Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Chris Washburn owns Fezzari bikes, a Lindon-based bike-manufacturing company. Washburn originally sold the bikes online but now has a showroom in Lindon.

LINDON — Each bike is named after a different Utah mountain or favorite riding trail: Widows Peak, the white and red Alta Peak XR, Cascade, and sleek-black and gray Nebo Peak.

For the past four years, Fezzari bikes have been snapped up by cycling enthusiasts around the world, but now the Lindon-based company also is catering to the local crowd, including the recently formed Lindon Police Department.

Fezzari is the creation of Chris Washburn, who grew up loving bikes. He decided to capitalize on Utah's lack of bike manufacturers.

"There's a dearth of them in Utah," Washburn said. "People come from all over the world to go to Utah, Moab. We have the best mountain biking, the best road biking. There's no better place in the world to have (a company)."

So Washburn, a graduate of Brigham Young University's business and law schools, made a switch. He left a busy travel schedule working with car companies in California to come home to Utah to be closer to family — his father, Jerry Washburn, is mayor of Orem — and to start his business.

Now the company with the Italian-inspired name sells thousands of bikes each year.

The business model is simple. Create a high-quality product, manufacture it yourself, customize the bikes for each buyer and sell them online.

But when Utah customers saw the company's local address, they wanted to actually try out the bikes.

So Washburn adjusted the once Internet-exclusive shop to include a small showroom at 850 W. 200 South in Lindon. As gas prices keep rising, he said, they're seeing more people interested in the cycling world.

"At $4 a gallon, it's pretty easy to sell a bike," Washburn said.

The company offers several levels of road bikes, mountain bikes and even triathlon bikes, with back wheels that look like giant frisbees to help with aerodynamics.

The white Alta Peak XR can be spotted around Lindon, as Lindon Police officers patrol mountain trails and neighborhood paths on the tough, off-road bicycles.

Fezzari hasn't done much marketing, instead relying on word of mouth. Twenty to 25 percent of the company's sales come from referrals or repeat customers, Washburn said.

"Our No. 1 philosophy is to treat the customer the best we can," Washburn said. "It's a lot cheaper to sell bikes through referrals."

After the pieces are constructed in Taiwan, the company picks the right-sized pieces and assembles every bike to fit the buyer's height, weight and shoulder span, so the bike is truly customized.

Because Washburn is the creator and the dealer, he doesn't need to mark up bikes to make a profit.

A bike similar to the Abajo Peak Pro would retail elsewhere for $1,700, but Washburn sells it for $849, according to his company's Web site.

Fezzari's prices have been the No. 1 selling point for B.J. Christenson of North Salt Lake, a Fezzari-sponsored triathlete.

"The pricing of the bikes is almost unbeatable," Christenson said. He's in Lake Placid, N.Y., competing in an Ironman on his T-5 Fezzari this weekend. "You get a really high-quality bike for quite a bit less than you'd find at a typical bike dealer. They don't skim on anything. They're really high quality, even though the price is lower."

As Christenson rides, he frequently gets asked about his bike. Is Fezzari an Italian company? No, he tells them with a chuckle, it's a Utah company.

"It's nice ... to have a bike company in our home state that we can rally behind and support," he said.


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com