Bird Cycleworks Expands Retail Experience

Dec 3, 2022
by BirdBikes  

Can you believe we are turning ten in 2023? It seems like just yesterday we were riding around Swinley Forest dreaming up ideas about what we’d want our brand to become. We’ve learned a lot since we hatched, and have been laying the foundations to share our rider focussed philosophy face-to-face for a while now.

March 2022 saw the official opening of our first proper retail space and showroom at our HQ in Eversley, Hampshire. We looked at what we had created in our relationship with Bike Bothy Pitfichie in Scotland and worked on how we could replicate that to take our award-winning online customer service to the next level. A new look real-life face-to-face retail experience was the solution.

Bird HQ - Eversley, Hampshire

Easter saw the opening of our Ride Hamsterley store in the North East of England. This humble facility is at our local riding spot - just a stone's throw away from our Consett factory and provides sales, support and servicing in the heart of Hamsterley Forest. With products ranging from trailside essentials and components to helmets and clothing, but of course, the real beauty of our expanding network of trailhead bike shops is that you can demo our bikes on some of the UK’s best trails and then sit down to spec your dream bike component-by-component for no more money than an “off-the-shelf” offering from a mainstream brand.

We have continued to grow our relationship with Bike Bothy Pitfichie in Aberdeenshire which led to our first joint venture and the launch of Bike Bothy Laggan in Easter - further aligning our businesses which we see an integral part of our expanding network of trailhead demo centres.

Bike Bothy Pitfichie

Bike Bothy owner, Clark Sutherland, clearly excels in retail environments and embodies our ethos of putting the rider first. He started the year owning the only business we dealt with directly and finishes the year as Bird's freshest employee as our Head of Retail. Here's what Clark says about it all.

"From a turbulent time in the oil and gas industry to new beginnings as a self-employed mobile bike mechanic I have somehow ended up as Head of Retail for one of the bike industry's rising stars - Bird Cycleworks - HOW ON EARTH?"

"Well let’s start at the start, born in 1986 on a farm in rural Aberdeenshire to avid ski instructors I was always destined to work in the elements - it just took 30 years for me to realise that was the career I needed to keep me motivated and performing. Until then I was an entirely average employee at best - always progressing within the organisations I worked for - but never really applying myself (or really being that passionate about it)."

bigquotesNothing but good things to say about Bird’s customer service and of course the unbeatable value for money

"To cut a 36-year-old story short, in 2017 I was looking to set up a small bike business, working from home, carrying out mobile repairs and I really wanted to offer Bird demo bikes which was something Bird was known for doing but had no presence in Scotland. I initiated the relationship with Bird by contacting Ben, who I knew of through my good friend and neighbour Chris. He had nothing but good things to say about Bird’s customer service and of course the unbeatable value for money (seeing as he’s a tight farmer - I thought THESE GUYS MUST BE GOOD!). Fast forward 5 years and here we are, I’ve been all over the country working at events alongside Bird, attending races with and without a number board (we’ve even had some good results along the way), running demos, providing customer service support, testing prototypes and the very glamourous role of ‘labelling boxes in the new warehouse’."

"Our businesses have grown together over the last 5 years and I guess subconsciously we’ve worked towards this point I guess. Ben and the team at Bird have been continually supportive of my ideas and how our shop should work and of course in April we opened ‘Bike Bothy Laggan’ together. The opening of Laggan lead to Ben and I having a conversation about our Pitfichie store (Bike Bothy Pitfichie) becoming jointly owned between us with the aim of taking me on full time to look after all things retail’, along with athlete support, having an input to events, marketing, bikes and much more."

Clark - Laggan Wolftrax. Photo © Ed Smith.

"Now that brings us to the present day - so where do we see the future of our business? It’s safe to say that the industry is constantly changing - we’ve seen huge highs and we are facing potentially deep lows as the market normalises itself post-pandemic. For us to stay buoyant we have to be dynamic - which as a small manufacturer, with low overheads and a flexible team we are in a great position to do."

"We will bolster our retail offering across our 4 sites, making us the manufacturer that will not only sell you the best bike in each price bracket but the manufacturer that can also service, maintain, upgrade and renew your bike as and when required. Also for the first time, we have started putting ‘stock bikes’ on our shop floors - whereas previously we built to order - which comes with a lead time. Previously with no ‘ride away today’ bikes we have maybe missed out on a bit of the market that has the desire to walk into a shop, choose their new bike and ride it the same day. The beauty of this is that we will still continue to offer the same great direct sales price and of course our award-winning customer service, but faster. We’ve always had a sticking point with going into retail as we didn’t want our bikes to be sold through just anyone - nor did we want to have to bump the prices up 30% to allow a dealer margin - we had to remain the best value money could buy while retaining that well-known customer service that first drove me to visit Ben back in 2017."

Bird co-founder, Ben Pinnick adds:

"Bringing Clark into the team as Head to Retail is a really important step for us. We're 100% confident that once a potential customer has ridden one of our bikes we'll be their preferred option. Getting bums on seats in these trailhead locations is key and Clark brings a wealth of knowledge to ensure our experiences are aligned across all our locations."
bigquotesGetting bums on seats in trailhead locations is keyBen

"Expect to see an increased presence at events throughout the UK too; whether that's races, demo events or bike festivals - the chances are we'll see you there."

"We look forward to seeing you in 2023. Whether that's at an event, a race or at one of our four locations - come and get immersed in the award-winning Bird Cycleworks customer service experience."

