In our latest Retail Partner profile, we catch up with one of our newest Retail Partners: Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. Contender came on board this summer as we expanded our distribution and representation to Utah. They've built an awesome reputation in our industry under the steady hand and exacting eyes of owners Ryan and Alison Littlefield. Known for their approach to custom-built bikes, and in-house paint shop, Contender also serves a wide range of customers with multiple brands. Ryan filled us in on the Contender approach, the synergy with roll: and riding in the SLC area. Read the full interview below!
What’s the history of the store and the people behind the shop?
The original Contender shop opened in 1988, and I started working there within the first year it was open, so almost day 1. I was working at the shop while attending college at the University of Utah and attempting to get road racing out of my blood. My role in the shop grew, until I bought Contender with a friend in 1999. We have benefitted from several great partners in the business along the way to present day. I now run Contender with my wife Alison, who is also a former road racer
Tell us a little bit about your shop now, and your vision for the future?
We’re located in a great neighborhood, near the University, and surrounded by other cool companies. We’ve worked had to build a strong reputation as a destination bike retail experience. Many of our customers regularly drive across town to enjoy the Contender experience. I’m proud of our passionate team, and the great reputation we’ve earned in our community, the city, and the industry at large. About 5 years ago, we opened our 2nd location in Park City. It’s like a satellite of the original store and allows us to reach another audience. We’ve also worked hard to grow our online business, and continue to look for ways we can serve new and existing customers.
Describe the biking community and facilities of in your area?
We’re in SLC, so have access to absolutely killer mountain bike trails, and some of the best road riding in the world! Gravel riding requires a little more travel time, but it’s also growing for us. Personally I come from a road racing background, but now ride bout half mountain biking and half road/gravel. We have a lot of elevation change here, so we’re also doing well with E bikes that allow our customers greater access. On top of that we have Huge NICA league in SLC area which helps to drive the port and encourage the next generation of riders, which is a great thing.
What about roll: appealed to you?
We’re not a huge shop that sells thousands of hybrid and commuter bikes, but we do attract a broad spectrum of rides. And with the state of the business since the pandemic, there are so many different SKUs, and inconsistent inventories. Ordering from one of the big 4 isn’t always very easy or timely. We do stock some roll: bikes that are ready to go off the floor, but also really like letting people jump in and design their own, to be built to order. We do a lot of higher end custom, frame-up builds at Contender, and the roll: Design Your Ride model kind of runs parallel to that. The customization options and personalized approach really matched our ethos, and serves our customers well. It’s a good fit.
What’s the reaction been from your team and customers to the bikes in person?
Reaction has been great so far, and we only see it getting stronger in the future. As our team continue gaining some momentum and get more comfortable with it, the numbers will keep getting better. We became one of the premier gravel dealers in the country, because we grew organically, and we see the same kind of trajectory with roll:.
What’s been your experience in collaborating with roll: so far?
It was great connecting directly with Stuart. It’s cool that roll: is also a retailer and that he’s walked in our shoes.
Open mic! What else would you like people to know about you, or about roll:?
I think we have a reputation for being a high end store, but we want to have a solution for everyone and every rider, and roll: is a really cool part of that.
You can connect with Ryan and the team at Contender Bicycles at the address and links below, or if you're in the Salt Lake City or Park City area stop by and check out the shop, you'll be glad you did.
989 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, USA
1352 White Pine Canyon Road Park City, UT 84060