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ISSUE 002 // 2019
Ride like the Dutch Original Dutch comfort e-bikes
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from the editor
Jonathon Harker Cycling Industry Chat @CyclingIndustry @JonHarker
“CYCLIST, CHOOSE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PLAN.” COMRADES, THE days of ownership are behind us. OK, that may be overstating it ever so slightly, but if that’s the way things are truly going, and capitalism is taking a hitherto unexpected turn, that’s not great news for bike retailers. Or it is? Bear with me… You might have a Netflix subscription, you may pay a monthly fee for a gym. You might have a car on PCP finance that you plan to update after three years before you ever truly own it. Maybe a Cineworld Unlimited card? You may be unable to afford a whacking great deposit for a mortgage and face a lifetime of renting your accommodation. If none of that applies to you, then I’m afraid you may be even older than me, but if some of those things do apply to you, then you’re in good company, as there’s a lot of the general population that is opting to rent or subscribe, rather than own – sometimes by necessity, sometimes for sheer convenience. Having a regular fee deducted by Direct Debit from your bank account is something we’re all familiar and comfortable with. It’s just a shame that so few of those Direct Debits go into the cycle industry coffers, isn’t it? Is there a way for the cycling industry to get into this subscription/long term rental game, like the car industry and many others? Before you dismiss this as the raving of a lunatic, the likes of Vanmoof are already offering bike ‘subscriptions’ (that’s their term). You pick your model, perhaps add a lock to your cart and read about how you are fighting the disposable economy by subscribing to Vanmoof. Are we to believe the biggest cheeses of the cycle industry haven’t taken a moment to wonder if they can (or may need to) get a slice of this subscription action at some point in the future? If they have and this is the future of bike sales, at least in part, then there's a danger that bike shops could be side-stepped and cut out of this subscription model, but there's a future-proofing solution available already, in the shape of the workshop. This edition of CIN is full of expert comment on how to make workshops work harder for bike shop businesses, whether it's tweaking your shop layout, making mechanics more accessible to your customers or increase their training opportunities. And elsewhere in these pages retailers share their thoughts on whether they can see the bike industry benefit from the brave new world of subscriptions. Of course, the days of ownership are not over. I have crates of CDs in the loft, shelves of books gathering dust and an unreasonably large collection of bike locks, lights and bags battling for space in a cupboard that is teetering on the brink of bursting open. But things change. I may be a dinosaur. Bicycles will last longer than you or I, but how consumers buy/rent/subscribe to them could be very different in the decades to come.
ISSUE 002 // 2019
Ride like the Dutch Original Dutch comfort e-bikes
Jerry Ramsdale email@example.com Managing Editor
Jon Harker firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writer
John Styles Jstyles@cyclingindustry.news Staff Writer
Hayley Everett email@example.com Consultant & Contributing Writer
Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Executive
Logan van der Poel-Treacy email@example.com Head of Production
Luke Wikner firstname.lastname@example.org Published by
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©2019 Stag Publications. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publisher. The Publisher cannot be held responsible or in any way liable for errors or omissions during input or printing of any material supplied or contained herein. The Publisher also cannot be held liable for any claims made by advertisers or in contributions from individuals or companies submitted for inclusion within this publication. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Editor or of Stag Publications Ltd.
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PROFESSIONALS_CIN_Mar19_v2.qxp 05/03/2019 13:26 Page 1
the professionals COULD THE CYCLE INDUSTRY LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM THE MOTOR TRADE? With millennials increasingly unlikely to own their own house and streaming services like Netflix even more popular, the previous norms of ownership appear to be changing, in some cases. The motor trade has been canny to jump onto this and even lead this trend, with leasing & PCP finance now incredibly common. CIN asked, is this something the cycle industry can learn from? John Hamlin Managing Director, Flag Bikes
WOULD A LEASING/PCP FINANCE MODEL WORK FOR THE BICYCLE TRADE? EG HIGHER VALUE BIKES ON THREE-YEAR CONTRACTS AND AT THE END OF THE PERIOD YOU PAY A LUMP SUM OR UPGRADE WITH A NEW THREE-YEAR CONTRACT, FOR EXAMPLE? John Hamlin, Flag Bikes No; not with the current structure of UK bike retail. In the car industry only about 20% of customers pay the balloon payment and buy the bike at the end of the term. Accepting back four out of five cars sold is manageable because there is a very efficient secondhand market in the UK. They can quickly resell them from their own lot, within the trade or, in the worst case, at auction. There are no such specialist channels in the bike industry. Maybe this is a business opportunity for an enterprising entrepreneur to shake up the bike trade!?
Brad Illingworth Bike Category Manager, Start Fitness
Brad Illingworth, Start Fitness The concept itself seems plausible, bikes are developing at such a rapid rate (especially MTB) that high level consumers don’t tend to ride the same bike for more than about two to three years as they’ll be looking to upgrade the latest offering as soon as they can afford to – which is often as
“THERE ARE NO SPECIALIST SECONDHAND CHANNELS IN THE BIKE INDUSTRY. PERHAPS THIS IS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY FOR AN ENTERPRISING ENTREPRENEUR?” soon as they’ve settled the finance or the credit card that was used to make the purchase. A consequence of the rapid development is that a three or
Paul Lynn Director, Mountain Mania Cycles
four year old MTB has depreciated so badly and can be so dated that their perceived value to the owner (and marketplace) diminished drastically – removing the romantic notion of continuing to use ‘old faithful’. COULD A SUBSCRIPTION OR LONGTERM HIRE MODEL WORK FOR YOUR AVERAGE BICYCLE DEALER? WOULD IT HAVE TO BE LED BY A BRAND OR DISTRIBUTOR, WITH DEALERS WORKING AS ‘HUBS’ ON THEIR BEHALF? John Hamlin, Flag Bikes Not for your average dealer because of the capital that will be tied up in the hire bikes. It could work for the higher end of the market e.g. riders treating themselves to renting a big-ticket bike to tackle the Etape du Tour or a cycling holiday in Majorca. However, even then, the renting season is short and it would be hard to recoup the cost of rental inventory before the
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the professionals COULD THE CYCLE INDUSTRY LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM THE MOTOR TRADE? bikes become outdated and undesirable for potential renters. Yes, it would have to be led by the distributors and treated as a bond investment. Brad Illingworth, Start Fitness I’m not sure if it would be popular amongst the average consumer, but it could appeal to the real enthusiasts who enjoy using the latest products. I think that if it was brand or distributor led, it would help to standardise the packages offered to the consumer – dealers could follow the lead and work well as ‘hubs’ as you put it. DO YOU ALREADY OFFER HIRE BIKES? IF SO, WHAT’S THE AVERAGE TIME A BIKE IS ON HIRE? IF NOT, WOULD YOU CONSIDER IT? John Hamlin, Flag Bikes No. We are in London so space is at a premium and we’d competing with the Boris bikes on every corner. Bike hire is seasonal, and it is difficult to find a business model whereby we can offer bikes at an attractive price at the same time as more than covering capital, insurance and staff costs. Brad Illingworth, Start Fitness We don’t offer hire bikes in the normal sense, but we would certainly be interested in looking into any proposed long-term hire programmes. DO YOU THINK THIS TREND OF A SURGE IN SUBSCRIPTION/RENTAL MODELS HAS HURT RETAIL,
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GENERALLY SPEAKING? IF SO, CAN CYCLING REASONABLY EXPECT TO BE UNAFFECTED BY THIS GENERAL RETAIL TREND OVER THE COMING YEARS?
GOING BACK TO THE MOTOR TRADE, ARE THERE ANY OTHER ASPECTS/MODELS THE CYCLE TRADE CAN PICK UP ON OR UTILISE TO ITS BENEFIT?
John Hamlin, Flag Bikes Yes. There are no signs of the sharing economy’s growth slowing. Also its expansion from services (e.g. Airbnb) to physical goods (e.g. Rent the Runway) seems inevitable. The best retailers can expect to do is facilitate the sharing of what they sell. Patagonia created an online marketplace so their customers can resell their purchases with security. We at Flag Bikes are in the process of developing a similar model.
John Hamlin, Flag Bikes The customer experience! Clean, bright and professional showroom. Ability to offer a wide range of customisation options. Charging realistic rates for service work. Most car dealerships make most of their money through the service dept. Service books for bikes?
Brad Illingworth, Start Fitness Without being privy to statistics to guide me, I would lean towards saying that overall, the answer would be no. As trends change, there will always be winners and losers and that ultimately things will balance out.
Brad Illingworth, Start Fitness The big difference that I see in the motor trade is that new cars are sold primarily through branded dealerships with marketing and offers being driven from the brand itself, leaving the dealer to focus on sales without getting too involved on the other areas. This model appears to work for the motor trade and I’ve often considered before that this could be the way
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the professionals COULD THE CYCLE INDUSTRY LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM THE MOTOR TRADE? that the cycle trade ends up going. As things stand, we have direct-toconsumer business models and the more traditional setup of retailers acting as the middle man. The former offering lower prices and arguably more value, with the latter offering better service. In an evercompetitive market, we can see the growth in the direct model sector as consumers demand more for their money. I don’t think it’s crazy to expect that a hybrid of sorts, something similar to the motor trade, could strike a better balance between the two models.
“MARKETING AND OFFERS DRIVEN BY THE BRAND, LEAVING THE DEALER TO FOCUS ON SALES? IT WORKS FOR THE MOTOR TRADE, IT COULD BE THE WAY THAT THE CYCLE TRADE ENDS UP GOING.” Paul Lynn, Mountain Mania Cycles If you look back on the automotive industry in the ‘70s and ‘80s, every town had a selection of independent franchise dealers and during the ‘90s
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we started seeing things change with many closures, in some cases to capitalise on land values, but also being taken over by large dealer groups. Over time, we saw further large dealer groups falling into financial difficulties, mainly to do with profit margins but with overheads increasing and, in some cases, manufacturers investing in their own dealer networks, sometimes under the original dealers’ name. On the other hand, the cycle industry saw many new independent shop openings during the late ‘90s and the early 21st century. This was supported with the advent of the cycle to work schemes which enabled people to buy bikes they would not otherwise have purchased. The recession started to kick in late 2007-08 and by 2009-10 we saw people cutting out the luxury of two cars and looking to change a car for a bike to commute to work. During the London Olympics, we saw another surge in the road bike sector and since that time with health becoming a bigger focus, we saw cycling becoming ‘the new golf’. This all sounds great but with the growth of the industry many people thought they could see an easy route to profit by opening a cycle shop. The last four years in particular have seen significant change in the industry, with small and medium cycle groups struggling, which in many ways has mirrored what happened in
the automotive sector. Many small groups have been rising, with bigger sales footprints instore providing more consumer choice. The large brands wishing to capitalise on volume sales and market share have focused on the larger stores and groups, so we have seen the demise of the small inde-
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pendent bike shops - as happened in the automotive sector. In equal terms to the automotive sector, each business employs mechanics and sales staff with workshops and showrooms but many have suffered the fate of many in the motor trade with increasing overhead costs and discounting impacting margins.
We have already seen brand-owned stores opening and various other schemes and can look at manufacturers / brands in both markets who have been looking to reduce the number of approved locations, providing larger market areas. Four years ago, I took a look at the options of leasing /long term rental schemes and still believe there is a market for this style of business, but the difference between the two industries is that the value of a second-hand bike is very low, so any margin has to be built into the initial agreement. The hire bike and bike box are strong performers throughout the year, but they depend on location as tourist areas will have better options. This is where a cycle shop has to be diverse with multiple revenue channels including finance options. Brands don’t normally get involved but options of better terms can be obtained. We have a fleet of hire bikes across five stores and on occasions individual daily rentals occur along with multiple days or support at larger public events. We find this brings customers through the doors who will also purchase other items and possibly return for other purchases at later dates. I hear people say the cycle industry is different, but the basic principles of management skills apply which ever trade or industry you are in. Location of a store is number one but getting a balance of store size along with rent and rates is key to ensure you have a
strong cost base. The brand selection is also imperative and stock selection critical to cater for the market in all sectors not forgetting the growth being seen over the last three years in the e-bike sector. We all know the term ‘bigger is better’ which is the case in turnover and a store wants to have a minimum
“MANY HAVE SUFFERED THE FATE OF THOSE IN THE MOTOR TRADE, WITH INCREASING OVERHEAD COSTS AND DISCOUNTING IMPACTING ON MARGINS.” turnover of £500,000. This enables you to focus on negotiating better terms and margins that should not be lower than 45%. Store presence, strong varied brands and good stock and strong customer service along with passion equals success. This is not to say it’s easy and there is a lot more behind the scenes, but you have to work at it and don’t be a busy fool. I have not mentioned the dreaded internet and you must not let this rule your life daily as the market still has growth so positive outlook helps. You have to make the business work for you but the returns can be better than an automotive dealer and with better longevity.
