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Wabi Cycles: Building Bikes in South Park

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, August 12, 2009, at 11:47AM
Wabi Cycles Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Richard Snook stands with one of his bikes in Wabi Cycles' South Park headquarters.

Fixed gear bicycle maker Wabi Cycles may be a new company, but founder Richard Snook is no newcomer to the bike game. He's been a cyclist since 1972, and has been involved in building bike components since the mid-1980s.

Over that time, Snook has developed a strong sense for what works and what does not. Selling direct to cyclists allows Snook to make sure the bikes he's selling contain parts that he believes in. "There's nothing on the bike that I have to apologize for," he said yesterday at a Grand Opening celebration held in the company's South Park loft.

Snook and his brother Garry started Performance Bicycle as a mail-order company in the 1980s. He handled product development for the firm, which has since expanded into one of the nation's largest mail-order and retail bicycle companies.

After leaving Performance, Snook was looking to do something new. He knew he wanted to design his own bikes, but didn't want to be just another brand selling carbon fiber road bikes. "There's 4000 companies doing that," he said.

Wabi, which opened for business on April 30, sells two models of bicycle, a steel-frame model that sells for $650 and a scandium framed bike for $800. Snook designed the frames, which are manufactured in Asia, and chose all the components. The bikes are available through the company's website, and Snook plans to keep it that way, just selling direct and not through shops.

The company's South Park location was chosen because it's only three blocks from where Snook lives with his wife and daughter.

Early sales have been good, Snook said, with most customers ordering from the east coast.

While the company is built to sell online, Snook is happy to have Downtowners interested in his bikes stop by the shop.

Wabi Cycles / 1200 S. Hope #405 / 888.732.7030

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