THE MTB ISSUE
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‘ I have little doubt that in another industry, we’d all be headed to Germany in July 2019’
CONTENT Editor James Groves firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-at-Large Carlton Reid email@example.com Designer Marc Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors Laura Laker, Kieran Howells
The art of being human
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Having had a few weeks to recover from a rather hectic visit to Friedrichshafen, I’m wary that readers will have grown tired of hearing about Eurobike and complaints regarding its ever-changing dates. With that in mind, allow me to try a different tack. One thing I’ve come to appreciate in this industry is the open, candid conversation I’m able to have with almost anyone, be it intern, mechanic or CEO. Naturally, the motivation behind any trade show is to increase or maintain brand presence while being as profitable as possible along the way, but the overarching vibe of Eurobike was one of friendliness and community. So, while I understand the frustration following the date changes, and concur that they need to remain static, there was something wonderfully human about the whole affair. The organisers attempted to refresh the event – for the benefit of all – and while that hasn’t quite worked out, the immediacy of a return to September demonstrates a rare will to admit one’s mistakes. I have little doubt that in another industry, we’d all be headed to Germany in July 2019 purely to spare the organisers’ blushes. On a more self-indulgent note, you may have noticed that the BikeBiz website and print magazine have undergone minor makeovers in the past few weeks. Online, we have whittled down seven editorial categories to a more appropriate, user-friendly total of four. This will not affect our all-encompassing coverage of the industry; the change simply maximises efficiency for our readers by ensuring the website is as concise and accessible as possible. In print, we have introduced two fresh, dedicated regulars: Marketing Matters and IBD Focus. The IBD is a vital cog in the industry wheel and it is equally imperative that all sectors of the market – be it distributors, brands or the media – do their utmost to highlight the significance of local dealers. Pursuant of this ideal, Marketing Matters will become a monthly source of advice to IBDs throughout the country, while IBD Focus will seek to highlight success stories and deliver peer-to-peer insights on best practice. If these refinements can aid even a handful of IBD readers, that’s good enough for me. Now, enough about us – the MTB edition awaits…
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08.18 THIS MONTH
THE MTB ISSUE
Customer base, not personal taste
Red Cloud’s Mark Almond takes a look at the opportunities present in today’s MTB market
Kieran Howells visits the MTB specialist’s factory in Spain
James Groves chats to Presca and parent company GRN about their work towards eco-friendly sportswear
SECTIONS 6 Opinion 19 Features 47 IBD Focus 53 Sector Guides 67 Data and Analysis
www.bikebiz.com 5 Contents_final.indd 1
bikebiz 20/07/2018 11:46
Customer base, not personal taste by Mark Almond, Red Cloud Marketing and Communications
6 | August 2018
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ven as an MTB shop owner, industry marketing advisor and avid mountain biker, the MTB market is surprisingly difficult to assess for a multitude of reasons. This, I realised, must make it a rather large ask for the uninitiated.
Choice is a good thing if the choice is informed. Retailers Back in the 90s, MTB ruled the roost. Mountain bikes and brands alike need to clarify the choice for the consumer seemed to be the ride of choice both on and off the road as a based on what, where and how they ride. All too often I see new and exciting sport took hold. People quickly realised someone struggling up a hill with a 170mm travel bike when that these new bikes could go anywhere and do anything all they need for their riding is a 120mm. It is painful to see, – whether riding to school, commuting to work or going out and painful for the rider I am sure! Take the time to know for a bike ride with the family. No bridleway was off limits, your customer and how they ride before showing them the while canal and riverbanks became fair game for bike rides options available to them. – MTBs could do it all. Make MTB accessible. It is still the most accessible and These days though, it has become slightly more niche and flexible of the cycling sectors at its heart but if you fill your almost, dare I say it, cult-like. The rise of the road market store full of Rampage images and showcase the greatest played its part for sure, as did home Olympic success and edits, you will scare off the beginners, as the sport looks too similar British triumph in the Tour de France, among others. extreme or dangerous. You’re making yourself a niche within As a result, the MTB market started to shrink and fragment a niche. Of course, if, like my shop, that is your into labels such as XC, Enduro, Downhill, All go for it, but know your local Mountain, Trail… swiftly followed by Fat, Plus ‘Retailers and audience, customer base first and what they want. It’s a Size and so on. Wheel sizes changed, brands alike percentage game. In other words, if 50 per cent momentarily reverted, then changed again. Now there is a choice of three. Standards need to clarify of your audience is family/beginner, don’t came and went, fashions blew up, subsided the choice for furnish 80 per cent of your store with long travel superbikes surrounded by extreme and so on. At the same time, consumers were the consumer sports imagery. It is there for your customer given greater shopping choices, available based on what, base, not for your personal taste. from their handheld devices to add to their If, like us, your store is local to a trail, work huge menu of MTB options. Online, in-store, where and with that trail. Help develop the trails and cater direct, omnichannel. You get the picture. how they ride’ some of your offering to the core riders at that Things changed, and changed fast. trail. We get riders coming from all over the UK Then e-MTBs became the marmite to the bike park. They save their purchases until they get discussion of the mountain bike world, bike parks started to there because we cater for their niche and the trail they have take off in the UK and the huge number of events open to come to ride. We have also found that this has led to riders became baffling to the point of some series failing and incredible customer loyalty and repeat purchases as we are disappearing as soon as they had started. So much choice catering for their needs and giving them options to meet emerged at every level. those needs. So where does a consumer start, given this huge array of Every local trail also has a local riding ‘celeb’. This is options? How does the retailer start to meet their needs? someone who becomes a mini-hero to the local riding What exactly are their needs compared to what the industry community and who therefore becomes an opinion former. is telling them their needs are? Are consumers becoming Identify them – they could be the best ally you could have! disillusioned with all the changes? So many questions. This market is complex and changing at an alarming rate. Let’s start with what we know for a fact. It’s about the Consumers are changing, the market is changing – the consumer. Not the brands or products, not the distributors, industry has to move with it and adapt to survive. The very not the pros or even the retailers. It is the consumer that is basics of marketing are to know your customer. Master that leading the charge in our changing market and their choices and you will always be one step ahead of the market. n should be key to all of us wherever we work in this industry. www.bikebiz.com
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Delivering an idea to market By Stefan Buxton, Trigger Bell creator
ot so long ago, the formation of an initial idea and the finalisation of the manufactured product were months apart – if not years. With the power of freelancers, 3D printing, international manufacturing, sales and a wealth of online resources, 2018 offers creatives almost unlimited support in their efforts to bring products to market as quickly and as cheaply as possible. In this modern era, the real challenge lies in approaching the process in the right way.
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Don’t stop believin’ Confirm your opportunity by researching the market. Spend some time online, browsing the competition, to see if your idea has already been thought of, and if so, whether or not it has patent or design protection. Use an image search to find similar products. Search international sourcing websites – they may have products that are yet to (or will never) reach our shores. This simple process may also inform your design as you become more familiar with what is available. Don’t invest in protecting products just yet; wait until you have something between a prototype and a commercially viable product. Your initial vision and design will inevitably change as you start building it, and it is nigh on impossible to change a patent application.
August 2018 | 9
Naturally, on the flip side, you cannot patent an idea that is already in the market. Anyone worth working with will sign a simple Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) if you do need to discuss your idea in the earlier stages of planning. Let’s get physical It’s tempting to crack on with the business case, and while retail price and volumes may be easily estimated based on similar products, it will be a considerable challenge to quantify one-off and per unit costs until you have spoken with manufacturers. You should therefore use the basis that if there is a similar product on the market, your business case is going to stack up. Yes, this is something of a wild assumption, but making this up front can save you many days of plugging numbers into a spreadsheet that may dramatically miscalculate revenues and costs. Get started in the physical world by drawing and building. As quickly as possible, you need to have a design and features list that delivers the desired customer benefit. Once you’ve got the major design decisions made, you can bring it together in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model for further refinement. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and start Buy competing products and any other from scratch, or come up with several ‘Each dead end different options to move forward into the offerings possessing features you would like you discover to use in your own design, such as a hinge, next stage. Each dead end you discover in clip, cap or screw. Disassemble them and the earlier stages saves significant in the earlier see how they were put together. See what investment later in the process. stages saves works and what does not. Now is the time The lead image on page nine shows significant to relive your Blue Peter days! Build the earliest models of Trigger Bell. The benefit is that the bell is safer to cardboard models of your product. Use glue investment ping than a traditional bell (you don’t sticks, sticky tape and mouldable plastics later in the need to move your hand to ping it), so and modelling clay. More sophisticated process’ the focus in the models was on the models should include plastic or metal orientation of the hammer. Everything parts, which can easily be bought online. else was secondary, which is why these models look so Using different materials in your models will also help different to the final product. After it was confirmed that you to start shortlisting what you could use in production. the benefit could be achieved, the other features were If your product is small, then scale it up to make it easier modelled more accurately. to model. Focus on developing the specific features that Finally, keep a simple glossary of the terms you discover will deliver the benefit your product is offering. Keep along the way. In the next stage, you will need to be able to testing and iterating the design to ensure the product communicate with professionals such as designers and delivers the benefit as effectively as possible. For example, engineers, so you need to know your nylons from your you may need to clamp your product to the bike. Unless acetals, your ratchets from your bosses and your fillets this feature is integral to the benefit of the product, there is from your flanges. no need to worry about it as this can be modelled later.
10 | August 2018
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You can now 3D print in plastics that behave similarly to their production counterparts
A design for life Finalise design by prototyping for manufacturing and sales prospecting. Be prepared for this stage to take longer and cost more – it takes your model into the virtual world through CAD, from which you can 3D print prototypes in a range of materials. The low- to mid-cost option is to work with a professional freelance designer who can take your ideas, drawings and models and make them ready for a manufacturer to provide production cost estimates. Charges will most likely be made on an hourly basis. There are sites that help you to find designers, and easily the best option is to work with someone locally so you can have design sessions in the same room, rather than over video or phone. The designer should ensure that the design can actually be manufactured (see image on page ten) – materials are selected and any outstanding design decisions are made. If you need extra help in selecting a material, there are services that will chemically analyse components you send their way. Using these services can cut the time taken to choose a suitable material. The alternatives are to use free online CAD packages (low cost) or an agency (high cost). If you fancy a relatively steep learning curve, or are familiar with design for manufacturing, then check out the online tools.
