Being Frank – What We Do Here

 

Brent Graves Cane Creek
Brent Graves, President and CEO

Whether it is riders stopping by after railing trails in the Pisgah National Forest or cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway, visiting vendors, meetings with bank executives, or media coming in for an in-depth product review, people are constantly surprised to learn about what we do here. And by here, I mean our 28,000 sq. ft. (2,800 m2) building in Fletcher, North Carolina. We are far from large in terms of space or people, but the 45 people that make up Cane Creek these days handle a wide range of tasks.

As we are a product-first company, I’ll start there. All Cane Creek product is designed and engineered in-house (If you’re wondering about eeBrakes, you’ll note that nowhere are they branded a Cane Creek product since the design is not our own. However, we did drive the G4 redesign). We start with an idea, and if it is validated it gets turned into a Product Brief that outlines all required features and parameters. From there we make our own prototypes to prove out the concept. Then, once specs are finalized we perform the required ISO lab tests as well as additional tests that we come up with. We design and fabricate our own test fixtures too. We regularly buy and test our competitors’ products as well to compare our performance. Ride tests with and without data acquisition are also conducted by our staff. It is also non-stop work to verify compatibility as all of our products will interface with products on the bike that we don’t make.

Basically everything involved in us telling the story of a product is done in-house. We create all our own marketing content, so everything you read in our website, owner’s manuals, social media posts, etc. are penned by a Creeker. With some exceptions, like when we need a real pro’s help, we perform our own photography and videography. Our Marketing team creates the video story lines, dubs in audio, and does the editing. While it’s not the most awesome website in the universe, everything you see there we did ourselves. We don’t hire agencies to come up with product names, trade show booth designs, mission statements, ad designs, or promotion ideas. We interact with all our customers directly, and we perform clinics for distributors, OEMs, retailers, media, and consumers almost year round.

Nearly 40% of our workforce is dedicated to assembling, packing, and shipping product every day. However, nearly every Creeker gets involved on the floor in some aspect – especially at month-end! The tools, fixtures, test machines, etc. that are used in production are designed and made here. We manage all our suppliers directly, and that includes enforcing Quality Assurance analysis and methods. Every shock and every fork is run on a dyno at least once to verify the damping forces are as they should be and there are no leaks. We also manually check every air shock for air spring leaks. And yes, we build forks, shocks, posts, brakes, and headsets in this building.

Cane Creek is owned by its employees. So we consider all spending carefully, and if we can do it ourselves, we do. We clean our bathrooms, paint our walls, weld our own desks, and maintain our phones, servers, and computers. But this ownership is not really about what we do – it is about why we do it. Our “Why” is what some refer to as a mission statement — “Riding bikes makes life better, we work to make bikes better.”

If you read this through a magic decoder lens, it may look like “we make cool stuff that we believe in, and we do it the way we think it should be done.”

We are not perfect, but if it’s Cane Creek, it’s truly us.

 


Editor’s Note: We do some really special, unique stuff around here. Interested in checking it out for yourself? Join us for a tour when you’re in town. Email us to set up a date and time (kindly allow us a week’s notice if possible).