Sram vs. Shimano? Bike Industry Bust? Garmin Watches? Raw Dogging MTB's?... Ask Jeff V.14 [Video]

Welcome to another episode of Ask Jeff Anything. In this installment, we dive into some truly epic questions such as the best Garmin watch for MTB, what Jeff likes to do in his free time (if he has any) and many others ranging from the bike shop biz to wondering if Jeff likes burnt Cheez Its and everything in between. Tune in!

My Name Jeff

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hello mountain bikers of the world my name is Jeff if you didn't know I'm the founder of worldwide Cyclery I started the business uh almost 13 years ago which is crazy to say uh over the years I've made a lot of these ask Jeff anything videos where I try and ask the best questions you guys give me relating to the bike industry our business mountain bike related things that I do or we do and it's hopefully useful and valuable to you guys and insightful and interesting so let's get right into it all right baby kick and what question you have to feel today did you have a question yeah first question with all the bikes you guys build and ride do you use any protection film on the frame if so what brands do you recommend yes we do we usually use ride wrap I think ride wrap is amazing and a fantastic product albeit extremely hard to install uh I don't personally use it on my own bikes because kind of just like to RW dog

it can I have your HBO Max login details please to see if it will work in Australia purely for research purpose purposes uh recently on the MTB podcast I for whatever reason said I would give anyone my HBO Max login details because the Mountain Bike World Cups are going to be on Max streaming Network this year not exactly sure why I said that I just realized after the fact that you can only have so many user accounts and then same devices can't be logged in at different times so sorry M can't give you the details shouldn't have said that let's put another shrimp on the how has worldwide cycl fared during the bike industry bust of 2023 so the last one of these videos I made was almost exactly a year ago and there was a lot of speculation and a question about speculating the bike industry was going into really bad times in 2023 and I said yes I agree I think that's going to happen and yes it did happen wow wow wow uh the bike industry definitely hit some seriously Rough Waters in 2023 which you know looking back on it hindsight is 2020 but of course it was kind of predictable because the participation in the sport and the sort of consumer Behavior towards the sport and purchasing in the sport went absolutely through the roof for probably almost 2 years there during those sort of peak pandemic years we can call them everybody loved mountain biking they wanted to get into it they wanted to do it more they wanted to buy more things and upgrade their bike and it was just a massive gang Buster Boom for the whole industry and it all kind of came crashing down and 2023 was the the the Reckoning year you could

