THE INNOVATION ISSUE APRIL 2018 ISSUE 147 01 BB147 Cover_v1.indd 1
Have you ever wished that everything you wanted and needed was under one roof? XLC is every dealers dream come true, one brand that houses all your bike part needs. Coming from the same stable as Haibike, XLC stands for function, fashion, comfort and technology. With recognisable blue packaging and high stock turn XLC is often referred to as the fast moving blue wallpaper. Sold by the metre, XLC and its point of sale concept offers a flexible solution for retailers. With its modular, flexible tailored point of sale solution, the selection of stock is down to you. With no set packages, it gives you the option of choosing the products you know will sell in your store. XLC is truly optimised for stock turn and high margin which in turn leads to increased profitability. For 2018, 1,500 additional product lines have been added to complement the existing UK range.
XLC stockist offers: • Spend £500 and get 10% off plus POS - XLCPOS & HEADER01 (header board and slat wall surround) • Spend £1000 and get 17% off ongoing plus free RFSDU (1m unit) • Spend £2000 and get 17% off ongoing plus free POS - RFSDU & RFSDUADD (2m unit)
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‘We should ensure we are defined by the incredible innovation we’re seeing throughout the industry’
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Innovation in an evolving landscape
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Business has been undergoing change since the word was first coined. In turbulent times such as these, we’re often guilty of forgetting that change is not a new concept. In the past century alone, letters became phone calls, phone calls became emails, emails became texts, and texts became WhatsApps and iMessages. Regardless of our industry sector, what it comes down to is how we deal with these constant evolutions. During my so-far brief introduction to the cycling industry, one overwhelmingly negative concept that repeatedly resurfaces is the idea that IBDs should essentially ‘open a coffee shop or close’. It is this exact blend of pessimism, despondency and lack of creativity that grinds businesses to a halt. Instead, we should be defined by the incredible innovation we’re seeing throughout the industry, and that is precisely what our April edition looks to present. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the person pictured above is no longer Hayley Ferguson. Alas, following her departure last month, the decision has been made to replace an incredibly friendly, smiling Canadian woman with a considerably taller and far less attractive bloke from Hull. Despair not – Kieran Howells and Carlton Reid remain on the BikeBiz roster as staff writer and editor-at-large respectively, while Laura Laker will continue to provide monthly reports on all things cycling. We deeply appreciate all of your positive, constructive feedback from the BikeBiz readership survey at the turn of the year. Particularly for myself, as a relative newbie, it gives a fantastic insight into how BikeBiz can continue to evolve in serving its readership in the best way possible. I’m looking forward to getting integrated within such a burgeoning industry, and further feedback moving forwards, be it positive or negative, will always be of incredible valuable. If you have any queries, or simply want to say hello, I’m available via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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4.18 THIS MONTH
Kieran Howells discusses the latest innovations to take on the physical retail space
Professor Charles Ross discusses the ethics of cutting-edge cycle fabrics
The innovation issue
Laura Laker talks to BikeBiz Awards finalists about how their products aim innovate in the modern cycling industry
REGULARS 57 Sector guide 71 Stats and figures 72 Team profile 74 Spokesman
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bikebiz 20/03/2018 17:52
The renaissance of the local independent bike shop by Kevin Griffiths, BikeZaar
ncreasingly in the eyes of many, the cycling industry is broken. Despite being one of the growth phenomenons of recent times, heightened industry competition from new entrants, the rapid expansion of online-only retailers, together with some brands and distributors adopting a direct-to-consumer approach, has created a huge amount of uncertainty in the sector. Couple that with slowing consumer demand, and the pressure is really starting to show...
Independent retailers that have failed to adapt are being forced to close. Others are diversifying and managing on lower margins. This is all despite research that suggests people would generally prefer to buy locally or from a retailer with a physical store, but better prices, choice and convenience has inevitably driven people online. Consequently, we have seen demands in the press that customers should support local independent bike shops, but if the shops do not have what customers are looking for, if it is significantly more expensive, or customers cannot get it straight away, then it just will not happen, and people will continue to shop elsewhere. We have also heard calls for boycotts of brands that are breaking with the traditional supply chain model. Ultimately though, this will not give customers what they want; surely any long-term solution has to incorporate their preferences. The answer for independents is not necessarily to help them to build and develop their own websites in order to compete online. Shop owners are too busy running their stores and spending time talking to and helping customers. There are lots of examples of shops that have thrown money at expensive websites with promises of Google rankings and traffic to no avail. Unless there is expertise in-house, then playing online can be an expensive, risky and time-consuming hobby. Even the largest independently-operated websites struggle to compete with the big online-only retailers. Consumers now expect to be able to buy everything in one place, in a single transaction and at a competitive price. Today, it’s all about speed and convenience.
6 | April 2018
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Independents working together in collaboration has long been suggested as the answer but, so far, no-one has delivered a mechanism to make it happen. I’ve witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by the independent cycle trade. My family is steeped in cycling history, both in competitive racing and in business. My great grandparents opened a bike shop in 1915 that is still operating today. Both were heavily involved in organising events on the local cycling scene for decades, and ran the Newcastle Track League throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. My grandfather himself had been a National Grass Track Champion and North Staffs sprint champion for 18 years. He managed international racing teams and was Great Britain’s mechanic at Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships. My mother, Bernadette Swinnerton, competed at the top level of the sport, winning silver in the Women’s World Championship Road Race in 1969, and she was the National Sprint Champion for four years. My father Phil was twice selected for the Olympics and won a silver medal in the 1974 Commonwealth Games Road Race in New Zealand. He was one of the few British riders to have held the yellow jersey in the Peace Race, he was named British Best All-Rounder five times and broke several ‘place-toplace’ road records. He managed the ANC–Halfords team, the first British-based professional team to enter the Tour de France. On retiring from racing, he established Yellow Limited – exclusive UK distributor for a number of top cycling brands over the past 30 years.
Bernadette Swinnerton won silver in the Women’s World Championship Road Race in 1969
Despite such rich cycling pedigree, I chose a path into business, gaining a degree and master’s degree before going into the software industry. It was through my software business that in 2008, I sponsored my father’s pro team, Pinarello-CandiTV. Riders included Malcolm Elliott and Russ Downing who, despite the odds, won the Tour of Ireland in CandiTV colours in 2009. Having been brought up in and around the cycling industry, and with a background in software and technology, I’m well-placed to deliver a solution utilising the very latest developments in ecommerce, social media, and consumer behaviour as a catalyst to unify key stakeholders. My new company, BikeZaar, is a digital framework that effectively sits on top of the independent sector. It comprises an electronic marketplace environment at its core and combines the inventory of the independents into one site. This enables consumers to shop from the largest selection of products, brands and services from multiple sellers, all on one site with a single basket and check-out process. Each retailer is subsequently notified of a customer order to fulfill.
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As we have seen with the large online-only retailers, ‘breadth of product’ is an important factor for customers, and by combining stock from all of the independents, we can now offer a competitive alternative. For independent retailers this means that they are now extending their market reach beyond their traditional captive radius, leading to new customers, increased sales and incremental business. Convenience is also a big factor. BikeZaar offers 24/7 shopping with home delivery options – but crucially, our network of independents is also able to provide local in-store collection, providing face-to-face service, expertise and advice, together with services such as bike fitting. Collectively, not only do we offer the same level of convenience as online-only retailers, we take it to a whole new level.
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Of course, competitive prices are key, and in bringing the independents together, economies of scale and buying power will help drive cost efficiencies that will aid in the preservation of margin, or to compete on price where necessary. Instantly, through collaboration, the solution delivers the same benefits that have caused consumers to buy from online-only retailers, while also integrating the value and unique selling points offered by specialist independent high street stores. In other words, BikeZaar combines the best of both models, and without the independents losing their own individual store or website identity. Everything available at BikeZaar purely reflects the products and prices found in-store or on the independents’ own websites. Customers are buying directly from – and supporting – independent retailers. Brands and retailers have complete control over which territories items are shipped to, international pricing, shipping and collection locations. On BikeZaar, there is no fear of brand damage or lack of control and there are stringent controls in place to ensure the highest possible standards and quality of customer service. The platform can also restrict specific brands/products to in-store collection only for brands such as Trek who have a strict no-shipping policy. In development for over 12 months, I’m very excited about the company’s imminent market launch. The platform is extremely sophisticated, and has been technically challenging on a number of ‘Independent fronts, despite my background in retailers that software and tech. We are pushing boundaries to ensure that we deliver a have failed to platform that customers will choose to adapt are buy from because it is better, not just being forced because they sympathise with independent bike shops. We are to close’ nearly there now, but we are nothing without the support of the shops, brands and distributors. I appreciate that we are asking them to get involved
with something that may not give an immediate return, but ultimately, we have made it completely risk-free – other than a little time to get set up. Our financial investment is significant, and we are already mapping out phase two developments, such is our confidence and commitment to delivering a solution that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry. With over 50 retailers signed up to the platform, the company is keen to speak to more independent bike shops, brands and distributors prior to its forthcoming launch and there are a range of incentives available for those who get on board now. n
Find out more about the BikeZaar online marketplace service at the brand’s website: bikezaar.com
8 | April 2018
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Retail is changing... and you’re in control
by John Utah
But what happens if you don’t have to reduce the prices t seems that a lot of clever people have been left of major brands to compete and draw customers in? scratching their heads. It’s a Friday evening and as I What happens if the critics of the high street are wrong, sit down to write this piece in a well-known coffee and what happens if you could take a slice of the chain, it is clear to see that at 6pm, business is booming strategies employed by the larger retailers? in this particular sector of retail. The examples I can give of this are the likes of Aldi and Ironically, I am sure that there will also be a number Lidl, ignored in the 1990’s and now dominating the of IBDs cashing up this evening and wondering what grocery sector of retail. They have silenced their critics on earth has happened to retail. and are changing the way we shop, leaving the traditional This question is not limited to the cycle trade – it’s giants concerned that they did not see the ‘perfect storm’ an epidemic that’s spreading like wildfire throughout on the horizon. Admittedly, these two will never become the whole of retail. Just over the past week or so, the behemoth giants of the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury. we’ve lost Toys’R’us, Maplins and a host of high They are, however, meeting the law of demand in their street staples are on the edge of either CVA or own approach, working on the very basics full-blown administration. It appears that the ‘use us or lose us’ scenario is expanding. ‘There will be of retail that changed the way you or your parents/grandparents shopped in the 60s. When you read the news, the blame shifts IBDs cashing Let us look at the brands that they offer. from poor business management, branding They work on the basis that their brands and the obvious Brexit. All of these do up this offer simple quality, simple style, basically indeed contribute to the downward spiral of evening utilising the ‘me too’ approach. By taking commerce, but in reality, it is down to simple wondering this approach, they are not offering the microeconomics and the law of demand. In microeconomics, the law of demand what on earth full-blown brand, thus not paying the premium to stock the brand and equally states: “conditional on all else being equal, has happened not having to discount it to attract sales or as the price of a good increases, quantity being held prisoner to the brands ideology demanded decreases; conversely, as the to retail’ – Morrisons discounted 1,200 well-known price of a good decreases, quantity lines to try and match similar Aldi and demanded increases”. Lidl own brand products on the run up to Christmas! This is exactly what is happening in retail. Clever indeed – but what about marketing? People want We are falling into the trap that the most obvious the real deal right? This is where brand recognition way to sell more products and in higher quantities meets law of demand. is by dropping the price. On average, a major UK supermarket stocks 10,000 However, in the 21st century, there is a flaw in this lines. If you were asked to buy a can of baked beans, I am approach to commerce. As rents, rates and other fixed pretty sure you would pick up Heinz, ignoring a host of costs of business increase, we decrease prices to increase other brands. Why? Because of brand familiarity and the sales, ultimately profits are reduced, placing the screws power of their marketing. However, if and when you shop into the business’ coffin. in Aldi or Lidl and I ask you to buy me a can of baked I’d like to aim this piece at something that I see and beans, chances are you wouldn’t be able to purchase notice on a daily basis – continuous discounting in order Heinz, instead you would have to purchase whatever to drive sales.
