Custom KGS Parlee Z3

Custom KGS Parlee Z3

The bicycle industry has evolved from a “LBS” or local bike shop industry to adding mail order using the internet. With KGS Bikes approach, a third option presents itself, the “GBS” or global bicycle studio. All three models have pluses and minuses and I would like to highlight them for you.

The LBS has been the traditional retailing system for the bicycling industry since its inception. Usually run by a cycling enthusiast, bike shops are relatively low margin retail stores who are passionate about their brands, the patrons that they cater to and are very territorial. They are usually associated with cycling clubs and teams and one is either “in” or “out” of the club. Those that are in, can get discounts and a place to hang out and socialize. Those that are out are met with coolness and aloofness unless you happen to be one of the people that they want to recruit. Many times, organized bike rides begin or end at local bike shops and one has another opportunity to fit in or feel left out.

The bike shops are very territorial and encourage a type of shop loyalty and jealousy that is palpable. It is not uncommon for a patron of one shop to be ostracized for even visiting another shop and if one buys a bike from one shop he or she may feel less welcome on other shop rides. This is not a hard and fast rule, thankfully, but it does exist at some level in many places.

The local bike shop usually does not have the volume to allow for discounting at the wholesale level and at the same time is compelled to provide discounting at the retail level. This reduces margins and profitability and the net result is, many persons who work at bike shops are young and inexperienced or are passionate enough about simply working around bicycles that a huge paycheck is not needed. The level of expertise varies from shop to shop but typically the personnel proclaim expertise while in fact are quite dogmatic and opinionated, their opinions based on limited experience or simply the word of colleagues.

The internet mail order bike shop gained in popularity because the preponderance of products sold in bike shops were, in fact, commodities and with a little research the consumer could save considerable money by buying online at the expense of personal service. This put additional pressure on the local bike shops who would strive to match the price of the internet retailers but struggled to make a profit because their cost structure was different. The internet retailers became true global retailers who were experts at supply chain management and internet marketing, but still struggled with products that required an actual expert to help the client in person.

KGS Bikes was created to fulfill the next level of bicycle retailing, the GBS or global bicycle studio. At KGS, the main product is a custom fitted bicycle that is designed and fitted with such expertise that the extra upfront investment of time and effort, even travel, was offset by a machine that would out perform any other bike. This super bike would be a better long-term value and would make the experience of riding a bicycle better by orders of magnitude. How is this possible?

KGS Guru Geneo

KGS Guru Geneo

First, KGS Bikes only provides products and services that can be superior to the other bicycle retailer business models. This means that “commodities” are not stocked, but can be ordered for clients. It also means that a huge inventory of stock bikes is not kept on premises.

Second, the main product that is offered, a custom fitted bicycle, is not a commodity at all, but representative of the best that technology can offer. A client can, at a reasonable cost, get the best equipment and can have it designed as well as the best on earth, with only geography and time becoming variables that need to be adjusted. One may not be as able to walk in and make an impulse purchase, but one can make a visit to a place that focuses the entire resources of the business on a client/friend. This one visit can start a project that delivers a one of a kind masterpiece that can be delivered anywhere on the planet.

Third, many friends want the convenience and service of expert advice and technical suggestions as well as a personal shopping service that combines the expertise of a global bicycle studio with the convenience of mail order.

Many of our friends are astounded when they experience our dynamic, balanced fitting process. I have studied bicycle fitting for 25 years and have developed a system that can find your personal balance points and find the bicycle dimensions needed to replicate them. This ability to build the bike around you is what separates KGS from any other bicycle retailer in the world. Stock bikes are designed for a young, professional bicycle racer. Custom bikes that use the same design parameters as stock bikes will simply be more expensive versions of the same thing.

Nobody that I know of has duplicated or improved upon this comprehensive system of checks and balances, resulting in a personalized bicycle that fits you. You never again have to compromise on what your body wants for comfort and efficiency and you can still be a thrifty consumer, buying commodities wherever you get the best deal!

Custom KGS Serotta Meivici

Custom KGS Serotta Meivici

At present, there are three ways to own a KGS bicycle. The first is to travel to San Antonio and enjoy not only our hospitality, but experience the creation of a bicycle designed for you by one of the world’s best. The second is to be lucky enough to live in Texas, where I travel to Austin, Dallas and Houston on a regular basis to perform bike fittings and consultations. Finally I work with triathlon teams and other groups to make special trips all over the country to fit groups of cyclists for their dream bike.

It’s a different way of looking at buying a bicycle, but a way that many of my friends say is the best available. See for yourself what a difference a day makes, at KGS Bikes.

Have you ever considered traveling to get a bike if you knew it would perform better? I am interested in your perspective.

Originally posted 2009-04-01 15:57:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



Testimonial from Jeff Etessam

by kgsbikes on June 29, 2016

in Bicycle Fitting,Bikes

Jeff Etessam's KirkLee ready for ancillary parts

Jeff Etessam's KirkLee ready for ancillary parts

I get lots of letters of appreciation from folks who like the fact that I buck the status quo and think outside the box. Here is an email plus a testimonial I received today from my friend Jeff Etessam in Dallas. Thanks Jeff!

