After decades in the business of creating computers and lights for the cycle buying public, the brand is reminding cyclists everywhere that they can ‘Trust the Cat’. Paul Caswell speaks to BikeBiz...
Cyclists opening the pages of their favourite cycle magazines over the coming months will be confronted with the legend ‘Trust the Cat’. As you might have guessed, the phrase is not an endorsement of feline pets.
“It’s not just a quirky catchphrase,” Zyro brand manager Paul Caswell explains to BikeBiz. “Cateye has built up a reputation of reliability in the market. Cateye is a Japanese brand, and the product and development is first rate. Now it’s time to reinforce that message further with marketing and to promote the brand to stay ahead of the competition.”
And who could blame Cateye for playing on its heritage and reputation in the sector? Founded in Osaka, Japan, back in the ‘50s, Cateye created its first cycle computer in 1981 and the first flashing lamp for bicycles way back in 1964.
“In the UK, Cateye is number one in the volume market for computers and lights,” Caswell states. And the strength of the local market means the brand is mindful of British conditions and needs, he adds: “Zyro is a strong customer of Cateye so we get input on the development of product. It means the UK gets a big say and consequentially has been the most active and influential development partner out of all its distributors around the world over the past 15 years – helping design the best lights for the British market. Cateye is very amenable to ideas.”
Online is increasingly important to one of Cateye’s eye-catching new products – namely the Inou. The GPS camera was shown off at this year’s Open House, where it created much buzz and is now arriving in bike shops this summer.
“It’s had lots of pre-orders, which is great as it is an intriguing product for customers and retailers too. The Inou is a great camera and great GPS all-in-one. It’s not an HD camera – so it doesn’t eat up battery or data storage, but the quality is ideal for YouTube.”
Inou has its own website where users are encouraged to upload and share their riding videos, pictures and ride data all in one place. The intuitive site – www.inouatlas.com – links to Facebook and other social media sites while the product itself looks set to appeal to an incredibly wide cross section of the cycle gene pool, from commuters, racers, mountain bikers, tourers and more.
Another of Cateye’s headline new products is the Q-Series wristwatch computer. Cateye has released a wrist-worn heart rate monitor before, but the Q-series goes far beyond that, also measuring speed, cadence and altitude, with info downloadable via a USB dongle.
Caswell says: “It comes with ‘E-Train’ software that puts the training data into graphic form – making it an ideal training tool. It’s a great product for the multi-sport market and has been very well received. The 2.4GHz data transfer tech is really quick and accurate.”
Cateye’s light offering has also seen a raft of new product this year, including new additions to the Rapid range. Both the Rapid 1 and 5 use a high power LED, while the Rapid 1 is USB rechargeable – an area of the market that is seeing growth, particularly as many of us spend much of the working day in front of USB port-rich PCs and Macs.
“Cateye is different from its competitors as its products make use of reflector and lens technology – they really use the LED and maximise the efficiency of the light,” Caswell says. Both the Rapid 1 and 5 retail at £30.
Another commuter-focused offering is the Jido. Meaning ‘auto’ in Japanese, the light turns on and off automatically when needed.
“At Eurobike we’ll have some more high-end rechargeable lights, which will come to the UK market later in the year – likely October or November,” Caswell reveals.
Cateye’s front light offering now includes a heavy-duty option, in the appropriately named Sumo. “The Sumo is big, rough, tough, durable and strong. It’s a light for life.
Targeting the off-road market and capable of surviving a crash or two, the Sumo retails at £300. “The Sumo pumps out 1,000 Lumen – and Cateye is absolutely honest about that. The LEDs could potentially knock out up to 1,400 lumens, and a lot of competitors would claim that, but Cateye only claims the actual standard output of the light.”
Which brings us back to ‘Trust the Cat’. “Cateye has been at the forefront of lights and computers for decades and not many have been around like that in such a strong position for such a sustained period. We’re very pleased about the product coming up in 2012 – it’s a very exciting for Cateye and Zyro.
“And it’s a great brand. People know it and come into shops asking for Cateye. That’s very reassuring for retailers, they can make good money. Trust the Cat!”
Zyro: 01845 521 700