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Revel Bikes making headlines for growth, expansion, innovation

Published April 21, 2023

A version of this article ran in the April 2023 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News

CARBONDALE, Colo. (BRAIN) — Adam Miller had just returned from the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival in early March when the Revel Bikes owner and CEO reflected on the visit.

"It was really enlightening," Miller said. "There were a lot of industry people there this year. It was cool how positive people were: 'Wow, Revel is making these great moves, and it's great to see you growing, even though things are so challenging.'"

Among difficult times and negative headlines in the industry — layoffs, bankruptcies and dismal earnings reports among them — Revel Bikes has been an exception. Check the recent BRAIN headlines:

"It was only a couple years ago that everyone's question at these events was, "What is Revel Bikes?'" Miller said.

More know now that it has grown quickly into a 4-year-old full-suspension mountain bike and titanium gravel bike manufacturer that experienced a 35% sales growth in the past year, while expanding its workforce to 32 employees in Carbondale. It has five employees at the new assembly and component sourcing location in Taichung, which opened in February.

"We're just big enough and mature to have the right financing and systems in place, and small enough that we can be really nimble, so I feel very fortunate," Miller said. "We're still just building our brand, so even if the overall industry is seeing a downturn, we're still able to grow. I'd say it made our business grow up by probably 10 years by being forced to learn about supply chain and planning ahead."

'Invest smartly'

He also credits his business partners for being financially strong to continue investing despite the current headwinds. "Who knows how long this downturn will be, but my goal is to continue to invest smartly. We're being cautious."

Establishing the Taichung office was a goal Miller pursued since Revel's inception and he said it's a key in establishing the brand long term. Before the office opened, Miller said he worked with two employees there for quality control and factory visits. Revel contracts with three manufacturing factories in China and two in Vietnam.

"This is the ticket for having the supply chain and logistics and back end business side of things really dialed," Miller said. "This is the ticket to everything from continuing to make the best products we can, to making every possible improvement with those products, and working more closely with the suppliers — not just carbon frames, but also bearings and bolts and rubber protectors."

An added benefit, Miller noted, was the ability to ship internationally at more reasonable prices, making Revel more of an international brand. Revel hopes to ship complete bikes to international distributors by 2024. In the longer term, because of better production efficiency, the Taichung footprint potentially could help reduce overall product pricing.

While domestic manufacturing gains more momentum, Miller said that for Revel to make the best bikes possible, manufacturing overseas is the best current option. All products are engineered and designed in Carbondale.

"We design and create our products and partner with manufacturers to make the best products as long as people are treated well and proud of what they make," he said. "I could care less if that's Utah or Colorado, California, China, Taiwan, or Vietnam. I'm not running for office; it's not a political thing. My job is to make the best bikes. We're exploring manufacturing in all places, but at the end of the day, Taiwan is the epicenter of the bike industry, and if we want to make the best bikes, having an office and location there in addition to our main headquarters in Colorado is how we're going to do it."

The second newsworthy nugget coming from Revel a week later, involved sister brand Why Cycles combining under the Revel name. Both brands were started at the same time, with Miller saying Why Cycles was a "passion project" due to a love of titanium.

"I thought traditionally titanium dropbar bikes appealed to a very different customer than an enduro, long-travel full-suspension bike. But I think as our industry has grown and changed, there are a lot of other people like us who like riding all kinds of different bikes, so we said it's more authentic. We are people obsessed with building all kinds of different bikes, so let's make it all one brand and work cohesively and make it way more simple for customers, dealers and distributors to have one brand with multiple bikes."

An even bigger benefit for the customer is lower-priced titanium frames, by $500, because of what Miller said are added production efficiencies. The frame have a lifetime warranty.

A bike of different dimensions

Although Revel's carbon and titanium are manufactured through the tried and true process, Miller continues to invest in product development.

Like 3D-printed carbon fiber.

In mid-March, Revel released a prototype, The Rodeo, which it says is the world's first fully 3D-printed carbon fiber downhill bike. Miller, CBF suspension inventor Chris Canfield, and Revel Senior Engineer Jordan Haffener were the designers and spearheaded the project. The frame was manufactured in partnership with Arevo Inc. in Milpitas, California.

"It has the potential to be wildly important, dare I say, the most important thing from a manufacturing standpoint in the bike industry," Miller said, "but in the future. There still needs to be more innovation to make this a real, practical way to make bikes. But our goal as a company is to constantly explore these opportunities and innovate as much as possible, and this technology shows massive promise for the future of how we make bikes."

Plenty of innovation also went into Revel's carbon wheels. They are manufactured from RW30 FusionFiber, a thermoplastic engineering process developed by CSS Composites in Gunnison, Utah. It's done without requiring epoxy, a process that results in a rim that's not only more durable and lighter than most, but also recyclable, according to Revel.

The future of Revel includes more than just innovation. It's also working to expand a network of 125 retailers. Revel models also are available direct-to-consumer, but Miller said the majority of sales are through retailers.

"Investing in things like the Taiwan facility, investing in new product development, investing in people, I like building a business," said Miller, who welcomed Coates to his team in April. Coates has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, previously serving as a director for POC and Trek. In his new role, Coates will lead company operations, drive strategic initiatives, and expand Revel's reach in the industry.

Sea Otter 2023 photo by Robert DeBerry Photography.
Topics associated with this article: From the Magazine

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