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(( PROFILE ROYAL DUTCH GAZELLE ))
STAY IN THE SADDLE FOR AS MANY MILES AS POSSIBLE
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125 years, 15 million bikes (and counting) and arguably the quintessential Dutch bike range. With its rich history and drive for innovation, Royal Dutch Gazelle plans to grow its market share in the UK…
n a market that has traditionally been dominated by the sports end of cycling, the UK has lately been making steady strides into utility cycling and all its forms. We may severely lag behind the likes of Germany and the Netherlands, but ebikes, commuter cycles and other utility bicycles are growing and remain a huge source of potential for the trade. Who better to help develop it in the UK market than one of the best known ‘Dutch bike’ brands in the business? Royal Dutch Gazelle has been making bicycles for well over a century – 250,000 bikes leave its factory in Dieren every year. Now the firm is looking to grow in the UK, with a rich collection of bikes honed over the century-plus, including the likes of the new iF Design Award winner Grenoble C7+ HMB Elite, the Miss Grace HMB and CityZen HMB, among many others. CIN speaks with Marketing Communication Manager for Export, Rineke Berkelder, to fill us in on the Gazelle story, why innovation isn’t the preserve of the sports cycling markets and its mission to help motivate people to get (and stay) in the saddle for as many miles as possible… Gazelle has a long history in the bicycle industry. Can you fill us in and has production always been in the Netherlands? Over the course of 125 years, Gazelle has grown from a small two-man business selling three bicycles into the biggest Dutch bicycle brand selling over 250,000 bicycles a year. And all that time, we've been asking ourselves what it is that a cyclist needs. This drive
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(( PROFILE ROYAL DUTCH GAZELLE ))
has led to the 15 millionth bike rolling off the production line in Dieren in 2018. Gazelle has played a prominent role in the rise of the well-known Dutch bike culture, and our long years of experience can be seen in the current Gazelle collection, where we blend a rich heritage alongside contemporary innovations. Our bikes are still assembled in the original Gazelle factory in Dieren. Gazelle bikes are built to last with minimal maintenance, featuring a smooth ride, smart design and robust quality. Every 30 seconds a Gazelle bike is put on a monorail that leads directly to the delivery truck. The factory includes a 1.6km paint shop line where four layers of paint are applied to each component over six hours. Over 1 million components and frames are painted yearly. Bicycle forks are assembled by hand, with 21 parts making up each fork. Over half a million wheels are made annually and chains are machine punched to length. We have three assembly lines of 52 metres and 25 trained craftsmen per line. Every 90 seconds a bike is assembled and we have strict internal quality audits at the end of the lines. In the UK there may be a perception of what Gazelle’s range includes, so can you give us a brief rundown of your key ranges? We produce iconic Dutch models, making use of many years of research into our users' experiences, such as the typical Dutch sitting position. We translate these results into design innovations such as the integrated battery and motor built into the frame,
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which provide a perfect streamlined form. We also add other innovations to our bikes, such as connectivity, which enables us to identify the location of a bike when it is stolen. This has given the Gazelle e-bike a totally contemporary and innovative character. The use of cool, fresh styling and fashionable colours ensures that our bikes will stand out, so they'll appeal to the target group's taste. Naturally, we'll supply these bikes in the quality everyone has come to expect from Gazelle. Is R&D and innovation important for Gazelle? There may be a perception that innovation usually comes from the high-end sport side of the cycle market… Gazelle combines 125 years of Dutch cycling heritage with today’s global innovations. Always challenging the status quo and making quality top priority has made Gazelle the brand what it is today; with continuous research and ongoing innovation Gazelle will be the number one premium bike brand for decades to come. We are a cyclists’ brand, carefully picking and developing the best proven innovations around, to offer cyclists the best cycling experience. Innovation at Gazelle is a mentality and we always put cyclists first. We are continuously on the lookout for relevant trends. We ask, “What do cyclists need, want or have to withstand?”. We will bring innovations that improve commuting, keep you connected to the world, support when necessary, make you feel safe and cared for. The UK has traditionally focused on the sport cycling market but urban cycling, utility bikes and e-bikes are becoming more popular. Is this an area that Gazelle can help grow in the UK? When it comes to the evolution of the Dutch bike, we at Royal Dutch Gazelle have not only been along for the ride, we led the way! Gazelle has played a significant role in the famous Dutch Cycling revolution. At Gazelle we promote ‘Ride like the Dutch’. This is a new way to ride your bicycle: in an upright, comfortable position with no back strain. Ride like the Dutch also represents an open attitude towards the world around you and the people in it – so
it’s not only about comfort, it’s about attitude too. And who else can show you how to Ride like the Dutch than the premium Dutch bicycle brand? Gazelle also seems to have a broad appeal across gender and age groups – is that fair to say? Do you see Gazelle as a good option for bike shops looking to grow the demographics of their customer base? Yes and yes, a Gazelle is not specially made for a target group that is segmented by demographics but merely by values and motivation to cycle. With a Gazelle everyone can cycle in comfort and experience freedom. Discover the world around you, feel like a kid on your way to work or ride like you have all the time in the world. Gazelle offers the ultimate seating position, ensuring you will feel comfortable throughout the ride and will arrive healthy and energetic. Assembled with only high quality components and tested to the limit, a Gazelle rides smoothly; making your bike ride more fun. The durable design of Gazelle offers freedom ensuring you can discover new places without a worry. Can you tell us a bit about how you’re approaching the UK cycle market? Will you have reps on the road? What kind of support will there be for UK dealers? We have a Northern account manager
GAZELLE CYCLES THROUGH THE YEARS
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GAZELLE HAS BEEN PRODUCING BIKES SINCE 1892
THE CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS IN 1992 COINCIDED WITH THE EIGHT MILLIONTH BIKE COMING OFF THE PRODUCTION LINE
The celebrations saw Princess Margriet of the Netherlands award the “Royal” title to Gazelle in honour of 100 years of existence. At that time, one million bicycles were being shipped every three to four years.
ON 7 APRIL 1999, PRINCE WILLEM ALEXANDER PUT THE FINISHING TOUCHES TO THE 10-MILLIONTH GAZELLE
THE 12 MILLIONTH GAZELLE LEFT THE FACTORY Karla Peijs, the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management at the time, was in attendance on that day to lend a hand with the Gazelle Easy Glider: the first Gazelle with electronic pedal assistance.
THE 13-MILLIONTH GAZELLE WAS PRODUCED
THE 14-MILLIONTH GAZELLE WAS PRODUCED Princess Margriet carried out the final assembly of this landmark Gazelle.
THE NEW FACTORY OPENED THE E-BIKE NO. 1 WAS INTRODUCED This bike boasts the most up-to-date technology available, including GPS. Gazelle calls it the “E-bike No.1”; it is “our vision of the future of electric bicycles”.
THE FIFTEEN MILLIONTH BIKE ROLLED OFF THE PRODUCTION LINE IN DIEREN
2012 2015 2016 2018
Richard Lane, and we are just in the process of replacing the vacant area of Southern UK - we’ll be making an announcement soon. We are growing our footprint and are looking for strategic partners, so interested parties should contact us or go to our website for more information. I noticed you have a Gazelle academy: Is that aimed at dealers? The Gazelle Academy is an online elearning tool for all professionals who work with Gazelle bikes. Gazelle has the ambition to become the number one premium city comfort ebike brand in the world, and we believe our dealers play a significant role in achieving that mission. Those that share our vision will have to opportunity to grow their business as the Gazelle brand grows. With this tool we aim to equip all our dealers with a good understanding of our brand and extensive knowledge of our products. And how do you work with partners? What are the benefits of working with Gazelle? We’re a trustworthy brand with 125 years of experience and knowledge of product so there are no learning curves! We are fast growing, we believe in localised activates, sales and service are handled by our experienced international service centre and we have marketing support, branded stores, a b2b portal and the Academy. Any final thoughts for our readers? We at Gazelle believe that: ‘Your bicycle contributes to a better world, making it a cleaner, healthier and nicer place to live. By clocking up more miles on your bicycle, you make the world around you a better, more sustainable place.’ Our mission is to motivate people to cover as many miles as possible in the saddle. We therefore offer products and services that are perfectly aligned with people’s needs and wishes. We excel when it comes to quality and service and are constantly innovating to make using your bicycle an even more attractive option – so you can keep on cycling. www.gazellebikes.com
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In association with The NEC Cycle Show
(( INDEPENDENT RETAIL CHANNEL STUDY 2018 ))
Have the numbers of staff working in bike dealers grown or fallen? And which products are in danger of losing space in the nation's bike shops? All these questions and more are answered in our independent retail channel survey. And there's plenty more information packed into the full report, which you can purchase by contacting Logan@cyclingindustry.news.
HAVE YOU INCREASED OR DECREASED STAFF LEVELS AND WHY?
Increased following expansion
Increased to add sales resource
Increased to meet enhanced workshop needs
Increased to meet digital needs
Increased and decreased seasonally
Decreased to reduce overheads
Decreased due to consolidation
Decreased due to more automation
Decreased due to fewer sales
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Depending on your point of view, it's either reassuring that the vast majority of bike shops are not looking to decrease staff numbers, or it's a glum sign of the times that the majority of bike shops are not looking to bolster their ranks and bring more staffers on board. A further unhappy reading of these statistics may suggest that there's a trend of static staff numbers doing more work... but we are glass half full types here at CIN, so we'll look for the positives. With job losses on the High Street across the board, these statistics, seen in a wider context, are frankly impressive. Digging further into the stats, those that are increasing and decreasing staff levels are largely on an even footing here. Few bike retailers have reduced head counts thanks to automation, but there have been some redundancies or retirements thanks to this growing area. The same proportion of respondents said they'd recruited to meet digital needs. So overall we have a picture of bike shop recruitment that is as finely balanced as you could hope for.
D I S TRI BUTED I N THE UK BY
SURVEY_CIN002_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 13:55 Page 2
In association with The NEC Cycle Show
(( INDEPENDENT RETAIL CHANNEL STUDY 2018 ))
Commuter bikes (inc. folding)
“WITH PUNTERS OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES WELL USED TO ORDERING CLOTHES ONLINE, THESE FINDINGS WILL ARGUABLY COME AS NO BIG SURPRISE.”
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WHAT PRODUCT WILL YOU ALLOCATE LESS FLOOR SPACE TO AS THE YEAR PROGRESSES? Which categories are shops finding difficult to justify space for? That's another way to frame this question, and the answers will make for tough reading for many brands. A whopping half of our respondents said that clothing will get less space in their shops. Do we blame the internet? Probably most of us will. With punters of all shapes and sizes well used to ordering clothes online, these findings will arguably come as no big surprise, particularly when apparel can be notoriously hard to get right in-store. In a similar vein, footwear nudges into second ahead of indoor training and then we start to hit some of the bike categories, including road and BMX - picking up on a anecdotal trend of some shops shunning stocking bikes in favour of P&A and workshop-related fare. Triathlon is also suffering here. At time of writing, the US triathlon market reckons it is on the cusp of a resurgence after some lean times, but whether that's the case in the UK appears to be moot. Another substantial loser here is nutrition, again not perhaps the biggest surprise, despite the impulse purchase potentials of the category. Call us naive, but we were surprised to see a quarter of respondents want to cut back on supplier POS. Because it's ineffectual? We'd be interested to find out more about this one...
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(( MARKET RESEARCH WOMEN’S CYCLE CLOTHING ))
THERE’S MORE TO WOMEN’S CYCLE CLOTHING THAN PINKING & SHRINKING The past two decades have seen the women’s cycle clothing sector progress significantly in terms of product. Duncan Moore investigates how things changed and the commitment retailers need to take to cover the market…
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MRKT_RESEARCH_D-MOORE_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 13:57 Page 2
“When I started cycling, women’s kit, in general, was heavily influenced by a male perspective of what women like.”
