6 Questions with Chris Conroy
Yeti Cycles doesn’t care how the biggest bicycle brands go about their business, they do things their own way, they always have. This month’s #6Questions Interview introduces you to the man behind the curtain at Yeti Cycles, Chris Conroy.
Photos courtesy Yeti Cycles
1. How did you get your start in the cycling industry? Who or what inspired you?
I worked in a bike shop in college to fund my racing habit. After college, I moved to Ketchum, ID so I could be in the mountains and worked at one of the local shops. Eventually, I got on with Scott USA as the warranty guy and later became product manager. That was in the early nineties, when mountain biking was exploding, so it was an exciting time to be in the industry. There was tons of innovation and exploration as everyone tried to figure out how to improve mountain bikes. It’s crazy to think full-suspension or even front suspension was a new concept back then. The industry has come a long way…
I’m not sure I was inspired by a single person, but had a lot of great people in my life. I got married young (23-years-old) and shortly thereafter my wife got pregnant (not part of the plan) – so I think it’s safe to say at that point I was inspired mostly by fear. I worked hard to make it all work.
2. What are you or Yeti best known for? What achievement(s) are you most proud of?
I’m not sure I’m known for much outside of Yeti. On the Yeti side, we’re known as a core brand, run by mountain bikers. Our company is a bit iconoclastic and stocked full of talented people who push the brand forward every day. I’m most proud of our culture and the innovations it has spurned – we work our asses off, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We make bikes, not rockets. I’m most proud that we were able to hold on to the Yeti heritage and push the brand forward through the many tumultuous times.
3. What are you most excited about for the future of the cycling and the cycling industry?
I’m excited the industry has fully embraced high school racing – thanks NICA. I work with the Colorado High School Cycling League and see first-hand how it impacts kids and their families. It’s growing the sport and industry in a positive way. I’m also excited about the work IMBA and other trail stewards have done to ensure we have great trails and riding areas. Trails are expanding and getting better across the country. Without trails, we have no mountain bike industry. The industry is full of great people and cool brands. I’m excited to see how the big brands react to major direct to consumer brands entering the market. The industry is already consolidating.
4. Can you tell us about the latest and greatest coming out of the Yeti factory?
You know we can’t tell you about upcoming product! The next big thing on our agenda is our 15th annual Tribe Gathering in Crested Butte, CO coming up. It’s always tons of fun – epic riding, stupid games, great food and beer. And, we get to hang with 300+ Yeti fans from all over the world.
5. What are you riding now? What is you favorite bike?
I get asked that a bunch and, as you can imagine, I have a fair amount of bikes. I always joke, my favorite Yeti is the one I last rode. My current quiver is SB4.5, SB5 and SB5.5. I’ve been having a ton of fun on the SB5.5.
6. What are you up to when you’re not working or riding?
I’m a mountain guy and enjoy fly fishing, snowboarding, hiking – really anything in the mountains with my family. When I’m not doing that, I’m likely drinking strong coffee or sipping on a good scotch, beer, or wine.
Big thanks to Chris Conroy, President of Yeti Cycles (pictured left) for participating in our interview.