In a market where the workshop is king – especially now that we hear reports that customers are looking to modify and repair rather than purchase a new bike – one of the best known componentry brands in the business like SRAM should be doing OK. Turns out, SRAM is.
However, it has been challenging winter and spring for everyone in the trade, rues Tim Bayley, brand manager for SRAM Road for UK distributor Fisher Outdoor Leisure. SRAM’s performance comes in spite of that. He tells BikeBiz: “Overall business has been good on SRAM service lines but the bike build and upgrade business has seen strong growth. We have seen essentials, SRAM chains and cassettes taking more wall space.
“A lot of what we stock is perfect upgrade componentry, which adds significant sales opportunities to IBDs.”
Coordinated launches have added to SRAM’s aftermarket arsenal this year – RockShox, Reverb, XX1, Quarq, Red and Force 22…the list goes on. Bayley explains: “Rock Shox forks for example, with the launch of the new Pike, has hit the upgrade market at the right time for the growth of the gravity and enduro scene.
“On the road, Zipp has a complete range of bars, stems and seat posts – perfect bike build territory – and combined with the success of the 202 Firecrest carbon clincher we have the perfect product for all riders.”
Being a favourite of one of the most famous riders on the planet hasn’t hurt the brand.
When Mark Cavendish used SRAM’s new hydraulic road rim brakes just a few weeks ago on Le Tour, there was a flurry of interest, Bayley reveals: “We had calls into the office within six hours of the images appearing! When we look at Red, Quarq, Zipp they are all associated with him and that certainly helps, he is the fastest rider in the world.
“To be honest even when he was not supported by Zipp he was still using them (unbranded) and most people knew, which was great with the launch of the Firecrest."
The introduction of Quarq to the SRAM stable has added a new dimension to the SRAM offering in the power meter category, says Bayley. It’s an area that is gathering speed, he explains: “IBDs have really bought into the category and there is now significant expertise on the shop floor. Quarq’s updated product offering has now established the Riken and Elsa as technology leading.”
User-friendly set-up and LED communication was a key innovation from Quarq, while the consumer or dealer being able to change the chain rings without a re-calibration proved a huge plus too – as did the simple user battery change.
Aside from Quarq, launches like Red22, Force22 and XX1 have kept the brand flying high, inspiring retailer and consumer demand, we’re told.
In fact, over the past 12 months, SRAMs focus right the way across the cycle disciplines has paid dividends. Fisher tells BikeBiz that the brand has grown market share in the whole mountain bike sector with riders immediately adopting 1x11. It’s not just product launches though – a joined up approach to communication as well as investment in teams and riders has been a success story. Bayley explains: “The pro tour is a great example: SRAM Red was launched last year, it was an aftermarket product and the timing from launch to delivery to the retailer was six weeks.
“This co-ordinated approach will certainly drive sales of all aftermarket launches in future as the IBDs will have stock while the media is still talking about the product.”
Customer service and how Fisher and SRAM work closely with dealers remains a key focus, not least with the SRAM Technical Centre which was set up in 2010. “Apart from the warranty and servicing they do with an aim of 48 hour turnaround they [SRAM Tech Centre] have played a major role in educating the dealers with shop training visits and training days in-house. This has been a real focus this year and will continue to develop through 2014.”
Speaking of the forthcoming year, what’s next from SRAM?
“SRAM is renowned for innovating at the highest levels of cycling and I think the next 12 months are going to be pretty exciting.”
Fisher Outdoor Leisure: 01727 798345