Almost three years on, the effects of the Accell takeover were plain to see at Raleigh’s in-house Cycle Expo shows, from an increasingly strong e-bike range to more SRAM-specced bikes and renewed focus on IBD channels.
The revamped showrooms showed-off new signing WD40, a deal that was long in the works and sees the new cycle-specific lines come to the UK after the US launch (law differences between the nations held up the launch here).
SRAM has had a phased introduction to Raleigh thanks to that vast catalogue, but it’s already proved a decent seller for Raleigh, we’re told, with some simple POS options available for dealers.
Less well know is portable pressure washer Aqua2go. The brand now has a more portable product, with a detachable unit, and can be used for cleaning bikes and the riders themselves through a shower attachment.
German brand Uvex is in line for extra focus from Raleigh this year, sporting new colours and some eye-catching additions including the EDAero (Every Day Dynamics). Developed alongside Marcel Kittel, this everyday aero design has eight big air channels plus BOA system. Stock will arrive end of March and marketing is promised for the £189.99 helmet. Race 5 has been a solid seller for two years and Team Raleigh will be seen in it for 2015. MTB helmet Stivo is new this year. At £69.99 it comes in four colours with double in-mould construction.
Uvex, already a big player in eyewear for the ski and snowboard industries has a range of co-ordinating glasses for bikes, now including some aggressive MTB designs, including the 700s.
Raleigh’s own helmets includes the new Magni (meaning strength), retailing at £45 with three sizes all with double in-mould construction.
Onto Ass Savers and Raleigh is touting co-branding opportunities for clubs and shops. Basicially a way of getting some relatively low cost marketing space on bikes, plain black and white co-branding is available with a 100 unit minimum order (more for colour).
UK nutrition firm OTE was started by SiS’ Peter Slater, priding itself on a premium product with natural flavours and neutral pH levels to prevent gut rot. OTE is also famous for its dual tear delivery system that saw it beat Coca Cola in the packaging design awards (though it came second), the brand has soya-based products available for vegans and the lactose intolerant and has a new lemon and lime drink in the range. Raleigh is keen to impress on dealers the opportunities that shop-set nutrition evenings offer, with samples and Q&A sessions driving footfall into stores.
Manchester apparel brand Lusso is now exclusive with Raleigh (as of March 1st) and features a significantly updated and younger looking range. Crucially for dealers, Lusso now has a simplified, reduced and refined line-up. Jerseys come in three levels and three designs. Matching jerseys and tops are on offer, including the top end jacket with a tighter race cut (£70). This year Lusso is offering base layers for the first time, with clever windproof and breathable sections to provide optimum comfort.
The ink is still drying on its Raleigh distribution deal, but Mio has been in the cycle market for three years. The offering has always been based on a simplicity principle so all products come pre-loaded and ready to go (as soon as the customer has powered it up). Mio’s own Iwan Van Helde told BikeBiz: “People don’t like to read manuals. We felt that many rival products were over complicated so we have avoided adding new features that would make it more complex. Bike shops love the fact that you can explain it in five minutes.”
Sporting a handy ‘Surprise Me’ function, where riders set the distance and get a planned ride on their device, Mio also has car sat nav style features (Mio’s sister brand is car sat nav Navman), new compatibility with Di2 and a host of other simple features.
Onto bikes: Raleigh’s rebuilt showroom dedicated plenty of space to the bright Diamondback range, which is throwing away its multi-channel past to focus on IBDs. Fresh models include the stealthy Contra CX – a toe dip into the cross market promising a traditional hybrid model that is great for off-roading, with a sporty race geometry and mudguards.
Diamondback’s Mission range has taken a US-developed line-up that has been tweaked for the UK (like exchanging Kenda for Schwalbe), topping out with the Misson Pro at £4,300. The Diamondback range has noticeably seen more adoption of SRAM. Raleigh also handles Diamondback into Europe including Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Germany.
Meanwhile the BMX line is IBD- focused now, with a number of models made at Accell’s Turkey facility – which is only ten days on the water. New models will be launched in July. Invigorated by the Accell deal, Diamondback is now in 12 trail centres in the UK. There’s a new website in the works too.
There have been several changes for Raleigh’s own brand bikes, with a shift from black and low key colours – though there are some subtle colours available for the commuter markets particularly. The Classic now comes in an orange (red remains the best seller) with hub gears now coming from the house of SRAM.
The Junior performance range has benefitted from the strong second hand market. Featuring small drop bars, short reach brakes, alloy chain guards and other nifty bits, the junior range is in stock.
Discs on road bikes remains a topic that brands are weighing up, while Raleigh admits they aren’t for everyone, they still think it’s going to get bigger over the years, particularly for everyday riding. With all Raleigh’s CX young riders choosing to race on discs, there’s a ‘changing of the guard’ going on, we’re told. Speaking of cyclocross, it remains an exciting area for Raleigh, stating participation is up.
Raleigh’s Geoff Giddings – an ex CX champ himself – explained part of the appeal: “It’s interesting for us. If you’re a slightly older rider you could get hammered in a road race but then you have a go at CX and while you might still get lapped, there are races within races…And kids love it. It’s off road (so parents like it too) and it’s very safe. Participation has led and the market has followed.”
Onto road and the Criterium is Raleigh’s affordable carbon range, with one model ducking under the C2W £1,000 threshold. There’s more at www.raleigh.co.uk or take a look at our gallery on our Facebook pages.
This article was first published in BikeBiz mag (March 2015, issue 110). Read the magazine online or download as a PDF, for free, from our digital page.