Colin Levitch sat down with Robbie McNaughton, owner of Drift Bikes, to talk about mountain bike videos, Specialized bikes and the importance of your local bike shop
What makes your shop unique?
Our shop actually started to pay the bills for our wholesale film production business. Our whole company started out making mountain bike films, and moved into distribution of other peoples films. At one point we were the largest distributor of mountain bike films in the country. We were making films internationally and ended up meeting a lot of the other producers and formed business relationships with them. That business was booming and we needed a bigger space. The other side of it was I was riding mountain bikes at the national level and I was getting all of my gear from Bike Addiction in Manly. Locally, on pretty much every ride I would go on, people were asking me where I got my gear. I saw a gap in the market so I started my own shop with my long term business partner, Josh Stephenson. At first we just wanted to sell parts, we didn’t plan to work on bikes or even sell complete bikes but the demand for us working on bikes was huge and now the service side of our business is paramount.
What is your best selling bike and why?
Our best selling mountain bike is the Specialized Camber, purely because it is the 50/50 bike. It’s a trail bike, it can be a race bike, and it can do virtually anything within reason to allow someone to just have one bike. The best selling road bike is the Specialized Tarmac. In terms of handling and road feel it is just beautiful which is why it’s so successful.
What is the most frequently asked question you get at Drift Bikes?
Sadly its what’s your best price, and we work very hard to marry up the retail price with what the customer has access to; things like a very heavy social ride calendar, as well as workmanship. In our workshop we have Brad Kelly who has 20 years racing experience and is the winningest NSW state downhill rider. Also every bike that goes out the door comes with a set up, whether it is a $400 or $14,000 bike. No one has the chance of taking the bike home and the seat being too low or the pressures in the forks not being correct, everyone is set up.
What is your best tip for customers?
I think be really up front about what your needs are, because then we can help you find the bike that will perform the best for you. It’s hard for us to give advice on a bike if we don’t know what is expected. The bike shop should be there to help you no matter how small the problem or question, that’s why it’s a bike shop not an online store.
What are you the most proud of at Drift Bikes?
We have been able to build a business that has lasted for over 10 years and has a community feel about it. In the shop it is like a Seinfeld episode every day, and finally we have set up our business so the clientele we deal with are aware that we are trying to offer the highest level of expertise. We haven’t so much set up the business on price we have put it around peoples needs and that way you end up dealing with someone you can help, rather that someone who just wants to help themselves.
Phone: (02) 49 242 600
Address: 2/47 Northcott Drive
KOTARA NSW 2289