BikeBiz November 2018

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THE E-BIKE ISSUE NOVEMBER 2018 ISSUE 154 BB154.cover.indd 1

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Seattle WA. Photo: Tim Zimmerman



The e-bike issue




James Groves tours the Simplon factory in Austria to learn more about the creation of hand-crafted rides


Cycle Show

Rebecca Morley delivers first impressions following this year’s trip to Birmingham


Local Bike Shop Day

How did the inaugural event turn out as it attempted to replicate Record Store Day?

REGULARS 6 Opinion 16 Features 47 IBD Focus 68 Data and Analysis

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A sign of the times By Kevin Burton


hen it was first announced that I would be working with Simplon in 2017, I was described as an “industry veteran”. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but then someone pointed out that it was simply a way of saying that you have a great deal of experience, which is true – I have spent 22 years in this wonderful trade. That got me thinking about how the industry has changed throughout my time, and the evolution is quite remarkable...

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We now have so much information at our fingertips, which has resulted in consumer habits changing almost unrecognisably. In 2018, everybody is an “expert”! Back in the mid-1990s, armed with a fresh face and significantly less grey hair, I was racing and working with the Gary Fisher brand on the UK MTB and race scenes, helping retailers promote the brand in-store. I was – and still am – excited to be a part of my hobby. Back in that era, we didn’t have that much competition, we didn’t have so many different bike and component brands, and consumer sales were just downright easier to make. This was in no small part due to the MTB boom – fewer brands equalled more sales for each. Easy! Fast-forward to the current era, and consumers and retailers now have almost innumerable options within each category. The MTB market is a prime example: do I need a carbon, alloy, steel or a titanium frame? Hardtail, or full suspension? Big travel, mid-travel or short travel? The list goes on. Naturally, this is far better for the consumer, but it is an absolute minefield for retailers.

someone who goes riding with the shop on demo events, someone who understands design and in-store layout and aids with display set-up, a marketing expert, and most importantly, a friend to the store. The old days of walking in, showing off new products and running through the offers are not gone completely, but they are certainly heading for the exit. Stores are becoming more boutique, or a place to hang out with a trendy coffee. The internet has made some things better – we can now order directly from a distributor’s B2B website on our phone or tablet. Anything that doesn’t involve lugging around five massive folders full of offer sheets and images is a win in my book!

A changing of the guard Trade shows have undergone a similar transformation. Once upon a time, we had just one or two main shows where everyone attended. This links back to a point I made earlier about how we have so many more brands and products – hosting all of them in one big room simply isn’t going to happen, but it used to. I understand why some of the bigger brands carry out their own in-house shows: a The modern era captive audience, totally focused on their brand, with So, onto the main issue of today’s market nothing else to be distracted by. But what about the – the internet. Consumers now buy consumers? They never get to compare everything online, be it bikes, groceries everything under one roof. There are two ‘The internet or electronics. I’m slowly beginning to things to note in this area – it gives some of follow that trend, but I like to see, feel the smaller brands an opportunity to speak has so many and touch the item I’m paying for. It to the consumers, and perhaps they don’t misleading amazes me – and, I think, the industry need to, because the consumer has already opinions, so this as a whole – how someone can buy a done their homework online? The bigger is what we can bike online without kicking the tyres brands have an issue with shows as they or pulling the brakes, but people do, have huge professional display stands and capitalise on’ and the growth of online brands and trucks, making it expensive to attend, so direct-to-consumer is ever-increasing. maybe this an industry issue in itself? There are obvious benefits – it’s quick, it’s simple, and Meanwhile, money has had a significant impact on racing. it offers a return policy that instils confidence in changing MTB racing went through a period (and still is, to a or rejecting the product. degree) of not being particularly exciting, but looking at We need to embrace the ways of the younger generation. the UCI World Cup 2018, it was amazing to watch online, This is the way people shop now. We still have a need for although perhaps not so much in person! I attended a bike shops – workshops, fitting, and most importantly, the couple of UK national rounds last year with some of our expert advice we can provide. The internet has so many riders. There was hardly anyone spectating at all, but why misleading opinions, so this is what we can capitalise on. would you go to a field and watch it unless you knew the Job titles have become much fancier in recent years: the riders? That's one thing that hasn’t changed. Compare this brand development consultant, the area brand builder, and to road, and people flock to the races. The Olympics gets the business development manager, but ultimately, we are all the praise for growing awareness in the UK, which is still doing the same job with more aspects added to the true to a point, but road cycling has always had a big role – not to mention the additions of social media, online following, and not just from hardcore fans and cyclists. It forums and instant reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I love the is more accessible, free to watch, and there are generally fact that we can so easily talk to our consumers. Back in other things going on around the race. Money has and is the 90s, the only opportunity was at a trade show or race, making superstars out of road racing – just look at how or the consumer had to send a letter or fax (remember much investment Sky has pumped into its team. Love it them?). The modern “sales rep” is more of a consultant or hate it, it’s putting bums on seats, and quite frankly, that who can be open to different ways of working in-store, is vital to an industry that is going through a testing time.

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Cyclists are at fault with this as well, just The rise of commuters like when we notice some really poor driving, It’s great that, in 2018, people actually want to ride their bikes to work. It used to be only a few that rode the same can be said for some cyclists too. Ultimately, I’m glad to see so many more people in, and they were mocked for doing so! I always cycling to work. This “industry veteran” has thought, well done, and that I would do the same if witnessed many changes over the years, and I my place of work was more consistent. Nowadays, haven’t even touched upon printed magazine vs it’s cool to ride into work, and the variety of people online, or the technology and on all kinds of bikes in London is development of product. Some fabulous. We even have specific ‘We need to stick together, changes have been positive, cycle paths being created – this avoid fragmentation, and some negative, but the bottom was a dream back in the 90s, and line is that we, as an industry, even the 00s. Admittedly, it has embrace the new ways need to understand the market created something of a war with a and routes to the market’ better, and communicate with percentage of car and van drivers, one another more. I say this but I’m not sure where their anger from a brand point of view – we need to stick is coming from – perhaps it’s because the roads together, avoid fragmentation, and embrace the have been dug up, causing delays, or the fact that new ways and routes to the market. Let’s keep the commuter might slow them down by 15 seconds learning and progressing. n because the car can’t get past straight away?

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What does the future hold? Fostering a cult of achievement in your customers makes everybody better, and sells more tyres, writes Mark Hallinger

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skateboards, sloth, the ever-present handheld device, The end of the year is often a time for reflection, and the constant call of narcissistic social media, and more. a musing on what's to come. This year – as we hurtle While rolling up a cycling commuter thoroughfare towards 2019 – is even more poignant for me, having just the other day, I saw two grown men on hoverboards turned 50 right about the time of this writing. My plan roaring down the lane. Tres moderne. is to do a 50-mile ride, on a 50-year-old Peugeot PX 10, And I’ll say that the jury is still out on bike share on my 50th birthday. Anyone who’s ridden a vintage schemes – are they good for the broader industry, or bike knows this will be an accomplishment. It might not? Seeing discarded neon bike-share bikes lying on be a real L’eroica ride next year on that bike, or perhaps their side all over metropolitan Washington, DC, now on my more modern but still antique first racing bike, joined by electric scooters, just bothers me on some if I can swing the expense and time. level. As a rider who leans toward the competitive For those more obsessed with the latest press fit side, I understand that ‘bikes as transportation’ and bottom bracket standard (which might start creaking ‘increasing modal share’ and such is important from after six months!) than with history, L’eroica means an environmental standpoint as more and more of heroic in Italian and is the pre-eminent vintage ride. the population lives in urban environs. And commuters The rides require pre-1987 bikes – which generally wear out tyres and brake pads and need new lights and have threaded bottom brackets – and clothing. mudguards from time to time. And e-bikes are a very The original L’eroica is held on Tuscany’s famous real car replacement option for many commutes. And strade bianche white gravel roads, and sister rides it is just good for everybody, on many levels. are all over the place. A version in Japan is likely But I also think that as an industry, we replete with Fujis, 3Renshos, and the (in) focus a bit too much on the urban. Not famous Dura Ace AX component gruppo. ‘We need more everybody lives in Portland or London. I get There’s a Spanish event where I hope it, I live in an urban area and do my short you’d see some Zeus machines and parts. entry-level, midcommute by bike more days than I do not… A Dutch rendition might show you level and highbut not everybody lives in cities. When I see that Gazelle made more than ‘Dutch’ end. They feed figures saying 89 per cent of the UK lives in commuter tanks. There’s an event in each other' cities or 80 per cent of the US, I think that’s South Africa, a California coast edition in probably a broader definition of urban than I the US, and of course a June event in the have in my head. I understand the top-down Peak District where my brother could approach that wants more cycling as transportation, and ride his 1972 Bob Jackson. And more. support it within reason. And what happens once we have monorails and moving sidewalks and driverless The future cars and other commuting options not yet imagined? L’eroica and 1968 PX 10s are the past, which I spend Will sloth pre-empt bike commuting for many? Will too much time worrying about, clearly. I need to spend work-from-home schemes become preponderant, more time pondering the present, and the future. This making commuting to work less common? thought came to mind when reading BikeBiz September’s musings on the closing of Portland’s Velo Cult, the type of shop just recently heralded as the future of bicycle The once and future king retail by GearJunkie. It was a ‘destination,’ retailer that As is apparently my nature, I look to the past when was part bike shop, part craft beer, and part performance pondering the future. What got me started down the centre. But it didn’t survive in a bike city like Portland. road? It was down the road, not the cycle path, to This got me thinking. I’ve seen a few ‘coffee and be sure. During the bike boomlet of the early to midbike’ lifestyle bike shops close as well. What is the 80s when I went the way of the wheel, it was about future? For all of us, not just the shaved leg set or the the freedom that comes with riding a bike and the virtuous daily commuter or the hardcore dirt rider. accomplishment, and ultimately it was also about We are all cyclists. competition. Not just with others, but also with myself One thing is clear: We need more people on bikes and as I sought to increase distances or average speeds. wearing out tyres and clothing and bringing new people Accomplishment, something that transcends. into the sport who need bikes. We need more entry-level, Bike lanes and commuter subsidies for cycling mid-level, and high-end. They feed each other. had nothing to do with me becoming a cyclist. There Currently, we are competing with electric scooters, was a sense of doing some good ecologically, but it video games on steroids, virtual reality, electric was secondary for me.