Second ride this morning was just as good as the first. I wrote a few words about my experience but written words cannot convey the absolute satisfaction and enthusiasm I have for working with you.
Feel free to use any part of my written comments and / or give my email address and /or phone number to ANYONE wanting a positive reference.

Thanks is not sufficient, but …

Jeff Etessam

I write this at the end of August 2009. My interaction with Kevin Saunders and KGS bikes began in November 2008. I contacted Kevin about a fitting appointment on my fairly new Brand X bike that I had purchased from my local bike shop, a good shop that I really like doing business with. I arranged a fitting appointment with Kevin and through every phone or email contact before the actual fitting appointment, I could tell Kevin was genuinely interested in my improvement and success, and was the poster child for “customer service.”

I first met Kevin in person in early December 2008. I was a little concerned about the result of spending a fairly sizeable amount of money for a bike fitting with Kevin. I feel as if I work hard for my money and I don’t’ have a large disposable income sitting around, so I was hoping for some drastic results. My issues were pain in my upper shoulder and neck and my hands falling asleep. I have a background in power lifting and held a World Championship Title in my weight class in my younger years. I feel as if I understand the advantages of having your equipment work to its fullest potential and not “be in the way” or be the limiting factor in performance.

As the fitting began, I realized completely, that Kevin really does care about his clients, even those like me who weren’t spending five figures on a full custom bike. Several adjustments were made and the “fit” was better, but I KNEW deep down it was not and could not be perfect. I had ridden the “perfect” bike during the fitting, and could immediately tell an increase in power and comfort and the lack of pain while riding the set up bike set to the perfect dimensions for MY body. With the adjustments made to my current bike I went on my way and continued riding for several months.

Over the next few months as I ride the pain in my neck and shoulders was delayed in on set, not presenting itself on rides under thirty or thirty five miles. My problem was that I LIKED riding further than thirty miles. I tolerated several painful long rides, and the thought of riding the “perfect” bike never left my mind. The thought was so much in my mind that I have begun to put money away each month to save up for a custom frame in MY perfect size. I had a basis for comparison, and there was none, from my current bike with all possible changes made to the fit of the perfectly sized frame for my body and riding style. Further, I could not reach the power output numbers on my bike that I had seen for my self on the KGS fitting bike. I knew that equipment was limiting my potential.

I early June I contacted Kevin again and asked about the process for ordering a custom frame. Kevin presented me with several options on frame maker, level of completion of the project and component selection. We agreed on a second fitting appointment to verify the dimensions from the initial fitting some six months earlier. The results were one measurement had changed from the initial fitting to the second fitting… by one millimeter!!!

In July 2009 I commissioned the building of a full custom frame through one of the frame builders that Kevin recommends. I knew he would only align himself with the best, most professional and state of the art builders, so I trusted his recommendation. I was continually updated on the progress of the frame, the status of components that Kevin was supplying and the projected date of delivery. I was involved in paint color and graphics selection in order to personalize MY bike to MY liking.

I took delivery of the partially assembled frame and had the other components installed at a shop I use in Dallas. Kevin was more than happy to assemble the critical dimension components, bars, saddle set back and height and leave the rest to another shop. While I was waiting on my new frame to arrive, I sold my previous bike and rode my mountain bike. I was off a road bike for seven weeks. The first ride on my new bike from KGS was simply amazing. I rode a regular route for me, so I could compare the previous bike to the one from KGS. Again, there was no comparison. My power (watts) was up, heart rate was down and I felt no pain or fatigue as I had previously. In short, I am now absolutely efficient. Yes it’s THAT good.

The question I get asked a lot is “how could you spend so much on a bike?” My answer is how could I afford not to? I am now able to ride longer, further and with less fatigue, which improves MY health.

So why did I decide to go through the process of fitting and having an ultra high-end completely custom bicycle built? Simply put, because I am worth it. Deep down you KNOW you are worth it too.

Jeff Etessam
Dallas, Texas

Originally posted 2009-08-30 17:07:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



Why do KGS Custom Bicycles Look Different?

by kgsbikes on June 28, 2016

in Bikes,Musings

KGS Bikes designs original geometry

This beauty is designed specifically for the Rocky Mountains. The owner has short arms and a short torso, so the bike "Is what it is", which is perfect for her. Photo: Kevin G Saunders

When people are introduced to KGS Custom Bicycles, they usually have a few things to say. One common thought is, “I had no idea that bikes like this were available!”. This is not surprising, as the combination of finding where you actually balance on the bike plus the very nice frames, wheels and components make a bicycle that has not been produced before.

Another comment that is heard a lot is, “These bikes look very different than production bikes.” This is quite true. Our bicycles look different because our geometries are unique to each individual. While no person looks exactly like another, none of our bikes are exactly the same either.