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An agency will take on much more responsibility to produce the finished design. However, the product will be “finished” when the project budget is used up and this may not leave you with exactly what you had originally envisaged. Whichever option you choose, make sure you receive your designs in an industry standard format that can be used in other CAD packages. When you are ready, get your designs 3D printed so you can see your product in the flesh. You can now 3D print within days – and without breaking the bank – in a huge range of materials, including plastics that behave similarly to their production counterparts (pictured above) and a variety of metals. Test these 3D prints to destruction to see where any potential weak points are, and iterate your designs accordingly. Be careful that a change in one part of the product will often impact another. The joy of physics! Congratulations. If you have made it this far, you should have a great looking prototype that you can show off to retailers for feedback, and a set of designs you can share with manufacturers for cost estimation. At this point, protection of your idea should certainly be considered, while potentially looking at ways of crowdfunding that first production run... but that is for another day. n
August 2018 | 11
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It’s not all doom and
Harry King, Exact Cycle founder, attempts to bring some positivity to a troublesome market
hen we talk about the cycling industry and the impact the online landscape has had on retailers, it’s very easy to resign ourselves to the ways of the modern world. The fact is, we’re already very aware of the effects online competition is having, and continuously regurgitating the same negative bullet points does not help anyone. With that in mind, I wanted to highlight some of the fantastic things some IBDs are doing to diversify in order to reduce the damage caused by online retailers. www.bikebiz.com
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It all starts with understanding the customer on a deeper level in terms of their potential value to your business. I understand that lots of shops reading this will be thinking, “I already know my customer, they’re cyclists!” and yes, they would be right. But who are they? Why do they come to your shop? When do they come and where do they come from? What about those that don’t even come in? Compared to most large industries, the average cycle retailer has a surprising lack of data on who their customers actually are. August 2018 | 13
“Why should a cyclist buy from one retailer over another? Convenience? Lack of choice? Customers should buy from cycle retailers because they want to” Harry King
One exercise that would be easy enough to carry out would be to record who your customers are and what they purchased. Do this for one week and from the resulting data, apply some logic: which was the largest group of people? How many other people are there in your area like them? What did they buy? How profitable were you with each purchase, both in revenue and margin? A picture will start to emerge. It will show the business’ strengths and where your missed opportunities lie. Through this deeper understanding and analysis, you will be better able to target your most valuable customers and proposition them. If you can’t beat them, join them Attempting to compete with cycling’s online giants may seem like a silly suggestion, but it may not be as hard as you think. Eleven years ago, two Australian cyclists set up a business called Bike Exchange that helps small cycling retailers get online. It has now moved over to the UK and offers shops a quick, easy and cost-effective way to sell online. The concept has been hugely successful in both Australia and the US and could be a great option for a shop wanting to improve its online presence or get online in the first place.
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Social media is another tricky one. It’s all well and good having a Facebook page and an Instagram account, but they have to be used regularly to be effective. If done well, they can be a great way of generating new business. A fantastic example of this is Pedal and Spoke in Surrey. It utilises Instagram consistently and produces interesting and visually pleasing content day in, day out. Diversify Diversification is a definition drilled into my brain from A-level geography: “The process of a company enlarging or varying its range of products or field of operation.” I was never that good at geography; I spent my time looking at pictures of mountains, dreaming of riding my bike down them, rather than how they were formed. In any case, the term couldn’t be more relevant to today’s cycle retailers, who are being forced into looking at new and different ways to grow and expand their business in order to keep the lights on and compete with online competition. There is so much choice out there for cyclists – endless products with seemingly infinite benefits at discounted prices – so why should anyone buy from you? ‘Use us or lose us” I hear you say, but why should a cyclist buy from one retailer over another?
Place yourself in the centre of your community and use them. From these events, it’s then easy to gain free PR in the local press. Local papers and magazines are always looking for editorial content, so if you’re putting on a charity event, they will want to cover it. This concept can be taken to the wider community too: school assemblies on cycling safety, charity cycle rides, or working with the local council. Why is that last one in there? With thousands of new homes being built across the UK, developers are required to provide Community Infrastructure Levey (CIL) funds for every new home built, and in some areas this can be as high as £150 per square metre. This is money local governments have to spend on developing infrastructure in their communities. Combine this with the increased focus on walking and cycle paths from Westminster, and you have a multi-billion pound cocktail waiting to be spent, and we can influence that. The introduction of the town plan means we have a say over where this money is spent. Maybe lobby for a cycle path in your area, town or village. A new cycling path means more cyclists, and that means more customers.
Convenience? Lack of choice? Customers should buy from cycle retailers because they want to. As humans, we have this innate need to belong, and we value this sense of belonging more than money. We have craved it since the school playground, and it’s this sense of belonging that retailers can deliver to their customers. There are many ways that this can be achieved, and doing a few of them well is by far a better option than being a jack-of-all-trades. Loyalty schemes, demo days and small group rides are fantastic ways to begin building this community. Have conversations with your regular customers, and ask if this is something they could potentially be interested in helping you organise. Build confidence and experience leading to bigger events, film nights, sportives, and other unique events. By running your own events, you have the control. You’re able to manage the costs and resources as well as focus the promotion towards your own business. Charitable events are great for a number of reasons. Firstly and most obviously, you’re helping others. Charity also helps you build up that all-important rapport. You can expand your event’s reach, perhaps partner with a local school for a family fun day charity ride. That’s potentially hundreds of kids, with hundreds of bikes, with hundreds of parents who also have bikes.
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The future With more and more technology finding its way into our bikes, there will soon be the need for shops to be equipped with the tech to deal with this – much like the way the automotive industry has had to adapt with the rise in computer-controlled components in cars. The garages that invested intelligently in diagnostic equipment and learned how to use a laptop, as well as a spanner, were able to transition well into this new age of automobiles. E-bikes may not take over cycling, but they are definitely big business, and something we should be watching closely. The second-hand market is another area that shops can use to offer services that can’t be moved online – promoting their skills, knowledge, and experience in the meantime. With over two million second-hand bikes sold every year, there is plenty of opportunity available! Exact Cycle makes this market accessible to retailers, giving them the tools to assess bikes digitally to give their customers peace of mind on its condition in the form of an electronic conditional certificate. Cyclists are then able to use this to sell their bike through online marketplaces such as Preloved. The system allows shops to charge for knowledge and expertise that is often given out for free, as well as promoting their workshop services to customers. The truth is, there is no hard and fast solution to managing online competition, and it isn’t something that is going to go away. It’s a battle that independents will always be fighting, but with some creative thinking and focused energy, there is no reason the cycle retailer should not be here to stay. n
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Growing in the right direction
Laura Laker investigates off-road growth and questions whether the niche is reaching its full potential
ff-road riding is the biggest growth area in cycling in the UK, and yet, according to research, it remains stubbornly white and male. If true, there is huge potential for the cycling industry to benefit from both diversity itself and the spending of new customers – if it can tap into new markets, including women and ethnic minorities. Based on the most recent National Travel Survey, mountain biking is the fastest growing cycling discipline. It says: “The proportion of cyclists usually cycling off the road in parks, open country or private land has increased over the last ten years, from 19 per cent in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2016.” Mountain bikes are already 35 per cent of all bikes sold. According to a survey, of 11,500 off-road riders, 92 per cent are white British, with 87 per cent male. Women are a huge potential growth industry.
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According to Cycling UK research, women have a stronger preference than men to ride off-road, away from traffic. Aneela McKenna is co-partner of Go Where Scotland, an off-road cycle holiday company, and a rare Asian female ride leader in the mountain biking world. She and her partner, who run the company together, have made strides in improving customer diversity. She was also nominated as one of Cycling UK’s 100 women in cycling, recognising her contribution in mountain biking. She says: “I have been riding bikes for about 20 years and it has been predominantly male. “We have run a mountain biking company for ten years. For the first six years we had no women, and if there was a woman it would be somebody’s partner, and maybe not there out of their own interest. We thought: ‘we do need to be more inclusive and get more women involved’.” August 2018 | 19
“Who’s going to be interested to go into something if they don’t see themselves there?” Aneela McKenna
Through women-only rides, and making the Go Where marketing imagery equal in terms of women and men – and no doubt the fact McKenna is female – the company has started to see improvements in the gender balance, with between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of riders on their led rides now women. Having spoken about gender for so long, and finally seeing some change, she now wants to see disability, ethnicity and LGBT issues discussed in the industry. “This is where the national bodies need to think what they can do to increase that participation,” she says. “My husband has got MS and he has done a film about how that’s impacted him and his riding. There are lots of stigmas in cycling with people not wanting to talk about illness, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop; it might just mean that you do things in a different way, with friends or groups.” She believes hidden disabilities are a big issue and says “hundreds of people” contacted her and her husband about the film, people who have had strokes or cancer, or have had ME – that you might not know had been ill. These people, she says, are often not seen or discussed in cycling. “So many people are talking about diversity, businesses are taking amazing incentives, trying to increase women’s 20 | August 2018
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participation, but it would be good to get that conversation to be opened more broadly.” McKenna would like to see more diverse and women role models in off-road riding, both in terms of brand ambassadors (she is a brand ambassador for Juliana Bikes), and in terms of mentoring programmes to bring more diverse people into the industry. It could benefit the industry. “The more people you see like yourself, the more you will be interested and you will want to find out this is for me as well. Who’s going to be interested to go into something if they don’t see themselves there?” She said: “There is a bit of education to do and helping people to understand what diversity means. I understand with small businesses it’s hard if you don’t have the money and investment. However, if there was a national body somewhere you could tap into funding to enable these kinds of education and training to be provided, that would be an amazing starting point.” McKenna praised Rachael Walker, brand manager for Hope Technology, for her work encouraging women into Enduro racing. Rachael spearheaded HopeTech’s Women’s Enduro programme, to inspire and support women riders. She says because many women come into mountain biking later in life, a supportive environment away from men can be hugely beneficial in building confidence. HopeTech women’s rides, as well as interviews, hints and tips, from technical skills to maintenance, can be found at hopetechwomen.com. McKenna also gave a nod to Lynne Aitchison, nee Armstrong, who started Air Maiden, a freeride event for women, with skills development coaching on offer, such as jumping, drop-offs, and cornering, in a supportive and relaxed environment. n www.bikebiz.com
Visiting Mondraker Kieran Howells heads to Alicante to find out more about the MTB specialists
et’s face it; the relationship between brands, dealers and distributors have not always been a productive one. In fact, in the cycling industry, one of the key issues that dealers raise time and time again is the difficult symbiosis between the three groups, and it’s an understandable position. The difference between dead stock and a
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healthy turnover sits in the hands of those who control what products show up and, often more importantly, when they show up. We’ve all heard the horror stories in which a huge order is placed, weeks go by with no sign of any new products and then, after what seems like an age, a single delivery of gloves or socks arrives with the ‘promise’ of more to come.
