Steelwool bicycles was born in the spring of 2006 when Thom Johnson and Will Ficner, frustrated with the lack of quality steel bicycles, decided to do something about it – founding The Steelwool Bicycle Co., a company dedicated to making high quality, functional, stylish, steel bicycles.
It turns out that they weren’t the only ones who were looking for high quality steel bicycles. Almost instantly, Steelwool developed a loyal following – especially among very discerning cyclists – the employees of bicycle shops. Since 2006, steel bicycles have made a comeback. We at Steelwool like to think we had a little part of that – and Steelwool has continued to evolve along the way.
Steelwool now has a full prototype-making shop in house – giving us the ultimate control when developing new designs… and we test and refine our prototypes with the help of a dedicated group of cyclists on the Tall Tree/Steelwool race team to make sure that they meet our high expectations.
Our work with North American craftsmen has reminded us of our strengths. That led Steelwool to decide to produce all our products in North America – allowing us to make more innovative products in smaller numbers – helping our economy – giving jobs to our craftsmen – and letting us produce the ultimate bike for you!
“We hope you enjoy our bikes as much as we do.”
More About Steel Wool Bikes
How to sell steel
While most of you are well versed in techniques for selling steel bikes we thought we would put together a small sample of some techniques that have helped us sell steel in a world where carbon is often seen as king.
Customers’ Intended use
Just because a potential customer comes into the shop and says they want a carbon bike doesn’t mean it’s the best possible bike for them. Ask them what their intended use is. If they want to commute to work go on longer weekend rides and hang with the fast riders in their local club steel can be a great option. Steel can handle more abuse and it has longer life span. It can handle falling over, scratches small dings etc. Carbon can’t. If you damage a carbon bike, you often have to throw it away.
It seems simple, but many people don’t think of the relatively disposable nature of a carbon bike. Many think that because it’s expensive and cutting edge, it must better in all respects. Once people are advised of the limitations that a carbon bike may have – for example it might only have a five year life expectancy – they may re-think the recommendation that they got from their Tri buddy.
Don’t sell steel against carbon, sell it as a compliment
For some time we felt we needed to justify the purchase of steel instead of carbon. Then one of our team racers made us think about what many serious riders actually do – and to see steel and carbon as complementary: you can have your carbon race bike for racing and/or fast short group rides, then grab your Steelwool for your Sunday epic. You can simplify things for the customer by saying: the carbon bike is like a scalpel, a specific tool for a specific job. The steel bike is more versatile, more like a multi-tool. Can you race it? Sure … and you can also bolt on fenders and go out for a full day of sloppy spring riding. A steel bike adds to your quiver of bikes – it’s not necessarily a replacement for something that you already have or that you might want as well.
Made in Canada
We have moved all our current production to Canada, and our goal, going forward, is to produce all of our products in North America. This includes the intention to source as many of the raw materials for these products as it is possible to secure from North American suppliers.
It’s a simple selling feature. Spending money on things made at home keeps the economy running. It creates jobs here, and it keeps jobs here. Not only is that hip, it makes sense – because we have the tools and the materials and the skills to make products that are second to none. … And as we protect and rebuild our own industries, our own economy will become more sustainable and we will get better value from our home-made high-quality products. Investing in our economy will mean a brighter future for us and for future generations of Canadians.