While the big companies put lots of style and flair in their bikes to make them show well in a bike shop, many of the things they do are not comfortable or efficient. Because of this, they have to market their sizzle, which is, “Big racing teams win on these bikes and you are a winner if you choose one.” This is like saying, “If you buy a tennis racquet like Roger Federer uses, you will win major tennis tournaments.” Any good tennis pro would tell you that if you used his racquet, designed to work with his strength and style of play, you would have injuries very quickly and it would be horrible. Our marketing is much simpler. We have the technology and the expertise to design a perfect high end bicycle for you.

Custom tennis racquets, custom golf clubs and custom bicycles have a lot in common. First they may look different. This is because they are designed for the end user, and many structural changes may have to occur for them to work “better than stock”. Second, they really are better. They are not a little bit better, but a whole lot better.

If you look at one of our custom bicycles that is designed for most people who can afford them, here is what you will see:

1) The saddle will be a lot further back than you might think. In fact, it will be back further than almost all stock bikes will allow. Eddy Merckx knew this and I believe that is why he did as well as he did back in the day.
2) The handlebars will be higher and further back. If the saddle goes back, so go the bars. They also have to go up because your hip angle can’t change. It’s technical, but know it is necessary.
3) The handlebar stem is usually turned up. The downward turning stem is a carryover from the old quill stems and while people may think it looks better, it doesn’t work better. We turn the stem up for a reason, and that is performance.
4) The stem may be very short. This is to accommodate the reach, or distance from saddle to handlebars, that people really need.
5) The head angle and fork may look different. We design the steering characteristics for each bike to match the rider. This actually ties in with the stem, and we use the stem, fork and head angle to make the bike steer predictably and comfortably.

At the end of the day, a custom bicycle that we design will look the way it needs to, as the function drives the form. We look forward to your questions, comments and thank you for referrals.

Originally posted 2011-06-06 08:18:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



I found a very interesting blog, Fitness Elements, which is run by Natalie Pyles. She wrote an article that really got my attention. She also writes many blogs on health and nutrition and I am so impressed with the volume of her work.

What got my attention was an article entitled, ‘Gender and Cycling Performance‘ and the article talks about the gap in performence between men and women in various cycling events. Cycling stood out in the research with the gap widening somewhat on endurance level events.

Read the article and then my response. I have posted the response below:

Great article. I have also found that two other factors play a large role in the disparity between women and men cyclists. The first is fit. Bicycle fitting is for the most part centered around “fitting” a person to a bike. I have found that finding the optimum dataset for a theoretical bike illustrates how badly most bikes fit people and the smaller the person the bigger the problem. (This happens with large people too.)

The second factor is technique and the maximization of the power that is available. Women have a better power to weight ratio than men and as such can benefit more from even small improvements.

I will reference this article on my KGS Bikes Blog,, and appreciate your work!

I hope you found this interesting and look forward to your comments.

Originally posted 2009-03-13 13:53:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



Co-Motion Cycles Americano Touring Bike

26 June 2016

AmericanoFendersThreeQuarterLogo.jpg Originally uploaded by KevinSaunders Custom Co-Motion Americano touring bike, sporting wood inlay fenders, Brooks Swallow saddle, Brooks leather handlebar tape and mudflap. This bike has a 145 rear spacing so has Rolf Prima Vigor tandem wheels on it. Tweet Originally posted 2008-10-10 15:42:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Co-Motion Macchiato Tandem – KGS Studio Show Bike

25 June 2016

Co-Motion Macchiato Tandem – KGS Studio Show Bike Originally uploaded by KevinSaunders I just built up a new tandem for the studio and wanted to share. Thanks for looking. I have a photo set on Flickr. Tweet Originally posted 2008-11-05 16:51:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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NY Times article on professional bike fitters

24 June 2016

I have been fitting people to bicycles for a long time. The subject of bike fitters is getting very trendy and now even the New York Times has gotten on the bandwagon with their article on bike fitting published November 20th, 2008. With all the hoopla about fitting I find it interesting that the Times […]

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Parlee Z4, Z5 and Stock TT – Another way to get the best

23 June 2016

I just received a call from a Facebook friend interested in a Parlee Z5. While I don’t inventory stock Parlees I do offer them to folks who are confident that they know what they want. Not everyone wants to travel to San Antonio to get a custom KGS bike with a custom positioning. Here is […]

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Big Toe, Adductors and Quadriceps – Tying it all together on the bicycle

22 June 2016

Cyclists are known for having strong legs. This strength can be imbalanced and can cause knee problems. We aren’t trying to write a scientific paper on anatomy here, but to explain something I discovered that helps cyclists tremendously. There appears to be a correlation between the pedaling forces going through one’s big toe and VMO […]

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Triathlon mentioned as a “grueling sport” in Forbes

21 June 2016 just posted a blog article on triathlons called “World’s Most Grueling Sporting Events“. Its not often that this sport is mentioned in a major financial or business journal, but triathlon is so perfect for business people. Barriers to entry are relatively small and continued growth is possible. The business benefits of increased processing power, […]

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