10 | April 2018
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In my previous sales positions, I have been approached brand they are offering, ultimately removing the option to the tune of £20,000 to promote products on some to autopilot approach. Instead, their product branding of the major online shopping sites, in what was then looks similar, and tastes roughly the same, but most banded in loose marketing terms as ‘a sponsored importantly for Aldi or Lidl, the need for priceproduct page’. My reaction to this was awe and matching or discounting is removed, because that’s amazement at the audacity of the request, but deep what they have on offer and as you are there, you down knowing that most suppliers would bend over might as well buy their brand as it seems cheaper backwards in order to keep this key account and not than the Heinz alternative. quibble. I am sure that there are 20 shops in the UK But how does this transfer across into the cycle who in asking the same suppliers for £1,000 each, the market, I hear you ask? Look around at what you’re answer would be a resounding, “no!”. stocking. How many of these items that you stock are At the moment, I am sure you get some point of readily available online? What happens if you decided sale, a poster and a nice window sticker perhaps? to stop selling the same products as everyone else and That’s great, but often, all you are doing is allowing started looking at various options not available online? customers to come in and use your shop as a showroom, What happens if you took at stand and only looked at before leaving to purchase the product items that were able to offer you a margin online at a lower price. of 60 per cent, instead of being discounted ‘Look at Then comes the law of demand. The by 60 per cent? what you’re customer is in the shop, and now is your Would sales drop off? Would customers stocking. time to sell something different with a not continue to shop with you? Not necessarily. Business is changing. Amazon How many smile, with a service and knowledge that cannot be found online, and most has changed the way we shop online, of these items importantly, to build a rapport with iTunes has changed the way we buy music, Monzo is changing the way we bank and are available the customer in the hope of bringin further business opportunities in the future. As, a retail is changing full stop. When was the online?’ customer myself, if I have taken the time last time you actually looked at the price of to buy a product, which I then find much, a product before adding it to the B2B much cheaper online, disgruntles me. shopping cart and thought, ‘is there a similar product Embrace the change of retail – adapt and overcome that offers the same quality for a cheaper price, offering by asking for a contribution towards your floor/retail me a better margin?’ space, and remember you are the customer to start Here is the bombshell; say you stopped ordering with, and you should have the power to decide to on the B2B, and when you next saw the supplier’s stock a product. This should not be based on just rep asked this simple question – ‘How much would latest thing but if it actually makes you any money, you pay me to stock this product’? After all, this is do the excel spreadsheet work out how much that your floor space, your livelihood, your dream and brand will generate for you and don’t just stock it your countless sleepless nights! because it’s a major brand, the law of demand is Remember that the rule of retail dictates that a very much alive. particular square foot of wall should generate X to The reality is, Maplin and Toys ‘R’ Us failed cover Y, and at the moment, I am pretty sure that X because they were selling the same product as I is nowhere near Y... can buy anywhere else, often much cheaper than Remember the golden rule of retail – ‘eye height is they were offering it, but instead of discounting buy height’ – so you might as well ask for a contribution major brands just to compete on the law of demand, for it. All the major UK retail companies now ask for a perhaps offer a similar brand with the same overall contribution towards stocking a product, retail space ethics at the same price point, with higher margins, is expensive, times are tough and only in the cycling and perhaps with a more open approach to work industry are we displaying and promoting brands with you. n while paying a premium for it. For more opinion pieces, along with news and features, check the BikeBiz website at bikebiz.com
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13/03/2018 16:31:47 13/03/2018 15:59
How sustainable is bike clothing? by Charles Ross, performance sportswear design specialist
s the cycling industry doing as much as it can to reduce its footprint, or could it be accused on resting on its laurels?
The Government seems to have recently taken a lead from the last edition of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 about marine pollution and come down hard on plastics in the ocean, and one of the baddies has been labelled as synthetic clothing – the stuff made from polyester and nylon. How bad is the clothing? What are the better alternatives? Whereas the outdoor industry has several brands that have led on their sustainable characteristics to great success, it does not seem to have been repeated within the cycle trade – why not? Micro-plastics are being debated at parliamentary level currently; the Surfers Against Sewage’s campaign is catching a lot of attention the moment; what does it all mean? We need to establish what is face, and what is simply opinion. albatross’s stomach full of plastic detritus; this is Most of the information was initiated by marine plastic pollution. It is said that every piece of plastic biologists from the University of Plymouth who ever produced is still around – if it has not been burnt. noticed that products like fleeces wore When plastic became a commercial out over time. Examination of ocean alternative midway through the 20th inhabitants revealed micro-filaments of century, it was embraced – one of the ‘The single textiles. Studies of the fertility levels of great things it has done is made packaging Inuit Indians of Greenland have sunk by biggest factor so much lighter for the durability. two thirds due to PFC contamination. It The lighter it has been, the more the in modern all sounds very doom and gloom. carbon footprint of transport has been The outdoor industry has pulled times is how saved. Plastic packaging has also been resources together to try and get to the a cost-effective way to preserve goods; long a facts of the matter, as their experience of whether foodstuffs whose restriction the aggression by Greenpeace over the garment is of oxygen has prolonged their shelf-life, Detox Chemicals campaign has left them or just something to keep garments clean loved for’ with the mechanism to react in a in warehouses. productive way; has their speed to However, micro-filaments are different. respond to the situation been taken as a This is a collective expression for fibres – sign of guilt for being overtly responsible what normally gets twisted together to form yarn for it? that then goes onto become fabric – is composed Everyone has seen reports of whales being cut of both synthetic and ‘natural’ materials. The open to reveal 50 supermarket carrier bags clogging most popular synthetic are polyester and nylon, things up, or seen the pictures of the dehydrated while cottons/ wools/ linen/ wood-pulp and so on
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April 2018 | 13
form the latter – plus mixed solutions like polycotton and BioSynthetics. Any product which is flushed into the sea will become a carrier for the chemicals which have also been washed into the oceans – the chemicals range from PFCs (used in durable water resistant finishes of garments), herbicides and pesticides. It is known that most, but note, not all, of the natural fibres will decompose in the sea, whereas the synthetics simpy do not. The hang-up is that natural microfilaments are more likely to absorb a greater amount of the bad chemicals, thus get more toxins into the food-chain through plankton being eaten by fish (which are then eaten by birds, which in turn are eaten by animals and this part of our diet). A micro-filament is approximately one tenth of the diameter of human hair; the vast majority of break-off from a garment happens during the laundry cycle, and the waste is collected by the sewage (as landfill is a no-no, even for worn out underwear) as system – but some of it will slip through the waste the garment should be repaired and reconditioned first water treatment plants. There are now laundry and foremost, then re-appropriated for some other use, systems like the Patagonia Investment Fundor even donated to others. Several independent outdoor supported Guppy Friend, or the Cora Ball who retailers now offer to recondition waterproofs as a do offer a solution, but where does the collected service when DWRs get compromised by dirt waste get disposed to? The laboratory and sweat (great way to encourage further figures for measuring the amount of footfall from regular customers). fibres shed between a performance The greenest cycle garment is the one you woven windproof and a fashion acrylic already own; it is better to have it made jumper vary by up to 1,000-fold (with a ‘The greenest from not-so-eco materials if it remains in performance fleece being a lot better cycle garment use for longer as re-manufacturing a than expected); but the most interesting is the single biggest additive factor was the loss of strength of the is the one that garment footprint that can be applied. If there are so fibres once extended UV exposure had occurred. Generally, foot-printing of you already many constructive arguments for choosing a more environmentally friendly garment – garments measures of the three biggest own’ why is not more offered by the Cycle impacts: waste, water and carbon; the Industry? Grn Sportswear, Vaude and former is generally the smallest concern Howies offer the strongest selection to and the latter really takes off the longer the British market. the garment is owned and used for – It is well acknowledged that the coming through think laundry repetition. There is much attention on Generation Z put care for the environment high on their the end-of-life (looping polyester garments in one agenda. They are aware that ‘natural’ materials aren’t great example to negate this effect), but the biggest always the best performers (and their footprints can be influence is what gets decided upon by the designer. worse – a pair of jeans uses 7,000 litres of water in its The single biggest factor in modern times is how long production, whilst a human only consumes 12,000 litres a garment is loved for – in other words how long it in their lifetime); but having the latest PTFE membrane gets chosen to be worn. Everyone reading this article that wears out after a couple of years of use is not will have one third of a wardrobe that has not been always required if that is adding to the toxic dump. worn over the last year… When will the cycle industry take the clothing issue A garment made of a pure fibre is the easiest to more seriously? n recycle, but recycling should only be the last choice
Author Charles Ross is a lecturer of performance sportswear design at the University of Plymouth
14 | April 2018
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A life in cycling: Catching up with Ceri Dipple Ceri Dipple, shop owner and entrepreneur, has a long and passionate history in the cycle trade, and was named the 2018 Woman of the Year at February’s annual BikeBiz Awards. We sat down for an in-depth chat about her life in the world of cycling, and the current state of the industry You’ve confessed in the past that when you came into the cycling industry, you had little to no knowledge about running a shop. Can you tell us a bit about that time? I certainly didn’t know a lot! I thought running my own business would be easy. I had a knowledge of bikes, I’d worked in various bike shops and I’d been in the industry for six years, so I thought I would just go and open a bike shop and make loads of money. Okay, I’ll give the guys who have just fallen off their chairs a minute to pick themselves up! Having said that, now I’ve had my own business for ten years, I can honestly say that no business owner truly knows what they are doing. We are all making it up as we go along, just don’t tell anyone! Can you tell us more about your customer base? It’s ever-evolving. We have a growing customer base and with the café side of the business, we have plenty of normal people as well as cyclists. I challenge you to define ‘normal’, just in case that term offends anyone! The customers are great, we have fun, plenty of laughs during the day and many have followed our journey since day one. Do you feel you have positive relationships with your distributors? I’m not sure, I’d ask the distributors! I’ve certainly burned a few bridges in the past. I think I have better relationships with them now, but it’s been mixed over the years. I don’t like conforming and I’ll always find a way to challenge something if I don’t agree with it, which is nearly always!
