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Issue 36 | January 2009

BikeBiz

JANUARY 2009

FOR EVERYONE IN THE BICYCLE BUSINESS

CORE BIKE

RALEIGH SUPPLEMENT

Another year, another meet at Whittlebury Hall. BikeBiz offers schedules, seminar listings and directions for the show

The guide to Raleigh’s upcoming dealer shows, including yet to be seen product, details of the evening dinners and more

PAGE 20

FREE INSIDE

Bike production to outstrip car manufacturing by 3:1 within a year

Unlike this driver, the car industry is slowing down. Pictured below: Mario Hartloper (left) and Wazz Mughall (right) THE number of bicycles produced during 2010 could outnumber cars by three to one, according to the latest research. A booming bike trade, plus a struggling automobile industry, will see the cycling trade outperform the car business in terms of volume, according to a report published by the Earth Policy Institute. And those companies BikeBiz has surveyed have confirmed that the industry is on a steep trajectory – in direct contrast to the car trade. Take Giant’s (the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer) latest financials. Production lines have been at full capacity for some time – something expected to continue until midto-late 2009 – across the brand’s several Far East factories. August saw a record month in terms of revenues for Giant, with $42.19

million earned. Most staff in Taiwan are also reported to be receiving Christmas bonuses to the tune of two months’ wages. Raleigh UK sales director, Phil Rickaby told BikeBiz: “Supply for our full range of completes is running at about 97 per cent and demand is increasing, especially for adult bikes. We’ve seen steady growth in complete bike sales for some time and I project that to continue through 2009.” Cube Bikes marketing manager, Mario Hartloper tells BikeBiz: “We are pretty busy at Cube – sales are outrunning production at times. And as it is

cheaper to run a bike than a car, sales will be okay for a while – as long as the world sees the utility side of bikes and not just the sports aspect. Growth is in everyday bikes, (as in Holland) which will lighten the load on the environment and pocket.” Although optimistic that the gap between the two industries’ figures will continue to broaden, Hartloper did warn: “We should note that a lot of that production is Chinese, and their economy seems to be losing its momentum. It’s also a question of what the spread will be of those bikes: EU, US or Asia? It sometimes feels like the rest of the world is getting into cars, when we’re going bike mad.” Another sign that 2009 will see rapid unit growth comes from the e-bike market, where some companies are reporting 100 per cent growth year-on-year. Wazz Mughall, MD of Powacycle reported: “During 2008 we doubled the previous year’s production and sales figures. The same is projected for 2009 as retailers begin to embrace the electric market. The fact that sales are matching production is fantastic for us as it’s constantly freeing up cash for research and development, meaning we have some big news lined up for 2009 onwards.”

CAR TRADE’S PRODUCTION ENGINE STALLS During December, Vauxhall asked a large percentage of its staff at one plant to take a nine-month sabbatical on 30 per cent pay. The same plant recently halted its production for 14 consecutive days. Vauxhall’s American parent company, General Motors, has also refused to help the ailing UK business to concentrate on problems in the States. The US Government has outlined plans to bailout the troubled company, as well as providing heavy financial support to Chrysler and others.

General Motors has reported that it will slash first quarter production by 30 per cent, equating to 250,000 less vehicles. At the beginning of 2008, the giant’s monthly sales stood above 320,000. By the end of December last year, sales figures had plummeted below 150,000. The car maker recently told us Congress that, without assistance, bankruptcy was forecast in the near future. The EPI has also published figures showing the comparison year-by-year since 1950.

© Earth Policy Institute – www.earth-policy.org

LATEST NEWS

EDITORIAL

STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE

BOOKMARK US:

MOBILE.BIKEBIZ.COM JANUARY ISSUE 36

NEWS 6-11

Retailers and distributors offer their thoughts on the year ahead, a flurry of news from Raleigh

2008 REVIEW

16

BikeBiz takes a look back at what was a stonking year for cycling and the industry

Getting through winter will be tough, but come the spring and all that pointers are that the bike trade will blossom.

FOCUS ON…

20-33

COREBIKE 09

Brands, seminars and how to get there. BikeBiz provides all the essential info on this month’s CoreBike 09 show

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BRAND SPOTLIGHT BikeBiz speaks to Hope, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in style

42-43

FISHER SHOW

We preview Fisher’s upcoming Expo, to take a look at what the distributor has in store for its Edgbaston event

ICEBIKE

OILS, CLEANERS, TOOLS

45-46

61-64

REGULARS CHAIN REACTION

12

CUSTOMISATION

58

Bob Chicken Senior looks back at the previous recessions and their impact on cycling

A guide to how retailers can profit from punters looking to stand out from the crowd

INDUSTRY OPINIONS 14

LETTERS

We look at how retailers can cut cost and maximise incremental profits in 2009

Future’s associate publisher Jason Leavy bids farewell to the trade as he heads off to Dubai

PEOPLE

50

BikeBiz welcomes a new editor, Curtin joins Farrelly Atkinson, Cycle Show appoints Barile

SPOKESMAN Our anonymous columnist looks at the impact the VAT cut will have on business

YEAR-ON-YEAR, September and October held a lot of promise. But, according to pretty much every IBD I’ve spoken to recently, sales fell off a cliff in November. A big, scary cliff. The kind of cliff you tend to see in bad dreams. Fairweather cyclists put away their bikes during the first cold snap, but that alone can’t account for the sudden dip in fortunes. Blame me and my ilk. Journalists have been gabbing on so much about a coming recession that it hastened and deepened the damn thing. No, strike that, don’t blame me, my computer screen has a rose-tinted filter. Blame that Robert bloody Peston (BBC’s business editor, for those who prefer Sky News). Every time he announces yet another business bad news scoop there’s an audible national gasp, quickly followed by a rapid closing of wallets and purses. The man’s a curse.

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Although it’s got to be said we’re not the only economy in freefall; Robert Peston is national not global. And it wasn’t Robert Peston who defaulted on lots of subprime mortgages in America. Nor was he to blame for the shambolic regulation of banking’s shady practices that, had you or I to tried them in our own businesses, would have landed us in the clink. The self-perpuating, Peston-fuelled recession is likely to be with us for many months. What to do? Slash prices? It’s a common technique, although if used too often it can be terminal: just ask MFI. Evans Cycles has added another 2.5 per cent sweetener to Alistair Darling’s VAT cut, hoping this will work some retail magic, but it’s just not impressive enough to stimulate demand for bikes over the winter months. Save a tenner on a two hundred quid bike? Not radical enough, but cut any more and there’s no point opening in the morning – just burn some fivers in a grate outside your shop. If discounting isn’t the answer, what is? Each locality, each IBD, is different but hibernation has a lot going for it. And we’re used to it. This is always down-time for the bike trade, we’re experts at squirreling away our nuts. Getting through this winter is going to be tough but come the spring and all the pointers are that the bike trade will blossom. Oh, and whisper it lest A Darling Esq gets any daft ideas, but the Cycle To Work scheme is gold dust...

Carlton Reid, Executive Editor

NEWS

Spiralling overseas costs to boost local manufacturers? Trade looks closer to home to combat skyrocketing price of importing from the US and Far East  European and UK manufacturers could offer cheaper alternative

TEL: 01992 535646 ADVERT SALES TEL: 01992 535647 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Carlton Reid Carlton.Reid@intentmedia.co.uk EDITOR Jonathon Harker Jonathon.Harker@intentmedia.co.uk DEPUTY EDITOR Mark Sutton Mark.Sutton@intentmedia.co.uk ADVERTISING MANAGER Carly Bailey Carly.Bailey@intentmedia.co.uk EDITORIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Helen French Helen.French@intentmedia.co.uk PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE Abby Fanger Abigail.Fanger@intentmedia.co.uk DESIGN Kelly Styles Kelly.Styles@intentmedia.co.uk CIRCULATION bike.subscriptions@c-cms.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Dave Roberts Dave.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk MANAGING EDITOR Lisa Foster Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk PUBLISHER/MD Stuart Dinsey Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk FINANCE DIRECTOR Hilary Cole EDITORIAL Saxon House, 6A, St. Andrews Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG14 1JA Phone: 01992 535 646 ADVERTISING Tel: 01992 535647 Fax: 01992 535648 Bike Biz is mailed FOC to 3,000+ trade addresses every month

ISSN 1476-1505 See page 78 for subscription details

6 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

RISING COSTS of importing product from overseas and the increasingly volatile exchange rate is forcing the bike trade to look closer to home for production, according to new reports. Currency fluctuations have seen importing and production costs skyrocket, cutting margins and causing headaches for the

at the $1.50 rate and one has to bear in mind that at the same time raw material prices will increase unless the Chinese economy drops, which is on the cards as we all buy less.” With concerns that the pound is unlikely to recover from the downturn in the short-term, firms who manufacture closer to home have praised the

One has to bear in mind that at the same time raw material prices will increase unless the Chinese economy drops, which is on the cards as we all buy less." UK’s bike trade. The pound’s strength against the dollar has plummeted since the summer – which has made sourcing product from the US far less attractive. Similarly, increased costs in China have made importing goods from the territory costly for UK firms. The falling value of the pound has impacted on bike distributors over the last few months too, and is likely to continue to over much of 2009, according to Mission Cycles: “The dollar will, in my opinion, continue to drop through the first quarter of 2009 and I think it will stabilise around the $1.50 mark for all of 2009,” Mission Cycles owner David Wilshire told BikeBiz. “I am pricing all future consignments

advantages of staying local and within the EC, including Zumbi Cycles, which sources product directly from Poland. “Using a European manufacturer has many advantages for my business,” explained Zumbi Cycles’ Duncan McCann. “I am only a short lowcost flight away from the factory and have more control over what products they produce for me. I can honestly say the cost of my products hasn’t increased.” The pound’s decline is also impacting on components brand Deluxe. Founder Mark Noble told BikeBiz: “In terms of our UK sales and retail price, I’ll keep a close eye on the currency fluctuations making sure we can maintain quality at the right price.”

VITAL LOGISTICS LOGISTIC costs, including shipping, duty and the value of docking have impacted UK distributors, leaving many with little choice but to increase prices. So with costs rising in traditional outsourcing territories, could manufacturing across Europe see a revival? Zumbi Cycles’ Duncan McCann certainly believes it’s better for his business to remain closer to home. “The biggest increase has been the cost of logistics at around 90 per cent. But if the worst

comes to the worst I can just hire a van and drive over to get the product for very little cost. “You can’t do this with a Far East supplier and I need to keep as much control of my business and products as I can. If you have ordered and paid for a shipment you will need to ship it, regardless of any price increase. It is not practical for me to keep going over to the Far East, whereas I’ve been to Poland five times this year to discuss and test the products,” he added.

Hotlines links up with Lynskey TITANIUM-only brand, Lynskey has joined the Hotlines stable of brands for 2009. “We’re very excited about this relationship,” said Edward Ibbetson, HQ manager of Hotlines UK. “There is a strong demand for performance oriented titanium bikes in our market and the Lynskey brand certainly meets this need.” The brand started Litespeed in 1986 and later sold the business

in 1999. The new company, Lynskey Performance Designs LLC, carries on its tradition of cutting edge innovation and styling. “We are so very pleased to be a part of the Hotlines family,” states Mark Lynskey. “Over the years I have always enjoyed the cycling culture in the UK and am now honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of it with the Hotlines organisation.”

BIKEBIZ.COM

NEWS

2008 was good, but 2009… The bike industry is quietly confident that the New Year can match 2008, ‘skim over the recession’ and provide another spectacular 12 months for the trade 2009 COULD easily be a bigger year for trade, according to feedback from a selection of bicycle businesses. Many admitted that in terms of achievements, it will be hard to top highlights such as Sustrans’ lottery scoop, British Cycling’s Olympic gold rush and Chris Hoy scooping Sports Personality of the Year.

offering, in turn attracting custom. On the back of last year I’m very happy to be going into 2009 with Chris Hoy posed on the front of a fantastic new catalogue. Despite tough economic times, I’d not say trade will be difficult. Previously, the bicycle business has skimmed right over recessions, especially those who have planned ahead

Previously the bike trade has skimmed over recessions, especially those who have planned ahead and managed their money well. But Cedric Chicken was confident that the bicycle trade could once again “skim over the forthcoming recession”. He said: “Although fantastic in terms of trade, we had a lot to overcome this year following the fire which nearly took the business from us. So 2008 was in some ways a new beginning for us. We lost Mavic, but in some ways that has helped us review business and broaden our

and managed their money well.” Clive Gosling, founder of Bikelab couldn’t be happier with what’s on the cards going forward. He said: “Since announcing working with Titus in October, business has been great. The market for titanium bikes has really opened up, that’s even despite any downturn we’re supposed to be experiencing. We’re receiving lots of pre-orders and are currently sorting back

BIKEBIZ.COM

SouthWest Trains to launch folder hire service?

DfT says motor traffic is falling

orders, something we’ll turn around early in 2009. The premium quality sector seems very fruitful at present. People will still spend money in tough times, they will just take a harder look at purchases, no doubt meaning the car will lose out to the bike for those who could do most journeys on two wheels.” Although cautious of over stocking and currency twists and turns, for the most part the trade is quietly confident that 2009 could hold growth. Neil Wilkinson, director at PureRacing: “Next year is going

to be a bit tougher, and it will probably be more expensive, I’d estimate by as much as 25 per cent. But having said that, I expect that we’ll have a good year. In particular I think both the value and expensive ends of the market will do well. They’ve not slowed down so far and I think they are the growth areas for 2009 – and that’s great for us as we cover both ends of the market.” Turn to page 16 for a round up of the top stories of 2008 in BikeBiz’s month-by-month run down.

New exclusive distribution deal brings huge US brand across the Atlantic to the UK huge brand over the pond, which speaks for itself. I have every confidence that it will be greatly received by all dealers, and they should realise that it has got great selling strength and high profit margins compared to lots of other products on the market.” Across the North Atlantic, Serfas is a manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of bicycling parts and accessories, with a comprehensive catalogue consisting of everything from saddles to sunglasses. Serfas international sales manager John Denson enthused: “Serfas was created with a commitment to independents to provide superior quality

SHORTS A to B magazine reports that Waterloo station may see a pioneering folding bike hire scheme launched as soon as January. The fleet will consist of 200 Bromptons, available from the left luggage office.

Walkers Cycles bags Serfas USA deal SERFAS USA is now available exclusively through Walkers Cycles following a distribution deal struck last month. The first batch is due late February to early March and will contain much of the product that has proven successful in the US, one reason why Walkers MD Andie Walker chose to bring the brand to the UK. He said: “The whole team here at Walkers are extremely pleased to be able to exclusively distribute Serfas products into UK IBDs. It’s such a

CYCLE

products with extra ordinary margins and the best customer service in the industry. Serfas has long been known for their selection of bicycle saddles, but these days Serfas is making a new

name for itself in categories such as tyres, pumps, lights, and performance eyewear. “We are really excited to have appointed Walkers to exclusively distribute our range in the UK. They are a long-established wholesaler with a large customer base, and are held in high esteem for their service to IBDs.”

For two consecutive quarters motor traffic has fallen, says the Department for Transport. Since its peak in 2007, average numbers dropped from two to three per cent.

Sustrans’ says offroad cycle use is on the up Sustainable transport charity, Sustrans has reported that use of its national cycle network has steadily increased through 2008, due in part to more routes being made available.

Bike to Work book available soon The 250-plus page Bike to Work book was published during December and will be available later this month via Amazon. Alternatively, it can be read online free of charge at www.biketoworkbook.com

Eurostat reveals top ten EU suppliers According to Eurostat, (and perhaps predictably) the top ten bike suppliers to the EU are, in order of units high-tolow: Taiwan, Thailand, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

No independents by 2015? The House of Commons AllParty Small Shops Group estimates that there will be no independent retailers left in the UK by 2015 due to lack of action by competition authorities. That would equate to more than 50,000 small businesses going bust in the UK.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 7

NEWS

Raleigh places signature Hoy model exclusively with Harrods Cycle hero’s BMX only available in Harrod’s Cycles UK branch  Distributor partners with Corratec  New product managers appointed  Raleigh signs High5 deal RALEIGH made a flurry of announcements through December – including two brand new distribution deals, new appointments and the news that Chris Hoy’s signature BMX model

“He is a great guy and a superb Olympian. It was fantastic that everyone got their vote in for Chris and we got a cyclist winning Sports Personality of the Year.”

It has been great to work with Chris on this project. He is a great guy and a superb Olympian. will be limited to 100 models, which will be found only at London superstore Harrods. The Sports Personality of the Year winner attended the store in London to promote the model, which will be carried in the Cycles UK concession in Harrods. Richard Schofield, owner of Cycles UK said: “It’s been great to work with Chris on this project.

IBD exclusive Corratec deal Raleigh announced its partnership with German bicycle design company and declared the range “presents a great opportunity for independent cycle retailers to offer a fantastic alternative to conventional US based brands in the UK.” Those attending Raleigh’s ‘Complete Cycling’ event from

Cycle champ Chris Hoy poses with his signature BMX model, exclusive to Harrods January 18th to 23rd will be able to speak with the distributor’s newly appointed brand manager Mike Mudd. High Five! Sports nutrition produce from High5 is now available exclusively through Raleigh’s

distribution network. The brand chose Raleigh based on a market survey with its 1,500 trade accounts, in which Raleigh came out as the preferred supplier. “We have been working very closely with Mick and High5 over the last few years to target retailers to maximise sales and awareness of their new products and this appointment justifies both companies’ hard work,” said Geoff Giddings, marketing manager at Raleigh UK. Trio bolster Raleigh team Mike Mudd has joined Raleigh to fill the position of brand and product manager, following 12 years in the cycle trade. Mike will be looking after the introduction of Corratec to the UK, as well as

Gary Conway, John Carter, Mike Mudd

steering Avenir to further growth with his plans for the brands product development. John Carter has also bolstered the bike product management team and will take on the dayto-day running of Raleigh’s complete bike portfolio. Carter has worked for the company for 33 years, ten years of which he spent in the Special Products Division developing titanium welding and bonding techniques. Gary Conway has also been promoted from his previous warranty and technical support role to a parts and accessories brand management position. He will be looking after the development and marketing of branded and in-house MTB lead parts and accessories.

