If you have ever taken your bike for service to either Encina Bicycle Center in Walnut Creek or at Clayton Bicycle Center, then you may have had that flat repaired, gears adjusted, or chain replaced by one of the hottest names in the business of bicycling, former Clayton resident, Dave Weiner.
Weiner is the inventor, innovator, founder and CEO of Priority Bikes, an on-line bicycle store that has taken the market by storm. Dave just celebrated Priority Bikes f irst full year in business this past August having sold more than 8,000 bikes.
How did a Clayton youth become the newest bicycle mogul in New York? Throughout his life, Weiner had visions of having his own bike business. He loved bikes. He worked as a mechanic in both of the aforementioned bike shops, adjusting gears and fixing flats for fellow riders from 1994 to 2002. Dave, now 35, grew up in Clayton.
He went to school at Mt. Diablo, Pine Hollow, and Clayton Valley High. He attended college at UC Santa Barbara during which where he worked on campus also as a bike mechanic. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in Business Economics.
His first job was with Giant Bikes where he worked with their industry specific software, which was eventually purchased by Microsoft. Dave realized that as a software consultant he could live anywhere and moved to New York. He consulted on and managed over 50 Microsoft Dynamics implementations in the United States as well as internationally, helping businesses grow through the use of technology.
He was the CEO of Cole Systems Inc., (which became UCX Eclipse in 2012 after being purchased) out of Manhattan, where he remains today.
In Manhattan, Dave is a bicycle commuter, as are many in New York. He was aware of the issues that often plagued the casual rider: faulty chains, flat tires–not to mention the ease with which a locked bicycle can be quickly dismantled by a thief.
“Bikes have really evolved on the upper end,” he says, “but there hasn’t been much advancement for the recreational rider.” Weiner saw an opportunity. He envisioned the company’s typical customers, the casual rider: the college student going to class, the urban dweller riding to yoga or the local market, the weekend exerciser. “All too often,” Weiner says, “these people pull their bikes out of storage only to find out that something’s broken.
Priority’s goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Weiner designed his bikes to be simple, affordable and easier to maintain using similar technology available on higher end bikes. Priority Bikes are manufactured with gears that don’t require any moving external parts, cable-free brakes that trigger when the rider Dave Weiner in his workshop. frame, the bikes weigh only 25 pounds and costs only $399 at full price. pedals backward, and with tires which feel more like hard plastic than rubber that are nearly impenetrable during regular riding. All of this drastically cuts down the likelihood that the bike will ever need repair.
But Priority is best known for its chainless design. They use grease-free belts instead. Other consumer friendly advantages that are standard equipment on Priority bikes include a quick release lever that allows tires and frames to be pulled from the frame. Most riders have that altered for about $50 in favor of bolts when purchasing other bike brands.
The water bottle cage and a kickstand are also standard accessories that nearly all riders add on other bikes, but for which retailers tend to charge extra.
Next, Weiner studied Kickstarter to garner startup funding for his idea. He read a book on the topic, and then picked their brains about what had made their campaigns successful: a professionally made video, responsiveness, and a working prototype to show to the masses. Priority’s Kickstarter campaign, which launched in July 2014, set a goal to raise $30,000. It hit that goal within hours of launching. By the end of its 30-day run, Priority had amassed $556,286. Weiner credits Priority’s fast success to the bike’s user-friendly design. Even with the Kickstarter campaign over, orders are still coming in. “It’s an entrepreneur’s dream come true,” Weiner says in his new office.
Priority Bikes are only sold online at prioritybicycles.com, but Weiner says they are looking into the feasibility of opening brick and mortar stores in the future. The Priority Classic bicycle recently received Inc. Magazine’s 2015 Best in Class Design Award. Everyone deserves a high quality and low maintenance bike at an affordable price.
Built from an oversized aluminum the press has also contributed immensely with its early success. Dave Weiner and Priority Bikes have been featured and reviewed seemingly everywhere including Wall St. Journal, Inc. Magazine, Popular Science, Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, Make:, Uncrate, Mens Journal, Fitness Magazine, Gearjunkie, GQ, Outside, Hypebeast, NPR and Marketplace.org radio shows, a NY Times Video, Reuters, the Today Show, Canadian TV… and now, of course the crème de la crème, Diablo Gazette. While Dave still lives in New York with his wife, Amanda and family (Photo), he occasionally comes back to Clayton to visit his parents and see old friends. It’s always good to know that Clayton is pumping out successful entrepreneurs whose life stories we can proudly share. But, who could be prouder than his parents?
from October 2015 issue The Diablo Gazette.