Mike Kowal of Autostrada estimates that 50 percent of his business next year will be touring/Audax rather than his more usual roadie stuff. "Anything with mudguard eyes sells," he told bikebiz.co.uk. Autostrada is aiming to fill the (small) gap left by Dawes and Raleigh"The market is changing fast," said Kowal.
"Prices on 7005 aluminium racing frames are down and decreasing. The market is too saturated. That's why we're moving over to full-blooded touring and Audax frames next year."
These will be produced in Taiwan from Reynolds 631.
"The touring and Audax rider - who's probably 40 years plus and has a good job and plenty of money - still wants Reynolds."
The new Autostrada frames will be on display at the Cycle and Leisure Show and will be available shortly after the show.
Kowal believes the touring/Audax frames will quickly account for 50 percent of his turnover, with resprays and renovations accounting for 30 percent and road frames falling to 20 percent.
Speccing steel from Reynolds is a departure for Kowal (most of his frames have been aluminium) but it's also going back to his roots: he was a technical apprentice at Reynolds in the early 1970s, eventually leaving in 1976 after having risen to being supervisor in the tube drawing department.