PERSONALITY: A CONVERSATION
WITH DANIEL LIMBURG –
THE GUY RESPONSIBLE FOR
PIVOT CYCLE'S INVASION ON THIS PLANET
WORKING THE DREAM WHILE GETTING
THE WORLD ONTO MOUNTAIN BIKES
Ever dreamt of living your own biker's fairy tale…? One that starts something like this; boy starts working at a local bike shop during the school vacations, hoping to work his way towards a bike he spotted at the shop. Boy worked hard, and eventually became one of the top guns in a leading and successful bicycle brand. Such is the inspiring story of Daniel Limburg, the Terrestrial Sales Manager for Pivot Cycles. What "Terrestrial Sales" actually means is that Daniel is just about in charge of everything under Pivot Cycles' sales as long as it's happening on this planet. Oh and on thinking deeper, this doesn't sound too much like a typical fairy tale, more like a boy's childhood ambition came true and gone way heavier than expected. And just how heavy is the work of Pivot Cycle's Terrestrial Main Man? We got Daniel to tell us.
Hi Daniel, Please tell us laymen what is your role in Pivot Cycles?
I am the global sales manager. I manage Pivot’s domestic and international sales. I also analyze our sales figures and do forecasting for Pivot’s sales in various regions of the world. That means if you order a bike and the shipment is late – that would be me.
What kind of influence does the sales team at Pivot have when it comes to bike design, production, component specifications etc?
We have a design and engineering team that works very closely with Chris Cocalis, CEO of Pivot Cycles. The designs of the bikes would usually be presented to the sales team and we get to pick the designs that we like, along with the colours we feel would be marketable. Sometimes we even get to choose the names of the bikes. I got to choose the names of a few bike models; Vault and Point. At Pivot, everyone gets a say on bike matters. We work collectively together and as a sale team, our choices and opinions regarding design, colours and even geometry are backed by various data and information we collect from our dealers and users from all over the world.
What are the processes Pivot takes to produce a new bike?
It takes about 2 years. First of all, we have to proof the concept and make sure there is a need and a market for a new design. In the US, we do all the prototyping in aluminum. We would build a couple of options to figure out the best geometry by various forms of testing. Once that is done, engineering would take over to build the moulds for carbon production. This would generally take a year. After which, we would test various samples of the bike to achieve the amount of stiffness, leverage ratios and the standards that we want to meet. Our factory riders also have a big influence on production bikes in terms of material, stiffness, geometry and the components we use on our bikes. We also work very closely with our partners, namely Shimano and Fox to ensure we get the best out of their products for our bikes. After all the fine tweaking, our customers in the US would then see the final production bike.
What is a typical day in Pivot like?
Well, a lot of high fives. In Pivot, we still hold on the ‘small company’ feel. Everyone knows each other well and we all get along and we are all equally interested in the greater good of the company. We always want to improve. When you love your job, it's just so difficult not to be passionate about it. As for me, I pretty much check my emails every moment I am awake. Being in global sales, I talk to the guys in Asia, Australia after work hours sometimes.
Does everyone at Pivot ride?
Yes! We have what we call "Awesome Wednesdays". We try to ride together every Wednesday. Many Pivot staff members’ meet as groups in the mornings, and on the weekends to ride together. We have showers at work to facilite that. And the cool thing about Pivot is that everyone rides bikes. Usually before we employ a new guy, we would always ask them; "mountain or road". And being forgiving guys that we are at Pivot, we would teach them to ride mountain if they ride road.
How does Pivot differentiate itself from the other bike brands?
We are a rider-owned company and we are performance driven. We are passionate about delivering bikes not just to answer the needs of the market. We want to answer them in a better way. Our bikes ride differently not just because of the DW-link. Our frames are stiffer than our competitors, our suspensions are fully active and they react well to braking, pedal efficiency etc.
Tell us your thoughts about plus bikes.
Plus bikes are here to stay. Being a new format, the market is going to continue defining itself in terms of components and geometry. One thing you can be assured is that all of our bikes will provide more fun and they will continue to amaze you by outperforming its specifications on paper. For example, our Mach6 with 155mm of rear travel can climb better than many bikes with much lesser rear travel. We are also working with various partners to get the suitable components spec-ed on our complete bikes with 27.5 plus wheels.
Please share with us on some of the community projects that Pivot Cycle is involved in.
Pivot Cycles has a lot of interest in promoting mountain biking to the high school students and had been supporting the sport in the US. In fact, Pivot Cycles is the founding sponsor for the Arizona High School Mountain Biking League (part of NICA – National Interscholastic Cycling Association), and they have donated 45 bikes over the last 2 years. (Ed: And they are Pivot Mach4s!) The main objective of this association is to get the kids to get off their electronics and onto the great outdoors.
How, in your opinion, could we start a similar movement in Singapore?
There are no fool proof ways, but it's a good way to start with family fun rides or family relay races. The idea is to get the family to be involved. We have this event called the Poker Run which involve the whole family to ride in search of check-points where they would pick up poker cards. The team who eventually get the best hand of poker cards wins. This race is not about being the fastest, but more like getting the family to have fun and do things together. In Minnesota, the locals organize a XC & Children Race every Wednesday throughout Summer. What started out with only 75 particpants grew to a crowd of 900 with 250 racers! Events like this help promote family activites and get the kids outdoors and a higher likelihood of them loving mountain biking. I would suggest a family event where there are events cater for kids as well as the adults. Short roundabout loops for the kids, 2 km ones for the older ones and full XC loops for the adults. And having a carnival of sort will alwsys pull in the crowd.
Special thanks to Tan Jialong from Tiong Hin for the meet and ride with Daniel at our local trail. Amongst the stoked and happy riding group, one of our writers was especially star-struck to be able to talk about Pivot Cycles with Daniel. (Yes, he is a die-hard Pivot Cycle fan and owns a few Pivot bikes)