hen I began to research this feature, the same Myers is no longer involved with the business, having sold phrase kept coming up time and again whenever I it on at the end of 2018, but Flare is set to return with a new spoke to women in the cycle trade. “When I started women’s clothing range under the guidance of John Brame cycling, women's kit, in general, was heavily influenced by and his partner Marsha who had previously been manufaca male perspective of what women like; ‘shrink it and pink turing Flare’s ‘custom kit’ in their UK factory and who took it’ used to be a reality for most of us,” is how Maria Olsson, on the Flare brand after Myers sold it. Design Manager for Rapha, sums up what the state of “Since the purchase of the brand in December 2019, we the women’s cycle clothing market used to be just a few have assembled a team of women with huge amounts of years ago. experience in fashion, sports, retail, design and more,” It was that sort of experience that led Deborah Burton to explains Brame. “With this team, we are sure to address become a pioneer for female-specific clothing when she the specific variances as to what a woman looks for in her established the online brand Minx-Girl at the turn of the sports gear: function, fashion, fit and fun. It is very imporcentury. Speaking about the difficulty of getting decent tant to us that women are at the core of the design and women’s shorts and jerseys before she began Minx-Girl, development of all the products that we create. Burton explains: “I travelled a lot with my job and bought “The Flare brand under Hannah’s ownership had a very most of my cycling kit in the USA where there was more distinct look and feel in its vibrant colours and patterns. choice. Not just more choice but actual female-specific clothToday, we look to maintain the strong design signature ing. In the UK at that time (the late-‘90s) while incorporating current fashion female-specific shorts (if you could find trends and colours into what we feel is any) were cheap, shiny and the most current and relevant to women. We unflattering garments anyone bothered have been busy working on a brand “AT THAT TIME, FEMALEto invest money in stitching together.” refresh for this summer, a new range SPECIFIC SHORTS WERE It wasn’t just the lack of quality that of garments and what we know will was a stumbling block for women honour Hannah’s original women’s only CHEAP, SHINY AND THE MOST brand vision.” trying to buy kit in the average bike shop. “Women who might have found Fortunately for women riders and, UNFLATTERING GARMENTS something they wanted to try on found indeed, retailers who want to cater to bike shops without changing rooms, or them, Flare is not the only manufacANYONE BOTHERED TO the changing room was the loo (nice),” turer set to bring new ideas and INVEST MONEY IN STITCHING designs to market this year. notes Burton. It was those sort of experiences that “I can see a lot of change in the TOGETHER.” led Burton to start Minx-Girl, which market even over the past four years, operated from 2002 until 2016 and more brands coming into the market, changed the market place for women’s more female cyclists in all aspects of kit in the UK. Minx-Girl introduced women’s specific kit the sport, and I think women are demanding space and from the likes of Pearl Izumi, Sugoi and Gore to a mainbeing more vocal about their need for change here,” says stream audience. Burton also brought new brands to the Rapha’s Olsson. “I believe we do lead the way here as far UK, brands that had new ideas and designs. One was Harlot as taking women's kit seriously, which I believe has led to Wear, launched in the US by Jennifer Steketee who couldn’t an improvement globally across the board. More brands are find what she wanted to wear on a bike so started making designing for women now, gaining insights from women it herself. “That ‘it’ was relaxed fit three-quarter cycling who ride and I see this as a very positive change. bottoms which seemed to flatter everyone. Minx sold 100 “More competition means that we have to keep pushing pairs right out of the gate,” explains Burton. for excellence to stay relevant, and this is exciting for us, it That move to more relaxed and very definite designedwill bring more opportunities to prove that we are the best by-women-for-women kit not only created sales in the UK, at what we do. it also inspired other women in the sport to get involved. In “Being a female cyclist working on women's kit makes a 2012, Hannah Myers created Flare Clothing, a brand dediworld of difference I think, and there are definitely some cated to offering women riders something more relaxed, differences in men's and women's needs and priorities when avoiding tight Lycra and yet remaining feminine. it comes to kit,” Olsson adds. “Over the last three years we
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MRKT_RESEARCH_D-MOORE_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 13:59 Page 3
(( MARKET RESEARCH WOMEN’S CYCLE CLOTHING ))
Simply having a small selection of women's shorts and jerseys tucked in the corner isn't going to equate to sales.
have been developing a chamois concept - launching this Olsson suggests that shops should have, “knowledgespring - specifically designed, developed and tested to able and approachable female staff in the stores”. She improve the riding experience for women, I think this alone goes on to explain: “Many women who want to get into shows the commitment Rapha has to women's cycling.” cycling might not feel super confident in their knowledge, But how are retailers to make the most of these new and more often prefer to talk to a woman, especially ranges and innovations in women’s cycling kit? Burton about chamois or bras. offers the following advice: “Have a point of view. You “Secondly, showcase the women's range, make it easily cannot be all things to all people accessible and visually exciting. Again, a even though the market is bigger now lot of women already feel self-conscious than when Minx started, there is still walking into a heavily male-dominated the same problem of fragmentation retail environment like a bike shop, and “WOMEN ARE EXTREMELY that makes it hard for you to provide you want to make it easy for them to find the right mix across every sector the what they need or browse for inspiraAWARE CONSUMERS AND market - unless you want to bankrupt tion. Women are extremely aware YOU WILL DEFINITELY yourself with a high stock that barely consumers and you will definitely turns. Minx worked because it had a increase your chance of them returning INCREASE YOUR CHANCE very clearly identifiable product mix. if they feel excited about the range. And “Your skill as a buyer is to do the hard finally, actually ask women what they OF THEM RETURNING IF work and negotiate all the kit out there want, get to know your customer and do so you can serve up to your customers not simply assume you know. You’ll THEY FEEL EXCITED the right mix for them. Consider looknever be able to please everyone but you ABOUT THE RANGE.” ing to Europe and the US for indepenwill go a long way just through engaging dents in order to directly import an people and inviting them to influence exclusive brand. It means getting to their market,” concludes Olsson. grips with customs clearance and duty With female-specific clothing, if you rates but it can give you an edge. want successful sales, as with all specialist products in the “If you’re in the clothing business, be properly in the cycle industry, you have to fully commit for it to make a clothing business. I’ll assume you’re going to give it substantial difference to the store’s bottom line. Simply decent floor space, forward hang where possible and having a small selection of women’s shorts and jerseys merchandise in groups - not just by brand but across tucked away in the corner of the store isn’t going to equate brands. If your interest extends to merely ticking the to sales. The range needs to be front and centre and you boxes on the product mix the rep is giving you, don’t even need sales staff that not only know the product but underbother,” concludes Burton. stand the customers’ needs.
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email@example.com | 015396 24040 | lyon.co.uk/cycle
OPINION_TradeOpinion_ColinRees_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:01 Page 1
(( TRADE OPINION ))
REPAIR SHOP NUMBER 1 Can your workshop work harder for your business with some judicious tweaks? CIN proudly presents three focused articles on helping workshops deliver more for bike shops, from our resident sales training expert Colin Rees. Colin Rees Retail Sales Trainer & Business Consultant. w colinrees7.wordpress.com. e Colinrees7@gmail.com
ou will be aware of our objective being to fight months or when it suited, a common weakness. Let’s face the dreaded internet with a retail store which is it, human nature suggests window changes are a hassle so good, that customers just would not go that needs creative flair and some marketing expertise to anywhere else. work well. Have you seen the trouble High Street departThe various ‘doom news’ about the High Street and the ment stores take at Christmas? predominance of internet shopping is definitely enough to So we looked at the area and decided that with relative scare the pants off any owner who has his house up as secuease, one side could easily be converted to become a very rity against his overdraft, a scenario I have had first-hand clean workshop, open to the street, where the public could experience of, many years ago, and came close to losing. watch inexperienced sales staff and others assembling It is fair to say, the High Street will change even more in bikes. No muck and bullets there, they were on display. the next few years but I continue steadfastly to maintain, Guess what? The repair shop diary doubled in the first month. that the well run, pleasant, friendly, welcoming retail bike So the message here is, there is a greater market for shop has a very bright future… Which leads us very nicely repair work in every area where there is a bike shop and as to the last major subject we need to cover in this series. this series comes to its natural conclusion, you will see the In common with all good authors, it is customary to leave incredible resource you have in your business that the the best until last, which is why, until now, I have not internet cannot compete with, that in turn, could double mentioned the most effective, your profits. All you need is the irreplaceable and biggest jewel will to embrace common sense in the crown against the interand change which does not “THE BIKE SHOP MANAGER SAID net, the workshop and these need hoards of budget, the area last three articles are dedicated where I specialise. THEY DID NOT GET ANYTHING LIKE to this much loved area. As usual with a big project Many owners I have met do such as this, the basic need to THE REPAIR WORK THEY COULD HANDLE not see repairs as the gold mine start it with, is planning. Is the AND ASKED IF I HAD ANY THOUGHTS...” it is. A profit centre in its own workshop sited in an area which right, done sensibly, the can be easily seen… such as the mechanics can unlock almost middle of the store? I know, it’s everything an owner needs to sustain his business; a regurevolution but read on, it’s an illustration. Most store units lar cash flow, a customer friendly area the customer rarely are rectangles. No, not always, but thinking about a rectsees and certainly doesn’t understand and a source of angle, were one starting from scratch, most owners would information and technical ability with the biggest potential put the workshop at the back, because it’s human nature to sustain the business – technical knowledge that the to keep a messy place hidden? That gives maximum space Internet can never touch on a local basis – the key. for a sales area kept separate, clean and warm for A shop I went to run a course in, was in a fairly rundown customers, or it should be. area of the north. The manager said they did not get In turn, that means the workshop can get as filthy as it anything like the repair work they could handle and did I likes and no one will know, hidden from sight. But... that’s have any thoughts? They were sited in a secondary retail exactly the wrong place. Now turn that on its head. Put location but had a large double window either side of the the workshop in the middle of the store where it will be entrance, which as usual, was changed about every three easily seen, say three stands in a row down the middle
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OPINION_TradeOpinion_ColinRees_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:02 Page 2
“MECHANICS TALK TO CUSTOMERS. THEY SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE. THAT’S CALLED SELLING. DO YOUR CUSTOMERS EVEN KNOW YOUR MECHANICS?”
and not only let customers watch but they can actually talk to your mechanic if they wish! Revolution! Suddenly, everything changes. Mechanics have to be reasonably clean or properly clothed to look like mechanics. Picture any car showroom that does servicing to explain what is needed to look professional. Another chance for branding with a large logo on the chest and the words, “approved mechanic” on the back (approved means Cytech trained, a critical element in this scenario but you choose your word, I am simply illustrating.) Such a layout automatically makes it a customer-flow friendly store. People walking down to the back, round the end, up the other side where the tills are in the middle will see shiny new bikes on their left, possibly accessory displays around and on the back wall and professional looking repairs on their right. Bikes waiting to be repaired take up that back space where the workshop used to be, with easy access to the workshop area. Mechanics talk to customers. They share their knowledge. That’s called selling. Do your customers even know your mechanics? Yet there they are, a brilliant, additional sales force, fully trained in how to do it, and it has just been sitting there in your store all this time. The operative words here are ‘properly trained’ because this is stimulating unplanned purchase, ‘impulse buying’, the most profitable form of sale because it wasn’t planned to a set price. Training here is the absolute key to making this work as most mechanics I have trained are scared to walk into the sales area even to get to the toilet in case they come across… a customer! But why does everyone need a great workshop? My friend has just realised that he is fed up with the gym and is getting back on the bike to keep the flab at bay. He amazed me when on his first trip out, he had a puncture and realised, he had no puncture repair outfit, so walked the bike home three miles telling himself, he needed one of those little plastic boxes with everything you need in it.
It was embarrassing to explain that these days, one merely replaces the tube and blows the tire up again with a gas cylinder. Going back to basics for a moment, why does anyone bring a puncture repair to a bike shop? In simple terms, there are three reasons. They cannot be bothered, they do not know how, maybe never heard of tyre levers or lastly, and most likely, they are desperate for it to work after it has been done and do not feel competent in sticking that little rubber patch on securely which no bike shop bothers with anyway. In today’s modern rat race, hassle is a dirty word. We’re the fifth richest nation in the world; so many people would far rather get it done by a professional for those three reasons than find the time, sweat at home, do it wrong and create another three mile walk pushing a bike home. The same is with repairs and its golden! The man on the street doesn’t even know, would you believe, where a bottom bracket is or what it does let alone think about replacing one. The internet cannot compete. It cannot repair anything. It can only give you a ‘new one’ if you fight hard enough and that is the reason why a properly staffed, well run, teamwork/profit share bike shop, where love between customer and staff permeates, with a sensibly run repair shop will never, ever disappear from the High Street because it fulfils a demand the internet cannot. So that covers where the workshop needs to be... accessible, however you do it. The final two articles in this series are going to show you exactly how you can make a small alteration to your methodology to secure your business well into the future and build upon what you have already built. Yes, it centres on training because that is the real way to grow, but some of the ideas I am sure my editor will allow, might be described as mind blowing to your bottom line… and you can only read it in Cycle Industry News! Have a nice day. It’s about to get better.