Of course, the distributor model is undoubtedly an essential key to the successful progression of the industry. The recent developments of brands slowly moving towards a direct-to-dealer approach does nothing to stabilise an already rocky period for IBDs, who ideally want to get as much of their carefully curated range from one source as possible. From a brand’s perspective, the presence of attentive territory account managers is simply not something they can replicate, and therefore dealers get less communication and the brands get fewer sales. It may be a simplistic view, but for the most part, when a distributor is taken out of the equation, everybody suffers. This, then, puts the onus on the distributor to be the kind of middleman that both sides want to deal with, and that’s no small task. In the case of Cornwall-based distributor Silverfish, the solution to this issue is simple – communication. Silverfish claims it isn’t interested in dropping in on dealers twice a year for formal chats about future orders, or trying to entice dealers with products they don’t actually want; instead, Silverfish says it ensures it is a clear and active presence in the dealings of their customers. The range is carefully curated with brands that match their ‘family’ ethos and where possible, the company quite literally brings both sides together. In the middle of England’s uncharacteristically sunsoaked summer, I accepted an invitation to spend a long weekend with Silverfish and the Mondraker crew in their native Spain. The brand, which has cultivated a strong relationship with Silverfish over the course of nearly a decade, was on the verge of releasing its much-anticipated 2019 bike range, and wanted its dealers in the UK to be among the first to not only see the bikes up close, but also to gain first-hand experience of the company’s ethos and how it chooses to operate. Dealers from all over the UK accepted the offer and pledged their attendance for not only a full rundown of the range in a local hotel and exhibition space, but also a punishing five hours of riding, in which time they’d have cultivated either a deep passion or a deep hatred for the as-yet-unreleased bikes. Of course, the Mondraker team’s confidence in their product was far from misplaced. The brand charged onto the mountain bike scene in 2001 and despite the immense pressure of competing in a field so heavily dominated by historically gigantic brands, managed to forge its own path with
‘The brand could have easily moved to a space more than double this size in years past’
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unique designs and a few world-firsts along the way. Despite being around for such a short time, Mondraker is one of the only brands to have their models in the first, second and third place positions on a podium at any one time – success that it shared with mountain bike icon and world champion Danny Hart. If the brand’s podium trifecta wasn’t enough to confirm its place in mountain bike history, its creation and mastery of what it refers to as ‘forward geometry’ will surely seal the deal. In Mondraker’s own words, forward geometry can be explained as: “Based on longer reach and longer top tubes, a riding position with FG 30mm stem is perfectly balanced for each bike category and application. Extra top tube length increase is compensated with our proprietary FG30 stem on all FG models, on every frame size. Front centre length increases, thus making the ride more confident and allowing you to ride faster, easier and, above all, a more enjoyable riding experience.” Fifteen dealers departed from their various home airports all over the UK and slowly convened in Alicante, welcomed by five members of the Silverfish team.
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‘Mondraker charged onto the mountain bike scene in 2001, and despite competing in a field so heavily dominated by historically gigantic brands, managed to forge its own path with unique designs and a few worldfirsts along the way’ After a characteristically late Spanish dinner and a long sleep, the congregation awoke early and set off on the steep and dusty trails of Altea to truly get to grips with Mondraker’s 2019 offering. I instead opted for an activity far more within the confines of my skillset and took the opportunity to tour the factory in which all Mondraker units are built and packaged, ready to be distributed across the world. Located on an inconspicuous factory estate, you’d be forgiven for completely missing Mondraker’s compound. The compact factory houses not only the brand’s warehouse, assembly lines and packaging stations, but also its marketing, design, accounting and management teams. It doesn’t seem big enough to operate even a mid-sized local business, let alone the complete production and distribution of a bike brand with a world-renowned reputation, and certainly doesn’t seem big enough to churn out over 90 bikes in a single day. As we entered the heart of the premises it became obvious how Mondraker managed to achieve such impressive feats of production. Twelve young and enthusiastic bike builders were hard at work in the various stages of production on a 2019 model in an extremely clean and well-maintained floor. The manager on site told us that all 12 currently working have a strong history in the mountain bike world in both racing and riding in the local area. This passion, he said, is at the heart of what they do. But what about quality control? With 90 bikes exiting the factory daily, ensuring that all are up to the brand’s standards is no mean feat.
24 | August 2018
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This is where the builder’s accountability is put to the test. Unlike the vast majority of brands, each of the 12 builders on site creates every bike from scratch and builds it through to completion – which takes around 45 minutes. The bike is then inspected and hard signed by its creator, ready for shipping. The bike is then painstakingly packaged to strict specifications and once again inspected and hand signed by the packer. Up a small staircase above the factory floor, we were shown what can best be described as a product test library. In each of several hundred cardboard boxes were 3D printed frames, each perfectly formed to allow the designers a 360-degree view of their creation. Among the hundreds in the room lay a few very special designs including mock-ups of Danny Hart’s bikes and the first model to ever feature ‘forward geometry’. Also casually propped up against the warehouse walls amongst the many test frames were a handful of bikes displaying some of the various roughly constructed technologies the brand is currently working on – signs that 2020 bikes are already very much in the works. A little further through an inconspicuous door sat the entire design and marketing team, each pouring over new designs, new banners and new online tools. The brand could have easily moved to a space more than double this size in years past, but its hand-built touch and low-key team are achieving things that they didn’t think possible back in 2001, and becoming yet another mass-build bike brand simply isn’t on the cards any time soon. n
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Making an Impact Carlton Reid reports from the first ever Impact Media Summit in Sun Valley, Idaho
n June 2009, to fill a yawning gap, Lance Camisasca, the former organiser of Interbike, launched PressCamp in Sun Valley, Idaho. This was an intimate schmoozefest between 20 or so brands and roughly the same number of journalists. New bikes and kit were shown to bike scribes in the three mornings of the event, with afternoons set aside for riding. For the 2010 event, PressCamp moved to Deer Valley, Utah, and continued to be staged in this ski resort until last year when the event was folded by new owners ECRM. One of the early investors in the PressCamp business was industry veteran Scott Montgomery, son of the founder of Cannondale, and a long-time CEO of brands such as Scott USA and Reynolds Cycling. Montgomery moved to Ketchum, Idaho, when he joined Scott. Before it branched into bikes and later became Swiss-owned, Scott USA
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was a ski-pole brand, founded in Ketchum. It was in Ketchum that Montgomery based CrankTank, his consultancy business, which he now runs with fellow industry veteran Adrian Montgomery. When PressCamp folded, Montgomery and Montgomery decided to found a similar event of their own, and Impact Media Summit was born. It was staged in June this year in Sun Valley, the upscale ski resort less than two miles from Ketchum. The Summit was billed as a “platform for brands to communicate directly with media editors in an experiential, ride-focused event” by CrankTank’s Lars-Erik Johnson. He adds that Impact would be “ the only bike industryfacing event on the calendar to prioritise using products first-hand to form impressions, inspire conversation and inform editorial”.
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Sun Valley boasts hundreds of miles of singletrack, where it’s legal to ride e-mountain bikes, and the event duly attracted Specialized and BMC to launch their e-rigs. “Idaho has more gravel roads than paved, providing excellent proving grounds for the ever-growing range of all-terrain road bikes,” says Johnson. This attracted Turner Suspension Bicycles and Moots, both of whom got writers on their new gravel bikes. Ketchum is also generally bike-friendly, with plenty of tarmac roads, so that attracted Orbea, which launched its new Gain carbon e-road bike at the event. The Summit flew in 13 bike journalists – 11 from the US, two from the UK. The 11 were: Josh Patterson of Bikeradar, Steve Fisher of Bikerumor, James Huang of Cyclingtips, Road Bike’s Zapata Espinoza, Matt Furber of MTBR, Aaron Gulley of Outside magazine, Pinkbike’s Daniel Sapp, Red Kite Prayer’s Patrick Brady, Jeff Barber of singletracks, Simon Silver of MTB Mag, and Gearjunkie’s Tom Puzak. The two were Singletrackworld’s Hannah Dobson and myself. Day one of the event included riding BMC AMP and Brose-equipped Specialized electric Turbo Levo mountain bikes on the famous and e-legal Greenhorn-Imperial trail, and taking the new Specialized Stumpjumper down the resort’s new flow trail on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain. Day two was a ten-mile gravel ride on Turner and Moots bikes to the Galena Lodge for lunch and then riding on the Galena Summer Trails on Stumpjumpers and BMC’s Speedfox and Agonist MTBs. (There’s a 47-mile network of trails north of the lodge.)
28 | August 2018
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Some of the brands present at Impact were CrankTank clients, others came along for the ride. CrankTank plans on making the event an annual fixture, earlier than both Eurobike and Interbike and a useful primer for both. Maxxis Maxxis US brand manager Aaron Chamberlain had the unenviable task of equipping all of the bikes at Impact with Maxxis tyres and tubes. Then again, after that task was done, he was free to ride the trails. The new Rekon Race semi-slick 29er XC tyre was shown for the first time at Impact. This is the lowest profile tyre in the Maxxis XC line-up. Chamberlain says he expects the Rekon Race to be used primarily as a rear tyre, with riders pairing it with an Ikon Aspen on the front. The tyre’s tread pattern is a slimmed back version of the one used on the existing Rekon+ 27.5×2.8in plus tyre, with more side knobs for cornering. All of the knobs are siped to give more surface area and traction.
“Idaho has more gravel roads than paved, providing excellent proving grounds for the ever-growing range of all-terrain road bikes” Lars-Erik Johnson
FEATURE The Rekon Race Exo has beefy sidewalls and weighs in at 670g, with the pure Rekon Race at 610g. 7mesh British Columbia bike clothing brand 7mesh was at Impact to get equip the guests with its MTB tops and Enduro baggies. Founded in 2013 by former Arc’yteryx president Tyler Jordan, the brand has two riders in mind: the kind who rides for up to seven hours, and who could tell what weather might lay ahead and dress accordingly; or the seven-day rider who needs more flexible capable kit. Former Arc’yteryx designer Ian Martin has been with 7mesh from the start and is a font of knowledge on fabrics and their properties, explaining in a presentation that lycra holds water which is why it can feel cold to the touch and, in the outdoor comfort stakes, isn’t a performance fabric. 7mesh is based in the outdoor town of Squamish, downhill from Whistler.
