History of RaceFace brand. Revival of a legend.
Many people don't know that the history of the Canadian brand RaceFace has been quite winding. The company was on the podium and even on the verge of bankruptcy, but fortunately its return was immediate. RaceFace is a small manufacturer but a respected player in the market.
RaceFace is an honorary sponsor of the construction of bike parks (Crankworx and Whistler Mountain Bike Park) and numerous competitions. The brand in every possible way develops and supports the Freeride and All-Mountain directions. And since RaceFace's track record is truly impressive, losing RaceFace would be a big blow to fans.
Next SL - the lightest crankset in the world
For 20 years, RaceFace has been focused on developing carbon fiber production. The company released the first half-carbon Next LP crankset in 1998. 10 years later, the Next series was released again, but this time entirely made of carbon and with a hollow design. Finally in 2011, the improved Next was combined with a titanium shaft.
This time the crankset had practically no worthy rivals. It became known that the company has produced not only the lightest carbon crankset in the world, but also the most versatile. Every year the trend of making Next SL lighter, stiffer and stronger has continued.
Made in Canada
For the RaceFace brand, producing carbon components domestically and then selling them worldwide is a source of pride. The company has put a lot of effort into maintaining this trend.
The main advantage of local production is the streamlined research and development cycle. It promises high speed to market. It has been observed that the proximity of the manufacturing floor to the room with the company's top engineers reduces the product development process to six months.
On the other hand, when there are unique technologies, in-house production reduces the risk of intellectual property leakage to a minimum. As a result, nothing can compromise the quality of the product. So, instead of sending power to Taiwan, RaceFace built its own dedicated workshop and handcrafts its legendary Next SL cranks every day in two shifts.
The Next SL is currently 120g lighter than their closest rival and has a better stiffness to weight ratio too!
What Chris Tatton says about it:
If I wanted to develop new carbon cranks in Asia, the design, production setup, and everything else I needed would probably add a year to the project. But here in British Columbia, my engineers sit three feet away from each other on the back of the door. We can create prototypes and make changes to the product without leaving our seats, and we have a fully equipped laboratory for testing. Consequently, everything we do to develop the product is done many times faster than our competitors in Asia.
Who is Chris Tatton?
The number one person at RaceFace, Chris Tatton, joined the company back in 1993 after graduating from school. At the time, RaceFace was a division of Rocky Mountain's bicycle manufacturing group. Chris Tatton initially had a small role in the company. But soon the situation changed. When bikes needed quality components, RaceFace began with just three people, one of whom was designer Bryn Johnson, who now works for SRAM.
When Breen began working on new products, Chris Tatton took over sales. Since then, RaceFace's growth has accelerated rapidly. RaceFace has grown into one of the largest OEM equipment suppliers, like Truvativ. Many of the world's bicycle manufacturers use RaceFace components in their factory equipment.
RaceFace's products spanned ten product categories, ten component families and were sold in more than 45 countries around the world. The RaceFace clothing line is worn by racers who value functionality and aggressive style.
Bankruptcy and return. Merger of Easton and RaceFace
I worked with RaceFace for a very long time until it became a global brand. At the beginning, when I was young, I invested money with the old owners of RaceFace. By the time 2007 rolled around, I had a lot of disagreements about running the business with my partners, so I left around September 2008. RaceFace continued on without me and unfortunately 18 months later it almost went bankrupt.
After this, Chris Tatton continued his activities for 2 years as the trading director of the Easton Cycling brand, part of the multi-sports concern, which also included the BELL company. The group's CEO was Terry Lee, with whom Tatton later had a dialogue about the development or purchase of the Easton Cycling brand. Terry Lee decided in favor of the second, after which Tatton seriously thought about saving RaceFace.
I've been involved with sports brands my entire professional life, and I just didn't want my life's work to disappear overnight. There are many great people in my circle, and with 100% confidence they could save such a cool product as RaceFace. In the end, this is what happened, there was real synergy between Easton and RaceFace.
About further strategy
Easton is no less famous brand in cycling with a long pedigree. After more than 20 years of existence, it can be proud of several victories in the Tour de France, World Championships and UCI.
By merging the two companies, Tatton kept the design collections and designs separate. The brands will coexist on their own, with Easton in California and RaceFace in Vancouver. However, it would be appropriate to mention the expected further exchange of technological developments on the part of each of the brands.
We've got a bunch of new stuff from both brands at EuroBike: Easton has new carbon wheels, a new range of Easton cranks and three new RaceFace rim models. We have a whole bunch of new product waiting to be released.
Today, such large players as SRAM and Shimano, if they want to get some kind of community, can easily buy it. But we, being a small enterprise, do not intend to become part of corporations and sponsor them; on the contrary, we want to cooperate on a broader level. I would like to continue to support the guys who have been using our products for a long time.
Our team takes great pride in the work we have done. Every engineer and sales associate shares the same passion for cycling as thousands of our customers.
Support the local shop
"Support the local shop" is one of the main ideologies of the brand. As before, RaceFace, known for its large-scale sponsorship activities, continues to support local stores and organizations that develop cycling, hold all kinds of competitions, and set up spots. It is difficult to find a company more loyal to its followers and fans.