Three for Thursday: Competitive Cyclist

What's hot online from Utah: Pinarello, custom tools and the forthcoming Merlin

If you want high-end gear online — or if you just want to ogle it in hi-def photography — then Competitive Cyclist has you covered. What began as a brick-and-mortar shop in the south evolved into a major internet player. Today, owned by Backcountry.com and staffed by a 100-strong cycling division, Competitive Cyclist caters to any passionate rider with a credit card.

For this week's Three for Thursday, we checked in with Competitive Cyclist's Brian Bernard in West Valley City, Utah.

What's the coolest thing in your shop? One-off tools

"Due to the high-end nature of our shop, we typically have to create solutions well before there are commercially-made tools to help us," Bernard said. "There’s a bearing press designed to both press and remove hub bearings. We do a lot of ceramic bearing upgrades, and this tool is invaluable for doing them properly and efficiently."

Some of the tools are intricate, like Phil Wood's spoke cutting and threading machine. Others are fairly simple but just as critical, like a  collection of bent spokes and wires used for complex cable routing.

A spoke being threaded on a Phil Wood machine

"We prep everything that moves through our shop. This includes facing and chasing head tubes and bottom brackets, but also water bottle bosses and cable stops."

The Phil Wood spoke cutter allows Competitive Cyclist to lace completely custom wheels in any pattern, with any spoke type, and any spoke count.

What are you personally lusting after right now? The not-yet-released Merlin Extralight

"We acquired Merlin from American Bicycle Group a couple years ago, and it’s going to see the light of day soon," Bernard said. "We’re taking the time to do it right, to make it by hand in the US. There’s a prototype in the building, built with ENVE, King, Zipp, and Dura-Ace 9000. Lust might be too weak a word."

Merlin Ultralight — it's coming

What is your current bestseller? Pinarello

Bernard said that the Pinarelllo Dogma 65.1 Think2, which BikeRadar gave a very rare 5-star review, is the top seller in the shop. Other big hits include SRAM's XX1 group, Zipp's 202 carbon clinchers, Castelli clothing and Sidi shoes.

High-end product photography like this is a hallmark of the Competitive Cyclist website

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