At Stan’s NoTubes, we appreciate the importance of great bike shops to our cycling community. One of our favorite local shops is the Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We chatted with Service Manager Thomas J. to learn more about Angry Catfish, which has been around for nearly a decade.
Stan’s NoTubes: What makes your shop stand out?
Angry Catfish: As a coffee shop and a bike shop, we are really into both bikes and coffee. It’s all about our customers’ experience from the moment they walk in the door. We have a unique atmosphere and are set up a little differently than other shops. For example, we built our building out, and so our shop has a very clean feel. Given that there are 60-70 shops around our city, we have to differentiate ourselves. Stan’s NoTubes: What kinds of bikes do you sell?
AC: When we opened the shop in 2010, we focused on what we like to ride, so we’re mainly into mountain bikes, gravel bikes and ‘cross bikes. We don’t sell too many road bikes any more because more people are aiming toward having one all purpose bike now. We deal with a lot of smaller brands, and we stay away from the Big Three: Specialized, Giant and Trek. SNT: What are your customers like?
AC: We cater to all people who like to ride. Our customers tend to be higher end cyclists who like to spend a bit of money on their rides, and we also serve lots of commuters.
SNT: Talk to us more about the customer experience you are delivering.
AC: Minnesota is seasonal - we get six months of nice weather, so we need something to carry our shop through the winter. Having coffee makes the whole experience of coming to our shop more casual for customers. They can enjoy a cup of coffee and walk around and look at things. Our staff is small; we have about eight people on the bike side. We don’t want people to have the typical shop experience, so we don’t pressure anyone for sales. We’re here to answer questions. SNT: How long have you been selling Stan’s wheels and products?
AC: Since we opened. We first did a lot of custom wheel builds with Arch and Flow EX rims, and we had a few initial sets of Alpha 340s. Everything has been great, and we’ve done a ton of fun wheel builds ever since. We’ve probably built up a few thousand sets of wheels. Stan’s is our go-to, especially when it comes to aluminum mountain bike rims. It’s nice that Stan’s has carbon rims, too. We sold a decent amount of Valors when they came out, and now there are even more Stan’s carbon options for more wheel sizes and uses. SNT: What Stan’s wheels are most popular in your area and why?
AC: For the majority of the riding here in the Midwest, we sell Arch MK3s. Being able to build those wheels up custom checks a lot of boxes for our local riders. The Arch MK3s are a good option to square out a tire profile, and they are also a good option for a wheel upgrade. When you have a conversation with a customer about an Arch MK3, it opens the door to talk about carbon rim options, too. The Flow MK3 is another popular wheel for us mostly due to tire size preferences and trail conditions around here. SNT: What percentage of your customers do you estimate to run tubeless setups?
AC: It’s definitely a majority. I’d say 75-80%. Whether a customer ultimately goes tubeless depends on whether they are comfortable doing the sealant refresh and what ride quality they are seeking. We don’t sell wheels based on flat protection or weight; we sell wheels based on ride quality. I’d say that we see more tubeless setups on the mountain bike side due to factors like good traction and better ride quality, although we also see a lot of tubeless on gravel bikes. We are hit or miss on tubeless for commuting. SNT: Got any good tubeless stories?
AC: There was this one time when the pressure gauge on our air compressor was incorrect. Somebody mistakenly aired up a tubeless tire on an Arch EX way too much. The resulting big gun shot-like noise scared everyone. We have a corrugated metal roof inside, and it was loud! I think we still have sealant everywhere from that. You should have seen the look on the customer’s face afterward.
SNT: What kinds of feedback do you hear from your customers about Stan’s wheels?
AC: Everything we hear has been positive. To be honest, we don’t hear much, but when we don’t hear anything, it’s generally good. People like to be able to pump up their newly installed tires with just a hand pump at home and have them seat. People are happy when we build up their wheelsets, and they just don’t have to think about them more.
SNT: Got any favorite classic wheelsets?
AC: I built myself some wheels with Stan’s Arch EX rims from a few years ago, DT Swiss 240 hubs and Wheelsmith spokes. It’s my personal wheelset that I’ve had on three different bikes so far, and they’re still true. Another favorite set was for a customer and had Stan’s Valor rims. That customer beat the crap out of them, and they are still true! They are on his Niner, and he brings them in all the time, and they’re always doing great. SNT: What industry trends are you seeing, especially among your customers?
AC: More people are wanting to go wider with tires. They don’t seem to understand why, but they just do it because that’s what the industry is doing. I get it - everyone has their own opinion of what tire sizes works. Our customers are typically looking for 30-35mm rim width because they read about it online, and then that’s what they want. I think wider is good to a point, but there are a lot of different opinions out there. I’m running 2.8s on a 27.5” wheel. I’m happy with my tire size and rim width now, and I don’t feel a need to change them.
SNT: Any parting thoughts?
AC: Everyone at Stan’s has set the industry standard for tubeless rims and how they should perform. It’s nice to have that kind of support. Stan’s makes it easy to hit the $600-$1,000 price point of entry for a wheel upgrade so that our customers get better wheels AND a better ride quality experience. Learn more about the Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar. All photos courtesy of Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar.