The Big Idea: Whistler startup sets new standard for sustainability and performance in bike industry

It’s no secret that Whistler is a driving force of innovation in the bike world, but a local father and son are breaking new trail in the science of the sport.

Isaac Marangoni is leading the growth of his new company, Whistler Performance Lubricants Inc. He’s also a regular on the BC Downhill circuit and a World Cup racing hopeful.

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Alongside his father, Alejandro Marangoni, a world-renowned soft materials scientist, the duo are producing a revolutionary new lineup of petroleum-free, non-ecotoxic lubricants and greases that boost bike performance while prioritizing the health of the environment, riders and mechanics.

“There simply was a need for biodegradable, eco-friendly products that performed at the same level as petroleum/synthetic products that was being ignored by the industry,” said Marangoni.

Cyclist and chemist combined

When a company is composed of a talented young racer with a sharp mind for business and a world class chemist who spends his spare time on the trails alongside his son, the boundaries between science and sport start to blur. This is where this duo are really setting new standards.

“Oftentimes, improvements are not made in products because large companies move slowly to implement them,” said Marangoni. “Our advantage is that we can react to feedback literally within a couple days and develop products that reflect the needs of the users.”

When Marangoni is regularly assessing his products in action and connecting with other riders and mechanics, the process of improvement is hyper-responsive. It’s this communication between the lab and users that Marangoni credits with the success of his products.

Test and experiment  

Never wanting to fall into the trap of stagnation, Marangoni says his goal is to sustain the competitive advantage throughout the growth of his company.

Being a rider and racer in Whistler, he can do the bulk of testing himself, but he also has a trusted network of riders and mechanics eager to experiment with products. This lead to the current product line which all started with their first product, Chainboost, a biodegradable wet chain lubricant.

“We knew from personal experience the horrors of having stubborn black goop develop on your bike chain and not come off without using a often toxic chain degreaser,” said Marangoni who quickly found this was a common problem.

After much experimenting and testing they were able to formulate a lube that comes off with water above a certain pressure. The product was an immediate success and the experimenting continues.

The climb

While leading their industry in eco-friendly high performance products, the company is still in the early growth stages. With bike season just around the next berm, Marangoni hopes to gain community support for his sustainable options and build his brand across the bike industry.

Getting his products stocked by shops with big customer bases like MEC, Dunbar Cycles, and Cove Bikes combined with local shops like Fineline, Evolution and Summit Sport is the key for Marangoni who believes word of mouth is paramount because the products speak for themselves once tried.

Marangoni feels they have only scratched the surface of product possibilities, saying he and his father are constantly looking for new ways to test their ideas in different applications, so you can expect more innovations to emerge from their lab and appear on bikes wherever riders are interested in a cleaner, greener choice to boost performance.

“I believe that business is the catalyst to social change, and to be successful you have to represent the values of modern times: responsibility, sustainability and customer value. That’s what we’re trying to do!”

Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector.

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