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A fellow bike shop guy helpfully started up a century training I became a cyclist in the 80s. The zeitgeist was accomplishment and fitness and self-improvement. Couple that with a roaring group. I encouraged them in an email to take that to the next level by doing a flat, easy and safe local 200km randonneuring economy, and the LBS I worked at changed from one where Brevet as the next step. That way they’ll use more tyre rubber we sharpened ice skates and sold plastic airplane models and wear out more chains. And they’ll be jazzed if they’ve done along with the bikes, to a real shop serving recreational and it! I keep bringing up randonneuring. While that is a tad obscure, more serious riding. We helped others accomplish mildy to outrageously audacious things. Many customers lost some there’s a branch of it called audax, French for audacious I think. Audacious accomplishment. weight and became weekend warriors. One got second place I know that not everybody can ride 100km or in the 850-mile nonstop Boston-Montreal-Boston randonneur ride in 1992. 200km, or even wants to. But I love helping 'We focus a bit people who have never ridden ten miles What does this mean or matter to us as an too much on accomplish what to them is a big deal. As bike industry today? Personally, I have come to realise shop people you know well that many customers with years that cycling fully made me. That’s the urban. Not have never ridden 20 miles at once. Make that what I want to transfer to others… not everybody everybody lives in needs to be an athlete, but everyone should happening for a septuagenarian, or a 35- yearPortland or London' old who’s realised they no longer have the challenge themselves and accomplish. Much of metabolism of a teen, would be fulfilling for all what I do in the shop and elsewhere encourages involved. What can you do? Think about what – in a cheery way – accomplishment. I want my got you started for starters. And then think about how this fits zeitgeist back and I’ll be a happy warrior encouraging it. into the modern world. I try to get parents to get the kids off the stabilisers before And maybe history can repeat itself. 100 years ago, the bicycle the kid turns ten. I tell recreational riders or newbies about was about transportation, and it was also about racing and speed the safe, pleasant places to ride. I encourage people who start and accomplishing great ride distances. I think focusing on both to show some real enthusiasm after riding a bike for a year as we move forward makes some sense. Save the world while or so to broaden their riding, perhaps even getting a second or third bike. Many do. making (or saving) yourself. n

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Taming the MEAN streets Making our roads safer needs a fresh approach, and a new alliance could pave the way, writes Alex Ballinger


he world is changing, fast. Technological advances in transport and communication, political upheaval across the western world, and the ever-emerging reality of climate change are all forcing constant revaluation from the leaders of all sectors. The need to rethink tactics is not only essential in business, but also in campaigning. Against this backdrop of change, transport and cycling activists from some of the most prominent organisations in Britain have reacted by joining forces to get more people walking and riding. But why form an alliance of six campaign groups, with a combined membership of more than 300,000? One of the institutions involved is national sustainable transport charity Sustrans, the organisation who brought

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about the introduction of the National Cycle Network (NCN) in 1995. Sustrans was established in 1977 in Bristol, with the simple aim of improving conditions for people walking and cycling. The charity’s work across the UK now involves maintaining parts of the NCN, campaigning for safer cycling and walking infrastructure, and advising authorities on sustainable transport policy. Now Sustrans also forms part of the ‘Moving the Nation’ alliance, which was unveiled at the Cycle City conference in Manchester in June. Policy and public relations director at Sustrans, Steve Brooks, explains why the charity became involved: “We, along with other partner organisations, have a common

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“We have a common understanding of the barriers to get more people walking and cycling” Steve Brooks

understanding of the barriers to get more people walking and cycling. There’s a broad range of organisations involved – from people thinking about pedestrian safety to people thinking about where the next Geraint Thomas will come from. “One of the most exciting things is it brings together those partner organisations. We’ve got 300,000 members between us. We can flex more muscle.” Brooks says the partners can now present a unified front when lobbying decision-makers, including the Department for Transport (DfT). The alliance is made up of Sustrans, national cycling organisations the Bicycle Association, British Cycling and Cycling UK, as well as walking charities the Ramblers and Living Streets.

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Born after conversations between chief executives, the coalition launched its ‘Moving the Nation’ manifesto in Manchester this summer, outlining the first five steps it would like to see the Government take to improve cycling and walking provision. Among those supporting the manifesto is Olympic gold medallist turned cycling ambassador Chris Boardman, recently appointed walking and cycling commissioner for Greater Manchester. Boardman says: “Getting more journeys happening on foot or by bike has a transformational effect, as we’ve seen in many cities around the world. “These asks make logical sense and will go a long way to realising our ambitions to create better towns, cities and neighbourhoods across the UK.” November 2018 | 17

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“These asks make logical sense and will go a long way to realising our ambitions to create better towns, cities and neighbourhoods across the UK” Chris Boardman

The five policy points that make up the backbone of the manifesto are not revolutionary – lower speeds to 20mph in built-up areas and 40mph on rural roads, adopt consistent, safe infrastructure design, revise the Highway Code to improve safety for walkers and cyclists, particularly at junctions, ban pavement parking, and provide cycling training for all schoolchildren. While these suggestions have been on the table for years, funding for cycling and walking-led infrastructure remains haphazard and sporadic, but the ‘Moving the Nation’ organisations hope singing from the same hymn sheet could help change the tune. Joe Irvine, chief executive of walking charity Living Streets, says: “As part of the alliance, we hope to further Living Streets’ mission to promote walking as the natural choice for local, everyday journeys. For our streets to be more pleasurable for people on foot, cycling and indeed driving, they mustn’t be designed just for motor vehicles. Most of the levers are in the hands of the public authorities. We hope that acting together as non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) we can build the momentum for change.” Living Streets was formed in 1929 and over the last 80 years has been responsible for huge changes on our roads, including the introduction of the first zebra crossing and even the introduction of speed limits. Irvine adds: “Together, we have a stronger voice. The threats to people walking and cycling are largely the same, as are many of the simple measures needed to make walking and cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone.” Also involved is British Cycling, the governing body for all things pedal-powered in the UK, which played no small part in the first ever Welsh Tour de France victory courtesy of Geraint Thomas this year. Thomas was a graduate of the British Cycling Academy and climbed to victory on the biggest stage in cycling within the Team Sky system, which grew from the previous Olympic success of the governing body, led by ex-performance director Dave Brailsford, who runs the World Tour team.

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But British Cycling also strives to promote cycling across the country, which prompted the move to join forces with the five other organisations. Chief executive Julie Harrington says: “More people cycling and walking will reduce congestion, lower the cost of ill health on the NHS, and make our local communities safer and more pleasant places to be. “By speaking out for the first time with one voice, we have set out a clear vision for the future, which will help our country become happier, healthier and greener.” The alliance’s next step is clear – make its voice heard through the Government cycling and walking safety review, and continue to push for more money to be spent on sustainable transport. Sustrans chief executive Xavier Brice says: “For too long now, our towns and cities have been designed around cars and motor vehicles, leaving them unsafe, unattractive and difficult to move around on foot or by bike. “We are setting out a tangible vision of what good would look like and are calling on the UK Government to take urgent action to unlock the incredible benefits in terms of health and economy which walking and cycling can deliver.” But campaigning organisations are not the only key players. Sustrans’ Brooks says the might of cycling business can bolster the voice of the new alliance: “Businesses know the value of walking and cycling, having a more active and happy workforce, or having greater footfall for shops. Businesses and particularly small businesses understand that.” While it’s easy to leave the campaigning to the campaigners, cycling business can lobby their local chambers of commerce, or even their MP, to add weight to the economic argument put forward by the alliance. After all, more cyclists on the road means fewer bikes on the shop floor and more cash in the tills. This new alliance have formed an effective chorus – but it remains to be seen if they will find a receptive audience, or if they’ll just be screaming into the void. n November 2018 | 19

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The Simplon way James Groves heads to Austria to visit Simplon, builders of handcrafted bicycles for over 55 years. CEO Stefan Vollbach reflects on expansion, dedication, and taking the IBD by the hand


t’s Autumn, and two rain-soaked cyclists are on holiday touring Lake Constance. Knowing that the factory in which their rides were built to be just around the corner, they venture toward it, hoping to catch a glimpse of the brand’s latest builds. As they peek through the window, an employee invites them to enter, helping to carry their bikes inside and offering refreshment. They are given a tour of the showroom, and engage in a 30minute conversation about their passion for cycling and love for their custom-built cycles. When the rain stops, they depart, grateful for the tour and shelter, ready to continue their adventure.

That man, unbeknownst to the pair, is CEO Stefan Vollbach. One could not ask for a story that better encapsulates the Simplon brand. Humble beginnings Officially formed in 1961, Simplon’s heritage stretches back to the early 1930s, where a small bicycle shop by the lake became increasingly frustrated by the lack of quality it was able to purchase and sell on to its customers. As a result, the Hämmerle family business decided to form its own brand, eventually named for the owner’s favourite Swiss mountain pass, which they had ridden on several occasions. November 2018 | 21


They began purchasing everything locally, mainly from Switzerland. “This was part of their justification for carrying a Swiss name,” says Vollbach. “The Swiss were well-known for their high-quality products, so it was a very credible statement to build upon.” The family developed the business throughout the country, later expanding into Germany and Switzerland when Austria joined the EU in 1995. Its biggest evolution, however, was much more recent. In 2014, the family realised that, to continue growing, Simplon needed a strong strategic partner to tackle new markets and expand its distribution. “The family wanted to ensure the brand could continue on that same positive path with premium quality individual manufacturing, but still have a chance to grow,” explains Vollbach. “They recognised the enormous challenges involved, not only in expansion, but also in evolving the business from its centralised management style. Every decision had to go across their desks. This is understandable when you’re footing the bill for every financial decision, but equally, they recognised that this micromanagement was not the way to run a successful business.” Simplon eventually partnered with Hannover Finanzgruppe in Germany in 2014, selling 55 per cent of their shares. Vollbach is keen to emphasise that this was not down to the need for money. “The family had not borrowed a single cent from the banks. 22 | November 2018

“They needed a strategic partner to bring in external management capacities, in particular someone to lead the brand and take responsibility for the family’s side of the business.” Vollbach became that someone in January 2015, taking a five per cent stake in the company, and the mentality changed unrecognisably. “Since then, we’ve been giving more and more responsibility to second-level management because we have young and very talented, very smart people throughout the business who previously weren’t able to work in the way they wanted,” says Vollbach. During this transition, the family began stepping away from the business, one by one. The late Andreas Hämmerle, who led product management and marketing, departed Simplon in 2015, while Christian stepped down as recently as 2017. The family has retained a 42.5 per cent stake in the company, and Vollbach believes maintaining their legacy and values is vital to the success of the business. “We maintained the family-style low hierarchies,” he says. “We wanted to keep it informal. I think it adds a lot to the authenticity of Simplon. We don’t want to be the big guys. We want to be the accessible guys. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I think that helps us immeasurably.” Here and now Today, Simplon is continuing its growth throughout all its existing markets. Having been made available in around ten UK retailers in 2017, the brand is now exploring potential

FEATURE avenues to increase its UK presence in 2019 and beyond. In any case, Vollbach’s priority lies in aiding the independents. “We need to offer added value to the UK retailer,” he says. “The whole economic situation is very tough, but I’m afraid it will only get tougher. If and when the pedelec trend really kicks in throughout the UK, this will really help them. It’s only a matter of time until the dam breaks. “Our strategy is to offer low-inventory, low initial orders and quick shipping. We already assemble in ready-to-race standard, so the shops barely have to touch it before they can hand it out to consumers.” This strategy, says Vollbach, results in real price stability for Simplon products. “This is something that many major brands struggle with,” he says. “Inventory is just sat in warehouses, waiting to be sold. We don’t have that problem. No retailer will ever be sitting on lots of Simplon stock, and therefore will never have to sell it at a discounted price because they need the cash. This is something that should be very appealing to UK retailers.” Taking the high road Many high-end brands offer cheaper options in an attempt to cover all areas of the market, but Vollbach remains firm. “We’re simply not interested in lower-end options. In Germany, everyone says the market is price-driven.

“We don’t want to be the big guys. We want to be the accessible guys” Stefan Vollbach “For some retailers, it is, but I question whether it really is the consumer causing this. Too many of us operate on assumption. There are lots of different people out there, and many are willing to spend more than the average retailer realises.” Vollbach argues that if you expect a consumer to not spend more than, for example, £3,000, then that customer quite simply never will. “Instead, if your mindset is that there is no limit, because I don’t know how much money this person has, then it changes everything,” he says. “I show them what there is, I give them a demo, I explain the differences, and I let them make their own decision.” Vollbach emphasises that, while price-driven marketplaces are undeniable, a brand like Simplon doesn’t need to sell a large number of rides to be successful. “We are not looking to sell 10,000 bikes in the UK,” he says.


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“There are lots of different people out there, and many are willing to spend more than the average retailer realises” Stefan Vollbach “We’ve been very successful at finding a handful of retail partners that focus on the high-end market. They understand that a conversation with a high-end consumer does not take longer than one with a mid- or low-price segment consumer. It’s all proportionate to an individual’s income level – it’s not about a harder sell.” He adds that, when entering a new city and approaching a local dealer who claims he cannot sell high-end bikes, Vollbach asks them a simple question – ‘Is there a Porsche dealer in the city’? “If the answer is yes, then I know that high-end bikes can be sold there. The dealer simply has not tried hard enough!” he laughs. Reconstructing retail Customer centricity – though common throughout many retailer industries – is still fairly embryonic within the cycle trade. Placing the customer at the centre of your conversation, however, doesn’t have to be as forced as it may sound. “Our concept of building a bike with our consumer on our configurator and having them understand that yes, once you order this, it’s going to built in Austria for you… I think it of extraordinary value to the customer,” says Vollbach. “It shows that it is not simply an off-the-shelf product, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual. Not only that, but it’s a unique, fun shopping experience.” Simplon has more IBD-supporting concepts in the pipeline, and aims to not simply make the dealers more money, but also improve their conversion rates and USPs. “This will be a longer story, built around our 3D body scanner,” Vollbach notes. Instead of configuring a bike according to the consumers’ selections, the 3D scanner will take this concept a step further

by analysing the individual’s body and suggesting measurements and features accordingly. “We’re currently introducing this in Germany,” says Vollbach. “It’s something I would really like to bring to the UK retailers, perhaps finding ten or so that understand the potential of this and aid them in being more successful. It would also make for a more pleasant business relationship between Simplon and the dealer – making ourselves an integral part of the business model, as opposed to knocking on the door every year and saying ‘this is our new product range, isn’t it beautiful?’ would be a very nice evolution!” In the eyes of Simplon, there is too much discussion about product – especially considering the vast number of products out there – and a distinct lack of brands addressing retailer pressure points is doing little to help the industry. “The pressure point of the retailer is not that they don’t have access to a good product to sell,” says Vollbach. “That’s not the problem. The problems are margins, discounts, competing with the internet, tracking inventory, not being forced by major brands to over-order… this is what gives them sleepless nights, not ‘where do I find a brand that makes nice custom bikes?’. Here, and in the UK too, no one has a solution for this. I believe we can offer that solution.” For the brand, the next step in implementing this strategy is to help IBDs bring consistency to the conversations they have with their customers, ensuring that, if someone were to visit a retailer three times, they would not end up with three different recommendations from three different members of staff. “That’s confusing to the consumer and in the end, people are likely to purchase from the shop where they’re confident that the advice is good advice,” states Vollbach. “If your advice is consistent, and your staff tell the same story, that’s a success factor. November 2018 | 25

“This is something that with our digital selling strategy, built around this body scanner, guarantees.” The concept would see each dealer go through a similar conversation with their customers, asking the same questions, and, should the customer have already visited the store, the employee would simply log in to the database and be able to see where their colleague ended the previous discussion. “We put this into a process format and take the retailer by the hand,” says Vollbach. “This is a new concept for the cycling industry because, if we’re being honest, it’s not the most professional of industries. “That’s not to say the industry is negative. It’s so passionate, which is wonderful, but from the professional side (how do I go about improving my bottom line? What processes and technology could I implement in my store to be more successful?) I would say bicycle retailers worldwide have not been particularly successful or focused on these things.” As the retail climate gets tougher, Vollbach believes these processes are a natural evolution. “We hope to help them. It’s an out-of-the-box programme, so we recommend retailers follow the steps because we have had others go through it and been very successful. I implore them to at least give it a try.”

“The passion is exactly what makes our product. The guys building them want to make the best ride possible, for themselves as much as the customer” Stefan Vollbach 100,000 combinations The overwhelming focus on IBD innovation thus far is testament to where Simplon’s loyalties and priorities lie. Pressed on the Simplon brand itself and its handcrafted rides, Vollbach comments: “An important thing for me is that when we say ‘handcrafted’ we truly mean it.” It’s difficult to argue – many brands utilising configurators offer a small selection of custom options, but the Simplon range appears almost innumerable. “We offer over 100,000 combinations of frames and components,” says Vollbach. “So when it comes to ‘handcrafted’ I think we can consider ourselves the inventors of this, because we started this way back in 1961, and it’s how we’ve always worked.” The attention to detail applied by Simplon is something to be admired. The brand checks each and every frames’ dimensions to ensure every tiny specification is 100 per cent precise and perfect. If that wasn’t enough, then add in the fact that, when full-suspension mountain bikes arrive, completely assembled, at the Simplon factory, the team pulls the whole ride apart and puts it back together again. “This guarantees that every tiny piece is perfectly tuned,” says Vollbach. “This is a level of detail you won’t find in other brands. Every retailer that comes here and sees the way we work understands it right away.” 26 | November 2018


Simplon’s facility in Austria

Home sweet home Reflecting on the warm welcome given to the two cyclists mentioned earlier, Vollbach smiles: “I never mention who I am! I want to hear the real answer from them. If I tell them I’m the CEO, they tailor their responses and rethink what they wanted to say. Instead, they say it straightforward, unfiltered. I want to hear what they think because they are the ones paying the bill. It’s not me, it’s not the retailer, it’s them. “I think it just demonstrates the mindset of the company. It isn’t something we train people to do! Everyone that comes here is a fellow cyclist. They’re not just a customer, we don’t absolutely have to sell to everyone who comes through that door. They are people with similar interests and you can have a very human conversation with them. “That’s the accessibility of our brand, and the passion is exactly what makes our product. The guys building them want to make the best ride possible, for themselves as much as the customer.” He notes that Simplon has now grown to one hundred staff at its facility, and the mindset and feel of the place has not changed one bit. “We actually just had someone from Portugal move to Austria, simply to work for the Simplon assembly line! It’s his passion. That’s what makes us so special, our attention to details makes it a job like no other. “No disrespect to those working in Taiwan, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that someone working in a factory out there could work in any factory, because it’s very methodical and repetitive. They go home and they’ve cranked thousands of screws that day. Our guys leave and they look at the half dozen bikes they’ve built, and they’re all their own custommade creations.” He concludes: “It’s really important that we maintain that philosophy and feel no matter how much we grow. We’re not here to be the brand for everyone. That’s not our goal. We want to be the right brand for the right people that share the same values, that appreciate these things: the product, the quality, how we make it, how we treat our employees, how we work as a team, our spirit, our energy… it’s what Simplon is.” n


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16/10/2018 16:51



INDUSTRY IRSTS Rebecca Morley reports from her first 1

Cycle Show in September November 2018 | 29

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he Cycle Show returned to the NEC Birmingham for its 17th edition at the end of September, hosting a trade day on Thursday 27th before opening its doors to the general public for the subsequent weekend. Having been introduced to the cycling industry just five weeks ago, this year’s show represented the perfect opportunity to meet key industry figures offering expert insights into this exciting industry. Thousands of visitors attended the UK’s largest cycling showcase, conducted by Upper Street Events. Cycling enthusiasts from a variety of disciplines, ages and backgrounds travelled from all around the country to visit a show that encompasses some 22,000 square metres of stands and features. There is little wonder why the team was proud of the show that takes over 12 months to organise. The trade show was opened at 9.30am by Lord Alan Sugar, followed by a free breakfast of bacon butties, tea and coffee from the ACT for the first 200 visitors to its stand. This was to make more of a ‘song and dance’ about the trade supporting the show, with over 300 exhibitors and 500 plus cycling brands in attendance including Bianchi, Calibre, Canyon, Cannondale, Condor, Colnago, Cube, DMR Bikes, Dolan, GT Grade, Kona, Orange, Racing Cycles, Ribble, Rose, Pivot, Trillion, Yeti, Whyte and more. Speaking after the show, event director Stephen Morgan says it has proved to be one of the best yet: “We’ve had some absolutely huge names come down. It’s really great to be able to offer the British public access to cycling’s biggest riders and brands. Whether visitors are experienced or new to cycling, we’re proud to be able to offer something for everyone.” This year, the Cycle Show actively targeted the ‘three F’s’ females, families and first-timers. Of course, the organisers were keen to stress they hadn’t forgotten their core

30 | November 2018 2

“We’ve had some absolutely huge names come down. It’s really great to be able to offer the British public access to cycling’s biggest riders and brands” Stephen Morgan demographic and will always cater to everyone via the “always on” marketing campaign, and this includes diehard fans and the avid cycling community. On the exhibitor stands, there was a sneak preview of the Airlok Custom from Hiplok on the Zyrofisher stand, which is a high-security lockable bike hanger that allows cyclists to personalise their Airlok by coordinating it with their bike frame or home interior through a choice of colours and bespoke finishes. Ribble launched its new range of bikes, covering road, CX, adventure, TT/Tri, urban and CGR categories, designed to maximise performance and enhance the cycling experience for all riders at all levels across cycling genres, with all new models tried, tested and proven in real-world conditions by industry experts. Maxxis UK showcased its latest tyre technology with visitors able to see up-close Maxxis’ newest tyres on the market, including the brand’s fastest tread pattern tyre to date, the High Road clincher. Visitors also previewed the latest technology featured on the tyre, including a new silica compound and K2 puncture belt, ahead of its full launch in 2019. Two-time UK Flatland champion Lee Musselwhite and top Red Bull, MTB freeride athlete Matt Jones were both performing at the show.

