Monday, September 12, 2011

whither pedro's?

Pedro's, the Massachussetts-based bicycle tool and lube company known for their commitment to environmentally-friendly products and a handful of excellent proprietary tool designs (in particular the best consumer tire lever in the world), appear to be going under.

Here's what we have so far:

1. No one answers the phone. In fact, in the dozens of times I've tried to call them as the shop buyer in the last six months I've gotten through to an actual human being in real time exactly once.
2. I ordered a Master Mechanic Case for myself, and placed the order through my wholesale distributor because they were compiling a large Pedro's order anyway and it would be easy to tack it on. Only after I contacted Pedro's directly on behalf of my wholesale distributor did they finally send it out -- 18 months after my original order was placed.
3. As far as I know, I have snapped up for our shop what could be the last dozen cases of Pedro's yellow tire levers in the known universe from the only distributor who had any in stock -- and they were listing them on a specials/closeouts flyer. Our shop is scouring the world for a replacement but so far every other make and model we've tried simply doesn't compare.
4. Pedro's is not showing at Interbike this week, either at the Outdoor Demo OR the show proper. This would be their first absence from the show in years. Rumor had it that there would be some kind of "announcement" at the show but if they're not there the silence resulting from their absence would be deafening in and of itself.
5. Over at their Facebook page, they advertised a "Cyclocross Season Kickoff Sale" Sept. 9-10. Originally to be held at their HQ, on the 6th they announced they were moving it to the warehouse. Cash/checks only, no plastic, no mail-order.
6. Using an old team access code, I checked their pro-deal offerings online. They are out of a lot of stuff. As in, most of it.
All these little red flags are making the tiny robot in my head flail its arms, flash its red eyes and bleat, "Danger, Will Robinson..."
It does not look good.

I would guess that either they're done; or they've been bought by a larger company.
If the former, I glad I managed to get my Pedro's tool situation mostly squared away (with a few extras on a handful of regularly-used/abused tools to see me out, plus an upgraded repair stand and the aforementioned tool case).
If the latter, I would guess the new owners will choose to dump the tools (most of which were manufactured in the Lifu factory anyway, including most of the proprietary designs) and re-emerge with a sharply narrowed focus on enviro-friendly lubes and solvents.

I'm bummed. Pedro's had a good thing going with their environmental focus and their excellent consumer accessibility at races and charity events across the country. I'd guess that's done now, and if it is I'll miss them.


Tarik Saleh said...

Ooh, bummer, sounds bad...

Paul Souders said...

Pedro's Chain Machine is the best-ever chain washing tool. Ever. The best. Mine is seven years old and still works like new. Maybe I'd better secure another one...

And the Vice Whip: pure genius.

OTOH I ditched a cheapo no-name forth hand for Pedro's version and I rue the decision every time I adjust a canti.

bikelovejones said...

Interestingly, many of Pedro's non-proprietary designs are knock-offs of other tools from Lifu (cone wrenches, econo pedal wrench) and Bibox (chain cleaner). The fourth-hand tool you describe is a copy of the Lifu model (and also of the Park model), none of which I'm fond of. Best fourth-hand tool for my money remains the Hozan.

The innovative Vice-whip tool was popular with the fixie crowd for awhile but we haven't sold as many this year (though it's certainly handy to have in the shop).

I have been checking Interbike reports (it's happening this week and thank goodness I'm not there!) to see if anything about Pedro's comes up, but so far, nothing. I think they're finished.

bikelovejones said...

Update from Pedro's: According to a fellow who emailed me yesterday, Pedro's is not going out of business, simply undergoing a "restructuring", and will be back "better than ever" in 2012. It will be interesting to see what means. Stay tuned.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

"...restructuring...back better than ever.." is the equivalent of "Closed for Remodeling" on a restaurant.

Having arthritic hands, I am (was?) a big fan of the fat yellow tire levers.

bikelovejones said...

Last time a restaurant I loved "closed for remodeling", it stayed closed for THREE YEARS. When it finally reopened, the menu was different, way more expensive and smaller in range and variety.

Maybe Pedro's will re-emerge with tire levers, a few lubes and cleaners and those wacky arm-warmers, and that'll be it.

jayatpedros said...

Came across your post and wanted to make sure you knew things at Pedro's were going well and make sure you saw our article in BRAIN this spring.