Little Rider Co 'Industry Inspiration' Interview Series - PREVELO BIKES
Little Rider Co are on a mission to inspire more kids to ride from a younger age. We love working with like minded people and brands in the industry to support our next generation of riders.
The team will be carrying out industry interviews with people, brands and companies that are making a positive impact across the kids 2 wheel scene.
We are working hard to bring you the leading innovators in the space.
First up, its our friends from Prevelo Bikes. We caught up with Jacob one of the founders of the family founded bike brand based in the US.
Tell us about Prevelo and WHY you do what you do?
We’re 100% focused on kids bikes. We’re a bike business run by a family that loves making kids bikes. I do it because I love it. I love designing and building bikes. I love connecting with parents, and sharing their joy in watching their kids ride. I love that it’s wholesome. I love that my kids can come into the shop and see what we do. I’m really grateful to be able to do this for a living.
What is a typical day in the life look like at Prevelo?
We’re a really small operation. Our shop has a small office area where we do computer stuff, a warehouse area where we store bikes, and a workshop area where we prep and tune bikes before shipping them (it doubles as our R&D workshop). Most days there are just two of us in the shop, me and Jim Huth. Jim is the unsung hero at Prevelo. He handles so much of the workload that I have time to do things like answer interview questions for the internet.
What are your goals for Prevelo?
I’m always looking for ways to improve our bikes. That’s not really a goal. It’s just part of our DNA to always be thinking about product improvement. We work on it daily.
I’d also like us to get better at the direct to consumer part of the business. I think a lot of parents are still wary of purchasing a bike online. We try our best to make this process smooth. We offer online tools to help make sure parents can properly fit a bike without having their kid sit on it. We prep and tune every bike so that parents don’t need to worry about adjusting brakes or headsets. And we try to make assembly as simple as possible. But there’s still work to be done to make the entire online bike buying experience easier and less intimidating to more parents.
What impact would you like to make on kids cycling, and how do you see the future?
I suspect that everyone who is taking the time to read this wants to see more kids on bikes. There are a lot of people working hard to get more kids riding: parents, grandparents, trail building organizations, coaches, track operators, local and national bicycle advocates, and lots of my colleagues in the industry. I’m proud to be a part of that movement.
Where do you take your inspiration from? Who inspires you in the industry?
I was a child of the 1980’s. I think everyone holds the decade that they grew up in in special regard. But I think the 1980’s was a special moment for kids and bikes. Kids and bikes held a certain cultural significance. It was the decade of the rise of BMX racing. It was also a time when heros in movies were kids on bikes.
I’ve been really lucky to work with some of the members of the industry that drove the evolution of the bicycle during that era. In particular, Prevelo’s first product manager, Brad Hughes. Brad has worked in the bike industry since before I learned to ride. He worked at the factory in Chicago that built the bike I learned to ride on. And he designed the bike I rode to and from school during my elementary school years - a 1986 Schwinn Predator.
I met Brad in 2016 when Prevelo was still a concept. He ended up working with me for 3 years. I consider him a mentor. He taught me how to make bikes. He taught me about the business of making bikes. But more importantly, he inspired in me a passion and respect for the product, the process, the business, and the people in the industry.
Brad inspired me twice in my life. When I was a child he built the bikes that I rode – bikes that I fell in love with riding on. Then over 3 decades later when I wanted to make my own bikes, he taught me how to do it. Thank you Brad!
What goes into the research when developing your bikes?
Like most companies we do things like design frames and proprietary parts in 3D CAD, draft spec sheets, test fit parts, conduct fatigue and strength testing, and then do lots of field testing with kids.
We spend a lot of time listening to people. I personally try to talk with moms, dads and coaches about bikes as much as I can. Many of our product improvements over the past 3 years have stemmed from these conversations. Sometimes these conversations lead to incremental improvements, things like speccing a different stem length. Sometimes they lead to ideas for products that are entirely new – like a 16” hard tail trail bike with a purpose built 16” air fork.
What's next for Prevelo?
We're always working on our product. As our little company grows, most custom made components come within our reach. We're going to use that capability to continue to refine our product to be centered around young riders. Also, our Keurig coffee maker is pretty much finished. We're thinking of stepping up to pour over coffee in 2020.
How can people find out more about your work and Prevelo?
You can always come and visit us in Temecula (in the post social distancing era).
We have really good taco shops nearby.