23/10/2018 12:24


Tannus announced the pre-launch of the Portal, made with the latest version of its patented Aither technology and is the culmination of 14 years of engineering. The brand says its goal has always been to produce a tyre that feels and performs like a pneumatic tyre, but with the added benefit of being 100 per cent puncture-free. The brand describes it as super lightweight, lasting up to 9000 km with only 1.5mm of tread wear, but most significantly has a rolling resistance. It hosted talks on the Tannus Airless Stage, discussing how the ‘new wave of airless tyres could reshape the cycling industry’. Portal will officially launch at the Taipei Cycle Show. Oxford Products had a range of products, including the Acros Enduro carbon boost wheelset with a 29mm rim width, adjustable hubs and asymmetrically drilled spoke holes for better spoke tension and stability. It has “everything you ever need and want in an Acros wheelset to take on the world”, says the company. It also featured what it calls ‘phyzibility’, defined as “a state in which the human form is able to seen”. The Metro Glo achieves this with a 360-degree fibre optic moulded into the shell, allowing the head to be seen from all angles in low light conditions. Extra protection is added with the adjustable dial fit retention system. In addition to the exhibitor stands, the show also had a main stage, showcasing new products and hosting panels throughout the day. At 11.00am, it was announced that the Velo

“It was lovely to meet so many cycling enthusiasts and see some the best bikes, clothing and equipment on the market” Kirsten Wild 3

Birmingham will relaunch to become the Velo Birmingham and Midlands for 2019, with a new 100-mile route. The announcement was made in a panel which included CSM chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, former England rugby captain Martin Johnson CBE, leader of Birmingham City Council Ian Ward and the event’s female ambassador Rebecca Charlton. What made this even more exciting was the initiative to make the event one of the UK’s most female-friendly sportives, with the target of increasing the number of women taking part to 50 per cent by the time Birmingham host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Speaking on the panel, Charlton says she believes women’s cycling is on the up, even if there is a long way still to go: “I honestly think that women’s cycling across all participation levels up from grassroots to elite is in the best place that I’ve ever seen it, the healthiest place. “We know how much interest there is now in female participation in the sport, but I think we can all agree there’s still a long way to go, and this event is so integral to that and for me, it’s making sportives seem accessible and something people can do. We’re looking at the barriers, what makes it less accessible for women and how can we change that.” Also featuring at the show was the VeloVixen’s Women’s hub in association with HSBC UK Breeze, which included women-specific products and a line-up of passionate and knowledgeable speakers who are all making waves in women’s cycling in different ways. Speakers included multiple World Champion Kirsten Wild who says: “I had a really nice time at the Cycle Show. It was lovely to meet so many cycling enthusiasts and see some the best bikes, clothing and equipment on the market. It’s easy to see why so many people come each year!”

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The show also featured a range of test tracks to cater for all disciplines, from e-bikes to road bikes, free to attend and use. With a total of seven tracks, all but one were located in the main show halls, with the exception of the Road Test Track. The Cube Kids Test Track featured Cube bikes, which covered a range of ages and uses, from single gear starter bikes to disc brake and suspension-fork equipped mountain bikes for ambitious young riders. Kids were able to try their favourite bikes on the track, designed for children aged three to 12 years old. The Islabikes test track also had a full fleet of lightweight, proportionately designed children’s bikes available to test ride, with expert advisors on hand to answer any questions. To further showcase children’s cycling, the manufacturer had its lightweight, child-specific steeds on display. A standout feature was the Beinn 27 which has 27.5in wheels, which Islabikes believes is a first in its category. The Bosch e-MTB Test Track, constructed inside the NEC by UK track builder Kye Forte, offered riders the chance to experience electric mountain bikes, featuring several brands, from Cannondale to Cube. New for 2018 was the Bosch e-bike ABS Test Track, for the first time in the UK. The MTB Bunker came with a 1.7km woodland single track for the “ultimate experience” in association with Mountain Biking UK. Brands included Cube, Calibre, Bianchi and Canyon. The Bafang e-bike village featured demos from brands and advice from experts, with a built-in incline ramp to put riders through their paces.

32 | November 2018 4

Famous faces filled the halls including pro freeride mountain bike rider Sam Pilgrim who says: “The Cycle Show this year was awesome. I was stoked to see loads of kids here as they are really the future of the sport. The indoor e-bike track was particularly rad - I just wish I had brought my bike now!” The show was also keen to introduce new riders to sport and encourage them to have a look around. The New2Cycling Hub in partnership with Free2Cycle was an area created for all those who wanted to find out more about cycling. Free2Cycle say it is passionate that “together we can do more to improve lives and our environment. We make it easy to get more people cycling and motivate them to keep at it”. Subjects for the talks included what to look for when buying a new bike, basic bike maintenance, cycle safety, bike security, essential kit, gadgets and accessories, and the best places to ride. Mark Cavendish MBE made his first trip to the Cycle Show to open the proceedings on Sunday, and he says it was fantastic to attend the show for the first time this year: “It’s clear to see why it’s one of the best showcases for cycling in the country, and its popularity is a clear indication of just how much the sport in Britain has continued to grow and flourish over the past few years. When I first started out cycling I would never have imagined that a bike show could attract such an incredible amount of people and it’s fantastic to see.” The Cycle Show will return to the NEC Birmingham next year from 12th-15th September. n

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10/12/2018 2:50:21 PM

Could e-bikes save the FEATURE

cycle industry?

With bike shops struggling to compete with an online retail environment that undercuts even trade account prices – a trend that shows no signs of relenting – could e-bikes be the saviour of the cycle industry? Laura Laker reports


t’s been a year since our last e-bikes edition, and the market for electric assist cycles is stronger than ever in the UK, driven by a consumer demand for comfortable, easy and fun alternatives to the car, as well as leisure riders looking for a boost, or a bigger range for adventure. While e-bikes may not enjoy the kind of Government attention e-cargo bikes have in the UK, the industry is leading the way in stepping into an obvious growth area in cycling, and doing very well from it. According to the latest figures from the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), e-bike growth in the UK is up from 40,000 units in 2016 to 63,000 in 2017. The Bicycle Association’s Steve Garidis says: “National figures suggest a real uplift of increasing volume over time. Since nobody makes e-bikes here [in the UK], the import stats are a proxy for sales.” In fact, Britain makes just two per cent of Europe’s e-bike parts and accessories, with the lion’s share produced in Italy (26 per cent), Germany (18 per cent) and Romania (17 per cent). Across Europe, where e-bikes were embraced by the public long before the UK, e-bike growth has averaged in excess of 20 per cent each year, 2014-2017, with a whopping 25.3 per cent growth to a total of two million e-bike sales in 2017.

Rob Howes, from the Green Commute Initiative, a Cycle to Work scheme equivalent with no £1,000 upper limit, sees growth continuing, not least because e-bikes have the potential to replace short car journeys, rather than cycle journeys – which means new customers. In Howes’ experience, e-bike customers aren’t cyclists, they are commuters. As 80 per cent of commuters live within ten miles of work, that’s a lot of potential new customers for e-bike sales.

November 2018 | 35


Howes is convinced e-bikes offer huge benefits not only for the cycle industry, but for society as a whole – with the potential to tackle pressing environmental and health issues caused by over-reliance on the private car. He says: “If you want people out of their cars you have to give them a viable alternative. Electric cars aren’t the solution, because if you replace all the cars in a city, you’re going to have the same congestion problems.” Howes believes e-bikes solve many of the problems that keep people from cycling, such as not wanting to get sweaty, and a lack of showers, as well as longer distance and hills. “E-bikes are a game-changer for society, but they’re also a game-changer for the bike trade, because they are the purveyors of this new mode of transport,” says Howes. He believes that, with online retailers selling spares at lower prices than he can buy via his trade account, the cycle industry needs an alternative to the current model. “Bike shops are going to get their heads handed to them on a plate soon,” he says. “Big online retailers are showing no sign of slowing. You can either compete with Wiggle or do something different.” Experience centres – not just bike shops That something different is exactly what Fully Charged in Bermondsey Street, in London, offers. Ben Jaconelli started the company in 2014 after spotting e-bikes’ potential as a mass mode of transport. Having doubled the turnover each year so far, his shop is now selling five to ten bikes a day, at an average price of £2,600, according to Jaconelli. They are working at capacity, he says. “I’m scared of doing successful marketing campaigns because we can’t deal with them,” he tells BikeBiz, when we meet in the downstairs area of the Bermondsey Street shop. “It is that ridiculous.” Fully Charged sells only e-bikes, priding itself on customer experience, well-trained staff, and its investment in around 50 demo bikes that are updated every six months. “I used to work in the car industry, and identified e-bikes were a game changer, a better way to travel around London,” Jaconelli says. “I went to Eurobike and saw there were so many companies doing them, and said: ‘why isn’t anyone selling these [in the UK]?’ I saw this as a massive gap.” Jaconelli’s car industry background comes in to play in the customer experience. He adds: “Most of our customers aren’t cyclists, they’re coming back into cycling or they’ve never been cyclists.” Most commonly, he says, they become interested in e-bikes after seeing them on holiday. Many of his customers have had friends recommend him, or contact him after seeing Fully Charged’s website, which they’ve invested significantly in - they’re now on the third iteration. 36 | November 2018

“Electric cars aren’t the solution. If you replace all the cars in a city, you’re going to have the same congestion problems” Rob Howes Green Commute Initiative “People don’t want to go to a general bike shop that has e-bikes, they want to talk to experts,” he says. “All our employees are trained for six months before they are allowed to talk to customers. “It’s more about the range, not the technical ‘bike shop guy’ spec - though if our customers are interested, they can talk to us about that. The whole experience, that’s a massive thing that people relate with. Coming in and being able to test e-bikes out.” Fully Charged has 50 demo e-bikes, from mountain bikes, to fun models like the Super 73, which has a cult-like following, he says. Ideally, customers book appointments and spend an hour in the shop, when they’ll try out five or six different bikes. He encourages them to take a few out, before coming back to ask questions.


