The three largest bicycle companies in the industry are Trek, Specialized, and Giant. When Liberty Bicycles had to make the extremely difficult choice between selling Trek and Specialized, that decision created the opportunity for another bike shop to open.
Motion Makers’ owner Kent Cranford seized that opportunity before the pedal even spun, opening a 5,000-square-foot shop in the outlying Biltmore Square Mall, selling also Pivot, Raleigh, Cervelo and Beistegui Hermanos, or Beistegui Brothers, otherwise known simply as BH—a Spanish company sculpting road bikes for 101 years.
The new shop is housed in the old Pier One Imports building on the East side of Brevard Road, just a mile before the Bent Creek Recreation Area and the Blue Ridge Parkway. A large mountain biker decal in the westward facing windows can’t be missed.
Cranford has dug his wheels into Western North Carolina since the beginning days of the Nantahala Outdoors Center in Bryson City 24 years ago. He helped create the first bike shop there and is one of the founders of the Knobscorcher mountain bike race every spring in Tsali—part of the Southern Classic Mountain Bike Series.
The original Motion Makers has been in business since 1986 in Sylva. The shop originated as a skateboard and bike shop. Cranford is the third owner, taking over just three years ago after years as a Specialized sales rep, which is why he knew what was coming down the pipeline.
The shop has begun with a stellar group of managers, who have spent a lot of time in the industry. General Manager Ben Hinker has been an independent sales rep for 14 years, selling various high-end bikes and accessories. Sales Manager Jacob McGahey is the area’s top road bike geek, able to determine the number of ounces on any component from at least 50 yards away. Service Manager Sara Jarrell is a graduate of the Barnett Bicycle Institute in Colorado and has put a lot of love into the Giant for Women program.
There’s a lot of “bike bling” in the store, so get ready to browse, and be sure to spend sunny and warm Easter Sunday at Alexander Park, along River Road, north of town. That’s where the Specialized truck will have a fleet of bicycles out for the testing. Ski Country Sports Owner Craig Friedrich has refurbished the trails there into a fun, close-to-town ride.