Author Info:
BirdBikes avatar

Member since Oct 12, 2017
5 articles

  • 7 2
 Nice one Clark - enjoy the new role and expanded collaboration.
Still loving my Aether 9c - local shop, great people & after sales support and excellent easy to demo bikes opportunity made decision to buy easy.
  • 3 0
 Happy to become one of the ‘Formal’ team. Thanks for the kind comments all.
  • 5 2
 Born near Swinley, I hail from the southern flock. I bought an Aeris mk1.5 in 2016 which was supposed to be my "bike for life" until Dan lent me the Aether 9C for a week. That is my current "bike for life" but Dan does have a habit of designing exceedingly good bikes, so until then this'll do nicely.

My kids both ride Zero 29s, which have made it into the Dirt Shed Show "Super-Nice" bike vault.

Bird = Super Nice Bikes for life. Get one.
  • 3 1
 At a time of so many bad news stories, it's great to hear a British bike company doing so well and partnering with another UK business to get the basics right... great products, at great prices, with great customer service... What more do you really need. Keep up the awesome work Ben and Clark!
  • 2 0
 Also a very happy Aether9 owner and wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again. They are seriously good bikes and even more so in this day and age of the ridiculously priced competition. I can't wait to see their new eeb coming soon.
  • 4 2
 No brand like bird, Its nice to ride local bikes, at local trails, built by people you know. My Aether 9 does everything and I could want out of a trail bike and more. SEND EVERYTHING! Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I love my Aether 9a from bird, I have been tempted by the new Aeris 9 though. My only issue is demoing in the North West, it’s either a long drive further North or heading South it would be nice having somewhere a bit closer - North wales or peaks?
  • 4 4
 My next bike will be a Bird but it'll be next year. Metal frames, external cables, threaded BB's, non-ridiculous prices. Everything that the big brands have left behind in the endless pursuit of new gimmicks. Sorry, don't know his name but the lad in the hut at Hamsterley is sound. He must be keen to sit in that thing all day, I hope he's on a bonus scheme!
  • 1 0
 Yeah it's awesome having that outlet there. He was super helpful when I just needed to do a quick lever bleed
  • 3 0
 Will you ever set up a EU distributor? The Brexit tax and customs hassle is putting off a lot of people, in my opinion...
  • 8 2
 Potentially. But as an interim measure to make it as easy as possible, we are now shipping build kits rather than full bikes - this reduces the duty (we absorb that cost), and we've now got shipping rates that include your local rate tax too - so everything is paid upfront for you. More details are available here: www.bird.bike/international-orders
  • 10 0
 This information is not good. For my bank account.
  • 3 0
 @BirdBikes: reading through the link, would it be possible (theoretically) to do a kit order without the components being prepared? I.e. steerer tube uncut, without cable outers at all, brakes with the factory hose length, etc.? Plus, would it be possible to add some more 'none' options with the components?

Case in point, I've been saying the AM9 will be with me for the 5th season (2023), but the allure of the Aeris 9 is not deniable. If I were to go for the Aeris 9, I for example wouldn't need a wheelset as I have 2 sets of wheels for my AM9 and would reuse one for the Aeris 9.
  • 5 1
 @Primoz: drop us an email to info@bird.bike with what you'd like and I'm sure we can work something out.
  • 3 0
 Love my AM9 and will hopefully get a Forge when they’re back in stock. Great support/community.
  • 3 0
 I'm happy I was able to get my order in before covid and brexit, cause I do enjoy my am9
  • 2 2
 What a way to go well done to everyone at Bird , from Dan - Ben and everyone else along the way 10 years is a fantastic milestone achieved by working hard , designing fantastic bikes and offering the best customer service ever . I love my AM9 and in all fairness most of our riding group are all on Birds . Lets see you reach another 10 years
  • 2 0
 How come this isn't coming up on the main page?

I've had my aether 7 for 18 months now and absolutely love it. And 10/10 customer service
  • 1 0
 Yeah it only just appeared for me too. Weird. I'd seen it linked from Facebook though.
  • 1 0
 There's a schedule for these things. It's not Facebook
  • 1 0
 Amazing bikes and amazing service from these guys. Bought the original bird zero hardtail tr and it's still going strong to this day. Warranty support was outstanding.
  • 3 0
 Lick of paint on that chipboard wouldn't be a bad thing
  • 1 0
 Every bike brand does their stuff on the cheap in the UK go to any show and it looks like an unfinished carpentry class
  • 1 3
 I rode a Bird Zero AM for a few years until a crack developed (Bird sent me a new frame no questions asked) and I decided it was time for a full sus. At the time the Aether 7 frame was out of stock so I ended up getting a Nukeproof Reactor 275 carbon frame. Not a bad frame aside from the creaking within weeks, but I really wish the Aether had been in stock…
  • 1 0
 rode both the aether is so quicker if you like getting fast up and down Smile
  • 1 0
 Got the new aeris 9 and it's amazing. First ever bird bike. Quality of frame and paint is better than my Santa Cruz was
  • 1 0
 Looking forward to seeing the ebike offering, the ethic.
  • 1 0
 Great to see you on board Clark! Good times ahead! Great bikes!
  • 1 0
 Shame they don't do a 27.5 bike anymore Frown
  • 1 0
 Were still doing the aether 7!
  • 12 15
 One of Birds vans overtook us way too close at high speed while we were on a road on Mtbs - almost hit my wife and clipped my arm. Really dodgy driving with no other traffic about. Needless to say I won’t be a customer.
  • 6 0
 We don't have any branded vans for security reasons, although we do have a couple of partner businesses who have our logos on theirs alongside their own. Was it a 'Bird' van or someone else's with our logo on it so I can look into it?
  • 6 1
 Also... Hope you're ok. Sorry to hear you had an incident. Let me know the details and we'll look into it.

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