This month, BikeBiz catches up with mountain bike component manufacturer Deity
Can you give us a little background on Deity?
Deity was born in 2014 from the love we both (Eric and Sadie, pictured far right) had for mountain biking, and the gap in the market in the early 2000s for product that could withstand the abuse riders were putting gear through to progress the sport. We always believed if you have the best intentions, passion for the sport, and love for your customers, the rest will follow.
Our goal was to prove that we didn’t need to follow industry standards and typical business practices… that we could actually care more about our customers’ (distributors, dealers, athletes and end consumers) experiences and best interests than the bottom line.
Just a simple dream and $15,000 was the start of Deity. Our first products were simple, but our ideas and where we wanted to take the brand and product line were much bigger. We built and reinvested everything into Deity for the first four years so we could afford to develop moulds, proprietary processes and the die-hard loyalty of our customers and athletes.
Our primary goal, beyond supporting athletes and their progression, was protecting the heartbeat of the cycling industry, the bicycle retailer. We understood the challenges bike shops were facing with growing discounts, increased warranty claims, and year-end blowouts…and shifting sales channels were threatening the IBDs’ existence. We committed to years of real-world product testing and timeless product designs that don’t need to reinvent themselves year after year to stay relevant, and our global protection of the brand has become synonymous with Deity.
What area of the cycling market does Deity target?
Deity is a mountain bike component manufacturer. Our goal is to improve a riders’ contact point experience, and we don’t target or discriminate. We believe in building the very best products possible to deliver a better experience to all riders for a fair value. If you compare any of our products to our competition, they will last longer, extend your time on the bike and bring a style that gives you the confidence to get back out and push the limit just a little further. In the end, our goal is to get more people out on their bikes.
What does Deity offer that its competitors perhaps do not?
Deity offers the highest performing contact point components at competitive pricing. We refuse to put out any product or standard unless we know they improve your experience on a bike. This commitment to delivering only the very best to our customers runs through our entire product line and is 100% what separates everything Deity does from our competition.
On top of our high level of customer service, product reputation, and devoted fan base, our standards for testing definitely propel Deity to the top of the list. We believe putting every product we release through strict 12-24 month real-world testing is critical to ensure we are doing right by our customers. Consumers should never be the test subject, but you may be surprised how many brands rush release of new components by simply meeting minimum machine testing requirements without ever being installed on a bicycle.
Tell us about your manufacturing process.
We manufacture many different products: handlebars, stems, pedals, seats, grips, seat clamps, headset caps and valve stem caps… and they all require unique production applications. We utilise CNC machining, injection moulding, forging, various heat treatment processes, and so much more.
To give you an idea of the manufacturing processes our handlebars go through, let’s use our signature Brendog (Brendan Fairclough) handlebar as an example. To begin, when we approach any of our athletes about a signature product, we both must agree to develop the product from the ground up with a purpose that makes the product unique to the athlete. We would never just slap a logo or name on a product and call it “signature”.
So, with Brendan, we spent two years developing and testing new bars during his World Cup seasons to allow him to scrutinise every detail. Unlike many handlebars on the market that are double or triple-butted, we have developed our own proprietary Gradient Butting Technology that allows us to apply more or less material to the handlebar “walls” at specific areas of stress or non-stress to create the lightest, strongest, and best riding version of a handlebar.
This is a fine science, and every width, rise and bore handlebar has its own unique perfect balance point to maximise the ride feel and quality. Once the feel was optimised, we machine stress tested to meet Deity’s strict requirements (which far exceed industry standards). After all this, we sent Brendan the final version of his prototype Brendog handlebar to test for the entire next World Cup season to make sure it exceeded his expectations and could take all the abuse he could throw at it.
What sort of feedback have you received from the industry?
Media will tell you we put out some of the best content in the industry. Our distributors will talk about our unique hands-on interest in connecting with IBDs. Our bike shops continue to restock Deity because they know they’re investing in a company that has their back, appreciates how important they are to the health of our industry and protects the value they build into the riding community.
But the end consumer and rider is who dictates how successful Deity is, and to us, that is the most important measure. Our in-house team will tell you it’s very rare for us to encounter an unhappy customer, and we take great pride in that.
What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
After 17 years of slowly building Deity, we are just getting started. Last year only reinforced our understanding of how critical community is to all our health and wellbeing. We see the struggles each level of our industry must overcome, and we fully commit to stand steadfast behind all our partners to not only weather these seas of change but to come out thriving.
We are consciously monitoring industry demand to avoid flooding and devaluing the market, we are pushing to bring Deity to all corners of the globe and actively looking for quality partners in Europe and beyond who share our philosophies and resolve, and we are refining our systems and communications to continue to improve our customers’ experiences in all that is Deity!