Bikes on Eurostar are up 300 per cent

LCC calls for more secure cycle parking across all stations  Pre-booked bikes are now allowed on board THE VOLUME of bicycles taken aboard Eurostar has increased 300 per cent since 2007 following a policy change by the train operator. Believed to have provoked the policy U-turn, the London Cycling Campaign and several other cycle-friendly organisations demonstrated at St. Pancras International during November 2007 – the venue from which BIKEBIZ.COM

travellers embark to reach France via Eurostar. Tom Bogdanowicz of the LCC (which celebrated its 30th anniversary in November) said: “We worked alongside the CTC and others to bring about change from Network Rail. On the opening day of St. Pancras International we gathered to voice concerns that, like many others in London, this station

boasted virtually zero cycling credentials. Following a policy review, cyclists are now allowed to book their bikes onto the same train as that on which they’re travelling. Now all that’s left to do is haggle the charges down. It’s in the train companies’ interests to carry more cyclists.” Around 100 cyclists turned out for the protest, which initially aimed to make the station more

cycle-friendly by introducing at least some cycle parking facilities. Shortly after the demonstration, operator Network Rail installed 50 cycle stands, which when compared to Cambridge’s 3,000, provoked Camden Cycling to voice further concerns. Bogdanowicz added: “Our main target now is to ensure other London stations follow the relatively good examples set by

Marlyebone Road station and Finsbury Park station, which both have adequate secure parking facilities.” Campaign co-ordinator Jean Dollimore said: “Proper stands for 100 bikes is a step in the right direction, but the huge demand at other London stations shows that we’re likely to need a lot more. Rotterdam’s new railway station is to have 8,000.”

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 9

NEWS

Cube launches a new ‘credit card’ style warranty CUBE BIKES’ marketing manager, Mario Hartloper has re-invented the warranty card – with the introduction of a ‘credit card’ style system. The scheme prompts the enduser to log onto www.cube-

Hartloper explains: “We can see which bike is sold to whom, but also there is a special section online called ‘hot or not’ – where you can fill in the frame number to check if a bike is stolen – so everyone can check

We can see which bike is sold to whom and you can check if a bike is stolen via a special online section – so retailers can check if the bicycle is ‘hot or not’. warranty.nl and register the purchase – something Hartloper believes to be a world first within the bicycle trade. Aside from bringing significant marketing benefits to the brand, the system doubles up as a security tool for the buyer and dealers alike.

if the bike is ‘hot or not’, before buying (trading-in) a secondhand bike.” The invention allows Cube to see which bike is sold and when, while taking recordings of sizes sold per dealer in each season, creating an accurate sales map and seasonal statistics.

Cyclescheme rolls out Cycle to Work mag CYCLE To Work facilitator Cyclescheme has launched a consumer-style magazine for distribution amongst participating retailers. The print publication, dubbed Cycle Commuter, is designed to explain how a customer can best utilise the Cyclescheme service during purchase, demystifying the service. Other content includes reviews of current product, ranging from up-to-date complete bikes, to set sector coverage, as well as a variety of articles on cycling safely, competitions and an FAQ board. Richard Grigsby, Cyclescheme’s MD, told BikeBiz: “We are printing an initial batch of 50,000

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magazines. The 28-page mag is ‘handbag’ sized and will be distributed to all new Cyclescheme clients and also to existing clients – now numbering 6,500. The Cycle Commuter is aimed at the employee who is embarking on a Cycle To Work scheme and intends to raise awareness of the scheme and give information about popular bikes and accessories. The main drive is to ‘up’ the sales of safety equipment with each bike processed.” Cycle Commuter will come out twice a year and the current edition is the Autumn/ Winter version. The Spring/ Summer edition will be out in April 2009.” The 28-page first issue is also viewable online at www.issuu.com.

Panasonic halted in bid to buy Sanyo for e-bike boost ELECTRIC bike maker and electronics giant Panasonic has een its bid for struggling electronics and battery maker Sanyo halted by one of the brand’s investors, Goldman Sachs. Panasonic’s increased offer of Y130 per share was rejected by Goldman on the grounds that the price was still not “fair to Sanyo’s shareholders”. The electronics company wants to acquire Sanyo for many reasons, but of particular relevance to the bike trade is its interest is in Sanyo’s battery business, which would allow Panasonic to reduce the price of its Lithium Ion carrying electric bikes. This scenario would possibly also leave other electric bike manufacturers unable to compete on high-end models. Sanyo also unveiled a new hybrid model to the electric bike market– dubbed the ‘Eneloop’ – in Tokyo during December. Panasonic would benefit from the brand’s strong e-bike background – having manufactured electric components pre-1996, at which

point its first complete bike was launched. In an interview with the Financial Times, a Goldman spokesperson said: “We decided not to accept this offer. We don’t believe this process and the price is fair for all Sanyo’s shareholders. We will consider our options including exercising the first refusal right.” A merger between Sanyo and Panasonic is estimated to be worth Y11,000 billion in sales. Sanyo’s share price peaked at Y297 in May this year. However as BikeBiz went to press the brand’s share price had almost halved and was hovering around the Y150 mark. Scott Snaith of UK distributor 50 Cycles told BikeBiz: “Our Kalkhoff electric bike range runs on Panasonic motors. They’re one of 50 Cycles biggest sellers too.”

BIKEBIZ.COM

NEWS NEW PRODUCTS

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BALANCE TRAINERS (1) David Good’s balance trainers are not necessarily a new product. However, Good is interested in talking to partners to take the product forward. The innovative design enables gradual progression for kids and adult learners alike. The adjustable trainers can be placed in four separate positions, spaced wide apart at first for maximum support.

MADISON (2) MADISON has just taken stock of a limited edition batch of Giro Ionos Astana and Garmin Chipotle team helmets. According to press officer Albert Steward: “These are going to be pretty rare seeing as we’re only getting the one limited quantity drop, so when they’re gone – they’re gone. Priced the same as the standard colours, (SRP £139.99) these are sure to fly off the shelves and will be top of the list for many Pro Tour fans. The Astana model even comes complete with x2 Astana die-cut decals, which can be applied to the helmet for the complete look.” CRUD (3) PETE TOMPKINS, the director at Crud, has informed BikeBiz of the latest changes to the consistently popular Crud Racepac mudguard. Tompkins said: “We have

5 The wheel spacing can gradually decrease as the learner’s stability improves – lowering the amount the rider relies on the extra wheels. Good told BikeBiz: “This is a really important product that I’m unable to take much further forward by myself. Users of the product say how it has transformed their training as it allows learning to be advanced as and when. I’d like to talk to anyone interested in the design about taking the product forward.” The stabilisers are easily installed and full instructions are included. Adjustments can be made quickly and a new support shape conceived after testing has bolstered the product’s strength and safety credentials, as well as being more aesthetically pleasing. Good can be contacted on 01248 713624 or visit www.disabledcycling.f2s.com

BIKEBIZ.COM

re-tooled the blade to accept the new Raceguard ‘09 arm, which will come with three shims to cover every common seatpost size. We have also added a rubber nose to the ZX Crudcatcher, and this will be the new front splashguard for the Racepac. The packaging has also been redesigned, giving IBDs more room on their walls.

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“The headercard now ties in with our new ‘09 packaging across the range and we have also changed the name. I felt for a long time that the name ‘Racepac’ was a bit wrong, and after much deliberation, we have come up with the Crud ‘Commuter Twinpac’.” Tompkins praised the BikeBiz Forum, which enabled him to receive feedback from a wide variety of IBDs nationwide. He said of the assisted progress: “I have posted queries for advice on design and packaging during 2008, and have had excellent input from the professionals who sell my product. This is a valuable resource for a manufacturer, and I will be using it again in the near future.” MAVIC (4) MAVIC has patented a new spoke lacing technology, dubbed ISM 3D. The spacing between each spoke is put under very little strain, allowing it to be milled for additional

gram shavings. Designed for easy acceleration, the ISM 3D technology uses only the essential material to meet the strength-to-weight ratio, maintaining rigidity and also offering a high level of durability. One side of the rim is joined to the opposite via a continuous carbon fibre spoke, which crosses the centre of the wheel directly through the hub flanges. As part of the brand’s pursuit of perfect aerodynamics, it has launched ‘rim to rim’ spoke

technology (R2R). A typical wheel utilises two spokes with four spoke ends, whereas the R2R technology allows the use of only one spoke with two ends. Mavic has now patented this clever system, which creates very low stress at the hub and halves the number of spoke ends required.

GELERT (5) CANYON has launched a new 20 to 26-inch wheel stabiliser that is a specially engineered set designed for use on bigger wheeled bikes. The stabilisers are designed to support riders up to 80kgs and have been designed for adults, both new or those returning to cycling, or even for those suffering difficulties with balance. The system comes packaged with full fitting instructions and is now available from Gelert, carrying a retail price of £39.99. To find out more about the new stabilisers email bikes@gelert.com or ring Gelert on 01766 510300. 4DOWN (6) STOCK of professional BMX riders and brothers Kye and Leo Forte signature frame has landed with 4Down. The United ‘40 frame’ carries a lifetime warranty and weighs in at 4.8 lbs. As is traditional with trail specific models, the frame has

6 a large tyre clearance and modern features such as an integrated seat clamp and internal headset. Boasting plenty of strength the frame has ovalised chain stays, heat-treated dropout, headtube and bottom bracket and also laser cut heat-treated stay bridges. Double-butted tubing is used throughout. The frame is available in either black or translucent blue and comes in sizes 20.6, 21, 21.25.

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BIKEBIZ JANUARY 11

CHAIN REACTION

How things have

changed Here are two blast-from-the-past speeches from Bob Chicken speaking during the early-’80s recession, warning against too much manufacturing being done in the Far East and complaining about a dearth of cycling coverage in the mainstream media... Taken from an address to the Gravesend Cycling Club some 25 years ago, Bob Chicken said: “Connected with the cycle industry as I have been for 40odd-years, I have witnessed a massive change in the industry – regrettably detrimental to British manufacturers. When you consider that only 30 years ago we had over 20 actual bicycle

Only 30 years ago we had over 20 UK bicycle manufacturers. We now reduced to five of any consequence. manufacturers – we are now reduced to a maximum of only five of any consequence. Today some 60 per cent or more are based in the Far East. It is small wonder that people are starting to think in terms of Fortress Europe to reverse the trend and reduce the growth of unemployment that Europe is facing today. I know I am known as the 'Spoke in the Wheel' for those supporting the invasion of

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cycling product from Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries. Certainly there is now a change in the wind and if this is sustained I can see a growth in financial investment coming back into the European bicycle industry. For all of us this won’t be a bad thing. New cycle frame design and materials – quote Dynatech by Raleigh for example – are appealing, effective and lightweight, justifying selection by cyclists generally.”

On another occasion, in the same year but at an unknown location, Bob Chicken said: “The difficulties now felt by many cycling clubs due to the economic recession and slump will hopefully be reversed during the present year. Let us hope that further ground is made by local authorities in providing safer road areas for cyclists generally. In recent years we have been blessed by the appeal of off-road cycling and whilst this side of the sport is not appreciated by the purist road men it has assisted in keeping cycling at the fore and brought pleasure to thousands of cycling enthusiasts. We must not, however, forget that the epitome of cycling remains in time trialling and road racing, without which the sport would surely die. The irony of our sport is the lack of publicity provided by the media generally – the least of all major sports and totally different to the media attitude and coverage given to our sport by all our fellow European Community members in news print, radio and television. Such support from the media brought good sponsorships to cycling from national and international companies alike. Assistance of this nature has never been comparable in the UK. Major

Let us hope that further ground is made by local authorities in providing safer road areas for cyclists. sponsors have been very thin in number and currently are virtually nil. I personally have

endeavoured to gain such sponsors as those on the Continent, but without success.” BIKEBIZ.COM

EVENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

SPOTLIGHT

CORE BIKE January 25th to 27th Whittlebury Hall, Northampton www.corebike.co.uk January 2009 CORE BIKE January 25th – 27th Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire www.corebike.co.uk RALEIGH DEALER DAYS January 18th – 23rd Eastwood, Nottingham raleighb2b.co.uk

February 2009 FISHER OUTDOOR EXPO February 15th – 17th Edgbaston Cricket Ground www.fisherexpo.co.uk TWOO February 19th – 22nd Basel, Switzerland www.twoo.ch ICEBIKE February 24th – 26th Milton Keynes, UK www.icebike.co.uk BIKE ASIA February 27th – March 1st Singapore www.bikeasia.org NORTH AMERICAN HANDMADE BICYCLE SHOW February 27th – March 1st Indianapolis, USA www.handheldbicycleshow .com

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March 2009 TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL CYCLE SHOW March 17th – 20th Taipei, Taiwan www.taipeicycle.com.tw

April 2009 BICYCLE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE April 15th – 17th Seaside, California www.bicycleconference.org SPEZI ‘09 April 25th – 26th Germersheim, Germany www.spezialradmesse.de

May 2009 CHINA INTERNATIONAL BICYCLE AND MOTOR FAIR May 4th – 7th Shanghai, China www.e-chinacycle.com EUROPEAN HANDMADE BICYCLE EXHIBITION May 8th – 10th Schwabisch Gmund, Germany www.e-h-b-e.eu

BIKEBIZ JANUARY13

INDUSTRY OPINIONS

Where’s my money? It has to be going somewhere. Mark Sutton asks retailers how to pinpoint losses and maximise turnover... “WE’RE a slightly unusual case as our business features no High Street shop front. Nevertheless, we have two locations in London, Battersea and Dulwich, from which we run a cycle hire business, a shop and double up as a public convenience – one of the ways in which we save on rental costs. In a rent-saving deal with the local council, as long as we act as security to the public loos, then we shall be partsubsidised by the council. Our hire scheme is a great source of revenue, even though it’s grown in popularity via wordof-mouth. At an hourly rate of £7, families come to us to enjoy the local parks without having to commit to anything more. In addition to this we carry several high-value child carriers, something parents are interested in investing in at the top-end.

Of the advice I could give to other retailers, Google can be one of the most effective ways of making yourself known. We actually had a trainee build our website and pack it full of links and buzzwords, something that the search engine loves. Secondly, check that you’re paying business rates with your telephone provider. Three years ago we were on a standard BT package. Switching to a small business plan has saved us what I estimate to be three grand.” Oliver Taylor, Owner, London Recumbents “DURING business growing pains around 18 months ago I had to really look at where my business was shedding money where it needn't be. Aside from the obvious stuff, I had to look at the staff structure. It’s never easy

laying people off, but it would have been much harder to do it further down the line. Bike shops tend to be overstaffed, especially in the winter months when things are quiet. I began looking at the potential of temporary workers – all trained in retail and savvy mechanics, of course. There’s plenty of hidden talent out there. It never hurts to look around to see who can provide the best credit card rates and then taking that figure to your existing source for negotiations. Never compromise the quality of service. We use TNT couriers. The company is not the cheapest, but its pre-paid vouchers scheme costs are lower and its reputation for reliability is fantastic. Bike sales are by far the most profitable part of our business and if we can spend an hour

with a customer selling a highend bike and making a good margin, it’s time better spent than earning £30 an hour in the workshop. However, our maintenance services are the highest priced in town, but we’re still fully booked.” Clive Gosling, Owner, Bikelab, Dorset “I SET up Bicycle Repairman five years ago now and quickly saw the benefits of going workshop only. Firstly, there are far fewer overheads and costs. For example, for product that I do buy in, there’s always going to be a follow-up fitting, meaning the margin I make on the product is always boosted by workshop revenue. My advice to other retailers would be to optimise what you’ve got and not be afraid of

the workshop. I’ve never had a complaint for charging what I’d estimate to be in the higher bracket for a service. Secondly, don't hide your mechanics away. The public can see through our front window that we are a bicycle repair outfit, so they don’t waste time calling to ask, they just bring their bikes and we book them in. I’ve often thought it worth looking at the way other industries lay out stores. The cycle trade seems to be light-years behind other trades in how to successfully market a business and make stores attractive. Last of all, don’t be afraid of your competition. Once in a while the local cycle traders from round here get together for a curry to discuss prices and trends.” Willy Bain, Bicycle Repairman, Glasgow

Mark Brown from ACT / ActSmart offers his thoughts... 1. Know your profit and loss: Many small businesses do not have true insight into their real financial position. Having a view of your profit and loss on a daily or weekly basis is absolutely essential. Don’t wait for your accountant to finish your books to find out you’ve made less than you thought. 2. Review your overheads: From staff to insurance and banking you need to be analysing your costs to find ways of reducing overheads and gaining more value. ACT members have access to a

14 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

range of competitive commercial services. Don’t just use our rates to get a better deal elsewhere. Leverage our buying power and expertise to save even more money and use our services to ensure long term benefits for all.

your pricing is as profitable as possible. Other ideas could include creating a fixed price ‘menu’ of services, selling ‘service plans’ with new bikes or adding new technical services and value-added offerings such as collection and delivery.

3. Look at your workshop pricing: Our annual workshop surveys consistently show many cycle retailers are not charging enough for their specialist workshop services. With space being the biggest challenge for most workshops it is essential

4. Make the most of the web: If you don’t have a website, seriously consider getting one. There are plenty of options available, including some fantastic free systems such as WordPress. It does not have to be big, flashy, expensive, or time

consuming and you don’t have to sell on it if you don’t wish. Your best customers may not even know you exist until they find you on the web. I can also highly recommend Google Analytics for understanding how your website is being used. And that’s free too.

however it can also hurt your business by reducing quality of service and sales. Get all your staff focused on the bottom line. Consider new incentives for improving sales and turnover.

5. Maximise your people: If you do employ staff now is the time to make sure you are getting the most value for your investment. Cutting staff in tough times is obviously the quickest way to reduce costs, BIKEBIZ.COM

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THE YEAR THAT WAS

An Olympic year 2008 was a huge year for cycling, boosted by Team GB’s Beijing success. But it was also the year that the world’s economic problems gave the industry a few grey hairs. BikeBiz look at the stories that made the front pages and got the trade talking. Jonathon Harker looks back over the last year… JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

THE YEAR kicked-off to news that biking had received £140m from the Government, to be spent on cycle safety and connecting 500 schools to the National Cycle Network. Biking’s coffers received another boost when BikeBiz-backed Sustrans Connect2 scheme won £50 million in a televised lottery contest, voted for by the general public. 42 per cent of 286,285 people backed the worthy scheme. January also brought news of Powacycle’s new lighter-than-ever battery, while elsewhere Raleigh boss Mark Gouldthorp set the record straight after an article in The Guardian. Also in the national papers, Matthew Parris apologised for his ‘humorous’ Times column about decapitating cyclists. BikeBiz magazine (left) and website both got a new look for the New Year too. Finally Core Bike also reported a bumper attendance in January.

MOBILE PHONE-based scams were top of the news agenda in February. The plot was based on hoodwinking the trade by placing false orders supposedly on behalf of dealers. The swindle saw the fraudster order high-end bikes on company accounts and an eagle-eyed Scott Sports employee spotted the scam and alerted BikeBiz and the trade to the activity. February also saw the £500m plans for London bicycle motorways unveiled and ex-Halford CEO Ian McLeod left the firm to head up a retailer in Australia. Elsewhere, the first tubeless tyre came to the 29’er market, a universal standard for Poly chains was agreed by the four major players in the sector and Cannondale was snapped up by Dorel for $200m, which split into two divisions. Finally, the month also saw the sad news that world-famous bike mechanic Sheldon Brown had passed away.