say a lot of the brands in the industry and the retailers in the industry and the distributors in the industry all had way too much inventory because they'd kind of over forecasted and 2023 was a super rough year for the whole industry the participation in the sport pretty much dropped off a lot if you use Google Trends you can actually see the search volume of various different search Trends which is a very helpful tool so you can look at it over you know 10 plus years time and people searching for things such as mountain bikes or bike shop or mountain bike trails near me or things like you know sham access or Rock shock Pike all of those terms are kind of at all-time lows right now like 10 plus 15E plus lows uh in this off season cuz people's interest in the sport just really waned because they kind of overindulged during those Peak pandemic years and it's made the industry feel a lot of turmoil this well 2023 and this year too 2024 I think it's going to be pretty much the same uh worldwide Cyclery did fine we are actually 10% above 2019 okay let's go which is what I'm paying the most attention to because I think 2019 is a good sort of Baseline year to look at and compare to because it's a pre pandemic year um I think we have to kind of ride off those 2020 21 and 22 is abnormal anomaly years that we should be very grateful even ever happened um so 2023 we did better than 2019 which I'm grateful for no of course we did not beat 2022 nobody did not even close albeit our business uh We've evolved it a lot right we're not just worldwide Cyclery anymore what started as kind of these small projects being Kettle Mountain apparel and Trail one components which we spun up both roughly around 2 to 5 years ago depending on which brand those are become significant parts of our business and Kettle in 2023 shipped out 30,000 orders which is amazing it's scaling like crazy uh making some great mountain bike specific pieces but a whole ton of sort of Adventure travel apparel and Trail one bunch of mountain bike components so those two brands have been huge wins for us in terms of growing and scaling those and owning those outright and being vertically integrated as opposed to worldwide C which is just a retail business so investors possibly you our business has grown a lot and changed over the years and the reason those two Brands exist is because not only did we really want to do them but we also realized that the sort of business model of bicycle retail is kind of past its Heyday at this point I think it was past its Heyday in a brick and mortar sense quite some time ago and now it's probably past its Heyday in the online e-commerce sense so yeah we're all good everything's fine um but I I largely equate the credit towards Kettle Mountain apparel and and Trail one components because those two things have been a huge win for us and how we've evolved our business over the years and um continue to stay relevant and do good things but yeah we're all good and I appreciate it and if you bought from us in 2023 thank you if you bought from us from ever thank you when is the next adventure race and would you consider documenting some of it on video for us I got into adventure racing a couple years ago and kind of fell in love with it I think it's this amazing way to really truly show like a hardcore outdoor sport in in all of its essence you kayak you trail run you hike you do all the navigation with map and compass and you do a ton of mountain biking as well so I enjoy all of those things and I really liked that Sport and have gotten more into it and did huge one in 2023 it was a 75h hour race in Breen Ridge Colorado Non-Stop and uh you know I think it was over 200 Mi and over 30,000 ft of elevation total between all the different sports and stuff fun fun fun and it was amazing it's so fun uh I'm doing more of them in 2024 and also kind of considering designing my own and kind of branding it as like a k Kettle Mountain Adventure rally where you drive to get different checkpoints and do multisports stuff so got some things Brewing but the one that I have on the calendar currently is called raid the Rockies it's in June in Canada it's a 3-day Venture race but it's a stage race so we actually get eight hours to sleep each night which is kind of cool and I agree with because I think sleep deprivation is kind of a stupid unnecessary risk but also part of the sport and would I consider documenting on YouTube I don't know maybe maybe not I don't really care to do too much of that I like to just go out and and drw myself but I'll consider it beans not too long ago Jeff mentioned that he probably will never transition to carbon rims that one didn't age well are there any current trends in the industry that Jeff and wc don't fully support or agree with um yeah I mean I don't know if I would say that didn't age well I mean well yeah it didn't age well in the sense that I am using carbon rims now on on most of my bikes um so in that sense yeah it didn't age well however in that video I kind of explained my reasoning with was the current state of carbon rims when I made that video which was 6 years ago just weren't reliable enough and not having reliable rims I just couldn't agree with especially when I would take these long trips or road trips or fly with my bike somewhere I didn't want to worry about breaking rims so the reliability has changed dramatically in the past 6 years hence why I've gone to start riding carbon rims now cuz I haven't broken one in ages people just break them way less they still break I still don't think they're as strong as aluminum rims were as reliable but they're 98% of the way there and for 98 % of people 60% of the time it works every time you're never going to break one uh myself included nowadays so yeah I still ride carbon rims um because they've just changed a lot and gotten so much better in the last 6 years since I've made that video other trends that I might not agree with that maybe I'll you know eat some Crow on eventually I don't know we'll see I don't think there's anything right now that's an industry Trend that I don't totally agree with there's certain things I don't really care that much about for example for me 150 mil travel dropper post that's enough I have no reason to go any more than that I actually kind of prefer it only going 150 mm down don't laugh at that see what else electronic drivetrains and electronic droppers I mean I can genuinely tell you they work better and the like the the current modern sham transmission is absolutely astonishing with how it rides and everything like that I personally currently don't use it cuz I just don't need any more responsibilities in my life uh which is a bit more of a personal and a philosophical thing I don't want to be charging batteries and worrying about it and messing with electronics when I go out to ride my bike kind