This month, BikeBiz catches up Rapid Racer Products (RRP) owner Craig Bromley
Can you give us a little background on RRP?
Although I was late to mountain biking, only buying my first bike at the age of 29 to try and get fit and lose weight. I fell in love with it and started downhill racing two years later, eventually setting up my race team Rapid Racers.
Along with a fellow teammate Paul Mackie, we decided there was a neater solution for a mudguard than the commonly used cut up innertube and zip ties. We subsequently set up a partnership company Rapid Racer Products. Our first product was the NeoGuard mudguard, used by thousands of racers from XC to DH all around the world, including many World Cup and World Champions such as Nicolas Vouilloz, Tracy Moseley, Gee/Dan/Rachael Atherton and Danny Hart.
The business progressed and I then took on the business on my own as Rapid Racer Products Ltd. I created a range of products, including the well-known EnduroGuard, the universally loved Bearing Press & Extraction Tool, and the new ProGuard range of moulded mudguards.
What is RRP’s mission statement?
Our ethos has always been “Clean eyes clear vision”. Riding in the mud, you are always going to get dirty; we originally set out to ensure you can at least see where you’re going no matter what the conditions are like. Now it’s just to make the best designed, best quality, and best-performing products first, then find a way to make a profit later. We have a very loyal following that loves our products and appreciate the huge amount of attention to detail unmatched by our competitors.
What area of the cycling market does RRP target?
Our main focus began with, and continues to be, the MTB market. Although we’re lucky here in the UK to have some world-class riding spots, the same can’t be said for the weather! We wanted to create a product to help mountain bikers ride in all conditions, all year round, which seems to really resonate with a lot of riders not only here in the UK, but also around the world. That being said, we also do have a small range of road and cyclocross products as well – there’s something for everyone!
What makes RRP unique?
Unrelenting attention to detail regardless of time or cost. We’ve put extensive development into both the design and materials used. For example, the polypropylene used for the ProGuards is designed for high impacts, flexibility and durability, as well as maintaining these crucial properties in cold weather, whereas standard polypropylene can get brittle.
This specific material does, unfortunately, have a very low surface tension though which makes it extremely challenging to attach any sort of decals (and even its own packaging!) – this meant finding the right kind of (very expensive) adhesive that will allow the sticker to adhere and survive extended use in all conditions and repeated washes. It’s only a small thing, but it just goes to show how far we’ll develop a product to get it as good as it possibly can, be first and foremost.
What does it offer that its competitors perhaps do not?
We created the first large bolt on mudguard of its kind in the world, the ProGuard Bolt On. This allows for, by far, the neatest mudguard solution on the market today for forks that have bolt holes on the bridge. There’s no RockShox option (yet…) as the previous generation of forks lacked any threaded holes, however as the 2021 ZEB and SID forks have these crucial mounts, we’re developing a ProGuard to fit, it’s just not quite ready yet. Watch this space.
We have some unique features on our mudguards such as the Seal Shield that protect the fork seals from excessive ingress of water or dirt, and should the worst happen and a guard is damaged in a crash, we offer a ProGuard Crash Replacement Scheme not seen by any other competitor.
Tell us about your manufacturing process.
RRP has a massive group of ambassadors and sponsored riders to help out with testing 3D printed prototype designs in the real world, then we only use a small group of trusted manufacturers that we can ensure quality from and challenge them with finding the very latest materials and processes to further improve our design. This is often not the cheapest or quickest route but one we’ve found builds a dedicated and loyal following of our quality.
All our products designed by Rapid Racer Products Ltd are manufactured and packed in the UK. That way, we can ensure every step of the process can be controlled locally and ensure the upmost quality control is maintained.
What sort of feedback have you received from the industry?
The new range of ProGuard moulded mudguards, especially the recently launched Bolt On version, has gone wild throughout the world. Whilst it took years to design and make, taking most of our finances to fund, it’s, without doubt, the mudguard to have right now. Our ProGuard mudguards have won group tests and were labelled the Best Mudguard available in 2020 by MBR magazine.
The customer response has been equally fantastic and has converted thousands of riders to running mudguards where previously they wouldn’t have dreamed of it. We actually see a lot of riders leaving their ProGuard on all year round as they’ve found it doesn’t just protect them in the wet conditions, but can help stop grit and stones being flicked up by the front wheel.
What are your plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
We’re a small company and so we have to pick our projects wisely, we continually update and improve existing lines whilst prototyping many new ideas.
We have designed a smaller version of our original ProGuard called the ProGuard Mini (cable tie). This also has a Velcro strap attachment option (due out in spring 2021). We have a Fox 40 adapter bracket for the ProGuard Bolt On (26in and 27.5in Fox forks) that is just going to mould now so will be available early 2021.
We’ve also updated our original ProGuard Standard and Max Protection (cable tie) designs to add velcro slots for those who remove their mudguard frequently. We also took the opportunity to retexture the surface of these and the ProGuard Rear so they match the finish of the much-loved Bolt On mudguards, these will be called the V2 and will be available before Xmas.
There’s more going on in the background of course that we can’t tell you about just yet. You’ll just have to keep an eye on our social media for the next new developments!