When did Windmill Wheels open it’s doors and how did it come about?
Windmill wheels opened in 2011. I was working as a mechanic and doing technical sales in another shop but wanted to open a shop selling custom builds. I approached Ali a keen cyclist and physio who had just started doing bike fits locally and said do you fancy opening a bike shop. The rest, as they say is history.
Why did you choose to stock Enigma?
I had a customer, 7/8 years ago, who had an Etape and Extensor and that got me interested. Both rode fantastically well and it was completely different to anything else I had rode. Ali then met Jim at the bespoked show and found out about all the custom frames and finishes you did , he also talked about the fantastic qualities of titanium that then convinced both of us. Enigma stood out and was different to everything else out there. Jim very kindly came down on our open day and made our very empty small shop look very full by filling it with all his Titanium show bikes. It was awesome! I think we sold 2 bikes of that first day. From then we knew we had to get these bikes in as test bikes and get people riding
Which Enigma do you ride?
I ride the Esprit, I love the Italian styling
How do you think Titanium compares to Carbon Fibre?
Smoother, which on bumpy grainy roads helps your pedalling, they roll faster and have better traction on steep rough climbs. We are still shocking customers who have only ever ridden carbon fibre bikes.
Where do you see Windmill Wheels being in the next 5 years?
To be honest with you, if in 5 years’ time we are still selling the best of what Enigma produce then that’s good enough. The shop can’t expand anymore due to its location and I don’t think I would ever move from here. We build everything in house apart from the frames. Maybe we could do something like the finishes on the frames in house which would mean we can stock more frames and not worry about having the wrong finish 🙂
Where do you see the cycle industry heading in 12 months’ time?
I think that what with the all the new brands as well as the industry big boys flooding the market with cheap carbon and alloy bikes, people will look for something more custom and personal. The niche brands will come through strong and the alternative bikes like the Enigma Ecroix will see stronger sales. This customisation is good for the IBD’s as it brings customers back into the stores as they seek expertise and advice on something that isn’t easily accessible on the internet. This is starting to happen now.
Hopefully we will see less standards popping up as well, once the disc brakes have hit the pro scene we will then hopefully see a definitive standard in axle size, frame designs and so on.
Diversity is key too in this next 12 months. We have had 5 good years of people taking up cycling after seeing the Brits doing well in the tour and Olympics but maybe the road wasn’t or isn’t the right discipline for them so they move to more off-road/gravel riding or a more relaxed discipline like touring.