BMX isn’t an easy market to keep up with. Whether you’re in retail, distribution, or even the product designer, trends change overnight and keeping track of where the market’s heading can be like herding cats. Mark Sutton talks to Federal Bikes product designer ‘Aggie’ about the reaping the rewards of moving with the times…
First things first, Seventies has some of the largest coffee mugs in the business and no wonder, during BikeBiz’s visit to the Hastings headquarters the phones did not stop ringing – the team at full stretch on the back of unloading scores upon scores of fresh bikes into the warehouse. If you’re curious about dipping a toe into the 20-inch market, the bikes, components and soft goods are stacked to the ceiling and ready for your shop floor.
For those not established within the sector making that leap can be daunting, especially given the significant rise in the number of specialists doing good business here, not to mention the online giant’s sudden interest. Many will be asking where the resurgence in the fortunes of BMX has come from – could it be the Olympics? Perhaps it’s the jump in permanent facilities up and down the country, or even the media’s renewed interest in cycling in all forms. The Telegraph newspaper, for one, even called on Federal Bikes rider Dan Lacey to put a ‘Boris Bike’ through some rigorous testing on London’s streets as part of its coverage of the hire bike scheme’s launch. Whatever the cause may be, the generation that many would believe to be wirelessly connected to their Xbox are now found on two wheels and in many ways are re-inventing freestyle bike riding.
“We’re tasked with keeping product fresh in a market that evolves at such a rapid pace, only to swing back and forth between trends. Some companies are choosing to neglect passing trends, but the way I see it that’s simply not an option within BMX. There’s plenty of business to be done for those shops moving with the times, the demand is huge,” Federal Bikes product designer Aggie explains.
“We’re lucky enough to have some of the world’s best riders under the Federal Bikes banner, which without doubt has a knock on effect on sales. If Dan Lacey rides a certain colourway on his signature frame, a best seller in itself, each and every time we’ll see a sales spike on that particular model. Look out for his current personal favourite, the ‘Star Blue’ shade, landing shortly.” That shade of blue is seen to the left on Federal’s new investment cast fork.
According to Aggie, at present the ‘weight weenie’ trend has settled down, so that’s one less detail to meticulously scan when the catalogue drops through your door. So what else is in favour at present?
“We’re looking at the majority of customers wanting fat tyres, a split between tall and low stepover frames, dependent on whether the rider prefers street, trails or park and, finally, the re-emergence of padded seats.”
Federal has responded to these demands quickly, introducing new pivotal saddles with a good inch of padding, a 2.3 tyre now in the works and bringing back chromed parts in a big way – including signature Lacey and Jared Washington frames. Investment casting will appear shortly too, catering for the high-end buyer with a habit of breaking welded junctions. Finally, we’ve made progress on an idea the market’s still warming to – much larger bars.
“As short a time ago as three to four years, eight-inch bars were considered large. This year we’ve 9.5-inch tall bars making a debut in the catalogue. It may seem crazy, but the market wants it and ours isn’t even the biggest out there. Nonetheless, forward orders for larger models are strong, so that’s another emerging trend that we’ve got covered.”
The beginner is catered for too with the introduction of the Renegade entry-level frame. Built burly, yet remaining on the trendy side of five pounds in weight, this model is named after a ‘Renegade’ sandwich delivery truck, allegedly banned from the industrial area surrounding Seventies. With that inspiration in mind, could your store be the next to sneak in under the radar and establish a name within BMX? To find out how to achieve the most from involvement in the BMX market, call Seventies on 0845 3103670.