TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) ― Sharing the same birthplace in California's Marin County, WTB and mountain biking are, in many ways, childhood best friends. As the sport has matured over the past 30 years, WTB has been by its side, creating the first components specifically for riding on dirt―in an era when mountain bikes were cobbled together with whatever the first riders could find.
“Since 1982, WTB has had a number of firsts and is an industry leader. We created the first mountain bike rim and tire, and the original 29er tire,” said WTB's Patrick Seidler. “I'm proud of the things we've done.”
Today, WTB continues to specialize in the off-road market with its line of rims and tires that includes all three wheel sizes, 26-inch, 29er and 27.5, as well as saddles available in three different widths. And even though WTB has grown into a global enterprise, its small size helps keep it nimble enough to respond to consumer demand.
“We don't have a long lead time, like the bigger companies do,” said Daniel Carruthers, a WTB spokesperson. “So we can react and respond to what customers are asking for, such as keeping the 26-inch tires and rims in the lineup when a lot of other companies are phasing them out.”
As WTB continues to grow, both Europe and China are markets on its radar. The company has three offices in China, and sees potential to serve its growing middle class. “People in China are buying bikes. It produces around 80 million bikes per year and exports 50 million,” said Seidler. “So there is a big domestic market.”
Seidler credited Giant's King Liu for playing a significant role in influencing the shift in how the Chinese regard the bicycle. "There is growth in the leisure market in China, and Asia, for sure," he said. "People are riding there recreationally more than ever before."
After 31 years in business, Seidler said that besides continuously innovating to meet market demands, a key to WTB's success is its dedicated team, which is currently made up of 68 employees. "Many of us have worked together here for 20 years plus," he said. "Through good times and bad, we have a cohesive and strong global group that has what it takes to work together well. We have all the components and a great strategy in place to build a strong global company."