Packed with cross-over product – appealing to the cycle and outdoor markets alike – Stoneleigh Park’s Outdoor Trade Show had plenty of names familiar to the bike trade.
Brand new, however, and causing something of a stir at the show was Sugru – a more-interesting-than-it-sounds self-setting rubber product with seemingly endless applications. Want to fix a hole in your boot? Want to attach a camera to your bike but don’t want to fiddle about with the cumbersome attachment the camera came with in the box? Want to child-proof a camera…well you get the idea – there’s a lot you can do with it.
You open a sealed pack then form the play dough-like product into the desired shape. You get 30 minutes of 'play time' then after 24 hours it cures fully with the moisture in the air. It’s extremely heat resistant and can withstand the cold down to -40 degrees (so you can use it to customise ski grips too). It even sticks to Goretex, can safely encase frayed cables and can be used to fix inflatable mattresses on the road.
Sugru has been partnering with brands like Leon Paul and is now just embarking on its move into the cycle sector, with bike shops a target. Two London IBDs are early adopters – Tokyo Fixed and Look Mum No Hands.
Sugru was six to seven years in development and it has been sold to retailers for the past 12 months. Prior to that it was sold direct to consumer to ‘lay the ground work’. It is UK-made and each pack contains a range of colours that can be mixed up. One pack costs £9. You can fix pumps to frames with it too. In short, expect to hear more from the brand as it expands into the cycle market.
The roster of cross-sector brands at OTS included Madison, showcasing GoPro, Light and Motion and Easton Mountain Products. The latter has been providing high-end, high-spec outdoor equipment, specialising in high-strength, lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre tubing and was showing off its latest tech refinements in its trekking poles. Light and Motion, meanwhile, is a classic example of a brand with appeal stretching across the cycle and outdoor sectors, with lights for mountain bikers and campers alike.
Hampshire-based Rosker supplies retailers with a range of outdoor gear from a number of brands, but what caught BikeBiz’s eye was the Growers Cup range. In a nutshell, Growers Cup is a brew in a bag – a hand-picked, Fair Trade brew, no less. Available in a range of varieties, you pour half a litre of hot water into the pouch, let it brew for five to eight minutes, then serve. It features an eco-friendly pour spout, PE-coated paper and there’s now a herbal tea version available.
Days after the news broke online that 2pure would be carrying ICEdot, the distributor (in its outdoors 9point9 guise) showcased the product in the flesh. According to the brand representative on hand to speak to BikeBiz, the product has been greeted with the immortal line ‘why hasn’t someone thought of this before’ by those visiting the stand. If you haven’t heard already, ICEdot Crash Sensor attaches to a rider’s helmet and monitors for major impacts. If forces exceed the set threshold, a countdown is triggered and if not disabled goes on to alert the rider’s emergency contacts of his or her GPS whereabouts via SMS. The ICEdot retails at £139, arguably cheap for offering that peace of mind. For less cash the ICEdot Band and Helmet stickers have a PIN number on the inside of the band or sticker – in case of an emergency, the first person on the scene can send an SMS message with that PIN number to reveal information the owner has elected to share – such as who they are, emergency contacts and specific medial needs or conditions. The ICEdot Band and Helmet stickers retail for £20.
Silva’s light range is relatively new for the outdoor and cycle markets, but already the brand has seen the advantages of having light packages that can be used across the sectors. One such offering is the Trail Speed Elite, set to be available in September. This lightweight and compact headlamp provides a bright beam for advanced runners and cyclists alike. The lamp unit is aluminium to allow for optimal cooling, while two high power LEDs provide Silva’s ‘Intelligent Light’ which provides illumination where it is needed, rather than splaying out all over the shop. Likewise, the Trail Speed is pitched at runners and cyclists alike but instead of offering 660 lumen and up to 20 hours light, the Trail Speed provides 400 lumen and up to 15 hours light.
Alongside its serious mountain bike and road light offerings, Silva has branched out into commuter lights, including some silicone products which are easy to attach and place importance on visibility rather than lighting the way. Technology-wise, USB-charging is something the brand is planning on bringing to more of its range in the fullness of time.
Oxford Products was present at OTS, showcasing key range items – like the unique Animal Planet cycle helmets for children – with a view to testing the water of the outdoor markets.
As our learned readers will be well aware, Buffs can be arranged into a balaclava shape, but now the brand has gone one better with the Balaclava Buff. Requiring no folding skills at all, the Balaclava Buff are high stretch tubular garments that are seamless at the neck and have only one flat-lock seam on the crown. They provide a close fit while retaining excellent breathability. They are available in eight prints and there’s two Balaclava Wool Buffs available too. The brand has also managed to get insects to buzz off with its Insect Shield tech. A collection incorporating the technology will be available to retailers in March ’14 and will include ten patterned designs and four plain. SRP will be £20 and will be pitched at cycle tourists as well as walkers, climbers, anglers and anyone else who has contended with pesky midges.
Elsewhere in its toasty range, Buff pointed BikeBiz’s attention to its neck warmer line-up, which now includes some new interesting designs printed on Goretex.