Howes sees testing as crucial. “People tend to be like ducklings with e-bikes: they’ll like the first one they see, call it their mummy. But it’s like cars: a Ferrari doesn’t drive like a Fiat and a Mini isn’t like a Rolls Royce; that’s why you need to try them out.” The bike they’ll use will depend on their commuting distance, and whether they want to use the bike for weekend adventures, as many of Jaconelli’s customers do. Jaconelli also believes the future of bike shops is electric. “We have to up our game, we have got to move away from the traditional bike shop and towards the customer care experience, like you do when you buy a car. That means your average order value goes up.” He calls Fully Charged an experience centre. There’s a café in one corner, and Jaconelli and others work on laptops on a bench in another. The idea is to make it a relaxed environment because, as he puts it, “people can be nervous when they come in, it’s high prices, and new technology. “Here, people can hang out and learn and talk. We have an open workshop, customers can sit down here, have a talk with mechanics.” The result, he says, is many customers buy on the spot, and if they don’t have stock in the shop, they can get it from their warehouse for the same or the next day.

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The average cycle-to-work bike is £600; less than a quarter of Fully Charged’s average sale. Now, Fully Charged is starting a partner store strategy with bike shops, with the first set to launch within the next couple of months. Key to Jaconelli is that the store has good staff, and are willing to invest the time. At the same time, he is also looking to expand to a larger store, and tentatively waiting to press go on that marketing campaign. How the Green Commute Initiative works The Green Commute Initiative is specifically geared towards e-bikes. It’s like Cycle to Work, without the £1,000 limit. As with the Cycle to Work scheme, though it’s a salary sacrifice scheme, where employees pay the cost of the bike back via their salaries each month. This doesn’t cost employers to run, because of the National Insurance saving. Employees can save between 32-42 per cent on bikes. A lower bracket taxpayer could save £832 on a £2,600 bike, a higher taxpayer saves £1,092. Rob Howes, of the Green Commute Initiative, says: “We don’t charge employees seven per cent [as cycle to work providers do], we only charge bike shops five per cent.”

“We have got to move away from the traditional bike shop and towards the customer care experience” Ben Jaconelli Fully Charged What’s more, he says, GCI wants to support local bike shops. “We won’t support Chain Reaction, online retailers, we aren’t supporting Halfords, and Evans, because I think local bike shops are critical to what we are trying to achieve - if you go out of business how are people going to get their bikes fixed?” Howes, who founded GCI, says while early takers of the scheme tended to be small businesses, larger employers are increasingly getting on board, recognising the benefits of employees cycling to work, instead of driving. Commuting by e-bike – my experience If it weren’t for the e-bike, I would certainly not have considered a 20-mile round trip by bike to the theatre across London on a Friday night. November 2018 | 39


'I saw just why e-bikes have the potential to be so transformative. I really believe they could be the future of transport – and of the cycle industry' Laura Laker On 18th September, Theresa May made what could have been her second ever mention of bicycles in public, at a zero carbon vehicles summit in Birmingham. Cycling UK reports in that speech, she mentioned e-cargo bikes once.

I would have reluctantly got on the tube, because as much as I love cycling, I’m not looking to sweat through traffic for 40 minutes only to sit, slowly steaming next to my friends, and strangers, for the best part of a twohour performance. It was at this point I realised the transformative power of electric assist. Don’t get me wrong - I probably ride around 60km per week on my road bike. It keeps me fit, and it’s generally low-stress, as I know how long it’ll take, and I’m lucky enough to have good routes into town. Cycling is my main mode of transport, but it does mean I have to consider either a change of clothes, or a shower, at the end of an eight to ten-kilometre commute. However, since acquiring the bright pink Wisper with e-assist, and a step-through frame and basket, I was riding a lot more journeys, without arriving sweaty, or being tired from to-ing and fro-ing across town. Not only could I breeze across town on a Friday night on a social trip, I could ride to work, for meetings, without wearing lycra or carrying extra clothes and shower kit. More than a thousand people liked my tweet about the theatre ride, significantly more than any previous tweet, but there were those who questioned whether I was getting less exercise because of it. In a word: no. I was certainly pedalling into the stiff headwind that evening, but it was up to me how much effort I put in. It was liberating. The next Wednesday I got home early, my plans cancelled. When a friend asked if I could meet 8km away for a drink, I agreed – where before I may have hesitated – because I could wear regular clothes and hop on the pink machine. 40 | November 2018

One thoroughly atypical morning, I e-biked across town to interview the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, before dashing back across town to sit on a panel about women in cycling. That was a 14-mile round trip before 10.30am in my business suit, without even considering changing clothes. I saw, during those two weeks of borrowing the pink e-bike, just why electric assist cycles have the potential to be so transformative, and I can’t and won’t stop going on about it. I really believe they could be the future of transport – and of the cycle industry. Government interest in e-bikes On 18th September, Theresa May made what could have been her second ever mention of bicycles in public, at a zero carbon vehicles summit in Birmingham. Cycling UK reports in that speech, she mentioned e-cargo bikes once. This followed an announcement, the previous day, from cycling minister, Jesse Norman, that the Government would invest £2 million to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes. Cycling UK calls this a “heartening signal” of a direction of travel and notes the Times report that cycling minister Jesse Norman had asked Chancellor Philip Hammond for subsidies for e-bike purchases, potentially worth up to £800 on a £2,000 cycle. The charity is amongst those that consider e-bikes a solution to congestion, pollution and the health impacts of physical inactivity. Roger Geffen, Cycling UK policy director, says: “Cycling UK has long questioned why the Government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles provides such generous subsidies for electric cars, vans and charging-points, yet nothing for e-bikes.” n


THE RISE OF THE E-MTB Wheelbase’s Sean Leckey looks at the state of the e-MTB market and analyses how close the builds are to going mainstream


ltimately, mountain biking is about having fun. It’s about getting outside, freeing up your body and mind, riding until you can ride no more. An e-MTB has the potential to enhance this experience for many, or to open it up completely to those limited by time or health or who’ve previously found the idea of riding up a mountain daunting. Since their introduction into the UK trails, e-MTBs have been a hot topic of discussion and polarised opinion like no other issue. Perhaps shunned initially and looked upon as ‘cheating’, e-MTBs are cementing their place in the UK market and acceptance is beginning to replace the reluctance. HMRC figures estimate around 62,500 e-bikes were imported into the UK in 2016, the majority of which fall into the leisure and commuting category. These types of e-bikes have and will likely continue to make up the majority of sales in the UK, however, e-MTB sales have seen a significant growth in recent years.

This is likely down to a number of factors. One is the continued improvement and development of e-bike technology, where once an e-MTB was completely distinguishable from a ‘manual’ bike – now, the differences are more subtle. Component and battery integration has vastly improved to give a much more aesthetically pleasing end product. E-MTBs are growing in popularity among groups of riders – when one rider makes the jump to electric, their friends are significantly more likely to follow close behind. The MTB When riding an e-MTB, the level of assistance depends on the power of the motor and which of the various modes is engaged. The power only kicks in when you’re pedalling, and the power supplied can be controlled by a handlebar-mounted computer. All e-bikes sold in the UK provide power assistance up to the legal speed limit of 15.5mph before the motor cuts out. November 2018 | 43


‘e-MTBs are cementing their place in the UK market and acceptance is beginning to replace the reluctance’ Sean Leckey Most e-MTB motors are housed centrally around the bottom bracket to form the hub of the drivetrain and batteries located on the down tube – often integrated. E-MTBs inevitably carry more weight than a standard MTB and therefore require heavier and more robust components. Manufacturers are constantly investing to make lighter parts where possible and e-MTB specific components such as wheels, tyres, forks and shocks are evolving to become better and more affordable. Who are they for? In the past, e-MTBs were likely to be marketed towards non-cycling customers looking to get into the sport, those perhaps put off mountain biking by the idea of slogging up a massive hill for 40 minutes in exchange for three minutes of hair-raising descending, just to then slog back up another climb. The customer demographic has changed considerably from that and now e-MTBs are sought out by a much wider range of consumer. There’s the returning mountain biker – those who rode MTB in their teens and 20s religiously before retiring their rig to the back of the garage and starting a family or going head-on into a life-consuming career. For these riders, an e-MTB offers a route back into the sport, with time limitations and reduced fitness, they can return to past glories with the help of a motor. Then there are the enduro riders. If you’re training for a downhill race and you’re waiting on an uplift or grinding up a hell of a climb at the end of every descent, an e-MTB has the potential to double the downhills in the same amount of riding time. There are many pro riders who advocate using an e-MTB for this purpose and it’s difficult to argue against them. And finally, there are the go further riders - those who’ve been limited for whatever reason previously. An e-MTB opens up the opportunity to venture further, to step out of the comfort zone and ride that previously unconquerable climb or to take on that extra five-mile loop. These go further riders face time restrictions from workload or family commitments. Instead of doing a loop in that two 44 | November 2018

hours of free time on Sunday morning you can double the distance and take on an extra couple of ups and downs. Or maybe it’s been a long, stressful day in the office and you just want to clear your head for a couple of hours in the evening. You’re knackered but you jump on an e-MTB and take to the hills, that long day is soon behind you and you’re in that happy place. Looking ahead to 2019... Each year we’re seeing manufacturers expanding and improving their e-MTB offering. Ever-evolving technology means the bikes are getting lighter and more reliable with better and more integrated components. With an expanding market, more bike brands are introducing new ranges and models to the e-MTB category with many replicating their manual bikes with an electrified version. As demand and production increases, prices are coming down, opening up the market to a lot more riders.

