Catching up with VP Components

CES founding sponsor proves its commitment to enduro time and again

By Patrick D. Rosso

erik saunders ctc battle born 2016

VP Components US Brand Manager Erik Saunders on the 2016 Battle Born Enduro course. Photo: Called To Creation

Bearings to bottom brackets, pedals to headsets VP Components has a role in plenty of racers’ bikes whether they know it or not. In addition to its own line of products, VP provides OEM parts and facilities to a variety of other bike companies. But beyond the Taiwan-based manufacturer’s dedicated work with the gear, VP is also a major supporter of the California Enduro Series.

“It’s a series that we’ve envisioned from the start,” explained Erik Saunders, US brand manager for VP Components and co-founder of the series. “For a lot of people out there, including myself, enduro is a whole new way to ride a bike and challenge yourself; that’s fun no matter what.”

Working closely with organizers, Saunders said the goal is to grow the sport and get more people on bikes, regardless if they use VP Components.

“We want to bring cycling to more people and very much be a steward of the sport,” added Saunders. “We had this idea that we wanted to create something, and then we had the opportunity to partner with the California Enduro Series and really do it.”

From support for grassroots racers to the creation of the VP EnduroFest at China Peak, the international company has been a major player in the California scene.

“There’s been a passion to expand this sport and it really grew from Erik and VP getting involved,” commented Megan Gemelos, sponsorship director for the California Enduro Series. “VP is not just about sponsoring the event, but thinking about how to get more racers and clubs to put on their own events. It’s really great to have supportive sponsors who not only take care of organizers, but also the racers out on the course.”

Both the series and VP have come into their own over the last several years.

“For VP our business is OEM. We produce in the tens of millions of things and about five to six years ago we were thinking ‘what’s next for a company like us?’” Saunders said. “We made a decision to focus on design and mid-level to high-end product that people would want to ride and would want to put on their bikes.”

On any given weekend a slew of riders can be found out on the course with VP products, including a number sponsored riders who work closely with Saunders and the VP design team to create the next must have enduro component.

“I have made a habit of working with companies filled with people who I would actually want to ride with,” explained Ryan Gardner, who took first in Pro Men at the Battle Born Enduro. “It’s really nice to be involved with a company like VP that is really supportive of the riding and racing scene. I’m personally super excited to log some time on the VX Adventure Race pedals. I got big ol’ feet and a clipless pedal with a nice big platform makes all the difference when you’re smashing down some seriously rough tracks like Northstar or Mammoth.”

Lauren Gregg, a VP rider who finished second overall in 2015, said it’s great to see her feedback out on the course.

“Erik has been awesome and he really takes our feedback to heart,” Gregg said. “You can see it reflected in the products and how the company approaches design.”

Ben Cruz, another VP rider and series racer, was quick to second his fellow competitors’ points and highlight the organization’s rider-based philosophy.

“They really take input from their riders to make the best stuff around. They have a great staff that takes rider input on product testing to the max and make products we are confident in and love riding,” Cruz added.

To find out more about VP Components, stop by the VP booth during one of the Californian Enduro Series’ races, visit your local dealer, or check out vp-usa.com.