Rubber specialist explains how, under new guidance, it plans to grab market share
Rubena bicycle tyres have been available in the UK for the best part of the last decade, but haven’t quite enjoyed the same popularity on these shores as they have in mainland Europe. Mark Sutton catches up with sales manager Adam Rous and asks how Bike TyreStore plans to change the brand’s fortunes…
Bike Tyre store is Rubena’s sole distributor for the bike trade now, but how did it come about?
Birmingham-based Bike Tyrestore is no stranger to the world of rubber, and is market leader in motorcycle and scooter tyre trade distribution. Founded in 1919 by the grandfather of current joint MD, Peter Smith, Bike Tyrestore has proved time and again that it’s not afraid of a challenge. This is most evident in the faith the wholesaler put in the Japanese motorcycle tyre brand Bridgestone back in 1979, when the manufacturer had only a small market share.
Tell us about Rubena and its origins:
The group behind Rubena can chart its history back to 1908 when it first produced lubricants, packing and rubber sheets. It started bicycle tyre and tube production in 1929. Initially it operated under the trade name of Barum, but when this name was purchased by Continental in 1993, the Czech manufacturer fully adopted the brand name Rubena (Rube – rubber; Na – Náchod, its manufacturing location).
As a bicycle tyre brand Rubena is hugely popular in Europe. 2010 statistics show France at the top of the manufacturer’s sales leader board with a 15.7 per cent share. Of note here is that such is the strength of conviction in Rubena that giant sports chain Decathlon is a main stockist of the product range. When you consider the manufacturer produces 25,000 tyres a day and sells some seven million tyres and ten million tubes into Europe each year, it is clear that this is no backwater operation.
How can the trade benefit from stocking the label?
Trade margins are healthy, with recommended retail prices starting from around £35 for the 26-inch option, increasing to approximately £42 for the 29-inch tubeless version
You’ve recently begun to make inroads into the UK market – how can retailers take stock?
The best way retailers can get hold of stock is to simply go to our website at www.worldofbiketyres.com and open a trade account. As long as credit checks come back without any problems, they could be ordering the same day. With orders placed before 5.45pm, we offer a next day delivery service and once an account is up and running, retailers can access our online warehouse and place and check orders online 24/7.
What does Rubena offer in its rubber that others do not?
Rubena differs from other cycle tyre brands in that it is the only tyre producer making all of its tyres and tubes 100 per cent in Europe. This helps with a quicker turn-around in delivery and also allows closer working with the factory, should changes need to be made to tyres.
Can you provide a tyre for all types of bikes? Even kids’ bikes, 29ers and 650b?
Rubena is strongest in MTB and city tyres, but its product range covers extreme, BMX, road race and also branches out into prams and wheelchair tyres. With just over 40 different model names, 40 different tread patterns and almost 50 different sizes – the stocking level connotations are almost beyond computation.
What technology has come to be commonplace in your bicycle tyres?
Anti-puncture technology is nothing new in bicycle tyres, but when you see the cross section of a Rubena Stop-Thorn tyre, you’ll see how much larger the protection area is in comparison to the competition. This tech is found in most of the hybrid and city bike tyres made by Rubena, from 1mm protection up to 5mm.
What’s the process behind deciding on tread patterns?
Rubena works, and has worked, with experienced riders and racers, notably Jaroslav Kulhavy, who was 2010 XC world cup champion. He developed all the current Rubena Top Design series tyres, so riders can be assured the tyres are up top-level competition.
Are you developing any exciting products or have any expansion plans at present?
I believe Rubena is currently developing a new range of road race tyres, so hopefully these will be out later this year.
Do you sponsor any cycling talent?
We are happy to consider sponsoring any worthy racer, as we need to prove the quality of the race tyres we offer. So if there are any people out there who are willing to put the tyres to the test, we’d like to hear from them.
How are your products tested?
We’ll be looking to get some product tests done this year in the major magazines, so that the consumer can find out from a reputable source that the tyre is worth trying. We know there are many good tyres out there already, but we think that once riders try Rubena, they won’t want to change.
Bike Tyrestore: 0800 281 413
Register for the BikeBiz News Digest at the registration page.