16 | April 2018
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Why do you think so many stores are struggling? Is it purely the battle against the big boys, or is there more to it? Cash flow will be the biggest challenge. I don’t think it’s always a case of mismanagement. It’s a really difficult time in retail at the moment, not just for the independents, but for everyone. The independents just don’t have the same resources the bigger boys have, so in a challenging market, the first to go are always going to be the former. It’s sad to see – people have put their hearts and souls into building and running their businesses. It’s not just a job they are losing. Are there any elements of your business that you think are key to staying successful? Firstly, I’m not sure how you judge success! I think as soon as something is seen as a success it’s easy to become complacent. For that reason, I’ve always looked at what is next. What about those just coming into the industry to open an independent bicycle shop, what advice would you have for them? Don’t do it! I get asked this so often. I’ve had countless coffees with people where this has been the topic of conversation, and most are coming in with a passion for cycling, but at the moment I don’t believe there is the infrastructure in place to allow an independent to survive, let alone thrive. You could have a great business model on paper, but in reality there are significantly bigger factors further along the supply chain that will decide whether you survive or not. Where do you see the future of the independent bicycle shop heading in the long-term? The only way I see for bricks and mortar stores to survive is for them to focus more on service revenue, and this extends further than the workshop. At the moment, you can’t compete on pricing, and you can’t expect a consumer to pay full RRP to ultimately subsidise your store. We are all consumers – can anyone honestly say that they don’t buy anything online or look for a discount on products or services? It’s all about value to the customer, and value looks different to everyone. Consumers will pay more in-store than online, but at what point does it become too much? It’s not easy to turn the model around from a retail revenue-driven business to a service revenuedriven business, where retail sales are supplementary, but unless this happens, bricks and mortar stores will remain exposed. Moving forwards, I believe a retailer will still be retailing product, it will just change and the revenue generated from it will likely decrease. You only have to look at the commission-based schemes that are out there at the moment to see that it’s already happening from a distribution perspective. Don’t wait for that revenue to be taken away before you start to think about how you replace it. n
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April 2018 | 17
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Experience per square foot, not sales per square foot Subscription services, online and experiential retail have boomed in the last few years. Kieran Howells investigates to what extent retail science is impacting sales
etail is changing. This isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a fact, and one that every single independent retailer in the world needs to be conscious of in considering the future of their trade. The cycling industry is not without innovation. On the contrary, the leaps and bounds we’re seeing in the progression of carbon, the e-bike sector and the tidal wave of up-and-coming startups that funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have brought to the wider cycling customer base are ensuring the future of industry tech on a daily basis, but from the perspective of the independent bike retailer, this has little to no resonance with their day-to-day bottom line, even if it does provide some eye-catching new inventory for customers to lust after on the shelves. While online, subscription services and even experiential retail have boomed, the basic business model for brick and mortar has, for the most part, remained untouched.
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Shopping in a physical space still offers certain advantages, such as being able to test a product first-hand or the immediacy of making the purchase and having the item in-hand that day, but the real golden benefits of physical retail boil down to three things: knowledge, service and experience. The cycling industry has a big advantage on many others in terms of experience – as a passion sector, cycling shops are full of cycling gurus happy to offer all of their intimate industry knowledge. This similarly applies with service – the cycling mechanic is worth their weight in gold. So what’s missing? Experience. A successful shopping experience for a customer may well hinge on the level of customer service that you provide, but there is a science to retail that often goes under-used. When you walk into a supermarket, the smell of freshly baked bread is pumped into your face, the most expensive products are at eye level, and often the shop is rearranged to deliberately confuse the customer into venturing down aisles that contain different items. www.bikebiz.com
Ever bought a chocolate bar or a pack of chewing gum while waiting for an open till? That’s retail science, and designs such as that undoubtedly have a gigantic impact on supermarket sales. Retail science is all about answering your biggest questions. Who is your target customer? What products are they interested in? How do they view the shop? In the case of New York City-based shop Story, answering these questions has propelled the business into the international news limelight. Through finding clever ways to utilise shop technology, along with innovative partnerships, the shop has a consistently thriving customer base, and it achieves this with absolutely no grounding in any one sector. The shop is modular, meaning in any given quarter, it may completely change its concept and sell anything from clothing to crafts goods to bicycles. These modular concepts are fuelled by placing the products in the context of a greater narrative – hence the name. www.bikebiz.com
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This could mean collaborations, it could mean hosting weekly, monthly or one-off events, or it could simply mean curating a consistent range of goods. None of these concepts are alien to the cycling industry, but utilising them in the right ways has made all the difference. Layout is a make-or-break situation. In a recent TED talk on the history of her shop, Moments owner Rachel Shechtman underlined the importance of a clear and intentional visualisation of a customer’s journey around your space. What are the first things they see upon entering? What products are going to draw them in? According to Shechtman, services such as Prism Skylabs are the answer. The company installs heat-tracking cameras in your place of business to ascertain where the key areas of consumer traffic are. This not only lets you know what areas of your shop are key for placing stock, but also which stock is attracting your key demographic and – just as importantly – which stock isn’t. If this technology is utilised over a period of a few months, defining stock and store layout would start to make a big impact on sales. You may find that despite having an eye-catching display, certain products are simply not gaining the attention that they should be based on the customer’s route around your shop. It may be that despite having a key position in your main footfall areas, a product isn’t selling simply because it isn’t tailored to your customer’s needs. Speaking at Madison’s annual iceBike* show, retail expert Mark O’Dolan extolled the benefits of this very concept, albeit not with the aid of heat-tracking software. He explained the virtues of a well-segregated shop, while utilising space that may be wasted otherwise. “Imagery is important to sales – it puts consumers ‘in the mood’,” said O’Dolan. “Suppliers are bending over backwards to help retailers with graphics. I recommend shop owners visit other retail organisations weekly and gather new ideas from their presentation. Freshening up your point of sale will freshen up the merchandise.” Products have the ability to open up a dialogue. The right helmet next to the right jacket may prompt an otherwise lost sale opportunity, and the only way to weave together that customer experience is to think like one. Every shop has a very different space and it’s never going to be a ‘one size fits all’ situation, but simply viewing your space by the story it tells may well be the key to stirring up new sales. n April 2018 | 21
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The future is now Technology has encompassed every area of the cycling industry, but could an online platform be the future of the mobile mechanic? Kieran Howells speaks to BikeUp’s Simon Bone to get his thoughts on what’s to come
f someone had told me ten years ago that the cycling industry of the future would include electric motors hidden in the frames, or rentable bikes left on my street corner, I wouldn’t have believed it. Such is the unrelenting progression and innovation in our sector. When a brand thinks outside of the box and packages up a new device or bike that achieves the unthinkable, the excitement that surrounds it is infectious and palpable. Now more than ever, we live in an age in which the entrepreneurial spirit of innovation is no longer limited to the consumer. We implement technology to accurately fit bikes, we implement technology to repair them, and we implement technology to sell them, but at the heart
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of all of these means are the individuals with the knowledge to implement the vision. Dockless firms have realised the potential of building a mutually-beneficial relationship with local bike shops, tasking them with regular maintenance on their gigantic fleets. The core of the bike fit is the professional helping you to translate the in-depth data into results, and if you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you how important the cycle mechanic is to the industry. People working hand-in-hand with technology is our future, and Simon Bone, creator of new start-up BikeUp, believes he’s crafted the perfect tool to bring the audience and the mechanic together. The key, he believes, is in the conversation.
April 2018 | 23
BikeUp seems to be doing something a bit different. How did the idea come to you? I got into road cycling when I was young, and it’s been a big part of my life ever since. I pretty much live for the Grand Tour season. As a young professional, I found myself moving around a lot, and each time that meant starting the process of finding somewhere reliable to get my bike serviced. Sadly, I didn’t always find that to be an easy process. I observed that there are some really great independent mechanics and shops around, but it’s often very difficult to find them – either that, or they have a large backlog of work, which can mean significant waiting times. In particular, I became increasingly aware of the mobile mechanic model, which I think has so many positive aspects and it really solved a problem for me. But independent and mobile mechanics are facing some problems. Firstly, digital marketing is becoming increasingly competitive, and it can be really tough for independent mechanics to connect with people that are perhaps outside of their network (and conversely, it is tough for customers to find them). Secondly, while it has undoubtedly become more common, I still feel there is a lot of room for the mobile model to grow and evolve as more customers get to experience the benefits (and the execution itself improves). I was quite interested in what some of the mobile servicing companies were doing in the US, but I didn’t feel as though a franchise model was the right model for us, for a few different reasons. Finally, I think it’s just difficult for independent operators, including shops, to focus on technology and brand development with limited resources. 24 | April 2018
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I created BikeUp as a platform that allows independent operators to access the technology and marketing channels to sustain and grow their business. We provide booking technology, digital marketing expertise, and customer relationship management for independent mechanics. Over the last year or so, I’ve talked to hundreds of cyclists, both customers and otherwise, and I am confident that there is untapped demand in the market; increasing the accessibility and quality of services will almost certainly help to bring that into play. I know there may be critics, but it is my view that the industry is changing, and we have no choice but to accept that and adapt. My number one priority is creating value for customers, but I also strongly believe that our model helps to create value for cycling industry professionals as well. I’m also a qualified bike mechanic, and I developed my business idea when studying a business masters at the University of Warwick. So, I guess it made sense to build a bike servicing business! The idea very much revolves around those within the industry embracing it. Have they? We launched in March 2017 at the Scottish Cycling Running and Outdoor Pursuits Show, and the response was excellent. There is a desire for innovation in this space among the target market. We’ve achieved steady growth month-on-month since then, but our main focus has been on validating our business model to make sure we are building a service that genuinely meets the needs of the customer. That’s involved talking to a lot of customers/cyclists, and adapting our service based on the feedback we are getting.
“The industry is changing, and we have no choice but to accept that and adapt” www.bikebiz.com
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We’ve got some independent mechanics on board who are hugely supportive of what we are trying to do – and are providing positive feedback in terms of the benefits to them. Coming in to our second year of business (and particularly given the time of year), we feel very confident that we are well-positioned to build on our early successes. We’ve been particularly pleased with our customer retention – a good percentage of our customers have used us more than once (in some cases, several times), which is important for building a sustainable business. We’ve also received a lot of amazing feedback from customers – they love the convenience and reliability of our service.
