This month, BikeBiz sits down with Cane Creek brand manager Sam Anderson
Can you give us a little background on Cane Creek?
We’re a small American-based cycling component company with fewer than 50 employees and are located in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. This beautiful location gives us excellent access to the outdoors and is the perfect testing ground for developing new products. The overwhelming majority of our staff are cyclists, with a balanced mixture of road and mountain bikers and we believe that the passion we have for cycling is evident in all our products.
What area of the market does Cane Creek target?
Cane Creek has never been focused on a specific discipline of cycling. There has been an ebb and flow of excitement around products for road, mountain, gravel, commuting and, more recently, e-bikes. But overall, Cane Creek focuses on finding opportunities to make the overall cycling experience better. If we get excited about a new product idea, it’s because we know it is going to positively change the ride, for us and our customers.
What makes Cane Creek unique – what does it offer that its competitors perhaps do not?
Cane Creek strives to create products that benefit a rider – plain and simple. We don’t focus on directly competing with companies that are hundreds of times larger than us. We find a real reason for a product to exist, and we fully embrace taking a completely different approach compared to what other companies are doing.
To name a few examples: we created the first threadless headset design in 1991 which dramatically reduced the complexity and time of bicycle assembly and is still relevant today. In 2005, we brought rear shock twin tube damping to the cycling market with our Double Barrel product line, which gave mountain bikers extremely refined damping adjustment that was unprecedented at the time.
In 2018, we debuted our eeWings crankset, which set the bar for having lightness and durability in the same package and gave riders an appealing alternative to fail-prone carbon cranks.
Covid-19 has provided an unexpected boost to the cycling industry. What impact has it had on Cane Creek?
No doubt we have seen our sales surpass previous company records, we have seen the demand for all of our products skyrocket, in every sales channel. But not all of this translates to more money in the bank. With increased material costs and freight costs, we have worked a lot harder to complete these new orders but have little more to show for it compared to a ‘normal’ year.
We don’t plan on drastically increasing our capacity, but instead we plan to be more disciplined in delivering to our previously loyal customers and say ‘no’ to orders that we can’t fulfil, for one reason or another. This byproduct of the Covid-19 boom is what we call our “Build to Plan” initiative, where we will plan to build a specific number of each of our products per year, and no more. This will help our small team work smarter and not put in efforts with diminishing returns.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you?
• Making e-bikes lighter and with more battery range!
• Plastic reduction in packaging and better solutions for recycling production byproduct
• New stuff from Cane Creek that I can’t talk about…yet
What are your plans for 2022 and beyond?
Lots of new products! We are always working on several projects which keeps things interesting, so stay tuned. We do plan on moving to a new building at some point in the near future (still within the current area) which will address a few things: enhancing our retail space to better allow people to stop by and check out what we are up to, have closer access to mountain bike trails to aide product development, as well as areas of interest i.e. restaurants and breweries.
Cane Creek is exclusively distributed in the UK by Extra UK. To find out more on the product range, visit www.extrauk.co.uk or www.canecreek.com.