It's a good time to be a cyclist consumer. The past decade has seen enormous leaps forward in the design and execution of cycling goods. New materials and construction methods have yielded ever-lighter, ever-faster, better-riding and longer-lasting products, available at lower relative prices. While the rising tide of cycling goods has undoubtedly been beneficial for retailers and consumers alike, it's had the side-effect of producing a product landscape that is decidedly more generic, less customized and, sometimes, bereft of soul. Cycling is not alone in this trend. Mass-produced products have become so good relative to their costs that from a functional perspective, most casual consumers will never need to look beyond what is offered by large-scale producers and retailers.
The counter-cultural reaction to this shift towards the banal has been most interesting to observe, and is most easily seen in the rise of the handmade bicycle movement, epitomized by the staggering growth of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and the many fine builders who inhabit the exhibition floor for a few days every year.
Justin Spinelli is the man behind Luxe Wheelworks. His recent history is a case-study in refining a small business and distilling that business down to a very specific and dedicated scope. Justin raced at the highest levels on the European Pro Tour in his youth. He moved on from pro racing and decided to apply his unique experience toward the bicycle business. In the early years of Justin's business, his focus wandered a bit - he dabbled with selling bicycles and components as well as the occasional clothing item but in the end, he returned to his first and greatest love of wheel building.
For the past few years Justin has applied a laser-like focus to building wheels by hand. He is a craftsman who brings to his work that rare combination of true bicycle racing bonafides and unwavering dedication to perfection. His experience as a professional racer at the highest levels combines with an almost scary devotion to perfecting the art of the wheel build. It's a refreshing but surprisingly old-school and, dare we say, Eastern mindset: Take something you know and apply that experience to your work. Do the same thing day in and day out. Never be complacent. Always be self-critical. Never stop learning and seeking out better materials and methods. Never burden yourself with bullshit marketing gimmicks. Focus on your products and your craft. Do one thing and do it better than anyone, anywhere.
With this in mind, we are proud to offer Luxe wheels for individual sales or as part of build kits on Gaulzettis or other bikes we sell. This move toward retail sales marks another evolution in Justin's business model and underscores his desire to focus on each wheel build, rather than engage in the sales and marketing dance. We've been discussing this with Justin for the past couple months and we've settled on a few product lines that we will be selling here at Embrocation: