Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fatbikes Leading to Fat Money for Student Entrepreneur

Spencer Bailey at Taipei International Cycle Show
By Klydi Heywood

Some say that ultimate happiness in a career happens when you combine what you love with what makes you money.

At the age of 21, Spencer Bailey, international business & finance, ‘15, has done just that.

His business idea started by finding an innovative way to pay for school and an LDS mission. Spencer speaks Mandarin Chinese and used this skill to import bicycles from China and sell them on local sites such as KSL Classifieds. 

Then while serving his LDS mission in Taichung, Taiwan, the mission president asked him to develop a new bicycle model for all missionaries.

“I went into some factories and really learned how to develop a bike. I learned the processes of going from conception to manufacturing and then distribution,” he said.

After returning from his mission, his passion for creating bike models only grew. He partnered with Joyride Bikes manager, Wayne Wheeler, to create a new type of wheel rim for a new bicycle genre called fatbikes.

A fatbike is a bicycle with over-sized tires (typically 4-5” wide) that are designed for riding on soft unstable terrain such as snow and sand.

However, Spencer saw a problem with the new bike model: the rims for fatbikes were traditionally smaller than the width of the tire, and few companies were producing bigger tires, rims and frames.

“We did our analysis and found customers were simply asking for fatter tires and lighter bikes; we jumped in and never looked back,” he said.

He initially pitched his idea to the Entrepreneurship Club at the Huntsman School to help get feedback on the Victorious Bikes business plan. When he asked if anyone knew of any good engineers, the person next to him, Mike Lichfield, excitedly explained he was a junior in mechanical engineering at USU and quickly joined the team. The trio then designed a new concept for lighter wider 100mm rims.
Spencer Bailey, Wayne Wheeler, Mike Lichfield

Through the Entrepreneurship Club Spencer heard about the commercial $20,000 USTAR Go-to-Market grant. During the process of applying for the grant, his team learned they would be able to apply in the outdoor sporting category.

“We pitched our designs and concepts to implement a new technology in the market,” Spencer said. “And we got it.”

A few weeks later Victorious Bikes was accepted and able to attend the Taipei International Cycle Show, in Taiwan, one of the World’s biggest cycling expos.

“At the show we were able to work with multiple facilities in Taiwan and China and expand to more than making just rims. Right now we are developing an entire high performance fatbike product line, which will come to market at the Las Vegas Interbike Show this September,” Spencer said. 

“Starting my business in school has taught me a lot," he continued. "Right now I am in Accounting 2020, where we are learning about cost base manufacturing, and I’m able to apply it every day. My homework is my business.”

With the grant money and trade shows accelerating the company forward, the future looks bright for the student entrepreneur. 

“We are just testing all our prototypes and getting ready to go to production so we can be ready for Interbike in September. We are currently exploring some different avenues for financing and looking for some energetic and adventurous people to join our team,” Spencer said.

You can find and contact Spencer and his team at their website

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