"Systems of Advantage"

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Brent Williams

Doing a story on Felt for a future book about innovation might be fun. Felt is a smaller mass-production manufacturer in an industry that is consolidating around two poles: a handful of mega-vendors (Giant, Specialized, Trek, and maybe 1-2 others) on one end and an increasing number of custom builders on the "artisinal" end.

Unit sales for the bike business have been flattish for the last few years, and the number of independent bike shops in the US (primary distribution for Felt and most others) has been cut in half in the last decade.

Despite the structural challenges across the industry and despite the disadvantages of competing in the "muddled middle" these guys seem to be popping up on various radar screens disproportionately to their size.

Might be interesting to take a look at them the next time you're in the LA area.

(Disclaimer: I own a Felt "fat bike" and am quite happy with it but have no other connection to the company.)

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