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Zipp Launches Custom Wheel Program

Published January 12, 2009

LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—Zipp recently launched an online tool that allows riders to customize their wheels right down to the color of each individual letter in the decal.

ZedTech guides customers through each step of the custom process on Zipp’s Web site, allowing them to choose between the Zed 2, 3, or 4 wheel, select decal color, nipple color, hub cap color and hub nut color and gives the option to upgrade to a ceramic bearing.

There’s also an option to create your own decal—including a lighter weight design for racers looking to shed grams—with the ability to choose a different color for every letter.

“We’ve had customers create what we think are the ugliest decals in the world,” said Andy Paskins, marketing manager for Zipp, who stopped by BRAIN on Monday morning to show editors 2009 product.

The custom option costs about $160 more per wheel than when purchasing off the shelf, Paskins said. Paskins said consumers are willing to pay the difference for customization, citing the success of custom bike programs offered by Trek and Serotta and Nike’s custom shoe program.

“It’s exciting from a consumer perspective that they can do whatever they want. It is something we can offer without adding too much complexity to the process,” Paskins said.

Zipp launched ZedTech a little more than a month ago so Paskins doesn’t know yet how much use it will get, but he estimates ZedTech will generate less than 5 percent of Zipp’s overall sales.

ZedTech won’t compete with retailers because customers can’t actually purchase the wheels through the Web site. Rather, when customers complete the online process, they can print out their custom wheels specs and take it to a Zipp dealer. The printout will contain a code that dealers can relay to Zipp when calling in the order, which Zipp will look up in its database.

All Zipp’s high-end wheels and hubs are made in Indiana, where Zipp is based. Zipp is owned by SRAM, which purchased the high-end wheel company in November 2007.

Since then, there haven’t been any major changes in operations, although Zipp now builds SRAM’s wheels using the mold from its Flashpoint valued priced wheel.

“They pretty much let us do our thing and they do their thing and so far it’s worked out really well,” Paskins said.

—Nicole Formosa and Megan Tompkins

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