by Jamie Ware
May 27, 2014
This week, we’re revisiting: Rule 5 Bikes
This week we’re taking a closer look at Rule 5 Bikes, who opened their doors to the public nearly a year ago. Quickly building a reputation in providing first class service in and around Brighton and Hove’s active riding community, Paul Hambridge talks us through the first year of full-time-bike-fettling…
It’s been a crazy busy first year (already!) Paul. Apart from the obvious… we’re all a year wiser, what’s changed in the last year?
Well mainly the shop itself, when we first spoke to you guys the place was pretty much just a shell. Now it really feels ‘lived in’. Stock is at a good level and we’ve gained a few extra brands to boot. The workshop is packed with almost all the tools I’ve dreamed of so I’m confident to say we can service and repair almost everything. Aesthetically the place has come on a lot too, we’ve got some artwork coming in for the walls and we recently had a (Omega Pharma) Quickstep laminate floor put in!
What about this new wheel size?
Most of the customers seem to be keen on 29in round here, being on the South Downs it’s about covering ground and 29ers handle that well. We’re just down the road from Kinesis UK headquarters at Upgrade bikes and there’s rumblings about new models from them so we’ll see. We’d like to see a lightweight racey 29er – something that could dispatch the South Downs way in seconds. For a lot of our customers it’s not the diameter of the wheel but the width, with a fair few people riding ‘cross bikes over the winter to cope with the thick mud we get round this way.
Did the awful winter effected your riding, or is that now a distant memory?
Winter riding was mostly done on the road bike this year. Running this place myself has taken up a lot of my time so a quick spin on the tarmac with no bike cleaning afterwards has been the reality of late. The local trails are drying out nicely, so we’ll be hitting the dirt at some point soon.
What’s hot in-store?
Hot on the shelves at the moment is our range of new Giro products, we’re carrying six different models of road and mountain bike shoes, including the Terraduro, perfect for oh-so-on-trend enduro riding with Vibram sole and stealthy black design. We’ve also got stock of lids, socks and gloves, which are some of the best I’ve ridden in. You can’t forget the little things and Birzman tools and pumps have proven popular. By the time this is out we’ll also have stock of the Ass Saver mudguards for the changeable summer months we have ahead.
Retracing some steps, what on earth possessed you to open a bike shop anyway?
I’ve worked in numerous shops and it’s always easy to pick holes in the way someone else is doing something. I decided it was time to put my (borrowed) money where my mouth was and give it a go myself. It’s been pretty hard but so rewarding. Everything in the shop has been chosen because I’ve used it or it’s been ridden or worn by riding friends who’ve given it their seal of approval. Having confidence in what you’re selling really helps in this trade as you know exactly what the stuff will end up going through.
What product line would you hate to lose from the shop?
Endura clothing, we get the odd comment about some of its aesthetics but it just works! Whether it’s road or MTB the guys have got it covered and it just sells itself.
What bike in the store do you secretly lust after?
I don’t think it’s much of a secret amongst the customers that I’m pretty keen on road and CX bikes, but people may not know how much I go on about steel frames and how nice they are. I’m also quite keen to get a carbon bike. We’ve just taken delivery of new brand Orro and their Shimano Ultegra equipped carbon bike is looking pretty tempting. Otherwise, with Kinesis up the road we often get their staff bikes in for fettling too…
How do you compete against the big onliners?
In short, being nice – we know the online shops can kill it on price points but they can’t give you the after sales care that an independent can. We’ve taken this one step further by offering free servicing on every Kinesis bike we sell for the lifetime of the bike.
What brand of tea bags do you use?
Being southern I’m ashamed to say I conform to the stereotype of drinking Earl Grey, but not with a slice of lemon! Sainsburys or Twinings for definite. Stay in touch on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more of our tea drinking (and bike related!) news.
Lastly, remind us, what do our Subscribers get from you guys?
Singletrack subscribers get 15% off parts and 10% off accessories. We also do lifetime free servicing on Kinesis bikes.
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