Comment: Reasons why it's not always all about the big fish...

Cycle Show were understandably pleased to see the likes of Trek, Raleigh and Specialized exhibit, but it's the hidden gems we searched for...
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Near impossible to gauge and varied in conclusion, it’s hard to say whether or not a show has been considered a success in this business. If you were going by discussion on the trade-only forum, reaction was mixed. Some said they felt the Cycle Show was ‘quieter’ (it wasn’t), others said the attractions and cycling celebs were top notch (they were).

Early attendance figures say that over 25,000 people swung by the NEC, which for a four-day exhibition on bicycles, seems pretty healthy to me. Figures aside, the talking point revolved around the quality of exhibitor and although popular with the consumer crowds, don’t assume I’m talking about the big names – I’m talking about the little guys that, given a chance, have a hell of a lot to offer the retailer.

Look beyond Trek, Raleigh and Specialized, the obvious choices for any exhibitor’s floor plan and you’ve got companies like Pragmasis, Fibrax, CycleHoop and Eurobike – all homegrown companies that had as many talking points as any other in the NEC.

I spent some time with Pragmasis – a UK-designed and made security product manufacturer, which could and should, be doing a lot more business with bike retailers. If not selling to end-users, then certainly the product would shore up any shop’s defences, which are often little more than cables strung through the wheels. Why Pragmasis, though? Because this firm boasts the “only police and insurance improved defences available in many categories”. If you value your stock, you’ll check them out.

Eurobike UK gave us the world first on a project that’s been bubbling away for some time – a Stoke On Trent-made carbon fibre road rig that had the stickers applied on the show floor. Working with Vekta Composites, the distributor can now have a tailored carbon build to your customer in a much reduced lead time than that of any other brand.

Cyclehoop, while not selling a huge amount via retail, could again do plenty to improve the image of many stores, with a catalogue of bikey street furniture and, new to the firm, UK- made wooden bike furniture for displaying bikes indoors.

Mission is another distributor BikeBiz spent some time with at the show, which again revealed some great opportunites for retail. “Often we’re forced to supply direct,” said David Wilshere of the disability cycling specialist. “Those who we do partner with quickly become the go-to stores for an entire region,” he added.

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