This month we talked to Cane Creek. Cane Creek Cycling Components has been shaping the cycling industry for nearly 3 decades andthey are proud to call Pisgah National Forest home. As an employee-owned company, they set the highest of expectations for ourselves when they bring a product to market, sustained by premium customer service and interactions.
1. Cane Creek has some iconic roots in the outdoor industry. Tell us the story of how Cane Creek came to be?
Dia-Compe was a bicycle brake manufacturer in Japan that was started in the 1930’s. They opened their Fletcher, NC and facility in 1975. In 1992 it was renamed Dia-Compe USA and in 1995 it became Cane Creek. Beginning with the AD-4 shock, we began introducing products designed, developed and made in the USA. In 1998, an ESOP was formed and purchased the company, and we remain employee owned to this day.
In 2016, we expanded to include all cycling components to the extent they incorporated our DNA of: authenticity, craftsmanship, alternative.
Our most recent launch is our Tigon shock which combines the best of an Air Shock with the best of a Coil Shock. It has been nominated for Suspension Product of the Year and also for Innovation Product of the Year by Pinkbike, which is a pretty big deal for us.
2. What drew Cane Creek to be a part of the Outdoor Business Alliance?
When the OBA was the Outdoor Gear Builders, it made sense for us to become involved as we design and assemble gear for use in the outdoors here in NC. As the transition happened and OGB became OBA, it became apparent to us that we are a well-established, long-term outdoor company that can benefit both from listening to others and also by sharing with others what we have been through, what we do, and what we know as a company that has had major successes and failures.
3. Cane Creek has been shaping the cycling industry for many years, you also focus on community outreach and advocacy. Can you tell us more about that aspect of Cane Creek?
Prior to Covid, when Cane Creek got back on solid financial ground, we looked around and said, “we need to become more involved in our own backyard.” We then made a concerted effort to become involved with organizations and non-profits in our area that work to promote cycling, healthy lifestyles, more outdoor access and more diversity in the business of the outdoors and the access of outdoor spaces
We started with Asheville on Bikes and the Asheville Unpaved Initiative, Pisgah Area SORBA and the G5 Collective. We did trail work and adopted trails. We invited others such as Eric Cedeño-the Bicycle Nomad and Tour Divide Women’s Singlespeed Record Holder and all-around amazing human, Alexandera Houchin to tell their stories. In addition to their stories we also brought them to see the great work being done at ENO, Rockgeist and I9. We started Cane Creek University which brings in monthly speakers like Jeremy Hyatt, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle from the Eastern Band of Cherokee, and Matt Kirby from Catalyst Sports, to inform our employees of issues happening outside of their daily lives.
We stepped up to volunteer for committees in the People for Bikes organization and to participate on local boards such as SORBA and Dirt Skrrts. And we took a hard look at what we want to be, and while we are still a work in progress and changes do not happen over-night, we are convinced we are on the right path forward and look forward to what else we can accomplish in the coming years.
4. How is Cane Creek working with other members of the OBA?
Our biggest collaboration to date has been taking the ENO products with us to our events. Having their hammocks and chairs available to encourage event goers to hang out at our booths is a win-win for both of our companies
We have also invited potential Ambassadors from other parts of the country to come in and visit our facility, and then we organize with ENO, Rockgeist and I9 to get them in to tour their facilities as well. This way we can showcase what our corner of Western North Carolina is doing in the outdoor space. We are looking to expand the group into other members of the OBA in this coming year. We are also working with a new Ambassador that is sponsored by others in the OBA to do some cross marketing in the coming year. So stay tuned for that!