FEATURE With the additional power of a motor and the increased weight of an e-MTB comes the need for a tough, capable tyre. Taking a steering from motocross, manufacturers are developing e-MTB specific tyres to cope with fast accelerations on the steep stuff and increasing tyre widths for a bigger contact patch for faster stopping under powerful braking. The supply of motor systems is becoming more competitive. German manufacturer Bosch is leading the way but faces improving competition from Shimano’s Steps system, Specialized’s own Brose motor and newcomer Fazua. Downtube integration improves aesthetics and mode adjustability is becoming smarter. The Bosch CX motor comes with an e-MTB mode which fluctuates between sport and touring intuitively, gauging how much power the rider needs and delivering when necessary. ...and beyond Although opinions will continue to be divided and there will remain detractors, it’s widely agreed that e-MTBs are here to stay. Just about every MTB brand now offers an e-MTB in their line-up and the vast majority of retailers are fully on-board. Trail centres are beginning to develop e-MTB specific routes and it is surely only a matter of time


before they’re hiring replacement batteries and housing electric charging stations. Many retailers already offer an e-bike charging service in their stores, e-bike hire and full e-bike servicing. Sales of hardtail e-MTBs will continue to provide the bread and butter of sales among retailers, as they offer a gateway into mountain biking for customers looking to steer off the tarmac and onto bridleways and take on some light trail riding. The improvements in integration and developments towards making e-MTBs look more like their non-motorised counterparts are certainly making inroads in winning over the initially reluctant mountain bikers. There are many out there still to convince, but it’s only a matter of time. Technology will continue to improve and bikes will become lighter and leaner. Lower price points will open up the market to a wider customer base. By bringing more newcomers into the sport and keeping existing riders going for longer, e-MTBs are beginning to cement their place in the UK market. At its heart, mountain biking is fun, about having a good time and seeking out adventure. E-MTBs can enhance this experience for many and introduce it to many more, and that surely has to be a good thing. n

An extensive selection of mid range parts and accessories well priced to offer excellent value for money and good margins for dealers. Available for next day delivery on our easy to use B2B ordering system. GREYVILLE ENTERPRISES

01543251328 01543 251328 November 2018 | 45





or our authorised resellers


AT THE HEART OF THE CYCLING INDUSTRY Rebecca Morley reflects on the firstever Local Bike Shop Day last month, which looked to emulate the success of its record store counterpart

Above: Belhaven Bikes held a prize draw with the chance to win a free bike service

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he inaugural Local Bike Shop Day took place on 6th October, aiming to celebrate the successes of some of the best-loved small bike shops in the country, and give them the opportunity to highlight what sets them apart from the bigger national retailers. Many bike shops across the country got involved, with some holding workshops and classes to teach people more about cycling, whether this was to a regular customer or a first-timer, and some simply providing coffee and cake to welcome the public through the doors and engage in conversation. The day generated excitement on Twitter with the hashtag #supportyourlocalbikeshop, with retailers calling on the community to come along and show support for the shops at the heart of the cycling industry.

The celebratory day was inspired by the success of UK Record Store Day, which is now in its 12th year. Mandy Cairns Ford of Belhaven Bikes in Dunbar says: “Local Bike Shop Day hopes to take inspiration from Record Store Day and give smaller, independent stores an opportunity to highlight what sets them apart from the bigger national retailers, namely being at the centre of their communities, specialist knowledge, personal service, individuality, and their dedication to help cyclists get the most out of their cycling, whether they use their bike for leisure, commuting or competing.” To celebrate the day, the shop held a prize draw with the chance to win a free bike service, an opportunity to test ride its new electric demo bike - Forme Peak Trail, the chance to view a ‘Bikepacking in East Lothian’ film, and coffee and cake. November 2018 | 47

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“Local Bike Shop Day gives smaller, independent stores an opportunity to highlight what sets them apart from the bigger national retailers” Mandy Cairns Ford Belhaven Bikes

Above: John Woods Cycle Repair Centre

48 | November 2018

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The shop says the day gave it the opportunity to raise awareness and keep momentum on being kept ‘front in mind’ for customers. It would happily be involved in Local Bike Shop Day next year, and says hopefully this year’s inaugural day will provide a basis to build on, like Record Store Day has. The opportunity is there for more shops, IBD-focused manufacturers, distributors, organisations and customers to get involved. Interestingly, some retailers told me they were not aware of what Local Bike Shop Day was, and therefore had nothing planned for it. They added that they would have done had they known, and many were keen to find out more.

Brooke Tully, CEO of BikeExchange UK and Ireland, plans to start the campaign early next year, but still found this year successful as a starting point, if anything it is a good opportunity to grow this and make it something really big. It embraced and promoted the day with a banner campaign to blanket both the BikeExchange marketplaces, a campaign on social media, an editorial piece on its homepage and a B2B newsletter to trade. Tully says: “#supportyourlocalbikeshop day was this year a good opportunity for us to see just how much potential this campaign has for retailers and consumers alike. “We’ve received very positive feedback in terms of the potential for this day to grow into something really significant. BikeExchange UK and Ireland activity has ignited interest across the BikeExchange global platform, and we already have a team developing ideas that will take this a lot further next time. Any idea that champions local brick and mortar bike stores, and reminds customers what makes visiting a store so special, is an idea that BikeExchange wants to magnify.” This doesn’t mean small bike shops have to break the bank and hold huge events to celebrate the day. Mat of John Woods Cycle Repair Centre says: “For us, it was a nice little event to run on a Saturday. We really just gave away some nice cake and had a couple more cups of coffee with customers than normal. It enabled us to have an additional topic of conversation that otherwise wouldn’t have been there which I really liked.” It also helped with social media, enabling the shop to post good content that was well liked and shared. As long as shops jump on board and use Local Bike Shop Day as intended, as a promotion for what a local bike shop can offer and not just another Black Friday style discount event, then it’s a winner. The team celebrated by giving away (and eating) specially decorated cakes with coffee, and ‘pasting’ the Local Bike Shop day logo across its social media. The shop says for the first year it was massively

23/10/2018 10:17


Left: Pennine Cycles believes customers responded positively to the inaugural event

us the opportunity to have something to shout about online other than the usual products, servicing random nonsense etc. “It was also a reason to push home the idea of shopping local and supporting local to our customer base. I would hope it’s a catalyst for more people to engage with their local shop, we saw a few customers drop by who had just come in to show their support for us which was really reassuring that these customers are still out there.” He adds that long gone are the days when just having something in stock was a reason for customers to enter a shop and buy it, now shops have to shout from the ‘digital rafters’ to get the footfall needed. The day should be welcomed with open arms as it gives retailers a platform to do something that feels united with the rest of the industry. Hopefully, customers will recognise this day as a regular worthwhile event that can continue for many years. It would certainly be a shame to waste this great opportunity, so hopefully, Local Bike Shop Day will be a concept that will capture the imagination of the entire industry, especially given that shops that did take part found it successful.

successful, inviting in customers who were welcoming of the idea. It will take part again next year, and hopes to increase promotion, making it a bigger and better event. Sandra Corcoran from Pennine Cycles says: “We feel we had visits from customers who came to support who may not have come into the shop on Saturday. It put using your local bike shop in people’s minds and they came and supported us so I believe customers did respond.” Engaging and building relationships with potential customers in person with a cup of coffee is important, especially with the increasing pressure that is coming from online retail. This isn’t going to just go away overnight. Communities need to work together to put bike shops at the heart of towns and cities, something that this day could be a positive step towards. Ben Othen of Altrincham Bikeshak says: “Local Bike Shop day, on the whole, was successful for us, it gave

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Circulating the news via social media and tweeting #supportyourlocalbikeshop as well as holding in-store events will help. These can be done any time of year, not just on one day, but the day itself could still present a chance for your local community to invest in the cycling retail industry. Othen concludes: “I think it’s very easy to get all cosy and liberated seeing events like this pop up on your phone feed and think ‘wow that’s great, what a brilliant local community I have’ and to never actually engage with it or visit the shop. “If Local Bike Shop day can’t generate footfall then there is no point in it. Record Store Day – quite brilliantly – is backed by the labels who market one of special presses and limited runs to local shops, which means they have something to attract customers in to spend some money! “I think this is the next logical step for Local Bike Shop day, suppliers and product manufacturers need to use us to market their brands and products on the day by giving us similar support that the record labels do for Record Store Day.” n November 2018 | 49

23/10/2018 10:17

Go electric with the UK’s best electric bike MSRP from £2,799 Strong Margins


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E-bikes and accessories 2














Lifter Clamp Stand


Distributor: Batribike

Distributor: Tandem Group Cycles

Distributor: Chicken CycleKit

Distributor: ZyroFisher

The Sigma is one of the lowest step-through folding e-bikes on the market. The hub gearing sets it apart from most other folders and makes it much more hassle free and cleaner when folded. Built in Europe using Danish design, it comes with an industry leading transferable warranty. Super-Low StepThrough. Nexus 7 speed nothing to catch when storing.

Available in two frame sizes, this unisex e-bike is ideal for gliding through towns, villages, canal paths and more. The 36V*250W DAPU mid-motor offers subtle design and smooth powerful assistance, and a selection of well thought out components make the Swift easy to adjust for comfort as well as practical features such as disc brakes and a rear pannier rack.

The industry has had to adapt to the challenges e-bikes pose – none more so than repairing them. Most stands able to support the weight of e-bikes, or able to raise the bike for easy maintenance, are powered by electricity and are very expensive. The BiciSupport Lifter clamp stand uses an innovative weighted system to make this process simple.

The Hiplok E-DX bike lock is designed specifically with e-bikes in mind. It carries the necessary maximum Gold Sold Secure rating achieved through the quality 10mm hardened steel chain and double locking anti-rotation 14mm DX-lock shackle. The noose chain loops back through itself, giving the extended locking circumference often needed with larger frames.

Contact: 01427 787 774

Contact: 01217 488 050



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8 7






Tern Bicycles



E-Bike Systems

Vektron D8 (Bafang)

Level R 29”

M-Series M-45

Distributor: Direct to retailer

Distributor: Moore Large

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Distributor: EBCO

Ansmann offers front or rear motor kits ideal for conversions or OEM. No need to modify the bicycle frame - these fit into the wheels. Battery options include downtube “bottle” style, rear carrier style or packs designed to suit your particular project (depending on quantity). All our kits are fully road legal and feature our latest advances in design.

The Tern Vektron D8 (MSRP £2,500) delivers the uncompromised performance, versatility and style of the Vektron family, in an affordable and convenient package, compact size, low centre of gravity, quick acceleration, manoeuvrable handling, and plenty of cargo space – with big wheel speed.

Brand-new for 2019, the Level (as its name suggests), takes e-MTB riding to another level. Introducing 29” wheels and long travel to achieve high performance, hardcore riding. Pairing a 170mm fork with 160mm of coil sprung Zero link rear suspension, the Level features pioneering Forward Geometry and is powered by the Bosch Performance CX Line.

