Moots marks 40-year tradition of excellence in cycling industry
Employees inside the Moots Cycle production facility in Steamboat Springs work as a team, and they all take pride in the bicycles they produce. They’re carrying on a tradition that began when the company was founded 40 years ago.
So when the bikemaker was named best consumer brand at the Colorado Manufacturing Awards, it came as no surprise to the people who work for Moots or the customers who have come to love the company’s selection of mountain, road, cyclocross and gravel bicycles.
“We have never really gone into these things to go after awards. It’s just not our thing,” said Jon Cariveau, marketing, social media and brand spokesperson for Moots. “We just want to get recognized for building a high-quality product and for our craftsmanship. Our employees come to work every day with the mindset that we are going to build the best, and we know how to do it.”
That mindset helped Moots top a field of more than 40 finalists to win 1 of 14 awards handed out at the 2021 Colorado Manufacturing Awards, the largest presentation ever for the group. But more importantly, Cariveau said the award honors the Moots mindset.
Founder Kent Eriksen, who is now a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, started the company in 1980 with the first bike coming out the door in 1981.
Eriksen spent 25 years with the company, working with several partners before selling in 2000. He hung around for another five years before completely leaving the company in 2005 to start his own venture.
“They’ve had some good owners, and the new guy is committed,” Eriksen said. “They have also had some steadfast people that have stuck around, which kept it going. They have also been able to change with the times and have always made quality products. They’re really doing a great job with continuing down that path.”
Moots has built a solid reputation for its handmade titanium bikes and has been identified as a source for innovation in the bicycle industry since its inception. Today, the bike manufacturer has become a leader among the growing gravel bike community.
The company takes pride in its employees’ talents, including a crew of talented welders who turn bike frames into works of art, the machinist who creates the parts and the finish crew that handles all the final details.
The company also produces many of the titanium and aluminum parts that are used to build the bikes and has incorporated 3D printing to make some of the parts in-house to exact specifications, with consistent results.
“There are 28 of us here full time these days, and we are making about 1,000 bikes a year, “ Cariveau said. “Some years we make a few more, and some years a little less, but to be recognized outside of the bike industry as a manufacturer that’s had the wherewithal to withstand 40 years is pretty amazing.”
This has been a challenging year for businesses as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
When the pandemic hit last spring, Cariveau said Moots shut down its operations and waited to see what was to come. For a couple of months, sales declined as people tried to figure out how the pandemic was going to impact their lives.
Things turned around in May and June as people began buying more bikes across all price ranges. Cariveau said more people realized they could work from home, and it was easier to fit a ride into their schedules, and for some, this was a dream realized.
“I think some people started thinking of like, “Well, if this is the end of the world, I’m going to get my Moots this year,” Cariveau said.
The increased demand put pressure to get the production facility up and rolling again.
“We had planned to expand our production capacity a little bit, but this kind of forced our hand a little bit early,” Cariveau said. “We’ve increased our number of employees on the production floor, and when I say increase, it’s two to three more people.”
The one thing that has not changed, Cariveau said, is the expectations of the employees who craft the bikes, and the customers who are willing to wait for bikes to be delivered.
“Cyclists in general look up to Moots as kind of this aspirational brand,” Cariveau said. “The beautiful thing about Moots is it’s made right here. We’re not relying on overseas vendors or suppliers to send us our frames and then label them as Moots. They’re made right here in the building, so we have control over what we can deliver.”
He said the employees have also stepped up to keep the wheels turning.
“We’ve got a good plan in place, and I think we’re are doing a great job sticking to it,” Cariveau said. “We meet weekly and make small adjustments here and there, but hopefully, we can weather the storm and be around for another 40 years.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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