“It is fairly safe to say that the way in which consumers behave has changed – probably forever” The cycling industry is in a state of flux at the moment. Why do you believe a service such as yours is necessary in the modern retail environment? I feel that while there is a huge level of anxiety and/or debate within the cycling community about the implications of the trend towards online retail, the industry has perhaps struggled to find a positive response. This is pretty understandable, so in no way is it a criticism – but I feel that it’s important to view this as a problem to be solved, rather than just accepting the slow decline of such an important industry. It is fairly safe to say that the way in which consumers behave has changed – probably forever. Customers now have different expectations in terms of service, technology, convenience and so on. But they still need their bike fixed! We connect the people that need cycling services with those that can deliver them – it’s as simple as that. While digital technology is a big part of our business, we are certainly not, nor do we intend to be, a faceless digital corporation. We are out in our local communities running events and talking to our customers every day. We want to develop BikeUp into a supportive community for cyclists. We’ve got some exciting plans for our business over the coming months and years, but for now, we are completely focused on delivering a convenient, high-quality service to keep busy people on their bikes. 26 | April 2018
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So say a mechanic wants to be involved, how would they go about doing so? We are always keen to hear from experienced bike mechanics, including shops that have collection/delivery capability, that may be interested in joining the platform. There are no fees to join, but they are required to have their own insurance and a recognised industry qualification, although we will consider relevant experience in lieu of this. How do you build the relationship between mechanic and customer? At present, we assign mechanics to jobs based on their availability, but we are starting to think about how we can develop our platform. Over the next few months, we will be introducing some brand new features aimed at increasing the visibility of our mechanics on our website and across our communications. For example, we have plans in the pipeline which will allow customers to view mechanic profiles and ratings, and specifically request them when booking a service. How else do you see the industry shifting in the future? It’s hard to say for sure, but I certainly think that we’ll see a continuation of the trend towards direct-to-consumer retail models. There’s definitely an opportunity for us to add value to that process. For shops, I think it’s really a case of the identifying the value they can deliver to consumers beyond retail. As professionals within the cycling industry, I think it’s incumbent upon us to get out there and find out what customers really want and value. I definitely think that is something worth thinking about. n www.bikebiz.com
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And the winner is… Kieran Howells delivers the highlights from the tenth anniversary of the BikeBiz Awards, held at London’s ExCeL Centre in February
Sixteen worthy winners were presented with awards on the night
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decade on from the inaugural event, the BikeBiz Awards has become a stalwart fixture in the cycling calendar. The annual ceremony presents the perfect opportunity for the industry to celebrate the people and companies whose hard work behind the scenes keeps the cycle world’s wheels turning. “I can’t believe it’s been ten years!” exclaimed industry veteran, TV personality and BikeBiz Awards host Rebecca Charlton as she took to the stage to kick off the presentation. For the 2018 edition, the awards again partnered with the London Bike Show, and took place alongside the three-day exhibition in the ExCeL Centre in London. Sixteen awards were presented on the night, voted for by over 2,000 members of the trade. London locals Look Mum No Hands picked up an early win in the specialist retailer category for its unique take on the cycling retail space, citing “craft beers, stellar mechanics and a good cup of coffee” as its secrets to success. April 2018 | 29
“It’s great to have our efforts recognised by suppliers and other businesses within the cycle industry. Along with my father, Steve, plus our team of highly-skilled mechanics and frame builders, Woodrups continues to lead the way as a local independent bike dealer delivering a truly bespoke service” Anthony Woodrup, Woodrup Cycles Next came the Mainstream Retailer Award, sponsored by Yellow Jersey Insurance, which went to retail giant Evans Cycles, while the much-anticipated Independent Bike Dealer accolade, sponsored by NEOS cycling, was snatched up by Woodrup Cycles. Wiggle CRC pipped worthy contenders such as VeloVixen and Sigma Sport to the post and took home the Online Store Award, while one of the night’s big winners, Silverfish UK, managed to swipe not only the Bike Distributor Award, but also the Sales Team Award. The last trophy of the evening, sponsored by Dexshell, was humbly received by store owner and entrepreneur Ceri Dipple, who proudly claimed the BikeBiz Cycling Woman of the Year Award – one of the strongest-contended categories the BikeBiz Awards has ever seen. As the awards drew to a close, the crowd began to set their sights on 2019. We look forward to seeing you there. n
BIKEBIZ AWARDS 2018 WINNERS SPECIALIST RETAILER LOOK MUM NO HANDS
INNOVATION FROM A NEWCOMER SPIN SHED
INDEPENDENT BIKE DEALER MAINSTREAM RETAILER EVANS CYCLES
SALES TEAM SILVERFISH UK
ONLINE STORE WIGGLE CRC P&A DISTRIBUTOR THE CYCLE DIVISION BIKE DISTRIBUTOR SILVERFISH UK LTD SPECIALIST DISTRIBUTOR VOLT BIKES BIKE BRAND CANNONDALE P&A BRAND MUC-OFF
30 | April 2018
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MARKETING TEAM MUC-OFF SERVICE TO THE CYCLE INDUSTRY CYCLESCHEME CYCLING CONSUMER MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR CYCLIST CYCLING CONSUMER WEBSITE OF THE YEAR ROAD.CC
“We were honoured to be named Specialist Distributor of the Year at the annual BikeBiz Awards—for the second year in a row! The prestigious award is an inspiring feat within the industry. It was especially humbling to be nominated amongst some of the key players that make the bike business so great” Lyle Metcalfe, Volt Bikes
CYCLING WOMAN OF THE YEAR CERI DIPPLE
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What’s new at Fox? Fox is among the elite of the cycling suspension market. It’s been investing heavily in research and development over the past year, so what’s new? Brand manager Tim Williams fills us in...
t’s been a busy few months at the Fox Service Centre since opening its doors as part of Silverfish UK last November, when distribution of Fox bicycle products switched from Mojo Suspension. A key objective was to ensure continuity of service back-up for Fox products in the UK. Silverfish achieved this by retaining key staff and workshop facilities. The constant technical evolution of Fox products – combined with the demanding riding conditions found in the UK – means the quality of service provided has to match the quality of the product. Based on the experience of its Fox factory-trained technicians and the reputation of its customer support, the business has not only offered continuity, but has seen strong growth over the past five months.
32 | April 2018
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As well as offering standard services, where a Fox product is returned as close as possible to an ‘as new’ condition, we’ve also launched the Fox Factory Tuned programme. This gives Fox customers the opportunity to upgrade their suspension with a wide range of options available, with shock re-valves and Kashima upgrades among the most popular. With technology constantly evolving, it offers the customer the opportunity to incorporate the latest improvements to extend the life of their Fox shock, fork or seat post, all of which builds loyalty and enhances the reputation of the Fox brand. The Fox aftermarket range of products continues to expand with offerings to meet the needs of most riders. Up front, we have everything from 26in forks for the old school, to the latest Factory 40
‘Our key objective was to ensure continuity of service back up for Fox products in the UK’ Tim Williams, brand manager
Downhill Fork for World Cup racers – and now an AX fork aimed at the expanding gravel market. At the rear, the range of available shock configurations from Fox has more than doubled in the last season with the introduction of metric and trunnion mount shocks, complementing more established offerings. To complete the range, the Transfer Dropper post continues to set the benchmark for reliability and performance. There is an upgrade opportunity for almost every bike. If you need any help, remember our knowledgeable and experienced staff at the Fox Service Centre have an intimate understanding of our products and are always ready to assist. n
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The Innovation Generation The industry is jam-packed with fledgling companies creating some of the latest and greatest new products. Laura Laker talks to BikeBiz Awards nominees about key consumer demands
he innovation from a newcomer category in this year’s BikeBiz Awards, sponsored by Tannus Tyres, was striking in its diversity of product and ideas. One thing that united nominees was their unique, innovative approach to cycling consumer issues, from a cowbell-inspired mountain bike bell to a fashion-inspired curated website, right through to a virtual ride platform. This year’s winner was website Spin Shed, the runners up Timber Bells, Jomp Virtual Cycling, Veloforte, Iceni Cycles, KitBrix and Helmetor. Following the event, BikeBiz caught up with a few of the nominees to find out a little more about who they are, where their inspiration came from, and to discover the secret of their success. www.bikebiz.com
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Spin Shed is a website specialising in bringing together attractive cycling products, some of whom customers might not otherwise discover. Cofounder Katie Barwood tells us more: When was Spin Shed founded? We formed in summer 2017. After cycling the length of France in 14 days, not having ridden since childhood, I looked into setting up my own clothing brand. I realised there were loads of amazing independent brands already out there, it was just that I, and other customers, didn’t know where to find them! I’ve been involved with tech businesses before, and the success of marketplace platforms such as SilkFred and Not on the High Street made me think: why not the same for cycling?
How successful has it been – in terms of sales and/or product reach – and to what extent has this exceeded your expectations? We’re really pleased with how things have gone to date, and have had sales from all over the world. The reception from the brands has been fantastic, and we’re regularly approached about new collaborations. How do you choose the products you sell? We have three main criteria: style, quality, and excellent customer service. We wanted a curated range of products that complement each other and provide a broader choice for consumers. Style is subjective, so we hope we’ve found something for everyone. April 2018 | 35
Keeping it friendly Timber is a cowbell-inspired mountain bike bell that rings as the bike moves, and can be turned off when you don’t need it. Its inventors, Chris and Liz Lacy, wanted something to alert trail users of riders’ presence without the sometimes aggressive connotations of a regular bell. Chris Lacy describes the product, and how they came up with the idea:
How has the website solved the problem it set out to fix? We designed Spin Shed to address two main challenges, one for brands and one for consumers. For brands, the site enables them to feature alongside other stylish names, with the additional marketing and awareness this brings. We know that it’s difficult for smaller and new brands to get into some of the mainstream outlets due to minimum stock requirements and sale or return agreements. For customers, we provide a one-stop shop where they can search a wide range of independent and stylish brands, and make their purchases in one place, matching kit as they see fit. There’s so much passion and creativity in our industry, but marketing and technology can be costly and time-consuming, so we hope we can use the power of numbers to help solve this challenge. Why were you nominated for the award? What do people like about it? We’re a relatively new business, so it was really exciting to be nominated for this year’s BikeBiz Awards, let alone to win one in our first year of trading! We’ve had some great comments about the look, feel and functionality of the website, but the idea is really built on the strength of the products we offer. We’ve now got 16 brands on board, from apparel and art to gifts and even coffee, and we’re in talks with more. Offering that choice, and bringing people something they perhaps haven’t seen before, is the real objective.
