The Bike and Triathlon show round up

Miss the debut Manchester exhibition? BikeBiz headed north along with 6,000 others to see what was on offer
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It was well received last year when announced in these very pages – a show for the North, finally. Catering for both cycling and the wider triathlon community, the Hamerville Media organised Bike and Tri exhibition announced last minute that it would allow the trade in from 9am and the wider public in from 10am. You wouldn’t think this would make much difference, but it was encouraging to see trade members claiming their badges from the BikeBiz lounge before the masses arrived in order to have discussions in a relative peace and quiet.

Come 10am, the floodgates really did open. Though a smaller venue than competing shows currently occupy, the aisles of Manchester Central quickly filled. With a varied mix of exhibitors – ranging from handmade artisan framebuilders such as Feather and Saffron Bicycles, through retailers large and small, to distributors like 2pure – it was a busy enough floor to keep you busy for a day and with many expressing to BikeBiz their interest in coming back in future, things look encouraging for next year.

So, if you elected to enjoy a rare sunny weekend instead of head to Manchester this time, what did you miss?

Frog Bikes
Of particular interest to those early rising bike shops was show debutant Frog Bikes, bringing to market their take on how children’s bikes should feel, complete with expert input from the kids themselves.

Built entirely around lightweight aluminium frames, Frog’s nine bike range are all labelled up by the inside leg measurement, as opposed to an age group, making the bike easy to match to the rider, even if your dialogue with the parent does go a little something like this: "How tall is your child"… "oh, you know, average seven year old size."

With a 43 per cent margin and a dedication to selling via independent bike shops, Frog’s line should be popular. BikeBiz is told that in future we may see further road and mountain bikes available via Frog, all sized for smaller builds with downsized levers and cranks.

Frog are contactable on 08443 351322.

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 Bike Tyrestore
Appearing at the show to raise the profile of Rubena, Bike Tyrestore told BikeBiz that for stores currently with stock, the European tyre label is selling well.

To boost its retail offering, the distributor has begun producing a custom-designed point of sale unit for Rubena dealers, capable of holding 20 tyres and over 50 inner tubes. Measuring just a metre wide, it’ll fit on most shop floors and is provided free of charge to dealers making a commitment to the label.

On the product front, new BMX race tyres and a wire bead 29er tyre will join stock shortly.


Starley
Altrincham bike brand Starley popped along to exhibit its line of made to measure bikes and while not actively looking for retail partners, did tell BikeBiz that it would be open to hearing from those looking to add an exotic brand to their stable.

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With a £10,000 buy in, it’s not for everyone, but with that Starley will design customised in store point of sale for a partnering store. As you’d expect, professional bike fitting experience is required of the retailer, given the nature of the customer.

For those unfamiliar with the label, it’s big on research and development, which is largely carried out at its Warrington testing facility. Custom painting is another unique selling point of Starley, with even those buying the entry level £1,100 bike able to customise their colour palate.

For more on Starley and any retail opportunities, call 01619291929.


Vulpine

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Though not ready in time for the show, Vulpine told BikeBiz it is getting firmly behind women’s cycling, not only adding eight new garments to its catalogue for 2013, but also sponsoring the Matrix Fitness women’s squad, as well as backing a Bedford three day race for women. What’s more, you’ll soon find Vulpine stock with Velovixen, one of the many retailers also taking advantage of exhibiting at the debut show.

With a noticeable presence at the show, the Vulpine Fete drew the shows curious crowds over with Facepainting, Rollapaluza racing and a cluster of artisan framebuilders.

Vulpine itself had further news in the form of a new hire, former head of design at Chanel London James Greig. More on the new recruit can be found here.

Product wise, the crowds were introduced to the new Harrington rain jacket, retailing for £180. With a highly tailored cut, the jacket chooses magnetic closures over Velcro which often wears over time. With Scotchlite highlights, the jacket is both highly visible and strikes a strong balance between breathability and waterproofing.

Wera Tools
German tool manufacturer has set its sights on the cycle market and told BikeBiz it will be targeting the consumer looking for a higher quality, long wearing tool.

Showing the crowds at the show what it called ‘bespoke cycling kits’, the manufacturer had plenty in the way of adaptable screwdriver kits with interchangeable heads, with the firm saying there won’t be many bolts on a bike that their multitools can’t work with. Having said that, the firm did conceed that, at present, they’re a little way off becoming a workshop- ready supplier offering chain whips and BB removal tools.

The quality of the existing product is up there with the best however, with the firm showing us that their allen keys have a concave design that claims to provide "20 per cent more torque, without damage" than a standard tool provides.

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Pro Vision
Just the one new garment debuted at the Bike and Triathlon Show from Pro Vision – the new ‘Silicone Edge Jersey’.

At £39.99, this high-wicking, ‘Miti Italian’ fabric jersey packs in the features for the price, with silicone grippers where necessary to ensure it stays put in the saddle, three rear pockets sewn onto a dipped tail for easy access in the saddle.

Nurishment
Another brand planning to make some serious inroads in the cycling world in 2013, many may be familiar with Nurishment’s can product, often found in the chiller cabinet.

The Bike and Tri Show served as a platform for the label to introduce a three flavour bottled recovery milkshake. With a competition to win bikes in progress at present, the firm is seeking retail stores to partner with and is now offering various point of sale units to support any commitment to the brand, including dump bins capable of holding plenty of the £1.99 post ride beverages.



Precision Hydration
It’s perhaps obvious to the professional athlete, but many of us would have been oblivious to the fact that we’re all different and shed electrolytes in different quantities during exercise on and off the bike.

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To properly combat this, the aptly named Precision Hydration has come to market with a series of dissolvable tablets in just one refreshing citrus flavour. That’s not the extent of it though: the brand has tailored products, providing varying levels of replacement electrolytes, tailored to the output of the sweat of the particular customer. Technical, yes, but there’s an app to determine which product your customer will likely need.
Expect point of sale units in the near future and, if you’re interested in knowing more, the firm is looking for cycle retailers to stock up, so call on 01273 900277.

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Incrediwear
Bamboo is often touted as a ‘wonder fibre’ in this business nowadays and Incrediwear claims to have found a new use for its own patented blend. Producing garments such as socks, insoles and braces for the majority of the body, Incrediwear describe their blend of organic germanium bamboo charcoal as the ‘24 carat gold’ quality stuff.

Designed for anyone from arthiritis sufferers, to sports people recovering from tissue damage, the garments claim to increase blood flow to the affected areas and aid recovery, as well as to return a fuller range of movement to the affected joints. The fibre is also antimicrobial, odor absorbing and moisture wicking, so ideal for sustained use.

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