Part one of our three-part video series celebrating Bernard Kerr’s tenth anniversary with Pivot covered the early “caravan years”. Now, in the second episode, we focus on the birth of Pivot Factory Racing. When British Pivot importer, Upgrade Bicycles approached us ten years ago saying that it had local racer that we should sponsor we took a chance. “Our team manager called me a few races later and mentioned that Bernard was using up all their spare wheels and then he started breaking frames”, says Pivot Cycles President and CEO, Chris Cocalis. “The other riders on the team went the entire season on the same frames but Bernard could actually break a frame on demand. That’s how the relationship started because we needed to find out what he was doing with his bike. He was literally ripping the seat tube off the frame. It changed the way we handled some of our testing and we started working more closely together.
We’ve always leaned on Bernard and he’s continually delivered. He is not afraid to try new products and is a key player in our development program. Behind that sometimes wild and carefree personality is a perfectionist who insists on doing things right. He will speak his mind and give input when things are not working or need a tweak. His influence exists in every model he rides. “We found out pretty quickly that if Bernard broke something that none of the other riders were breaking, we still needed to take it seriously,” says Cocalis. “In those early days, Bernard was fast but wasn’t as smooth. He went big and landed hard. These days, he’s super smooth. He obviously goes bigger than ever but frames last him an entire season. We’ve both gotten better over the years.”
Watching Bernard ride is pure poetry in motion. His combination of raw speed and flow always pegs the fun meter. Bernard is more than that stylish rider, fun personality and a top-end racer – he also takes on management of the now five person Pivot Factory Racing team – a team that has won an EWS round and made podium appearances in both the men’s and women’s fields. Also, Bernard puts in the time to train and stay at the top of his game. Two Red Bull Hardline wins, UCI podiums and a King of Crankworx title give Bernard legend status.
The common bond that has made Pivot’s relationship with Bernard so genuine is our shared love of riding and that need for perfection. Bernard’s enthusiasm for the sport is apparent in everything he does. It doesn’t matter if you say hello to him in the pits at a World Cup or run into him out on the trail, you won’t find a more friendly, humble and genuine person than Bernard. He has an infectious love for riding that’s hard to miss. He is in it for all the right reasons – the same reasons that drive us to create and produce the bikes that we do.
So let’s all lift a pint to celebrate Bernard and our ten-year anniversary. He has taken us on an incredible ride. Pivot Factory Racing is an extension of his dream and we are lucky to be part of it. And we can’t wait for you to see what’s coming next from Bernard Kerr and his PFR teammates. Usually, because WE can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.