KNIGHT COMPOSITES PROUD TO SUPPLY WHEELS TO TEAM AIRGAS-SAFEWAY – Industry veterans team up with America’s next road superstars
Bend, Oregon, 22 January, 2015 – Knight Composites have today signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Team Airgas-Safeway, led by seasoned World Tour pro and Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner.
Jim Pfeil, Knight’s founder and COO started working with Chris Horner in 1997 when he owned Reynolds Composites and Horner began racing in Europe with Francais des Jeux. The two friends went on to call the same zip code home when they both moved their families to Bend, Oregon.
Knight Composites didn’t set out to partner with a top-class road team in their first year of business. But having achieved all of their engineering and aerodynamics goals to have the fastest wheels in the world with their 35mm, 65mm and 95mm clinchers, it’s hardly surprising they caught the eye of several teams looking for the next technological edge in an industry saturated with carbon products. In all of the requests for sponsorship, however, the management team knew they were looking for the outfit with something just a little different to the norm, and they found it on their doorstep in Airgas-Safeway,
“When I heard Jim had started Knight Composites here in Bend, I knew we (Airgas-Safeway) had to meet with them and test their new wheels for the team,” said Horner. Working closely with Knight Director of Engineering Kevin Quan, Horner put the wheels through their paces on Bend’s mountain roads and was very pleased with the results. “I gotta say that they didn’t let me down. Knight wheels are stiff, they’re superfast with amazing braking power and built for everything the road and the weather here can throw at them. But then that’s pretty much exactly what I expected from the people Jim put together.”
While Horner and Pfeil had worked together previously, this was not the only connection between Knight and the Airgas-Safeway team. Knight CEO Beverly Lucas had previously worked with Team Director Bart Bowen and was naturally drawn to the project. “Bart was a good mate and someone I admired not only on the bike, but also as a huge ambassador for the sport,” said Lucas. “That’s exactly what excites us all about Airgas-Safeway. There’s a really nice parallel between these talented young riders looking for faith from their team leaders in Chris and Bart, and then we (Knight) are a highly developed but young wheel brand also needing some faith from a race team to get a foothold at the next level. We share a lot of synergies in that respect, and through our combined efforts, we believe we will achieve some amazing things.” She added “This young squad making it to the Tour isn’t at all beyond our expectations.”
In keeping with Knight’s very vocal commitment to upholding its international partnerships, Team Airgas-Safeway’s first race on Knight wheels will be yet another global affair, uniting with French made Aivee hubs and Denmark’s CeramicSpeed bearings. “There is no better testament to the value of our manufacturing collaborations than having a pro team bringing all of us together,” said Lucas.
Team Director, Bart Bowen, was equally as enthused about the partnership and working with Lucas. “Having the team partner with Knight is great! Not only do they make the fastest wheels in the world, but they’re a local Bend company and are really committed to helping the team,” said Bowen. “I tested the wheels with Aivee and CeramicSpeed for the first time in August and was instantly impressed. Having the support from these awesome global innovators is a big asset and we’re really excited about the partnership.”
Team Airgas-Safeway’s first race with Knight Composites will be the NRC Redlands Bicycle Classic on April 2-6, 2015.