MARCH SAW news that Dahon had shifted a record 348,000 bikes in 2007. The month also saw the launch of Buffera’s trade website and brought reports that Taiwan’s export revenues were booming. Meanwhile BikeBiz reported on the upbeat words of US retail guru and bike trade legend Jay Townley who spoke at iceBike. Townley insisted that the way to grow the bike trade in the UK was to influence new people to come into the cycling market, warning that ‘inwardness’ would keep the bike market flat. Halfords revealed that it would be sponsoring Team GB, and the month also saw the launch of the fourth Specialized concept store, based in Bristol. Elsewhere, Austrian cyclists managed to cut CO2 by 299,000 tons and soon-to-be London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed he had strong plans to change the city’s roads.

16 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

BIKEBIZ.COM

THE YEAR THAT WAS

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

EYES TURNED to the East in April, and the news from the Tapei trade show was that the trade was talking about price hikes, not nice bikes. Reports expected bicycles would have to become more expensive due to China consuming more raw materials and the strengthening of the Chinese RMB. JJB revealed plans to shut 72 stores after posting an operating profit decline of 28 per cent year-on-year. Also in April, Trek filed suit against Greg Lemond following Lemond’s suing of the firm. The month saw massive investment for Evans from Active too. April brought the announcement of the first ever BikeBiz awards – a long overdue celebratory date for the trade. In fact BikeBiz was even more busy than usual in April, also launching the mobile site so that the trade could keep up to date with the latest news on-the-go via their mobile phones.

BRITISH MANUFACTURING received a shot in the arm in May with news that Brompton had pumped £1 million into its Brentford HQ. The firm also revealed that year-on-year turnover had leapt 27 per cent. In contrast the BRC revealed that the High Street was taking a battering with the worst performance in three years. Sportsdirect.com got chastised by the OFT for its ‘closing down’ sales and a team of scientists managed to kick up a storm by making the hugely a controversial link between cancer and carbon nanotubes – common components found in sports equipment, including bicycles. Meanwhile BikeBiz’s own Carlton Reid won an award for his blog, Cycling England went public with a plea to get kids back on bikes, Bohle moved to a new hi-tech headquarters and manufacturer Saracen bolstered its HQ staff.

GORDON BROWN voiced his backing of bikes in July, saying “the place of cycling in our society is set to grow, and I’m committed to doing everything possible to encourage that.” Meanwhile, the UK trade was urged not to panic at increasing lead times for Shimano product. The firm reacted to those delays by significantly ramping up production. July also saw JJB shareholders kept happy by buyout rumours that sparked a boost for its share price. Sales figures revealed a rise in city cycling, Halfords appointed a new CEO – former WalMart exec David Wild – Europe got its own handheld bicycle show and the disposable fifteen quid bike, made of cardboard, was revealed. June also saw a higher profile for worlds of biking and ecological awareness with a combined event at the Camden Green Fair and Bikefest.

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

JULY BROUGHT news that London’s cycle retailers were urging Transport for London to spend cash on repairing existing cycle networks, rather than splashing cash on new structures. Elsewhere, rising bike use in the US had boosted urban-commuter bikes, according to research from Nielsen. But there was yet more glum news for retailers as a survey from GFK told us that UK consumer confidence had hit an all-time low. July also saw the theft of David Cameron’s bike, pinched while he shopped for salad. He described the bike as an ‘old friend’ and luckily for the Tory politician, a PR-savvy Dutch tourist board waded in and offered the Tory leader a replacement. Elsewhere, BikeBiz hailed the news that honours had been granted to two of the industry’s best-known characters – Robert Chicken Snr and John Grimshaw.

THE OLYMPICS grabbed the headlines in August, with cycling heroes Chris Hoy, Nicole Cooke, Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton boosting cycling’s profile and popularity in the UK. Retail certainly saw a knock-on effect, with Evans taking £100,000 in one store during ‘victory week’. Eyes also turned to Britain’s own Olympics in 2012, with the MTB venue confirmed to be at Hadleigh Farm, Essex. August saw high-profile resignations in the biking industry, including Halford chairman Richard Pym – leaving to join Bradford & Bingley, while Cannondale CEO Jeff Frehner also moved on. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown insisted his hands were tied on the matter of scrapping import duty of bicycles, despite a huge online petition. The BikeBike Awards Finalists were also announced, in August, ahead of the October Awards.

THE AFTERGLOW of cycling’s Olympic successes continued into September, with Tesco reporting a 130 per cent rise in bicycle sales. JD Sports also had something to celebrate this month, reporting a pre-tax profit rise of 71 per cent. The month saw the first shipment of Powabyke’s X-byke sell out before it arrived, and Canada’s Ryder eyewear range came to the UK. TfL and LCC set up the cycling centre in West London and ETRA was forced to cancel Mobility Week. The event had been intended as a key opportunity to target MEPs with the E-bike and PTWs as a solution to congestion in European cities. Rumour became reality in September too, with confirmation that Lance Armstrong was to come out of retirement and hit 2009’s Tour De France.

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

THE FIRST EVER BikeBiz awards took place in October. Bob Chicken scooped the Industry Acheivement Award, with BikeRadar, Sustrans, Rouleur and USE Exposure all winning accolades at the virtual event. Other winners on the day included DMR, Madison, Hope Technology, Hot Wheels, Extra UK and Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative. Condor Cycles, CRC and Halfords also received awards, voted for by a panel of industry judges. October also saw claims from the AA that motorists are turning to cycling and away from their cars. But in less positive news, the UK manufacturing industry recorded its sharpest decline in 17 years. Bizarrely, Cycling England found that fears of ‘helmet hair’ put 27 per cent of women off cycling, while Velorbis entered the tricycle arena and Zyro signed an exclusive deal with Prologo.

WITH CHRISTMAS looming and concerns on the High Street over how sales might suffer in view of economic gloom, the Government took ‘extraordinary measures’ and cut VAT. The move wasn’t universally praised, with many questioning the value of the move to the UK’s economy. Inflation did drop in November though and Halfords saw an increase in turnover and electric bikes sales continued to surge. November also saw Transport for London launching a safety campaign to protect cyclists. Ironically, in the same month the GLA unveiled plans to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes, a move that angered cyclists over fears that the area wouldn’t be as cyclist-friendly as in the past. Tweeter was also on the trade’s lips, or fingertips, as the new social site to keep in touch with the rest of the industry.

DECEMBER SAW the bike industry grapple with the worrying economic climate; Greyville announced it would hold prices for Christmas, while Evans cut prices by five per cent. Internationally, China raised export subsidies to keep bikes buoyant. And in the crucial trading month, pundits remained generally upbeat for the cycling trade. Cycle shows were selling out, while biking emerged as one of the big hopes to keep the economy ticking over. It was a tale of mixed fortunes for retail chains though. Outside the industry Woolworths’ fortunes took a tumble, while within sales dipped for JJB. In contrast Halfords expanded its High Street offering by unveiling its ‘independent’ Republic shops. December also saw Madison acquire Saracen and Chris Hoy helped the industry end the year on a high by winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

BIKEBIZ.COM

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 17

BIKERADAR LIVE PREVIEW

We felt the timing was right to launch a truly interactive event where we can incorporate all aspects of our titles and sites. James Poole, Commercial Director, Future Publishing

New cycling event speeds into view Future’s forthcoming BikeRadar Live festival is set to combine the might of all of its print and web bikebased titles. BikeBiz grills James Poole and Katherine Raderecht for more on this year’s event... FUTURE PUBLISHING may have only announced BikeRadar Live a month ago, but interest in the Donnington Park event is already high, with the specialist magazine publisher now announcing key features. The BikeRadar Live festival will include road and mountain bike rides and races, bike demos, the best gear and act as an industry-wide expo with products from all disciplines. BikeRadar Live is Future’s first new event announced for 2009 and is an extension of the company’s successful events portfolio, which includes the Bike Demo Days (both off-road and road cycling), auto events like Trax and entertainment gatherings including the Classic Rock Roll of Honour, Golden Joystick Awards and the Total Film Red Carpet Preview. BikeRadar Live builds on the strength of Future’s online cycling brands, namely www.cyclingnews.com and

18 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

www.bikeradar.com and will bring together all disciplines of cycling in a spectacular outdoor environment, giving people the chance to ride and compete, as well as sample the best in bikes from some of the biggest names in the industry. On the weekend of May 29th to 31st 2009, Donington Park, Derbyshire – the home of the Download rock festival, and now the UK F1 Grand Prix – will play host to a weekend of riding and racing, with a whole series of features and treats planned. Key off-road features running all weekend will include challenges and races for all skill levels. You can expect a competitive edge to the mountain biking events, with a 12-hour endurance race, dirt jump and dual slalom hosted by Mountain Biking UK; and the What Mountain Bike team offering a skills riding school, along with the best in off-road demonstrations.

Road cyclists will get the chance to compete in various endurance pursuits on Britain’s new Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit as well as plenty of time to challenge personal bests, and

There will also be the chance for enthusiasts to test out the very best bikes on the market, in the biggest ever Bike Demo Day sessions – occuring in the Donington circuit and also in a

I’m thrilled that we are launching a new cycling event. To bring our portfolio to life is really exciting. Katherine Raderecht, Group Publisher also to take part in track sessions for fun. Cycling Plus will be hosting a Sportif and nighttime track challenge, and ProCycling will be featuring the Giro d’Italia and Lance Armstrong’s long awaited return, along with the latest in cycling movies from the silver screen hosted by portal www.cyclingnews.com.

purpose-built mountain bike course. Other attractions will include a huge manufacturers exhibition, world record attempts, as well as kids and family events too – including a kids’ bikes demo, kids’ races and even a family camping area. James Poole, commercial director for Future’s sports

portfolio said: “We meet so many people, both industry and consumers, who remember the success of the Olympia and the NEC Bike Shows. “At the time, and for our magazines, the format worked. But now the portfolio has grown considerably with four magazines and two websites, so we felt the timing was right to launch a truly interactive event where we can incorporate all aspects of our magazines and websites.” Katherine Raderecht, group publisher added: “I am thrilled that we are launching a new cycling event. We have a history of running incredibly successful indoor events and to bring our portfolio of magazines and websites to life at a fantastic outside venue like Donington presents us with a really exciting opportunity. BikeRadar covers the whole spectrum of cycling and that’s what we’re doing with BikeRadar Live.” BIKEBIZ.COM

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE

Fox

Monaco

Siwis

S8

Windwave

Extra

The Lounge

The Lounge & S10

Silverfish

Monza

Chicken Cycle-kit Nurburgring & S12

20 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

Jim Walker

Merida

Magny Cours & S11

2Pure

Ison

Melbourne

Catalunya

Indianapolis & Imola

Upgrade

Hungoraring

Paligap

Citrus Lime

Hope

Buffera

Hockenheim

S7

Suzuka

S9

BIKEBIZ.COM

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE

Core Bike 2009 BikeBiz provides your essential guide to one of the biggest events in the bike trade calendar. We’ve got all you need to plan your trip, with the brands and products to

BIKEBIZ.COM

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 21

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE

HOW TO GET TO WHITTLEBURY HALL By Road Exit the M1 (11 miles) at J15A. Take the A43 dual-carriageway towards Oxford/ Silverstone (Speed safety camera on A43). After nine miles turn left onto the A413 signposted Buckingham/ Whittlebury. Drive through Whittlebury village to the far side and turn right into Whittlebury Hall/Whittlebury Park. From the M40 (18 miles) exit at J10 and take the A43 towards

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Northampton. At the Whittlebury junction, turn right onto the A413 signposted Buckingham/Whittlebury. Drive through Whittlebury village to the far side and turn right into Whittlebury Hall/Whittlebury Park. Alternative routes are available from the M40. Also from M1 via Junction 14 and 15. From Central Milton Keynes (11 miles). Follow the A5 north and drive through the villages of Potterspury and Paulerspury. Take a left turn to Pury

End/ Whittlebury. Turn left at the T junction, drive through Whittlebury village to the far side and turn right into Whittlebury Hall.

By Rail Rail users travel to nearby Northampton or Milton Keynes railway stations. Both stations are main line stations with regular service

connections to all parts of the United Kingdom.

By Air London Heathrow (70 minutes), Birmingham International (50 minutes), Luton (40 minutes) and East Midlands (40 minutes) airports are all within easy reach of Whittlebury Hall.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 23

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE

Core Bike 2009 will be cramming 150 brands and 15 companies into three days, starting from Sunday January 25th and ending Tuesday January 27th. Jonathon Harker takes a closer look at what each exhibitor will have on offer for the trade at the Whittlebury Hall-based event later this month… Silverfish Silverfish, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2009, will be exhibiting a wide range of products from 11 of the world’s leading cycle manufacturers at the show. The firm will have knowledgeable members of the Silverfish team alongside representatives from brands to speak to dealers at the event. Evil Bikes will get its official UK launch at the show from the firm. Meanwhile Silverfish will also have the full range of 2009 DW-Link equipped Turner Bikes on display at Core Bike.

24 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

Upgrade Designer Dave Turner will be present at the show to meet dealers face-to-face, and Dave Weagle will also be joining Silverfish, showing off the new range of 2009 e.thirteen chain guides and products. Amongst Silverfish’s other Core Bike offerings is the 2009 Armour protection range with new youth and women’s pads alongside the popular soft goods line-up. RedFace’s multiple price point offerings will also feature in Silverfish’s show presence, as will THE’s range of biker protection, with

full-face ‘One’ helmet, mud guards, pads and saddles. Rocky Mountain’s new Altitude 5.5” travel platform will also feature alongside the new carbon fibre Vertex frame, which has already been used to win a World Cup and the World Cup Series in 2008 testing. Representatives from the manufacturer will be available to talk attendees through the range and answer questions. Other Core Bike Silverfish highlights will include the complete range of SDG saddles and Cove Bikes Stiffee.

This year Upgrade is giving UK bike dealers the chance to speak to head honchos from three international brands: Lezyne, Oval Concepts and AtomLab. Atomlab’s presence at Core Bike 2009 marks the return of the firm to the UK market after a few years’ absence. Founder Mike Flaherty will be at the show to speak to dealers and give them an insight into the firm and what’s coming up for Atomlab. Upgrade will also be joined by founder, designer and head of Lezyne Micki Kozuschek. The enthusiastic Kozuschek will be available to talk to dealers through the finer details of the Lezyne range and will deliver a sales presentation that’s not to

be missed. Upgrade will be launching Lezyne’s year two range, including an improved line-up covering floor pumps, hand pumps, multi-tools, hydration and saddle bags. Oval Concept’s Morgan Nicol will also be on hand at Upgrade Bikes’ booth. Nicol’s wealth of knowledge and experience has led world-class riders to turn to him to help improve their bike fit and aerodynamic position and he will impart some of his expertise in a daily seminar. The talk will provide an insight into the workings of a pro tour team, the UCI and the stresses of competing at the highest level.

BIKEBIZ.COM

Come and See us at the 2009 Core Bike Show. Jan 25th, 26th and 27th

b2b.jimwalker.co.uk

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE Ison Ison has tantalisingly revealed that it will be announcing a ‘secret project’ at Core Bike ‘09. The firm has remained tightlipped on the subject, apart from the fact that it has been working with a market-leading company on the project. But secret ventures apart, Ison will be based in the Indianapolis

room and will be bringing a range of industry faces from around the world along with them to the show, including Salsa Cycles’ Steve Johnson, Surly Bikes’ John Fleck, Schwalbe’s Chris Hearn and John Becker from Weldtite, Fibrax and KHE Bikes. Rohloff’s Stuart Stabik will also be joining the personnel and

will hold question and answer sessions twice daily. Those Rohloff Speedhub sessions will take place in the ‘Imola’ room and will last for 30 minutes. Ison will be showcasing many new for 2009 products from the likes of Halo Wheels, Identiti Bikes, Gusset Parts, Light Blue Cycles, Dia Compe brakes, ODI

Paligap The Paligap team, based in the Hockenheim room, will be on hand at Core Bikes 09 to go through its ranges, including a first look at the 2009 Sombrio clothing range, Kona Bicycles, Ritchey components and The CycleOps range of turbo trainers and PowerTap meters. Paligap will be bringing along a selection of representatives from its suppliers to the Core Bike ’09 show too. Roland ten Brinke from Fast Forward Wheels will be joining Paligap to give one-to-one training on the firm’s 2009 range of carbon wheels to attendees. TORQ Fitness owner Matt Hart will also be in the Paligap

Extra room and will go through every aspect of the firm’s Energy range, including bars, gels, powders and new Torq Singles. Hart will be on hand to impart his expert knowledge and experience to dealers wanting any information on training and energy. UK dealers will also be able to get their first look at the 2009 Quintana Roo bicycles as part of Paligap’s presence at the Core Bike 09 show. Chris Hewings from the American Bicycle Group will be at the show to talk about the Quintana Roo bikes, as well as the new Litespeed and Merlin bicycles.

Chicken Cycle-kit Chicken Cycle-kit will be showcasing its increasingly broad mix of products, including exclusive LAS Helmets and Vittoria. The firm will be paying particular attention to the accessories market this year with brands including Squire locks, Velomann Computers and those LAS Helmets. Chicken Cycle-kit’s presence at Whittlebury Hall will be based largely in the Nurburgring room and the firm will be bringing a huge line-up of guests along to Core Bike ’09, including Roberto Peruffo from Italy’s Velomann Computers, who will be available to speak with dealers and

Windwave Windwave will be based in the Lounge area at Core Bike 2009 and will be bringing brands like Colnago, FSA, Marzocchi, Ice Toolz, Corsair, Mace and A2Z to the show. Windwave has several guests lined-up to appear at Core Bike, including Gianni Silveri, European sales manager for German industrial cable manufacturer Nokon. Gianni will be on hand to answer technical or compatibility queries on Nokon’s unique and patented cabling system, based on solid, interlocking BIKEBIZ.COM

grips, Powergrips, TSG Protection, Trickstuff and more. Ison will also host seminars with Rohloff Speedhub specifically designed for service technicians. The sessions will cover full tech set-up, service techniques and niggles for the gearbox, running on January 27th from 3.30pm to 6pm.

outer links with a sealed inner cable. Other guests include notable names from racing cycle

attendees from Sunday to Monday. Also from Italy, the firm will also be bringing over Mauro Moretto from Selle Italia saddles, Raffaele Rosafio from Capagnolo, Fabrizio Aghito from Cinelli and Roberta Ghilardi from LAS. Holland’s KMC Chains will be represented with Chicken CycleKit by Christ Bakker, while Klaus Greuter of Sapim will be joining the firm to speak to UK dealers. Phillippe de Silva from Rigida rims will also be in attendance at the show over the weekend, as will Ryde wheels. Finally, TIME’s Alain Descroix and SKS’s Jan Henning will also appear.

Extra has packed a wide range of guests into its Core Bike 2009 schedule from some of the brands the firm will be bringing to the show. Those guests will include industry faces from overseas and UK-based firms. From English manufacturer Brooks, Extra will be bringing Cristina Wurdig and Steve Green. US manufacturing firm Cane Creek will be represented by Peter Gilbert, Ergon’s James Towelson will also be joining the firm at the show, as will Nicolo Mannoni from Fizik and Albert Fonte from SR. All of those guests will be on hand to answer questions and educate dealers about their respective brands. Extra will have other brands on show too, including Diety, Bioflex, Easton and Progold. Extra will be launching the new Intense Tracers and the BMC range, which includes mountain bikes, as well as revealing Mulebar – a firm that offers 100 per cent natural and organic energy bars that are available in six tasty flavours.

manufacturer Colnago. Alessandro Colnago, the man in charge of the firm’s marketing and website – and grandson of founder and owner of Colnago bicycles Ernesto Colnago – will be attending the event with Windwave. The firm will also be bringing Diego Colossio, international sales manager, to discuss the Colango current range and to tackle any technical questions.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 29

CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE

Citrus Lime Citrus Lime will be based in S7 at this year’s Core Bike event. The firm will showcase the tailor-made solutions it offers to cycle retailers. Including Ecommerce, Epos and Stock Control which the firm promises to be able to hugely benefit UK bike retailers. The firm uses Microsoft Dynamics – software that manages Epos, Stock Control and retail for dealers. Taking

2Pure care of troublesome tasks like mail merges, analysis of profits and integrating with ecommerce systems, the package is designed to ease the administrative burden facing bike retailers. Citrus Lime also makes use of the Integrated Ecommerce systems for ‘Clicks and Mortar’ retailers. Integrating with the Microsoft RMS stock control system, the package allows

retailers to display all RMS products and stock levels on their sites. Ultimately, the package allows firms to run one business online and instore with the minimum of fuss. The package also offers flexibility in producing sales and offers, as well as automated credit card processing, with a graphic design-friendly nature, and a full marketing system that tracks all-important ROI.

Buffera 11 year-old Buffera will be showcasing its own new SueMe brand – a fresh new line of ethically sourced sportswear. The energetic and young brand uses minimal packaging and waste materials at manufacturing, while using soya-based inks, bamboo viscose fibres and other environmentally friendly materials and methods to reduce its impact on the resources of the planet. Buffera representatives will also be on hand to show dealers other lines being looked after by the firm, including Buff multifunctional headwear. Manufactured in Spain, the brand offers products that are

30 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

system creator Reelight, racing bicycle firm Rivette, Sqlab, Ultimate and – new for ’09 – Nema Clothing, a brand that 2Pure is planning to grow. 2Pure will also be bringing guests to the event, including Brad Barker, general manager at Lizard Skins. 2Pure will focus on Custom grips and Custom chain stay protection. Tobias Hild, founder and owner of SQ labs will also attend with his pressure mapping equipment that provide detailed ergonomic profiles of riders.

suitable for every weather condition. Buffera will also be bringing the Hides brand to Core Bike 2009, which includes products that offer multi-functional eyewear necessities. Based on ensuring expensive eyewear doesn’t come to a sticky end, the Hides products use a microfibre fabric featuring a ‘double roll technology’ that fits over expensive eyewear while also protecting and cleaning it with a special middle section. Buffera will be based in S9, close to the Chequers Court Yard at Whittlebury Hall. Buffera’s presence at Core will also include the SueMe Buff Bar, found at their stand.

Hope Hope Technology will bring its cutting edge designs for showgoers to get involved with. The UK firm’s range of wheelsets will feature – it’s a line-up which prides itself on value, reliability and performance, and has recently grown to include the Pro3 SP. Hope’s advanced disc brakes and hubs will also feature – covering many genres from lightweight Mono Mini Pro to the robust Mono M4. Core

2Pure will be found in the Catalunya room at Core Bike 2009. 2Pure will be squeezing plenty of products and brands into its show offering and will be bringing Crank Brothers and Clif Bar to the show, the latter of which’s electrolyte chew Shot Blok will be on hand for tasting. 2Pure will also have representatives of protective gear specialist Lizard Skins and US-based technical lighting firm NiteRider. Pinhead Components will be showcased by 2Pure too, alongside safety lighting

Jim Walker attendees will also get to glimpse the new Special Edition Pink Mono Minis, which the firm expects will be a ‘must-have’ this Christmas. The exclusive Kidz 24” wheel frameset also promises to turn heads at the show, as well the Sh1t Shifter, a specially formulated bike wash that won’t harm brakes. Vision will feature too – with Hope shedding light on the new four LED 1000 lumen output light.

High-performance specialising distributor Jim Walker is making its Core Bike debut this year and will have a fleet of well-known brands at its disposal. Some of those top-end brands include 3T, argon18, Campagnolo, Ciclosport, Continental, Iron Horse, Speedplay, KoolStop and Token. Also on show for dealers to peruse will be the 2009 DeRosa

range, with the King 3 and the new Neo Pro. World Cup winning Sunday bike from Iron Horse will be on show at the event, alongside the updated Six-point and MK III, and the brand new Bootleg crosscountry bikes. The firm will also showcase soft goods too, including the new Northwave Shoes and apparel ranges, alongside Campagnolo’s

new line of Sportswear. Campagnolo components will also be on hand as part of Jim Walker’s Core Bike line-up, including the new 11-speed groupsets. Also at the show will be Italian manufacturer Fulcrum Wheels with new additions like the Ceramic XLR carbon wheels and for mountain bikes, the Red Fire wheels.

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CORE BIKE 09 GUIDE Fox Fox’s 2009 line-up was created with the aim of becoming the ultimate collection of riding gear for serious mountain bikes. The range that Fox will showcase at Core Bike 2009 will feature innovative ideas, twists on old favourites and top performing legacy products. With a philosophy of using the best technology and design talent in order to create the optimal quality, comfort and performance of its products. Fox’s premium goggle – the Main Pro – will feature highly at the show, including performance fit-enhancing outrigger frame clips and its O Matter frame these lightweight goggles are race ready right out of the box.

Merida Also heading up the Fox range is the best-selling Flux Helmet, which will now be available in a third size. This new iteration of the popular helmet is smaller and suitable for younger and adult riders. With the added size offering an even better fit for consumers, the Flux Helmet is available in a wide range of colours. Also on offer at Core Bike 2009 is the chance for dealers to see Fox’s new High Voltage Short. Using the strengths of the High Frequency Short, the High Voltage uses a Microfiber polyester outer shell, like its predecessors, but adds a detachable inner liner. Fox will be based over in the Monaco suite at this year’s show.

Merida’s presence at the Core Bike event will be based in the Magny Cours and S11 rooms at Whittlebury Hall. Priding itself on a simple approach to the business, the firm will be showcasing a variety of new and popular bike models at the event.

Those include the Ninety Six model range, representing the latest carbon fibre technology available and is one of the stiffest and lightest fullsuspension bike in the world – the 9kg Ninety Six Team D. Show-goers can also expect to see the likes of the 12-inch

wheel to Triathalon, from BMX to all-mountain products. With Merida focusing on producing innovative products and using some of the most state-of-theart testing equipment in the world, the firm’s presence at Core Bike 2009 is sure to be a main attraction for attendees.

SIWIS SiWIS will be based in S8, close to the Chequers Court Yard, this year. The firm, founded by Si Watts, offers bespoke web work for retailers, building dedicated systems to suit specific retailer needs. Watt’s experience in the trade, which dates all the way back to the mid-1980s, has been utilised in the firm’s

services. Watts originally worked in the retail environment and later as a rep for a major player of the time. Building websites began as a hobby for a select few customers, but the business soon grew to become a thriving service solely for the web needs of bike-related firms.

SiWIS also offers the ibikeShop.com – an easy to use etail system. The comprehensive product includes simple selfmanagement systems that make looking after the content of sites easy for those of all abilities, including both novices and those better acquainted with information technology.

Seminar section UPGRADE BIKES Presented by Morgan Nicol LOCATION: Hungaroring TIMES: Sunday 25th, Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th January 2009 at 3pm (time provisional – to be confirmed) CONTENT: ‘How Cadel found and then lost his Optimal Aero Position (and then the Tour)’ Throughout the 2007 and 2008 season Morgan worked closely with the Silence-Lotto team riders and management to give them the best aero equipment possible with the ultimate aim of Cadel Evans

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winning the Tour de France. Find out what really happened last July in France. CITRUS-LIME Presented by Neil McQuillan (Citrus-Lime Business Consultant) LOCATION: TBC TIMES: TBC CONTENT: Managing Customer Relationships in the Bike Industry – Good business practice for any retailer but now even more topical due to the current trading environment. The seminar will cover issues relating to customer retention, marketing

and, crucially, increasing average sale values. Ecommerce and the Bike Business – Citrus-Lime is a specialist in the area and in this presentation will discuss what makes a successful ecommerce retailer – and the pitfalls to avoid. Will be of interest to those already trading online as well as those looking to open a new channel to market.

ISON LOCATION: Imola room TIMES: Tuesday 27th 3:30 - 6:00pm CONTENT: Rohloff full technical set-up/service techniques/niggles seminar (for service technicians only).

ISON LOCATION: Imola room TIMES: Twice daily (30 mins) CONTENT: Rohloff Speedhub – show and tell/question and answer session

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RADIO REVOLUTION

If your business had a radio jingle, how would it sound...

Speak up! WHEN I think of bike shops and radio campaigns a cheesy but catchy jingle pops into my head. “Hardisty Cycles – home of the Mountain Bike... top of Shields Road, Byker.” It loses a lot without the music and the lilting, lyrical presentation. Hardisty Cycles was on my home patch of Newcastle upon Tyne and was one of Metro Radio’s best-known early advertisers. The shop was sold to Edinburgh Bicycle in 2003, but many North Eastern cyclists could still hum that old tune. A survey of the general public in 2000 found that, when asked to name a bike shop, most people on Tyneside chose Hardisty Cycles. In other parts of the country, Halfords always came out top. Hardisty Cycles didn’t just run the odd radio ad here and there. It was a master of the airwaves, splurging most of its promotional budget on audio awareness. Hardisty Cycles’ then co-owner, John Hardisty, told me his ad campaigns weren’t run in spite of poor trading conditions, but because of them. Radio advertising need not be expensive. The plethora of commercial radio stations means competition is fierce and ad rates can be nearly as cheap as chips, especially out of primetime when ad rates plummet – but, then, so do audiences. Radio BIKEBIZ.COM

advertising is hyper-effective because it’s hyper-local. There’s a community feel to radio, a feel that’s not present in, say, Yellow Pages advertising. Radio advertisements reach individuals when they are in their homes, in their cars, while they are on the internet or while they’re out and about in a public space. It’s even possible your radio ad could be heard in a rival shop. Peter Hargroves, owner of

Profile-raising radio advertising is a perfect way to reach customers when cash is tight. Carlton Reid speaks to Alan Cotty of Studio 24 to find out more...

“The ad campaigns are run on a regional radio station when there’s a need to reach an older audience, and on a younger focussed radio station when there’s a need to generate local awareness to a young audience. “The format of the Hargroves’ campaigns range from general brand awareness adverts to very specific call-to-action ads depending on their specific requirements at any particular

reaches people at key times of the day, which can be tailored to the season. It’s a very powerful medium.” What about podcasts? Does Cotty believe bike shops would benefit from internet audio? “I feel there is a lot of value in a bike store producing a podcast. The more angles a store uses to appeal, connect and reach its audience the better. A podcast provides a great way of keeping

Ads which raise a smile are more memorable. Radio advertising, when done right, can be extremely cost effective, especially during an economic downturn.

Radio Daze Jingle: Some may annoy, but boy, are they catchy. A good jingle is worth paying through the nose for. It becomes a signature tune, part of your business. If you get it commissioned, it will be more expensive to ‘buy out’ the copyright but it will be worth it in the long run. Catchphrase: Bruce Forsyth has a load of them, you need

just the one. Roll all your USPs into one short, punchy line. And then repeat it ad infinetum. Laugh: Radio ads which raise a smile are more memorable. Getting a jingle, a catchphrase and a side-splitter into a 30-second radio ad is not easy but radio advertising, done right, can be extremely cost effective, especially in an economic downturn.

Talk to your customers Got a member of staff with a good speaking voice? Put him or her on a shop podcast. It’s easy to produce a podcast, even on a tight budget. Buy a cheap, but good quality, omnidirectional mike and a digital tape recorder. Record somewhere quiet. Add a free jingle or music loop (Apple’s Garageband has plenty).

Upload the resulting MP3 file to a podcast-specific file server such as Libsyn.com. This adds your content to iTunes, the world’s biggest podcast library. Don't risk podfade – publish content on a regular basis. Once customers subscribe to your podcast RSS ‘feed’, via iTunes or feedburner, you can auto-send them audio files and anything else digital.

Hargroves Cycles, a four-store chain in Hampshire and Sussex, is a big believer in radio: “Every time we advertise on radio it significantly increases our sales.” Hargroves uses Alan Cotty of Studio24 to plan, produce and implement his store's radio campaigns. Cotty is the younger brother of Cannondale's marketing manager Mike Cotty. “I’ve provided radio services to Hargroves Cycles for the last 18 months, most recently for their end of season sale in September,” said Cotty.

time of the season. Their adverts tend to be standard productions of 30 second duration with one voice and background music.” Cotty believes radio advertising is good for building brand awareness, and generating sales, from a new audience. It’s also personal: “With radio, when your advert is broadcasting it’s the only thing on-air gaining the audience’s attention.” Radio ads can be tweaked, almost on the run: “Radio is flexible and the format of the advert or campaign can be changed quickly. Radio also

customers up-to-date with latest news, products and special events in an entertaining and informative fashion.” But invest in some good quality kit, or pay a professional outfit: “A pro sounding podcast gives the impression of a pro store. A home-made podcast on the other hand may give a negative reflection on the store, potentially sounding tacky and low-end,” said Cotty.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 35

BRAND SPOTLIGHT HOPE

Never more Hope-ful That’s the word on the company’s outlook going forward. Mark Sutton looks at what Barnoldswickbased Hope has to boast about 20 years after two Rolls Royce employees ditched four wheels for two…

We’re willing to invest in the best new kit, whatever the price. If we want or need it, we buy it. We invest heavily in the future, our people and the brand. BIKEBIZ.COM

HOPE is a company born of two cycling enthusiasts, who at the time worked as aerospace engineers for Rolls Royce. On the brand’s 20th anniversary, braking has come a long way and is virtually unrecognisable when compared to the sector that company founders Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp grumbled about back in ‘89. It was during that year that the two, quite wisely, left the car trade in favour of pursuing their personal passion, utilised their combined engineering knowledge and started Hope. The firm’s principles were soon tested as three years after forming the country saw increasingly tough times for UK manufacturers due to a looming recession. With production of most bike product being outsourced to the Far East, Hope was faced with the same dilemma as every other brand in the trade – to outsource, or not to outsource?

Concerns about the quality of goods made abroad conflicted with the brand’s philosophy and the foundations upon which it was set up. According to the cofounders, these are: “To produce high quality, durable parts that we would want to use; to use the latest and best design and machine tools; produce virtually every part in our UK factory from raw material to finished item; and to complete all processes under the strict UK environmental and employment controls. And to top it off, give out no sales waffle, letting the product do the talking.” Hope remains to this day a Barnoldswick, Lancashire-based manufacturer and has survived several periods of difficult financial conditions. And the firm looks stronger than ever as the economy once again dips. Co-founder and director, Ian Weatherill says: “Under no circumstances whatsoever would we outsource work we

can produce in-house. We take a great deal of pride from producing our products in the UK. We can do it better, faster and with more control than if manufacturing thousands of miles away.” On the eve of the company’s birthday celebrations 86 staff are currently employed, of which 90 per cent live within three miles – making cycling to work a credible transport option for the enthusiasts. Many of those workers are assigned to run Hope’s ever-growing portfolio of CNC machines, which at present include 38 units carrying out various production runs. The factory also boasts its own heat-treating facility, used to harden the discs, as well as automated polishing machines for those finishing touches and its own anodising plant. All design work is done inhouse too. The design team is trained in the very latest computer-aided software, which

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 37

BRAND SPOTLIGHT HOPE is primed to create highlyaccurate drawings which can then be printed as threedimensional models. At this stage models are analysed before prototyping begins. And because it’s all done under one roof, the turnaround of a brand new product can be exceedingly fast and costs can be kept under tight control. Raw material enters the factory as extrusions, which are then cut into billets, machined, turned and milled to create what is essentially a finished part. The components are then de-burred, cleaned, polished, anodised and laser etched – all in-house, until finally being hand assembled, packed and shipped. It’s an incredibly efficient, and admirable, process. Asked how it’s been possible to remain a UK exclusive business, Weatherill tells BikeBiz: “Remaining on this site has been possible because we’re willing to invest in the best new kit, whatever the price. We never go through financial justifications for investments – if we want or need it, we buy it. It seems to work out in the long run.” Training is a large part of Hope’s investment in the UK. As an ISO 9002 approved company, investing in staff is central to the brand’s success – after all, in order to produce a quality product, those behind the process have to have their talents fine-tuned. Weatherill added: “We’re not just an archaic ‘typical Britishshed industry’ with blokes in boiler suits and oily rags in their pockets. It’s high-tech, modern and uses cutting edge technology. We use machinery and technology when it first becomes available – which other companies have only recently got involved with and then subsequently shout about. “We invest heavily in the future, machinery, people and the brand.” It is this belief in its people that has enabled Hope to challenge non-traditional sectors such as lighting and bits with bearings. Asked what he makes of such products making waves in a series of positive magazine reviews, Weatherill said: “It is great to get good reviews on any of our products. It sends a buzz around the whole factory here at Hope. “All of our 85 employees care about how our products are received – all our jobs depend on it. We only make products that we would personally want

38 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

to use so that leaves us lots more products to work on.” Financially the company has been advised by ‘business gurus’ that the firm could make a fortune should it outsource to the Far East. On this topic he says: “We do okay but then again Simon and I don’t have aspirations to own yachts or private jets. We don’t have shareholders, banks or ‘vulture’ capitalists on our backs. We only need to make a wage plus a pound or two and we’re happy. If we were in it for the money we would not manufacture everything in-house. “We have often been advised by so-called business gurus that we could make a fortune if we used our brand and designs, but manufactured the products in China. It’s never been considered as an option.” With another stunning product range hitting retail in 2009, Weatherill is quietly confident that the brand will continue to excel. While uncertain as to what new product is coming next from the firm, he’s curious as to what Hope can ‘do better’. He concludes: “We’ve recently had the new Tech range of brakes come to market and 2009 will be its first year. We’ve got new hubs on the way and an extended range of pre-built wheels. We’re always looking at stems and lights and we have a couple of new things in that area as well. The long-awaited seatpost will finally arrive shortly too. “From there, we’ll reflect on whatever else we discover that can be done better.” Hope: 01282 851200 Service and warranty: 01282 818413 www.hopegb.com

If we were in it for the money then we would not manufacture everything in-house. It’s never been considered as an option and we have no aspirations to own yachts or private jets.

