At Bespoke we combine world-class products, professionalism and
integrity with a level of customer service and support that is
unique in the industry. And we offer this to everyone, there are no
'secret handshakes' here. Whether you are a complete beginner, an
experienced sportive rider, an elite road racer, a Pro Triathlete
or a veteran of numerous Tour de France campaigns (and we have had
all these categories in the shop, sometimes at the same time) we
would love to help make your cycling dreams a reality.
I founded Bespoke 10 years ago because I had a very personal frustration with the ways bikes were bought and sold.
The traditional model is that bike shops are encouraged by manufacturers to make one huge annual pre-order, with all sorts of incentives to 'blind buy'. The terms they get on these bikes are attractive, but it creates an inherent conflict and tension between the shop and the customer; you are sold you what they have in stock (as depreciating inventory) instead of what you need.
Bike shops focus solely on the products (i.e. how light this frame is, their colours and specs) and not the rider (your personal contact points, the types of rides you do, any injuries we need to account for).
I felt the existing approach was wrong, and was sure others felt the same as me. So I created Bespoke to address this - in many ways Bespoke is very easy to run because I am its target customer!
I would only learn many years later, that a marketer would call this a 'Challenger story' - we were wanting to challenge and change the status quo. We had a missionary zeal to flip the model on its head and put the rider at the forefront of every decision.
Ten years on, we are still evangelical about looking after clients 'the right way'.
Cycling is booming, but we have a duty of care to make sure people who come into the sport enjoy it and realise their maximum potential. Discomfort on a bike is not normal or acceptable. Aches and pains do not need to be endured.
Buying a bike without getting a bike fit is wrong - I cannot believe bike shops sell bikes without a fit.
Paying for a fitting, when it should be free as part of the bike purchase, is wrong.
Have to buy additional contact points (bars, stem, etc.) to make your new bike fit you perfectly from the very beginning is wrong.
It's important to note our prices are no higher than the
manufacturer's suggested retail price.
Despite our intensive service offering, three London stores and expert staff, we don't inflate prices in a cynical attempt to make more margin.
We charge SRP, no more and no less.
Running three stores in central London is not for the faint-hearted, but we believe that "bricks and mortar" are just as important as online service when it comes to bikes. Customers visit us not just from around the country but from across the world to take advantage of our bike fit expertise.
You should not have to pay a premium for me to pay staff properly; that's a commercial decision we made. But I am a true believer that if staff are looked after and really buy into the culture of a business then they are happier, stay longer and look after customers better.
I am very proud that the majority of our staff have been here for many years - which is rare in London and especially rare in the bike trade which is infamous for its transient nature. The upshot for the customer is they know the fitter, the mechanic and the front of house staff that sold them the bike will be there to assist in the future.
The bike purchase is meant to be the start, and not the end, of the journey together!
Yes we sell the finest gear, but we are not snobbish. We are cyclists, and what we care about is fitting. Whatever bike you buy from us and whatever kind of rider you are you'll get the same level of care and attention to detail.
You have to make a choice: you cannot compete on service and price. We compete on service levels - but are not complacent - I believe this approach is the harder of the two to consistently deliver. But its infinitely more rewarding when you get it right.
Other (mainly online) retailers often discount aggressively at less than SRP. The fact that many of these online sellers are perpetually loss making makes me feel this is not a long-term strategy, but instead a short-term attempt to drive out competition and then increase pricing.
We buy from UK distributors and our parts are UK official stock in full retail packaging.
If something goes wrong, we will sort it out for you, and have an official distributor backup network to get you on the road as quickly as possible. We will often swap parts for you from our own personal stock, and sort out the warranty afterwards at our own exposure.
Ever wondered why some online groupsets are so cheap?
A number of reasons: Lots of cheap groupset deals out there -
some deals are done to attract clicks and then you find its not in
stock. Or it's in stock but with really bad combinations. Or all
the ancillary cables and batteries are not included, and once you
factor that in the deal is much less attractive than it
And once you have bought it you then need to install it on your bike - which is normally a £250-300 job for a mechanic (at Bespoke we do this free of charge for all parts bought from us).
Often these parts sold online are what is called 'grey market'. That means they are sourced globally and not from the official UK agent. Often you will get the parts and they will not come in official boxes, but instead in bags. That's because the groupsets were originally on a bike but were then taken off to be sold as spares.
It's important to note we are not claiming these grey parts are
fake. They are real.
But if you have a warranty issue, you are often on your own. Online sellers operating on wafer thin margins don't have much room in their cost models for 'after-care'.
What do we think of the rise of online-only brands?
