Running a thriving small business is no small feat in today’s competitive business environment, especially when you own a small manufacturing company that has to compete with large international corporations.
CBR Bearing is a manufacturer of specialty bearings—specifically ceramic hybrid bearings that are used in industrial electric motors and in racing motorcycles and karts. The company was founded by Charlie Rowlett in 1994. Leading up to the start of his company, Rowlett was an employee at a Honda-Yamaha motorcycle shop and noticed there was a need in the market for affordable OEM replacement bearings. He began researching bearing sizes and applications, and after noticing a clear pattern, he determined that he could start a company that would provide top-quality replacement bearings for a much lower price point than the bearings that were being sold at motorcycle shops.
Rowlett started producing bearings for the motorcycle industry, but he didn’t stop there. He later moved into the industrial market, which has since become the industry from which he gets the bulk of his business.
When the popularity of ceramic hybrid bearings started increasing, Rowlett was intrigued. With the help of a master tool maker and an aerospace engineer, Rowlett produced the tooling needed to take an existing steel ball bearing and “remanufacture” it into a ceramic hybrid ball bearing. He was soon producing high-quality ceramic hybrid ball bearings and selling them for a much more affordable price than other bearing companies producing this type of bearings.
CBR called their top-quality ceramic hybrid bearings their “Pro-Series” and began selling them in 2002. Since then, CBR has sold tens of thousands of these bearings to customers in the industrial industry, as well as to those in the motorsports industry.
Despite the company’s growth, Rowlett is still intimately involved in the everyday operations of the business. He oversees the manufacturing of the bearings to ensure that they are manufactured to his strict standards for quality, and he also takes the time to talk with existing and potential customers who have questions about his company’s products.
About his company’s 25 years in business, Rowlett says, “I am proud of what we have accomplished as a company over the last 25 years and how we’ve stayed true to my original vision but continue to look forward to what the future may hold for CBR. We appreciate our loyal customers, who come back to us time and time again for their bearing needs. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”
Just like when the company was started, CBR continues to produce top-quality bearings at affordable prices, and they also boast some of the fastest turnaround times in the bearing industry. To learn more about CBR and their specialty bearings, visit their website.