“…getting the used-wheel
program going was like
cutting through a forest
with a machete; there was
a lot of backlash from the
it’s reaffirming the value of a service
department, which is important now that
there is a big group of eBay consumers.
The funny thing is, now that the business is starting to get well known, I’m
getting dealers who are contacting me
about getting into the program. But when
I start doing some due diligence and
checking out their websites and asking
them to fill out applications, I have to say
that now the skepticism is on my part!
I want to expand my business, but there
are some dealers out there that I feel
would give my company a bad name, and
I can’t allow that. Satisfying the modern
consumer requires a certain level of quality service. In this day and age of eBay
and Zappos, consumers have a totally
new expectation about what convenience
means, and the bike industry seems so
slow to grasp that. I mean, when I can’t
figure out a solution to a problem, I don’t
just stop; I keep pushing for a solution to
try and learn and evolve. I think it’s crucial
for bike shops to understand how both
e-commerce and new software can
impact and streamline their business.
RBA: What about customer expectations versus reality?
Gabe: I try to spend as much time as
needed helping my customers choose the
right kind of wheel. I think too often
people in the industry think less about the
end user than they should. There should
be no expectations that any of the recreational riders out there ride like us or
understand the technology like we do.
And that’s not meant to belittle them, but
I feel that riding bikes is an art form and
requires a bit of finesse to do it safely.
If somebody called me and said they
needed some carbon wheels for the Lake
Placid Ironman, I would encourage them
to consider wheels with an aluminum
brake track because that course is hilly.
And I’m not sure people understand the
difference in braking power at speed
between carbon and aluminum wheels.
Bike-industry people tend to compartmentalize the whole experience, whereas
most riders are just out there riding their
bikes and thinking about the whole experience. For me, the goal of renting race
wheels is simply to help people get to the
next level. I tried to live the dream as a
racer, but now I’m playing a part in other
cyclists pursuing their own dreams.
I know we’re just talking about bike
wheels, but it’s still a good feeling. ■
With about 100 wheels on hand
from just about every major
player, Race WheelRental.com
has grown to the point where
Gabe has had to put his own
racing ambitions on hold.