"Tools matter, they build things and are pivotal to the manufacturing and assembly of pretty much everything. Our professional tools help talented craftsmen elevate the bike mechanic trade. A trade that needs elevating. " - Jason Quade, Abbey Bike Tools, Owner
Origins of the Abbey Name
The name Abbey started before the tool business was even a thought. When Jason was still splitting time between the race circuit and a bike shop in Bend Oregon, he and another employee wanted to build some bike frames. Between the two of them they had everything needed to build bicycle frames except a name. Jason's cohort in this endeavor loved Belgium. The fowl weather, the cobbles, frites, beer, bike racing and especially cyclocross. Jason liked Belgium and also had a home brewing hobby and wanted to turn the tables of the craft beer scene using names from cycling. After many options Abbey was mentioned and it was the obvious choice. There might have been some libations involved but a web address was purchased moments later. Abbey Bike Works was born on the spot and adorns the down tubes of a couple dozen bicycle frames around Oregon. Despite the legit fabrication skills Jason had it wasn't anything that was started with intention of being an actual business.
Abbey Bike Works built a dozen or so frames before the bike shop went out of business during the economic downturn. At this point, Jason took the name and started a mobile bike service to earn a living and stay in Bend. This mobile business led to wrenching at regional bike races.
During the winter of 2010 Jason attended the Bill Woodul race mechanics clinic and met aspiring pro-mechanic Jeff Crombie. The two connected through a shared past of working in aviation, Jeff as an air frame and power plant mechanic (A&P) and Jason as a welder.
Fast forward two years and Jeff Crombie gets his first full time job with Canadian Pro-Continental team Spyder Tech. In anticipation of the coming season he asked his friend to make him a custom tool. Jeff's background as an A&P meant mistakes were not an option. Mistakes in aviation mean aircraft crash and that normally involves people dying. Jeff wanted to check lock rings on a daily basis as part of the standard "bolt check" every race mechanic goes through. A phone call later the idea for our signature tool was born. 48 hours later Jason was boring holes in lock rings and welding handles on them.
That first batch of 20 tools were given to Jeff and some friends Jason had met over the years of working the carnnie like circut that is professional bike racing. Jason thought that was it, a weekend project to help some friends. Maybe it would lead to a free beer at a race some day. Then Jason started getting calls from random people asking for this great time saving tool and realized he was on to something. This is when he enlisted the help of a local Bend Oregon machine shop to make the tools more polished and offer them for sale.
A Tool Company is Born
In July of 2012 the Cascade Classic comes to Abbey's home town of Bend. During this event Jason walked the pit at Saturday night criterium and sold a Crombie tool to every mechanic that had cash in their pocket. He sold tools to everybody that didn't at the start of the next days stage. By the end of that race season we had sold tools to nearly every active race mechanic in the United States. The last two tools out of that first batch were sent to two tech editors, Nick Legan and Zach Overholt of Velonews and Bikerumor respectively. Both of those reviews came back overwhelmingly positive. However Jason still didn't think that his "heirloom quality tool" was the foundation of an entire tool business. 10 months later there were 6 different teams using our signature tool at the Tour de France, including the head mechanic of eventual GC winner.
When the emails started pouring in from those two reviews people kept asking us "what else do you make?" You see the thing about the Crombie tool is that not only was it revolutionary, it was also executed to a level that no other tool manufacture in the bicycle industry had bothered to make. It was a wisely placed hole that started Abbey but it is the quality that built the company!
Those emails wanting more are where the Abbey of the future really started. Thank you to every person that asked for more! Bicycle tools, especially in the United States were stale and dated. Everybody else in the bicycle industry had drastically raised the bar from 2000 onward but for some reason the tool makers didn't follow suite. They were building tools the same way they always had and in some cases worse than they once did. Abbey Bike Tools set out to do things better, as well as they could be done, price be damned.
The bicycles that we ride today have a level of performance that is drastically different than when many of us started riding. With that performance comes a need to maintain them to a comparable level. Tools on the market at the time couldn't offer the precision needed to allow those high performance parts to perform at their best. This is where our motto "precision is our religion" was born.
We design new tools without concern for the final price. This doesn't mean we aim to build expensive tools. Rather, we aren't willing to cut corners in the name of price. This is the reason that we have such a loyal following among professional race mechanics across all disciplines and around the world. When time matters and results pay the bills there's only one tool company that you want in your hand, sponsors be damned. We stay in touch with many of those customers for new product ideas and that's where most of our products are tested, in the rigors of racing.
Since our inception and to this day, Abbey Bike Tools is committed to manufacturing in the United States. All of our tools are made and assembled in Bend, OR.