I was on holiday in California and Rob Roskopp main man at Santa Cruz
invited me and family around to their new building for a guided tour.
showed us around the old Seabright Cannery which showed the stretch
marks of evolution and the ingenious ways they used space and adapted
over the years from their first foray in the garage near the entrance to
their viral takeover of the whole cannery site. It was a quirky place but
one that you could not help but love, it evoked so many memories that
the fresh coats of blue and grey paint could not cover.
Twenty years later and the move to their new premises on Mission
Street mirrors the leap forward the bike range has made.
With room to breath I'm sure the move has made things easier but
Santa Cruz never rest on their laurels, behind the large tinted glazed
facade nestles the complete range of bikes, a rich and spacious area
filled with the best of the mountain bike world.
Will Okelton (a fellow Brit) has been charged with promoting the brand
further with the recent launch in Scotland of the Bronson, Solo and Tallboy 2
as well as the other 29er and 650b derivatives not to mention the Juliana
range of female specific bikes which has made his job really interesting.
It's always nice to bump into a fellow Brit
abroad but even better when they work with other people you know and respect, the bonus is that he is also a nice guy. He used to work at Freecaster and knows the bike trade inside out, working with the infamous Rob Warner was as he put it "very eventful!" Knowing Warner I can only imagine some of the stuff he got up to but all of it would leave you with a Cheshire cat like appearance, probably why Mr Ockelton is still smiling. They were putting the finishing touches to the new brochures while we were there and it all looks good. Lizette was on hand to tell us about things too, the Juliana range is keeping her busy. As expected expanding from a single offering to a full range of female specific bikes appearing virtually overnight has got the attention of many discerning ladies who like the idea of being catered for so diligently by a top brand such as Santa Cruz, a master stroke. Bumping into people I know in strange places is a habit of mine and while I introduced myself at reception I got a tap on the back from Graham who was over from my neck of the woods on holiday with his wife, he just popped in to have a look at the showroom but got a bit more than he bargained for as we dragged him off on the tour. We swapped details shook hands and vowed to do a ride together back in the UK soon. In the new unit there are various departments as was the old but the flow was more apparent, sales, admin, production and development didn't spill into others or trip them up. A special rack for staff bikes, all S/C of course, guys zipping around on S/C boards up and down the shop floor and in and out of reception made for a happy work environment. The wheel building shop was a favourite area for me, we know the frames are good, components are pretty much the same on most bikes but as we know a good wheel build can make all the difference. This is yet another area where S/C excels, hand built is the best way and yet another Brit in S/C leads this dept, Ian Davis has lived and breathed bikes, anything from being a bike messenger to working in bike shops, he is also a very competent rider who has a Tallboy 2 and features in the Tallboy 2 Vimeo. So did i come away smiling? Yes confident in the knowledge that S/C have a plan and are ahead of the game as usual leading from the front. It is really good to witness the evolution first hand, seeing the new place and comparing it to the old is like chalk and cheese but their passion is still above and beyond that of the competition. S/C is a place, a product, a way of life.