“Impact is the only bike industryfacing event on the calendar to prioritise using products first-hand to form impressions, inspire conversation and inform editorial” Lars-Erik Johnson
Orbea Basque bike brand Orbea launched a carbon version of its Gain electric road bike at Impact. The aluminium version of the bike was launched last year and is now joined by a lighter model. The new carbon Gain weighs 11.3kg (24.9lbs). Brand manager Jon Gantxegi said the carbon Gain looks and rides like a standard bike – albeit one with clearance for up to 40C tyres – and he preferred to call it an “assisted” bicycle rather than an e-bike. Thanks to the Gain’s rear-hub motor I was able to climb uphill – standing on the pedals, out of the saddle – faster and with less effort than usual. The bike’s control button – which turns the assistance on and off, and can be toggled between modes – is on the top tube and features green and red LED lighting. The integrated battery is recharged from a port at the base of the seat tube. To most observers the Gain looks like a standard road bike – the only give-away is the largerthan-usual rear hub, although, from one side, this is hidden by the disc rotor and cassette. The motor is from Spanish automobile company EV Motion – and a one-year exclusivity deal ends soon. For longer rides, there’s a spare battery that fits in a bottle cage. Power is moderated via an integrated dropout sensor sporting 20 magnets – this monitors pedalling input and adjusts power accordingly. A smart phone and smart watch compatible app enables ride tracking, activity and GPS route uploading and other Gain-specific functionality. The bike has a range of about 70 miles.
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Journalists testing the bikes on the hilly roads around Ketchum were followed by a Mavic neutral-service car. This was to highlight that Orbea has teamed with Mavic for 32-spoke e-bike wheels. The high-end Gains will use the e-bike version of the carbon Cosmic Pro while the slightly cheaper bikes will use the aluminium Aksium wheelset. BMC The new Agonist 29er all-mountain bike delivers playful, nimble handling while its progressive geometry and low bottom bracket with short chainstays provide excellent traction and control. Generous top tube length, a short stem, and wide bars balance the rider. BMC’s re-engineered Speedfox trail bike is billed as “quiver killer”. But the main BMC launch at Impact was the carbon e-version of the Trailfox, the AMP, as in “amplified.” This has bigger suspension pivots to compensate for the extra load and torque of e-MTBing. Pedal assist is from a Shimano E-8000 mid-motor unit integrated into the “Twin Hollow-core” downtube. A speed sensor is hidden in the rearstay and disc. Swiftwick socks These made-in-America socks are surprisingly loaded with tech, from the use of moisture-wicking fabrics in different needle weights, and compression panels in different strengths
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depending on the style. There are channels for ventilation is some panels, contoured heel pockets and seamless toes. The socks also come in five cuff heights, with short cuffs for Xxxxxxxxx runners and longer ones for cyclists. xxxxxxx xxxxxxx Turner xxxxxxx David Turner and Christina Probert-Turner had journalists on the new titanium version of the brand’s Cyclosys bike. “Don’t call it a gravel bike,” cautioned Turner. Equipped with two or three different sets of wheels/tyres (28mm to 38mm) and it becomes much more versatile than gravel alone. The frame takes flat-mount disc brakes, has 142×12 thru-axles, and sports a press-fit bottom bracket. Rudy Project Impact Media Summit saw Rudy Project equip journalists with the new Protera MTB helmet and Tralyx photochromic sunglasses The 18-vent helmet weighs 320g with the visor (size S/M) and uses the RSR 9 retention system. Side adjusters feature a slot for clipping in earbud wires. The ImpactX 2 Black Photochromic lenses on the Tralyx glasses respond super fast to changing light conditions and provide a wide range of light transmission nine per cent to 74 per cent). The lenses are claimed to be unbreakable and guaranteed for life. n
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BikeBiz caught up with Kona co-founder Jacob Heilbron to learn more about the MTB giant’s history and vision for the future Could you tell us a little about the history of Kona? Kona was founded in 1988 by Dan Gerhard and I in Vancouver BC. We’d previously worked for Rocky Mountain Bicycles and Marin Bicycles. Inaugural MTB Hall of Fame member Joe Murray from Marin County was the first product designer with a four-bike range – the first commercially produced sloping top mountain bikes, with a focus on long top tubes, with small rear triangles and low centre of gravity. Since then, Kona additionally established footprints in the US and Europe, now selling directly to nearly 800 independent dealers in Europe and the US. Kona first hit the UK market in 1990, and has been a direct supplier to UK retailers since 2010. As bicycles have become more complex, Kona expanded the product team from four to 14 staff members, allowing us to steadily introduce designs such as the Process G1, which was introduced in 2014. www.bikebiz.com
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It was rapidly accepted for a number of design elements including those original design concepts of a low, long bike that has outstanding stability and climbing ability. Process G2 was introduced a year ago with models in 27.5 and 29 wheel size, both aluminium and carbon. The carbon Process G2 in 29er wheel is being introduced for the new season. What are the brand’s current goals, considering its already strong place in the market? We’ve always liked to think of ourselves as a bicycle company that focuses on making great bikes, and that means we’ve mostly stayed away from making parts and accessories. While we’re aware there is a brand to preserve and promote, it’s always been our mission to concentrate on making bikes that make long rides great experiences.
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“The growing acceptance of e-bikes in the independent dealer market is exciting and a great opportunity for us all” Jacob Heilbron What gives Kona an edge over its competitors? It’s always been important for us to ensure there is strong customer support from every part of the company, whether it’s sales, marketing, administration or shipping – we really do take that part very seriously, and certainly the longevity of the company has allowed us to build a solid but friendly structure that supports the business side of bikes. The bicycle industry has always been very competitive, and it is only becoming moreso with new companies with great ideas popping up almost daily. We believe that interacting with riders and dealers and understanding their needs from a personal point of view is key to our success. Bicycles continue to evolve and that excites us every day. With an overwhelming focus on Kona staff that ride and have worked in bike shops, we’re able to understand and help lead the evolution year in, year out. Which MTB trends/innovations are exciting you in 2018? We love riding all types of bikes, and especially enjoy riding on all types of terrain. That’s why we began making gravel bikes in 2014 with the original Rove and have continually developed and expanded that segment in our range. The growing acceptance of e-bikes in the independent dealer market is also exciting and a great opportunity for us all – to bring new riders into our sport and also keep long-time riders on their bikes for much longer. 36 | August 2018
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We made a start in 2009 but it seemed like IBDs weren’t very keen, and battery/motor technologies were not yet advanced. Returning to e-bike production in 2018 was a two-year challenge for our e-bike product manager Trevor Porter, who was a ten-year veteran in Kona sales as well as a former World DH Masters champion. There will be seven models for the coming season and much more to come. What does the future hold for Kona? Kona has always maintained a fiercely independent streak, with the same founders/owners since we started. While we are working hard at adapting our business to the reality of digital sales, we will continue to support dealers through programmes like our Kona Ride Online, which lets consumers purchase their bikes over the internet and choose their Kona dealer for their pickup location. This is new in the UK after 18 months of fine-tuning in the US, and it has been a great tool to bring new customers to our dealers while protecting dealer margins. Kona has been growing steadily since its inception, and the growth has been natural rather than forced. The feeling is, if we continue to make great bikes, we’ll continue to be able to travel all over the world meeting and riding with our dealers, distributors and cyclists wherever they are. n www.bikebiz.com
Bespoke teamwear brand Presca Teamwear claims it can create a cycling jersey from as few as 14 plastic bottles. James Groves chats to Peter Lillie, co-founder of Presca Teamwear and parent company GRN Sportswear, to find out more about the brands and their fight for sustainability...
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ustainability and recycling are concepts the majority of the population concurs with. Alas, the extent to which we actively pursue them is often somewhat limited. GRN Sportswear was founded in 2014 and has predominantly served as a cyclewear business. In February 2017, the brand set itself up as a limited company with the idea of having two defined offerings with the same ethical principles and a year later, Presca Teamwear was born.
