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Direct to consumer: Karbon Speed shakes up the carbon wheel market


At the beginning of September Karbon Speed LLC officially opened its doors for business to the triathlon race wheel market. In so doing, the new wheel player has ‘put its competitors on notice that the triathlon race wheel game has officially changed.’

Karbon Speed is the brainchild of three entrepreneurs (two of whom – Brian Walters and Glynn Turquand – have already shaken up the triathlon category with XTERRA Wetsuits). Glynn Turquand, CEO at XTERRA Wetsuits, is on board as Co-Founder at Karbon Speed. XTERRA Wetsuits’ shareholder Brian Walters is VP of Sales at Karbon Speed. Justin Li, an avid runner, cyclist and CrossFitter is the third Co-Founder and takes the helm as Karbon Speed’s CEO.

According to the company, ‘unlike all of its much larger and more established competitors, you won’t find Karbon Speed’s sleek carbon fibre wheels in retail stores.’ Instead, as with the direct-to-consumer model adopted by XTERRA Wetsuits, triathletes can only buy them online through the firm’s website.

Pricing for a Karbon Speed 50mm wheel model comes in at US$1400.

The founding vision for Karbon Speed was to help triathletes and cyclists go faster by simplifying every aspect of what a race wheel is and what it does. This is seen as a holistic approach to speed and stems from the company’s core belief that speed comes from the efficient delivery of power.

Direct to consumer
“Going direct (to the consumer), allows us to build a relationship with our end-users and ensure that the delivery of our brand experience is absolutely perfect and seamless from start to finish,” said company CEO Justin Li.

“It gives us the ability to do things like giving the customer one single price and not have to tack on sales tax and shipping. We take care of those things for you. That’s a huge help to our customers.”

Karbon Speed’s wheels may sell for less than the competition, but, as the company points out, ‘they are ultra-high tech engineering marvels developed in conjunction with one of Li’s long-time friends, Pablo Bravo.’

Bravo, who is also a serious athlete having played baseball while getting his engineering degree at Stanford, worked with Li and his partners to make sure that their product lived up to expectations.

“These wheels are really fast and we can prove it with our tests from the A2 Wind Tunnel,” said Bravo. “Numbers don’t lie.”

Lone Star aiming to shine
It was no accident that Li and his business partners, native Texans Walters and Turquand, started Karbon Speed in Texas, the Lone Star State.

“Texas is the best place to do business in the whole country,” added Li, “We travelled to seven different states just to make sure we were doing our homework. Besides, I love Texas. This is my favourite place in the whole country. It’s my home.”

All sales enquiries via phone are answered by ‘a knowledgeable Karbon Speed employee in Dallas, Texas, who will cheerfully help you with whatever you need.’

Karbon Speed also offers a 30 Day Free Ride Trial, free shipping and a 3 year warranty.