What is Timber Bell? Timber is different to other bike bells because it rings passively like a cowbell, but only when you want it to. (The motion of the bike makes it ring, and there is a lockout switch to turn it completely off.) There is this subtle psychological difference of Timber’s cheery ring that makes other trail users feel like you are simply letting people know you are there, as opposed to beeping at them to get out of your way. When did you start up? We first conceived the idea in 2013. It took us two years and dozens of failed attempts to make a design that worked! We officially launched the product for sale in September 2015. What inspired the innovation - and why do we need it? We were out riding our usual trails here in San Diego. After shouting “passing on the left” to a hiker, we were left with the feeling they were somehow angry at us, despite our best attempt to be polite trail citizens. We thought there had to be a better way to announce your presence on multi-use trails. How successful has it been – in terms of sales and/ or product reach – and to what extent has this exceeded your expectations? Sales have definitely exceeded our expectations. Our initial goal was to sell a few hundred and see if people liked them. In little more than two years, we have now sold tens of thousands of bells to riders all over the world.
What do you plan to do next, in terms of growth and direction? We’ve only been live for a short time, but it already feels like we’ve been going years! We’re seeing really encouraging feedback and web traffic, so we’re very positive about the future. We’re always on the lookout for new brands, and enjoy keeping an eye on what’s new and up-and-coming in the market. We also have some great new ideas which are currently in development, such as pop-up shops, mutually-beneficial relationships with similar-minded bike brands, events and product testing. Keep your eyes peeled! n 36 | April 2018
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“It’s a simple and inexpensive solution to a subtle, but important issue” We are stocked by distributors in many different countries, and sold at leading retailers. It has honestly been a bit overwhelming. Keeping up with demand has been our biggest challenge since the day we launched. How has the product solved the problem it set out to solve? We get emails and letters from our customers all the time, telling us how our bell has changed their trail experience. They tell us hikers regularly thank them for riding with our bell. We also get a lot of positive feedback from organisations like the International Mountain Bicycling Association, who feel our bell is a part of the solution to keep multi-use trails open to mountain biking. Why do you think you were you nominated for the award? What do people like about it? I think we were nominated for an award because our product makes for a happier ride. It’s a simple and inexpensive solution to a subtle, but important issue that everyone who rides will eventually encounter. What is the secret to your success? The secret of our success has been perseverance and solid teamwork. Working together developing this bell with my wife Liz was not only a lot of fun, but many times, two minds were better than one. What advice do you have for fellow innovators? If you truly believe in your idea, do not give up. If you get frustrated, put it down for a week or a month and come back with fresh eyes. Save money by doing everything possible yourself. Try to keep it a secret, and when you find something that genuinely works, protect it with patents and trademarks. You’re looking for worldwide dealers and distributors – where are you looking to expand? In general we choose fairly large, well-established firms, but in the UK, we went with another start-up, Cyclorise. We really like their enthusiasm and dedication to our product, and think they would make a great UK partner. n
38 | April 2018
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Jomping around Jomp is a virtual cycling platform started by a trio of friends: James, Marc and Aaron. There are race distances from 10 kilometres to 100 miles available to participants, which can be completed anywhere – on the road somewhere, or on a turbo trainer or exercise bike. You simply need to send evidence to the people at Jomp to verify and send a distance medal. When did you start, and what inspired the idea? We started Jomp in 2016 with the simple idea to create cycling events people could complete in their own time, wherever they liked. We are all cycling enthusiasts and liked the kudos (and incentive) of competing in large, organised events but it became more difficult with kids and work. How is Jomp different to other virtual cycling platforms? With virtual cycling, anyone can sign up for a race, whether it be 10 kilometres or 100 miles. We even have open races so people can set their own goals. After they’ve signed up, they have a month to
The 2018 Innovation From A Newcomer award was awarded to cycling website Spin Shed
complete it - it doesn’t matter where, as long as they do it! They then send us evidence, usually in the form of a screenshot from Strava or a photo of their bike computer. We then log this and send them a medal for their efforts. Rides can be completed on bikes, exercise bikes or turbo trainers and we donate 20 per cent of the proceeds to charity. Why the medals? We pride ourselves on the quality and design of our medals. We know how important they are to our customers as a reward for the race they have completed, so we’re always thinking up new ideas and designs that we think will appeal to people. How successful has the idea been? Any surprises? One of the surprises for us was that these races didn’t just appeal to the hardcore cycling enthusiasts, but also those who were just starting out with cycling and perhaps didn’t have the confidence to take part in a traditional cycling
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event. We’re really proud to encourage people to get on their bikes and achieve their goals. Some of our customers have really worked their way up through the races, too, which is great to see. The biggest surprise for us, however, has been our global reach – we now have customers from USA to Malaysia. It’s really exciting. Why were you nominated? Jomp is a new way of encouraging people to get on their bikes and push themselves. We’ve got lots of ideas, including designing an app, and our ‘super-human’ race, designed for those who have completed a race while overcoming a physical disability. Watch this space! n
“We’re really proud to encourage people to get on their bikes and achieve their goals””
April 2018 | 39
Helmetor: a cunning hook for cycling helmets
Other nominees Veloforte (veloforte.cc) – a high-end nutrition brand that’s been a big hit with the cycling media and boasts of high-level endurance athletes as customers (but won’t give away names, Dame Sarah Storey’s race team aside). It’s not cheap at £2.50 per 70g bar, or £6.99 for three, but we’re told it’s delicious. Veloforte sells online direct to customers, or via premium outlets, such as Sigma Sport and Rapha cafes. Iceni Cycles design and manufacture pedal and electric assist cargo bikes, including the Monocoque Cargo Trike, with various cargo-carrying configurations, including a wheelchair platform, advertising, and an enclosed box for cargo, with which the trike resembles a pedal-powered van, carrying up to 300kg. KitBrix is a modular bag system that zips together for carrying sportswear, workwear and kit, including, of course, cycling gear. Its designers boast of robust, military-inspired build that comes with any number of accessories. KitBrix won the innovation by a newcomer category of the BikeBiz Awards in 2017. Helmetor may sound like something out of Transformers, but it’s a very cunning hook for helmets. It holds your helmet away from the wall, or door, to prevent mud transferring onto the paintwork, and keeps it securely in place from movement or knocks. All you need to own is a helmet with an air vent between 30-65mm. n
‘There’s so much passion in our industry, but marketing and technology can be costly and time consuming’
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from the Lab
n fitting with BikeBiz’s April innovation theme, we headed to the London Bike Show with the goal of seeking out the latest and greatest innovations that the show had to offer. Luckily for us, the annually-hosted Innovation Lab was jam packed with up-and-coming brands, ranging from fledgling ideas to crowd-funded success stories. Despite the infamous sink-or-swim 12-month period for new brands, the Lab has an exceptional rate of success in bringing small brands to a wider audience, and we were encouraged to see many brands that have previously featured in the Innovation Lab alumni among the general exhibitors in 2018. Didn’t manage to make it down to the show? Fear not, below you will find all the information you need on some of our top picks....
Having formed the brand just weeks before the show, Allez Vite exhibited a new range of lower-priced cycling apparel. A space on the stand become available at the last minute, and a snap decision was taken to launch early. “It’s all about looking good but wearing affordable clobber,” said the company. They aren’t kidding – the range starts at £30 for a jersey and the same for bib shorts, or £35 for both. It doesn’t come much more affordable than that. www.bikebiz.com
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We’ve all seen a bike hanger before, but the concept behind start-up Tillit has a clever USP. The design-centric wooden hanger utilises a gas spring to smoothly glide the bike from a secured wall position to the ground, and can stop at any point for maintenance or adjustments. The unit is in very early stages of production – in fact, the one on display at the show was one of eight prototypes in the world. However, more are coming, with a mass-produced design on the way in the coming weeks. Unlike other such devices, it is designed to look good with or without a bike attached. April 2018 | 43
STOMP THE PEDAL ARMOURTEX CYCLES
Hailing from just down the road in Tower Hamlets, Armourtex Cycles is looking to brighten up the local cycling scene with a brand-new powder coating factory. The fledgling company has secured a space in Hackney, and is currently putting together a hub for re-spraying frames. The family-run business will have the ability to take any frame or component and carry out the whole process from sand blasting, straight through to the final powder coating process. After hearing about the show, the owners jumped at the chance to snap up a space, and stated that the interest was huge over the course of the three days. Expansion plans are already in the pipeline, with a decal service due to open soon.
Much like Stomp The Pedal, BTR Bikes is running on a skeleton crew of just two. The pair have been running the bike brand as a sideline for years, creating one-off custom bikes and small batches of frames, but have now got to the stage where demand is simply too much, forcing them to go full-time. The bikes range from agile downhill machines to minimalist hardtails, and custom orders are still very much at the centre of what the company does. Being steel builders, the brand also sells a small range of trail tools, and the occasional item of clothing. “Every single frame is built to order, custom or not. We’re really relying on word of mouth to keep going, luckily people like what we’ve made!” said designer and founder Tam Hamilton. 44 | April 2018
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Also focusing on the apparel market, one-woman business Stomp The Pedal is solely created and operated by Natarsha Tremayne. “It’s about giving women the option to purchase fun, bold designs on high-quality merchandise. We give as much attention to our Italian-made fabrics and the technology that goes into creating super functional gear as we do to ensuring that they look the part,” she said. The company has been operating for six months, and is currently onto its second collection. “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. All of my clients have come back and said that the fit is ideal, and that they feel confident in the apparel,” she concluded.
Trigger Bell was at the show to promote its discrete bar-bell. The design is focused on safety, regardless of bar type. Creator Stefan Buxton came up with the idea while out cycling. He realised that with a traditional bell, he needed to take his hand away from its natural resting position on the bars: “We just realised that the times in which you need your bell are the times in which you should have complete control of your bike. With the Trigger Bell, you remain in control, and can even use your brakes and the bell at the same time,” he said. The bell, which recently brought its production to the UK from China, is now looking for UK distribution channels. www.bikebiz.com
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Going back to the drawing board Prologo has spent the past decade creating saddles that it believes defy standard conventions. Kieran Howells talks to brand representative Alex Rowling to find out more...
t’s been ten years since Italian cyclist Salvatore Truglio first ventured into the world of saddle building with the express aim of mixing affordable saddles for leisure cyclists with the creation of prolevel designs. A decade later, Prologo is able to say that its saddles are the most-used saddles in the World Tour series. The secret to success, according to Alex Rowling of UK brand representative Chicken CycleKit, is the mix of sharp design, accurate fitting and the ultimate goal “to become the biggest saddle brand in the world”. Of course, this is easier said than done. The saddle market is one flooded with intelligent research and
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design, and setting yourself apart as a brand is no easy task. “I would suggest a retailer takes the time to look in detail at the build quality of other saddle brands and then look at a Prologo model – the difference is astounding,” says Rowling. “The MyOwn fitting system, which we believe to be the most scientific and accurate on the market, drives footfall to retailers.”
