On Site - Velosmith Bicycle Studio

By: Brandon Mar 5

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Walking into Velosmith has very little in common with walking into other bike shops. Where most shops are cluttered, Velosmith is curated. Where most shops can be intimidating and even unpleasant, Velosmith is welcoming and attentive. The space is clean and well-organized, but those are all by-products of their attention to detail into every aspect of their business.

When Tony set out to create Velosmith in 2010/11 he put years of retail and manufacturing experience to work. Having spent his formative years in Alberto's Cycles, started by his father, then continuing on to Seven Cycles, Tony had plenty of time in the industry. A few things were made very clear when talking to him about Velosmith, but the most important is that there is a vision, and every thing that happens inside his doors and around his brand, matters.

It was made abundantly clear that inside Velosmith, things are done with purpose. It's not coincidence that the showroom flows from bikes, to the build area, to the fit area. It's not coincidence where bikes are placed, how they are hung, or how clothing and parts are displayed. This studio is very much a showcase of the pride Velosmith takes in every project they partake. Custom counters reflect the same detail as the Parlee and Seven bicycles hanging from the walls.

"The experience" was mentioned multiple times while we talked about what Velosmith is. I looked for more, wanting to know what was in Tony's head, what was this experience meant to be? It starts with the fit, it's always about the fit. That was engrained into Tony early on, and it's something that's never left. He graduated in the very first class from Serotta, he was the Head Fit Technician with Seven Cycles, and those years of experience are at he forefront of the Velosmith Experience. But it doesn't stop there.

Every component sold at Velosmith has been tested by the staff. It has to be durable, beautiful, and best-in-class. Every component serves it's purpose at the highest levels. Every component fills a need for Velosmith customers exactly as intended, or they wouldn't carry it.

The same can be said about the frames Velosmith carries. Brands are chosen not based off of margins or marketing, but design. The custom brands carried here, Seven, Mosaic, Parlee, are all known for building classically beautiful frames, with unmatched quality and finish.

We're going to spend more time with Tony in the future and learn more about the man behind Velosmith, but suffice it to say, Velosmith wouldn't exist without him, and with Tony behind it, Velosmith couldn't exist in any other way.

If you find yourself around the Chicagoland area, there can be no excuse to not make the trip to the suburbs to visit Velosmith. Where The Boulder Service Course struck me as the quintessential "pro shop," Velosmith is everything a "studio" should be. Replace the bikes on the walls with original artwork from any museum and it would be right at home. Talking with Tony is inspiring and leaves no doubt why riders find themselves on his fit cycle and riding bikes coming from Velosmith.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott

 

On Site - The Boulder Service Course

By: Brandon Feb 15

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We all like to hang out at the local bike shop. Some are more glamorous than others, but they all have at least a little something fun tucked away somewhere. Then, in comes the "Pro Shop." Mixing a bike shop with a jewelery store, adding in top-tier mechanics, the true Pro Shop offers the best of the best. With an impeccable parts selection, technical advice stemming from first-hand experience, and elite wrenching, Pro Shops have created an atmosphere cyclists drool over. The top Pro Shops that come to mind for me are Above Category, Velosmith, and Studio Velo, each of which have carefully chosen a select range of products, all of which fit a certain need and maintain the highest levels of quality.

Daimeon from The Boulder Service Course has gone a slightly different route creating an equally impressive, yet very different beast. The Boulder Service Course is found inside an adjoined space with multiple other business, all filling their own niche in cycling. Each company, Panache, The Boulder Service Course, Broken Carbon, Pearce Coaching, and Teton Consulting are each holding themselves at the highest ranks of their respective portions of the industry.

Walking through the front door you're first greeted by Panache who have set up a beautiful showroom with their custom and in-line clothing. But for us, we made a beeline to the work shop, tucked in the back, where we caught up with Daimeon, or Daimo, and what I would later come to realize is my dream setup. He's free to work primarily uninterrupted, on some of the best equipment available, for athletes that can truly appreciate his level of skill. When we walked in he was running cables on what is sure to be one of the fastest bikes in any time trial, a Felt DA, for one of this sponsored athletes.

Embro – How did the space come together?

Daimo – We’ve known the Panache guys for a while, I’ve been working on one of the owner’s bikes for some time, so it grew pretty organically. We were working out of a garage, picking up and dropping off bikes. It was part time, just something we were doing, and it kept growing and growing. Panache was looking to expand, they are coming up on 4 years old, and they needed a new space as well. Before we knew it, the idea came up, “hey, why don’t we just share a space?” It’s been great, and it’s grown from there. We have Panache in the front of the store, me back here, Colby Pearce does his bike fitting here, Brady Kappius does his carbon upstairs, Jon Tarkington does his coaching business out of here too. Also, the Horizon Organic/Einstein Bros Cycling Team has their service course here.

Embro – Are you the sole wrench here?

Daimo – Right now it’s just me in the winter. I usually have a couple of people here in the spring and summer months, as well as an intern. My intern is Max Chance of the Clif Bar team.

Embro – I’ve noticed how much cleaner you are here than most shops. Significantly so.

Daimo – Yup. Well, I’m significantly more anal than most people in shops.

Embro – How did you get to where you are? What led your customers to you?

Daimo – Word of mouth. We’ve never advertised in any way other than that. We had enough friends in the community after working for so many pro teams. With all of the teams based out of Boulder, they come and go here, and they helped spread the word. Nothing really counts like a positive review from someone you trust. A friend tells a friend who tells a friend, and before we knew it we were slammed.

Embro – Are you still working directly with any pro teams?

Daimo – Absolutely. Last year I was the mechanic for the BMC Mountain Bike Team, and we won Nationals; I’ll probably be doing that again. Until this year I’ve always done a full cyclcross season, the winters are slower which makes it a lot easier to travel, last year I was with Optum. The year before that I was with Cannondale-Cyclocross World, the year earlier with Rapha-Focus. Before those teams, even working full time for Garmin, I worked for the Clif Bar Development Team. I grew up in Oregon, I’ve been racing cyclocross for 20 years, so for me doing cross is as much a passion as a job.

Embro – Does that mean you’re still racing?

Daimo – Oh yeah, yeah! Not very well, I spend a lot more time riding than racing these days on the course. Most of the cross work I’ve been doing recently is done, so luckily we aren’t rushing around doing too much. A big chunk of it has been swapping out (SRAM Red) hydro stuff, but that’s done for now. We got on top of it really early, I do a lot of work for SRAM directly, they send their pro athletes to me when they are in town. I can work a lot quicker and it tends to be a lot easier for them than a traditional shop.

Leaving The Boulder Service Course a realization was made: Daimo has used this talents and connections to build what I would probably consider the ultimate shop. No pushy sales guys or wacky accessories, just the best service available anywhere, alongside coaching and fitting services second-to-none, and a custom clothing company pumping out some amazing new pieces. These guys are creating a mecca, just by doing what they love.

photos by Nicholas Gajewski and Brandon Elliott

 

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