144 – Let’s Talk Gravel with Fustle Bikes
Photo: Finley Anderson
Alistair & Julie Beckett – Founders of Fustle, a new and exciting gravel bike hand built in Northern Ireland.
On episode #144 we are chatting with Alistair and Julie Beckett about designing and building their new bike brand called Fustle, how the idea came about, why they decided to go the gravel direction, the advantages of having a gravel bike in your garage and why the Fustle ride is that little bit different from other brands out there (in a good way!).
This is not Alistair’s first time designing and building a bike brand. A number of years ago he set up his own company called Redburn Design, pulling on his experience with being involved in the industry and designing the Nukeproof bikes.
He has also helped design the Forbidden and Privateer brands, so when I heard that Alistair was designing his own brand and that he was going down the gravel bike route, I had to get him and Julie back on the show and find out what it was all about.
You can hear Alistair’s past episode’s here:
Enjoy the show!
- How Alistair helped design the Forbidden and Privateer bikes
- Other projects his company Redburn Design are involved with
- Where the idea to start his own bike brand came from
- Why Alistair and Julie decided to design a gravel bike
- Why a gravel bike is easier to design that a full suspension mountain bike
- The challenges that come with designing a gravel bike
- Why Fustle has got mountain bike design elements and how this makes it stronger
- What type of trails the Fustle is designed for
- How the production process works
- Why Alistair and Julie decided to go down the ‘Build It Your Way’ route and why this makes it better for the customer
- The different ways you can purchase your Fustle
- Why Alistair and Julie are determined to make customer care and feedback a top priority
- What future projects are planned for Fustle
- How you can purchase and follow Fustle
Alistair and Julie have been planning and working on their own brand for a few years and it has changed a number of times from their first conceived idea, but this is how things work in the fast moving bike industry and nobody knows that better than Alistair and Julie. But it was their own personal circumstances that changed their design ideas and pushed them down the gravel bike route. They moved house over Christmas to be closer to the trails, they had their second child and time was at a premium. So the days of driving an hour to your favourite mountain bike trails and taking up half your day was just no longer possible, but riding the gravel roads closer to home was. Alistair loves bikes, all bikes, so when he was looking for something to fill this gravel gap he couldn’t really find the type of gravel bike he wanted, so as a bike designer he took the bike by the bars and designed his own, Fustle was born.
What frustrated Alistair the most was the fact that you couldn’t build the bike with the components you wanted, loved and trusted, so Alistair decided that his would have to be a top priority for Fustle, you could purchase a frame and fork set up, choose from a number of different component options (the best that worked with the bike), make your decision on what suited you and what you would prefer. Now, this is a massive decision and a huge undertaking for a new business. You have to deal with more brand partners, you have to have more components on offer and available, which means carrying more stock. You can’t have completed bikes built at the factory and shipped directly to the customer, you have to have the bikes built at home after you know what the customer wants.
This adds a huge number of steps that Alistair and Julie have to organise and manage, all adding to costs. Not to mention that you will have to work closely with the customer (emails, phone calls etc..), but this is how Alistair and Julie wanted it. They wanted this interaction with the customer, they wanted to know what components customers would most like to have on their bike and they wanted that all important feedback that only a paying customer can provide. And this is the beauty of running your own company and doing it this way, a way that the large brands struggle with. You can build and supply the customer with what they want and what they want to spend their hard earned money on. All this feedback is invaluable for future builds, future projects and the future expansion of the brand.
Alistair has added an awesome facility on their website where you can design and build your own ride, by simply adding the available components to the frame and fork, they call it ‘Build It Your Way’, and that is exactly what happens, you decide what you want on your bike and Fustle build it for you. It’s very simply and easy to use, and to be honest I think it is something a lot of the brands wished they could do.
So weather your not sure about the whole gravel thing or you are looking for that do it all ride, tune in and hear the story of Fustle and how it may just be the ride you have been looking for.
Thanks for being here. Enjoy the ride!
To Connect with Alistair, Julie & Fustle:
Fustle Website: www.ridefustle.com
Redburn Design Website: www.redburndesign.com
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Thanks to Alistair & Julie for coming on the show and sharing the Fustle story!
And thanks to you for being part of the show!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show.