Feature Interview: Dave Mellor (of Dave Mellor Cycles)

Bike shop owner, former GB manager, organiser and still racing – few have the passion for cycling that Dave Mellor has! We chatted to him recently …

Feature Interview: Dave Mellor (of Dave Mellor Cycles)

Way before VeloUK became a thought in my head, I knew Dave Mellor as we both worked for the Great Britain cycling team and even then I had a lot to thank him for. Lots of great memories but since we both left GB, life on the cycling front has become even busier and VeloUK has a lot to thank Dave for with his shop supporting the website for many years.

Ride DMC as its become known, (DMC standing for Dave Mellor Cycles) has been part of the cycling community in Shropshire for 32 years and when you walk in, make sure you have plenty of time for browsing as there are a lot of great bikes to look at.

The chat with Dave started by asking how did he come to be a bike shop owner? “I was working at Rolls Royce” he explained “and I was riding at a Centre of Excellence and we got an invitation to go to Holland to ride some races as a GB team.”

“There, I realised I was rubbish, a big fish in a small pond and when you go over there, you saw it was a different level so I returned with my chin on the floor! This coincided with not getting a promotion at Rolls Royce as well and so I thought, I’m not going to be a pro bike rider and engineering isn’t for me so what can I do?”

“I had already learnt to build wheels with the late Graham Bufton and he encouraged me to start a shop. I went to Manchester Uni and attended a small business course over three months and the rest is history”.

When asked what a local bike shop like DMC does that the big online retailers do not, Dave replies “sure, we can fix your bike but we can also give advice that you can’t get from a call centre. I have been round the block a bit; Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships so I have got a unique insight into the sport and Melanie has raced the Women’s Tour de France and also in many other countries around the world both in mountain biking and road.”

“Luke (former pro for JLT Condor) is back now and he’s been in the pro peloton and we also have a great crew of MTBers as well as Becky, a pretty decent triathlete. That is a lot of experience you don’t get online!”

In Shrewsbury, Dave is involved in two shops Dave Mellor Cycles and another called Trailhead. Explaining how the mountain bike shop Trailhead came about, Dave says “we’d had the opportunity to take on Cube bikes and hadn’t really got any space in mine so I approached a friend and asked would he like to go into partnership and run the shop. Sandy (Plenty) did and they have just been awarded MBR shop of the year which is tremendous news”.

When asked what the main focus is for Dave Mellor Cycles, Dave replied they cater for a great spread of customers and it is not just a high end performance retailer. “Having been there for 30 years, we have seen kids who have been brought in as toddlers who then return bringing in their kids later in life and in some cases, come with their grand kids – it is quite scary really!”

“Sometimes, I will see high end only shops and think do we miss the kudos of not being a high end only shop but we do the high end equipment and across many disciplines like time trial & triathlon, cyclocross, track, road and mountain biking, so we have the best of both worlds”.

The shop, which is over a couple of levels, has a workshop with what Dave describes as three and a half mechanics (one part time being the half!) and added they are busy all the time. “We get a mix people coming in with their bikes for the workshop. You get professional people who come in when they have an event coming up and they will bring a bike in and ask us to get it ready and then others will come in when there is something they can’t do themselves. It’s a real mix”.

One of the advantages a work shop has over many riders who like to tinker is they have the expensive tooling to deal with issues on bikes. Take press fit bottom brackets for example. “They can be a problem” says Dave.

“The industry was slow to provide tooling for working on bikes like some one would come in with a Cervelo and not so long ago, you’d have to put the bike on a stand and start hitting the bottom bracket bearings with a hammer & punch to get the bottom bracket out and that was the correct tool! Things have evolved though and there are ‘pullars’ that are fantastic pieces of kit that pull the bearings out without destroying things so whilst you can get in there with a punch and hammer and knock a bearing out, to do it properly, bring it to the shop”.

Changing subjects, I asked what he felt the most popular bike has been and he says “the LIV Envie , a women’s aero road which proved to be amazing for us this year with the road bikes.”

“Our bread butter though came from the hybrid range like the Specialized Sirrus  and Giant Escape and they are selling every day but of the nice higher end bikes, the Liv Envie has been the go to bike”.

Aftermarket Accessories
The next question on what sells was after market accessories. It’s a huge area where it varies from the consumables like brake pads to tyres and other things that wear out to the ‘nice to have’ gadgets and it’s one of those that Dave picks when asked what is a popular buy by competitive cyclists.

“Wahoo computers and turbo trainers” he replies. “I had to pre order a load of the smart trainers from Wahoo and the staff in the shop are going to me ‘you’ve lost it’ – ‘you have really lost the plot this time Dave’ but when we’d sold five in the first month, we knew it was the way to go and we haven’t had any rubbish weather yet.”