“The ultimate goal for Prologo is to become the biggest saddle brand in the world” www.bikebiz.com
“MyOwn gives a retailer the confidence to say: ‘we will be able to provide you with the most comfortable saddle possible’ and be 100 per cent confident with the recommendation.” The system in question is designed around the use of Prologo’s Connect Power Control (CPC) technology. It’s a material used all over the world in many demanding industries including military aviation, Formula One and Moto GP, where immense grip is needed. The fitting system works by measuring the distance between the ischial bones, which has a big impact on the shape and width of the most appropriate saddle for the rider. It then measures the rider’s pelvic flexibility to determine whether a round, semi-round or flat seat is optimal, and finally by taking the rider’s measurements and working out a BMI to determine how much pressure is exerted onto the saddle. If you’re expecting the resulting product to look like a traditional saddle, think again. Rowling explains: “The Dimension saddle is completely different in shape to the look of a traditional saddle. The concept behind the Dimension was to ensure that the greatest number of cyclists are always sitting in an optimum position. Prologo found that the optimum design for this was radically shorter than a traditional saddle.” The brand has been developing this entirely new saddle with the help of its six World Tour Teams, who have been continually field-testing designs. The end result is the Dimension. The saddle is 30mm shorter than previous models and is wider at the back, measuring at 143mm, compared to a more standard 135mm. In the R&D phase, Prologo found that most cyclists have a tendency to slide forward on the saddle, creating additional pressure. The Dimension holds the rider further back, relieving pressure and adding much more long-ride comfort. The next key development for Prologo was finding materials durable enough to ensure hundreds of cycling hours in various weather conditions, while remaining high-tech and most of all, comfortable for the rider. “There is no perfect material, only a combination of the right materials used in the right way,” explains Rowling. “Selecting the correct combination of materials comes from intense testing for each model of Prologo saddle, be it a topof-the-range Nago or an entry-level Kappa. Prologo uses a vast array of different materials to provide specific properties. “Sensible material selection is vital. The saddles need to balance intended use against aspirational preconceptions and costs of different materials. www.bikebiz.com
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“MyOwn gives a retailer the confidence to say, ‘we will provide you with the most comfortable saddle possible’ and be 100 per cent confident with the recommendation” “Carbon shells balance weight-saving with durability; there is no point in producing the world’s lightest saddle if it will break in six months, as other brands have discovered.” The last 12 months have been a time of huge investment for Prologo. Distributor i-Ride is already on board, and the company has recently signed a new distribution deal with Chicken CycleKit. Now is the time in which the distributor is choosing to shout about the partnership, which it says perfectly fills what was previously a gap in its range. “Our customer base expect us to have a high-end saddle brand in our portfolio,” explains Rowling. “Prologo, in our opinion, offers the best quality and most technical saddles on the market – we’re happy it allowed us to join the Prologo family alongside i-Ride in the UK. The build quality of its saddles impressed us and the technology used on the products is excellent. It just shows how much R&D goes into the brand.” n April 2018 | 47
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TRICKS OF THE TRADE: WORKSHOP
Suss the skills, ban the baggage No time to catch up on the latest products? Skills Dialled may be exactly what you’re looking for...
echanics are the lifeblood of the cycling industry. Their work underpins everything we do, and keeps us rolling through any and all mishaps, new builds, competitions and outlandish ideas. As gurus of all things bicycle, a modern cycling mechanic is expected to not only keep up with the consistently mammoth workloads and a never-ending stream of clients, baffled by the weird sounds coming from their rear hub, or arguing that ‘surely I can ride with a few missing spokes here and there?!’, but also to keep up with the ever-changing face of cycling technology. Not a single day goes by without the announcement of a new fork, a new airless tyre or a new e-bike engine, and the friendly local mechanic is simply expected to draw from his encyclopedic knowledge and get on with it. Where in the packed work day is there time to fit in any training? This is the question lifelong cycling enthusiast and mechanic Sean Lally asked himself when battling with the sheer number of tasks on his to-do list. The answer, according to Lally, was to utilise the rapid advancement in technology to bring the training to the mechanics. “We all know how quickly new technology replaces the old and that a mechanic who trained five years, or even five months ago could be out of date or simply a bit thin in some areas,” he says. The fruits of his ideas was Get Your Skills Dialled 2018 – short and sharp monthly lessons in which mechanics can not only watch a live seminar, but actually interact with the teacher and work along with them. www.bikebiz.com
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“The first lessons we’ve delivered for the Suspension Forks 2018 module have been outstanding and far beyond my expectations, which were high to begin with,” says Lally. In searching for teachers who can truly deliver what mechanics need, Lally handpicked a ‘who’s who’ of the world’s top bike mechanics, each of whom is a specialist in their particular area, to teach the five modules. Confirmed so far are Mat Clark from Plush Suspension, who has led the three lessons delivered so far, Graeme Freestone King from Campagnolo, Scott Dedenbach from the Bike Shop CX Show and Cyclocross Network Racing, Matt Bracken from Predros Bike Care and Hope Technology. The brand also has Caroline Stewart – ex-CSA instructor, now DS for Bianchi Dama race team, performing some TT bike Di2 wizardry.
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TRICKS OF THE TRADE: WORKSHOP
Lally himself will lead the e-bike module after undertaking extensive dealer training in various manufacturers’ systems. Get Your Skills Dialled 2018 is just the first in an upcoming webinar series, and covers the most requested areas by CSA graduates and mechanics across the world. These are: suspension forks, rear shocks, road bike electronic groupsets, e-bike technology and advanced wheel servicing, including a tubular tyre masterclass.
“The quality of instructors, as well as the access to them, has proved the big hit so far”
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The fact that mechanics can access the training online at home or even on their phone means that no time is lost out of the workshop, and the lessons are all available for re-watching on the members-only page virtual classroom. Priced as individual modules, or as a whole series, shops and mechanics can pick and choose which skills they want to hone. Each module runs over one month for an hour per week, operating at a time that is accessible live from a variety of time zones. Members can ask live questions to the instructor, and later join a virtual classroom in a private Facebook group to further discuss the areas covered over the course of the module. “The quality of instructors, as well as the access to them, has proved the big hit so far,” Lally says. “You can’t simply download a manual with 20 years experience ready to answer your questions. Mat Clark has proved to be not just a consummate suspension expert, but a fantastic and engaging teacher too. I am really looking forward to module two.” “One of the reasons shops are closing down in such an alarming rate, I think, is a reliance on retail, which has gone elsewhere,” Lally adds. “The workshop could save your shop, and you don’t want to be turning away suspension or electronic products just because your mechanic is not confident or competent. More importantly, you want a reputation for excellent service and repair, not breaking customers bikes!” Lally is offering a free lesson to BikeBiz readers. To learn more, head to: www.mailchi.mp/cycle-systems.co.uk/skills2018. n www.bikebiz.com
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A framebuilder’s paradise Ever dreamed of packing it all in and starting your own bike brand? It’s an idea that we’ve all had and it seems like an ideal life, but is it? This month we’re speaking to Joe McEwan, who did just that… Has cycling always been a passion of yours? I learned to ride a bike very early, probably around the age of two, when my brother took my stabilisers off without telling me. I lived opposite a big woodland, and spent much of my childhood bombing around on my bike. My teenage years were first spent skateboarding, and then I took up golfing. Then halfway through my university degree in Bristol, I thought I needed to do something a bit more active and reckoned a mountain bike could be the thing. It took another couple of years, coinciding with the opening up of UK trails centres, then the discovery of downhill, and I was hooked. I’ve mountain biked as much as possible ever since. www.bikebiz.com
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Presumably you didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to make bikes! Can you tell us where the idea to start the business came from? As an engineer type, I’ve always made things. Golf clubs, skateboards, radio controlled car mods, crossbows! After lots of tinkering with bike components, it was the logical step to try and build a bike frame. A framebuilding course with Dave Yates in 2012 turned it into a hobby. I made a number of full-sus bikes, getting more refined each time.
“The ‘real world’ experience from real customers has helped me get the products correct” April 2018 | 53
“I spend a lot of time on research, developing new technologies and solving new problems” A ‘homebuilder’ feature with Dirt magazine got me a few orders, and then it just kept progressing. More bikes built, with more positive magazine reviews gained more new orders. It’s a dream that many would-be frame builders have, but how did you manage to turn the concept into a reality and actually start the business? The business just came from the demand. It seemed silly not to keep it moving forward. I’m not stupid and knew how to manage the business, for example, promotion, design improvements, outsourcing to help supply. I think the fact I consider framebuilding as an engineering project, rather than an arty-craft like a lot of framebuilders, helps me be a business. You have a background in aerospace engineering. How does that aid your creation of bikes? I was a stress engineer, analysing aircraft components to ensure they are strong enough. I suppose this means I have a very analytical mind and a good sense of what makes a good structure. Probably more important is that I spent a lot of time on research, developing new technologies and solving new problems. The idea of making something new that works is what really excites me.
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Giant bike brands have massively expensive testing facilities. What stages do your designs and mock-ups go through before they are actually turned into customer-facing products? For me as a framebuilder, it’s pretty easy to knock up a new design. This means I can learn empirically pretty quickly. I can simply build, then re-build, adjusting detail as I go. A bike then reaches a point where it’s ready to go to customers as a reduced price ‘prototype’. This ‘real world’ experience from real customers has massively helped me in the process of getting the product correct. I think this adds huge value over most established companies who design on a CAD box, but then have to also satisfy the requirements of the marketing team, production engineers, product designers, brand managers, executives, shareholders! The business has just expanded massively, can you tell us about those plans and what this expansion means for Starling Cycles? The expansion into a new workshop is actually a bigger move than the Taiwanese production. Previously, my overheads were pretty tiny but I needed the space to improve my equipment and bring back in-house some of the subcontracted work. Hopefully the efficiencies of the new workshop should cover the extra costs. The Taiwanese bikes have been in the background for nearly a year now. To me, it’s not such a big change. Until they actually land, I can kick it down the road a little! I’ve got lots of ideas for the future to keep the brand interesting and unique. How do you ensure quality control on larger production runs? For the Taiwanese frames, I have absolutely no concerns over quality control. The factory is amazing and supplies for a few other wellrecognised brands. I also have an agent out there who will perform QC checks. So far, I have no reason for any concerns. In-house, I have another framebuilder helping me out part-time. We work really well together and have similar outlooks on how to make a bike. What advice would you give to those dreaming of starting their own bike business? Being able to draw something up in CAD doesn’t make you a bike business! n
01772 459 887 t.co.uk
Distributors of great brands across the UK Find your Local stockist at: www.bob-elliot.co.uk or contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01772 459 887
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UK DISTRIBUTION BY GREYVILLE ENTERPRISES
The Rixen Kaul Klickfix system manufactured in Germany is widely recognised as a market leader for quality and ease of use. A wide selection of fashionable and functional handlebar bags and baskets are available to suit all tastes from the wacky to the conservative. All clearly illustrated on our website and available ex stock via our easy to use B2B ordering system.
