Raleigh trade show: teaching an old bike new tricks

It’s been a busy period for Britain’s best known Heron, which recently celebrated its first 125 years in the bicycle business. Mark Sutton checks in at the Nottingham HQ for the latest.
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As documented in last month’s BikeBiz, with 125 years in the trade under its belt, Raleigh is celebrating its heritage and its business this year. Those who made it to the first of the dealer-targeted roadshows may have had been papped alongside a classic of their choice – a Grifter, Chopper, or perhaps a tandem for couples who’ve enjoyed the pleasures of cycling together aboard a Raleigh.

This was part of the current ‘Me and My Raleigh’ campaign, live on the distributor’s website at present. This nostalgic reminder bears little resemblance to the Raleigh of today, however, with distribution central to the Nottingham’s firm business, alongside a retail franchise and a stubborn refusal to give up all in-house manufacturing and building to the Far East. On that note, here’s a round-up of the brand and product developments you may have missed.

Dare2B
A new addition to the Raleigh portfolio, many will be familiar with the Dare2B brand which has quickly grabbed a slice of market share in cycle clothing.
Catering extensively for the budgets of beginners, as well as offering a few advanced pieces, the line starts at £10 for a fast-wicking base layer, covering more or less head to toe with affordable and largely reflective clothing.
At the performance end of the market, things remain competitive, with the firm’s stretch fabric cycling jackets selling for £100 and coming packed with details that ensure that cyclists will be comfortable, visible and will enjoy the perks of headphone ports, among other small features.
2012 sees the introduction of the brand’s first stab at fluorescent jackets in bright yellow and pink shades, including ladies’ specific cuts.
Dealers are looking at around 50 per cent margins on most garments and there is no buy -in minimums, though there are rewards for commitment, as well as point of sale material.



SKS
SKS continues to broaden its catalogue and while not exclusive to Raleigh, certain items have been given a revamp solely for the Nottingham distributor’s catalogue. A one-off white version of the Velo 42 mudguard is among these unique items and is currently selling very well to the fixie enthusiast.
We’ve talked about the Raceblade Long in BikeBiz before now, yet it’s worth reiterating how strong a product this is for the cycle club rider. With that extra few inches of coverage there’s no danger of splattering the rider behind or in front with muck.
Workshops should look out for the Professional Shock pump, a do-it-all solution to maintaining the correct air pressures in forks and shocks from any brand. POS material is available for larger stock commitments.

Unior
Another impressive notch in Raleigh’s belt, Unior is a giant of tool manufacturing for more than just the bicycle trade and one certainly worthy of the professional workshop.
As demonstrated in the brand’s comprehensive tool chest package (costing £1,500) the catalogue of tools available from Raleigh is likely in the hundreds, the chest itself holding everything a workshop could wish for, excluding perhaps some of the newer, more brand-specific tools.
With revamped packaging to better sell to consumers and a marketing plan for this year, Unior is looking to make in-roads in terms of sales with Raleigh and developing its close relationship with the Trek Pro team.



RSP
There’s much in the pipeline for RSP in 2012. At just over a year old, the early product revolved solely around basic road components with the most expensive item last year retailing at just £45. This year the horizons are set to broaden, with performance gear and carbon prototypes emerging, as well as some goods landing in stock now.
Among these you’ll find KEO-compatible and new £44.99 high-end resin pedals, the latter of which weighs just 244 grams, not too far off the weight of much more expensive carbon gear.
RSP also now offers what is said to be the cheapest solution to adapting to BB30 down to Hollowtech 2 compatibility, including the bearings at just £29.99.
Furthermore, the lighting line has undergone a pricing restructure and LED upgrade, applied to most models. There will be a number of new products landing throughout summer targeted at the commuter and spanning price points from £10 through £59 for a front and rear package.

Outland
Another highlight on the shelves in Nottingham is Outland’s foam and silicone grips, a long lasting, comfortable grip recognised as a great alternative to traditional rubber by Factory Media’s Dirt magazine in the annual Dirt 100.
Meanwhile, sticking with the keenly priced bread and butter upgrade stock, Outland offers titanium skewers for £29.99, with the only branding tidily etched onto the inside of the alloy levers. Alternatively for the weight weenie, a carbon lever skewer, weighing a mere 48 grams per pair, is also available for just £31.99

Dahon
Now exclusively under Raleigh’s guidance, Dahon is looking to rebuild its UK business following a difficult period with many distribution changes and the backwards and forth with Tern.
Raleigh has kicked off as it means to go on, introducing some point of sale units designed to showcase the folded product. For a buy-in of five bikes retailers can get hold of one of these cubes, or two for a nine bike buy-in.
Raleigh’s stock spans £350 through £1,000. At the top end you’ll find a new addition to the line, Dahon’s Nuvinci hub-equipped N360. Using Nuvinci’s unique gripshift system the bike gradually shifts through the gears, minus the clicks, offering a smoother advance, much like the feeling of upping the ante on an exercise bike, ultimately providing a more gradual and wider gear range. Avenir folding bike bags will fit Dahon bikes, though Dahon branded luggage is in the works.



High 5
The Nottingham dealer show saw the debut of High 5’s answer to the demand for disclosable tablets in the range – the Zero line, available in four flavours.
Each tube contains 20 tablets, a quantity higher than many competitors’ offerings. Look out for a new caffeine enhanced grapefruit version due in April. For those attempting to introduce their customers to nutrition product, Raleigh also has a bottle promotion, where for £4 a customer can take home a water bottle full of various High 5 samples, including a tube of Zero tablets.



Raleigh Bikes
“Raleigh’s bike line has a renewed focus on fashionable bikes that customers associate with trendy cycling,” according to marketing man Geoff Giddings.
That’s something that’s evident in the revamped sit-up-and-beg style bikes, all of which resemble the kind of eye-catching bicycles so often used as props in trendy television shows and movies.
An example is the new women’s Classic DL at £600 – a Sturmey Archer hub geared bicycle with a custom cutout chain guard finished in a flattering shade of red to match the rest of the bike. A Brooks-style saddle features here, while on the Gentlemen’s equivalent you get the authentic product.
Expect to see Raleigh on the road at a number of sportive events this year. Giddings added: “We’re looking to touch base with a modern audience and we’ll have plenty of bikes on the road for people to have a spin on. Look out for us at some of the CTC’s bigger sportives and also at the Forest of Dean event that’s taking place later this year.”

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