At B&L Bicycles, our main line of bikes comes from the Trek Bicycle Corporation. We've been a Trek dealer since the spring of 2002. During this time we also carried Gary Fisher Bicycles, Lemond Bicycles and Klein Bicycles. Trek eventually stopped making the Lemond and Klein Bikes and have now incorportated the Fisher brand into Trek.
At this point in time B&L is essentially carrying only one line of bikes. Most stores feel the need for multiple lines of bikes. We don't. In pretty much all bike categories, Trek makes a top notch product. Also, within each of their bike categories there is some variation. For example, Trek does some great commuter/around town type bikes. Within that category they give the consumer many options. They manufacture some bicycles with very upright handlebars and low gearing. They make some other commuter type bikes that put a person in a more streamlined position. For those who feel particularly strong, Trek also makes single speed commuter bikes.
Many people are familar with Trek's line of road bikes Lance Armstrong rode to all of his Tour de France victories riding a Trek, which of course made more people familar with them. It's possible for someone to come in and buy the same bike that the Trek pro riders use. However, most people really don't have the ability to get on one of these bikes and ride for long distances. The positioning on these bikes is just too aggressive for most people to get into and stay for a significant period of time. Trek recognizes this and so they have designed multipe fit options on their road bikes. Most of their road bikes are designed with a more upright handlebar position now. These are great for the customer who wants a really light-weight efficient bicycle.
Mountain Bikes and 29ers
For those of you who are maybe not familar with mountain bikes, Trek/Fisher has taken a leading role in advocating the use of and the benefits of the 29er mountain bike. When people first started riding bikes in the mountains they used bicycles that had 26 inch wheels, as this was the size wheels that large fat tires were being made for and 26 became the defacto size.
Some people felt that maybe mountain biking could be improved with a larger diameter wheel. There are several advantages to riding a larger wheeled mountain bike. The first is that a larger wheel rolls over obstacles much better. Imagine a person riding on a skateboard approaching a street curb as opposed to riding a bicyle. You can easily imagine that it's much easier to get up on the the street curb with a bicycle wheel than a skateboard wheel. Another advantage of 29ers is that they have a longer tire footprint on the ground. This does two things: first, it gives better traction (the more rubber on the ground the better), second, there is a snowshoe effect. With the weight distributed over a wider area when riding on soft terrain, the bike wheels don't sink into the ground as much, keeping rolling resistance to a minimum. Lastly, the gyroscopic effect of larger wheels makes a 29er bike quite a bit more stable. When those wheels build up speed, they really want to stay upright (significantly more so than 26 inch wheels) making it more difficult for the bike to tip over.
Gary Fisher was a very early advocate of 29ers. He convinced Trek way back in 2001 to begin making them. We got one of the first ones into the store back in 2002 and right away we saw their benefits and promoted them very strongly. Trek/Fisher met with a lot of opposition innitially to the 29er idea. The first 2-3 years of making these bikes they actually lost money on them. But Fisher believed in them so strongly that eventually they gained some moderate acceptance. Fisher kept pushing the envelope to overcome the criticisms of 29ers: they were heavier, they handled too slowly, not a lot of choice in 29er specific parts (tires, wheels, suspension forks). Now we've reached the point that almost all of Fisher's mountain bikes are 29ers.
It's been an interesting trend to watch for us. For several years Trek/Fisher was the only large brand to make 29ers. All of the other major brands just ignored it or poo-pooed the idea of making one. But with Fisher's faith in the idea and the gradual acceptance of it, all major brands make 29ers now. It is no exageration to say that there would be no Specialized, Giant, Kona, Raleigh, Felt or any other large manufactuer of 29ers if it was not for Gary Fisher's belief in 29ers.
Leader in the Industry
Trek makes great products and stands behind them--from a dealer standpoint this is great. If we ever have a problem with any of their products they often go above and beyond what is necessary in taking care of an issue for us. This alone is great reason to be a Trek dealer, but there are other reasons on top of this.
Trek has taken a leading role in bicycle advocacy. For every full suspension mountain bike and helmet that Trek sells, they donate a certain amount to the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) to make sure that we have mountain biking trails and other groups that advocate the use of the bicycle as transportation and who are dedicated to making sure there are safe places for people to ride bicycles.
After several years of working behind the scenes with the League of American Cyclists and the Bikes Belong Coalition, Trek formed it's One World Two Wheels campaign. Currently only about 1% of all trips are made by bicycle. Trek's goal is that by 2017 this number will be 5%. They hope that by achieving this goal, traffic congestion will be reduced as well as pollution and obesity.
So that's a summary of why we feel the need to only cary one line of bikes. If someone else comes along that makes a better product, offers better service, advoates a more bicycle-friendly world, we might jump ship. But we don't see that happening anytime soon.