“Prior to our launch it was difficult, if not impossible, to find sustainable and ethically-made sportswear for swimming, running, cycling and triathlon athletes,” explains Peter Lillie, GRN Sportswear and Presca Teamwear co-founder. “We decided to offer an alternative; sports clothing that was technically advanced while being sustainably and ethically sourced.” The pair hold similar mandates, but GRN acts as a café culture brand, August 2018 | 39
“For every tonne of recycled material used in Presca’s cycle shorts and tri-suits, 1.26 tonnes of waste to landfill is avoided, and seven barrels of crude oil are saved” Peter Lillie
offering t-shirts and a more relaxed cyclewear range, while Presca is a bespoke teamwear brand targeting clubs and race teams, offering customised and branded kit to show that “performance and sustainability can work hand-in-hand”. According to Lillie, all of Presca’s sports clothing is manufactured in the UK from the most sustainable fabrics available, including materials derived from plastic bottles and fishing nets. “We are doing things differently to everyone else in our industry,” says Lillie. “We continue to push the boundaries; under GRN, we launched the world’s most sustainable skin suit, which was trialled and tested at the UK National Track Championships in 2017.” The current industry standard is to use synthetic fabrics derived from crude oil – something Lillie says is entirely unsustainable and has high-related CO2 emissions and water use. “We believe our fabrics are so much better because every cycling jersey we make uses approximately 14 recycled plastic bottles, uses 60 per cent less energy and 94 per cent less water to produce than the alternative from virgin materials,” he explains. “For every tonne of recycled material used in Presca’s cycle shorts and tri-suits, 1.26 tonnes of waste to landfill is avoided, and seven barrels of crude oil are saved.” Presca will be showcasing its eco-friendly credentials at the first Cycle Expo Yorkshire in October. “Yorkshire is a fantastic place for cyclists, so we were delighted to see the launch of a Cycle Expo in the region – what better place to hold it?” says Lillie. “GRN was launched in Yorkshire and it’s great that the next step of our journey can be showcased there as well.” The Expo, which is expecting an attendance of over 20,000, has already highlighted sustainability as being high up on the agenda, and Presca is looking to support that “however we can”. Cycle Expo Yorkshire’s Charlotte Scoular adds: “Sustainability is something that is really important to us. The use of plastic in the sporting industry has been widely discussed and we hope 40 | August 2018
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that by showing our support, we can blaze the trail in making steps to ensure sporting events are more sustainable. “It’s great to have a brand like GRN Sportswear on board to help us in our bid to make Cycle Expo Yorkshire a celebration of all things cycling and sustainable.” Pragmatism and general business sense have always represented major roadblocks for potential sustainability adopters, and Lillie accepts that large, established brands are still going through an education process. “They are ‘dipping their toe in the water’, but want proof that a circular economy can be a profitable economy before completely committing,” he admits. “In my view, the drive for change will be the ability to show that the sustainable options are a profitable and viable alternative to the norm. Delivery of such solutions not only has a positive impact on our environment but also improves the overall productivity, performance and perception of our industry.” Lillie continues: “I can only speak from our own perspective on this, but our use of UK manufacturing allows us to keep our supply chains short and transparent, ensuring emissions are minimised and ethical manufacture is guaranteed. Our business model ensures we don’t hold surplus stock and therefore keeps oversupply to a minimum, eliminating unnecessary waste.” Looking to the future, Presca wants to remove the ‘I’d buy this, but…’” argument from the equation. “We’re all going through a learning curve in terms of the impact our buying decisions have on the planet and I think we need to give comparative choices,” Lille concludes. “The higher quality and longer-lasting sustainable, environmentally friendly products become, the more likely it is they will become the de facto choice. As for Presca Teamwear, our plan is to become the market leader in performance sportswear, using industry leading sustainable materials and ethical processes.” n www.bikebiz.com
MTB: An opportunity Laura Laker explores the world of off-road, and questions how we can open up more MTB trails around the country
hat does “off-road” mean to you and your customers? Depending on who you ask, it could describe a range of surface and trail types, from a grit path alongside a canal, to a gnarly mountainside single track. Whatever people ride, off-road cycling is good for the industry – 35 per cent of all cycles sold are designed for riding off-road, making them the joint most popular cycles sold, along with kids bikes. What’s more, according to the most recent National Travel Survey, off-road riding is the fastest growing area in types of cycling. In February, national cycling charity Cycling UK launched its Rides of Way report, looking at anything from who rides off-road to their motivations
42 | August 2018
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for doing so; from the tourism benefits of off-road cycling to the types of trails people like the most. The aim was to assess the state of off-road riding, who does it, and how to increase access to trails people will use. It highlighted a huge opportunity for the industry, in the fact 80 per cent of bridleway trails are currently off-limits to cycling – and a third of people don’t know the status of routes they regularly ride. The charity points out the Government is currently keen to open up the countryside in its ‘once-in-a-generation’ ‘public access for public goods’ drive, led by Environment Secretary Michael Gove. This means money redirected from the Common Agriculture Policy post-Brexit will pay farmers for anything from enhancing the environment to opening up public access to the countryside.
‘Cycling visitors spend between £10 and £50 on food and drink, and many spend much more on accommodation, too, benefiting wider local economies’ Although the consultation is now over, there are things the industry can do to push the agenda. The charity argues opening up more and clearer rights of way could help people cycle more, as well as encouraging new riders, with all the related benefits for the environment, health and local economies – a clear example, it argues, of public access for public good. It is also a clear potential benefit for cycle retailers – and the cause could use the industry’s voice to extol the economic benefits of off-road riding. At present, just 22 per cent of England’s off-road routes are open to cycling, and they are designated based on historical use, rather than current use. This can mean tracks are permissible for motor vehicles and/or people on foot, but not for cycling. Cycling UK would like to see this system changed to one of ‘presumed access, instead of presumed trespass’. This has already happened in Scotland, thanks to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Now, anyone can go anywhere, within reason, on foot, by cycle, or by horse, boat or canoe. Key to this is an Outdoor Access Code, which forfeits access to those who don’t adhere to the rules. Cycling UK would like a similar system in the UK, and believes with clear exceptions in the case of narrow or crowded routes, most trails in England are suitable for cycling. Tourism benefits The charity is already working with landowners, including in Surrey Hills and Gateshead, to link up and signpost disjointed routes – effectively creating local cycling attractions. Those landowners recognise the tourism benefits of off-road cycling visitors, and are keen to optimise their offer. Cycling visitors spend between £10 and £50 on food and drink, and many spend much more on accommodation, too, benefiting wider local economies. Cycling UK would like to work with councils, National Park Authorities, and other landowners to draw up suitable routes. Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of advocacy and campaigns, says: “It would be helpful if those within the retail trade explained the economic benefits of increasing access. That argument hasn’t been made.” Trails for Wales In 2015, Cycling UK ran its Trails for Wales campaign, calling for open access to the Welsh countryside for cycling. Major brands including Cube, Giant, Greenover Sports, Howies, Raleigh, Silverfish, Storck, Trek and Whyte came out in support, and the Welsh Government received the highest ever number of consultation responses, sending a clear message they wanted more and better access to off-road routes. www.bikebiz.com
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“It’s seen as an expensive activity, and we have tried to nuance the language to change that” Duncan Dollimore
However, the Welsh Government now seems unclear on what to do next, and Dollimore believes an economic case could help push the issue up the agenda. How can the industry help? Cycling UK would like to see the industry similarly get behind its English campaign. The risk is, Government doesn’t see the economic benefits of off-road cycling, and doesn’t hear from anyone highlighting those benefits. There are sponsorship opportunities for specific routes, helping provide anything from signposting to branding, to advertising of trails and getting involved in campaigns. Dollimore expresses frustration the industry hasn’t yet linked up with advocacy that gets more people cycling, and would like to see that change. He said: “The people fighting for things that would get more people cycling is us. 44 | August 2018
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“We had £3,000 to produce our Beyond the Greenbelt report [calling on National Trails, disused railways, etc, to be opened up and signed for off-road cycling] – that’s promoting cycling. It is not in any bike shops, it wasn’t promoted by a single retailer, and I can’t think of a retailer apart from Halfords that has supported a campaign.” He says even small funds could help with new routes. “They require not huge money but some maps, a bit of signage. There’s quite a bit we could do, and it would be nice if industry got behind a bit of that.” Lobbying for access in National Trails and National Parks is next on the agenda. “We will be coming out with activities for local campaigners to become engaged, to promote greater access for off-road riding. That will be over the next few months,” he said. Dollimore added the industry could do more to promote more sedate riding: “It’s as if, to come out with us, you need a £3,000 or £4,000 bike; that’s why we aren’t using the term mountain biking, because you can do it on a hybrid bike. It’s seen as an expensive activity, and we have tried to nuance the language to change that.” n
Who are your offroad customers, and where are the growth areas? Cycling UK’s survey, of more than 11,000 people, found that 92 per cent of off-road riders are white British, and most are middle-aged men, earning £50,000£100,000 per year. That’s not to say women don’t want to ride off-road. According to Sustrans Bike Life survey, 69 per cent of women said more trafficfree cycle routes, away from roads, would start them cycling or cycle more in their cities, compared to 67 per cent of men. Diversifying off-road riding is therefore another potential growth area for the industry (see page 19).
Why people ride Health and fitness were the main motivators for men and women riding off-road, with a whopping 91 per cent of respondents rating off-road cycling as fairly or very important for their mental health, and 90 per cent for their physical health.
01772 459 887 t.co.uk
RAVEMEN PR1200 USB RECHARGEABLE DUALENS FRONT LIGHT WITH REMOTE (1200 LUMENS) “Many people have had the experience of being dazzled by high lumen bike lights, and Ravemen believe that every rider also tries not to disturb others while enjoying the fun of riding. Based on such perception and being inspired by automotive headlights, the idea of applying a similar design to bike lights came into their minds. Through the entire process of conceiving, designing, proofing, testing and adjusting, they finally made it! That means the world’s first bike light with a simulation of the design of automotive headlights is available.”