New for 2018/9 the new Mseries combines market leading technology with design lead style resulting in a range of e-bikes that set new standards and raises the bar to a new level. The M-45 uses a unique unisex T6 alloy stylised frame with an integrated battery/rear rack that houses the 36v 400wh battery giving a range of 30 -50 miles.

Contact: 08706 092 233

Contact: 01332 274 252

Contact: 01752 843 882

Contact: 01926 437 700

52 | November 2018

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E-Fire 5 27.5 Wheelset

Samedi 27 Trail

Contact Plus

Motus Grand Tour

Distributor: i-ride

Distributor: 2pure

Distributor: Raleigh UK

Smooth, solid and with precision steering. The E-Fire 5 is a mix of technologies and designs that come together to be an e-MTB specific wheel that perfectly meets the rider’s needs. A confident and gradual response to stress means even the most difficult obstacles can be cleared easily, enabling maximum concentration on riding right from the first few metres.

Samedi 27 Trail, elected electric MTB of the year 2018! Whether it’s for an undisputed champion or for one of us, it has “only” 140mm of travel making it accessible yet formidable in any situation! Two characteristics reinforced by the “Plus” tyres and the lowered and moved back centre of gravity, further increase the liveliness and the overall balance of the bike.

Distributor: Madison, Raleigh, Bob Elliot, i-ride

Contact: 01444 243 000

Contact: 01314 494 147

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Up to 30 per cent better protection. The specialist for e-bikes and rental bikes, ideal for any commuter bike too. An all-rounder for roads and paths whether you’re leisure riding, commuting or adventuring. Features SafetyPlus construction - developed for e-bikes up to 50km/h. Extremely resistant to cuts and piercing.

The Motus Grand Tour is perfect for a range of city trips, relaxed tours and weekend trails. The reliable, long lasting electric components from market leader Bosch, will provide an exceptional riding experience. The 400WH semi-integrated battery will allow you to ride for up to an impressive 110 miles on a single charge*.

Contact: 01970 626 777

Contact: 01773 532 600

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Oxford Products


Selle Italia

Volt Bikes


Metro Glo

X-LR Superflow L3


Overvolt AM 400i

Distributor: Oxford Products

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Distributor: Volt Bikes

Distributor: Raleigh UK

The Metro Glo is the helmet you need to stand out from the road in low light conditions, this is assured with the full in mould helmet containing a 360-degree, battery powered, fibre optic band. Press the on button at the back of the helmet and the fibre optics light up increasing your visibility from all angles. This is a helmet that is very effective in all conditions.

Extraordinary efficiency, peerless performance and an alluring design. The new frontier of the Selle Italia off-road universe bears the name X-LR. Specifically designed for offroad use and the outcome of relentless product research. The X-LR stands out for the specific slant of its nose, which slopes forward for greater freedom in the saddle while riding.

Our Volt Infinity e-bike is equipped with the 250W Shimano Steps crank drive and Shimano Alfine 11-speed DI-2 internal hub electronic gearing, providing smooth gear changes at the touch of a button. Along with its unique sleek frame design, the Infinity boasts integrated lights that run off the high-capacity Sony battery, as well as Schwalbe tyres.

The Overvolt AM 400i comes equipped with the Yamaha 500WH battery, which perfectly integrates into the frame a sophisticated lithium-ion technology combined with a compact and elegant aluminium design. With an easy-to-use display, the assistance modes are designed to optimise the battery’s lifetime.

Contact: 01993 862 300


Contact: 020 7378 4728

Contact: 01773 532 600

54 | November 2018

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23/10/2018 14:10

MIKE COTTY The Col Collective Deborah Malin / The Col Collective


OFFLINE MAPPING AND REROUTING With an online connection to our Ally phone app you can download a map of your desired region and once it’s saved you can build routes, search for an address or simply tap a destination for instant navigation—even if you end up offl offline ine at some point. On our head unit you’ll have screen options of your ride data with turn-by-turn navigation or a map that shows where you are and where you need to go. All this with or without cell phone coverage once the map is downloaded and saved.



13/09/2018 17:11:33


Stocking fillers 1








Frog Bikes


ASSOS of Switzerland

Backcountry Research

Team Sky Rucksack

Ridden Everywhere

Chamois Crème

Mutherload Strap

Distributor: Frog Bikes/IBDs

Distributor: Ison Distribution

Distributor: ASSOS SBO UK

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Rucksack features: Adjustable padded straps with reflective strips, integrated wet kit bag, front pocket contains mobile phone holder, key ring and organiser, side cargo mesh pockets suitable for a water bottle (not included), external name card for easy identification.

Our Ridden Everywhere water bottle is your best friend when it comes to long rides. Utilising Specialized’s Purist technology, the inside of this bottle is shielded from any bad taste, mold, or staining and doesn’t taste like plastic. Holds 22oz/625ml of your chosen beverage.

Don’t add saddle sores to the list of elements you’re battling while riding your bike. That’s why we first developed our Chamois Crème around the turn of the millennium. Now in its fifth iteration, it relies on natural extracts to protect your skin from irritation due to friction and the build-up of bacteria.

The New Mutherload maximises all the benefits of our dualshockcord retention system with the versatility and adjustability to mount what you want, where you want it, anywhere on your frame. This strap will flat out stick like “poo to shoe” over the most demanding XC/Enduro race courses and trails anywhere.

Contact: 01784 557 300

Contact: 01353 662 662

Contact: 02036 211 550

Contact: 01752 843 882

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8 7









Sidekick Cage

eCare Sprays

M-Torque Multi-Tool

Tool Bottle

Distributor: Multisport Dist.

Distributor: Weldtite Products

Distributor: i-ride

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Ideal for fastest frame bottle access, great on smaller road frames and MTB frames. Low cut sides for rapid bottle removal and insertion. Wide centre opening permits sides to flex outwards for easy bottle withdraw. Special flared entry lip for fast bottle access and insertion.

eCare is maintenance made simple. Colour coded caps and simple design mean even a first-time e-bike owner will have no problem maintaining every unique aspect of their new purchase. With seven distinct products in the range, every aspect of simple, regular maintenance is covered.Â

This multi-tool offers the precision of a torque wrench at your fingertips whenever you need it. Your bike is just a reassuring click away from ultimate accuracy. Orro has built in a T30 on the torque side of this tool, which means you can tighten the majority of stem bolts to an accurate 5NM.

Ever wanted to keep all your riding essentials in one place? Tired of your phone getting soaked in a downpour? Fully waterproof and sized to fit snugly into any standard bottle cage, the Tool Bottle is perfect for storing everything you need to fix punctures, sort out minor mechanicals and fuel your body.

Contact: 01908 611 077

Contact: 01652 660 000

Contact: 01444 243 000

Contact: 01752 843 882

58 | November 2018

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Mighty 15

Oi Bell

HRC Merino Sock

Fly6 CE

Distributor: Oxford Products

Distributor: Silverfish UK


Distributor: Madison

What’s better than a multi-tool in a stocking? A Torque Mighty 15 multi-tool is what. It has everything you need to get back on the road after a mechanical issue. Three types of screwdriver head, a chain breaker and mm increments of allen key are what gives such a diverse multi tool its Mighty 15 name.

With the Oi, Knog has created a bell that sounds beautiful, and looks it. All retailers will have heard of the Oi, but what you may not know is that Knog has made no less than four design updates, so the current model has improved spring, ringer, and hammer so it’s louder and more robust. Oi oi.

This sock is now available with a core spun Meryl Merino wool yarn that adds the soft touch of wool for mountain biking and some warmth for cool-weather riding. The compressive qualities of the HRC+ Merino wool sock promote increased circulation with greater arch support.

The Fly6 CE is the new generation of Cycliq’s integrated rear-facing safety light and bike camera, engineered to give users a highly visible 100-lumen safety light with built-in super-sharp looping video recording, and impressive battery life (up to seven hours).

Contact: 01993 862 300




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Oxford Products





Halo Wrap

Woolie Boolie 2

Wayside Multi-Tool


Distributor: Oxford Products

Distributor: i-ride

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Distributor: Ison Distribution

Brighter than Rudolph’s nose when lit up, the Halo wraps are a great accessory for your winter activities on and off the bike. A fibre-optic illumination powered by one 2032 battery, has two settings of flashing and constant, with both settings providing you with increased visibility for many uses.

Wool is a staple of the DeFeet line. It sources the highest-grade wools on the planet and with DeFeet construction, the result is the finest wool sock you can buy. Wool has attributes that can’t be found in other fibres, staying warmer when wet and in cooler temperatures because of its thermal properties.

Remember that time on the trail when your brake lever reach went out of whack? Unfortunately, your multi-tool couldn’t get out of its own way to turn the adjustment screw. The Wayside has separate ball end hex keys that can quickly reach nearly any fastener, 19 functions and Torx keys.

Holds your precious liquids, and is derby-approved. You wouldn’t want to fall on a glass bottle would you? Engraved Logo. Stainless Steel. No-loss Screw Cap. 6oz (177ml)

Contact: 01993 862 300

Contact: 01444 243 000


60 | November 2018

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Contact: 01353 662 662

23/10/2018 14:04



February, 2019


March, 2019


April, 2019



January, 2019



Knog’s Big Little Light

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Sector Guide: Bike security Special: Energy and nutrition Sector Guide: Cycle luggage Special: Hybrids and folding bikes. Sector Guide: Triathlon Special: Workshop and training courses Extra Distribution: London Bike Show Sector Guide: Helmets Special: BMX

May, 2019 AD DEADLINE: 10TH APR Sector Guide: Indoor training and power meters Special: Cycle computers

June, 2019 AD DEADLINE: 10TH MAY Sector Guide: Winter and protective clothing Special: Cyclocross July, 2019


August, 2019


September, 2019


October, 2019


November, 2019


December, 2019


Sector Guide: Lights Special: Women’s bikes Sector Guide: Chains, gears and crankss Special: Children’s bikes Sector Guide: Stocking fillers Special: Road bikes Extra Distribution: Eurobike Sector Guide: Bike trailers and transport Special: Mountain bikes Extra Distribution: The Cycle Show Sector Guide: Brakes Special: E-bikes

Sector Guide: inner tubes Cycle footwear Special: Wheels, tyres and inner tubes



WANT TO ADVERTISE IN ANY OF THESE ISSUES? Contact Richard Setters 0207 354 6028 or email 67 BB154 BikeBiz ForwardFeatures2018.indd 1

