Small Business Spotlight: Kink BMX

July 18, 2019 03:16 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- If you've ever watched stunt riding or the X Games -- you've probably seen the name Kink BMX.

A leader in BMX bicycles, Kink was formed in Rochester in 1994 and is one of the best-selling BMX bikes on the market with a worldwide following.


Zack Phillips started the company in 1994.  

Zack Phillips: "This is our 25th anniversary."

Brett Davidsen: "Did you ever anticipate it would grow this big?"

Zack Phillips: "I did not. I was happy. I was working at Chase Pitkin and I thought that was going to be my life. But I've been able to grow it to where it is today."

Phillips says he always had a passion for riding bikes.

"When I was 16 years old, I was breaking bike parts all the time, and I just brought broken bike parts into a local machine shop here in town and said, 'can you guys make this stuff better?'," he said.

By age 19, Phillips was distributing his own bicycle parts.

"So today we make complete bikes as well as all the parts," Phillips said. "We have about 1,500 bike shops in the U.S. that stock our product and about 30 distributors around the world." 

Kink is headquartered in an old factory building off Atlantic Avenue in the city. While the frames and parts are actually manufactured in Taiwan, the design, sales, marketing and distribution are all done in Rochester. 

Brett Davidsen: "When you go in to design a bike, what are you looking at? What are you thinking about?"

Zack Phillips: "Yeah, it's all about making it affordable to the customer, as well as strong and light. Those are the three factors we take into consideration every time we start a project."

The bikes come in a variety of styles and sizes from 12-inch bikes for beginning riders up to 26 inches. All have a distinctive style that says Kink.

"I think the biggest factor besides the specifications of each bike is the look of the bike," said Phillips. "These bikes look like our pro team riders' bikes, whereas some of the mass market brands look mass market."

Meanwhile, the warehouse is filled with tires, rims, grips and other parts. Phillips also owns two other brands, Cinema and Mission, which sell strictly bicycle parts.

Here at Kink's headquarters, they have a couple of features you wouldn't generally find at other businesses. They have their own in-house photo studio where they catalog their products and parts for online ads and promotional materials.

They also have this indoor training course complete with ramps and platforms. Kink sponsors a number of professional and amateur riders -- many of whom compete in the X Games. The company's exposure is likely to rise even more when Freestyle BMX becomes an Olympic sport in 2020.

"It really helps. It gives us worldwide exposure," Phillips said. "People that may only see it in a Mountain Dew commercial now are going to see it in real life."

BMX riding has come a long way in 25 years, and Phillips says the market continues to grow.

Brett Davidsen: "What's the best part of your job?"

Zack Phillips: "I like waking up every morning. I wake up every day without an alarm clock and I just like to get going."

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Brett Davidsen

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