of really like that naturally aspirated mechanical machine and I enjoy that about mountain biking and always have and I don't want to mix in any more Electronics since I spend the majority of my day like most of us do looking at our phone and a computer screen for work so I don't know maybe I'll eat some cow on that in 3 years I'll be riding samam transmission I will tell you if the battery life on that stuff lasted say like if the rear derailer lasted as long as a controller which is about a year I would go to it right now um but it only lasts about 5 to 10 rides and I just don't want to deal with that so uh it's all about that battery life what's Jeff's favorite non-mb activity lately I would say trail running I definitely enjoy trail running I think it's a big Challenge and it's fun it's physically challenging and it's uncomfortable often but it's also cool to put in longer Trail runs and 10 20 M Trail runs can be really challenging and enjoyable to build these like custom routes and see a lot of trails that you would never normally ride bikes on so um I definitely like trail running that's my my kind of other hobby that I would do that's not bike related does Jeff watch MTB YouTube channels if yes which ones I watch let's see I watch some of pink bike in vital mtb's World Cup Downhill race coverage when The Season's on and there's races and I also mostly just watch bkxc I think his channel is awesome I've always enjoyed that guy's sort of undying positivity and his attitude and right now it's less about mountain biking most of the time cuz he's actually bought some land and he's building this mountain biker dream Paradise up in the siada mountains in Northern California that he's calling ever Stoke and it's a campground and there's tiny homes and handbuilt mountain bike trails and um he's creating this whole sort of off-grid mountain bikers Paradise up there and documenting the whole thing and that's awesome and fun and entertaining to watch so yeah bkxc is probably the only other mountain bike Channel that I that I watch uh not during the Race season which Garmin watch does Jeff use please make a video about Garmin watches I've talked about Garmin watches a lot over the years um mostly on the MTB podcast but I absolutely love them I got one in early 2020 and or maybe maybe it was late 2019 and I've never taken it off my wrist since they're absolutely incredible they're such useful and cool devices for tracking your sleep your health your workouts your rides your runs your hikes you can put mapping on them like it's unbelievable how useful and cool and amazing they are and especially they're relatively affordable and there's a lot of different options price point wise and there's no subscription fee with Garmin watches which I totally hate and disagree with when it comes to things like whooop for example um but having a full-blown GPS watch and physiological tracker on your wrist 24/7 is amazing um I'm currently using the epics Pro Gen 2 um I freaking love this thing I've gone through a lot of versions in the past I started out with a venue and then I went to a Forerunner and then I went to a Fenix and now I have an epic um there's a lot of product over lap but I've tried to merchandise the best most useful ones um on the worldwide Cyclery site and Jared actually wrote a really good article about the Forerunner watch uh Garmin Forerunner watch being an amazing watch for mountain bikers so if curious check that article out what bike does Jeff use for adventure racing the Revel Ranger that thing is amazing a lot of adventure racing um there's some gnarly is trails in there but there's also some Road you have to mix in there and a lot of XC trails and it's a ton of distance and having a the rebel Ranger which is 120 mil travel on the front 115 in the back 29 in Wheels incredible bike I love that thing it is so versatile and it's just a weapon of speed and it's perfect for adventure racing wouldn't you say the best cheit in the box is the burnt ones I 100% agree with that statement I love cheit and I definitely prefer the burnt ones could a bike shop exist if repairs and maintenance income was greater than 50% of their revenue what percentage of the average bike shop income comes from repairs and maintenance and do bik shop deserve better markup SL margin from manufacturers I know that's a three in one thanks WC oh boy here we go uh so first question could they exist if their income is greater than 50% on just repairs yeah absolutely actually for most brick-and-mortar bike shops their highest margin activities and most profitable things they do is repair and maintenance so 100% there's actually quite a few uh newer shops that are around that brick and mortar stores that just straight up only do maintenance they don't really even sell bikes that's a fantastic model um it's a lot more profitable than selling bikes because to your third question do bike men do bike shops deserve better margins yeah that's a whole separate video but yes and because they don't have the good margins it makes it really sort of not a profitable activity for bike shops to be selling components and bikes and things like that most of the time where it's kind of almost 99% of the time profitable to do repair and service work and average bike shop percentage of income and repairs maintenance versus selling bikes and components that that's totally different depending on the shop so certain shops like i' mentioned are exclusively repairs and maintenance some shops Almost Do barely any of it and it's like everywhere in between so it totally depends on the shops there's no consistency there in the industry per se is it better to have two bikes down country in Enduro or one all mountain bike is it better to be used to one than bounce back and forth h i mean I personally prefer having you know sort of the down Country Light trail bike and an Enduro bike I think that's kind kind of a convenient way to do it because most of the time the riding that I'm doing is XC Trail General mountain biking and something like the rebel Ranger Works incredible for that and then on the occasion I'll go ride some gnarlier rockier stuff or I'll take these trips and do more Enduro type riding on these mountain bike trips and then it's really nice to have an Enduro bike so like to have two bikes but I I think you know in a perfect world you have five bikes for various different occasions and types of ridings but obviously that's not financially feasible for most people so my preference is to up to you and your budget really is what matters there will you guys ever sell intend suspension I built up a Banshee Titan which is an epic Enduro bike that I've absolutely loved and I had intense suspension on it and I made a whole video about that bike build and talked quite a bit about that suspension will we ever sell intend yes we intend to uh pun

