Well this might be something. Intense Cycles USA has announced a new management team and some new investors, and even though this is still a bicycle company, the names are familiar to those in the moto scene. Jon-Erik Burleson, former President of KTM North America, and Christy Lacruelle, who spent over a decade at KTM running departments such as the Orange Brigade amateur program, join up with Intense as part of their Two Wheeled Group consulting firm. Also, Ryan Dungey is on board as an investor, along with GEICO Honda co-owner Jeff Majkrzak.
You can read quite a bit about the Intense restructuring at the website Pink Bike, which some bicycle folks tell us is "The Racer X of mountain biking." We'll take it!
“Originally, Jeff asked me to do some consulting work,” said Burleson. “Then later I joined the board, where I basically worked to restructure the finances to give us a runway forwards. Now, it’s been almost exactly one year since we have been working on this project [Intense LLC].”
So, are there big changes in the works? Surprisingly not, which was refreshing to hear. Steber says that they are on a more conservative path that begins by executing their day to day business more efficiently and more importantly, focusing more sharply on Intense’s core customers.
You can read more from the story here.
What's interesting about the read—and the business challenge Intense will face—is trying to tie high-end downhill World Cup racing into actual sales for the company. Intense is, um, intense, because its core values are rooted in high-end racing. That doesn't always equate to recreational bike sales, though.
Says the Pink Bike story:
Translating podiums to purchases is not that simple. Nobody is making bank selling downhill bikes these days. If you had access to the numbers, you’d be surprised to discover how few DH bikes are sold annually compared to the millions spent on downhill racing. Race teams are advertising businesses, pure and simple. Winning is the job, but the purpose is to elevate brand awareness. For a bike sponsor, a World Cup DH team pays the bills by selling trail bikes – lots of them.
As for Dungey's presence, the world has been waiting to see what the four-time Monster Energy AMA Supercross champions next move would be after retiring from racing in May of 2017. Ryan and his wife recently announced they're having a baby boy, but we're going to guess that this recent investment in a bicycle company is not going to be his only new business venture. When we talked to Ryan last summer, he said that he and Burleson were working on a project based around the mindset of a champion. We'll see what comes next.
By the way, here's a plug for a podcast I did with Burleson last year. You'll learn a lot about the business of the industry in it.
Main image: Intense Cycles USA