When Verde Bicycles launched back around 2007, they blew a lot of skirts up with a really clean and unfussy range of bikes from the outset. There was nothing duff in the line at all, and with a small but perfectly formed team, you could tell that Verde were starting out right and intended to stay around for the long haul. Of course, it helps massively that one of the main men behind Verde is BMX veteran Steve Buddendeck. I use the term 'veteran' advisedly, as he's been around the block and has been intimately involved for decades: either running 2B Homecooked clothing, editing magazines, or brand and team managing -- one day here soon we'll go into depth with Steve and talk a little more. At Verde, alongside Sweet Lou Caparelli, Steve is also partnered in crime by Cory Muth, who we spoke to about their 2010 range of bikes.
How long have you guys been making complete bikes for?
The 2010 model year will be our third year of completes.
Do you still have any of the original range still around your office?
We still have some random frames and parts from the line. I really wish we had some of the original bikes built up. That mint green Method was my favorite.
What are your thoughts about those old original bikes, now?
I thought the original line was pretty dialed. I was so nervous when we showed them for the first time at Interbike. We basically went from an idea, to having bikes ready to ship in ten months, so we had our work cut out for us. Overall, I was happy, but we definitely made some mistakes and learned a ton.
So when it comes to your completes, who does what at your company?
I pretty much handle all of the product design, colors, graphics, product photography, and anything else dealing with brand image. Buddendeck and Lou handle the business side... PO's, sales, importing, shipping, etc.
Does the team get involved along the way?
I'm constantly getting input from the team. They're the guys that are out in the streets. I develop our aftermarket line around them and try to integrate those ideas into our complete line.
I'm constantly getting input from the team. They're the guys that are out in the streets.
And how many bikes have you got in your range this year?
We've got five models and ten total SKUs. We try to keep the line small and manageable for shops. I'd rather have five dialed bikes than a boat load of average bikes.
Do you have more or less bikes compared to 2009?
We have about the same as last year. Although, we've dropped our high end model and now offer a less expensive price point model.
Can you run us through your range, starting out at the base through to the pricier stuff?
Our new entry-level bike is the Eon. It's a smaller bike made for younger riders, but looks awesome for having a $299 price tag. Next up is the Vex, our most popular model. It's been upgraded with more chromoly and a Pivotal seat for 2010. The Theory is similar to the Vex, only this year it has an integrated Pivotal post and Cinema rims, and DUO tires. The 2010 Radia has been completely upgraded... integrated Pivotal post, 100% chromoly, removable brakes, double wall rims, machined stem, sealed hubs, and more for less than $500. Our top end bike for 2010 is the Luxe. It has the new DUO tires with natural sidewall, Odyssey Twombolts, and removable brake mounts.
Which single bike took the longest to figure out?
They all take about the same, but the entry-level bikes are by far the toughest to spec. It's easy to make an incredible looking $600 bike, but when you get down in the sub $300 range, it's pretty tough. Balancing quality, spec, colors and graphics while still trying to maintain a margin isn't easy.
Which was the toughest detail this year?
The finishing details are always the toughest. We've pretty much solved all of manufacturing issues over the last two years. We always try to use new paints and processes to make our bikes stand out. Getting the bikes from sample to mass production is the hard part. I give a ton of credit to our guys in Taiwan.
Which is your favourite bike, which one are you most proud of?
I like every single bike in our line. I work really hard to make every bike unique and original. If I had to pick a favorite for this year, it would be the Radia. It just looks mean and solid. I'm pretty psyched on it.
When did you start working this year's range -- how long does it take?
We probably started working on the 2010s about a year ago. Our range is pretty small, so I'm sure it doesn't take as long as some brands, but I'm constantly jotting down notes and figuring out how to fit them into the line.
Which of the whole line would you ride straight out of the box?
I'd ride the Luxe for sure. It's honestly better than my current bike.
Have you got anything else in there -- fixies? Cruisers? Kids' bikes?
No, we concentrate on what we know and what's consistent with our brand. If we spent time on that stuff, we'd spend less time making better BMX bikes.
Have you already started work on next year's 2011 bikes? Anything you can tell us about those yet?
We're already pretty deep into 2011s. I can tell you that they'll look incredible. That's all I can tell you.
Finally, what about bikes coming from other companies -- which other complete bike ranges do you rate? Which one would you ride yourself?
I'd say We The People gets it. I'd say their line is pretty extensive for the current economy, but they make dope stuff nonetheless. I haven't seen Sunday's bikes yet, but I'm curious to see what they come up with their first year. I don't think I'd ride them though. I'll stick with Verde.
For more information on Verde, or to check out a preview of their 2010 line, proceed to Verdebmx.com, or just check the Verde team in action below.