Website's 'hop-up shop' fills hardcore niche - BikeBiz

Website's 'hop-up shop' fills hardcore niche

So says Elbury Sandland of BSX-world.com, the bicycle supercross site. The "100 percent rider-owned" site is the distributor for Metal Mulisha, Vandal clothing, LS Progression, .243Racing and Issac Hunt, and according to Sandland, is where "core riders find info, buy stuff and check out the latest without all the corporate bullshit."
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Bicycle Supercross is the spectator-friendly, frenetic MTB racing between four to eight riders on a jump-filled track.

"People said BSX would not last. Instead it's progressed and gained a core following that has built the sport into the most spectacular thing in mountain bike history," claims 26-year old Elbry Sandland, founder of BSX-world.com.

"BSX-World isn't owned by a big corporate company nor is it a bike shop with a web site. It's a pilgrimage for core riders."

And these "anti-hero worshiping core riders" can buy hooded tops and key bits of hardware from rider-owned microbrands.

Sandland models the ecommerce section of BSX-world on a motocross-style 'hop-up' shop.

"It's where a rider can upgrade standard parts for performance enhancing products, whether that's frames, components or clothing," said Sandland.

"Bicycle super-cross has brought on a new generation of riders who do not want to head to their back street bike shop but want parts that are hard to find and offer true performance."

Sandland doesn't feel he's taking sales away from bike shops, rather he's introducing brands that may become more widely available in time.

"Brands like .243racing and Metal Mulisha were not available in Europe until BSX-world came along. We will sell these to bike shops that we feel suit the style of the brand and BSX-world."

Sandland's site is now a year old and he claims it cost œ30 000 to develop.

But Sandland said he had trouble convincing some his distributed brands that a web hop-up shop would work. The doubters were converted, said Sandland, by the quality information on the site, and the BSX community spirit.

"The hard thing with running an online store is that companies do not like dealing with you as they think your're just a bunch of kids working from home. But once companies see the quality of information that goes on the site, they want to be involved.

"But it has been an uphill struggle and not the fastest or simplest way of doing things.

"BSX-world is more than just an online store it's a lifestyle and now carries some weight with its crew of workers and helpers working worldwide to keep the site grow stronger each week."

And Sandland believes in getting his hands dirty. He organises hardcore BSX events, including 'Ultra-Bike' events (a cross between mountain bike and BMX racing in a tag-team format).

The first round of the 'Vandal Triple Crown of BSX' brought in the riders and spectators, said Sandland.

"The next step is to work on a smooth, big-ass track that riders will race in a stock class (24"/26" BSX bikes) and a super-modified class (BMX-Cruiser/ BSX /anything goes bikes) all racing down the same track, indoors, in 2002 and 2003."

A new racing format for 2002 has been co-developed by Sandland to bring together BSX, BMX and Dual. The Coalition Cup - sponsors to be confirmed - aims to find the best 'Dirt Rider' in the UK and is seeking to raise the awareness of BSX so the sport can benefit from permanent BSX facilities around in the UK.

"By combining existing events from the three disciplines and creating a unified series held at existing race courses, the Coalition Cup promises to bring BSX into the limelight and convince local councils that the need for more facilities in the UK is very real," said Sandland.

More facilities equals more riders equals more visitors to BSX-world.com equals more sales for the site's hop-up shop. Elbry Sandland describes himself as an 'empty pocketed punk' and someone who "stands up against the establishment" but he's clearly a grass-roots, activity-building, traffic-generating entrepreneur.

Elby Sandland is the Richard Branson of Bicycle Supercross. But with better taste in jumpers.

Tel: 01884 841 433.

http://www.bsx-world.com

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