Monday, June 19, 2006

The New Tomac Bikes...

There's been a buzz in Lincoln about this for a couple weeks now, but now it's official. Tomac Bicycles is back, and they're based out of good 'ol Lincoln, Nebraska. Here's the word from the pages of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

Tomac Brand Licensed to Joel Smith, Brand to Relaunch in 2007

JUNE 19, 2006 -- LINCOLN, NE (BRAIN)—Joel Smith, former director of North American sales and brand management at Answer Products, has licensed the Tomac brand of bicycles from John Tomac and will relaunch the brand with new bicycles mid-year 2007.

“Starting my own business and basing it around a great brand and name like Tomac has been a dream of mine,” said Smith. “The focus will be on producing bikes that you really, really want to own. In my 20 years of mountain biking, there have only been a few that fit into this category. My plan is to make more.”

The company will be headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Smith resides.

“The common misconception is that there is no mountain biking in Nebraska, but you’d be extremely surprised,” Smith said. “The biking and the biking culture are really good in Lincoln. Riding is also close to town.”

The Tomac brand was originally formed by a partnership of Doug Bradbury, founder of Manitou suspension forks, and John Tomac, one of the most respected and accomplished racers of all time.

“Bradbury and Johnny T. will still be heavily involved in the company,” said Smith. “They both have such a strong understanding of the bikes, the market and the industry that they are strong resources for me, especially during the start-up period.”

The Tomac website,, will be relaunched in mid-July with information about the brand direction and future bicycles.

Interested consumers, retailers and distributors should contact Smith directly at or (402) 261-3988.


debaser said...

A damaged brand.

It'll be interesting to see how it shakes down, and best of luck, of course.

mg said...

yeah, you know what they say: the best way to make a million in the bike industry is to start with $2 million. i hope it works for them though, and honestly, i have way more faith in joel's ability to market the brand than i ever had in ABM (aka Litespeed), their former owner. they couldn't market their way out of a wet paper sack! look what they've done with the once prestigious merlin brand!!! they've made 'em look just like every other cookie cutter ti bike out there.

today, noone i know of mentions merlin in the elite air that is reserved for companies like seven, independent, serotta and others, even though the brand pioneered the ultra-high-end ti bike market 15 years ago!

why is this? because a merlin is simply a litespeed with engraved tubes... and the 'new' logo they're using is x-tra shitty. Makes 'em look cheap.

okay, so that's my take on ABM's marketing skillz. joel is a proven marketer. answer/manitou has had its best years under his marketing guidance. the old tomac didn't have a keen eye for making bikes that looked homogenous. they always looked kinda' clunky -- not smooth, flowing lines. that needs to change.

look at the new ibis mojo as an example. functional elegance. a high-end retail-paying customer needs to be emotionally moved by the bikes they purchase. if it doesn't move them, they won't buy it.

or emily b's new rivendell. that's a bike that moves people, literally and figuratively. it's beautiful, and i bet it's going to be an incredible ride once built.

debaser said...

Oh, I really wanted the, what was it, 98 special? Looked like an amp bike, but a little more modern & industrial. And their Revolver (again, I think this was the name) and Bionicon look like they came from the same papa. If you know what I mean.

I think you and I are on the same page with the whole ABM debacle. But there's a big difference between Ibis and Tomac - Ibis just faded away, while Tomac kept making worse and worse bikes with more warranty problems (or so the internet tells us). If it was me, and it's obviously not, I'd have choosen a different name. Bradbury, or Smith, or Debaser's Wonder Cycles, but not Tomac.

Again, I really hope it all works out, and I for one really want to see what's up New Tomac's sleaves.

mg said...

Debaser's Wonder Cycles... yeah that's a catchy one. but seriously, you do have a point. it's a tarnished brand at best, but i do think they can pull it back around, especially if joel can at the very least keep john tomac (the man) involved from a pr standpoint. he's got the name -- he still rides a bike like few others, and he's a good personality.

Joel and whoever and whoever his Lincoln-based crew ends up being will be ultra-busy at home anyway just managing the business, so they're going to need someone to hit the road for them. hopefully johnny t can be one of those people.

regardless, it'll be a fun ride to have tomac in lincoln. i hope they support 29ers though -- it's hard to dispute their worth back here, and it'd make it really easy for me to buy one of their frames. (hint hint... a 4-5 inch travel all-mountain xc 29er frame would be ideal.)

skinny d said...

there website doesn't work.

mg said...

yeah, i think it's "in development," but then the whole tomac thing is in development. i don't think they plan to have bikes available until well into 2007, so at this point there's not too much to say...

in a year i'm sure they'll have a lot to say.

mg said...

i just re-read my post here, and i meant to say sydney b's new rivendell above. emily b just got a new salsa dos niner however, and that's very cool too... especially when you see how good she rides it.