01543 251328 01543 251328
Cycle Computers 2 1
Padrone Digital Wireless
Distributor: Extra UK
Distributor: Wahoo Fitness
A 2.2in customisable screen allows the user to see their metrics at a glance. Combined with the Topeak PanoBike+ app, this gadget tracks rides and records data, which can then be uploaded to community platforms. It features four-button control, 24 hour battery life, 200 hours memory capacity, connect heart rate, speed and cadence sensors via Bluetooth Smart, PanoComp X Mount and an IPX 7 waterproof rating.
The Edge 1030 is an advanced modern cycling computer with a host of updated features. It offers more performance features than ever before – the preloaded Training Peaks app brings workouts directly from the user’s coach to the road. There’s also the new rider-torider messaging, 20-hour battery life, and Garmin’s peerless preloaded cycle maps for navigation wherever you go.
Equipped with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ dual-band technology, Elemnt pairs with most cycling sensors on the market. It comes with a free companion app that allows the user to set up their data fields, customise profiles, track performance and share ride data. It also offers programmable LED QuickLook indicators to provide a quick way to see if the user is on pace with important performance metrics.
Users of this computer can utilise the Padrone’s larger display screen to show up to four functions at the same time. Set up has also been simplified, using Bluetooth technology for easy syncing and customisation via the Cateye Cycling app. Supplied with the ISC-12 speed and cadence sensor, ride data can also be quickly uploaded to CatEyeAtlas, Strava and TrainingPeaks.
Contact: 02037 358 835 email@example.com
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Ace Jersey, Ace Bib Short
Racing Stripes summer sock
CP 2.0 Warm Air LS Jersey (SS18)
Funkier Isparo Elite Short Sleeve Jersey
Distributor: Raleigh UK
Distributor: Bob Elliot & Co
Made in Italy, the Santini Ace Jersey provides a mix of tailored-fit and advanced moisture management, designed to provide the ultimate in racing performance, breathability and temperature control. The Santini Ace Bib Short provides comfort that “has to be ridden to be believed”.
The Racing Stripes are a soft and comfortable summer sock in Coolmax yarn designed for cycling in warm conditions. The open mesh zones secure high breathability. The sock is available in a variety of colours and with unique graphics to match your style, kit and speed.
Loved by pro riders, this smooth and compact fabric adheres to your skin without unpleasant folds, according to Alé. The new brushed structure of the fabric makes it warm, protective and breathable on the back, and it speeds up the sweat evaporation. Available in black, grey and orange.
Form-fitted, this race cut jersey is constructed from Funkier’s lightest fabric. Designed for the elite-level cyclist, the Elite collection incorporates 250g Mitti Shield endurance and a high-end compression lycra offering optimal muscle support and compression.
Contact: 01773 532 694 email@example.com
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Contact: 01772 459 887 firstname.lastname@example.org
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CAVAZZO 1 FRAME, 4 BIKES 2
ADVENTURE BUILDING YOUR CUSTOMERâ€™S IDEAL BIKE HAS NEVER BEEN SO EASY.
The Cavazzo is designed to be the most versatile bike on the market. The all-new full carbon frame is engineered to be strong, light and features front and rear rack mounts.
Contact us on 01525 381347 to find out more about becoming a Tifosi stockist
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Marina Wind Vest (SS18)
Funkier Acarza Pro Bib Shorts
Custom Sock Program
Women’s Melody Short
Distributor: Bob Elliot & Co
Distributor: Silverfish UK
A windproof, lightweight packable vest, suitable for midseasons. It’s breathable and can be easily put in the back pockets of the jersey. Sleeveless garment with full zip, front part and collar in windfront fabric. Side panels and the back are made in Piuma fabric. Available in white with black stripes and black with grey stripes.
This race short synthesises performance and endurance without compromising comfort. Designed with an anatomical race cut, the short provides muscle support and keeps everything in place without compressing blood flow. It possesses strategically placed gel pockets for added comfort and vibration absorption.
According to SockGuy, cool custom socks are the trademark of the company and its Custom Sock Program delivers “the best” custom designed socks for your company, team, club, shop, event or company. “With plenty of styles, lengths, colours to choose from, these are sure to knock your socks off,” said SockGuy.
The Melody Bike Short takes design inspiration from modern street-wear style, with the same performance-ready construction. The four-way stretch double weave polyester/spandex fabric blend with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating is lightweight, comfortable, keeping you on track no matter what the conditions.
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Chrono Sport Collection
Distributor: DShowers Pass
Distributor: Mission Workshop
This product is constructed of nubuck leather with a full-length zipper, while the leather inner lining hugs the foot and is very breathable for “unmatched comfort”. A cycling shoe at heart, the Zurich utilises a Variable Flex Shank that has been optimised to provide solid power transfer when riding without inhibiting walkability. It is designed consumers who want a fashion piece that performs.
The Chrono Sport collection is an easy favourite for club rides, gran fondos, or any day spent chasing adventures on the bike, according to Giro. Chrono Sport offers the “best of the basics at the right price”, with what the company claims to be features that will “impress the most experienced riders”. This collection includes men’s and women’s jerseys, bib shorts and shorts.
The Trailhead Bamboo-Merino sweatshirt features Showers Pass’ 50/50 Bamboo-Merino Tech Fabric, which pairs the natural moisture-wicking properties of bamboo with the benefits of merino wool. Soft Bamboo on the inside is cool to the touch and antibacterial, while the outer layer is constructed of Merino Wool that is regarded for its warmth, breathability and odour control.
Icon is made from an advanced four-way stretch textile developed for Mission Workshop by Mectex M.I.S. The heather charcoal colour and structured drape of the fabric give the pant the credentials for both workplace and street. The cotton/nylon blend fabric used in Icon is said to achieve an “extremely high” level of durability, breathability, and freedom of movement.
62 | April 2018
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Scott Road RC SL Shoe
Ambush ¾ Jersey
Distributor: Extra UK
Distributor: Silverfish UK
The Pitfield is a flap-close backpack, designed for urban cycling. Made from durable, waterproof materials, the Pitfield is being marketed as the ideal bag for the everyday, all-weather cycle commuter, and includes a padded laptop compartment, aqua guard zips and a stretchable compartment for a helmet and other items. It also offers reflective details for extra safety, and padded and ventilated back, panel and shoulder straps.
Versa is designed to be versatile, comfortable and functional. Every piece in the line was designed for a one-hour ride, at least. It’s clothing that looks as good at home as on the bike, but performs as well as anything on the market, according to Pearl Izumi: “Take the Versa Quilted Hoodie, for example. Once you’ve been for a cold ride in one of those we guarantee you’ll be reaching for it again and again when the temperature plummets.”
The Scott Road RC SL Shoe is a standout shoe in the range. The ultra-minimalistic Carbitex shoe is built on a HMX spread tow carbon sole with a Corecell foam core for more weight savings. Dual Boa IP-1 dials secure the Carbitex carbon fibre uppers for a highly conforming fit that is designed to allow the user to “transfer all their energy to the pedals, resulting in zero loss in power delivery.”
The new 2018 Race Face clothing and armour hits our shores this month. The Race Face Ambush 3/4 Jersey is being marketed as a comfortable, relaxed, stylish versatile jersey with over the elbow sleeves to give a “surprising” amount of warmth for those cold in the shade summer days. According to Race Face, Urban Camo is an ‘in’ style right now, and matching Ambush gloves feature in the new range to complete the look.
Contact: 01933 672 170 email@example.com
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Contact: 01752 843 882 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cycle Of Good
Recycled Inner Tube Wallet
Peloton Mosaic S/S Jersey
Distributor: Cycle of Good
Distributor: Raleigh UK
This product is being marketed as the essential minimalist wallet, designed for everyday cycling. It is made from 100 per cent recycled bicycle inner tubes saved from UK landfill, and laser etched with the Cycle Of Good logo. It is also shower proof. The company said “The nature of this recycled material means there will be blemishes and variations. Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to get some manufacturers text or an old puncture repair patch!”
Embodying the spirit of heritage design, the Epoch product line is “wrapped in modern accents and innovation”, elevating the brand’s current offerings with advanced colours, materials and finishes. “The new line tells the story of design as well as the story of the evolution of the Thousand brand”, said the company. Designed to set itself aside from traditional and bulky headgear, the clean design offers a minimalistic look for the modern urban explorer.
The Vertical is designed for downhill and free riding. It features InsideGrip technology that prevents your hand from sliding inside the glove to ensure maximum handlebar control and grip. Silicone grips on the inside of the palm increase friction between the glove and the hand, delivering a “new level” of grip and handlebar control on your bike. The same approach has been applied to the fingertips, providing plenty of grip on your brake and shift levers.
Comfort, performance and styling combine in the new Peloton Mosaic jersey. Strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability and thermoregulation while retroreflective trims increase visibility in low light conditions. Altura Dry technology is engineered to move excess moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable. It is available in Mosaic Blue/ Black and Mosaic Red/Black.
