SHOW REVIEW: EXPO 2010 - BikeBiz

SHOW REVIEW: EXPO 2010

2010 EXPOsed: Boasting an expanding range of bikes, new brands and even tool organisers, the Fisher show served up a feast of products for dealers and the press. Jonathon Harker takes a look at what was on the menu...
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Edgbaston had a good innings as venue for Fisher’s house show, but Sopwell House proved more than a match for the sprawling Birmingham-based venue. Attendees appeared bowled over by much of the new product too, with new lines from SRAM, Basil, Norco, Lambretta, Santini, and many more – including the trio of newbies Kansi, Vavert and Airace, while the warehouse tour and seminars also proved popular with show-goers.

KANSI
The brand’s debut appearance revealed the three models of the range: the 1twenty singlespeed, the 3twenty three speed and 9twenty nine. Priced at £499, £699 and £849, they are available in two colour ranges. Notably, the Kansi line-up features no model year, though it will be updated via generations and tweaked over the years.

As part of Fisher’s commitment to dealers, when customers buy a Kansi bike they receive an incentive to register their bike online with a unique code – extending their guarantee – which cunningly also reminds them when it needs servicing, cleverly driving trade back to the workshop. Customers registering online also receive a special customisation kit.

The brand may be Fisher-owned, but it is being promoted in its own right and will be rolled out around the globe, moving beyond being just a UK offering. It features SRAM components, while every part is serviceable, not rebadged. Kansi product manager Martin Hawyes says: “We’ve had insane feedback, which is great as no one has seen it before. It ticks all the boxes.” Kansi is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of bikes that Fisher has branched into.

VAVERT
One of the new brands on show at the event, Vavert – which as Francophiles will already know means ‘goes green’ – is another pitched at the leisure commuter cyclist. Each saddle has a matching grip to co-ordinate, while saddles and grips are also available for the sports market and comfort markets.

The leisure commuter range’s saddles feature ergonomic design for comfort, ScuffGuard abrasion resistant sides and a reflective rear badge. The grips from the same range are easy to install and remove, are ergonomically designed and are available in four colours. Much thought has gone into the packaging too, with an innovative space-saving saddle design. More innovative still, the grip packaging has the grips hung on pivotal plugs so that consumers can hold them in riding position without removing them from their packaging.

AIRACE
Airace’s range of pumps and tools are exclusive to Fisher and includes track pumps, fit mini pumps, smart mini pumps and tool sets. The track pumps are highly stable floor pumps with high reliability gauges and long hose. Priced at £79.99, the Infinity AS Aluminium Shock and Tyre Floor Pump comes complete with an integrated shock pump adaptor, high pressure up to 300 psi and a shielded stainless steel tube.

On the mini pump side, the Fit H2 features a two-stage adjustable barrel for increased pressure and volume, while the Smart Jet G is a compact pump with precise in-line gauge.

Airace’s tool sets are compact and precision-machined. The Airace 20-in-1 Ultra Thin Metallic Folding Tool Set includes a chain breaker, among a wealth of other tools, plus the all-important bottle opener.

WATERLOO
Waterloo is reportedly the world’s largest supplier of tool storage products and was the source of perhaps slightly unexpected buzz at Expo 2010. Seemingly one of the very few companies providing tool storage, its product range – including mobile and fixed tool solutions – was the subject of much chatter among the attendees. The firm tells BikeBiz that many dealers were buying the products for themselves, as well as for their business. The products range all the way from tool boxes, starting at £20, and move all the way up to fixed tool solutions at £10,000.

The mobile solutions are ideal for dealers that work events or have a mobile business, while the fixed tool boxes are perfect for refitting workshops. The firm’s representative – Kieran MacCourt – comments that the response to the range had been fantastic and they were really encouraged by it. Notably, it is a sister company of Master Lock.

MASTER LOCK
One of its key products is the Street Fortum D Lock, offering top-notch Sold Secure Gold standard at just £34.99.

Master Lock has also sought to fill a previously relatively untapped market – children’s locks. The devices support the steady selling kids’ bikes and accessories market and teach kids about the need to lock up their kit. Costing £9.99 and featuring a resettable combination, the locks promise to appeal to kids, bucking a market that largely administers to adult needs.

Master Lock used the show to focus on padlocks too, pointing out that bikes are often far better secured while out and about, yet at home they’re comparatively easy pickings. With waterproof padlocks and bolt cutter-frustrating octagonal designs the locks are a chance for bike dealers to tap into a wider market.

Also, its packaging has been enhanced, enabling customers to literally get their hands on the product, something the firm has found to be a key sales tool.

BSPOKE
A year on from launching the bspoke clothing range, Fisher’s own range of commuter-targeted threads featured at the show, and also includes accessories from the Transport for London-endorsed lines.

Pitched as a versatile collection that fits into commuter life on and off the saddle, it includes the likes of the Holborn cycling jacket, which features a wealth of technical elements while looking like a non-cycling jacket. Similarly, the women-specific Angel three-quarter length jacket provides waterproof, windproof and breathable functionality – as well as reflective branding to increase visibility at night – without appearing like a cycling-specific garment.

BASIL
Basil’s bag business has been booming over the past 12 months, showing a mighty 39 per cent growth year-on-year. The women and commuter ranges are among those that have been targeted for growth with a wealth of products designed to hit those areas. Basil’s Jada line-up is set to be more colourful and includes shoppers, double panniers and more. The Jada Mirte shopping bag comes in Blueberry Purple or Marble Grey with a 16L capacity and water-repellent polyester.

Basil also introduced its Memories range, created with water-resistant recycled canvas. The Memories feature leather details and rain protective flaps. Bike baskets are staple sellers, and Basil has created a twist on the range with the Memories-bottle basket. As the name
suggests, the baskets feature milk bottle shapes as well as everything else you’d expect.

Basil’s kids’ range has expanded too, and has even stretched to incorporate dog baskets. With super short 14-day lead times, stock levels of the Basil product should never be a problem.

SRAM
Expo was the first chance to see SRAM’s well-publicised full MTB group set XX in the flesh, complete with revolutionary front shifting and hydraulic remote suspension lock out.

Following up on SRAM’s carbon wheel range last year, it is now offering a complete wheel build. The new aluminium wheels are slim, lightweight and come in three varieties. The regular S27 Comps are priced at £399 a pair, while the S30 Al Sprint costs £599 a pair and the S20 Al Race will retail at £799 a pair. RockShox’s forks and shocks were on show, including Revelation, the 2010 Boxxer and the SID World Cup, while Avid’s 2010 line-up includes an expanded Elixir range. Truvativ now includes a bar, stem and seat post family.

NORCO
Norco is bringing 33 frames to the UK, with 21 being new to the country and covering gravity, all mountain, trail, urban and BMX – the latter getting six new models following a huge sales success. Norco is on track to see a raised profile in 2010, largely through the new DIRT Norco World Cup Downhill team.

IN BRIEF
Look is adding to Fisher’s bike offering, with the 986 and 996 MTB-specific frames debuting at Expo, joining the new 464 track frame. Retailing at £649, it is available as a fixie option.

Eye-catching Troy Lee designs abounded at Expo 2010, not least of all with the D3 helmet, while the spring/summer and autumn/winter ranges of Santini’s high-end road garments featured the Defend Jacket and a vintage range sporting classic designs. One of Met’s star helmets was the Camaleonte –an urban-focused product available in executive and standard models. Also on offer were Forte road helmets, Crackerjack kids’ helmets and off-road Kaos models.

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