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OPINION_PayTalk_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:13 Page 1
(( TRADE OPINION ))
COMPENSATION IS A CONVERSATION With workshops a crucial part of most bike dealer businesses, mechanics – and their salaries – are something bike businesses can't afford to fudge. James Stanfill, President of the USA-based Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association and founder of A Better Bike Biz, tackles the topic…
hese things come up in conversations we have all Bicycle shops (most) are for-profit businesses and as the time. Why are we, The Professional Bicycle such should be readily aware of their entire cost of doing Mechanics Association, so set on raising the business. We have recently shared a few models, one standard? Why do we talk about wages and focused on calculating a profitable base hourly rate and salaries? Owners and managers asking how could they the other looking at all the costs of a new bike sale at a pay more, mechanics saying we want to earn more. couple of price points. Quite simply, we are open to talking about these things You, as a business owner or manager, cannot tell me, because they matter and are relatively important in the mechanic, that there is no more money to provide me today’s difficult market. We have shops closing daily, a pay raise unless you know all of those numbers. I as a independent mobile operamechanic should not ask you tions starting up when and for a pay raise unless I can say where we see a shop close, or what I am bringing to the table “IF YOUR MECHANICS ASK FOR A RAISE a mechanic simply cap out of to justify the ask. what the market can pay him So, if you’re a business OR IF THE MECHANIC YOU WANT TO HIRE or her. owner or manager that makes We have conversations with IS ASKING MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD – decisions on wages and pay in mechanics about doing more your store, I challenge you to YOU NEED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION in their shop. Doing more to learn your business numbers. affect their wage, instead of I challenge you to implement a WITH THIS PERSON.” simply asking for a pay bump. system in your business that We have conversations with makes sense to the employowners about ways to talk to their mechanics. ees. You need to have reviews; annually works but try to All things begin with a conversation. If your mechancheck in quarterly. Touch base with your staff on what’s ics ask for a raise or if the mechanic you are interested happening in your business, they too after all are invested in hiring is asking for more than you can afford – you in the happenings under your roof. need to have a conversation with this person. Our indusCreate a system (likely more effective if you have more try is this fun place where work is a hobby and a hobby than one mechanic) that shows progression and growth is work. Our industry sees many failing because people within your business. You’ll find more often than not that live that belief. we mechanics are creatures of habit; we don’t really want
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OPINION_PayTalk_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:14 Page 2
to look for a new job but we will seek out growth opporisn’t as prone to distractions from phone calls or questunity – so, show it to us within your business system. I tions. The business will determine if that is possible. might suggest it isn’t simply tenure based, I know plenty Have the conversation and tell them about how many of young mechanics that know a lot more about suspenbrake bleeds the shop is doing in the summer when it’s sion than I do and I know a lot of older mechanics in busy and that you’ve got so efficient you’re able to do one comfortable jobs not producing as much as someone who more per hour… if the shops rates are calculated might not have been employed with you as long. Make correctly that is a pretty good incremental jump in what any type of pay grade increase based on the demands and that service department can pull in per hour. Talk to them expectations of the job. You might find that a productive if you are well qualified and efficient about getting a and motivated mechanic will bump to help make the other produce volumes more work in mechanics more efficient. the course of a day, week, or “YOU MIGHT FIND THAT A PRODUCTIVE AND We’ve discussed this in other month and that work transplaces; there isn’t a large pool lates into more profitability for of cash anywhere in our indusMOTIVATED MECHANIC WILL PRODUCE your business (if your try to simply tap into to pay you VOLUMES MORE WORK IN THE COURSE OF more. Can things be restrucnumbers have been calculated and meet the demands of your and the entirety of the A MONTH THAT TRANSLATES INTO MORE tured business costs). top-to-bottom of our cycling If you are the mechanic, world be more efficient and cost PROFITABILITY FOR YOUR BUSINESS.” please don’t just ask, but also effective? I believe that it can don’t be afraid to start the but we can’t make that change conversation. Be able to back up your request but don’t in the current world of shops that we operate and live in. throw your co-workers under the bus… “Hey boss, I Calculating the costs of doing business, increasing the wanted to talk to you about my earnings (wages, hourly shops hourly rate, employing efficient and productive rate, pay, salary, whatever), I’d like to talk to you about mechanics, and building a cohesive and communicative how I can help drive business, be more efficient, do more team will help move the conversation along and may work in my given day.” eventually help us as an industry retain the talent that we It might be as simple as rearranging something in the are currently losing to more appreciative and better store so that the mechanic isn’t disrupted as much or paying professions.
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BRAND-PROFILE_ONEPLANET_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:15 Page 1
(( PROFILE ONEPLANET ADVENTURE ))
Oneplanet Adventure came to life in 2005, through Jim Gaffney and Ian Owen’s vision to turn a visitor centre in to a destination where mountain bikers could enjoy some of the best man-made trails North Wales has to offer. Gaffney gives CI.N an insight in to the multi-faceted business…
You recently purchased the visitor centre OnePlanet has been operating out of since 2005, how has this impacted the business? It’s early days, but it’s a very exciting time for us. We have always worked closely with the land owner of Coed Llandegla to develop the facilities, but we have never really been in control of what happens here. Whilst the purchase in itself won’t provide us with any growth, it does allow us more control over our own destiny and the opportunity to grow. Following the purchase, we can now make sure that the interests of the visitors are our primary focus, and we definitely have big plans for the next few years. How big a part of your business is the bike shop, compared to other elements? One of our biggest strengths is that Oneplanet Adventure has always been a multi-faceted business. The retail area is certainly a vital part of that business and will continue to be in the future. However, without the café, the workshop, bike hire, demo fleet and skills courses, the retail area of the business would not be as strong as it is. Oneplanet Adventure is a classic example of being stronger than the sum of its parts, in that respect.
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Tell us about the demo bike ‘try before you buy’ offering – how does this work in relation to the shop? As a retail outlet, one of our biggest USPs is having the trails on our doorstep, so it has always made sense for us to encourage customers to ‘try before they buy’. Prior to starting Oneplanet Adventure, I had never had the opportunity to try a demo bike, which meant there was always an uncomfortable leap of faith with a new bike purchase. I knew that by offering our customers a demo ride of a potential new purchase, it could really help to give them the confidence that what they’re considering buying is going to meet their expectations. Not only does this give the customer the confidence to purchase, it could really help to give them the assurance that what they’re considering is going to meet their expectations. This also allows our sales team to confirm that the bike is right for that person, helping them to close the sale with confidence. Over the last 12 months we have invested heavily in our demo fleet, becoming one of the first Official Santa Cruz Demo Centres, as well as doubling the number of demo bikes and broadening the model range we have available for customers.
What brands does the centre currently stock for hire, or to buy? We are very lucky to be dealing with brands that we genuinely love. From the outset, we have only ever worked with brands that we feel fit with our values and offer products we genuinely believe in. We always keep an eye out for opportunities to work with new brands that share our passion. Currently, we’re proud to stock Yeti, Nukeproof, Santa Cruz, Orange, Mondraker and Ibis. Because of our location, running a demo fleet was always a no-brainer in our minds. By working closely with the brands we offer and expanding the demo fleet we have, we have undoubtedly seen a significant increase in sales. How does having a workshop impact business; do you find you’re seeing more people through the door for servicing? The workshop at Oneplanet Adventure is always busy and it plays a really important part in our customer retention. We’re very lucky to have two great mechanics who understand the importance of quality customer service. They often go above and beyond to make sure visitors with unanticipated problems don’t have their plans ruined,
BRAND-PROFILE_ONEPLANET_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:15 Page 2
Oneplanet Adventure is a classic example of the whole being stronger than the sum of its parts
offering on-the-spot repairs whenever we can. This is often the catalyst for the development of new long-term customer relationships. Across the industry, it’s a frustration that often customers don’t appreciate the services a bicycle workshop offers in terms of monetary value. Here at Oneplanet Adventure we take a longterm view on this; understanding that helping visitors out in a time of need is an important stepping stone in establishing a long and trusted relationship. You also provide MTB courses, how has this had a positive impact on the business? It still amazes me how reluctant many riders are to consider booking on a skills course. We believe it is the single best value for money upgrade you can make to improve your enjoyment of mountain biking. And in our experience, every customer that joins one of our skills courses would agree. For us, not only does it help to ensure our visitors get even more enjoyment from the trails, and in a safer way, it also helps to enforce their relationship with Oneplanet Adventure. Spending a day with a customer helps us to really understand why they mountain bike and what they want to get from it, allowing
us to better serve their requirements in all areas of our business. Do you agree that experience-led retailing is more effective than traditional product-on-a-shelf selling? Most of our employees are keen mountain bikers, so we really try to offer the kind of experience that we would like when we visit a shop. Sure, it’s nice to be able to look at all the
Our aim is to offer a full mountain bike experience, rather than just selling mountain bike ‘things’. The community this creates is one of our main strengths as a retail outlet. What’s in the pipeline for Oneplanet in 2019? We always have exciting stuff going on here in the forest. We have our massive bike demo weekend coming
“OUR AIM IS TO OFFER A FULL MOUNTAIN BIKE EXPERIENCE, RATHER THAN JUST SELLING MOUNTAIN BIKE ‘THINGS.’” latest ‘bling’ but that in itself is not enough. The customer experience is key, and that stems from the genuine passion our staff have to make those customers happy. We have a pretty unique setup here: trails on our doorstep, one of the largest demo fleets in the UK, an award-winning café, skills tuition, on-the-spot repairs, bike set-up sessions and kids club, to name but a few. All delivered under the Oneplanet Adventure banner at a single, easy-to-reach location.
up in the spring, and then a round of the Welsh XC series, plus a round of the Welsh Enduro series later in the year. We will also be holding a timed stage of the Welsh 360 event, which promises to be awesome. Whilst financially events don’t necessarily bring in much revenue on the day, they are another way for us to continually develop the mountain biking community here in North Wales, which has to be a good thing in the long run. www.oneplanetadventure.com
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BRAND_PROFILE_INSYNC_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:25 Page 1
(( BRAND PROFILE INSYNC ))
GOING GLOBAL WITH INSYNC
Following the launch of Hero Cycle’s first range of UK-designed bikes aimed at the family and branded INSYNC in May last year, CIN catches up with Avocet CEO Sreeram Venkateswaran on the multi-channel approach to market, giving dealers confidence in the brand and how it aims to grab share overseas…
esigned and headquartered in the UK, and made in India by one of the biggest names in the business, Avocet’s INSYNC range may be viewed as a UKcentric brand by the firm, but it’s currently in the process of building its reach into overseas markets. If you’ve been out of the loop so far, INSYNC is the new umbrella brand for Viking, Riddick, Ryedale and DeNovo. Launched last year, Avocet has been busy signing up UK dealers for INSYNC’s ‘3P’ preferred partner programme, an enhanced kind of store and brand partnership. Avocet works with circa 600 IBDs and has been targeting around 130 shops for INSYNC’s 3P programme. So far, 102 shops have signed up, which is no mean feat in the UK’s tricky retail climate, Avocet CEO Sreeram Venkateswaran explains: “It’s been going well, but it has been hard for two main reasons: One, it’s a tough retail market so there are lots of challenges that bike shops are facing at the moment. Secondly, many dealers are cutting down the number of brands that they are stocking at a time when we asking them to take us on. So it has been a modest sign up rate, but it does already make up a sizeable percentage of the market.” INSYNC’s approach to market is determinedly multichannel, with the site – www.insync.com – the idea is to “bring everything together”, combining internet sales with bricks and mortar dealers. One of the ways it achieves that is through click and collect options and a servicing scheme that promises to be disruptive. Has that multi-channel approach been a hard sell and a difficult message to get across to bike shops? “The dealers feel that online is their biggest threat, not least with all the discounting,” says Venkateswaran. “But that’s why we
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are doing this in the way that we are. “We can sell the bikes online and then the consumer picks up the bike from the shop. We have to give the dealers confidence in this method and it’s a way to give the consumer confidence at the same time. “We see it work in a lot in other industries. When it comes to online retail and bricks and mortar shops, we don’t believe it’s a case of ‘either/or’. You can mix and blend them.” Another weapon in INSYNC’s multi-channel approach is that service programme. Customers will be able to buy service plans online for one, two and three years: “We plan to launch it March. Customers will buy coupons and redeem them in the shops.” INTERNATIONAL INSYNC While INSYNC’s UK approach is firmly multi-channel, capitalising on online and physical shops, the brand has a different plan for overseas markets. “Sales overseas will be purely online. We have been gathering data in some of the territories we are targeting, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and we are in the process of localising the sites to get them ready. We expect that to be finished in Q1 and we are speaking to service providers to handle repairs, etc.” Working with The Hut Group and capitalising on its digital know-how and experience, INSYNC’s e-commerce export drive will also see it grow its international footprint into Europe, bringing the 75-bike range to the wider market. The push overseas will not see INSYNC appear at the big EU trade shows, with the brand opting for marketing
BRAND_PROFILE_INSYNC_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:26 Page 2
“WE CAN SELL THE BIKES ONLINE AND THEN THE CONSUMER PICKS UP THE BIKE FROM THE SHOP. WE HAVE TO GIVE THE DEALERS CONFIDENCE IN THIS METHOD AND IT’S A WAY TO GIVE THE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AT THE SAME TIME.”
at the consumer level, says the Avocet boss: “You are among a lot of other brands if you exhibit at Eurobike. You can easily get lost, so we won’t be there. Our investment will be in localised marketing and also team sponsorship. We’re backing a UCI Downhill team, Team INSYNC, which starts riding in March. “All in all, it’s going well, there’s a lot of interest and confidence in the brand.” While overseas expansion is key, the UK is core for INSYNC. Avocet’s newly minted Manchester design centre will continue to decide on the look and feel of the bikes, gearing them up appropriately for the terrain, riding and weather, in a portfolio that includes pedal assist. “E-bikes, on the whole, are expensive,” says Venkateswaran. “We’re a big advocate of e-bikes. Our electric bikes sit towards the value end, which is where a lot of the market is in the UK. Now pricing is likely to get higher with added duties from Europe on e-bikes from China [see page 47]. We have bikes designed for the local market and made in India. There’s a new batch in Manchester and they are going through the testing process now. “The home market is where we are focused and the Irish market has been very positive too, where we have around 50 dealers. We aim for 50-55% of the volume to be here in the UK.