The rise of direct-to-consumer brands (such as Canyon and Rose) is a noticeable trend over the last five years.
Traditional bike brands and bike retailers need to have a good hard look at themselves, because this rise is in the main driven not by the quality of D2C bikes, but instead how bad, on average, the normal bike buying experience is.
Going to a badly presented shop, "greeted' by ignorant or obnoxious staff, advised to buy an ill-fitting bike they have in stock is not fun!
Instead the purchase of a new bike should be a wonderful, tactile process. Modern bikes are very sophisticated things, one of our brands refers to its frames as "functional works of art".
Bikes are mechanically complicated and it's essential that they're sized and set up correctly. In fact I cannot think of many product categories less well suited to being bought off the internet than a modern bicycle.
D2C brands are challenging a status quo within the cycling industry, much as Bespoke are doing. From that perspective I welcome them. However I do have a significant criticism:
In all Canyon's literature they mention cutting out the bike shop and thus passing on savings direct to the customer - the unsubtle implication being that bike dealers are simply an indulgent cost base that can be removed with no downside.
But whereas Tesla in the car industry are a Challenger brand, they have invested heavily in after care (such as rolling out charging points). Canyon have not made that investment, and leave the customer to go and find a bike shop to sort out the various creaks and warranty issues that can occur (on any bike). So Canyon are not really cutting out the bike shops, they are simply delaying the customer interaction with a dealer.
And we find these bikes very hard to service, as parts (and the warranty procedure) is very patchy (again lean costs = less investment in after care). Its not that we don't like servicing D2C bikes, rather that we don't like having to manage the lead time expectations of a customer vs what we can guarantee with a (for instance) Trek or Cannondale customer.
Enough with the negativity…
Now we are not asking for your sympathy, nor are we asking you
to buy at SRP for no reason.
If our approach is fundamentally uncompetitive we will fail.
If our service levels and technical expertise does not justify our pricing we will fail.
It's as simple as that…
But I think we offer very tangible benefits to buying from us:
We work with the very best brands in the world, and are a
flagship dealer for most of them.
With the brands we've chosen we also insist on a relationship with their Global HQ, and the product designers who create the products we sell. This gives us an unrivalled insight into the performance and features of each and every product. And that's information we don't jealously hoard, but instead are delighted to share with our customers to help them make the best decisions for them.
Free bike fitting/adjusting of bike to make it truly 'Bespoke'
-Free initial bike fit:
When you buy a bike from us our exceptionally comprehensive fitting is Free Of Charge
-Free final fitting/handover:
When you collect your bike we spend a final 1hr with you and your bike in the fit room making sure the bike is perfect. Combined, the bike fit and follow up fit have a retail value of £400. On a £3000 bike that's a 13% saving on bike purchase price.
-Free parts swap
Parts are swapped FOC on a new bike purchase. On a £2500 bike, around £150 parts could be swapped - that's a 6% saving.
-Priority appointments for future bike fits
- Free build: If you buy parts from us, a service, bike build,
or installation (as applicable) is FOC.
- Free initial service post purchase.
- Priority appointments for bike servicing.
- Quick tune ups done free of charge: You have a big event on the weekend and have noticed that your gears are rubbing, or the brakes need adjusting, bring it down and we will sort it for you! These quick tune-ups are FOC to Bespoke customers.
Priority entry to Bespoke talks, evenings and events
One tangible perk of our flagship store status is that we regularly hold events - be it a talk from a frame builder or Olympian, or an evening preparing for the sportive season. These talks are booked up quickly. Bespoke customers get priority.
Priority entry to Bespoke Travel trips
Cycling in the Dolomites, Alps and Mallorca is better than cycling in London. Fact.
Our trips go to the various cycling meccas. To keep the quality and intimacy up, our group sizes are limited. Bespoke customers get access to trips first.
We genuinely want this to be a long-term relationship. We are not here for a quick, transactional sale. The bike purchase is the start, and not the end, of our journey together.
Ride, ride some more and do yet more riding. Cycling is a wonderful egalitarian sport. The more you put in, the more you get out. We ride all the time – road racing, Euro Sportives, downhill MTB, Triathlon, Track days, TTs and epic gravel trips. We ride what we sell; we only sell the products that we truly believe in.
We don’t have a marketing budget. We don’t really advertise. The vast majority of our business is from word of mouth and repeat business. We are very proud, and fiercely protective of our relationship with our clients and evangelical about what we do.
We have constantly been at the cutting edge of fitting technology, and have a long pedigree in working with small challenger brands who later become world leaders. We are constantly looking to better ourselves and then share this learning with our clients.