14/09/2018 16:40


Want your company or product to be involved with any of these features? Contact James Groves, editor 020 3829 2616 or email

23/10/2018 15:31

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:

Cooke Components Unit 7C Cufaude Business Park, Cufaude Lane, Bramley, Hants, RG28 5DL Tel: 01256 880739 Web:

EBCO 5 Pegasus House, Olympus Ave, Warwick, CV34 6LW Tel: Tel +01926 437700 Web:

Fibrax Ltd Queensway, Wrexham. LL13 8YR Tel: +44 (0)1978 356744 Web:

Jungle Products Ltd Unit 3, The Cedar, New York Mills, Summerbridge, HG3 4LA Tel: 01423 780088 Web: and

M & J Distributors Ltd Unit A, Hanix Buildings, Windmill Lane, Denton, Manchester, M34 3SP Tel: 0161 337 9600 Web:

Met Helmets / Bluegrass 22-24 Ely Place, London, EC1N6TE Tel: 0207 1937 496 Web:

Moore Large & Co Grampian Buildings, Shinfin Lane, Derby, DE249GL Tel: 01332274200 Web:

North Sports 102 Charleston House, 87–95 Neilston Road, Paisley, PA26ES Web:

Oneway Distribution BV PO BOX 12, 3000 AA Rotterdam Tel: 0031 10345 3510 Web:

Oxford Products Ltd De Havilland Way, Range Road, Witney, Oxon, OX290YA Tel: 01993 862 300 Web:

Pitbitz Ltd Unit 6 Thorpe Drive, Thorpe Way Industrial Estate, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 4UZ Tel: 01295 269333 Web: and

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.

BB Directory2018-DPS-AD_final.indd 1

20/11/2017 11:15







Assos 57 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3JB Tel: 0203 621 1555 Web:

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:

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:

Schwalbe Tyres UK Ltd Schwalbe Centre, Hortonwood 30, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7ET Tel: 01952602680 Web:

AWE® Unit 80, Courthill House, 60 Water Lane Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AJ Tel: 01625-873130 Web:

The Cycle Division Unit 27 Gatehouse Enterprise Centre, Albert Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 3QD Tel: 01484 456137 Web:

Walkers Cycle Components Ltd 22 Holywell Road, Leicester, LE2 8SG Tel: 01162 833885 Web:

ZyroFisher Ltd Roundhouse Road, Faverdale Industrial Estate, Darlington, DL3 0UR Tel: 01325 741200

Web: /

Citrus-Lime Limited Lantern House, The Ellers, Ulverston, LA12 0AA Tel: 01229 588 628 Web:

Dexshell Unit F1-F3 Longford Trading Estate, Thomas Street, Manchester, M32 1JT Tel: 01618644666 Web:




Cycleguard Insurance Southgate House, Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1UB Tel: 0333 004 3444 Web:

Cycling UK Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, GU2 9JX 01483238300 Web:

Aqua Blue Sport LTD 4 Cleve Quarter, Monahan Road, Cork, Ireland Tel: 00353214847477 Web:

Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1LQ Tel: 0333 003 0046 Web:

Invisiframe Tel: 01743 232297 Web:

Rozone Limited Queen Street, Darlaston, Wednesbury West Midlands. WS10 8JB Tel: 0121 526 8181 Web:

Smartmotion International Ltd RM C, 13/F, Harvard Commercial Building, 105-111 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: 8615895656508 Web:

700c Cycle Shop Insurance Plough Court, 37 Lombard Street, London. EC3V 9BQ Tel: 0333 433 0827 Web:

Weldtite Products Ltd Unit 9 Harrier Road, Humber Bridge Industrial Estate, Barton-on-Humber, Lincs, DN18 5RP Tel: 01652 660000 Web:

The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2018 is available to view online at

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i merchand

lthough some high-street stores are going through difficulties, many are adapting to changing consumer habits and succeeding, and there’s absolutely no reason why your bike brand can’t do the same. Visual merchandising has been a major selling process for many years. Perhaps now more than ever, however, executing a successful visual 68 | November 2018

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Ga ry Bu e Pe d eli Tra ng, e Th man aging director, Where

merchandising strategy is critical if you want your biking brand to prosper. One of the biggest challenges in getting this right is that it isn’t simply a box-ticking exercise – even if something looks pretty, it can be difficult to know whether it’s actually having an effect on your customers’ experiences, and impacting your number of sales as a result.

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MARKETING MATTERS In an attempt to remedy that, I have put together a step-by-step guide to launching a successful visual merchandising campaign and beginning to boost your customer footfall and profit margin. Visual merchandising in retail Visual merchandising is the designing of a shop floor to deliver a more engaging and exciting consumer experience that will drive sales. But there’s more to visual merchandising than just putting products in a certain place because they look nice – you need a strategy. According to CEO Bob Phibbs, who runs The Retail Doctor retail consultancy firm in New York: “Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers.” The consumer journey depends on “getting a customer instore and creating an effortless experience”, according to Raleigh UK managing director Pippa Wibberley. So, how can you create a seamless customer experience? What does your customer want? According to Mintel, the bike market is worth around £1.5 billion, with the sale of new bikes in the UK reaching around £800 million. This is a lucrative industry, which means your store must stand out. So, which bikes do you want to display first to new customers entering your shop? A tip here is to go for what you think your customer wants, not needs. According to a study by Szu-Chi Huang and Raj Raghunathan, emotional responses are influential in our purchasing choices – which is why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire. Place your newest, best-performing products in your focal visual merchandising displays to attract the customer looking for a treat purchase and enhance your chances of high-cost conversions. You could also use ads alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of – and buy! Colour coding your merchandise According to Jessica Clarke, a retail merchandiser and stylist: “Things that are easy to look at will be passed over, and things that are too outlandish will be offensive to the eye.” If you stack your bikes, are you doing so with different colours in mind? Placing bikes with frames of contrasting colours at the opposite side of the colour wheel can help grab attention – think black bikes versus white bikes or cerise helmets versus lime helmets. However, making a multicoloured display of uncoordinated colours looks messy and may turn people away. Grouping your bikes and accessories Whether you use a frame to stack your bikes or simply stand them up around the shop floor, you must consider grouping. A recent report found that exposing your shopper to the maximum number of products is a tactical method when carrying out visual merchandising. 2

However, don’t make your displays look crowded. Utilise different display furniture. Why not place a bike next to a shelf of potential accessories rather than putting all bikes together, all gloves together, all helmets together, etcetera? Also, bear in mind that focal points boost sales by a reported 229 per cent, so ensure that you effectively direct your consumers when they enter your store. You should also incorporate the ‘Rule of Three’ method, which lets you capture a customer’s eye by creating attractive asymmetry. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal – which means they pay less attention, which isn’t good for advertising. By placing products in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance that forces the eye to take in each product individually, as opposed to the display in its entirety - excellent for effectively advertising each item. Creating a ‘decompression zone’ Reportedly, there are 2,500 bike shops in the UK, which means you have competition to not only attract consumers, but also keep them choosing you over competitors in the industry. Have you considered creating a decompression zone to help push products? This area of a shop is found just a few feet inside the main entrance and is believed by psychologists to elevate a shopper’s mood, acclimatise them to the store’s surroundings and get them ready for the shopping experience. You don’t want your consumers to feel negative when they’re shopping in your store – the more positive they are, the more likely they are to buy. An effective decompression zone will help transport your consumer from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are decompression zone tips: n Minimum of 10-15 feet n Based at shop entry with a full view of the store n Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside

area to signal new atmosphere n Use attractive stands, well-maintained frames and specialised

lighting to highlight your newest bike and accessories ranges Frequency and rotation When you’ve created an incredible visual merchandising strategy, don’t let it stagnate. A major part of tactical visual merchandising is moving your presentations as new stock comes in. If customers get bored or don’t think you are up-to-date with your stock, they’re not likely to return. What’s new or trending in the biking industry? According to Halfords, 2017 was the ‘year of the e-bike’ due to the brand recording a 220 per cent sales increase in the product. Keep your eye on the next big thing in your sector and ensure that you order these and display them using our visual merchandising tips. According to predictions, the consumer is looking for an experience, not just as a purchase. With visual merchandising, you can ensure that your bike shop offers something engaging to keep consumers interested – so why not start planning your visual merchandising campaign today? n November 2018 | 69

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Cycling apparel market insights: 2018-2028 RESULTS

Increase in cycling apparel sales by region:

Market research firm Fact.MR recently published a report on the cycling apparel market. It demonstrated a projected expansion at a significant pace from 2018-2028, largely driven by an increasing number of cyclists across developed and emerging regions worldwide. Other factors behind this growth include the growing market for e-bikes and the enhancement of sales from social media. According to World Bank analysis, around two billion bikes are in use across the globe and there is a strong likelihood that the number might reach the five billion mark by end of 2050. Furthermore, more than 100 million bikes are being manufactured per year. In addition, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) has distributed more than 200,000 specially designed bicycles to healthcare workers and students across South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. This aspect has significantly fuelled the use of cycling apparel, in turn pushing the growth of the cycling apparel market during the period of forecast.

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BBZ154.stats.indd 1

1.5 times - The US 1.6 times - Europe 1.8 times - Asia Pacific 1.5 times - Latin America 1.3 times - Middle East and Africa

While manufacturers have been delivering cycling apparels for standard bicycle, retail shelves of sports variety stores and other retail outlets are expected to witness a new addition of cycling apparel specifically for e-bikes. According to Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDC), e-bikes accounted for a significant percentage last year and is expected to touch 11 per cent by the end of 2030. Social media has proactively supported manufacturers in enhancing sales of their cycling apparel, and is trending across the entire supply chain of the industry. With an ever-growing preference for cycling, coupled with widespread marketing of cycling apparel products, social media has helped customers choose between brands and various cycling apparel products according to their cycling requirements. With social media boosting the cycling apparel visibility, the market for cycling apparel is projected to expand at a moderate rate during the period of forecast. n

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The heart of the H2 is its ability to replicate real world inertia better than anyone else thanks to it its massive, 20-pound precision-balanced flywheel. The H2’s soul is its impressive electrical prowess, complete with integrated cadence, speed and power data, internal cooling, over-the-air firmware updates, dual-band ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility and topped off with its electromagnetic resistance system for rapid resistance changes within virtual training environments. CycleOps is exclusively distributed by Raleigh Bike Part rts. We are actively looking for stores to become established demo centres which includes a full POS package including Zwift subscription. For more information email or call 01773 532 691


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