As we have matured into a teenage company (it's our thirteenth year. pretty soon we'll be borrowing the keys from Dad) we've changed a bit here and there. One change that's been a good thing is that it is now easier to get our stuff than ever before. Sometimes it may not seem like this to people looking for a test ride, but that’s another conversation. Most shops in the U.S. have access to our stuff even if they don’t stock it, and on the Dealer Locator of our website we specifically call out Surly ‘dealers,’ shops filled with folks who know our products at an ‘above average’ level. Outside the US we have a network of distributors that we have entrusted to help Surly grow in their neighborhood in the way that makes sense for them.
We've also sold all of our products via mail-order online retailers over the years, and we've worked with some very fine people that way. There's always been a requirement that they also have a brick and mortar retail location – because our bottom line is that we support bike shops. We don't think bike parts should come from some dude in his garage trying to make a quick buck. We like shops that provide service after the sale, fitting advice, and a human touch, even if that shop ends up shipping the bike to you.
With that in mind, we've made a change to our policies that go into effect today. We will continue to offer our framesets and our components through those online channels with whom we've always worked, but we will no longer sell our complete bikes online. We think a bicycle in its built form should come from a bike shop that knows how to assemble and adjust everything so that your ride is ready to go. It only takes a couple of frantic e-mails from customers wondering why their steer tube is so long or in which order the headset parts should go on to cause concern in our hearts. Buying a bike locally gives you a place to go for adjustments, for warranty concerns should they ever arise, and for sizing assistance. Buying locally also helps your neighborhood economy grow, it can help you find a network of riding friends, and sometimes even provide a clubhouse. From our perspective buying bikes through a shop keeps the liability concerns to a minimum and helps keep our products from being simple commodities. We like to think they have a little life in them.
"But Surly," you might be thinking, "I know how to put a bike together and I've got a bunch of tools." We think that's great. We always encourage that. But we also know that there are lots of folks out there who don't have the knowledge or tools to make everything work. We know this policy cannot serve every customer’s interests to the fullest, and we accept this shortcoming in the interest of brand integrity. Please understand that we are always seeking ways of making our bicycles easier to attain for the consumer. This is not an easy decision, but one that we think will make Surly stronger down the line. We still encourage you to shop online for our parts and our framesets from the people you’ve trusted to provide great mail-order service to this point. We like them too.
Thanks a lot,