Big changes are afoot down in Temecula, CA. Andrew Herrick, who previously worked for Crankbrothers, joined Intense Cycles 4 years ago to give Jeff Steber more time to focus on design work. Now Jeff, the founder of Intense, is returning as the face of the company rather than working behind the scenes as the Creative Director. Intense recently launched a direct-to-customer sale program
We reached out to Jeff for some more insight.
Hey Jeff, what was the catalyst for this change in leadership?
JS: Over the last few years I’ve been working behind the scenes at Intense. When I stepped away from running the show it was because I recognized that I needed experts to help on the business side. We needed to transition to carbon, evolve the business model, and strengthen our business structure. With that said, there was always a timeline on rebuilding those foundational elements and then stepping back into this role.
In the past I’ve struggled juggling too much as a jack-of-all-trades, and having someone like Andrew be a key architect of our shift to our B2B/B2C “Rider Direct” business model was critical.
Along the way I’ve learned a lot, and I believe that to take Intense’s brand to the next level I need to be back in the driver’s seat. I need to be giving it 150%, all of my energy, to capitalize on the sweat equity that we’ve invested into this company.
So what does this mean for the company and its direction?
JS: Rider Direct is one part of the equation and me retaking the reins as CEO is another, but the third is evolving our lineup to capitalize on those changes. Over the next year we’ll be announcing model changes to better fit the new sales model.
We think Rider Direct is a big deal. In some ways it throws back to the early days when I was welding and selling directly to people, but it’s also been great for dealers and consumers. Pricing is more competitive without having to compromise on the brand’s quality. We assume more risk on inventory, which is great for shops that are often forced to carry too much product from other brands and then have to take major discounts. Low minimums, more choice, better inventory management, etc., it’s great for dealers that get it. The flexibility of the system makes it futureproof, we hope.
Core North American brands have been a hard sell for shops recently, in part because of our reluctance to jump into the eMTB fray. European brands and shops have gotten a serious boost from that business. Before you ask, yes we’re always considering new opportunities.
So that’s the long-and-short of it. Ultimately I’m doing this because I’m passionate about it. I’m lucky to have a job like this, and I love driving this thing forward. From here we’re going to keep pushing, fully implement our new business model, and realign our offerings to take advantage of it.PRESS RELEASE: Intense Cycles
After a number of years of growth and product development, Jeff Steber, Founder and Principle share holder announced today he is returning to the position of CEO of Intense Cycles. “As we have now moved into the Rider-Direct business model, it has become more important to me to ensure we reinforce the core authentic roots that made the iconic Intense brand. I have a renewed focus to lead the brand to fulfill its promise and retain the position as a true innovator and disruptor in Mountain Biking”, says Steber. “In making this change, I want to thank Andrew Herrick for his time and efforts to grow Intense and the Intense brand” says Steber. "I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Intense has an aggressive agenda planned for 2018 that is centered around the brand’s foundation. Racing programs and R&D projects will be the key focus for immediate and future initiatives, as well a renewed investment into cultivating and supporting dealers and riders who embrace the philosophy of “Intense For Life.”
With Intense Factory Racing’s bold return to the forefront of DH racing in 2017, Intense is looking forward to a highly-anticipated race season. The team makes its first stop at Crankworx Round #1 in April where IFR front-man, Jack Moir will fight to defend his reign as Downhill gold medalist in Rotorua. IFR will compete in all Crankworx and UCI World Cup events and continue to test and prove the bikes at the pinnacle of the sport.
Intense also plans the addition new models this year and will continue to develop and refine existing models in the lineup. “One of the projects that we are most passionate about, the M29, will be ridden by all the IFR team members this year, and we are excited to release that model for production later this spring,” says Steber.
The M29, as with all Intense bikes, will be available through Intense Rider-Direct, which is an initiative announced in December. Intense continues to promote and grow this direct-sales hybrid program and is committed to supporting both independent bike shops and the new Rider-Direct program, providing purchasing options and great service to riders while keeping independent bike shops included in the commerce chain.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Intense Cycles. “As a brand, we’ve been around long enough to see some ups and downs.” says Steber. “I have gained valuable experience, and it has become clear to me the qualities that make Intense exceptional. In these areas, I will not compromise. I am excited to be back behind the wheel and looking forward to steering the brand for years and decades to come.”
Intense Cycles, Founded in 1993, is an innovator in the MTB industry with bold, striking designs, engineered to compete at the pinnacle of the sport. We are driven to bring world-cup proven technology to passionate riders worldwide. Racing is our True North. We are Intense.