Brand b deals a uy-in vailabl e
£99.99 ■ DuaLens Optical Design ■ HiLo Beam System ■ LED real-time display to show remaining runtime in each brightness level ■ Micro USB charging port, compatible with most phone chargers ■ USB output port to charge other USB-powered digital devices
■ Compatible with handlebar from 22.2mm to 31.8mm diameter ■ 21 hours run time ■ Max 1200 lumens, 3 modes and 8 brightness levels for various riding environments ■ LED: 2*CREE XM-L2 with a lifespan of 50000 hours ■ Battery: 5200mAh/3.7V rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
Distributors of great brands across the UK Find your Local stockist at: www.bob-elliot.co.uk or contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01772 459 887
XX Bob Elliot - August 2018_Ad_v1.indd 1
Get the basics right Criterium Cycles’ Richard and Paul Bowker kick off our new IBD Focus section after their shop was selected in the BikeBiz Top 20 IBDs for 2018 www.bikebiz.com
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How did Criterium Cycles come to be? Neither of us has a background in cycle retail, but we have always had an interest in the sector, both from a participation perspective and a commercial one. Paul’s background is in ‘highend’ motor trade retail. Richard’s background is in large-scale commercial and finance leadership roles in diverse businesses such as the Virgin Group and National Express Group. We both looked at the cycling retail sector around six years ago and saw something of a cottage industry at a local level. In particular, there seemed to be very few examples of really modern, customer-focused retail practices Paul had been immersed in during his time at BMW, Brian James and others. However, we thought the industry had real potential, so decided to put our money where our mouths were, and Criterium Cycles was born. Cycling is famously a passionate industry. Does this apply to you and if so, how important is it to separate that from business sense? We have always had the view that to be successful, we would have to be dispassionate about many of the decisions cycle retailers make on a regular basis. August 2018 | 47
Criterium Cycles’ workshop
Too many cycle businesses we saw were struggling because the Some shops seem to delight in stocking as many brands as owners appeared to be allowing their hearts to overrule their possible. We see little point in that. When was the last time heads. At one level, selling bikes is no different to selling cars, someone walked into an Audi showroom and said: “it’s lovely, or indeed anything else of higher value. If you are ruthlessly but do you have a Mercedes and a BMW I can also look at?” focused on great customer service while keeping a close eye on We went mono-brand with Trek at the outset, mainly because the financial and commercial fundamentals of the business, we thought it was the best, but also because with space for then you have a chance. We still find it amazing (albeit not in a around a maximum of 70 bikes, it allowed us to range not good way!) that so many independent bike shops don’t appear only the most popular models across the whole range, but to focus on basic things like margin, also to ensure we had a range of stock turn and the difference sizes for all customers to see. between cash flow and profit. Adding Bianchi has been very “So many independent bike It’s not just about business complementary to that. shops don’t appear to focus on though. We both absolutely love Every bike shop will be different, cycling. Cycling is a passionate and location could well be a factor. basic things like margin, stock industry and being able to speak to Edinburgh, the Lothians and the turn and the difference customers and partners with Borders are strong for both road between cash flow and profit” authority and credibility is vital. riding and mountain bikes, though One of the greatest ways to connect we find we’re slightly biased in with customers is to get out riding favour of road, so our range and with them and establish a real community around the life of sales reflect that. Also, since opening, we have made a great the store. We have wonderful customers at Criterium Cycles effort with sales to women just as much as to men. We dislike and riding with them outside of the store environment is now a those shops whose idea of women’s sales is to shove some fundamental part of what defines us as a business. pink or purple stuff in a corner somewhere, and patronise customers who come in to buy anything women-specific. They are probably the same shops that complain about a Which products are consistently good sellers? lack of women’s sales. But our approach to providing exactly Our ratio of bikes to non-bike sales has been remarkably the same quality of great advice to men and women, ensuring consistent in the five years since we opened. One of the everyone gets the bike and equipment appropriate for their reasons for that, we suspect, is our approach to range planning. 48 | August 2018
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LY E IV
S LE U L AB M C EX IL O R
A E V H A R FIS F O R Y
d an d trie se e t h u rp o r ® is i - p te 8 5 m u l t d w a a t te r T “ G te d a n m e o t te s r i c a n n t . N a l l t h s e lub ersaor sm® giv p d i s b i g T 8 5 yo u . ” G g w n ho ject, ythin e ca r p ro ev e i n o n l u yo d a l e ne
L 5 A 8 IN O L T G IG S ®
OERR O A
O R D E R
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B2B.CO.UK 11/07/2018 13:26:48
individual needs, seems to work well for us – the percentage of bike sales to women is much higher than our colleagues in the industry tell us is the norm. Which services or organisations have aided your business? One of the great things about the cycle industry is the sense of local community that often goes with a local bike shop. For instance, the businesses in Midlothian, whether complementary shops to us (e.g. cafes), cycle groups or similar have been very supportive. At the other end of the scale, all of our partners, large and small, have been equally enthusiastic. We find that if we are professional in all our dealings, that manner is reciprocated in terms of support and relationships. One thing we did do when the Consumer Credit Licence was replaced with the new FCA rules was to go through the application process for FCA Limited Permission. It was very detailed, but as a result, we can offer interest-free (and classic) credit in terms of six months to three years. We find an increasing number of customers are looking to budget for their new bikes on the basis of how large their monthly payments will be, not the upfront cost. Being able to introduce customers to our third-party finance partner is a massive boost. What are your thoughts on online sales? The internet has revolutionised our lives for the better, internet selling has done the same and the trend is only going one way – we are going to see more and more growth in online sales. Those who moan about the internet and the damage it is doing are well within their rights to do so. However, we have chosen to
Richard Bowker’s sons, Will and Charlie, at Dirtschool Glentress
50 | August 2018
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“Some shops delight in stocking as many brands as possible. We see little point in that” develop a business model in our store where we can exploit the benefits and value of that in-store experience for those products that are not obviously suited to internet selling. However, e-commerce is a tremendous opportunity, which is why Richard bought a majority stake in Always Riding last year, one of the UK’s premium online cycle retailers. We have really exciting plans for collaborations between Always Riding and Criterium Cycles, where we can make use of the best that each channel has to offer for some really innovative projects. Do you utilise social media to connect with customers? We certainly do and we find it an absolutely brilliant platform for connecting and engaging with customers. We principally use Facebook, but are looking to use Instagram more and more. The most popular series of social media posts we have done involved showing customers the building of bikes through their life cycle, from concept to specification to build to finishing. Everyone has a different opinion on these kinds of projects and it’s great to get the conversation going. The lesson we have learned with social media is to be authentic. Don’t try and project an image of what you’re not: instead present yourself on social media the same way as you would in the store. People are smart and can see through ‘spin’ immediately so don’t even bother trying. Just be true to your values and your approach, and you will gain credibility for it. Do you have plans to expand at all? It’s a very tough market at the moment and Brexit is going to make it tougher and even more uncertain. With Criterium Cycles, we have developed a strong brand in Edinburgh (and Scotland generally). We love what we do, but equally, we recognise it is people that make our business what it is – not just our wonderful customers but also the brilliant team we have in the store. We know that’s very hard to replicate and ensure consistency. So although we would never rule anything out, right now our focus is on making sure our Edinburgh store remains one of the most respected bike shops in the UK (thanks in no small way to the readers of BikeBiz!) and goes from strength to strength. n www.bikebiz.com
Top 3 reasons you should get involved:
20,000 EXPECTED VISITORS
Exhibit alongside some of the biggest names in the industry and reach a fresh new audience, from the cycling beginner to dedicated amateurs and professionals.
Be part of
UK’S MOST INTERACTIVE CYCLE SHOW 12 - 14 OCTOBER 2018
YORKSHIRE EVENT CENTRE, HARROGATE
12TH OCT - TRADE & PRESS DAY
DIVERSE SHOW EXPERIENCE
Cycle Expo will be a mass celebration of cycling for all disciplines. Showcase your brand alongside a range of races, competitions, activities, demo areas and some of the biggest names in the industry.
YORKSHIRE THE HOME OF CYCLING
Following on from the Grand Depart and the Tour de Yorkshire, be part of the newest event in Yorkshire’s cycling calendar contributing to the already huge economic impact on the region.
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BIKES FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY #MOVEINSYNC
or our authorised resellers
An extensive selection of mid range parts and accessories well priced to offer excellent value for money and good margins for dealers. Available for next day delivery on our easy to use B2B ordering system. GREYVILLE ENTERPRISES
Mountain bikes, accessories and gear 2
FR Trail Blackline 20l
Distributor: Ison Bridge Club perfectly hits the sweet spot that separates on- and off-road excursions, a highly versatile touring bike. It accounts for both the planned and unplanned multi-surface outings. It is disc brake-specific and uses a single-position vertical rear dropout. That simplicity makes for a highfunctioning touring bike that’s not as intimidating as other bikes in the category. Contact: 01353 662 662 email@example.com
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Distributor: ZyroFisher Evoc’s Blackline backpacks represent the perfect blend of innovative ventilation and the successful technology standard of Evoc’s protector backpacks. The Evoc FR Trail Blackline is a high-end day pack with an integrated Liteshield back protector that offers optimal support during longer bike tours and trail rides and can accommodate hydration systems up to 3l. Contact: www.zyrofisherb2b.co.uk
The Mantra Trail is a certified shredding hardtail designed to own singletrack. With a dedicated 1x10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and a proven 120mm travel Suntour Raidon XC LO-R fork, it’s a well thought-out, balanced package designed to give you the absolute maximum for your money.
Henty’s Enduro Backpack is the ultimate hydration kit for cyclists and acts as a tool belt for all the essentials.Your water bladder is positioned as close as possible to your centre of gravity, giving you comfort and agility. There are plenty of pockets and webbing for storage and easy access while you’re on the move. The innovative design of the Enduro gives you ventilation, minimising a sweaty back.
Contact: 07896 175 494 firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2018 | 53
Foxy RR Carbon 29”
Distributor: Oxford Products
Distributor: Silverfish UK
The A-Grip R1’s are a grip with a special soft R1 rubber compound, which combined with the Acros mini logo designed texture, promises a firm grip no matter the terrain or whether you are wearing gloves or not. At 130mm wide the grips give a decent coverage of the bars, making them comfortable to use for even the biggest pair of hands. The chrome alloy finish on either end of the interchangeable lock rings, which come in three different colours, gives your bike that all important subtle styling.
Everything Mondraker has learnt in the last few years out of making some of the best full suspension bikes on the market has been combined with the help and expertise their racing heritage and extensive prototype testing to construct this super bike. Combining the agility, precise handling and lightness of a Trail bike with the great absorption, traction and confidence inspiring of a hardcore Enduro bike in a bigger wheeled package, the Foxy Carbon 29 will exceed your greatest expectations.
The Prospect gives the rider a maximum field of vision due to the extra height of the lens. It features an innovative Scott lens lock system that makes the lens stay in the frame no matter what impact is coming from outside. To avoid slipping of the goggle, it is equipped with an extra wide, no-slip silicone strap. This strap, together with articulated outriggers, contribute to the improvement of the helmet integration. The Prospect comes with two lenses – chrome and clear - ideal for any weather conditions.
Think of it as a mashup of the Ripley’s balance and speed, coupled with the Mojo HD4’s capabilities when things get hairy. It’s the bike that the Ibis Enduro World Series winning team are using to defend their World Championship crown, so Ibis have pulled out all the stops. With a sub six pound frame and a 145mm of efficient dw-link rear wheel travel (160mm front), this is the most versatile bike Ibis have ever build. It also marks a dramatic shift in our approach to geometry.
Contact: 01993 862 300 email@example.com
Contact: 01752 843882 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: 07508 374 732
Contact: 0131 449 4147 email@example.com
54 | August 2018
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Stereo 150 C:68 TM 29
Distributor: Oneway Bike Industry
Distributor: Tandem Group Cycles
Mountain King Performance 2.3
Distributor: Ison Distribution
Meet the brand new Stereo 150 C:68 TM 29 – an enduro bike that’ll reset your expectations. Built around a completely new frameset crafted from our premium C:68 carbon, the Cube design team has created an extraordinary race-capable all-rounder that’s almost as adept propelling its rider skyward as it is cashing in gravity credits on the way down.
The Cape Wrath name has been synonymous in the world of mountain biking for years, and 2018 sees the model reborn in this 650B format. We’ve hit the drawing board on both specs and graphics, to create this high performing mountain bike, ideal for UK trail centres. Features a hydro-formed alloy frame, Rockshox XC30 suspension fork, Shimano Alivio 27spd drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, robust double wall rims and Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres.