intended uh however intend is a uh smallish uh sort of Boutique European European suspension company and it's not that easy for us to import that product and merchandise it when it comes to sizes and customization and blah blah blah all these different things so yeah we'll get there we're working on it we're in touch with those guys and we love the products they make albeit not the best time in the industry for us to be throwing money at new suspension brands that are really cumbersome to import into the us but we'll get there for sure because that's an amazing brand and I would love to represent them and be a retailer for them in the US what crank length do you ride 70 on pretty much all the bikes um I'm not opposed to 165 actually I think I do have 165s on my Enduro bike right now uh that Banshee that I just mentioned and I'm not like super picky I would never run 175 I just think it's too long and with how low bikes are you're going to smash your feet everywhere um so pretty much 170 or 165 is where I'm always going to land on crank length for mountain bikes what is it about samam that Everyone likes so much I always just go XT on my bikes works for me but in my missing out on something I personally prefer sham drivetrains um I like their shifter design a lot better and just the overall system that they have and and now it's you know you can't even really consider Shimano as even remotely competitive to Sham when you're talking you know 12-speed drivetrains because transmission is this whole different ball game of Shifting under load like you wouldn't believe barely even feeling when the chain moves the whole no derailer hanger thing this the how quiet it is because the drer doesn't have a back swing and larger pulley Wheels I mean it's it's in a league of its own above Shimano right now however if that's not your price point um then when you're comparing you know when you get kind of the mid-range and lower they camage are very competitive next and Ne to each other um above that samam kind of takes the cake I personally prefer sram for a number of reasons but I'm going to be brutally honest with you here Mike one of the main ones which doesn't actually have to do with the performance of the drivetrain system is just that SRAM supports the industry in a lot better way than Shimano does and I really respect and appreciate that and these days in my life I like to put my money um towards brands that uh are respectful to the industry they're in to the environment they're in and to the people that they deal with whether that's their their customers as in riders or retailers or Distributors and I just really appreciate sram's business ethics and I can't really say the same for Shimano so that's kind of my preference there and why boom roasted least but not last should I weld a kid seat on my steel bars for my 2-year-old I'm 100% not going to advise that you sure about that you sure about that but thanks for the question uh that's it that's all thank you very much if you've made it this far I genuinely appreciate it feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions you want me to answer in a future video uh I've only I only did one of these in 2023 cuz I just had other things going on but maybe I'll try and squeak out a few more in 2024 but if if you want to hear a lot more of my take on various industry things or answering questions like this the MTB podcast is the place to go um myself Jared and Liam and occasionally Trevor uh we answer all sorts of listener questions that's what we do on the whole latter half of the podcast for an entire half an hour and it's super useful and valuable to mountain bikers and that's our intention with that podcast and it's grown a ton over the years so check out the MTB podcast if you haven't heard it and that's it that's all thank you see you

February 19, 2024

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