Part one of BikeBiz's guided tour to Europe's largest show, new product and services
BikeBiz was fortunate to track down Koga’s UK agent David Stainthorpe on what was an incredibly busy stand, following the Eurobike Award recognition of the WorldTraveller 29er.
Trekking enthusiasts and specialists take note, the £1,799 build carries lighting technology from German specialists Busch and Muller, comes decked out with mudguards, has pannier and bottle cages included as standard and a tweaked geometry for 2012, designed around comfort on the very longest expeditions.
Weighing in at 16.5kg, the build isn’t going to break the scales either. Dealers will be pleased to hear that far from prices rising, this award-winning model has actually come down in price year-on-year.
Stainthorpe was also a strong advocate of Koga’s ‘signature program’, an online build-it-yourself tool that BikeBiz can report is as comprehensive as it gets, with customers able to build their ideal bike from the ground upwards via Koga’s website. What’s more, the website will even automatically track and update the price and weight of a build as the customer develops their bike. Custom builds take around four weeks on average and delivery is routed via the customer’s local dealer who will add the finishing touches.
Finally, Stainthorpe picked a predicted strong seller for the coming season – the commuter-influenced Supermetro, available from October for a shade under £1,000. Among the tidy finishing features on the Supermetro, you’ll find a scannable barcode printed on the top tube that when scanned by a smartphone delivers the user to a Koga video on the firm’s website. This model also carries an exclusive pedal concave and adjustable height stem.
Electric bike manufacturer Ultra Motor continues its surge to make its mark on the electric bike market with the A2B line – some of which was seen in the flesh for the first time at Eurobike.
The second Generation Metro and hybrid 24 bikes were the highlight of the exhibitor’s stand, which had also introduced matching branded luggage items to compliment its launches. What’s more, specialist manufacturer Basil is in charge of making all luggage items.
The A2B Metro has got off to a strong start with the brand selling to Hollywood stars such as Leonardo Di Caprio, among others. A revised digital torque sensor prevents any jerky reaction to twisting the throttle grip, creating an consistently smooth and fluent pedal assisted ride.
The Hybrid 24 uses the same digital control technology and boasts a smaller, discreet battery built into the rear rack. Also introduced at the show was an ID Key remote turn on, similar to those used in some more tech-filled motor vehicles – meaning the bike’s pedal assist boost will only work for those in possession of the unique key, which is supplied with the sale of the bike.
With all the techy upgrades present, it’s hardly surprising that the near future holds an MOT-style plug in check that will see retailers be able to identify any faults or repairs digitally via a computer link up. Mark Loveridge of Ultra Motor told BikeBiz: “We’re working on a way to manually adjust the torque levels via this plug in. In the meantime we’ve many ways in which we’ve made the retailer’s job easier – including magnetic wire plug ins on all models.”
Now found within the Windwave portfolio and still ever-expanding, the BBB catalogue reads like a one-stop-shop of bicycle components, clothing and accessories.
As an example of how extensive the manufacturer’s line has become just one glasses model has some 1,029 possible SKUs thanks to interchangeable lenses and customisable coloured rubber coats.
The new product list was once again extensive, with the new products introduced to BikeBiz spanning lights, pedals, carbon bottle cages, jockey wheels, eyewear, computers and revisions to helmet designs. The commuter-aimed lights were one thing marketing editor Marcel Kruithof spent a bit of time demonstrating – introducing two fresh models, including the 100-lumen Spark (pictured), complete with an adjustable 12 to 22-degree beam and USB rechargeable capability.
A fresh dial-close retention system has been introduced to top-end BBB helmets – spanning the Everest, Falcon, Loco and Pheonix model – the top two road and mountain bike models.
Other introductions included a new 22-gram carbon bottle cage and a water bottle with lockable valve and a plastic composition that does not effect the taste of smell of the contents.
Standing out from the crowd with a large-scale stand and a sea of staff in fetching Hans Damp- branded checked shirts, Schwalbe’s stand screamed busy, busy, busy. And UK marketing man Dave Taylor confirmed that the firm, among other changes, were facing another possible warehouse move having outgrown the current space inside three years, as well as having increased turnover by around 50 per cent year-on-year.
Aside from offering the tyres of choice for around 80 per cent of riders in the British 4X series, the firm had a few other fresh launches to shout about, including the unavoidable Hans Dampf, which had even managed to secure a presence around each and every toilet-based mirror at Eurobike.
Taylor explained what all the fuss was about, stating: “This is a tyre that’ll handle anything on the trail, working as a front or rear and available in 2.35 width only. A flexible ‘Snakeskin’ sidewall prevents damage here and while adding a tiny bit of weight, will extend the life and abrasion resistance of the tyre greatly. Stock of the 26-inch model is available now, with a 29er version due early next year.”
29er tyres, though yet to realise full potential in the UK, are increasingly important to Schwalbe, with Taylor stating that Stateside the larger wheel size represents a near 50/50 split with traditional size mountain bike tyres. It is with this in mind that retailers will find a new Racing Ralph among others in this year’s catalogue. Next year, Taylor predicts a dedicated section on the larger size may feature.
Tying in with next year’s Olympics, Schwalbe are planning a release of a ‘Big Ben’ tyre alongside Transport for London. ...
Once again BikeBiz was fortunate to catch PR co-ordinator Julian Oswald on what was an immensely busy stand – and for good reason.
“From a retail perspective, the most important groupset we have this year is the X5 at 2x10. It’ll be a big seller as it carries trickled down technology features on a mid-range groupset, meaning the performance characteristics are close to that of our top-end XX gear,” said Oswald.
“I think it’s important for retailers to be aware of 2x10 at the lower end of the market. The X5 is compared best with Shimano’s Deore groupset, though packs in plenty of performance for such a low price. For 2012 we have four different 2x10 ratios, from 22-36 through 28-42, the really is a perfect gearing combination for every level of rider.”
SRAM’s most recent acquisition comes in the form of powermeter brand Quarg, which is available for the majority of bottom bracket standards including BB30.
Accurately relaying the wattage generated from each pedal stroke output, Quarg’s system provides a more accurate and consistent reading than most heart rate monitors and claims to be around 25 per cent cheaper than its closest competitors product.
Synchronising with any bicycle computer using Ant+ technology, Quarg’s system can communicate wirelessly, even with iPhones and iPads.
Quarg product will land in the UK this October and will initially be available to fit 26/39 ratios only.
You couldn’t have missed SRAM’s show highlight, or at least the one that was common knowledge pre-show. Plastered on the front entrance of Messe Friedrichshafen and even visible in marketing posters at the local airport, the 29-inch version of the SID front fork will be racking up the column inches worldwide.
As such BikeBiz will focus on a hidden gem of the stand – a internal cable routed revision of the Reverb height adjust post. Internal hydraulic hose routing does add some cost over the standard Reverb, however, the ‘Stealth’ internal won’t be available immediately with an exclusive partnership with Trek and Scott signed for at least the next year prior to aftermarket release. When that time does eventually roll around, the post will appear in 100 and 125mm options and come boxed with an ‘Enduro clamp’ to limit travel adjust for those riding such events.
Of particular interest to retailers will be the news that premium Rock Shox suspension items will soon be supplied with a complete service seal kit, something Oswald says “will prevent dealers having to order spares as and when the customer’s product needs an overhaul.”