June 20, 2017 (Montreal, Que.) – Visceral Performance Inc. of Montreal has been maintaining a “low profile” to date, in the words of co-owner Robert Rossi. But that’s about to change for the new company and its two subsidiaries, Cycle Fx and T-Lab Bikes. Rossi, Tony Giannascoli and John Anagnostopoulos are the principals behind Visceral and all were previously involved with the now defunct Guru Cycles, a manufacturer that went bankrupt in early 2015.
X3 frame © Visceral
According to Rossi, Visceral isn’t a rebirth of Guru. “This is a completely new venture that was started years before Guru’s unfortunate demise. Visceral Performance is a 100% Canadian manufacturer that specializes in advanced composite sporting goods.” He and the other management players are eager to capitalize on the expertise gained with Guru.
R3 frame © Visceral
For instance, Rossi describes Cycle Fx as “using our installations and long-standing expertise with composites to give a second life to carbon bike frames. Such frame repairs typically range from $250 to $600 with esthetic repairs also possible. The team here has collectively made thousands of carbon frames, and fixed their share as well. We have the know-how and the setup to make carbon frames ride and look like new again, and we are committed to doing it faster and more cost-effectively than the others.”
Hand painted © Visceral
T-Lab Bikes, meanwhile, is led by Guru founder Giannascoli, selling four models of frames ranging from $3,600 to $6,000, all made in Montreal. “The idea is to harness all those years of experience making bikes [at Guru] and take it to the next level,” explains Giannascoli. “Our goal is to expand on the enduring quality and versatility of titanium from a performance standpoint, based on technical innovation and forward-thinking design.”
Made in Canadas © Visceral
“We have developed proprietary techniques that allow us to aggressively shape cold-worked, stress-relieved, seamless, Grade 9 Ti tubing without annealing it, and thus not affecting its inherent mechanical properties,” adds Rossi.
The prices quoted on both websites are in US dollars. “Because of the seasonal differences, the initial demand for our frames and repairs [outside of Quebec] was primarily coming from the USA,” says Rossi. “That said, we have more than one Canadian dealer now on board. We recently made Canadian pricing available on our T-Lab website. The fact that we are offering a great bike that’s 100% made in Canada is an exceptional story today.”
Tube cutting © Visceral
But Visceral is into more than just bicycles. “Our first launch featuring the next-generation composite was actually in hockey, where we’re introducing a high-performance hockey stick that happens to be significantly more impact resistant. We are in the early stages of development on the next-generation composite applications for cycling; it’s going to take a while. Let’s just say that a bike, or even a bike wheel, is way more complex to optimize than a stick.”
During their Guru years, the trio was into setting benchmarks as well. The 750g Guru Photon made waves in 2010 as “the lightest frame on the market.” While it probably didn’t help Guru that the Canadian dollar was at parity with the US dollar in 2013 – a far cry from the US73¢ that it is worth today and is generally seen as beneficial for Canadian manufacturers – Rossi sees the picture as being more complex than this.
“Over the long haul, you can’t compete in today’s global market based on the relative benefits of a low Canadian dollar. If you are going to be successful in manufacturing something in Canada, you better be making something special that people really want, irrespective of fluctuations in pricing. Like a lot of consumer markets, the cycling business is evolving towards ever-more fragmentation and sub-segmentation. This presents opportunities for niche manufacturers like us.”
Increased product offerings in the near future seem to be in Visceral’s cards: “Based on the demand of our retailers, we are on the verge of making part kits available to complement our T-Lab Ti frame lineup,” says Rossi. “Beyond that, we need to focus on what we currently have going in order to do it right.”
For more information, visit www.cycle-fx.com and www.t-lab-bikes.com