Whaa? Bike on Backcountry?
Whaa? Bike on Backcountry?by Justin Mool
If you've been paying attention, you'd have seen this strange new product category appear on Backcountry.com: bike gear. Bike? On Backcountry? What does biking have to do with Backcountry? Mountain biking—maybe. But dorks in spandex? Come on ...
From the beginning, we've been extremely hesitant about offering road and mountain bike gear. (1) It's a logistical nightmare organizing, marketing, selling, and shipping the minutiae of bike componentry. (2) Adding bike to Backcountry.com would dilute the core-ness of the site. How can we stay true to the grizzled telemarker if we also sell Mexican-wrestler-esque bike bibs to yuppies in the suburbs?
Hold on a second ... yes, most of us at Backcountry.com are rabid backcountry skiers, boarders, climbers, and hikers, but many of us are also road and mountain bike junkies, who salivate over $4000 custom frames and downhill rigs that would make a motocross bike feel like a moped.
Every spring, you'd hear around the office, "When are we going to bring in bike stuff?"
"Never"... "Someday" ... "Not yet" ... "What are you talking about? Have you been to the warehouse lately?"
The logistical problems are a thing of the past. We now have the infrastructure to receive, organize, and sell thousands upon thousands of bike products.
We tested the waters by offering bike gear on BackcountryOutlet.com and SteepandCheep.com, and we were pleasantly surprised by the immediate success ... so impressed, in fact, that it got us thinking, "If only there were a SteepandCheap for bike nerds ..." But that's another story ...
We combated the "diluting the core" issue the same way we took the ski and snowboarding scene by storm—we only stock premium components and accessories. No shwiggity shwag here: brands like Mavic, Sidi, and Crank Brothers; component systems like SRAM RED, Dura Ace, and nothing lower than Shimano LX. If you road or mountain bike, you know what we're talking about.
Keep in mind that we're not trying to put your local bike shop out of business. How many mom and pop bike shops can afford to have the Sidi Men's Ergo 2 Bike Shoe —which is a $450 shoe—gathering dust on their shelves? Let alone in two different colors? We want to be THE place hardcore bikers go to purchase hard-to-find premium gear, and we want to extend our world-class service to the bike community. After all, dudes in spandex need their stuff fast, too.