BIKEBIZ.COM

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FISHER SHOW PREVIEW

Fisher Expo set to bowl over retail The distributor’s forthcoming trade expo is set to start its innings on February 15th at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Packed full with exhibitors, top-name brands, special guests, seminars, surprises and much more, Lisa Foster takes a closer look at what the trade can expect from the three-day event... EXPO 08 was a tremendous success, showcasing a wide range of the products supplied by Fisher Outdoor Leisure. And this coming year’s show promises to be even more successful, with Expo 09 once again being hosted at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham – a spectacular venue which oozes sporting heritage. The show will take place from Sunday February 15th to Tuesday February 17th 2009. Expo 09 will be a unique, interactive experience, showcasing a wide range of products from over 50 brands including Fisher’s most recent additions of Norco and WTB and the licence agreements of Lambretta and bspoke. Throughout the show there will be a series of informative seminars covering key topics such as Trading During 2009-10 and Fisher Customer/Online Services, complemented with Q&A sessions. Workshops will

42 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

Expo 09 will be a unique, interactive experience, showcasing a wide range of products from over 50 brands, including the very latest of Fisher’s additions to its portfolio and licence agreements. also be taking place, providing the opportunity to develop product and brand knowledge. A full schedule will be announced shortly. Trading During 2009-10: A business update, reviewing the past 12 months trading for both Fisher and customers – and looking forward to focus on how the current economic climate could affect trading over the coming 12-18 months. Customer/Online Services A workshop on the Fisher B2B website featuring the recent

improvements and plans for the future, including the launch of a new B2C site. There will also be technical workshops and presentations taking place on the exhibition stands, talking through the 2009 ranges and identifying the key selling points of the products. This is a great opportunity for customers to get to know the brands and products they sell. Offers Exclusive, not to be missed offers and promotions will be available at Expo 09 in the form of a

Customer Promotions Booklet. Each customer who attends the show will be given a booklet to fill in to receive some fantastic deals. Each customer will also get a free goody bag for attending! Brands New Brands – WTB The newly acquired brand WTB will be launched at Expo 09. See the range of tyres, saddles and grips that will be distributed by Fisher from January 2009. Norco For those who have not yet seen the Norco bikes, the range of

Downhill, Freeride, All Mountain, XC & XC Hardtail, Dirt & Street, Sports Hybrid and Comfort bikes will all be on display. Lambretta The preview of the first Lambretta bike created by Fisher will be a must-see for anyone attending the show. The Li 126 is an urban bike that will be available in both men’s and ladies’ versions. These will be the first models in the range of Lambretta Bicycles and accessories that will be produced by Fisher Outdoor Leisure. SRAM A whole ‘red room’ will be created, dedicated to featuring SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid and Truvativ. Key products that will be on display include the new Rock Shox Boxxer, Truvativ Hammerschmidt, SRAM wheels and also the new range of Truvativ Handlebars. BIKEBIZ.COM

FISHER SHOW PREVIEW

Visit www.fisherexpo.co.uk to register Clothing and accessories will be located on the first floor, featuring Troy Lee, Santini and bspoke. bspoke is the latest clothing range added to the Fisher Portfolio. Santini launched at Expo 08 and will be showing the Spring/Summer 09, Autumn/Winter 09/10 and Trade collections.

show and will be on hand to talk about why they chose to be sponsored by Fisher Outdoor. The athletes and teams will also talk about their favourite products, and give out expert tips and advice. They will also be providing unique prizes for the competitions and challenges. The full list of 2009 Sponsored

The 2009 Fisher Sponsored Athletes and Teams will be present at the show, together with special surprise guests. bspoke bspoke has launched a unique range of urban commuter wear that uses discreet reflective belts, piping and branding on all outerwear keeping you safe at night. Innovative light-weight fabrics keep the wind and rain at bay and are fully breathable. The bspoke range has been specifically cut for comfort in and out of the saddle. Guest Appearances The 2009 Fisher Sponsored Athletes and Teams, including Jenny Copnall and Steve Peat, will be present throughout the

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Athletes and Teams will be announced shortly. There will also be some special, surprise guest appearances yet to be confirmed for the event. Lunch and refreshments will be provided for all attendees. Expo Dinner The Expo Dinner will take place on Sunday February 15th for selected customers and suppliers. Entertainment will be laid on to ensure a night to remember is had by all and invitations to this dinner were sent back in early December.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 43

ICE BIKE PREVIEW

See you on the Ice Madison’s IceBike show offers a multitude of reasons to get yourself and staff to Milton Keynes from February 24th to 26th. Mark Sutton provides a pre-show warm up… ICEBIKE’S BACK this February and once again promises plenty of reason to attend – if not for business purpose, then for time away from the shop floor to share a little social time with others from the trade. The 2008 instalment saw the introduction of plenty of new brands – Thule, Garmin, Memory Map, OGIO and Wheels Manufacturing – all launched exclusively at the show to a pleased crowd. This year, we're told by event organiser Will Fripp that there may well be more brand additions announced. He told BikeBiz: "We will be launching and 'first showing' loads of products, some of which we can talk about and some of which, including brands, that as

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yet, we cannot!" The distributor has already had a strong year of bolstering its portfolio with the two most recent additions of Leatt Brace and the ludicrously popular Monster Energy drink, as well as Gamut, which was added in May. Of the product that will be present, the final production model of the Cervelo P4 will be on show alongside the new season’s wind-cheating frames. From Shimano, the Dura-Ace Di2 will be on test with accompanying set-up demonstrations and technical training on offer. Yumeya bling will also adorn many bikes. Blackburn pumps are undergoing a major overhaul to maintain

their position as market leaders – find out how at IceBike. Giro will also be outlining its entry into the glove market. Madison must still have room on the shelves at its 75,000

truly excited about IceBike. Over the last couple of years it has grown into a truly great event, delivering practical money saving and informative content for all Madison dealers that

Last year, Townley’s talks had every seat filled on most occasions. We’re pleased to invite him back this year. square foot distribution centre though. From February 24th to 26th, each and every dealer on the books is invited to Milton Keynes. But why should dealers attend this year? Fripp said: “For 2009, we are

attend. The huge amount of feedback we have had from UK IBDs is that the show is well worth a day out of the business and it’s usually a load of fun too. We are really please to invite industry guru Jay Townley back

for '09. Despite his experience being based more Stateside, dealers who attended last year's seminars found the content hugely informative and useful to their business models.” Last year, Townley’s talks had every seat filled on most occasions, dealers spotting an opportunity to take notes from an established retail expert. This year, Townley’s talks will explain how a bicycle retailer should go about tackling customers reluctant to spend during the recession. But the show isn’t all serious business. On the back of a chaotic night in Shimano's karaoke tent last year, Fripp explains that this year the evening’s festivities are hitting top gear.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 45

ICE BIKE PREVIEW

A reflection on 2008

MADISON’S MD, Dominic Langan said reflecting on last year's show: "We had an absolutely excellent three days at what has to have been our best trade event I can ever remember last year. More dealers than ever before turned out, seeing more Madison brands than ever before in a much bigger and

weaving themselves through the building and trying to spot the best route in case they were drawn for the once-a-day trolley dash! The evening's entertainment was thoroughly enjoyed, with the inclusion of a live band, good food and drink and the big hit of the show, the Shimano Karaoke lounge. There were some

We hope the show provided dealers with some great offers, business stimulus and shows Madison’s commitment. better laid out expo area. Many commented on the great atmosphere at the show. Jay Townley, our guest keynote speaker, was flown in especially from the National Bicycle Dealer Association of America and was a massive hit, filling the seminar marquee to capacity every day. The warehouse tours were also very popular with lengthy crocodile lines of dealers

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excruciating and hilarious moments. We hope the show not only provided dealers with some great (and often unique) offers, plenty of new brands, new products and some stimulation for your general business development, but also the opportunity for attendees to see the effort, investment and commitment from the team at Madison who put everything into supporting your business."

“This year IceBike will incorporate two Madison dealer awards dinners nights of equal standing for invited guests, with entertainment like a casino and Nintendo Wii RockBand – after last year’s huge karaoke success we thought it best to take it a step further." Understanding that coming to the show involves customers very often having to make personal sacrifices of time, this year Madison will give every preregistered attendee (max two per account) a £50 M&S voucher, so they can reward themselves for their efforts. Also due to be unveiled at the show, the distributor will be talking dealers through an updated version of its muchraised B2B ordering website. “Our current B2B site is considered to be one of the best in the industry, and was one of the first out there – really changing the way in which you can interact with Madison in a way and at a time to suit you,” said Fripp. Version two will be faster, have an improved search facility, more features, a comprehensive image library of product shots, Web 2.0 features, cross browser and platform compatibility, more product information, better web feeds, more promotions and will

be updated frequently with news tailored to the dealer. Accommodation is available to all IceBike attendees upon request. A Madison representative will contact those needing a place to stay with details of what is available and rates closer to the show. Visit www.icebike.co.uk where signup is now open. “Registrations are coming in thick and fast,” according to Fripp. “IceBike 2009 is most definitely set to be bigger and better than ever before.”

Last year saw Giro’s surprise entry into the eyewear market...

BIKEBIZ.COM

The main features of the system are:-

RETAILER SOLUTIONS

ABACUS BUSINESS SOFTWARE Abacus has been developed over 20 years and has a reputation for stability, performance and flexible and comprehensive functionality. Although the product has sold very well in the retail sector it has also been used by accountants and distribution companies. Abacus has over 150 cycle shop installations throughout the UK. The software is fully multi-user and multi-company. Running on Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

•Effective handling of stock – multi-location •Fully integrated online shop/e-commerce website •Full bar code support & operation •Control at sales order/POS •Purchase order processing •Sales order processing •Quotation & kit selling •Customer tracking & contact management •Advance payment/Christmas club •Integrated accounts with Euro and full multi currency support •Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet &Trail Balance •Stock forecasting, best sellers & slow movers reporting •Management reports •Trade Counter Facility •Portable stock checking & update •Batch update between branches •Live link operation between branches •Powerful marketing & direct mail facility •Workshop module with job tracking •Lost sales reporting •Customer Loyalty schemes •Customer order tracking •Graphic/catalogue support “We have been with •SMS Text Message Abacus since about 1989 now and during that time have seen our •Warehouse module business grow by an average 25% per •WEB links year. This is partly because Abacus helps •Email shots us by looking after many routine “The system works well, we wouldn’t want to consider running the business without it." Mike Eric Burgess Cycles Burnley

“We have been using the Abacus system since its inception in 1992. The on going developments have created a package which quite frankly we could not live without. At last we are gaining control of our business. If I were to be honest- Before Abacus the business was running me.” Bryn Williams Nicholsons Cyclelife, Dundee

stockordering tasks that we would ordinarily have to do manually, leaving us free to get on with running the shop and planning for the future. There are still many parts of Abacus that we are yet to use but as a business we would be lost without it.” Dave Quinn The Bike Factory, Chester

What our customers say about us:

We have only just started with Abacus and already we don`t know how we managed without it. We cant recommend Abacus enough Alex Pink Roy Pink Cycles Newport Pagnell

"Probably the most cost effective all in one solution available on the market today. With constant improvements via regular upgrades the Abacus Software just gets better and better. A real business orientated solution and support package. "We have UK Mobility is pleased to been using the Abacus recommend Abacus." system for the last 6 years and have Steve O’Halloran grown with it. The latest 32-bit incarnation UK Mobility, is a joy to work with and the new Abacus Kent management team are flexible and genuine. The feedback that we give as a user is both “Having used Abacus welcomed and promptly acted upon and the results “Cyclesense have for seven years, virtually of theUser Group meetings are immediately been using Abacus for a trouble free, upgrading to the new noticeable in the frequent system updates. number of years and the support and 32 bit system has given welcome We have been able to reduce our developments from Nick and, speed & new features. stock holding by almost 30% more recently, Duncan & Bill Listening to their customers through user and significantly increase sales at the have been tremendous. groups, and now accelerating the same time. The workshop system The upgrades this year have been development of the software, puts is a godsend, increased efficiency superb and we are looking forward Abacus in a leading position as an and profitability here alone more to getting even more benefits EPOS supplier to the cycle industry.” than justifies the system costs." from the system.” Rob Turner Steve Coram David Stainthorpe Ben Hayward Cycles, Cycle Logic, Helston Cyclesense, Cambridge Tadcaster.

Abacus Online: PO Box 79, Heswall, Wirral, CH61 1WF Tel: 0151 342 9799 Fax: 0151 342 9433 Email: sales@abacusonline.net Web: www.abacusonline.net

EPOS and website solutions

MOMENTUM MAGAZINE

The women behind Canadian-based Momentum: marketing director Mia Kohout (left), co-founder Amy Walker (centre) and associate publisher Tania Lo (right)

Keeping up the

Momentum A giveaway Canadian magazine run by three women is making waves in the global bike industry, finds Carlton Reid... THERE ARE many reasons why Momentum magazine turns heads. It’s Canadian. It’s stylish. It majors on utility cycling. Bike mags are generally written, edited and read by men: Momentum isn’t. In other markets, at other times, this magazine would have been unthinkable. Today, it’s possible. And it’s possible because the bike market is changing. Utility doesn’t have to be boring. It’s just as possible to cycle to work on a cruiser as a fixie. Lycra is out, Louboutin heels are in. It comes out six times a year, it’s distributed free and in marketing muscle terms, it really ought to be no more than a local fanzine, specific to Vancouver. That it has survived and prospered is down to the tenacity and creativity of cofounder Amy Walker. She’s bike mad, as you’ll see from the rest of this Q&A, but I’d like to

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Momentum is created by people who love the biking lifestyle for the enjoyment and education of other bikers – and to inspire non-bikers. magnify one of her quotes, something a lot of enthusiast-led bike shops will recognise. I asked her what Momentum was all about: “We encourage the bikecurious in hope they will adopt bikeishness into their own lives.” What is Momentum Magazine? Momentum is a magazine for self-propelled people, people who use their own power to get around – transportation cyclists. Six times a year we publish a magazine which includes current events, profiles of bicycleoriented people, cities, organisations, mechanical tips, a food section, book reviews, comics, beautiful photography

and art. Momentum magazine is created by people who love the biking lifestyle for the enjoyment and education of other bikers – and to inspire non-bikers to give cycling a whirl. Who founded it, and why? Momentum was originally founded in 2001 by three cycling ladies: Carmen Mills, Joelle Paton, and myself. Joelle went on to other things after a couple of issues, but Carmen Mills and I continued to publish the magazine, a regional British Columbia publication at the time, for two and a half years. That first incarnation of Momentum was a non-profit

society and was inspired by a previous publication called the Spoke ‘n’ Word, of which Carmen was a founding editor. The ‘Spoke’ was published between 1994 and 1999 and it was the first time I had ever seen the stories, issues, personalities and the culture of transportation cyclists reflected in the media. When I read the ‘Spoke’ I felt like it was relevant to me – and others like me – and that is the spirit on which Momentum is based. I re-launched Momentum as a business in 2005 and we have grown slowly and steadily from that point to where we are today. In the past year I’ve been fortunate to work as part of a

female trio again – this time my collaborators are associate publisher Tania Lo and marketing director Mia Kohout. Has anybody on the mag got bike trade backgrounds? Some of our writers have wrenched professionally at some point or another, but overall our contributors are from a wide spectrum of professional, academic and advocacy backgrounds. Joe Breeze reckons urban transport bikes will be bigger than mountain bikes. Are you with him on that? Joe’s right in the respect that utility biking as a social and technological trend will have longevity. We have a genuine need for transportation bikes whereas mountain biking is largely a recreational activity. I believe that the mountain bike boom was also somewhat BIKEBIZ.COM

MOMENTUM MAGAZINE

inflated by the fact that it was so dominant for about 15 years. People walking into their local store sometimes had little choice but to buy a mountain bike. The strength of the transportation biking trend is also dependent on the development of appropriate urban biking infrastructure. It’s little help having a bike if you’ve got nowhere to ride it, a lesson familiar to mountain bikers as well. So, the bike industry will benefit from this trend to the same degree that it works with transportation cycling advocates, supports initiatives to get bikes on public transport, and sees this trend in a holistic, systems perspective. This view must take into account riders of all ages and abilities – not just highly capable riders. Cycling is for everyone – from little kids to grandmas, so we have to ensure that there are safe and connected routes so that all levels of riders can enjoy cycling – and continue to invest their money in this form of transport. How has the magazine evolved and grown? When I re-launched the magazine in 2005 it had a glossy cover, but the interior pages were printed black and white on newsprint. We have slowly increased the page count, the amount of colour and moved last year to a glossy paper stock. We have made gradual improvements in quality and increased our network and our distribution organically. We are somewhat strategic in our growth, but we’ve also enjoyed much serendipity and I am always amazed at the people who find us. How many bike shops are involved? About 200 retailers. You seem to be in cities with existing bike cultures. Are you making inroads into ‘anticycling’ cities? We’re not making a particular effort to do that. There are enough cycling-friendly places to keep us busy at the moment. If anyone reading this feels that their town or city is bike-hungry and needs some pro-biking media, I’d encourage them to get in touch. What's your print run? How does the mag pay its way? Our print run has reached 25,000 BIKEBIZ.COM

heard very positive feedback from people who attended the show. We contributed something of value and something novel. It probably acted as more of a launching pad for creativity than as the ultimate bike fashion or art show. More than anything it was a learning opportunity for us. I’m very critical of everything we do, so there are many things I would change next time. The greatest success was how everyone worked together and fulfilled their roles beautifully – from the stylists, dressers and models to the DJ, the bike mechanics, Interbike staff and all the exhibitors who submitted clothing and bikes featured in the show.

The mag has an accompanying website – www.momentumplanet.com copies. Advertising is our biggest source of revenue and we are receiving a growing stream of individual subscriptions with authorised dealers. Financially, it has been a struggle. We operate on very tight budgets and we owe our existence to the dedication of our staff and contributors, many of whom work for very little pay or volunteer their time because they share our mission. How many bike companies ‘get’ what you’re trying to do? More get it every year. In previous years we approached larger bike manufacturers and many of them understood our mission – but now they are committing money to the transportation category and creating a budget line for its marketing because the business case for doing so is strong. Larger bike manufacturers require the economic justification to support any changes they make in their manufacturing and advertising. At this point people in North America have a genuine need, as well as a genuine passion, for transportation biking. This is the demand those companies needed to see before they could fully get behind us.

