Santa Cruz Bicycles was founded in 1993 in a space the size of a single car garage in Santa Cruz, California with a mission to build the highest performance mountain bikes in the world. Today, Santa Cruz manufactures 19 different models of mountain bikes and the company is about to move into a larger space once again. Director of Engineering Joe Graney explains that they have nearly doubled revenues since 2007, despite the economic pressures of the past few years.
How did they manage to grow when the market for mountain bikes itself remained flat? Santa Cruz Bicycles credits much of that growth to the implementation of PTC’s Creo software, which has enabled the company to create more innovative new models each year.
“Over the past year, we created six brand new models, plus upgraded several more. Before we used PTC’s design tools, we were only producing one or two new models per year,” states Graney.
With its previous design software, Santa Cruz needed up to seven hours per simulation to test its bike designs. With PTC Creo, each simulation takes less than five minutes. As a result, engineers can make hundreds of changes and run dozens of simulations every day.
Graney continues, “Our customers want the latest technology, and being able to bring new bikes to market quickly satisfies that desire and drives sales. People want to buy the latest and greatest. With PTC Creo, we can create many design iterations before prototyping. This means we are able to decrease our time-to-market, while we design exciting new bikes. We’ve actually cut the time it takes to bring a new mountain bike model to market by about two-thirds.”
As the sport of mountain biking evolves, Graney and his team use PTC Creo to keep pace with the technological advances and changes in the market to react to what their riders want. With each of these developments, Santa Cruz Bicycles has seen a spurt of growth. The company was founded in the1990s when the market was starting to change to full suspension bikes. In 2001 Santa Cruz developed a more advanced suspension, and this is when they started using PTC design software. In 2008, they started using carbon fiber as a material for bike frames and there was another period in growth. And, in 2009, there was a change in the industry from 26-inch wheels to 29-inch wheels and the market was hungry for new models with good 29-inch wheels.
Each of these new developments has propelled sales. Graney states, “We keep getting better by using PTC Creo. It’s not just the time to market, but also the number of models we are able to create with that additional time.”
“The lion’s share of our growth over the last three years comes from the fact we have great new models,” explains Graney. “Our innovative products, designed with PTC Creo, let us compete with companies that are 50 times our size.” Both professional riders and mountain bike enthusiasts hold Santa Cruz bicycles in high esteem.
If you want to see some exciting footage of the pros – including 2012 Downhill World Champion Greg Minnaar – showing off their skills and their Santa Cruz bikes at the UCI World Championship in Austria, check out this video.