I’ve been riding on BLKTEC‘s wheelsets and components (stem, bars and seatpost) for almost a year now and though they do sponsor me (I want to make that clear as I can) I really only have good things to say about them. Well he would say that, you may be thinking but also, I don’t choose to partner with companies making bad products.
I will be putting up a review on the C5 wheelset soon, with the all carbon C1 set review to follow.
It’s not just me that thinks they’re good either. One product buyer for a big Asian distributor described the BLKTEC stuff as ‘the best products at the Taichung Bike Week’ last year. The Taichung Bike Week, if you don’t know, is a yearly show that brings together project managers with manufacturers that is closed to the public, and might be just about the most important bike ‘show’ all year.
I caught up with Greg Grobler recently to ask him about the company of which he is the CEO. Greg, 29 and from South Africa originally, could well be at the helm of one of the fastest growing bike companies very soon.
Lee Rodgers: Is there room in the bike world for yet another components manufacturer?
Greg Grobler: I believe there is, especially when you are developing products that are unique to the industry. People love to see new and exciting things and that’s what we have.
LR: For instance?
GG: The C1 wheelset perhaps is the most eyecatching, and then there is also the M1 stem. The M1 has internal routing and a super high strength to weight ratio.
LR: How did the company get started and who are the people behind it?
GG: The original idea of creating the brand started in the UK. Since Taiwan is known worldwide for being the best in manufacturing carbon products we moved it over to Taiwan. Set up shop here and haven’t looked back.
LR: What is the brand philosophy and how it is reflected in the products?
GG: It’s about quality, durability and craftsmanship. We take our products very seriously and do everything we can to make them the best quality possible. When you pick up a BLKTEC product you will immediately notice that.
LR: What are your main markets?
GG: The USA and Asia, so far.
LR: What do you intend people to experience who ride BLKTEC products?
GG: When people use our products I want them to experience the quality and bring out confidence in their riding through using our products. We’re not messing around here, there’s no point doing anything at 90%. Our development team is continually looking to create the best product. I ride too and I want the best stuff out there on people’s bikes. If that means going against the grain to get it done, then so be it. We’re here to stay.
i’m not a sycophant – well maybe for Ma CrankPunk (yes she gets caps), because She Is The Greatest – but when Nicole Cooke rocks into town even i get a little starstruck.
World & Olympic champ, winner of the Giro, the Tour, Flanders and on and on, there at Taichung train station i strolled up to shake hands with one of the greatest riders of all time, period.
and not only that, she did it all clean and against some serious odds.
gracious to a T and friendly to boot, the last i saw of her she was off in speeding taxi with an address written in Chinese to go look at a field full of flowers, a photo of which she had seen in the in-flight magazine on the way here to cover the Taiwan KOM Challenge for the UK’s CyclingPlus magazine. she’d arrived at 3am and hadn’t slept before making the journey from Taipei to visit the factory of one of my sponsors, LEZYNE.
she has some energy.
Nicole’s interest ion getting in a factory visit whilst here comes from her cycling of course but also because she has just finished a Masters in Business Administration.
meeting us at Lezyne’s TW base was Uli Prokasky, Director of Marketing & Media, and Sam Chau, her colleague. they showed us around the offices, the warehouse and the assembly line – but not the R&D Dept., which was shielded behind a door that might have come from a Mission Impossible movie.
incredibly – tantalisingly – when i called Sam to arrange for us to visit at about 9:30 this morning he informed me that Uli was busy because she was in a meeting with Greg Lemond!
unfortunately he had left before we arrived. now that would have been a photo! Greg in a crankpunk tee, imagine that…
the Lezyne factory is famously clean, air-conditioned and well stocked out with Snickers (thanks guys). they also buy in lunch for all the staff and do the same for dinner if they have a rush on.
the quality of the product reflects the quality of the workforce, the design and the environment in which Lezyne stuff is produced. (i know, they do sponsor me, but this stuff rocks).
more on Nicole soon, we will get an interview done later this week.