How many full-time and parttime staffers work on the mag? There are three of us in the office full-time, plus a couple of parttime support staff. We have a designer and editor who both work from home and we have a network of dozens of contributors all around North America who contribute once in a while or on a repeat basis. Momentum magazine presented a bike-borne fashion show at Interbike. How did that come about? Bikeosphere, the first fashion show, was an art show and fashion show which we presented in July. It was intended as a way to make the world of the transportation cyclist more visible. It was inspired by a conversation I had with a woman who had begun riding her bike more. She said, “I’ve been riding on the bikeway instead of driving my car, and it’s like another world.” Indeed, it’s true, when you travel on routes that are heavily used by cyclists, you can begin to see the possibilities for cycling in our cities. This is something we see on our bike routes everyday – but for years we have not seen it reflected in the media – or even in much

marketing created by bike manufacturers. Once you experience the quiet, friendly, flowing ‘Bikeosphere’ you instantly understand the folly of our automobile-clogged streets. So we asked artists to show us their version of the Bikeosphere. The fashion show was a performance component of the show which was intended to be very simple – to show real people riding bikes in fashionable, everyday clothing. North Americans have long been told that cycling is a sport, so we wanted to give them more images of cycling as something you do in the course of your everyday life. The Interbike fashion show was an amazing opportunity which was extended to us after Rich Kelly, Interbike’s marketing manager, saw the video of our Bikeosphere show. We had a short time to plan the show which showcased clothing and bikes from Interbike exhibitors. It was a great learning experience – and we were glad Interbike was willing to take the creative risk and collaborate with us. It was a very positive experience and we are looking forward to taking what we learned this time and applying it to an even better series of shows in 2009. We

Do you think every country could do with a mag like Momentum? Sure. There’s a need everywhere for media which reflects the cycling lifestyle – especially where cycling is a growing part of the transportation picture. When you ride a bike you often feel small and vulnerable and it is very encouraging to read a publication which speaks to your experience. The UK has given us inspiration with publications for urban and transportation cyclists, like VeloVision and City Cycling as well as the now defunct Bike Culture Quarterly and EnCycleopedia. What are your plans for the magazine? To double the page count; to pay our contributors and staff fair wages for the incredible work they do; to improve the quality of our editorial content; to influence and collaborate with the bike industry so we can better serve the needs of utility cyclists; to connect advocates, the bike industry and the riding public to build a stronger demand for cycling infrastructure; to continue to joyfully communicate that by choosing simple, appropriate solutions like the bicycle we can positively transform our lives and take less of a toll on the earth. This list can go on and on. We’d love to dedicate more energy to our website, accomplish as much of our distribution as possible through pedal-power, and locate our offices within a multi-use bike community centre, workshop or visitor centre on one of Vancouver’s gorgeous bikeways. www.momentumplanet.com

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 49

PEOPLE AND RECRUITMENT Send your recruitment news to mark.sutton@intentmedia.co.uk

Harker bolsters the BikeBiz editorial team Elaine Curtin joins bike media company Farrelly-Atkinson  Upper Street hires new Barile as sales executive RANALD JOHNSON  2Pure has hired Ranald Johnson as graphic designer, replacing Mark Downie who left the company during November. JONATHON HARKER  Jonathon Harker has taken on the role of editor on BikeBiz. He joins the editorial team, which consists of executive editor Carlton Reid, deputy editor Mark Sutton and managing editor Lisa Foster. Harker will work at Intent Media’s Hertford-based office providing editorial content for both bikebiz.com and BikeBiz magazine. Harker begins the role following a deputy editor position elsewhere within the

50 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

publisher’s leisure and entertainment portfolio. Previous to that he spent two years as editor of a distributor-owned trade publication in the video gaming industry. “I’m looking forward to growing the BikeBiz brand, magazine and website with this talented and enthusiastic team,” said Harker. Jonathon can be contacted via email at jonathon.harker@ intentmedia.co.uk or by telephone at 01992 535646.

Jonathon Harker

ELAINE CURTIN  Elaine Curtin has joined Farrelly Atkinson – the bike media outfit behind the road.cc website. Announcing her appointment Tony Farrelly said: “We are really

pleased to have Elaine on board. It has always been a part of our strategy for the company to have a real commercial heavy-hitter on the team with a distinguished track record in the bicycle business. Elaine fits that description perfectly and she saw the potential of what we are doing with both road.cc and our contract work straight away. “Our focus now is on taking the company to the next level and, with Elaine as the commercial face of the team, we’re confident we will do just that. Elaine joining us is just one of a number of exciting new developments we will be announcing over the coming weeks. So it’s very much ‘onward and upwards’ around here.”

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PEOPLE AND RECRUITMENT

People & Recruitment is Sponsored by Halfords

Curtin is also bullish about her new role: “The existing F-At team have the best reputation in the cycle market. They are creative, hardworking and have already proven their success with projects such as road.cc website and its work with Cyclescheme. So of course I’m delighted to join as the commercial arm of their business and will try not to lower the bar there too much.”

Elaine Curtin

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ELIZABETH BARILE  Upper Street Events, the organiser behind the annual Earls Courtbased Cycle event, has appointed Elizabeth Barile to the position of senior sales executive. 87 per cent of this year’s floor plan is already accounted for at the show and event director

Andrew Brabazon said that interested parties should contact the firm as soon as possible: “If new exhibitors are wishing to exhibit at Cycle 2009, especially those looking to take larger spaces, I would urge them to contact Elizabeth now on 020 7288 6443 or email elizabethb@ upperstreetevents.co.uk.” The first floor plan for the 2009 show has now been drawn and a date set for October 8th to 11th. Total visitor numbers for the 2008 instalment came in at 20,286 (ABC audit pending). JASON LEAVY  Associate publisher Jason Leavy will shortly be leaving Future Publishing to pursue a new position in Dubai

with a company for which he has previously worked. At Future, Leavy published MBUK, What Mountain Bike and ProCycling. He said: “I’m leaving to become group publisher at Motivate Publishing in Dubai. I previously lived in Dubai for sixand-a-half years between 1999 and 2006 and worked for Motivate for three of those years, from 1999 to 2002. “I’ll be running existing titles in the consumer lifestyle division, including the regional licences of Stuff and Hello, and will be responsible for launching the Middle East edition of Men’s Health in February.” Turn to the letters page on page 67 for an open letter from Leavy to the bicycle trade.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 51

RETAIL ONLY The trade’s guide to the best customer service, up-and-coming IBDs and the hottest products

RETAIL COMMENT HERE’S HOPING you all got what you wanted for Christmas – big piles of cash. No? Me neither. Depending on how seriously you take the media, this will be a year of cost-cutting in order to maintain profits, as opposed to all-out prosperity and expansion. Looking at your best options for services such as waste disposal and couriers could result in your business having a little more fat stored for – as the press puts it – a winter of discontent. As luck has it, BikeBiz hasn’t reported much trouble in the cycle industry – price increases and lead times aside. Unfortunately, these contribute to the main consumer turn- offs – prices and having to wait for scarce stock. By the time this edition lands the talk of higher prices in 2009 will have filtered through to consumers who may well be eyeing up post-Christmas purchases. Those potential customers will, without doubt, be taking notes on the sale prices of the major chains and which can deliver fastest. If past lessons have been learnt, following the market to the bottom leads to one thing – a closing down

If your customer has failed to notice the due price increases, they’ll not notice that you’re pocketing 2.5 per cent... sale. Now’s really not the best time to be cutting margin. It’s a matter of preference whether you’ve decided to pass on the 2.5 per cent cut in VAT. Some points worth noting though are that some of your competitors have already sent out sales flyers openly stating: “We’re passing on the VAT cut.” So whether you are or not, don’t let your customer’s loyalty be tempted by so-called deals elsewhere. If you’ve chosen to pass the savings on to customers it needn’t stay that way. If your punters have failed to notice that bike prices have skyrocketed, then they’ll probably not notice that you are not passing on Mr. Darling’s economy boosting ‘exceptional measures.’ Distributors will be less likely to ‘gamble’ on stock this year. On the final straight of 2008 my inbox was full to the brim with emails from distributors panicked about upsetting dealers with sudden price increases and complaining of warehouses full of unbalanced stock. What market conditions will be like next year is anyone’s guess, but lessons can be learnt from the turbulent end to last year’s trading. Being out of stock is sometimes better than having a warehouse full of product going stale. I wish you all a prosperous and trouble-free New Year.

IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE CUSTOMER SERVICE

54

Bicycle Repair Man of Prudhoe, Northumberland talks to BikeBiz about maintaining margins via the workshop...

OFF THE RECORD

77

The very best quotes from this month and the second instalment of frontline news and pictures in Off The Record...

SPOKESMAN

78

Our resident columnist talks about VAT and the chances that it’ll hit 18.5 per cent when the economy calms down...

CUSTOMER SERVICE Customer Service sponsored by

About Bicycle Repair Man

Owners: Mark Phillipson and Tony Glover Location: Prudhoe, Northumberland Established: 1994 Telephone: 01661 830618 Web: www.bikerepairman.co.uk Email: info@bikerepairman.co.uk

Banish bikes in boxes! The Bicycle Repair Man of Prudhoe, Northumberland, started small and now has a 400 sq m shop selling bikes to a very large catchment area. Carlton Reid speaks to founder Mark Phillipson to find out more... BICYCLE REPAIR MAN was set up by Mark Phillipson in October 1994. It was started in a 20 square metre unit on a trading estate in Prudhoe, a small town between Newcastle and Hexham. Business was slow to take off, but within two years the shop moved to a unit twice the size and by 1998 was big enough to take on its first employee, Tony Glover. Glover is now a partner in the business. Earlier this year the Bicycle Repair Man moved to its current, much larger location – a 400sq m shop, fitted out with the help of Giant. “We have a fantastic relationship with Giant,” says Phillipson. “They’ve helped us fit out the shop as part of their GRP programme, but it’s all done on a gentlemen’s agreement basis. We remain fiercely independent. Giant is our only brand for MTBs and hybrids, but we do Ridley for ‘cross bikes and road bikes, as well as Giant. We have Look as another high end road brand, too. ‘Customers do like to see some choice – even if they don’t take it. Having a great many bikes on display is definitely a help – Giant’s range is so huge that people don’t often realise that all the bikes you’ve shown them are from the same brand.”

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Glover, a former North East cyclo cross champion, says: “We are now the largest Giant dealer in the area and sole Look and Ridley road bike suppliers for the North East.” Phillipson has strong views on bikes in boxes – views he has often shared on the BikeBiz forum.

work doing to set up correctly. Many have been damaged in transit and, of course, the mailorder companies rely on the customer not bothering to package them up again and return them. Often they sort them out at their own expense.” Phillipson understands that some high-end bikes, going out

As a big repair shop, I’m sick and tired of seeing a steady stream of mail-order bikes with basic set-up faults. “Our philosophy is that cycles should be supplied locally where proper attention to the customer’s requirements can be carried out and after-sales service done. Bikes cannot be supplied properly by mail order. Once a bike is partially dissembled for packaging, then thrown about by warehousemen and delivery drivers, it needs a full service before going out to the customer – not just a couple of adjustments. “We constantly have customers bringing in brand new mail order cycles which need a great deal of

to high-end, competent customers, are okay, though: “There may be a case for very specialised bikes, which only a handful of shops can do, but for 99.99 percent of bikes sold, it’s plain bad practice. However, I’ve noticed people who do it really spit the dummy out when challenged. I’m glad to see Trek have stopped their dealers doing it and I would like to see other suppliers follow suit – especially our own main brand – Giant. “There’s nothing wrong with the internet for research and

advertising, but a bike must be sold face-to-face where the customer can be properly sized, the bike fitted to them and supplied completely ready to go. “As a big repair shop, I’m sick and tired of seeing a steady stream of mail-order bikes with basic set-up faults. And I’m not talking £99 tat – these are proper brands, really badly set up or damaged in transit, often the wrong size or wrong type of bike for the client’s needs.” Phillipson also has strong views on the environment. “We try to recycle our bike boxes but, given the number of new bikes we sell now, it’s hard to get the volume taken away. We’ve got the rubbish going to land-fill down to about one bike-box a week now. We use a bio-parts washer which works just like the petroleum types but isn’t. Little Ozzies eat the dirt apparently. All of us here ride to work most of the time. Tony rides his 50 mile round commute two or three times a week.” Bicycle Repair Man is now a team of four, not unlike the famous Monty Python sketch from which the shop takes its name. Prudhoe is a small, relatively rural town. The Bicycle Repair Man is at the hub – ahem – of the local community:

“We are the community’s local bike shop. We try to do our bit with kids stuff – I did an evening for the local scouts doing free safety checks on their bikes. About half were ours or decent makes; half were toyshop or other dangerous tat. I asked one kid if he had been bad the day his parents bought him his bike. When he asked what I meant I replied by wheeling his bike along with both brakes fully applied...” Despite the credit crunch and lack of a local commuter market, Bicycle Repair Man is reporting growth: “Christmas sales are good. Full suspension and top-end road bikes sales are actually up. The Cycle To Work salary sacrifice scheme has been a big hit too. Yes, it’s painful to give away 10 per cent but people buy loads of kit and it’s all at RRP, which helps claw some money back. Without it, things would have been much quieter. We’ve invested heavily in stock, especially shoes and clothing since moving and, although it has stretched us, it’s paying off. “There’s plenty of people in the Tyne Valley, plus we get many customers from Newcastle too. We’ve achieved our original objective of becoming a ‘destination’ shop.” BIKEBIZ.COM

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BIKEBIZ JANUARY 55

IBD PROFILE

Bobbin Bicycles

Owners: Sian Emmison and Tom Morris Locations: 19 Arlington Way, London EC1R 1UY Established: 2006 as a business; 2008 as a shop Telephone: 020 7837 3370 Web: www.bobbinbicycles.co.uk Email: info@bobbinbicycles.co.uk Opening times: Tuesday to Friday, 11-7; Saturday, 11-6

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Roadsters go fast in London NEW BIKE shop and eponymous bike brand Bobbin Bicycles has had an enormous amount of press, from a full page in the Daily Express to glowing reports in The Independent and the Financial Times. Husband and wife owners Sian Emmison and Tom Morris are incredibly good at PR but they’re also plugging into the zeitgeist: normal bikes for normal people. No Lycra, no derailleurs. Bobbin Bicycles is the store’s own-brand bike, a Dutch roadster starting at £230. Bobbin also sells Gazelle and Bronx roadsters. When the shop opened in October this year the window display featured the Electra Amsterdam Girard Madonna bike. This stylish number is an homage to 1950s modernist folk-art maestro Alexander Girard. “My passion for Dutch bikes came when I lived in Holland seven years ago. Everyone rode them and I realised how

comfortable and convenient they are,” explained Morris, an artist who used to work in advertising. Emmison has a background in the visual arts and said: “When you buy a Dutch-style bike you’re also buying into a lifestyle.” The couple started in the bike biz by importing four Dutch roadsters, which sold quickly. The next batch of 30 were also quick to sell out. The couple created a workshop business, which customers had to have appointments for. But with the opening of the retail premises – based just behind Sadlers Wells near the Angel, Islington – appointments are no longer necessary. “We’re doing well,” Emmison enthused to BikeBiz. “We had a strong start in October although when it got cold in November sales dropped off for two weeks. People couldn’t really imagine buying a bike in that sort of

weather, but business has now picked up again for Christmas. We’re strong on stylish accessories.” Bobbin retails dress helmets from Bern, Sawako Furuno and Yakkay; an eclectic range of art bells and old-fashioned bicycle horns; and stylish bike bags, as well as wicker baskets. 80 per cent of Bobbin customers are women and the shop does not cater for cycle enthusiasts. With the store being so women-friendly, it’s attracting a new-to-cycling customer base. “There’s nothing wrong with a bike shop staffed by male, twentysomethings heavily into MTBs or road cycling, but that’s not our style,” commented Emmison. Bobbin Cycles was mentioned in the Time Out Hot List 08 and in the The Observer Woman / Grazia Style Awards. The shop also made regional shortlist for the HSBC Business Start-up Stars Awards.

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CUSTOMISATION Wildoo PRODUCED AND printed by EU-Bottle, Wildoo's bottles have become popular with cyclists due to the non-leak, screw-on cap and special soft pulling spout. Sizes range from 550ml to 1000ml and are available with a low minimum order quantity of a mere 150 pieces. There’s also a comprehensive choice of bottle and cap colours to choose from to create a uniquely customised product. From preparation or artwork all the way through to delivery, Wildoo offers a simple and efficient service. Of the company's other custom services, Wildoo specialises in working with high-end IBDs to source and develop a range of ‘own brand’ framesets and complementary components. Through its comprehensive network of suppliers in Taiwan Wildoo can deliver a strong range of components and accessories to market. For 2009 Wildoo has extended the range and is now offering high-end carbon road, track and TT framesets from XPACE. Frames can be supplied from the firm either raw or fully painted with the dealer’s very own paint design and decals.

Tailor-made product It has never been more important to consumers to have custom product. If it’s not in their colour, featuring their favoured logo and in their size then that’s a no-sale. BikeBiz finds out what hot custom products are currently on the market for retailers and their customers...

Buff THE LAUNCH of the 2008/2009 collection of Buff Headwear will feature several cartoon characters from popular kids’ programmes. The Junior Buff collection will include designs featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. Designs also include Hello Kitty, children’s TV shows Les Tres Bessones and Lazy Town, plus cult classics Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang, and in Baby Buff, Winnie the Pooh. With headwear now highly recommended as sun protection for school kids in the summer, a Buff featuring a favourite cartoon character is bound to be more appealing to a younger crowd and therefore more likely to be worn. An adult’s version of the Spiderman Buff will be available soon.

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An attractive nut shot...

HOT DOG: Snoopy is just one of Buff’s licenced brands

Ison ISON’S IN-HOUSE brands offer total custom options for riders to colour match their bikes from the hubs upwards. Sales and marketing manager Matt Andrews tells BikeBiz: “The new Gusset Alloy axle nuts are a good example of our colour compatibility. We wanted

something to stand out from the crowd and add that little bit of colour to our bikes without breaking the bank. With a retail price of only £7.50 per pair (including colour-matched washers) these are proving to be very popular.” The axle nuts are available in purple, blue, black, red or gold and in 3/8” or 14mm axle thread sizes.

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CUSTOMISATION Impsport ONE OF the best-known short-run club kit specialists in the UK is Lincoln’s Impsport. Now in its 27th year in business, it was founded by Ian Emmerson and Colin Ellmore, but is now run by Ellmore’s son, Dan. He bought out his father Emmerson and another director three years ago and is now the sole director. He has seen the company double in size under his stewardship and reduced its lead times. Formerly a first cat roadie, Ellmore now devotes most of his time to Impsport and even codes the company website. He said: “I really like cycling, so when the opportunity came up to join the company I jumped at it because it was a chance to talk cycling all week.” Impsport has previously produced the team kit for the Team GB cycling squad and Ellmore mixes with more elite cyclists than most bike trade company directors. And this love for the sport is transferred to the company’s products. “We use the best fabrics and we have really improved the product over the last three years.

