in addition to Edinburgh, Scotland. But now we also have customers worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, and as soon as someone opens a bike shop we’ll be there too. The beauty of Unleashed is that with a spread-out work force we can all use Unleashed, get our work done, and all without delay.

What’s one of your favourite products?

Banshee Bikes currently has eight models, which are all designed for competition use or for the weekend warrior who wants to ride the same thing the professionals are riding. We have everything from full downhill race, dirt jump, enduro and trail models that pretty much cover 80% of the mountain bike uses. There is a lot that goes into the design and over the past 13 years we have built up a decent legacy of what works and what doesn’t. Check out our range here:

bike

Why do you think your customers like this bike range so much?

We make bikes for real riders. We make bikes that we ourselves would want to ride. In the world of bicycles, and for many industries, the marketing guys get a hold of product and they start the whip mill. Half the stuff we read from these guys is so full of it it makes our heads ache. Luckily there are a lot of well-informed customers out there that also see through this, and when they encounter a brand like ours they know that we’re not going to try to spin them. We thoughtfully engineer and design our bikes around the real rider who has been riding for many years. We always say we seldom sell to a first, second or third time buyer, but we’ll get you on the future purchases because you’ll know what to look for by then. There is a saying… the best you know, is the best you’ve ridden.

Can you give us a brief history of your business and the growth it has experienced so far?

Banshee is in its 13th year of operation. We had entered the market with a product that was unseen before and we realized that early on when sales grew due to its popularity. Unfortunately with only two years in the market we experienced product delivery delays of five-six months, and then had warranty issues when they did get delivered. This went on for years until we were able to get on top of it… thankfully the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t a train.

It should have killed the business but we persevered. It’s taken a lot to climb back from those days, and serious sacrifices were made to claw back marketshare. This is now paying dues, and we’re sure a lot of small company owners have been in a similar situation – some dig down deep, find the courage to do what’s needed, and if they’re lucky and the sun shines on them that day they pull out of it. Today we don’t think we’re ever in a comfortable position… our market is saturated with really great competitors with far more resources than little us, but we have a niche and we have a following, and we still have many more markets to tap into, so we’re still looking to grow.

How is Unleashed helping your BIKE business grow?

After looking at many, and trying a few inventory management programs out there, Unleashed has proven to be the winner for so many of the things we look for. Coming from a supply chain management background I’ve had a lot of experience working with ERP systems both large and small, and found that Unleashed offers a good balance of ease of use, with enough features that are truly useful to an organization. Add on Xero and Neto, and there really is little these packages can’t handle, making the requirement for a large scale ERP redundant. If we were doing serious manufacturing then it might be something we’d be interested in, but that’s only if we were utilizing a push environment, with complex BOM structures.

Is there a interesting customer story you could share with our readers?

In the bicycle industry we have a saying. The customer can only pick 2 of 3 things:

Strong, Light, Cheap.
If it’s light and cheap… it’s not strong
If it’s strong and cheap… it’s not light
If it’s strong and light… it’s not cheap

With Downhill bicycles pushing over 10k USD you can be sure it’s probably going to be the latter.

Is there something you are particularly excited for your business right now?

I think the thing that really juices us and gets us up in the morning is not the product we make, but the feelings we give people. We’re making good times and good memories. Even your worst day out on your bike – rain is coming down, its cold, you might have landed on your ass a couple times and have the bruises to prove it – but you’re out with your buds, getting muddy and enjoying what life has to offer. You forget about a job you might not like all that much, or the money you still owe paying off that bike you just bought, or maybe an argument that you just had with someone. You’re in the moment – where else could you be you? – need to pay attention or you’ll hit a tree! In nature, total focus, it’s kind of like meditation. If you don’t have a bike… get one. If everyone owned and used a bike the world would be a different place.

Is there something your business in particularly proud of?

As a small business we’re extremely proud that with just three employees (we just added a new one this month), we’re able to have the market reach we do, with the talent and creativity we’re able to spend little, and still make a huge impact in marketing and selling our products. We’re able to do this from any location in the world and it allows us all to travel the globe, attend tradeshows, see customers and vendors, see family back in Canada, and give us a very decent-sized market share for such a small business.

Unleashed has been key to making this happen… without Unleashed we really couldn’t operate like this, and our fourth quarter looks healthy so we figure we’ll round out the year punching over 2.4 million. Not bad for 3 people.

Are there any particular not-for-profit cause that you, or your business is passionate about?

We support IMBA and NSMBA for the great work they do in keeping our trails open – without them advocating for the riders, trail access would be much less.