“The British market is not overly complex and we see a big opportunity for growth in other similar markets, like Romania, Hungary and Poland.” Backed by one of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers, Hero Cycles, the reach of INSYNC looks to extend even further. Venkateswaran has previously teased a range of INSYNC accessories, which now look likely to come to market in Q2. Business is brisk for Avocet’s parent, with market share and profits growing. Venkateswaran adds: “We’ve recently committed to the Bike Valley in Punjab. We’re creating a big new manufacturing plant there. It follows in the footsteps of bike valleys like the one in Portugal – and that has now really established itself as a quality manufacturing location offering good service.” The confident firm has high expectations for the cycle business closer to home, too. “Despite the decision on China’s e-bikes, we see the electric market still going strong in Europe. It’s now growing in countries like France and Spain. We think it will double in the next 40 years and there’s a great opportunity for a brand that offers good quality and the right price.” Will Brexit be a bump in the road, CIN wonders? “It may make changes to consumer standards, but strategy-wise we are not concerned. The UK will find good trading partners with the world, whatever happens.”
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PROFILE_FUSION_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:28 Page 1
(( PROFILE FUSION CYCLES ))
Fusion’s flexible manufacturing set-up puts the retailer back in control, says Upgrade
RE-ORDER RULES It’s been just under a year since Upgrade Bikes took on Fusion’s Cycle portfolio. Upgrade’s Co-Founder Matt Ryley shares how the clothing brand is continuing to offer a refreshing change for IBDs…
“Fusion owns its own manufacturing bases which work elebrating its 20th year in 2019, Danish clothing for them exclusively,” explains Ryley. “This means they brand Fusion has long been forging a reputation for producing quality, functional and durable don’t have to book production time and they can make as many changes as they want, when they want, without any high-performance cycling sportswear. delays. This also means they can manufacture exactly Fusion’s ongoing and consistent product range is what is needed, when it’s needed, ensuring a near 100% subject to a year-round development programme rather availability and order fulfilment rate.” than seasonal launches, which, according to Ryley, sets it apart from other apparel This approach prevents overproduction and too much retailers in the market. stock sitting on shelves, which “Upgrade strongly feels that “THE MAJORITY OF DEALERS in turn means that clothing Fusion is a refreshing change clearance deals and discounts to what has become the ARE FRUSTRATED WITH THE are not something Fusion accepted standard of cycle offers. Proving particularly clothing retailing, which is CURRENT STATE OF THE CYCLE becoming harder and harder attractive to IBDs, Upgrade CLOTHING MARKET.” and Fusion are operating a refor an IBD to offer,” he says. order, not pre-order, scheme “The range is constantly being whereby stores only need buy reviewed and changes and a unit once they’ve sold through current stock. improvements tried, tested daily and when right, implemented in to production.” When asked how Fusion’s 2019 range was received at this year’s COREbike Show, Ryley says: “The products Fusion’s range, which is available in-store only, is updated and improved when there are developments in were well received by both new and existing customers. However, we found an overriding majority of dealers are materials or an identified need or gap in the market frustrated with the current state of the cycle clothing emerges. These changes can be easily implemented due market and the fact that established clothing brands to the flexible set up of Fusion’s manufacturing facilities.
WWW.CYCLINGINDUSTRY.NEWS // 031
PROFILE_FUSION_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:29 Page 2
(( PROFILE FUSION CYCLES ))
Fusion's products are designed in Denmark for the Northern European climate
The range is subject to a year-round development programme
often have to be sold at clearance prices, either to match online pricing or to sell through to make room and revenue for the next delivery that was forward ordered months previously.” Believing in regular re-ordering, and not available through online-only retailers, Fusion offers dealers a low investment and initial buy-in, with no minimum order requirement. The brand prides itself on quick delivery from either its UK stock or Danish warehouse, with near complete availability every week of the year. “We urge any dealers that are frustrated with their current clothing brands, that want to look at an alternative, that want to be in control of what they order and when they order it, to contact us,” says Ryley. “We believe that the Fusion product range and philosophy and way of working is something that they should consider. Dealers can experience the Fusion quality personally with Upgrade’s staff purchase programme. Adding the Fusion range puts the retailer back in control and will increase sales, profitability, efficiency and serviceability.” www.fusionworld.com
Fusion has a near 100% order fulfilment rate
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KEY PRODUCTS 2019... n The established S3 and S1 jackets are now available in an additional Fluro Orange colourway.
n Hot conditions jersey featuring panels of UVblocking material, whilst remaining lightweight.
n One-piece road race suit unique to Fusion, offering the advantages of a skin suit while retaining a more conventional jersey and bib short look.
WORKSHOP BRAKE MAGURA ORIGINAL SPARE PARTS
“To offer my customers fast support in case of defects I always have MAGURAs MT Sport on stock.” Hardys Bikeshop
Reliable brake performance for 51,34 £. The new MT Sport has all technical features German engineering has to offer. With the stiff Disctube brake hose it is the perfect choice for Cross-Country and the city. The low price, a 5-year leak proof warranty and its simple installation make it the perfect workshop brake for your store! magura.com
PROFILE_Lyon_CIN002_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:33 Page 1
(( PROFILE LYON EQUIPMENT ))
ADVENTURE READY Fast establishing itself as a one-stop-shop for adventure cycling, Lyon’s Nils Amelinckx tells CI.N how the outdoor specialist’s cycle division has been developing its own identity in the market…
rmed with a mission to help people “Venture Further”, Lyon Equipment has rapidly expanded its offering to the bike market over the last couple of years in a bid to fulfil the wants and needs of adventure cyclists up and down the UK. Lyon’s Cycle division previously operated under its Outdoor branch but has now distinguished itself as a separate entity within the business, after growing its portfolio with the addition of Salsa Cycles and Teravail Tyres. “Whilst we put these changes into place some time ago, we still communicated ourselves as Lyon Outdoor to the trade whilst internally we were operating from a distinct Cycle division,” explains Amelinckx. “With our portfolio seeing significant expansion we felt it made sense to change our name to reflect what was happening within our business.” Bringing the new brands on board has strengthened Lyon’s offering to the bike market, taking it closer to achieving its goal of becoming a onestop-shop for adventure cycling. “Looking at the bike side, what makes us tick is the more adventurous side of the sport. We aim to supply dealers so they can enable more people to explore, roam, broaden horizons and push their
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limits on two wheels,” says Amelinckx. “We took on Salsa and Teravail because they fit perfectly within this sphere, and both brands have some exciting products in the pipeline that will build on this further.” The distribution agreement came around after a visit to QBP, the parent company of Salsa and Teravail, at its base in Minneapolis. Salsa is well known for its adventure-
“WHAT MAKES US TICK IS THE MORE ADVENTUROUS SIDE OF CYCLING.” orientated portfolio of bikes, while Teravail is a relatively new, forwardthinking gravel and trail tyre brand. According to Amelinckx, the brands have already piqued the interest of the UK’s adventure bike scene. “With the rise of independent time trials such as the Tour Divide and Silk Road Mountain Race, it is difficult to ignore Salsa’s Cutthroat,” he enthuses. “With its full carbon construction, it has built on the reputation of the iconic Fargo
to create a lightweight, race ready drop-bar mountain bike that can haul kit and go the distance. “To add to this, Salsa’s Anything Cage has become a household name within the cargo cage segment and the brand was one of the first to use triple cage mounts on forks. There are a number of mid-season launches on the horizon too, for products which will definitely be key lines going forward.” In addition to boosting Lyon’s cycle portfolio, Amelinckx alludes to the benefits of taking on Salsa and Teravail to bike shops: “For IBDs, having fewer suppliers means fewer invoices, less rep visits and less shows to attend with more time to sell to the consumer,” he explains. “Broadening our portfolio therefore made a lot of sense and has already helped to open new doors with our existing brands. The turnover gained from the additional brands will free up marketing and staffing budgets, which in turn helps to increase our portfolio’s exposure in the media and at events and drives more people to the point of purchase.” So what’s spurred this recent uptake of so-called ‘adventure cycling’, and what does it actually entail? “There is no denying that ‘adventure’ is a buzz phrase within the indus-
PROFILE_Lyon_CIN002_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:34 Page 2
“ADVENTURE CYCLING PROBABLY JUST COINS A PHRASE TO DESCRIBE HOW MOST PEOPLE ACTUALLY RIDE THEIR BIKES.”
try at the moment, fuelled by social media and brands jumping on the adventure bandwagon,” Amelinckx offers. “That said, adventure cycling probably just coins a phrase to describe the way that most people actually ride their bikes; using two wheels to escape the everyday grind to explore the area around them.” “In addition to this, adventure bikes are proving to be highly versatile and perhaps even ideal for most people who are not looking to race a specific discipline but still want a bike that can go the distance comfortably,” Amelinckx continues. “The capability of these bikes, combined with an increasing lust for escapism, exploration and the relative ease of entry to this side of the sport, is probably what’s help-
ing to fuel its growth and will probably be the reason the adventure segment will stay strong, even when the industry moves on to a different buzz phrase in the future.” Lyon is also looking to expand its reach and influence throughout the market and is soon to be represented by a number of “venture further” ambassadors. “Whether they are doing a number of ITTs or planning an expedition into unchartered territories, we will look to them to help us inspire an even broader audience,” says Amelinckx. The distributor made its debut appearance at COREbike in January, where Amelinckx and the team met with industry players from all corners of the cycle market. www.lyon.co.uk
KEY LINES FOR 2019 In addition to the new offerings from Salsa and Teravail, Lyon’s other brands have a number of key contributions lined up for the adventure cycling market in the pipeline this year:
Bombtrack is seeing huge demand for its Hook EXT, Hook EXT-C and Audax models. The move to a T47 bottom bracket shell on the steel bikes has been received well and the carbon version of the Hoot EXT remains value for money, says Lyon.
The reputation of Ortlieb’s bikepacking range is now firmly established in terms of waterproofness and durability, in line with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. It also has a mid-season launch on the horizon which will shake up conventional design within the category.
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Workshop_CIN002_Mar19.qxp_Layout 1 05/03/2019 14:44 Page 1
What stops pros from becoming better mechanics?... Be the best Mechanic you can be
Challenging mindsets by Julian Thrasher, ATG Training
I’m guessing as you start to read this that you are involved to some degree at least in the repair of customers bikes. Some of you will be old hands with many years’ experience, some of you relative newbies full of enthusiasm. The point I’m getting at here is that no matter how long we have spent twirling spanners in the workshop, we should always strive to be the best we can possibly be. It seems like a bit of a throw-away statement but if we dig a little deeper we can see that there can be
some pretty big obstacles along the way that can prevent us from reaching our full potential. I’d like to raise your awareness of these and give you some pointers to unlock some next level skills and I’m going to do this by challenging some often heard quotes and using some mental wizardry to make you better. Below I’ve listed some things I have heard during my time as a Cytech workshop trainer and my reasons as to why these are blockers to becoming a better mechanic.
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Workshop_CIN002_Mar19.qxp_Layout 1 05/03/2019 14:45 Page 2
“ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THE CYCLE INDUSTRY IS SO INTERESTING (OR FRUSTRATING) IS THERE'S ALWAYS A NEW STANDARD OR PRODUCT COMING TO MARKET.”
“I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT BIKES” Do you? This statement opens you up to a lot of possibility that you may not know as much as you think you do. It also is a closed mindset that prevents you from knowing more. After all, if you know everything there is to know about bikes, what else is there to know? How about the latest fancy pants tech groupset from Sram or Shimano that you’ve never laid hands on? One of the reasons the cycle industry is so interesting (or frustrating) is there’s always a new standard or product coming to market and if we adopt this know-it-all closed mindset way of thinking we are potentially blocking our knowledge of anything we don’t yet know, therefore creating an obstacle to being the best we can be. Far better to admit that you know a good deal about how bikes work, but are always interested in the latest developments. “I CAN’T DO IT” Why can’t you do it? What is stopping you? Is it because the product is brand new to you and you’ve never worked on it before? What an opportunity! Find out all you can about the product. I don’t need to tell you there’s a wealth of resources available online these days with tech help available on the end of a phone line from people paid to help you on the technical specifics. Heck, we run courses every week to help people do things they can’t currently. You should be actively seeking out things you cannot do as these are further obstacles in your way to becoming the best you can be. The “I can’t…” is closely followed by the: “I DON’T WANT TO DO IT” We’ve all been there. The customer rolls in with a (insert your least favourite bike here) and asks you to repair it for them. You may hate bar taping. Boo hoo. Suck it up Princess and get to work. Leaving it to the mechanic who is passionate about bar taping is limiting your skills. If you don’t do it because you don’t want to you
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won’t ever get very good at it. I can bet you he feels the same about working on that mountain bike that’s in his stand… “IT’S JUST TOO DIFFICULT” Yes it is. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and you’d be out of a job. We’ve all been in the position where we have been given a seemingly impossible task and it’s very easy to fall down the “I can’t / don’t want too” rabbit holes as previously mentioned. Sure when we are first given a job that is completely out of our comfort zone then it can appear outright daunting to begin with but unless we take on the job (methodically) we never stand the chance of succeeding and learning from the experience. I’d like to finish off by quoting something I’m often heard stating here in the workshop: “The best experience bags are full ones – the worst are empty.” By this I mean that without prior experience of a job to draw on everything is going to seem very difficult. Don’t get me wrong, experiences aren’t always good ones – bad ones also have their part to play. No one is perfect and we have all had the job where just nothing seems to go the way it’s supposed to and it’s how we deal with that job mentally that will allow us to become better or create an obstacle in the future. If we view that difficult job as “I’m glad that happened as I now understand how to work with this in the future allowing me to avoid the difficulties I had this time", we are far more likely to undertake the job again with better more successful results in the future becoming better than the individual who refuses point blank to ever do that job ever again. So there we have it. Hopefully I’ve opened your mind up to a path to becoming the best you can possibly be! If you require further training and for more information on how to get Cytech qualified, please contact our customer services team on 01865 550324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gazelleâ€™s history is very much the history of the bicycle as a popular means of urban transportation. Their original Dutch style comfort bike won over the hearts of the Netherlands 125 years ago and their continued design and technology have people all over the world falling in love today. Today, Gazelle remains at the forefront of invention to make cycling more enjoyable and accessible. Gazelle is an integral part of Dutch cycling heritage and have kept in cadence with todayâ€™s global innovation with their new line of electric bikes. Gazelle has positioned themselves as the benchmark for urban mobility traditionally and contemporarily. www.gazellebikes.com
OPINION_FOUR_THINGS_Part2_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:48 Page 1
(( OPINION ))
3 > BIKE HIRE
SHOP OWNERS CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO INCREASE 2019 REVENUES PART TWO OF TWO
4 > USED BIKE SALES
Last time we looked at beefing up the service department and using bike fitting as ways to drive new revenues to your retail business. The series concludes with ideas for using bike hire and used bikes, either as mechanisms to stimulate more new bike sales or as freestanding profit centres. These ideas have already achieved a measure of success among US and Canadian retailers and may be applicable (or adaptable) for Cycling Industry News subscribers in other markets as well.
