Three ASU alumni pedaling toward success

With a large number of bicycles on campus, three ASU alumni teamed up to start a business selling fixed-gear bikes.

Mehdi Farsi, a May 2007 marketing graduate, his younger brother, Reza Farsi, a December 2007 management graduate, and Eric Ferguson, a December 2008 marketing graduate, launched Web-based business State Bicycle in December.

The trio is hoping for enough business to open a physical store to sell the fixed-gear bikes within two years.

“A fixed-gear bike is a direct drive bicycle, it doesn’t allow for the ability to coast,” said Andrew Comb, a salesman at Tempe Bicycle. “It’s reliable, simplistic and highly unlikely to break down.”

State Bicycle offers bikes for mid- to entry-level cyclists online at statebicycle.com, Mehdi Farsi said.

“[Typically when bike shopping] you can buy cheap entry-level bikes that don’t look cool or there’s super expensive ones,” he said.

That’s where State Bicycle comes in, Mehdi Farsi said.

“There’s not really a nice mid- to entry-level fixed-gear bike on the market right now,” he said. “We all saw an opportunity for that. It’s something new.”

State Bicycle buys parts from China and Taiwan, and they are professionally assembled in the company’s Tempe warehouse, just south of Tempe Marketplace.

Customers want bikes that are unique and individual, so State Bicycle makes small batches of bikes with different color schemes, Mehdi Farsi said.

“We’re offering brand-new, completed bikes,” he said.

Ferguson said fixed-gear bikes are a new urban trend popping up across Arizona.

“The philosophy of a fixed-gear is that there’s everything you need and nothing you don’t,” he said. “You’re very engaged in the process.”

State Bicycle has only been in business for a few months, and got its first shipment of bikes on March 3.

“We are selling at an increasing rate,” Ferguson said. “This past weekend we’ve sold more bikes than we did in our first two weeks.”

Being a small company has its advantages, Mehdi Farsi said.

“We can be more intimate with our customers,” he said. “Our Arizona customers like dealing with us. You get to touch, feel and ride the bike before you buy it.”

Using their backgrounds in business, the group found a niche between entry-level and high-profile bikes, Reza Farsi said.

“We see a lot of opportunity for growth,” he said. “When we came out with this idea to start selling fixed gears, we had sales predictions and so far have exceeded those expectations.”

Psychology senior Charles Tharp said he recently started riding a fixed-gear bike.

“The Tempe area is rather flat, so I find it convenient to ride a fixed-gear,” he said. “You feel like you are one with the bike and your actions are directly reflected in the movement of the bike.”

For other young entrepreneurs looking to start a company, the State Bicycle founders said starting a business at a young age is doable.

“You have to remember to reward yourself, otherwise you’re going to drive yourself nuts,” Ferguson said.

The important thing to do when starting a business is to save as much money as possible, so when the business launches it can be done comfortably and right, Reza Farsi said.

“Anything is possible,” Mehdi Farsi said. “If you stay focused on your goal and truly love it, you can achieve anything.”

Reach the reporter at mmbarke1@asu.edu


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