Contact: 01543 888 494 email@example.com
Contact: 01773 532 694 firstname.lastname@example.org
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In association with
Bob Elliot and Co Ltd Unit C4 Binary Court, Matrix Park, Western Avenue, Buckshaw Village, Chorley, PR7 7NB Tel: 01772 459 887 Web: www.bob-elliot.co.uk
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EBCO 5 Pegasus House, Olympus Ave, Warwick, CV34 6LW Tel: Tel +01926 437700 Web: www.ebco-ebikes.co.uk
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M & J Distributors Ltd Unit A, Hanix Buildings, Windmill Lane, Denton, Manchester, M34 3SP Tel: 0161 337 9600 Web: www.mjdist.co.uk
Met Helmets / Bluegrass 22-24 Ely Place, London, EC1N6TE Tel: 0207 1937 496 Web: www.met-helmets.com
Moore Large & Co Grampian Buildings, Shinfin Lane, Derby, DE249GL Tel: 01332274200 Web: www.moorelarge.co.uk
North Sports 102 Charleston House, 87–95 Neilston Road, Paisley, PA26ES Web: www.northsports.co.uk
Oneway Distribution BV PO BOX 12, 3000 AA Rotterdam Tel: 0031 10345 3510 Web: shop.o-w-d.nl
Oxford Products Ltd De Havilland Way, Range Road, Witney, Oxon, OX290YA Tel: 01993 862 300 Web: www.oxfordproducts.com/bicycle
Pitbitz Ltd Unit 6 Thorpe Drive, Thorpe Way Industrial Estate, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 4UZ Tel: 01295 269333 Web: www.gazeboshop.co.uk and www.thebikeboxcompany.co.uk
The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2018 is out now, providing the industry with a must-have guide to the UK’s retailers, distributors, manufacturers and related businesses. If you’d like to find out more or require additional copies please contact email@example.com or call him on 020 7354 6028
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DISTRIBUTION AND WHOLESALE
E-COMMERCE AND EPOS
EVENT ORGANISERS, HOSTING, HOLIDAY AND HIRE
MARKETING, PR AND CONSULTANCY
MEDIA AND PUBLISHING
Assos 57 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3JB Tel: 0203 621 1555 Web: www.assos.com
Clarks Cycle Systems Head Office, Unit 1 The Old Dairy, Pessall Lane, Edingale , Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 9JL Tel: 01827 382800
Reece Cycles plc 100 Alcester Street, Birmingham, B12 0QB Tel: 0121 622 0180 Web: www.reececycles.co.uk
Bike Rental Manager c/o H W Fisher & Co Acre House, 11-15 William Road, London. NW1 3ER Tel: +33 4 66 03 14 32 Web: www.bikerentalmanager.com
Schwalbe Tyres UK Ltd Schwalbe Centre, Hortonwood 30, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7ET Tel: 01952602680 Web: www.schwalbe.co.uk
AWEÂ® Unit 80, Courthill House, 60 Water Lane Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AJ Tel: 01625-873130 Web: www.awebike.com
The Cycle Division Unit 27 Gatehouse Enterprise Centre, Albert Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 3QD Tel: 01484 456137 Web: www.thecycledivision.com
Walkers Cycle Components Ltd 22 Holywell Road, Leicester, LE2 8SG Tel: 01162 833885 Web: www.walkerscycles.co.uk
ZyroFisher Ltd Roundhouse Road, Faverdale Industrial Estate, Darlington, DL3 0UR Tel: 01325 741200
Web: www.zyrofisher.co.uk / www.zyrofisherb2b.co.uk
Citrus-Lime Limited Lantern House, The Ellers, Ulverston, LA12 0AA Tel: 01229 588 628 Web: www.citruslime.com
Dexshell Unit F1-F3 Longford Trading Estate, Thomas Street, Manchester, M32 1JT Tel: 01618644666 Web: www.dexshelltrade.com
ORGANISATIONS, CHARITIES AND ASSOCIATIONS
RETAILERS, WORKSHOPS AND MAIL ORDER
SERVICES AND TRAINING
Cycleguard Insurance Southgate House, Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1UB Tel: 0333 004 3444 Web: www.cycleguard.co.uk
Cycling UK Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, GU2 9JX 01483238300 Web: www.cyclinguk.org
Aqua Blue Sport LTD 4 Cleve Quarter, Monahan Road, Cork, Ireland Tel: 00353214847477 Web: www.aquabluesport.com
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1LQ Tel: 0333 003 0046 Web: www.yellowjersey.co.uk
Invisiframe Tel: 01743 232297 Web: www.invisiframe.co.uk
Rozone Limited Queen Street, Darlaston, Wednesbury West Midlands. WS10 8JB Tel: 0121 526 8181 Web: www.rozone.co.uk
Smartmotion International Ltd RM C, 13/F, Harvard Commercial Building, 105-111 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: 8615895656508 Web: www.smartmotionbikes.com
700c Cycle Shop Insurance Plough Court, 37 Lombard Street, London. EC3V 9BQ Tel: 0333 433 0827 Web: www.700cinsurance.co.uk
Weldtite Products Ltd Unit 9 Harrier Road, Humber Bridge Industrial Estate, Barton-on-Humber, Lincs, DN18 5RP Tel: 01652 660000 Web: www.weldtite.co.uk
The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2018 is available to view online at www.bikebiz.com
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MARKETPLACE FRAME RESPRAY, REPAIR & BUILD SERVICES
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BIKES & ACCESSORIES
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New 2017/18 trade catalogue available
BOTTOM BRACKET SOLUTIONS
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EPOS & COMMERCE
70 | April 2018
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BIKE LABELS, BOTTLES, BAGS & GENERAL PRINT
RETAIL INSIGHT: THE BIG QUESTION
Did the e-bike sector see considerable growth in 2017?
34 per cent increase in imports 2.85 million total non-electric imports in 2017 11 per cent rise in non-electric bicycle import value Polls are conducted via twitter @bikebiz_online
The number of non-electric bicycles imported
The total number of regular non-electric
in Q4 2017 was up by over a third on the same
bicycles imported in 2017 amounts to 2.85
quarter in 2016. This represents a 34 per cent
million, a three per cent increase on 2016,
increase in imports, which have pushed
although this is still down by around 20 per
overall figures for 2017 above the projections.
cent on 2010 and 2015 figures respectively.
The total value of regular bicycles imported in Q4 showed a marked increase on the same period in 2016, with an 11 per cent rise. The total import value of these units in 2017 was ÂŁ346 million. Exports in Q4 2017 showed a marked
E-bikes have once again grown in import
decrease on the same period in 2016, with a
value, representing ten per cent of the 2017
16 per cent fall, although overall value
total, however, by volume, electric units
remained within a similar financialsituation
represented only two per cent of all imports
at around a total of ÂŁ69 million.
with a total of 63,000 units overall.
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April 2018 | 71
IN MY TEAM
Lyon How many members of staff do you have? In total, Lyon has a team of 90 staff working in the business covering all departments from distribution, training, manufacturing and logistics. Within that, we have a number of teams focusing on specific parts of the business – whether that is cycle, outdoor, watersports or work and rescue. Who’s your most passionate cyclist? That’s a tough call! Most of our staff are passionate about cycling. Having said that, we have some stiff competition for that title this year as one of our
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This month, the team at Lyon tell us about founder Ben Lyon, quality of service and backpacking the Annapurna circuit
marketing assistants recently spent time bikepacking the Annapurna circuit, one of our sales reps rode a CX bike from Southsea to the top of Snowdon, and the head of sales admin team commutes in by bike regardless of weather – most recently on a fat bike, until his chain froze! Who are the longest-standing members of staff? Company founder Ben Lyon wins hands down on that one, starting the company in 1973 and then building Lyon into the company it is today. As our chairman, he’s still involved on a daily basis.
If people get in touch, who will they be talking to? Our team of dedicated cycle reps will be the first point of contact for sales enquiries. They are supported by our brand management team, who offer additional support specific to each brand we offer.
“Our goal is simple – to continue to bring the element of adventure to the cycle market”
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What are your current team goals? Our goal is simple – to continue to bring the element of adventure to the cycle market and to lead the way in this segment. Doing that means having the right brand partners, ensuring we have a passionate and experienced team to support our customers, and building on our involvement in the right events so we can engage closely with the riding community. What projects are you working on that the industry should know about? We really know how to fill our plates here at Lyon, so this September we have the return of the awardwinning Adventure Cycle Festival in Ambleside. We are progressing Bombtrack bikes to a full distribution model and building our dealer network for the brand, while maintaining the strong momentum we are seeing with Ortlieb. In addition, we are heavily involved as sponsors of key events such as The Dirty Reiver with Ortlieb and Bombtrack and Ard Rock Enduro with Julbo eyewear. It’s a busy year for the team here.
What are your greatest strengths as a company? Our quality of service is our greatest strength. We offer top quality brands backed up by expert knowledge and in-depth stockholding. Our commitment to our customers also extends beyond just sales, with our after-sales team offering continued support, spare parts and in-house repair facilities. What sets you apart from other companies in the industry? We are the one-stop shop for adventure cycling. Our strapline ‘Venture Further’ runs in our DNA. With great cycle brands like Ortlieb, Bombtrack and Tubus complemented by our outdoor brands, it means we can offer everything you could need for a round-the-world bike adventure in one box, which we feel is a very unique offering to the cycle market. What motivates the team? We all share a passion for riding our bikes and having adventures, and getting to combine this with working alongside likeminded people and some of the best brands on the market means there is never a shortage of motivation in the team, just hours in the day. What do you do to have fun as a group? Having access to some of the best outdoor and cycle kit on the market and being based on the edge of the Lake District, we don’t struggle to find ways to entertain ourselves. We finish at 2pm on a Friday, which means most Friday afternoons you will find our staff out on the hills, trails, lakes and crags as a group just having fun in our local playground. Tell us about past and recent successes. Last summer we launched the Adventure Cycle Festival, an event based around our vision of adventure cycling which brought likeminded brands from the cycle and the outdoor industry together to offer a unique weekend in the heart of the Lake District. With Mark Beaumont as our headline speaker and workshops on everything from pack rafting to wheel building, it was a fantastic event. Needless to say we are super excited to be bringing it back again this year and to make it bigger and better. n
Contact: Unit 3-7, Tebay Business Park, Cumbria CA103SS tel: (0)15396 24040 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 2018 | 73
Celebrating Britain’s first bike shop
1819 and all that – Happy 200th Birthday to us!
By Carlton Reid, editor-at-large
he keys for what would become Britain’s first bicycle shop were handed over to coach-builder Denis Johnson in March 1818. 200 years later, the slightly younger structure still houses a bicycle shop – not that the Brompton Junction in London’s Long Acre is much at all like Johnson’s workshop. For a start, Johnson’s machine didn’t have pedals (this key technological leap didn’t occur to innovators for another 47 years or so) but, significantly, the first British bicycle made money from the get-go. Johnson patented his ‘hobby horse’ at the back end of 1818, but none rolled through the streets of London until the year after. 2019 is therefore the true bicentenary of the British bicycle, and the 200th anniversary of the British cycle industry. Mind you, depending on your nationality, you will celebrate the birth of cycling on different dates. Many Italians continue to celebrate 1490 as the starting point, despite Leonardo da Vinci’s contribution to the bicycle having been confirmed as a hoax in 1997. Germans celebrate 1817 as the foundation year because that was when Karl von Drais developed his laufmachine ‘running machine’, or draisine. Johnson took this design, improved on it, and made money from producing bespoke machines as well as teaching people - rich folk only - how to use them. (Think of balancability, but for adults.) It’s heartening to realise this two-wheel, steerable, singletrack wondermachine is still making us money today. Usually. n
NEXT MONTH – Out early May Forme looks ahead to the coming year 74 | April 2018
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‘2019 is the true bicentenary of the bicycle, and the 200th anniversary of the British cycle’ industry ‘ All the latest news online at www.bikebiz.com Cyclescheme sets the record straight
We get to know Raleigh MD Pippa Wibberley www.bikebiz.com
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