Steve Harcourt always wanted to create a dream bike shop, and through Elite Racing Cycles he has been able to do just that. The doors first opened to Elite Racing Cycles in December 2005 after Steve built it from the ground up. A cyclist first, business owner second, the store does everything with the rider top of mind.
Steve’s Grandfather Jim – North Island Road Champion 1929
Steve is a third generation cyclist and comes from a fair gene pool. His grandfather rode bikes against the great Sir Hubert Ferdinand Opperman - otherwise known as ‘Oppy’ - in the late 1920s and into the early 1930s.
His father took up cycling at 17, rode into the 1960s and was World Masters Champion in 1981. Steve started at 12, and competed at a very high level before deciding to pursue his dream of opening his own store.
Steve and his brother Jason grass track racing at Tuatapere Sports in the mid 80’s.
Not to be outdone by the success of his father and grandfather, Steve won the World Masters Games Road Race in 2002.
Steve and his dad after Steve won the Southlands biggest classic the Gore to Invercargill at 16yrs of age.
Elite Racing Cycles is by far the biggest Bianchi dealer in Australia and one of the best in the world, which is impressive when you consider the brand’s Italian heritage and popularity in Europe. The passion for the brand started early when Steve would see his dad return from training rides on a Bianchi, it was also the first bike that he saved up for and bought with his own money. From there he has never looked back, and has raced on Bianchi and dealt with the brand all his life.
A great feature about the shop is its servicing and workshop. The workshop is located behind the front counter in full view of customers. Steve likes the idea that the customers can see exactly what is being done to their bikes and the level of care and professionalism his mechanics exhibit. The workshop is regularly booked out a week in advance, such is the quality and popularity of the store. A unique feature is their same day servicing; Elite Racing Cycles will always aim to have your bike back to you on the same day.
One of the main reasons customers give such glowing feedback is the care Steve and his staff take with every new customer. If someone new comes in and is interested in a bike, they will conduct a bike fit first up so that when the person tests a bike, it feels like home. Most stores will do this the other way around, and only conduct a fit (at a price) once you have purchased the bike. It is so refreshing to know that this store has service as its number one priority.
The store is only ten years old, but feels like it has been around for 50-60 years. Memorabilia covers the walls and each jersey having a significant story to go along with it. The store is approximately 160sqm in size, and has a striking showroom where you can check out the finest bikes and latest gadgets.
The shop runs an online BLOG with everything from tech talk to advice for any level of cyclist. A nice feature on the blog is a photographic history that gives you a taste of what cycling has meant to Steve and the impact it has had on his life.
The shop also runs a very successful Saturday ride that has had to expand to three separate groups on the same day to cater to their customers’ needs. Again looking at things from the cyclist first, the groups are broken up into the more serious, right through to the very beginner. Everyone can be sure that if you start together you will come home together.
To add some spice to the faster groups ride, there are sprint and KOM points up for grabs. This is a perfect example of how Steve and the store aim to make cycling fun and enjoyable.
Some great advice for riders and great insight from someone who has cycling in his blood, Steve suggests not to get too carried away with technology and putting the emphasis on the numbers. Steve, even with all his success, has never ridden with a speedometer and rides purely on feel and for the love of it.
If you check out Elite Racing Cycles Facebook page you will see a common thread through the feedback… ‘The best bike shop’ in Perth… in WA… of all time!
It’s hard to convey in words how passionate Steve is about cycling, his store and his customers. Having worked at many stores over the years, Steve has aimed to correct all the things he saw in other stores that were wrong and provide a service with integrity and honesty. The store offers service like no other, and a commitment to bringing out the good in cycling, that has been three generations in the making.