Words and photogrpahy By Chris Keller Jackson, Crank MTB.
The team behind the UK presence for Super B and Tumble and Fall brands have been busy this winter acquiring new brands to represent. Along with existing bike brand MSC, NRG4 now looks after Showers Pass and SIXS apparel.
Straight from the award winning Design & Innovation show, the MSC Blast was on display, as head of the MSC package. This full Carbon chassis MTB is a real show stopper with integrated cables, tapered head tube and an all up weight of 11kg in full race spec. Prices range from £3200 to £4200.
Also on display was the MSC 'il capo' jump bike, with superb styling touches, chain guide mounts so you know it means business, head tube flank plates and chain tug adjusters.
SIXS is an apparel brand majoring in Carbon weave base layers for mountain and road, the Carbon offering high wicking abilities. These technical garments are supplemented by D3O technology armoured (and removable) plates. flexible and conforming in normal use, and stiffening on impact to absorb any shock.
Showers Pass is a brand last seen by me at Interbike in Las Vegas. This weather resistant jacket and trouser brand finally makes it to these shores and looks to challenge some of the established names. Using top spec Event fabrics amongst the range, the brand offers road capes, high visibility jackets, waterproof cycling trousers and a stylish commuter jacket with drop hem and subtle safety and high vis markings.
Roots, founded by Tom Entwistle and Tom Towers is a brand new startup direct selling company based in Saltaire, Bradford. Roots currently centres around one brand, US firm Morpheus Cycling.
Whilst most UK based trade will be unaware of this niche brand, Morpheus have been happily tearing up the FMB scene with its breed of hardcore Jump and Freeride bikes, at events such as the Red Bull Joyride. Burly is probably a safe description, and is reassuring if you are just about to 360 a vert ramp, or drop into a ravine. They had both the Skyla and 'go big' Loki on display with the hardtail 'Vimana' due into the UK soon. These youngsters, new to the trade are getting a lot of support from Morpheus and are currently looking for interested retail outlets.
This Essex based company started life due to a passion with Gravity Endurance racing and just wanting to get out on a weekend and Freeride big mountains in the UK and on the Continent. Having worked his way through different Freeride Apparel as part of his sport, Jason decided that he could do better, and make hard wearing technical garments where function and hard wearing, best quality fabrics were the key. Having secured funding through his riding friends (who wanted the same) and family, he set about researching what he could. He soon got a freelance specialist on board, who was able to fast track sourcing the best fabrics, technologies and factories to produce the various designs.
With an instant following from his riding buddies, and some excellent feedback from shops, consumers and the mainstream MTB magazines, Intrepid Apparel is getting towards the end of year one with a very positive way forward, some great designs and Freeride products along with some impressive followers. With a focus on function, customer excellence an a no compromise attitude, Intrepid Apparel is developing more products, improvements to existing designs based on feedback, and is looking to further develop their direct sales and retail outlet markets.
Meetings with the investors are done out on the trail, where new products and ideas are tried before production runs begin. What started out as a need for better products, has turned into a full time job for this ex Tree Surgeon, and a brand that is getting recognition within the industry for the style, fit and technical nature of the products.
Whilst the name may be new to the cycling industry, this Preston based manufacturer has had considerable success as the kit supplier to the British Gymnastic squad, and has worked in that industry for the last 20 years. Seeing the crossover between technical fabrics and printed team kit, Jensen was born to add another fun brand to the plethora of cycling tops. Jensen also have an in house design team who can produce team kit to your specifications, currently tops only, though the brand is looking into other apparel, predominantly short to complete the look. You'll probably have seen the, ahem, stand out Bikini top in existing advertising.
CYCLE LAW SCOTLAND
Set up as a specialist supplier of Accident Claim support to the Scottish Cycling community, Cycle Law Scotland is the only law firm set up specifically for Cycle Claims management. From its four specialist centres in Peebles, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, the eight dedicated and qualified staff aim to support clients from day one of an injury, offering far more support than the traditional litigation firm, with a passion and a commitment to cycling throughout the team. The venture aim to add value to the legal process through better understanding the cyclists needs, developing closer links through advocacy and in helping promote cycle awareness, and through a helmet education project in conjunction with Halfords.
Going very North (for a Sussex based company) for a welcome visit is Upgrade Bikes, keen to support and promote its Scottish retailers and customers in its northern territories. With all the usual brands on show, including DMR, Lezyne, Pivot, Cycloc, Kinesis, Green Oil and X-Fusion, to name but a few, the company are keen to stress that for the consumer, bike shows are the heartland of product awareness, and for the retailer, they are committed to providing support within their territory where they can, and in supporting the Scottish Bike Show in its formative years.
Notable on display is the vast array of eye catching Lezyne lighting, tools and inflation products, and the all new Kinesis 29er, the FF29 in Lime Green.
Upgrade, as the importer of Pivot, invited the Scottish exclusive retailers, Flying Fox from Alva to help out on the stand, and to provide their retail expertise. It's great to see distributors and retailers working together at this show to promote their brands and develop a presence in such a strong cycling country, with so much to offer.
Andrew Lang from Cycloc, surely the most aesthetic way to wall mount a bike to a wall, saw this trip as a home coming. Though he now lives and works in London, he grew up only eight miles from the impressively regenerated SECC area of Glasgow. Cycloc have three new storage products to compliment the existing 'Cycloc' which are entering tooling now and will launch at Eurobike later this year. Expect more acclaim from this innovative brand.
Crankphoto is a Freelance Photo Journalist, working internationally within Cycling and Cycle Sports, (though mainly in in the North West of England). With over ten years experience in print and web media, as well as private and published test articles for consumer and B2B, Crank is well established and experienced in Mountain, Road and Track cycling. Covering Bike and Product launches, consumer magazine and private images, racing, events and advocacy, Crank can advise, develop and support your business. In partnership with BikeBiz, Crank supports the UK cycle industry in its development.