“Once we started to snowball a little bit, the growth came from word of mouth.” When the company started it used flock-style felt lettering and patterns. The introduction of sublimation printing in the mid-1980s transformed the design potential for team strips. Impsport’s first sublimated print jerseys were made for the Raleigh MTB team, while current clients include the Evans race team, and team kit for Science in Sport and Trek. There are 45 items in the brochure, including women-specific designs. The minimum order is just 12-pieces and that can be made up of a mix of garments, such as jerseys, shorts, winter jackets or tights. Cotton caps, track mitts and socks have to be ordered in higher minimums, ten for caps, and 24 for mitts and socks. At peak times, product turnaround is eight weeks, which drops to four weeks in winter. Ellmore employs an in-house team of graphics professionals and these Mac operators can take rough designs to sparkling finished artwork. Impsport, like other custom jersey companies, also speaks highly of Roger Morgan at DesignMyJersey.co.uk.

2pure 2PURE HAS long offered Lizard Skins’ range of chainstay protectors with custom detailing. New for 2009, the distributor has expanded its range of custom products with both Lizard Skins and Nema. Lizard Skins Lock-On Grips are now available with custom etched detail on the lock rings, which has been seen previously on the Peaty Lock-on grip. 2Pure also offers free engraving for 30 pairs of grips and you can even choose from any combination of an impressive 19 different SKUs.

2Pure can also print on the Carbon Leather chainstay protectors as well as the traditional standard, jumbo or super jumbo neoprene chainstay protectors. All it takes is an order of 50 units. Also available via 2Pure, Nema Brand International, the inventor of the mountain bike specific baggy short, can offer custom printing on three of their jerseys, the Podium (DH), Vee and Vee Long Sleeve (minimum of 20 jerseys.) 2Pure can assist in design if needed. 2Pure's latest gear can be seen at CoreBike, where dealers can have a look at all existing custom products.

Provision Clothing PROVISION CLOTHING is a custom jersey specialist with a wide portfolio of existing clients, including Kona, Giant, Litespeed and Merlin. The company charges no set-up fee and prints in any colour choice requested. Delivery times are said to be quick with materials are sourced from Europe. Staff members working for Provision Clothing include experienced sales people with a background in manufacturing and ex-professional racing cyclists, athletes and a first rate design and graphics team. A brochure is available at www.provisionclothing.co.uk.

Contacts: Customisation Wildoo 08709 771550 www.wildoo.co.uk

Ison 01223 213800 www.ison-distribution.com

2Pure 0844 811 2001 www.2pure.co.uk

Buff 01707 852244 www.buffwear.co.uk

Imp Sport 0845 5050505 www.impsport.com

Provision Clothing 01782 333 736

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www.provisionclothing.co.uk.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 59

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OILS, CLEANERS AND TOOLS

The ways of the workshop The workshop is perhaps the most profitable part of the independent’s business. So what is stopping investment in proper cycle training and getting the right equipment into workshops? BikeBiz takes a look at what’s on the wish list of cycle mechanics…

TRAINING ATG ON the back of opening a brand new 33,000 square foot training centre in Aylesbury, ATG Training is inviting more students than ever on cycle training courses. With an additional facility near Manchester Velodrome, dealers can pack their spanner monkeys off for a few weeks – and for the most part obtain Government funding in order to easily meet the bill.

Velotech Training Velotech Cycling is jointly owned by Graeme Freestone King, Jeff Beach and Weldtite Products. Graeme has been in the cycle industry since 1980, and has a wide range of mechanical skills and experience, from shop mechanic, through team mechanic to speccing bicycles and acting as a design

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consultant to a cycle manufacturer, in addition to having worked as national sales manager for a wholesaler in the cycle trade. Beach has worked in the trade for at least as long, and is a framebuilder, as well as having been mainly responsible for the development of the courses that are now being offered by Velotech Cycling under the Weldtech title. Velotech also doubles up as the UK service centre for Campagnolo.

Matt Goodrich the ATGs head of cycle training told BikeBiz: "There’s been massive change in this past year in the Government’s attitude to skills training. Adult learning is something that is being taken very seriously as the economy dips. If you have left school without five GCSEs we can now almost guarantee

that financial assistance can be provided. The criteria are set to be relaxed in the New Year, too, which is great news because a single apprenticeship is worth up to £6,000." Courses operate with ten students to a tutor and the pass rate is around 90 per cent. Students are able to walk away with NVQs worth five GCSE grades and Cytech accreditation. Students are in good hands, with each of ATG’s teachers being trained both as a teacher and as a mechanic. Madison heavily sponsors the courses, ensuring that students are working with top grade kit from the likes of Park Tool and Commencal. To enrol on one of ATG’s courses call Ellaine Powell on 01612 306241 or visit www.atg-training.co.uk.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 61

OILS, CLEANERS AND TOOLS

MAINTENANCE Hope HOPE’S trigger activated Sh1t Shifter spray has been specially formulated to clean tough grime, while being gentle enough not to damage paint work, carbon, anodised aluminium or braking. The solution contains no harmful chemicals, nor sodium hydroxide, which has been proven to attack aluminium and anodised surfaces. Sh1t Shifter contains a substitute component that acts as a very effective releasing agent cutting through dirt without attacking material surfaces. Nor does it contain any silicon or similar polishing agents which both affect braking performance. What’s more, the wash is, crucially, entirely environmentally friendly and fully biodegradable. Effective on both dirt and oil, the anionic and cat-ionic spray will dislodge dirt and clean surfaces with very little assistance. What Mountain Bike described Hope’s product as having: "Brilliant cleaning performance, yet kind to your paintwork and disc brakes and is also gentle on the environment.”

Coyote Sports COYOTE has stock of a wide range of tools and workstands ranging from the professional Cyclus tools from Weldtite and Super B to end user products under the Coyote brand. The distributor also carries professional level workstands from both Roto and Coyote. Also in stock and equally as workshop friendly, Coyote carries the entire range of Weldtite lubes, cleaners and other fluids, including TF2 and Dirtwash.

in one or five litre bottles. To view the entire range and see what Coyote could do for you see the firms website www.coyotesports.com.

The increasingly popular P1zzeezee Bike Cleaner is also available from Coyote

Zyro DESIGNED, tested and manufactured in the UK, Fenwick’s product is recommended by Specialized UK and the ATG. The Fenwick’s FS range of cleaners and degreasers uses only biodegradable and environmentally friendly raw materials. The best seller in the range is FS-1, a 2-in-1 bike degreaser and cleaner that offers great performance and value. As a degreaser, FS-1 can be applied directly to the drivetrain, agitated after a minute or two and then washed off with a hose. For use as a cleaner, FS-1 can be diluted with

62 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

ten-parts water, providing an extremely effective deep cleansing action for the whole bike. For the retailer, Zyro offers a tall wooden stand that easily accommodates the range. It includes a top tray that neatly merchandises 36 bottles of lube. Zyro also offers bike frame stickers to help retailers promote the brand to their customers, either on new bikes or those in for service. Also from the distributor, White Lightening has a range of three lubes in two sizes – 120 and 240ml. To support the product, Zyro offers a medium sized metal display stand that can hold 24 bottles of 120ml lube and 13 cans of 370ml Clean Streak. The stand can be shelf or wall mounted.

Silverfish ROCK’n’Roll distributor Silverfish has taken stock of the 2009 line, which ranges from the Cable Magic lube, up to the 16oz Gold Lube that is best suited to the drivetrain. Cable Magic is designed to make braking and shifting super smooth by reducing the drag in cable housings. According to Silverfish, the reception for this product has been great with customers and has come out favourite in the workshop. The brand’s Extreme Lube comes in two sizes, (as does the Gold Lube) – 40z and 16oz. Extreme Lube, as the title suggests, is a long lasting chain lube which actively cleans the chain as well as loosens stiffness. The solution works best when applied generously and, when soaked in, the excess should be removed for optimal performance over time.

Dillglove WD40 and 3in1 is basically a wide range of lubricants, degreasers, oils, and grease in one handy package. The well-known oil is firmly established as a workshop favourite and brand recognised by consumers. The complete professional range can be supplied via Dillglove. In addition, P1ZZeezee Bike Wash is exclusively distributed by Dillglove, available in one, five and 25 Litre bottles. This Bike Wash is extremely effective and removes dirt with little assistance. Also on offer from the firm are Super B Tools –

Dillglove’s answer to workshop tasks. Exclusively distributed by Dillglove via its wholesale network, the complete range of professional workshop and domestic tools, tool kits, and cleaning brushes are fit to tackle any and all workshop tasks.

Fisher Outdoor FISHER Outdoor carries the entire Tacx range of tools, which are designed to utilise the typical tools needed out on the trail. The Multi tool for example carries Allen keys in all of the common sizes from two to eight, both flathead and crosshead screwdrivers, as well as a Torx 25 driver. Additional features include a chain rivet extractor, hew spanners, spoke key and two tyre levers. The multi tool retails for £27.99. Originally famed for its superb cleaning qualities, Muc-Off is now branching into lubricants and specific cleaners. Both wet and dry lubes are available from £6.99 in a 125ml bottle. The wet lube is a handy extra to sell to those wanting to keep their bikes

running smoothly after a service. The solution repels water and inhibits rust and corrosion. A good coating will remain ultra durable over long distances, protecting in any condition. Specifically developed for the chainset, Muc-Off’s one-litre chain cleaner retails for £11.99, but would also be a welcome addition to most professional workshops. The solution rapidly removes heavy grime quickly and safely, breaking down oil, grease and grime, leaving the chain contaminant free. As an added eco-bonus, the formula is fully biodegradable and suited to all types of chain.

BIKEBIZ.COM

OILS, CLEANERS AND TOOLS Jim Walker

Greyville PEDROS and BBB are Greyville’s answer to the maintenance-savvy cyclist’s needs. Pedros offers an extensive range of oils, cleaners and degreasers, as well as tools such as a Vive Whip sprocket remover. The environmentally friendly GreenFizz spray bike wash is available to trade customers from just £2.75 for a 470ml bottle. With special foaming action, the surfactants of Green Fizz coat the bike and help wash away grime with very little persuasion.

Green Oil ARE your customers increasingly green? Well ‘dangerous for the environment’ is a label you won’t see on any Green Oil products. Green Oil UK is the company behind Green Oil chain lube and much

Weldtite THE new Cyclo workshop tool range is the result of a dedicated two-year development programme by Weldtite Products to produce class-leading tools for the professional cycle mechanic. Starting afresh has enabled Weldtite to integrate many new innovative features that mechanics demand, without compromising quality, functionality or even aesthetics. From the special metal fleck rubber grips to the satin-finish nickel plating formulated to pass the strict environmental regulations of California’s Proposition 65, Cyclo’s tool range now look the business, as well as doing the business. A unique modular system is at the heart of the Cyclo design philosophy; it attunes each single tool to the range and allows crosscompatibility of some components between tools. Cyclo’s modular system allows a high level of adaptability to

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Of the tools, Pedros sprocket remover is designed to meet the needs of the professional workshopsmith. Pedro’s has devised the most secure way to manage cogs of any size. The new Vice Whip is the world’s first locking chain whip, a process which makes cassette removal safe and simple. Trade price for this heat-treated steel tool is £26.50. The BBB Multimount is Greyville’s recommended bike repair stand. Made from lightweight, yet stable aluminium, the stand is adjustable in both height and horizontal bike position. The unit is foldable, taking up a very small space when dismantled, and is available for £72.50.

more. Safe for aquatic life, and your mechanic’s skin, Green Oil appeals to increasingly green-minded customers. What Mountain Bike gave Green Oil its Gold Award, showing green products perform best. Green Oil UK now makes whole ranges of bike maintenance bits. Each product from the award-winning range has a recycled paper label, and Green Oil UK was even recommended by the Ecologist Magazine in October. The company has also now branched into eco-friendly cleaning product with the addition of its Green Clean fluid. The solution comes in a trigger activated spray bottle to give an even coat on all surfaces. Among other products are a cable luber, EPX grease, a chain gauge to judge chain wear and more.

JIM Walker is the UK distributor for Topeak’s renowned Alien range, which has grown rapidly in past years. The highly versatile Alien 11 is the brand’s latest lightweight multi-tool concealing 26 tools into one folding twopiece package. The unit holds Allen Key sizes from two to ten, a selection of common hex bolt wrenches, a mini pedal wrench, chain splitter, tyre levers and much more. There’s even a stainless knife and bottle opener for both cutting back branches covering the trail and opening your moonshine respectively. The distributor also handles ProGold, a solution which inhibits oxidation and corrosion, and it works to shed contamination too. Metal Friction Reducer is incorporated in all ProGold products.

The Cycle Division THE Finesse range of lubricants and cleaners are designed with longevity in mind. The firm’s products are manufactured in the UK and provide fantastic value for money too. For example the popular Multi Lube gives buyers a 500ml can full of real oil with an RRP of only £4.99. The solution is ideal for many applications and unlike other ‘cans of oil’ Multi Lube does not evaporate, so a little goes a long way. Other products include Grease Buster (a powerful solvent degreaser), Multi Grease (long lasting waterproof grease), Multi Lube Plus (winter weight chain lube), Trail Wax (an all condition, nontacky natural lubricant) and STOP Disc Brake Cleaner (regarded as one of the

MFR molecules bond to metal creating a ‘sacrificial surface’ so that you are no longer running metal-to-metal. This process is not dependent on viscosity so ProGold does not need to be oily. This translates into longer chain life, easier pedalling, smoother shifting and a quieter drive train. In addition it’s environmentally green and non-staining. ProGold also manufactures a Bikewash solution, which is a carbon-friendly formulation great for all types of frames and components. The solution is dilutable up to 50 per cent, still carrying heavy punching power that removes dirt and grime gently. Among other products are a cable luber, EPX grease, a chain gauge to judge chain wear and more.

best disc brake cleaners available). The star of the range is Multi Clean bike wash. This is the winner of What Mountain Bike’s Choice AND Gold award. Not only is it ‘green’ and bike-friendly but it is also an effective cleaner. New for 2009 will be Finesse Multi Clean ‘8 to 1’. Matching increasing environmental demands Multi Clean ‘8 to 1’ is a continuation of the evolutionary process of such a product. Multi Clean ‘8 to 1’ is a concentrated version of Finesse Multi Clean allowing you to make up to eight times as much for only twice the price.

new and emerging technology. This was even experienced middevelopment adding the capability for Campagnolo Ultra Torque removal and fitting to the Bottom Bracket Removal Tool Set. Hailed as the jewel in the Cyclo crown, the Bottom Bracket Removal Tool Set is the complete solution to bottom bracket removal that no mechanic should be without, and thanks to Cyclo’s modular system it’s completely upgradeable to futureproof against emerging technologies. Weldtite stocks a substantial range of replacement spares, and serviceable parts are available to keep bike mechanics’ tools in top condition.

Fat Spanner FAT Spanner is quickly gaining market share in the development of cycle tools and related products. The company now supplies an evergrowing range of cycle tools, workstands and cleaning products – all of which are tested by pro-cycle mechanics to the independent cycle retailers. All of this is backed up by a consumer website that outlines

products, news and a dealer locator. All tools are made using only the best materials and to the highest standard which enables Fat Spanner to offer an enticing lifetime warranty on all of its products. Dealers are helped with online ordering, very good stock levels and point-of-sale solutions. The brand also places regular press advertisements, has involvement with cycle events and team sponsorship branding.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 63

OILS, CLEANERS AND TOOLS Madison THE iconic blue of the Park Tool was granted a patent earlier this year for one reason – because competitors saw potential in associating product with the Park brand’s world-renowned quality. The 2009 range is expanded to deal with all the requirements of the modern mechanic. From February, dealers can pick up brand new press-fit bottom bracket tools, digital callipers, hydraulic piston presses, as well as a catalogue of other far more simple tools. Park’s new Digital Calliper gives the ability to measure accurately metric, decimal standard and fractional standard measurements to 1/128”. So no more eyeing up of the ruler to guess dimensions. The unit handles external, internal, depth and stepped dimensions with ease. Of the more trendy tools suited to the consumer, the new Single Speed

Spanner is essentially a multi-tool device carrying a 15mm socket, a 15mm open end tool for pedal loosening and tightening, a smooth tyre lever and perhaps most importantly of all – a bottle opener so you can drink on the job, not that we promote that kind of thing… Also new on Madison’s shelves, the Finish Line 2009 range includes various lubes, sprayers and bucket bundles. The Pro Care 8.0 and 6.0 Buckets are organised, self contained bike care buckets and will be a Madison Icebikeonly special. With promises of healthy dealer margins this should be a winner for retailers. The higher specced 8.0 contains everything you could possibly need to keep bikes gleaming and running like new. The bucket will save plenty of cash over buying items individually. The 8.0 retails for £59.99, while the more condensed range of the 6.0 retails for £39.99.

Paligap BRISTOL-based Paligap is especially pleased with Ritchey’s new Torque wrench. Costing £120 at retail, you can be sure that it’s ready for the majority of workshop tasks. The tool is manufactured from S2 special steel with very high surface hardness to ensure maximum durability. However, the body is cast from light aluminium, keeping weight down to 169g, which enhances sensitivity at low torque values. This means no more mistaking the effort to hold the tool with applying torque – as can happen with heavier tools intended for heavier duty applications. 16 bits featured cater for almost any screw on a modern bike. Allen key sizes

range from two to eight with every common size in-between covered. Torx T20, T25 and T30, Screw 3, 4.5 and Phillips sizes 0, 1 and 2 all feature. Additionally, a 70mm long 5mm Allen key is included for use with any front road brake calliper’s recessed bolt. To give further freedom, the clever tool features an adjustment knob and bitholder made of steel to the withstand the rigors of daily use. Torque tolerance is +/- 4 per cent according to UNI/EN/ISO 6789:2004 standards.

Scoop

Cannondale THE Cannondale Head Wrench multi-tool is deceptively useful. On first glance it looks like it could be perhaps a torch, but when unfolded the tool reveals essential trail tools such as Allen keys ranging from 2.5mm up to 8mm, a chain splitter, a

puncture repair gear and various other handy trinkets. The compact design allows for easy storage in a seat bag, hydration pack or, in an innovative and idea that sums up Cannondale’s thinking, in the steerer tube of the Lefty front suspension fork. Comes in black only and costs £29.00 at retail.

SCOOP has just taken delivery of the updated Random Wrench V2, a popular and highly portable tool best suited to the BMX rider on the move. The refined design of the Random Wrench V2 is far more backpack friendly than the first instalment and carries near everything you’ll ever need to keep things running.

The £22.99 (retail) tool consists of a 15mm pedal spanner, 15mm and 17mm socket, a selection of spoke keys integrated into the tools cap, with five and six millimetre hex keys and both a 3/8 extension and a socket driver. All of that is squeezed into a single metal tube and is set to be an essential tool for mechanics and bikers alike.