“So they are really good as are Tacx and Elite. I’ve been using the Wahoo Elemnt GPS unit and its brilliant. It has become a tradition with some friends to meet up in Paris at the end of le Tour and we have to decide on how we are going to ride there.”

“We flew to Geneva and then rode a not so exciting route but I have to say, I put the route into the Wahoo and it was job done; no messing, no problems like others I have had; just a super reliable piece of kit. And the price is incredible, £250 and it does everything that higher priced units do.”

2018 – exciting things ahead
What about 2018 I said to Dave. Is there anything to get excited about? The reply was a big yes! “The bikes we’ve seen are totally integrated now; disc brakes and electronic shifting with everything inside the frame and not a cable to be seen.”

“And it all works! It is amazing. We can get a bit jaded some times with bikes and kit but I was genuinely excited by some of the stuff that was out there at the shows this year, it was lovely.”

Most popular groupset?
“Shimano Ultegra” says Dave. “It is still the go to, whether it be the standard or Di2 version. We are selling a lot of SRAM Eagle too for mountain bikes. SRAM eTap is coming on and is incredible to set up. Everybody is used to pairing an iPhone and so on and it’s the same as that. Press a couple of buttons, see some flashing lights and away you go”.

A starter race bike?
There are quite a few but one of the killer bikes we have seen is the Focus 2018 Izalco Race Ultegra. For £1700, you get a carbon frame, Ultegra groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels – who needs more than that? Sure, we sell higher spec bikes but for a starter bike, it’s a killer that is.”

What is Dave’s go to tyre?
“Specialized Armadillo” was the reply. “They are the tyres when as a 14 year old, son Luke got into cycling and we thought he’s got to go out and do all this stuff, is he going to be okay and are we going to have to go and fetch him? So we fitted Armadillo tyres and they are still our best selling tyre by far. They are bomb proof! I use them every day in the winter and they are armour plated!”

What is women’s specific in cycling now?
The reply was clothing and saddles as well as things like narrower handlebars or smaller levers but Dave then explained that Specialized had looked at a lot of data and come to the conclusion women do not need a specific bike as the geometry needed can be dealt with using stems and saddles.

As an aside though, Dave added that when a guy comes into the shop unable to find a saddle that is comfy, they sell them a Specialized Oura Expert Gel Saddle popular with women but also with men it would seem … “Not had a gent bring one back” says Dave LoL.

Power Meters
I then asked what was the most popular power metre with consumers at Dave Mellor Cycles? “Stages sells the most” replied Dave adding “and is the number one system in terms of access with the Shimano chainset. It is so easy to put it on and off, riders can change it to another bike if they need to. We are waiting for the latest offering from Garmin to see what it is like. The Power Tap pedals have been popular too.”

Finally, the last question was what is the most expensive bike they have or have had in the shop? “We haven’t sold it yet but we have Specialized 2018 S-Works Roubaix Mclaren and that is expensive at a tad under a ten grand!”

There’s the proof that the shop is more than just a high street bike shop right there! Lots of proper race bikes under the Ride DMC roof and people in the shop who don’t only know the bikes well but the sport of cycling too. our thanks to Dave for the chat and we look forward to seeing him again soon …

Parting quote to remember from Dave: “A good bike fit is worth its weight in gold…”

About Dave Mellor Cycles (from their website)

Dave Mellor Cycles is a Shrewsbury family business started in 1985 by Dave Mellor and Great Britain International Cycling star Melanie Grivell.

Dave was a top class mechanic for Great Britain and Pro Cycling Teams and then became Great Britain Team Manager at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He was a Director of British Cycling and was part of the change that took Great Britain to the very top of the World cycling stage under Peter Keen and Sir Dave Brailsford. Dave was Great Britain Team Manager at Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games and World Championships for Able Bodied and Paralympic athletes until the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.

Melanie was a renowned Great Britain Cyclist with three successive Women’s Tour de France races to her credit. She raced all over the World for her Pro Teams and the Great Britain National Team on the Road and Mountain Bike. She held several Time Trial National records before retiring to have children. Eldest son Luke was a pro rider and raced all over the World and has competed in many stage races including the Tour of Britain and the televised Tour Series. Younger son Ewan is an aspiring under 23 rider whilst daughter Ruth cycles just for fun but is an accomplished mountain bike rider.

All of the staff at Dave Mellor Cycles ride bikes whether it’s taking part in the SkyRideSocial, racing on road, track or mountain bike, touring on the road or exploring Shropshire and beyond, off road with or without children in tow. So whether you want that very first balance bike or advice on training for an Olympic Games you can be very sure that you will find it very hard to find anywhere that has as much combined knowledge delivered in a very friendly manner than Dave Mellor Cycles. Where service is paramount and nothing is too much trouble.




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