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OPINION_FOUR_THINGS_Part2_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:48 Page 2
Bike hire or rental has been a small but steadily growing practice among US dealers in the past decade, and one which shows no signs of slowing. The relatively new option of adding e-bikes into the mix only increases the value of the opportunity. The key, retailers agree, is to find the right programme and model mix for your market area. In addition to the obvious market of local tourists interested in sightseeing, I’ve spoken with dealers who keep a fleet of off-road rentals for out-of-town visitors to mountain biking hot spots. There are even shops in Kona, Hawaii that make an entire side business of renting
Used bicycles are a common, heavily depreciated, not especially profitable commodity. So why would a bike shop want to be in the used bike business in the first place? The answer is that they don’t, especially. Virtually every retailer I’ve spoken to about this topic agrees the sole purpose of taking in a used bike is to facilitate the sale of a new one. And increasingly, that’s exactly what they’re doing. And why. Faced with the option of owning yet another “N+1” bike (and the likely spousal disapprobation that so often accompanies it) or the tedious chore of listing/ selling/ cleaning/ packing/ shipping the old bike before the new one is purchased, many cyclists are only too happy to have the dealer take the old bike in
high-end triathlon bikes and related gear for the Ironman World Championships (and presumably for other events) each year. And at least one retailer tells me that they’ve struck a profitable relationship to provide and service hire fleets for one or more local hotels. The point is that like bike sales themselves, bike hire opportunities are where you find them. The business mechanics or bike hire are simple enough. You create a fleet, let cyclists know about it, hire the bikes out, then recoup your initial costs by selling the fleet at the end of the season.
“WITH RARE EXCEPTIONS, THE SOLE PURPOSE OF TAKING IN A USED BIKE IS TO FACILITATE THE SALE OF A NEW ONE.”
“LIKE BIKE SALES THEMSELVES, BIKE HIRE OPPORTUNITIES ARE WHERE YOU FIND THEM.”
trade as part of the acquisition of a shiny new one. Stateside, the trade-in process is often abetted by the website, Bicycle Blue Book (in the US, a “Blue Book” is a price comparison guide for cars or other resalable items rather than a governmental document or report). The BBB lists a generallyagreed-to-be-fair trade-in price for the used bike by year and condition. The point is to turn the used bike quickly and move on to the next sale. But the net result is an easier transaction for the customer and a potentially incremental sale for the shop. Everybody wins. The used bike is taken in and promptly cleaned and prepped, photographed, boxed and posted for sale…possibly on eBay, possibly among BBB’s own listings.
Find the first part of Rick Vosper's article in Cycling Industry News' first mag of the year (01 2019) or search for it online on www.cyclingindustry.news. Stay tuned for more from Vosper in the next edition of CIN.
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FEATURE_Mike Burrows_CIN002_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:50 Page 1
(( TRADE OPINION BIKE FIT - Q FACTOR ))
MORE Q.I. Mike Burrows, one of the world’s best-known bike designers, read with interest the article of Damon Wyatt, of BikeFit.com, that appeared in CIN. Here, the man behind Giant’s compact TCR frame and a certain gold medal winning Lotus time trial bike provides his take on the topic…
he article on “stance width” (Q factor) by Damon Wyatt (CIN 06 2018 + 01 2019) was very refreshing: there is nothing like enough technical discussion in the pages of cycling media these days. However, the conclusions were not only at odds with conventional cycling wisdom, but also my own experiences (not that they often coincide!) I have been building cycles – both laid back and upright – for a long time and have always favoured narrow rather than wide bottom brackets, but not in any obsessive way. Not, that is, until I was asked to help produce a “spare” bike for Graeme Obree. Graeme’s original “Old Faithful” famously had a bottom bracket made from a washing machine bearing assembly and a welded-on left hand crank. This gave him a Q factor of 68mm; yes, that’s right, a Q factor the same as your bottom bracket shell! My more conventionally engineered version was a shade over that at 70mm. And having built the bike up I just had to try it out. Forgetting the shoulders on bars riding position(!) it felt wonderful. Having the feet and knees that close together felt completely natural. I also discovered why the bike had no top tube – your knees would hit it! 042 // WWW.CYCLINGINDUSTRY.NEWS
Since then I have put a lot more thought into reducing the Q on my own bikes: especially the low racers that I compete on, and where I make my own crank/bottom bracket assemblies. The current one has a Q of 110mm. Most others in the collection use commercial bits and are mostly around 140mm. One exception, and the only one where the pedalling is not “nice” is Gordon: my very shiny shopping bike that has a Q of 180mm.
Keeping Q factor narrow: 2-inch green tape measure for scale
This is due to it being fitted with an otherwise wonderful Pinion gearbox. All of this is of course just down to what “feels right” which is not how I normally like to work and definitely not “engineering”. But tests have been done by, if I remember correctly, Southampton University, who compared both crank length (a subject that I have a lot of interest in) and Q factor. They found that anything from the very narrow – as used by Graeme and myself – to about 140mm made very little difference, with a small drop off in power for anything wider. They were, though, only checking on power output and not any effect it might have on the human body. My own final observation would be that whilst the bicycle has not been around long enough to affect the human body, (as some Victorian cartoonists had suggested) we have been walking and running for a very long time, and if you look at your footprints in the sand it is unlikely that they will be 12" apart! Clearly a lot more research could be done in this area, on both Q factor and crank length, but for now I will stick to as narrow a Q as I can get… and 140mm crank length, but that is another story. www.bikefix.co.uk
Bike shop Day_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:55 Page 1
(( LOCAL BIKE SHOP DAY 2019 ))
#SUPPORTYOURLOCALBIKESHOP The Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) and Dan Jones have set the date for 2019’s Local Bike Shop Day, now earlier in the year to take advantage of the start of peak season…
aturday 4 May 2019 has been designated Local Bike Shop Day, designed to celebrate independent bike shops all around the UK. The inaugural Local Bike Shop Day took place on 6 October 2018, with circa 100 bike shops getting involved with a range of activities, from holding workshops, group rides and offering coffee and cake to welcome potential customers through their doors (see opposite page). Last year’s event created a buzz on social media with the hashtag #supportyourlocalbikeshop used by retailers throughout the campaign to call on their local community to come along and show support. Following industry consultation, Local Bike Shop Day 2019 has been switched to earlier in the year to help draw in customers, old and new, as peak season starts - hopefully taking advantage of some sunny and warm spring weather. Inspiration for Local Bike Shop Day was taken from Record Store Day, which has been developed and nurtured by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) over the last 12 years to make it the success that it is today. Daniel Jones, owner of Random Adventure, was enthused by the success of Record Store Day and was the driving force to make LBSD happen in 2018. Jones worked with Deryck Jones, owner of Modesto Works, to create and develop the Local Bike Shop Day brand and identity. Meanwhile, the ACT sits alongside ERA as part of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), giving them 044 // WWW.CYCLINGINDUSTRY.NEWS
a unique position to learn lessons about how to emulate Record Store Day’s success for the cycle market. “Opening the door to first-timers” Local Bike Shop Day gives specialist, independent bike shops the chance to exhibit what makes their shop stand out, why consumers should shop local and what sets them apart from bigger national retailers – specifically the passion, knowledge and individual service IBDs provide to help customers get the most out of cycling. Local Bike Shop Day welcomes the more experienced riders but its objective is to open up the door to everyone, including first-timers, females and children. Engaging and developing personal relationships with potential customers is important, especially with the omnipresence of ecommerce and Local Bike Shop Day provides a way of getting these people into store. The events or offers created to entice customers is up to the individual dealer but working together with the local community to raise awareness about the event is essential. The local council, newspapers, groups and other shops should all be involved where possible. Further ideas and guidance to help IBDs make Local Bike Shop Day a success will be published over the next few months, including a download pack. Retailers can register their shops for Local Bike Shop Day 2019 at: www.cycleassociation.uk/bike-shop-day/. IBDs do not have to be a paying member of the ACT to register.
Bike shop Day_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:55 Page 2
(( CASE STUDY ))
TOGETHER, LET’S MAKE LOCAL BIKE SHOP DAY WORK The ACT looks at two independent bike shops that took part in the debut event in 2018…
ocal Bike Shop Day – 4th May 2019 – is the one day a year when independent bike shops across the UK can come together to celebrate their unique culture. It’s the day for bike shops to showcase their passion, knowledge and personalised exclusive service. Over 200 IBDs have signed up since the launch in early February. With Local Bike Shop Day (LBSD) being in its second year, The Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) looks at two indie bike shops that took part in last year’s inaugural day and what they have in store for this year. Belhaven Bikes, a bike shop based in Dunbar, took part in LBSD 2018 with the sole purpose of raising awareness as a collective, building upon the momentum of being kept ‘front of mind’. Belhaven Bikes was attracted to LBSD 2018 as it gave smaller, independent stores the chance to highlight what set them apart from the bigger, corporate retailers. In 2018, they offered coffee and cake welcoming in the community giving them the chance to win a bike service, e-bike test rides and educating the locals on the new family-friendly bikepacking route that had just launched in the county. The best thing about LBSD for Belhaven Bikes was the interaction and positivity from customers and the cycle industry collectively. This year, they are looking to add in a demo day and build upon the momentum from last year to make this year even more successful. Mandy Cairns Ford, owner of Belhaven Bikes, says:
“The opportunity is there for more shops, IBD-focused manufacturers, distributors, organisations and customers to get involved for 2019 and beyond.” South Downs Bikes, who opened their doors 14 years ago, almost missed out on LBSD 2018 which gave them little time to organise anything. For them, LBSD 2019 gives them a second chance to harness the day's potential. Martin Richardson, owner of South Downs Bikes, views bike shop owners as frightened of each other and sees LBSD 2019 as a way for bike shops to come together in an effective way. For him, online trading is here to stay no matter the sector you sit within, but those friendly and welcoming faces in bike shops coupled with service offer more than cheap prices. Belhaven Bikes and South Downs Bikes will be taking part in this year’s LBSD along with many other IBDs across the UK. There’s only one Local Bike Shop Day a year, so let’s make it work together! Now you’re hopefully inspired, make sure you sign up now on the ACT’s site: www.cycleassociation.uk/bike-shop-day. All bikes shops involved in this year’s LBSD will have access to a promotional pack which includes; a high resolution LBSD logo, poster, press release to spread the word around the local communities and guidance for the day. Spread the word and show your support in celebrating independent bike shop using the hashtag #supportyourlocalbikeshop
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NONSTOP Energy! The new CONTACT Plus series: Gentle on your battery.
Permitted for e-bikes up to 50 km/h.
CONTACT Plus City
Permitted for e-bikes up to 50 km/h.
CONTACT Plus Travel
Permitted for e-bikes up to 25 km/h.
