Ted Ciamillo

2002 - Zero G

2005 - Negative G

2006 - N.E.R.D.

2006 - GX

2006 - Negative GSL

2008 - Gravitas SL

2012 - Micro GSL

2018 - Lekki8

The Rise

I began designing brakes for road bikes in 2002. My first model, the ZeroG's, were developed in a single-car-garage of a rental house on a used CNC mill with a manual tool-changer. The prototype was photographed on a scale at Interbike that same year and created interest based on the considerable reduction in weight over other calipers on the market. I made it my focus to have not only the lightest but the most well built, machined road calipers in the world. The next 5 years saw incredible growth in sales during which time I acquired a house, three daughters, built a shop, and filled it full of employees and new CNC equipment. Every year after 2002 saw a massive increase in sales and production capability until 2008.

The Fall

In 2008, my grandfather died and kicked off what would become a downward spiral for me. The recession caused great hardship and for the first time in six years I was seeing a massive decrease in sales. The hardship for me was compounded because it came at a time when I was expanding rapidly to meet recent high demand. I had taken out loans for equipment, building a new facility, land, a house, etc. I basically grew too fast and on credit. The bank loved me because they saw what I saw... growth for six years with no end in sight. And they were more than happy to give me loans for the business to meet the ever increasing demand ... again, until 2008. Thinking that the lull in sales was temporary, I held onto employees and equipment with white knuckles. By 2012 I had lost the fight completely in trying to keep the employees. I had a back order of product and was operating a million dollar manufacturing facility single-handedly. This meant making all the parts daily, anodizing daily, and pad-printing, assembly, and packaging daily by myself. Needless to say this was not ideal and manifested in long lead times which resulted in cancelled orders, refunds, and some angry customers. The next 5 years were a struggle to bring things back to the pre-recession state. I lost this fight as well. I lost everything - the house, the machines, and finally the shop. 

 

The Rebirth

With capital from the sale of the equipment, I made a radical change and switched my focus to design of a new super-light caliper which is a culmination of almost two decades of brakesmithing. I moved to Poland to my new wife and switched my business model to take advantage of the lower cost of living and more manageable size. The cost of living, along with outsourcing some of the work such as anodizing, increased the attention available for customer service and perfection in assembly. And has made this move one of the best decisions of my life. 

Lastly, as I said, early on it was my focus to build the lightest, most well-crafted road calipers on the market. That focus is still with me but added to it is a desire to also have the best customer service reputation in the industry. We operate from an inventory-only basis and we will grow organically from here. If you are able to order from this site or one of my distributors, it is because the product is sitting here with your name on it and it will ship within 24 hours.

Thanks,

Ted Ciamillo    lekkitech8@gmail.com

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