Race Face’s Demise – The Long, Sad Backstory

When a company is gearing up for what looks  to be one of their highest grossing years in history, you certainly don’t expect it to suddenly and unexpectedly shut their doors. Such was the case with Race Face, a pioneer in mountain bike components for years, and a well respected company within the industry and consumer market alike.

There’s always more to meet the eye, though, and our friends at NSMB.com have done a fine job of brushing the dirt from the cogs and, by all appearances, ended up with a polished turd. Check out their article here. It’ll be might interesting to see what comes of the brand and Mr. P.

Comments

plum - 04/05/11 - 2:39pm

LOL. They always told me no one gets rich in the bike business. I guess this guy was the exception, and we see how that works out.

stratosrally - 04/05/11 - 3:58pm

As much as I liked Race Face elbow & kneepads (among as well as their other MTB products), I will make it a point not to buy anything from Mr. P’s next company.

To be as selfish as he appears to have been and to have let the employees at Race Face down – especially in our current economy – is unforgiveable.

I guess it’s naive to think that someone involved with a great MTB company would act any differently than an automotive company CEO or oil baron or bank/insurance exec, blah-blah-blah…

topmounter - 04/05/11 - 4:10pm

Milk it dry for seed money, let it burn to the ground so you don’t have to worry about the old company competing and start a brand new company that focuses on the growth areas of the previous one.

Xris - 04/05/11 - 9:52pm

From what I remember last year or the year before they decide “Sure, lets sign up with MEC and nobody will really mind”. Well. Mountain Equipment Co-Op now had access and the license to sell low end parts and clothing to consumers on a chain store level. Huge numbers in parts and clothes would trickle and small shops would suffer the consequences, thus, they were banned pretty unanimously from the biking industry. Cycles Lambert promptly dropped Raceface and for months after we kept on getting emails from Race Face directly to become direct distributors again. *Many small shops got these emails* and I would imagine 99% of them said in more or less words “You made your bed, now lie down in it”. With such a great reputation behind them and to go to the chain stores like that, it was kind of a slap in the face for the little guys who carried raceface through everything from their humble beginnings. I’m sad they’re gone, I loved the look of Race Face components and the quality. I’m sad for the people who just up and lost their jobs because of greed. Sad story, but everyone saw it coming from a mile away as soon as they lost Canadian Distribution rights with Lambert.

mike - 04/06/11 - 12:19am

Xris-

Had a similar experience with MEC and distribution at a company I worked at. They sold us and undercut literally every dealer we had in Canada. One shop owner galvanized many other shop owners to stop carrying our product unless MEC sold it for more or didn’t sell it at all.

Richard - 04/07/11 - 3:58pm

It sounds like the original loan agreement was not properly drafted to account for relatively normal inventory cycles. This is what happens when companies enter into complicated transactions where the company is literally at stake but they dont take the time and expense to have the documents reviewed by competent legal counsel who it looking out for their interests. Based on this report, I have no doubt that all of this could have been avoided.

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