OPINION_ANTI-DUMPING_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:57 Page 1
(( TRADE OPINION E-BIKE ANTI-DUMPING ))
DISCUSSING ANTI-DUMPING DUTIES In light of the EU Commission’s recent decision to impose anti-dumping duties on imported e-bikes from China, LEVA-EU’s Annick Roetynck and EBMA Secretary General Moreno Fioravanti share their thoughts on the issue…
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OPINION_ANTI-DUMPING_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:57 Page 2
(( TRADE OPINION E-BIKE ANTI-DUMPING ))
ANNA ROETYNCK, Manager, LEVA-EU
TIMELINE 22/11/2016 Industry sources reveal to CIN that China’s Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Machinery & Electronic products has held an emergency meeting in relation to proposed anti-dumping e-bike charge
23/12/2016 China lodges complaint with WTO on how the EU calculates dumping damages
2/10/2016 EBMA files anti-dumping complaint against Chinese e-bike export trade
20/10/2017 EBMA welcomes the EU Commission’s investigation into e-bike dumping while Chinese representatives call for the case to be dropped
13/11/2017 Chinese organisations respond to EBMA’s complaint with own investigation
15/11/2017 MEPs vote in favour of trade rules to protect EU jobs and businesses against “unfair trade”
How did the Collective of European Importers react to the Commission’s decision to impose the antidumping duties? We knew the decision was coming since the publication of the disclosure document in November last year. We think that the decision is unfounded, unjust and unfair. I believe we have provided the Commission with substantial evidence to prove that there was no dumping and no injury to the EU Industry. We had three hearings in which the importers explained their position and views to the Commission and submitted position papers on every major step taken. We also had two meetings with the Cabinet of Commissioner Malmström and organised a protest letter signed by 60 European importers. However, the Commission concluded that they could afford to ignore the Collective and go along with the EBMA’s arguments. Why did LEVA-EU decide to support the Collective in this case? LEVA-EU’s sole objective is to promote light electric vehicles and the LEVA-business, irrespective of whether a company imports, manufactures or distributes. We accepted the appeal for help after careful consideration, concluding that dumping duties would prevent the sector tapping into the ever-growing LEV-potential. Every congestion charge, every low emission zone, every SUMP is a gift to the LEV-business. New markets are being opened, for free, every day all over Europe. Dumping cases are timeconsuming to a point that there is hardly any time left to do the work that really needs doing. LEVA-EU is, however, trying to do that work; building bridges between companies and continents, and informing the sector on rules so that it becomes easier for companies to work by the book. We also work for better technical regulations and we ask for attention in policies relevant to LEVs and in European subsidy programmes. Our ultimate objective is to prove how counter-productive it is to use trade defence instruments for purposes other than what they are really meant for. If LEVA-EU can achieve that by supporting companies going against this counterproductive initiative, then we improve chances to get the whole sector around the table and start a serious discussion
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about how to grow the market for all instead of making only some pieces of the cake bigger. Why, in your opinion, was this not a case of anti-dumping? To establish dumping, the Commission must prove dumping, injury to the EU industry and a causal link between the two. The Commission managed to establish dumping with no proof at all. As for injury to the EU Industry, the Commission was unable to find anything, because all the EU industry performance indicators had been going up in the investigated period. Nevertheless, the Commission managed to prove injury on the basis of the fact that the profitability of the EU industry was 0.9% lower than what the Commission believed was an acceptable level. In several Commission documents there are allegations that the dumped imports from China have caused the bankruptcy of four European companies, however the Commission refused to disclose the identity of those four companies, so how were we supposed to refute the allegations? The only difference between a manufacturer and an importer is the fact that the first has its assembly in Europe. In some European countries, you can find cheaper assembly than in China. Many manufacturers buy their components from the same companies as the importers, which I believe is why they were lobbying for a suspension of duties on a number of e-bike components, whilst at the same time lobbying for dumping duties. What do these measures mean for European e-bike importers in both the immediate and distant future? First of all, this case has caused importers huge economic damage even before the final decision was published. Following one of our own surveys we estimated the costs for all European SMEs resulting from the proceeding itself, not including provisional duties, at around €100 million. Presently, these measures cause European importers huge problems. Many had to fundamentally change their business plans overnight, and some of them still had containers on the water when provisional duties were imposed. For those importers who are trying to set up assembly in Europe there is an additional problem. The import of several essential bicycle components is subject to 48.5% anti-circumvention duty, which results from duties on conventional bicycles. However, if you are using these
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components for the assembly of electric bikes, then you are exempt from that charge provided you obtain an end-use authorisation. It now appears that customs’ services throughout Europe are unaware of this exemption and therefore still charge the duty. LEVA-EU is currently working hard to inform both the companies and the customs’ services on this issue. As for the distant future, an anti-circumvention complaint by EBMA seems to be inevitable. They are already in the process of gathering evidence of transhipments, circumvention through containers, and so on. In that case, businesses will have to assemble electric bicycles in Europe with no more than 60% of the value of the bikes coming from China. In my opinion, Europe needs to focus on R&D, innovating business models, how to push LEV uptake, how to encourage start-ups, how to cooperate with the scientific and academic world, and on setting up alliances with cities and citizens’ organisations. Should that result in the conclusion that it may be useful to start up production in Europe, fine. But we shouldn’t defy economic reality by bringing back production just out of nostalgia. Do you think this ruling will lead to longterm impacts on the European e-bike industry as a whole? A first review will be possible after one year following the decision. Perhaps that will be an opportunity to fight it again. There is one big difference between the electric bike and the conventional bike case. In this case, we have developed a co-operation with the Chinese suppliers and with their political representatives. This has allowed for a much better understanding of the European rules and procedures on behalf of the Chinese. We are convinced that this will be to our mutual benefit in the future. Is it a small victory for importers that retroactive dumping duties were not imposed? It saved those companies that still had electric bikes coming in to Europe between May and July a lot of money. The Collective members reported a total of almost €4.8 million that would have been due. So, for all European importers it would have been much more. This is exactly why I don’t consider the Commission’s final decision as a defeat. Not only did we avoid retroactive collection, I believe that without the Collective’s efforts the final duties would have been higher. But most importantly, we have set an important process
in motion, a process of cooperation among the importers as well as with their Chinese suppliers. We sincerely believe that building bridges, communicating with each other and mutual respect will eventually be much more fruitful. www.leva-eu.com MORENO FIORAVANTI, Secretary General, EBMA What did you make of the Commission’s decision? After an exhausting investigation for the Commission, they found our complaint to be true. Large amounts of imports from China were eating up the market, and this huge dumping would have seen manufacturing of bicycles, pedal-assist e-bikes and components in Europe disappear. The decision by the European Union should send a clear signal to Chinese e-bike companies to stop their dumping in the EU, and to the Chinese government to stop its massive subsidy programmes which are unfairly favouring Chinese e-bike exporters. Almost one million e-bikes were coming in to Europe from China, which could now be assembled in the EU. We have over 90,000 green jobs at risk in over 800 manufacturing SMEs and related upstream suppliers, and if we lost the manufacturing of e-bikes, which are the future, then we risked losing the future of the bike industry. Why did the EBMA decide to lodge the antidumping complaint? Today, unfortunately, it is trade which decides where manufacturing will be; it is manufacturing which creates long term, quality jobs, but just importing does not. As is now emerging, China is also taking over Japan’s e-bike market. China already has the monopoly of bicycles in the US and many other countries and I don’t want to see this unhealthy monopoly happen here in Europe. It is the European industry which successfully developed the pedal-assist e-bike and its relevant regulation with the Commission over 20 years ago. If the EU bike industry would have disappeared back in the 1990s because of subsidised dumping from China, this fantastic product would not have been brought to the EU market, for the health and enthusiasm of millions of European riders. Without immediate action, China would quickly take over the vast majority of the EU
TIMELINE 29/11/2017 EU e-bike importers form a Collective and rally support against EBMA’s complaint
1/12/2017 LEVA-EU accepts Collective’s request to assist defence of AD643 duty
08/02/2018 Roetynck pens editorial to clarify concern over retroactive duties
12/04/2018 The Collective sends 2nd open position paper to the Commission objecting to retroactive collection of duties
04/06/2018 EBMA instigates new review by the Commission into existing 48.5% anti-dumping measures on bikes imported from third countries
17/07/2018 EU Commission imposes provisional anti-dumping duties on e-bikes imported from China
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OPINION_ANTI-DUMPING_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:58 Page 4
(( TRADE OPINION E-BIKE ANTI-DUMPING ))
e-bike market, causing an unfair and unjustified decline of the industry after it has generated so many excellent and innovative products.
TIMELINE 24/07/2018 UK government publishes decision to terminate anti-dumping measures on e-bikes in case of no deal Brexit
23/08/2018 LEVA-EU questions data alleging damage to EU manufacturing industry
17/08/2018 Total value of imports in Q2 revealed at £83m, down 9% on same period in 2017
07/12/2018 LEVA-EU responds to EU Commission’s General Final Disclosure Document, claiming it “totally failed” to establish injury to EU manufacturers.
13/12/2018 60 European SMEs call on EU Trade Commissioner to review the Commission’s intention
18/12/2018 Majority of member states back EU Commission’s proposal to impose anti-dumping duties
18/01/2019 EU officially confirms it will impose anti-dumping duties on e-bikes originating from China
rules and effective social and environmental standards to be adopted as criteria for imports out of countries like China, will result in a much better and balanced multilateral world trade; not just one way.
Would you say that environmental impacts of improts were also a factor in this decision? What do you think about the economic damage We are one of the largest employers of green to importers as a result of these measures? industries in the UK. China will be allowed, until There is no economic damage; importers will 2050, to adopt coal as its main, cheapest source simply switch to other sources, as already of energy due to still being a ‘developing counhappened back in the 1990s for the bicycle antitry’ for WTO, which frankly doesn’t match their dumping case. There will be no job losses for current status of the largest industrialised them. However, our 800 manufacutring SMEs country in the world. have strong social responsibilities to employees This means that China will absorb more and in their own factories who will lose their jobs is more industry from the EU, as their cost of they shut down because of unfair subsidised energy will be a fraction of ours because we, dumping from the People's Republic of China. rightly, will be adopting more renewable and It is my duty to avoid this total tragedy of losing clean, but expensive, energy. factories and jobs in our EU bike industry. That A Milan Polytechnic Study shows that a bicyis why the EBMA fought against the subsidised cle or e-bike manufactured in the EU costs from dumping of e-bikes from China, asking for the 61 to 123 kilograms of CO2 and other dangerous emissions less legitimate defence than if imported allowed by the from China. Comission’s trade “IF ONE IMPORTER SHUTS DOWN AS A Roughly 50% of Defence InstruRESULT OF THESE ANTI-DUMPING extra emissions are ments and the caused by China’s WTO’s internaMEASURES, THEN I WOULD BE adoption of coal in tional rules. the production of The EBMA EXTREMELY SURPRISED.” steel, aluminium stands for free and and chemicals. The fair trade. Being in other half is because of transport, which causes the European bike industry since 1982, I have the most dangerous emissions such as never seen importers shut down because of sulphuric dioxide, as containerships still adopt trade defence instruments adopted by the ‘sludge oil’ as fuel like they did 100 years ago. Comission, as they can easily switch sourcing to many other countries which also benefit How will European manufacturers benefit from zero duty to the EU, such as Cambodia, from the imposition of anti-dumping duties? Bangladesh, Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey or We will know the results properly after the Serbia. So if one importer shuts down as a winter, but we have already had positive indicaresult of these anti-dumping measures, then I tors since 18 July, when the provisional would be extremely surprised. measures were adopted by the Commission; the number of e-bikes imported into Europe Is there a possibility of an anti-circumvention per month has come down from some 100,000 complaint from EBMA in the future? to ten thousand. Unfortunately, Chinese e-bike manufacturers These definitive trade defence measures will have already started circumventing EU legitishield over 800 sustainable manufacturing mate trade defense measures through third SMEs and 90,000 European green jobs in the countries. EBMA will do whatever it takes to industry against unfair competition from China. stop such illegal circumvention. EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures European importers need to double check will also lead to the creation of nearly five thouthat their suppliers are genuine, and not simply sand new European jobs already in the first half re-packaging Chinese e-bikes in contravention of 2019 thanks to the reshoring of the producof EU anti-circumvention laws. EU importers tion of 900,000 e-bikes this year. are welcome to contact EBMA for assistance to We hope in the future that new WTO reformed avoid breaking the Comission and WTO’s rules regulations, promoted at present by the US, and stopping circumvention from China. www.ebma-brussels.eu Japan and the EU, for stronger anti-subsidy
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51 ADVERT_????_&_TCD_CIN_Mar19.qxp 04/03/2019 10:20 Page 1
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PROFILE_Namedsport_CIN002_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 14:59 Page 1
(( PROFILE NAMEDSPORT ))
“OUR TASK IS TO GROW THE MARKET” Recently, you may have noticed flashes of orange springing up at a number of races and events across Europe. We speak to Namedsport’s Managing Director David Hannah on how this sports nutrition brand is breaking on to the cycling scene.
