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March 13, 2011

It’s unbelievable how things pan out. When I started writing this blog, I never thought I would get people from the cycling heartlands of Europe reading it. I’ve had visits from people in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, and one or two of these Viner owners have even been kind enough to send me photos of their pride and joys.

But I was bowled over when Rob Pryor emailed me the other week. He owns SRI Importing, a Canadian based business who distribute Viner’s across the whole of North America! Rob’s business has been up and running for 2 years now. His intention when setting up SRI (pronounced shree) was to import some of the European brands that had disappeared from the North American continent. He also put in place a few ground rules about the intended manufacturers that he wanted to represent:

1. The bikes need to look good and not be similar to anything seen in North America.

2. The bikes must be of high quality.

3.  The bicycles need to be produced in their country of origin.

It was with these rules that he travelled to Italy and met up with the Baldi family who run Viner. He’d heard of Viner and had seen a few bikes before he flew to Pistoia, but it was the factory visit that really sparked Rob’s passion for Viner’s. Since then he’s been working hard to market the brand to North American shops. The market seems very keen on the high end custom built frames, which are of particular interest to the ’boutique’ shops and their discerning customers.

Rob is pictured above, with his Perfecta Cross bike. He used to road race in the 1980’s but living in Edmonton, which is on the edge of the Prairies and the Rockies, it was obvious that he would take to knobbly tyres! Rob now races MTB and ‘cross, where he puts his Perfecta through it’s paces. The Cross version of this frame does have a few details that differ, specifically the beefed up top tube/head tube join (see photo below) which adds much needed strength to an area that really takes some hammer in off road racing. This results in a bike that “rides amazing! I can say with very little bias as I have had a few different people race the bike. The bike handles very well in loose dirt or mud and feels very stiff on hard surfaces and handles even better in any situation. I must admit I think the bike saved me from few crashing a few times in corners and difficult terrain. I would like to claim it was my lightening quick bike handling skills…”

Living in a beautiful part of the world does have it’s downsides though. Rob has just built up a Titan Karbon, but can’t ride it yet, due to -28c weather conditions. I thought winter’s in Yorkshire were bad! Rob has already sent me some great photo’s of the Titan and will send me a ride review once the roads have thawed out. He’s also kindly told quite a few of his customers to send in photos of their Viners, some of which are stunning, including a very rare (for the UK anyway) Viner mountain bike. I’m hopefully going to post these up in the next few weeks.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2011 9:42 pm

    Just returned from a great visit to the factory in Pistoia as I was very keen to see the birthplace of my own Viner passion and Maxima RS….super experience and many thanks to Francesco and Franka for the tour..
    Very good choice Rob!

  2. Angelo Gatti permalink
    March 26, 2011 1:52 am

    I too own a Viner EOM 16.5 with carbon fork/back which I purchased back 7 years ago. I also bought a Viner Scandium for my son. We road them from Vancouver Canada to Austin TX last October for a fundraiser. We both love our Viners but the danger now, for me, is that I look at the carbon Viners with a massive lust. Gorgeous bikes and I’m thrilled that they are relatively unique out there.

    • March 26, 2011 9:42 am

      Wow! That’s an impressive journey. How many miles is that?

      • Angelo Gatti permalink
        March 26, 2011 12:06 pm

        Our route was about 3,500 miles but as we did it relay style, each team rode about 60-80 miles each day. We ended the trip to co-incide with the Livestrong Challenge in Austin.

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