Development for Everyone
Mike Reisenleiter is the main man behind Winged Wheel Development. He's taking his diverse cycling industry background and applying what he's learned to help others excel.
So how do you get started in the biz?
When I was barely a teenager, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of close friends introduce me to mountain bikes. We weren't called "groms" yet, but that's exactly what we were. We would hang out at the local bike shop, ride lots and dream about bikes.
I had my first job when I was 12, then worked in my first bike shop when I was 16. When I was in college, most of my time was either spent riding, running a bike-trials focused website, or working on bikes at Johnny Sprockets in Chicago. I was working on portfolio reviews in school and realized I really enjoyed working at the shop so much more.
After a lot of thought I decided to see where my love of bikes could take me for the rest of my life!
What exactly is Winged Wheel, and how did it get started?
Winged Wheel is a business dedicated to giving bicycle retailers the same tools and techniques used by the best businesses in the world. I started Winged Wheel because I believe that the world is better when communities have a local hub for bicycles; and I believe there is no better hub than locally focused retailers.
At the same time, two important ideas converged in my mind:
I've heard countless stories about retails who felt they were working harder than ever to make the same (or less) income. But as I looked at the likely future landscape of retail, I say a very unique opportunity to bicycle retailers to thrive in a way that other retailers simply couldn't... so I founded Winged Wheel to share that vision and build a nation of successful retailer. Those who focus on the customer experience, bicycles service and community engagement.
Tell us about your background that landed you a 12 year career at SRAM.
Over 12 years, but who's counting... I started at SRAM before SRAM offered trigger shifters! When I left SRAM I held the position of Global Warranty Manager. Prior to that I worked in sales and marketing with a focus on dealer interactions.
I ran such programs at SRAM STU (SRAM Technical University) and SRAM's Ride Experience in addition to various events, programs and projects. When I first started the job was based in dealer service. I was answering technical questions for dealers and flying out to support the race truck at NORBA (pre-USA Cycling) races. This was right after SRAM had acquired RockShox in 2003. At that time, my skillset was a good base of technical and communication skills, plus a heap of ambition. Because I had been working in customer service and technical jobs, they gave me a chance despite my age (I was only 22). I had been a lead mechanic at Johnny Sprockets in Chicago and Ed Nasjleti (you can read about Ed here) walked in one day to drop off a part that we needed from SRAM. That connection got my friend Craig a job at SRAM and I joined a few months later.
When traveling you visit shops... what's going on out there?
It is wild to think about how many retailers I've visited. Over the last decade I've probably visited around a thousand retailers on five continents! Lately, the good things I've been seeing revolve around adaptation to the best parts of technological advances. Retailers capitalizing on consumer excitement around eBikes, retailers utilize online booking / scheduling for rentals, tours and services. Retailers who have worked to dial-in their inventory management through open-to-buy planning, auto re-order and so on. Additionally, I've met lots of retailers who see challenges as opportunities and that is really inspiring: one of my favorite retailers went through the hell of an IRS audit, but came out on the other side knowing more about his business than ever before!
On the other side, I've seen many retailers who don't have a bias to action...and worst of all: have engrained that into their culture. I've seen retailers that don't greet customers, that show bravado instead of humility, that don't cherish every customer they have like a family member. These are all death rattles, but can all be undone. Winged Wheel has a service on the site called "Retailer Nightmare" and we can help you right these wrongs.
What does the future bicycle shop look like through your eyes?
I see it as a community focused hub that helps customers live a cycling lifestyle. A place where the customer's name is known, their experiences honored and their needs exceeded. It is a place where consumers are happy to pay full price, feel well served by the retail team and advocate passionately by word-of-mouth. These retailers already exist today and are thriving.
Give us seven words to summarize the future of service.
How about two seven word answers:
You knew we'd ask... favorite tool?
A fresh Bondhus 5mm L-bend allen with a ball end. There is probably no other tool that is so effective on so many fasteners on so many bikes... ok and Wikipedia, the best mechanics don't know everything but they know where to find the answer and information they need.
This page is a collective of articles relavant to consumers, enthusiasts and the whole of the cycling industry in general.