amedsport is the sister to leading Italian health supplement company, NAMED (an acronym for Natural Medicine). From 2014, Namedsport started offering sportfocused lines within the NAMED health range with products sold in Italian pharmacies, sport shops, gyms and bike shops. After becoming a sponsor of the Giro d’Italia in 2017, the brand has grown rapidly and now trades as a separate company with an extensive presence across Europe. Namedsport has now exclusively partnered with Raleigh, to distribute the brand’s products throughout its UK dealer base. According to Hannah, Namedsport’s product philosophy has been to develop lines using branded active ingredients, such as Carbolac, Palatinose, Stevia and Vitargo, that can all be researched by the user and their quality understood. So, why the cycle market? “Cycling fits with the ethics of the brand,” says Hannah. “In addition, the ability to have a visible presence and contact with the sport was attractive. We get to be a part of the community and gain great insights to assist with R&D and business objectives. It is growing globally and offers a better return on investment than many other sports.” Although a relative newcomer to the cycling world, Hannah has many
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years of experience in nutrition within the health club environment. He believes that nutrition has a functional role to play in all sports when it comes to retail: “Cycling particularly has a window of visibility as the tour riders are often seen during races using the products. It is not all about energy, as recovery is as big a category and one that is not talked about as much,” he explains. “Being honest, selling and repairing
"IT WOULD BE DISRESPECTFUL TO SAY WE'RE INVENTING THE CATEGORY, BUT OUR RANGE IS MAKING IMPROVEMENTS ON EXISTING FORMATS."
bikes is still the core business in the cycle market, however for customers to see the items on display that are used whilst on the bike will encourage additional spend per visit.” Namedsport prides itself on its quality products with traceable branded ingredients which deliver great taste and tangible benefits to riders. According to Hannah, the brand’s innovative solutions, such as gels with straws for easier use and bars with rice paper covering to avoid sticky fingers, set it apart from its competitors. “It would be disrespectful to say we are inventing the category, but our range is making improvements on existing formats and bringing new ones to market,” he says. “Our point of sale delivers great visibility and engagement supported by a full-time ground crew managing our events across the UK and Europe. We create impactful margin-enhancing promotions delivered by our brand representatives at Raleigh with support for sell-through. All of this together is geared toward retailer support.” Hannah believes that educating retailers in how to effectively sell Namedsport’s products is integral to the brand’s success in the UK. His view is simple; no one wants to see empty shops or voids in the High Street, but retailers must be savvy and proactive in what they offer their customers.
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“Many cycling shops I have visited are very good retailers who embrace some challenges by opening cafes within the store, bike fit, coaching and partnering with local clubs. However, retail displays and promotion delivery could be improved. Social media offers an ever-changing opportunity which can be exploited better. “Our product managers are trained in nutrition and will help retailers understand our products better. However, we realise that bike shop staff are time-poor due to their busy schedules, so access to information, samples and handouts that support the products will help inform potential buyers.” As Hannah points out, nutrition brands have come and gone over the years, perhaps not inspiring a lot of faith in bike shops who haven’t seen much of a return on their investment. “Scepticism comes from experience,” he explains. “There is a considerably lower penetration of sale and usage in the UK for nutrition products, than in Europe, and some bike shops might not have had a positive return on investment in the past. “We do not want to be a part of this current discount culture which is a major discussion point in the industry right now. We want to support retailers to increase their rate of sale who will hold up brands like Namedsport and
display and promote them actively.” It is important to Hannah that Namedsport is not seen as an industry disruptor within the sector, and is instead seen as being committed to growing the industry. According to him, it is everyone’s responsibility to drive penetration in the market to create the demand for products. “For me, a disruptor exists to steal market share,” he explains. “We feel there is growth in the category and that our user perhaps has other exercise methods as well as cycling. There is room for multiple nutrition brands in the category and our collective task is to grow the market.” Sampling plays a large role in Namedsport’s brand activation and awareness, with a sampling team deployed in each race the brand supports. The brand also rolls out a committed sampling programme in shops, health clubs and events which are geared towards retailer support. Last year, the brand gave away three quarters of a million free drinks bottles, a move which Hannah believes confirms sampling is a proven activator in purchasing. “We are highly committed to taking the message out and our sampling, promotion and event activation can only help promote increased rate of sale with our partners,” says Hannah. “For cycling-related busi-
ness, it shows our commitment to the sport whilst adding to the experience of fans at the races.” For the 2019 season, Namedsport is officially partnered with the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta races which, according to Hannah, is a first for a nutrition brand to be involved in support on this scale. Namedsport is also linked with the Paris Roubaix, Paris-Nice, Strade Bianche, Il Lombardia and the Tour de Yorkshire. “Brand awareness is critical in having credibility within the category,” says Hannah. “Cyclists are influenced by what happens on tour and with our high-profile event and team sponsorships our products are seen and used by the elite athletes when it matters most.” With its own sales team out on the road, and access to Raleigh’s comprehensive dealer base, Hannah confirms Namedsport has already received positive reactions from industry players. The brand has set its sights on further distribution opportunities; looking to target retailers along the Tour de Yorkshire route with planned activation sites throughout the course. Namedsport will also be at Eurobike and the Cycle Show this year, with its promotional team deployed at many of the World Tour races. www.namedsport.com
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LET’S HAVE A CHAT Here at CI.N, we have officially launched our very own cycle trade-focused podcast. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in the pipeline…
EPISODE ONE ‹ OUT NOW ›
For those who haven’t yet had the chance to listen, the first episode of the CIN podcast is now hot off the press and available to stream through SoundCloud, iTunes and the CIN website. Our first episode comes from Whittlebury Hall and COREbike, where we pinned down industry luminaries including:
Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for the next episode, where we will be speaking to Madison boss Dominic Langan about Freewheel, brands-to-watch and general industry chat. While at iceBike*, we also caught up with Dynaplug, Park Tool and Air Fom, all of whom will feature in the upcoming instalment.
1. TIM FRY, MRP 2. SILAS HESTERBERG, DEITY COMPONENTS 3. DAN JONES, WINDWAVE 4. CLEMENT BONNEAU, MOUSTACHE BIKES
1. DOMINIC LANGAN, CEO MADISON 2. ERIC HAWKINS, PARK TOOL 3. MARK PETERMAN, AIR FOM 4. CHRIS BRATTLE, DYNAPLUG BRAND MANAGER
Focused solely on the trade, we will be inviting industry players, special guests (and just about anyone with an opinion) to talk about all the goings-on in the bike business. Fancy getting in touch with a topic you want discussed, or have something to say yourself? Then contact a member of the CIN team.
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CIN006_HOUSE_SUBS_Ad.qxp 05/11/2018 13:34 Page 1
ISSUE 001 // 2018
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ask the boss
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PETER KIMBERLEY > CYCLE REPUBLIC
AskTheBoss_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 15:07 Page 2
Now heading up three major businesses in the cycle industry, Peter Kimberley has some strong opinions on why retailers must be customer-led, why there is still opportunity in the market, our emotional attachment to bicycles and why you can’t judge an e-bike customer when they come through the door. CIN heads to Canary Wharf to grill the Managing Director of Cycle Republic, Tredz Bikes and Boardman Bikes…
ycling Industry News meets Peter Kimberley, MD of Cycle Republic, at the chain’s brand new store in Canary Wharf. Today, if you set foot inside, you enter a prime slice of cycle retail estate, with big windows, a mezzanine level and the nation’s banking community on the doorstep. But had you stopped by just a short while before, you’d have been entering a BMW showroom. “We’ve been waiting to get a shop in Canary Wharf,” Kimberley tells CIN, adding that the firm had rejected the idea of taking space in one of the nearby shopping centres to wait for a unit like this. The new store has space outside to test ride a bike and, in just a few months, the already decent footfall is about to be boosted further with the opening of Crossrail.
The right location Kimberley, now also Managing Director of Tredz Bikes and Boardman Bikes as well as Cycle Republic, has overseen the brand from its initial store in Euston four years ago. Now numbering 22 outlets, offers to take over stores come in weekly, the retailer boss says, but the location has to be right: “We are always open to new shops, but we don’t put a number on opening so many shops a year. It’s like when you buy a house, it’s got to be right. I always ask, ‘Where are the cyclists? And the commuters? Is it the right spot? Can we have an open workshop in there?”
“All our shops are run individually. They put on their own events and I encourage them to work with their local IBDs.” Taking space in Cycle Republic Canary Wharf’s big windows is Brompton, one of a glut of recent big brand names to sign partnerships with the retailer. “We’ve got some big brands and we work closely with them. It’s very exciting! We have a Garmin tech table where customers can come in and get their hands on Garmin products. We’ve got a Tacx simulator in the shop so customers can jump on and ride the cobbles... It’s all about how we share and communicate the excitement of cycling and these products.” Retail furniture The Canary Wharf store is home to one of Cycle Republic’s new Shimano service centres. Kimberley reveals Shimano was surprised to be asked how the brand wanted to be presented in store. “They are the expert in the brand, after all.” The aforementioned Garmin tech table came about in the same way, developed in discussion with the brand. Store visitors might also spot the ‘click and collect’ unit is shaped like a Garmin cycle computer, another quirky idea created in collaboration with the brand. Workshop Call Cycle Republic as a customer and you’ll be given the option to speak to either the shop or the workshop. Kimberley reckons it might be the only bike chain that does that. “People book in by the mechanic. They’ll ask if Bill or whoever is in today, and if not then they’ll book it in for the day they are back. “We offer free puncture repairs for everyone. Why charge someone at their most vulnerable and slap £7 on them to fix a puncture? A good mechanic can fix a puncture in two minutes.
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AskTheBoss_CIN_Mar19.qxp 05/03/2019 15:34 Page 3
ask the boss
Charging someone in that situation doesn’t feel right and it helps you build a relationship with the customer.” The shop has taken cues from the motor trade, including keeping courtesy bikes in each shop. “If you take your car in for a repair, you assume you’ll be able to use a courtesy car to get home. And we don’t want the cyclist to go home on the tube, they want to ride home.” Cycle to work “We find it is still doing well. Getting a business to offer cycle to work is just the first tick in the box, it has to be followed up. We offer demo days and go and speak to the employees – C2W is still a bit of mystery to many people. We have to drive penetration in businesses. Companies are behind cycling, they really are.” The C2W tax free limit needs to rise, says Kimberley, not least to support the burgeoning e-bike market. E-bikes "You have to get people into e-bikes, and it's a great situation because you know they will be smiling when they come off an e-bike. We have four e-bike specialist shops where we have over 30 e-bikes." The industry can still do more, Kimberley feels. “We need the industry to get behind it and educate. We’ve not given enough dedicated space to ebikes and there are still not many e-bike reviews in the press. We need a big ebike race, maybe we’ll put one on?” Some time ago, e-bikes were touted as ideal for older riders or those recovering from injury, but it’s not so easy to spot an e-bike customer when they come through the door, Kimberley says: “We have a mix of e-MTB and ecommuters. We see lots of people live out of the city who commute in, go back and ride the e-MTB in the hills of Surrey. “We see new MTBers who love coming
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PETER KIMBERLEY > CYCLE REPUBLIC
down the hills. And commuters who don’t want to come through the door sweating. You can’t pigeon hole them. “E-road has also really taken off, they mean that riders can see more of those country lanes. E-cargo is coming through too.” New role Kimberley’s new role sees him head Cycle Republic, Tredz and Boardman Bikes: “It’s about our journey as a brand and putting customers at the forefront,” Kimberley tells CIN. “Of course each business has a big focus on different areas, but we can share best practice. “Any business has to be focused on the customer. The game is changing and we have to support the customer, be welcoming for all and be open.” Market opportunities “The market continues to offer growth for companies – there’s an opportunity to be a centre for customers. “You have to ask, ‘Who is your customer?’ You must excite them. They are demanding and their expectations have changed over the last ten years. You have to give them the ‘wow factor’. You can do little things like clean the bike when you service it – that’s something you expect when you have your car serviced and it’s the least important part of the service. But when you see it clean you are wowed by it. It works for the cycle industry, customers have an emotional attachment to their bike. “You even see it from all kinds of companies. Transport for London seem to be employing lots of smiley people, they make a funny announcement on the platform and it makes everyone smile. It makes a difference. That’s where the market is now. "Cycling is about a way of life, it gives people a whole new social network."
Online vs bricks and mortar With a considerable online channel, Cycle Republic’s faith in bricks and mortar, with 22 stores so far, stands out. “Online is growing rapidly for us,” explains Kimberley, “but it’s hard to truly separate online and bricks and mortar. Some customers buy online, but what about the customer that has been in the shop, ran out of time, then ordered it online because of the help they got in the store? What is that customer? Is that an online or a bricks and mortar customer? It was a web sale, but the shop did the work, had the experience and provided the service to get the sale. “For those that underestimate the bricks and mortar stores… try closing the shops and see what happens! “We see that click and collect is growing. It gives customers a full hand over.” The future of the trade The edition of CIN has quizzed bike dealers on the feasibility of the cycle industry taking further learnings from the motor trade, not least in terms of PCP/finance arrangements, long term leasing and trade-ins. It’s something that Kimberley has considered: “That idea of trading in your bike… it’s something we are looking at. But how do you value a bike? You can do it with some of the brands, like Brompton. And Brompton Junction already offers long time hires…” Looking ahead, Kimberley believes the opportunity in the UK is huge: “The market is there to be grown and there will of course be successes and failures. “We want to be at the forefront of customer experience, we want to be innovative, customer-led and provide great customer experiences.”
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