Contact: 00311 0340 3502
Contact: 0121 748 8050 firstname.lastname@example.org
56 | August 2018
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Distributor: Madison, Bob Elliot, I-Ride, Raleigh The Continental MTB range now features tubeless-easy fitment across the premium and performance ranges. The King series has been completely re-engineered, with uniform sizing across all models, and tubeless inflation now possible with a standard track pump. The new Mountain King 2.3” is the all-mountain tyre with subtle enduro qualities on the trail. Contact: 01970 626 777 email@example.com
AKA The new AKA is the latest new bike to drop from the UK brand, known for its history in the dirt jump market. The latest generation AKA hits the ground running as a true work horse in Identiti’s range. The same frame can take 27.5 or 29’’ wheels by utilising the latest version of their ADS drop outs. Modern geometry based around sag finish off a well rounded package. Contact: 01353 662 662 firstname.lastname@example.org
Frog Bikes Push the limits:
Eccentric Cromo 29
Distributor: Direct to retailer
NS Bikes have put their years of steel frame building knowhow into this bike and it’ sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who rides it. The heart of this 29er is the steel frame built using custom drawn Tange tubes with built in gussets. In contrast to the classic looks this bike has very modern geometry with a long reach and super slack head angle. The 1x11 gearing, dropper post and 140mm fork keep the modern theme running and ensure it is ready for anything.
The X-Track En-Rage completes Look’s off-road range of pedals by offering a wider pedal body. Lateral contact support guides your foot in finding your pedal and provides you a point of contact even if you have not yet engaged the cleat. This wide contact area prevents your foot from sliding on the pedal body and offers consistent and reassuring support. With more contact area it offers added stability, and construction to withstand the hardest of knocks.
Distributor: Bob Elliot, Chicken Cyclekit
Contact: 0131 319 1444 email@example.com
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This mudguard has been developed in collaboration with professional riders. This front large coverage mudguard has been designed for Enduro, DH or XC. In extreme conditions, it remains discrete but robust. The Deflector FM30 is compatible with the majority of forks on the market and can be used with wheels with 27.5” and 29” diametre. Contact: 01772 459 887 firstname.lastname@example.org 01525 381 347 email@example.com
This 26” wheel junior mountain bike is the ideal multi terrain bicycle for off-road cycling and suitable for 10-12 year olds with a minimum inside leg measure of 69cm. Wheel: 26”. Lightweight but sturdy frame. Frog Bikes junior specific 26”air suspension fork with lockout and damping control. Lightweight oversize handlebar and stem. Easy-reach junior specific hydraulic brakes. Shimano rapid-fire 9 speed shift lever. Patented Frog cranks for easier pedalling. Quick release seat post for easy height adjustment. Contact: 01784 557300 firstname.lastname@example.org August 2018 | 57
Winter and protective clothing
Minimalist+ Distributor: Madison An update of the popular Minimalist pads, the Minimalist+ will give you everything you enjoyed about the original and more. The asymmetrical pads combine top level protection with allday comfort, and the 3D Armourgel pad has been fine-tuned to provide the best all-round protection while staying as flexible and breathable as possible. Contact: email@example.com
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Protekt Stowaway Cape
Beta Winter Jacket
Trail AS Jacket
Distributor: Bob Elliot
An all-in-one winter jacket designed to provide complete protection on the coldest winter days. The Beta jacket is your shield against the elements. It is constructed from triple layer warm Windstopper Fuga fabric and is both windproof and water-resistant, as well as thermally insulating. The Beta Jacket is packed with design features and attention to detail. The elastic on the bottom of the jacket keeps it firmly in place during long rides. The reflective details on the back ensure visibility on the darkest streets.
The Scott Trail AS jacket is ideal for low temperature winter rides. Featuring a PrimaLoft insulation on the front and elastic inserts under the arms and on the back, you can brave the cold while keeping all the freedom of movement you need to enjoy the ride.
Keep your team logo clearly displayed with the Protekt rain jacket; its transparent shell is water-repellent and windproof, exposing your jersey logo whilst protecting you from the elements. Features: compactly folds into its back pocket. Water-repellent, windproof, mesh underarm panels, back panel storm vent with mesh lining, mesh lined collar, reflective trim across upper back, reflective across back zip pocket, folds compactly into back pocket. Contact: 01772 459 887 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: 07508 374 732
Contact: www.zyrofisherb2b.co.uk August 2018 | 59
AVIP LS Ceramic Jersey
Natural fit gloves X-Shell
Oneway Bike Industry
R5 Artica Winter Shoe
Winter long finger gloves, warming, wind- and waterproof, breathable membrane, pull-on system, absorbent fabric, extra-long cuff with velcro strap with cube wings, natural fit gel foam padding, shockX insert, silicone prints, reflective details.
These Ultratech overshoes are not just another “any old” overshoe same as a dozen others. The “Ultra 3 Tech” fabric is a modern development that leaves neoprene looking a bit dated. They are triple layer with a windproof outer, waterproof inner and fleece liner for complete protection in all conditions. Complete with reflective rear seams, YKK zipper, re-inforced toe and Velcro adjustable sole.
Winter road cycling shoe for warmth, comfort, protection and performance riding in even the coldest, wettest conditions. Fully waterproof, easy to fit and featuring advanced insulation properties, Artica R5 beats the elements, yet is a lightweight and stiff high performance shoe. The Artica R5’s Internal Speed Lacing system makes fitting to your foot shape quick and accurate.
Contact: 01933 672 170 email@example.com
Distributor: ZyroFisher The AVIP LS Ceramic Jersey represents the next stage in the development of the AVIP concept and has been designed to enhance protection, safety and training performance. It provides enhanced rider protection through the inclusion of highly durable ceramic paneling in key areas on the shoulder, sleeves and hip, and which is designed to reduce the consequences of an accident or fall, in particular the road rash which is a common feature in cycling. Contact: 0131 449 4147 firstname.lastname@example.org 60 | August 2018
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Contact: 00311 0340 3502
Distributor: Extra UK
Flow Zip Knee Pad
Nightvision Thunderstorm Jacket
Pro Safety Reflector Glove in SilverReflect
Agent Winter Shorts
Distributor: Bob Elliot
The ultimate jacket for taking on the elements, the Altura Thunderstorm jacket uses coloured reflectivity that illuminates key parts of the jacket when caught by light sources such as car headlights and street lighting. It delivers the performance of a waterproof cycling jacket, whilst also providing excellent breathability, style and maximum visibility.
Innerhand: Non-slip silicon print palm, pre-curved fingers Outerhand: Water repellent, fully reflective, pulse warmer, silver-reflective
Distributor: Hotlines With the Flow Zip knee guard, iXS provides super thin, light and comfortable protection. As the name suggests the Flow Zip features an elastic FlexZip which makes getting them on and off quick and simple. This means iXS most popular pad is still small enough to stash in any rucksack and can be put on at the trail head with minimal effort. Contact: 0131 319 1444 email@example.com
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Contact: 01772 459 887Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: Silverfish UK Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let the elements stop you from shredding your bicycle. This fully seam sealed, 3-ply fabric shorts will help keep your stoke levels high when the weather is saying otherwise. An internal gaiter system takes rain protection to the next level. Two waterproof hand pockets keep your essentials dry while a large rear ventilation panel helps regulate body temperature. Any Race Face knee pad will fit comfortably under the hem of these loose fitting trail shorts. Contact: 01752 843 882 email@example.com August 2018 | 61
In association with
Bob Elliot and Co Ltd Unit C4 Binary Court, Matrix Park, Western Avenue, Buckshaw Village, Chorley, PR7 7NB Tel: 01772 459 887 Web: www.bob-elliot.co.uk
Cooke Components Unit 7C Cufaude Business Park, Cufaude Lane, Bramley, Hants, RG28 5DL Tel: 01256 880739 Web: www.cookecomponents.co.uk
EBCO 5 Pegasus House, Olympus Ave, Warwick, CV34 6LW Tel: Tel +01926 437700 Web: www.ebco-ebikes.co.uk
Fibrax Ltd Queensway, Wrexham. LL13 8YR Tel: +44 (0)1978 356744 Web: http://www.fibrax.com
Jungle Products Ltd Unit 3, The Cedar, New York Mills, Summerbridge, HG3 4LA Tel: 01423 780088 Web: www.jungleproducts.co.uk and www.santacruzbikes.co.uk
M & J Distributors Ltd Unit A, Hanix Buildings, Windmill Lane, Denton, Manchester, M34 3SP Tel: 0161 337 9600 Web: www.mjdist.co.uk
Met Helmets / Bluegrass 22-24 Ely Place, London, EC1N6TE Tel: 0207 1937 496 Web: www.met-helmets.com
Moore Large & Co Grampian Buildings, Shinfin Lane, Derby, DE249GL Tel: 01332274200 Web: www.moorelarge.co.uk
North Sports 102 Charleston House, 87–95 Neilston Road, Paisley, PA26ES Web: www.northsports.co.uk
Oneway Distribution BV PO BOX 12, 3000 AA Rotterdam Tel: 0031 10345 3510 Web: shop.o-w-d.nl
Oxford Products Ltd De Havilland Way, Range Road, Witney, Oxon, OX290YA Tel: 01993 862 300 Web: www.oxfordproducts.com/bicycle
Pitbitz Ltd Unit 6 Thorpe Drive, Thorpe Way Industrial Estate, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 4UZ Tel: 01295 269333 Web: www.gazeboshop.co.uk and www.thebikeboxcompany.co.uk
The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2018 is out now, providing the industry with a must-have guide to the UK’s retailers, distributors, manufacturers and related businesses. If you’d like to find out more or require additional copies please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 020 7354 6028
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DISTRIBUTION AND WHOLESALE
E-COMMERCE AND EPOS
EVENT ORGANISERS, HOSTING, HOLIDAY AND HIRE
MARKETING, PR AND CONSULTANCY
MEDIA AND PUBLISHING
Assos 57 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3JB Tel: 0203 621 1555 Web: www.assos.com
Clarks Cycle Systems Head Office, Unit 1 The Old Dairy, Pessall Lane, Edingale , Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 9JL Tel: 01827 382800
Reece Cycles plc 100 Alcester Street, Birmingham, B12 0QB Tel: 0121 622 0180 Web: www.reececycles.co.uk
Bike Rental Manager c/o H W Fisher & Co Acre House, 11-15 William Road, London. NW1 3ER Tel: +33 4 66 03 14 32 Web: www.bikerentalmanager.com
Schwalbe Tyres UK Ltd Schwalbe Centre, Hortonwood 30, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7ET Tel: 01952602680 Web: www.schwalbe.co.uk
AWEÂ® Unit 80, Courthill House, 60 Water Lane Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AJ Tel: 01625-873130 Web: www.awebike.com
The Cycle Division Units 17 & 18, Park Valley Mills Meltham Road, Huddersfield HD4 7BH Tel: 01484 665055 Web: www.thecycledivision.com
Walkers Cycle Components Ltd 22 Holywell Road, Leicester, LE2 8SG Tel: 01162 833885 Web: www.walkerscycles.co.uk
ZyroFisher Ltd Roundhouse Road, Faverdale Industrial Estate, Darlington, DL3 0UR Tel: 01325 741200
Web: www.zyrofisher.co.uk / www.zyrofisherb2b.co.uk
Citrus-Lime Limited Lantern House, The Ellers, Ulverston, LA12 0AA Tel: 01229 588 628 Web: www.citruslime.com
