With both the founding members of what was once Hot Wheels having now moved on to pastures new, Cycling Sports Group UK has now entered a new era, where under the stewardship of Mark Broughton, the company will be sailing through the choppy waters currently hitting the BMX business and no doubt gliding over calmer seas with the likes of Cannondale, whose road offering for 2014 looks to, once again, be something special.
In fact, CSG UK deemed Peter Sagan’s trio of tour stage winning bikes special enough to pick up from Switzerland and deliver to the gathered trade, prior to re-delivery to Sagan’s sponsors ahead of Eurobike.
“That’s the lengths staff at CSG will go for our dealers,” said marketing manager Clive Gosling in a pre-show presentation. “Having promised Sagan’s sponsors the bikes will be with them by Eurobike, our product manager Logan drove through the night to bring these unique cycles in.”
The short presentation, prior to giving retailers free roam of the floor, served to deliver a few key messages to the room. Notably, these included snippets on each brands’ marketing strategies going forwards. For example, Charge’s link up with the likes of Vans, Levis and Red Bull were touted as a route to tens of thousands, or more, new customers. A delivery of a bike to a former Blink 182 band member, who subsequently tweeted his joy of owning the bike, was flagged up as a success story of how the label is using influencial people and labels to broaden its reach among key age groups.
CSG explained how having made significant inroads into the North American market, Charge was on the cusp of greatness and that dealers domestically will benefit from the new simple and concise strategy adopted by the brand.
“We’ve been fairly brutal in trimming down and organising the range this year, so now you’ll find everything under the Grater, Cooker and Plug banners, give or take the odd limited edition build.” said Charge representative Ash Clark.
“The marketing angle for this year is very simple – we’ve focused on adding touches like rust proof chains, puncture resistant tyres and mudguards where viable. Charge’s customers generally want something with a classic style, reliability and lightweight and the Grater line in particular benefits from these upgrades.”
The bikes benefit from obvious upgrades, such as road discs specced on the Tange Infinity built Plug 3,4 and Tange Prestige 5, costing £849, £1,099 and £1,599, respectively. Subtle additions are present too, with the roll out of a ‘pearlescent grey’ paint finish that ‘by chance’ proved to be popular last year.
Clark also hinted that on the back of the huge success of the new Scoop saddle, a road-orientated version has been considered for the future. Three new bar tapes join the accessories catalogue for 2014 too, set to retail for £9.99 (U-bend), £14.99 (U-bend 45) and £17.99 (U-bend 90).
Few will have missed Charge’s Cooker Maxi FatBike at the show’s entrance. These are available in limited numbers and will come in at £1,199, sporting a trail-tuned geometry and 4-inch wide fat tyres.
On to WeThePeople and a sector that Gosling says CSG remains “totally committed to, despite a widely felt slow down in recent years. In fact, more of our marketing budget has gone into BMX than on the likes of Cannondale.”
WeThePeople does have an advantage or two over competition however. As the parent of brands like Eclat, Salt and Salt Plus, as well as footwear line Almond, the manufacturer is able to spec its own customised parts on the entire complete bike range, requiring no additional OEM input.
The Scorpio complete took pride of place at the show in both a one off Red Bull custom finish and an all chrome build. Hidden in plain site though dealers now have access to WeThePeople’s first freecoaster specced complete in the Crysis at £499. The hub in question is Salt Plus’s new freecoaster, also to be available aftermarket.
WeThePeople are also set to introduce a bang on trend £42.99 ‘fat’ saddle dubbed the ‘Smuggler’, which will house a hidden pocket in the rear of the saddle to hold items like the included allen keys, or anything else your customer may be smuggling into the skate park. Both black and camo styles will be available.
Dealers were pointed toward an interesting new development on the Sugoi stand, which has come about thanks to a one-year bike market exclusivity agreement of the Polartec fabric. The result is the RSE Neoshell jackets, available in a slimline road cut or relaxed, off-road removable hood version, both of which will sell for £250.
Why the high-ticket price? Well Sugoi had a demo set up to prove the jacket’s waterproof and breathability credentials against a Gore Tex equivalent and the results are worlds apart as you may see from the image. So confident is Sugoi in the Polartec fabric’s breathability, that you’ll find no venting anywhere on either jacket. Both models carry reflective decals, while the pockets are carefully considered and placed in the regions where they will be most helpful to either the road or dirt rider.
Predictably it was Cannondale’s presence at the show that had many dealers planning out loud for the season ahead.
The big news from CSG’s point of view is that there’s now an ‘Evo for everyone’, with the flagship platform’s line now spanning £1,699 through to the clean lined £8,499 Nano black, or £8,299 for the electronic shifting clad Evo HM Di2.
The Synapse catalogue is developed further too, with a disc clad 105-spec now available at £1,099 retail price. An Ultegra spec based around the same 6061 frame will come in at £1,399, both carrying FSA Gossamer cranks and the same tidy internal cable routing found elsewhere in the Synapse range.
Elsewhere, the 1X11 trend continues to develop with the Scalpel Carbon 1 29er loosing the front derailleur.
Mongoose has come in with a very affordable full suspension entry-level 29er with the Salvo, which will retail for just £899. For that price your customer is taking home a 100mm travel build with a Suntour Raidon shock and XCM fork up front.
For your every day sellers, Mongoose’s three bike Artery range now hits £379 with Altus spec, £429 with Acera and £499 with Alivio, all based around a 6061 alloy frame.
Finally, GT has plenty in the way of bike builds and framesets to report on, but dealers may be particularly interested to have seen the launch of an affordable accessories line, which includes a well-designed £49.99 hydration backpack, a deep selection of replacement disc pads, track and hand pumps, helmets, four multi-tools as well as alloy and carbon bottle cages.
Much of the above will be available to order in box quantity buy ins and the disc pads will be some of the ‘best value’ replacements around. On the multi-tool front, four choices spanning £8.99 through £21.99 are on offer, with the upper three carrying a chain tool. 8, 11, 12 and 19-function units are in stock now. GT branded front and rear lights will also land in September. The helmet line will retail from £29.99 to £69.99 and cover both on and off road. The lower priced unit utilises the same fit system as the higher-end models.
To view a full photo gallery from CSG's dealer invite, see here.