Contacts: Oils, Cleaners and Tools The Cycle Division 0845 0508 500 thecycledivision.co.uk

Fisher Outdoors 01727 798345 fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Weldtite 01652 660000 weldtite.co.uk

Paligap 0117 9823673 paligapltd.co.uk

Cannondale 02380 391602 cannondale.com

Madison 0208 385 3385 madisonb2b.com

Scoop 0870 3308461 scoopbmx.com

Dillglove 0121 354 4127 andy@easterbrook. org.uk

Hope 01282 851200 hopetech.com

Greyville 01543 251328 greyville.com

Silverfish 01752 843882 silverfishuk.com

Fat Spanner fatspanneruk.com

Coyote sports 0161 727 8505 coyote-sports.com

Green Oil 020 8313 9074 green-oil.net

Velotech 01652 660000 cycleweb.co.uk/ weldtech Zyro 01845 521700 zyro.co.uk ATG 0161 306 241 atg-training.co.uk/ cycling

Jim Walker 01323 445150 i-ride.co.uk

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LETTERS PAGE

Email: mark.sutton@intentmedia.co.uk or mail to: Saxon House, 6A St. Andrews Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG14 1JA BikeBiz is keen to publish your opinions, whether they’re from letters, emails or via BikeBiz.com...

From the Forum... Should I jump on the BMX-wagon? “We have sold over 40 so far for Christmas and another 30 or so over the past month – and we are a small family orientated shop, not a BMX specialist.” neilfromcats

I WANTED to write in as it is with some considerable regret that I’m leaving my position as associate publisher with Future’s cycling portfolio to take up a new position overseas, and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the people in the industry I’ve worked with during my time here. The past 18 months have been the most enjoyable part of my career to date and while that has been in part due to working for a fantastic company packed with great people who are genuinely passionate about what they do, it’s also due to the fact that I was lucky enough to experience what it’s like to work with senior figures in the cycling industry. Those of us who have worked in different sectors of business are, in many respects, better placed to judge a sector than those who’ve only experienced the one they’re in. Therefore you���ll have to trust me when I say that the cycling business really is as good as it gets. During my time on the portfolio I’ve been fortunate to liaise with manufacturers, distributors and retailers who have almost without exception been characterised by their passion, their creativity, their intelligence and, most importantly in many respects,

68 BIKEBIZ JANUARY

their genuine nature. The calibre and character of the people I’ve encountered really sets the standard compared to other industries, as far as I’m concerned. As a result, not only have I developed a healthy respect for the people I’ve liaised with over the time I’ve been at Future, I’m also lucky enough to count many as friends now. I don’t want to single out individuals or companies, as they are too numerous to mention and I’ll inevitably accidentally leave someone out. Rather, I just want to use this as an opportunity for people in the industry to accept praise from somebody who can talk objectively and with no agenda to push. You really are all doing some fantastic work, day in, day out, and while still retaining a sense of character and decency that I haven’t encountered anywhere else. I genuinely hope I’ll get the opportunity to return to Future again at some point, and to get to work with you all again. Until then, I can only wish you every success in your endeavours. Keep setting the standards that others should be measured by. All the best. Jason Leavy, Associate Publisher, MBUK and WMB

“We have sold more BMXes from April to end of November this year than the entirety of last year and that was a good year! Kids these days are super-savvy – it’s definitely about having the right brands. I

“All we seem to be selling at the moment is BMX. Feels like an ice age ago that we had an MTB customer through the door.” Lukeee “BMX has been the only thing really selling here for last six to eight weeks. This year we decided to do more expensive

models up to £500 and a £420 model ended up being our best seller. All the kids here want micro drive gearing, which means they’re looking at £290 plus for most brands and they are the ones companies seem to have sold out of.” evocycles “We’ve got our annual christmas BMX in stock, retailing at £199.99. It’ll still be here in September...” NedLudd

£1.8 million and a place in the record books STAR LETTER

Thanks for the memories

think we got a bit lucky this year with the brands we have chosen.” marcm

IN APRIL I will be setting off from London with the aim of breaking the ‘around the world cycling record’ and by no small margin either. In the hope of drawing plenty of attention to my cause, while boosting funds for continued research into Parkinson’s Disease, I aim to beat the current best by at least three weeks, raising £1.8million aboard a British built bike. The plan is to raise the huge sum with a system based on the Obama campaign fundraising technique – small sums of money from a large number of people. Our media campaign will alert media (print, internet, TV) in the different countries as I pass through them, directing

people to the site. Once there, they can look at the dynamic map which will feature a breakdown of the journey, with the opportunity for companies and individuals to buy mileage on this map – when you rollover a mile section on the map, a logo will pop-up. There will be other income streams as well; private donations and donations from principle sponsors. The bike itself will be auctioned off on Ebay after I return – I’m currently trying to persuade a leading designer to re-spray the bike once I return to increase the value of the bike at auction. The sponsorship team is currently organising equipment sponsors for the different regions that I will be

passing through. The only thing that has to be the same for the record is the bike, hence wanting to use a British built bike; the rest of the equipment will change as I move through different climates and regions – European manufactured kit for the Euro leg, NZ/Aus gear for Australasia, US/Canadian gear for North America. The idea being to raise more awareness of the ride during the ride and also to increase the number of companies and individuals donating. I would love to hear from any BikeBiz readers who would be willing to share their thoughts or criticisms. www.globecycle.org James Bowthorpe, Globe Cycle

STAR LETTER Whether it’s a hand-written, sentthrough-the-post letter, email or a comment made on the BikeBiz forum, the best letter of the month wins a box of twelve bottles of one-litre Muc-Off cleaner, supplied by Fisher Outdoor.

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BIKEBIZ MARKETPLACE TO ADVERTISE IN THESE PAGES PLEASE CALL CARLY BAILEY ON 01992 535647

The BikeBiz Marketplace offers a complete marketing package of print, online and editorial visibility, allowing companies the opportunity to maintain contact with readers each month without the associated cost of full display advertising. The BikeBiz Marketplace, and its associated online version, has been designed to offer readers a directory of all products and services in the bike trade.

The standard package includes:  A quarter page advert in each issue  Regular editorial coverage in the dedicated column  Company details listed in the online directory with web link  Company details listed in the BikeBiz Marketplace Contacts To get your company featured here contact: Carly Bailey on 01992 535647 or

Your presence in this section ensures that your company’s details are easily found, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors.

carly.bailey@intentmedia.co.uk Marketplace Rates: Quarter Page £175 (minimum six months)

BIKEBIZ MARKETPLACE CONTACTS BIKES & ACCESSORIES Paligap

LIGHTING 01179 823 673

www.paligapltd.co.uk

COMPONENTS

Exposure Lights

01798 344 477

www.exposurelights.com

RACKS

USE Ltd

01798 344 477

www.use1.com

Pendle Engineering Ltd

01282 699 555

www.pendle-bike.co.uk

Bob Elliot & Co Ltd

01772 459 887

www.bob-elliot.co.uk

Maxx Raxx Trading Ltd

0845 230 3799

www.maxxraxx.co.uk

Pace Cycles Limited

01723 867919

www.pacecycles.com

Magura

0800 0323145

www.magura.com

0117 972 4730

www.argoscycles.com

01709 365 408

www.bikeboxalan.co.uk

0161 230 6241

www.atg-training.co.uk

Wildoo Ltd

08709 771 550

www.wildoo.co.uk

Bottlestore

0845 602 9267

www.bottlesport.com

01709 511766

www.I-bikeshop.com

RESPRAYS & REPAIRS Argos

EPOS Abacus

0870 442 8240

www.abacusonline.net

GHC

0845 873 8245

www.ghc.co.uk

01730 711 140

www.montague-uk.com

0845 0508 500

www.thecycledivision.com

FOLDING BIKES Montague

BikeBox

TRAINING SERVICES

GEARS The Cycle Division

STORAGE

Aylesbury Training Group

WATER BOTTLES

INSURANCE Cycleguard Insurance

02476 851027

www.cycleguard.co.uk/bikebizk

WEBSITE SERVICES I-Bikeshop.com

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BIKEBIZ MARKETPLACE BIKES AND ACCESSORIES

COMPONENTS

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COMPONENTS

COMPONENTS

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COMPONENTS

EPOS

EPOS

FOLDING BIKES

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 71

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GEARS

RACKS

RACKS

RESPRAYS AND REPAIRS

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INSURANCE

LIGHTING

STORAGE BOXES

TRAINING SERVICES

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BIKEBIZ MARKETPLACE WATER BOTTLES

WATER BOTTLES

WEBSITE SERVICES

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COMPANY PROFILE

ADVERTISER INDEX A

B

2pure

22

Abacus

47

ACT

52

ATG

79

Balfa

19

Boca Bearings

57

Brompton Bicycle

C

40-41

Buffera

5, 55

Chicken Cycle Kit

3, 78

Core Bike

15

Cycle Sport North

44

E

Extra

25

F

Fat Spanner

65

Fisher

8, 54

G

Green Oil

65

H

Halfords

50

Hope

31

Hotlines

80

Imp Sport

59

ISON

33

J

Jim Walker

28

K

Karbon Kinetics

55

M

Madison

I

4, 51

Mission

65

Moorelarge

77

Paligap

36

Powabyke

55

Powacycle

13

R

Raleigh

51

S

Silverfish

P

Cover and Page 2

SKS

39

Sonic Cycles

57

Spa Cycles

56

T

The Cycle Division

56, 65

U

Upgrade

26-27

w

Weldtite

60

Windwave

34

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Xxxx

Chris Giles and Martin Ingham of The Cycle Division TEL: 0845 0508 500 EMAIL: sales@thecycledivision.com WEB: www.thecycledivision.co.uk

How can dealers open an account with the Cycle Division? Are there any criteria to be met? There are two ways to open an account with TCD. We can offer a 30day credit account subject to approval by HSBC – our invoice finance company – or we offer a settlement discount to customers that pay with a credit or debit card for the order. What brands do you carry? The brands we stock are RavX, Finesse, D2O, Schwalbe, Oxford, Weldtite, Adie, Fibrax, Sigma, Sunrace, Sturmey Archer, Union, Super B and Velomann. We are humble people who leave their egos at the door and quality bread-and-butter parts are our foundation. We import all the most popular bicycle parts ourselves, for example brake blocks, bottom brackets and so on. We never buy any bread-and-butter replacement part packaged and we believe the workshop needs as much support as possible. This means that mechanics do not have to put up with discarded packaging littering the workshop floor. This also offers a much more attractive and competitive price point to the dealer. We do, however, also offer all bread-and-butter parts at a packaged price point too with all carding done in-house on our D2O cards. How's business? Business is good – RavX is starting to take off, due in part to our first foray into consumer advertising in What Mountain Bike and various other periodicals. Shops have also had lots of repairs this year, which has been good

for our D2O range of parts. Sturmey Archer hubs are popular again too, especially with news of the imminent S3X three speed fixed hub’s arrival early next year. Do you plan to attend any shows in 2009? And do you hold your own dealer events? We will probably be at Cycle 2009 again either supporting Sunrace, Sturmey Archer or dabbling with something ourselves. We don't do our own dealer events. Are warranty issues dealt with inhouse? Yes. Warranty issues are dealt with inhouse by trained staff. Have you got any expansion plans? Of course expansion and growth is always in-built within our company philosophy, and one or two manoeuvres are on the cards for next year. At the moment RavX will be at the forefront of our plans for 2009 along with coping with added demand for Sturmey Archer. Other than that we will continue to build on our current product portfolio with a keen eye on protecting stock levels. Service is key to any business’ success and we are very proud to say that we will continue to endeavour to offer the highest levels of service possible. We always try to be courteous, respectful and above all friendly. It is important to us that our customers get their orders complete and on time. If we can have fun at the same time, then we’d like to think we’ll be around for a very long time yet.

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 75

OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD Clarks moves house then gains chickens… The locals are friendly – but only if you feed them...

CLARKS product designer, Paul Toon, told BikeBiz: “We have changed the business significantly, investing in new product design and development strategies. Our long established company is still working hard to succeed, winning business awards earlier this year. We only moved very recently, so we are still settling in. But the natives seem friendly – as you can see from the photos.”

Clarks Cycle Systems has moved its Head Office to the new address below: Head Office Unit 1, The Old Dairy, Pessall Lane, Edingale, Nr Tamworth, Stafford B79 9JL

Send your pictures to mark.sutton@intentmedia.co.uk

Rouleur exhibition review THROUGH December Rouleur set up camp next door to Condor Cycles in London to put on an exhibition showing off the work of nine of the magazine’s contributing photographers. The results could be viewed by the public up to December 23rd when the exhibition on Gray’s Inn Road closed. The results have been prolific, and the images are some of the finest taken since Rouleur began. The photographs give a glimpse into a multitude of cycling’s many facets: the riders, the people by the road, the anonymous officials, and the different landscapes that form the backdrop to the races – from the northern Essex marshes of Dengie to the Italian Dolomites. There were nine very

different, yet all deeply personal views on show, as well as a few custom bicycles dressed in the Rouleur colours.

Whyte signs Olympic hopeful WHYTE RACING has signed Billy Whenman on a four-year contract that will take him up to the next Olympics. The 19-year-old – currently the National under-23 75km enduro champion – will be riding a Whyte 19 Race hardtail from January. Billy’s contract is the first one that pays him a salary. He has secured many product deals over the years as he has risen through the junior ranks and since he was

a young teenager has been a supported rider with Marin. As an English rider on the exclusive British Whyte bikes, the company is keen to stress the synergy of the deal. Brand manager Justin Stevenson said: “Without a doubt Billy is the most exciting rider to come up through the ranks for years. We are looking forward to seeing if he can win a place at the 2012 games.”

quote unquote “The bicycle is one of the world's great examples of good design: utilitarian, refined, efficient and available in mind-blowing variety, from the $60 Kmart kid’s bike to the $6,000 carbon fibre bike, and everything in between.” Core77.com, an industrial design website, December 1st

“The investment going in at the elite end [of British Cycling] isn’t about improving training or preparation – they’re good at that – it’s about getting our best riders into the public eye to inspire people to get out on their bikes.” Ian Drake, British Cycling's CEO, The Independent, November 1st

“Beijing has sparked a surge in popularity across the sport. Tills are ringing at bike shops and ‘have-a-go’ sessions at the Manchester track are booked up right until February.” The Independent, November 1st

“Right now, the US consumes about 10 per cent of the world’s oil just to get back and forth to work. If we are able to reintroduce the bicycle into our communities, we are going to make it easier for people to break our oil

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Sponsored by the brands of Moore Large 01332 274252 addiction. I have cycled to work in Washington for 12 years. I’ve burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4,800 pounds of carbon dioxide.” Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, in Parade magazine, November 23rd

Ian Drake

“Halfords is putting more emphasis on bicycles as high fuel prices and the economic downturn drive hordes of commuters to the saddle. The number of commuters cycling to work has increased by 3.3 million since the start of the credit crunch, according to one survey.” The Times, November 21st “One of the world industries seemingly not suffering in the current worldwide recession, if we can agree that the embargo over calling it that has now expired, is the bike trade. Top bicycle makers in Taiwan and Japan are reporting steadily increasing

revenues, despite the falling popularity around the world of the bicycle’s four-wheeled cousin. Bicycles, then, seem to share an exalted status, along with certain foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and precious few others, as recession-proof commodities that investors can count as far-sighted picks.” Ron Goodden, JournalConstitution, USA, November 26th

BIKEBIZ JANUARY 77

OFF THE RECORD

IN THE SADDLE

SPOKESMAN Balancing the books Spokesman talks about how the industry and the Government will go about levelling its accounts in the near and distant future...

Toby Smith MD, Propel Distribution What bikes do you own? Right now, just the one, which is a 26-inch MTB fullsus, Morewood Shova. It's simple and it works, I can depend on it and I love riding it. There is a Vicious Cycles Monolith Singlespeed propped up in our warehouse just about ready to go, but I am avoiding the temptation by being too busy to ride much. Can you tell us about your business background? My first business was a watersports centre, training in windsurfing, sailing, kayak and canoe. I spent some time seasoning in the Alps and Canada and then got sucked into the bike business through a love of mountain bikes. I worked in a warehouse for the Continental distributor Cambrian and have also done my time on the shop floor at 2XS in Wittering. I even had a short spell at Summit Cycles in Aberystwyth before becoming the main sales guy at Hotlines, probably the role that most people know me for. I was with Hotlines for over eight years before departing to start Propel.

LIVING IN this crazy 24-hour society I have to write this column to meet BikeBiz schedules early. Therefore I have no idea at this time, early December, what will happen with the Christmas build-up. It now seems our Government has no idea what to do next. Dropping the VAT to 15 per cent will make not a jot of difference to our sales – well that is if you’re not selling £2,000 bikes. I would imagine most suppliers would take advantage of the drop to balance the loss on the dollar and the euro, which seems to have stabilised around $1.50 to the £1. I cannot imagine the retailers in our industry running around the shop with a price gun changing all the prices by this silly amount – better to wait for it to go up to 18.5 per cent, which will happen when it changes again in 15 months time. The country seems to be run in the same way as many small businesses – don’t put anything away when the going is good, then panic when it gets tough. The difference is that they can write out IOUs for trillions, and we just get shafted. And where will it all end? As I said last month, batten down the hatches during the first quarter of this New Year. This surely has to be the right time for all manufacturers to stop bringing out new models that have just had a colour change or a different saddle fitted. We also need sensible pricing policies, which allow every account to be on the same level playing field. No longer will we see the web dealers clearing old models at knock-down prices. The independent accounts, which actually represent more than 60 per cent of most supplier’s business, would have a strong hold if they all worked together. By this I mean do not commit yourselves to the American-type sales bullshit of having to order way in advance to enable your continued supply or deal prices.

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Dropping the VAT to 15 per cent will make not a jot of difference, unless you’re exclusively selling £2,000 plus bikes. Suppliers should be working out their planned output for the coming months by sensible accounting and using all the sales information held in their computers. It is the supplier who has to try and get it correct, not the retailer. That’s why we have wholesale importers, so the retailer is able to purchase as required, without having to order six months in advance. This would stop the suppliers over ordering and alleviate being forced to clear so-called last year’s stock, at prices and volume that only the web boys are able to purchase and clear. As a supplier, I will be thinking differently about ordering during this economic turndown, and not gambling on future sales increases. Ordering three to four months in advance will just be crystal ball gazing. I would now rather be out of stock for a while than have products sat in the warehouse paid for by advanced borrowing. A Sustrans officer who frequents the shop had just checked three bikes over. Two were from Halfords, which required some braking and gear adjustments, the other was Cytech checked by the shop. Perfect. And I am so thankful that Halfords in its wisdom have called the new concept shop ‘Republic’. What a terrible name – it sounds like a third-world shop, Chez Republic. What message will that send out to a discerning cyclist?

What’s the biggest rush achievable on a bike? Personally, I enjoy riding with my dog, a three-year-old border collie named Flint. He likes to pluck your front wheel away from under you when you least expect it. It adds a certain edge to any ride. And, to date, what’s been the highlight of your year? We have the best cycle commute in the world to Propel HQ. It starts along a section of the NCN and then heads onto the Cornish coastal path overlooking St. Austell Bay. Any morning without driving rain has been a bonus this summer, but some morning rides to work have been all the reward I need.

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BikeBiz Issue36, January 2009