Dexshell Unit F1-F3 Longford Trading Estate, Thomas Street, Manchester, M32 1JT Tel: 01618644666 Web: www.dexshelltrade.com
ORGANISATIONS, CHARITIES AND ASSOCIATIONS
RETAILERS, WORKSHOPS AND MAIL ORDER
SERVICES AND TRAINING
Cycleguard Insurance Southgate House, Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1UB Tel: 0333 004 3444 Web: www.cycleguard.co.uk
Cycling UK Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, GU2 9JX 01483238300 Web: www.cyclinguk.org
Aqua Blue Sport LTD 4 Cleve Quarter, Monahan Road, Cork, Ireland Tel: 00353214847477 Web: www.aquabluesport.com
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1LQ Tel: 0333 003 0046 Web: www.yellowjersey.co.uk
Invisiframe Tel: 01743 232297 Web: www.invisiframe.co.uk
Rozone Limited Queen Street, Darlaston, Wednesbury West Midlands. WS10 8JB Tel: 0121 526 8181 Web: www.rozone.co.uk
Smartmotion International Ltd RM C, 13/F, Harvard Commercial Building, 105-111 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: 8615895656508 Web: www.smartmotionbikes.com
700c Cycle Shop Insurance Plough Court, 37 Lombard Street, London. EC3V 9BQ Tel: 0333 433 0827 Web: www.700cinsurance.co.uk
Weldtite Products Ltd Unit 9 Harrier Road, Humber Bridge Industrial Estate, Barton-on-Humber, Lincs, DN18 5RP Tel: 01652 660000 Web: www.weldtite.co.uk
The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2018 is available to view online at www.bikebiz.com
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MARKETPLACE FRAME RESPRAY, REPAIR & BUILD SERVICES
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New 2017/18 trade catalogue available
BOTTOM BRACKET SOLUTIONS
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BIKE LABELS, BOTTLES, BAGS & GENERAL PRINT
How social are you? By Keith Jepson, managing director, Max Bikes PR
ocial media is a large part of any brand or company’s marketing and PR strategy, and your use of it can say a lot about your brand and your ethos. It’s almost a full-time job managing accounts and keeping your customers up to date with your brand ‘noise’. Whatever platform you and your customers use, this modern-day word of mouth is a powerful promotional tool. We receive many questions about social media, particularly from IBDs. Here are some of the most common queries and our thoughts on them... How often should I post? We post every day for clients on multiple platforms, always attempting to keep the content varied and interesting. This level of frequency keeps your brand talking and gives you an opportunity to stay current. The immediacy of social media with the mobile devices we have means you can post in an instant – while riding and throughout your day in the bike shop or workshop – and it’s this type of content that can be the most effective. I don’t believe in “golden rules” as far as posting frequency is concerned – simply get yourself in a groove and keep the content interesting. Just think: “would I read that”?
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Have a question for Keith? Get involved via email@example.com or on Twitter @MaxBikesPR When is the best time to post? Studies show there are times of the week when more people are surfing/browsing, and you can certainly set up automatic posting to fall at this time. We do this for launch activity, but we also post in a purely reactive way – as and when something happens, which we believe helps with the conversational nature of social media content and the immediacy of it. You can automate posting to be published early in the morning when people hit their desks, early evening when they get home, or at times of the week when internet use takes a spike...but also stay fluid and post when you feel like it. That way the content remains “honest” – the posting of it is not another weekly chore!
How do I grow followers, reach and engagement? Should I boost and how often? The best way to grow your followers and reach is to concentrate on interesting content. The pages will grow followers both organically and proactively if you keep your followers informed and they begin to buy into your messaging and ethos. You can pay for boosting or enhanced content if you wish, which is an excellent way of injecting some numbers into a specific social media campaign and can be much cheaper than traditional advertising. Should I get drawn into difficult discussions? Always post responsibly. Don’t comment, share or re-post anything that is inflammatory or incorrect to the best of your knowledge. Answer questions on social media, blogs and forums with correct and concise information, while at the same time keeping the content interesting. Your content reflects you as an individual, brand or company so always keep it professional. Social media is supposed to be fun and informative. All disputes are best dealt with quickly or simply left to filter away. That’s a judgement call. How varied should I make my content? Keep your posting regular, varied and interesting in order to grow followers, reach and engagement. People are interested in people, so athlete, ambassador, rider and the personalities behind a brand often make the best content. If you can splice this together with interesting offers and product information you have a great formula for productive pages. Post reviews, news, autonomous content and relevant third-party news from the market, or content that interests you. We try to steer clear of over politicised subjects, but it depends on your interests and what is a good fit for your company. Keep it fresh and have fun with it. n
August 2018 | 67
MEDIA PLANNING GUIDE: SEPT 2018 – JAN 2019
AD DEADLINE: 10TH AUG ISSUE THEME: THE CHILDREN’S BIKE ISSUE Sector Guide: Children’s bikes; bike trailers; helmets and accessories; indoor training and power meters; Special: Teaching children to cycle – assistive technology. Marketing and selling to parents
ISSUE THEME: THE ROAD ISSUE
ISSUE THEME: THE E-BIKE ISSUE
ISSUE THEME: THE DISTRIBUTOR ISSUE
ISSUE THEME: THE CORE BIKE SHOW ISSUE
AD DEADLINE: 6TH SEPT Sector Guide: Road bikes and accessories; bike trailers; car racks and bike boxes Special: Tech accessories pushing the road market forward. Extra Distribution: The Cycle Show
AD DEADLINE: 12TH OCT Sector Guide: E-bikes; stocking fillers; bottles and gear Special: Latest technology driving e-bikes. The e-bike/caravan connection
AD DEADLINE: 13TH NOV Sector Guide: Wheels, tyres and inner tubes; cycle footwear Special: Get ready for 2019: predictions, products and winners. Distributor Survey
AD DEADLINE: 8TH DEC Sector Guide: Helmets, bike security, triathlon bikes and gear Special: Core Bike Show Guide
WANT TO ADVERTISE IN ANY OF THESE ISSUES? Contact Richard Setters 0207 354 6028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
JULY 2018 ISSUE 150
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THE DIVERSITY ISSUE
Want your company or product to be involved with any of these features? Contact James Groves 020 3829 2616 or email email@example.com
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21/06/2018 11:28 21/06/2018 11:03:08
DATA AND ANALYSIS
Are you cycling naked? -
85% of UK
riders are “cycling naked” – without insurance
30% of cyclists believe it is safe to ride a bike in their local area
In July, cycle insurance specialists PedalSure launched a new campaign to raise awareness with UK cyclists on the adequacy of their cycle insurance policies.
There were critical injuries related to cycling in 2016
21% believe it is safe for their children to cycle
According to the Are You Cycling Naked campaign, five per cent (three million) of the UK population regularly cycles, while 2.5 million commute to work by bike.
Philip Lochner, PedalSure CEO, said: “Statistics
“We do not support compulsory cycling insurance,
confirm that the average cyclist is highly under-
but we do encourage and support cyclists in taking
insured. We have identified that it’s not only the
responsibility for covering their bikes, themselves
bike that needs to be covered, but also the cyclists
and other road users. Cyclists are more exposed
themselves. If a liability is found against a cyclist,
to risk of injury than others, but existing cycle
then without adequate insurance, the cyclist would be
insurance policies don’t cover riders in the same
liable. That exposes anyone cycling on the open road
way. In fact, most only pay out small amounts in
without adequate cover. We want this campaign to
the case of lost limbs or death. We think that’s
encourage and empower cyclists to be more aware of
simply not enough. When accidents happen,
what their policies do or don’t cover and ensure that
we believe you should be given all the support
they have the best protection possible.”
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you need to get back in the saddle.”
August 2018 | 69
60-year-old parliamentary speech remains relevant History doesn’t repeat itself, but there are definitely echoes, says Carlton Reid
or August’s issue, I’m handing over this page to the strangely familiar words of another. They are from sixty years ago, yet the subject matter remains fresh. The words are from a speech made in parliament in November 1958 by Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett, the Tory MP for Croydon East. I have condensed it for clarity. “It is in no spirit of levity that I call attention to the plight of cycling in the United Kingdom. It is not a light matter that a famous British industry should find itself in dire straits. “I do not question that some fiscal assistance might not be helpful. On the other hand, I doubt whether the total abolition of Purchase Tax would prove a radical remedy for the industry’s difficulty. Surely, the basic trouble is the declining number of people who regularly cycle. Let me start, therefore, by saying a word about the extent of this decline. “Unfortunately, there are no accurate figures, but it is estimated by the trade that there are about nine million cycles in use today, and it is known that rather over three million of these are used by children under 15. It is further estimated that these figures represent a decline of about three million in the number of adult cyclists compared with 20 years ago. “Most – although by no means all – of this decline has been brought about by fewer people cycling to and from their work. “I must admit that the pleasure of cycling, at any rate on the main roads and in towns, grows less with every year that passes. Constant vigilance and sustained concentration are now necessary. One is continually near-missed by a veritable whirlwind of desperately driven cars – or, at least, that is the way it seems to the cyclist. Indeed, some drivers openly resent the presence of cyclists on the main roads and expect them to get out of their way. If the worst happens and they do not get out of their way, motorists rely very often on the fact that there will probably be a majority of fellow motorists on the jury. 70 | August 2018
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“To my mind, the most serious consequence of the decline in cycling is that it was once the principal means whereby the population kept fit” “To my mind, the most serious consequence of the decline in cycling is that it was once the principal means whereby the population kept fit. With the ever-rising proportion of the population who are employed on sedentary or static work, this ability to keep fit and take appropriate levels of healthy exercise will depend more and more upon sport. Potentially, cycling can be the cheapest sport for the greatest number, and that is why I view its decline with so much concern. “At the risk of making myself unpopular, I wish to advocate the far more extensive construction of cycle tracks. Segregation of different types of road user is, surely, the means to both safety and comfort. “A revival of cycling in this country is in the national interest, and I appeal to [the Ministry of Transport] to make a conscious effort to foster it.” n www.bikebiz.com