In our latest series, we’re getting to grips with the brands that you deal with every day. The ‘Five minutes with’ series will present a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week we’re joined by Cateye international sales director Doug Brown.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
CatEye’s early history catalogues the vision of the Tsuyama family, who actually started out producing and selling architectural metal fittings. In 1948 they turned their focus towards the bike industry, producing and selling bicycle parts and accessories. This marked the birth of a family company, which today is a leading brand worldwide.
In 1957, the company produced Japan’s first reflector and marketed it under the trademark of CatEye. This reflective technology and knowledge was then utilized within CatEye’s first safety flashing light in 1964. CatEye’s first computer, the CatEye Velo, was produced in 1981 which has grown to full range from simple 8 function entry level computers to more features/functions such as those in our Padrone Smart +. In 2001 CatEye introduced the first LED bicycle light to the world-wide market. Today Cateye’s focus and core categories are bicycle reflectors, lights and computers.
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
To develop quality and reliable products that today’s discerning cyclist demands and requires for a SAFE ride, whether it be training, racing, commuting or just for fun. This means keeping abreast of evolving technologies to continuously improve and offer the best possible product. For example, our lights have been developed towards maintaining higher Lumens for longer together with the best run times, while our Opticube lenses and reflectors generate superior beam patterns, including 180-degree visibility.
Currently we have a global campaign – Visibility is a cyclist’s best defence! Given that 78 per cent of cycling accidents involve fatalities during daylight hours, this campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of using lights during the day. CatEye offers the ultimate bike light solution for your bike, body and helmet for day or night. We want to change the habit of riders only using a front and rear bike-mounted light. For computers, CatEye’s aim is to be offering choice-for-all through our comprehensive range from entry to mid- level devices that are easy to use, whether it be simple eight-function unit or customised Smart computers.
What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?
The CatEye brand is known worldwide. Quality and reliability are key words you hear globally when talking about the brand. Our strict QC policy and testing has always been an important piece in the development and manufacturing of any CatEye product. We are a brand that owns and operates its own manufacturing facility. Our testing facilities use the most advanced testing equipment such as sphere and photometric machines that are used for developing best beam patterns or can be used to test and meet varying worldwide standards.
Our manufacturing experience and knowledge with other electronic related industries such as reflectors, road safety devices and the auto industry has enabled us to remain market leaders. Unlike many brands, we develop our own lenses internally. All our lights having 180-degree visibility, an important addition to an overall superior beam pattern. It’s not just about how many lumens are listed on the box – its more important how those lumens are emitted and can be utilized and focused in a way to allow the best overall visibility.
We continue to push boundaries of what bicycle electronics can be. Another in a long line of CatEye firsts is the most powerful headlight in the world, our Volt 6000 lumen light turning night to day. Our Volt 6000 utilizes COB Chip LED-On-Board technology with our added internal fan unit spinning at 10,000rpm to keep it cool, all within a compact light weight head unit which maintains a regulated 6000 Lumens throughout its run time.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
E-bike is the big growth area now in some markets more than others but in the end, this will be a big category for all. This innovation is an exciting opportunity to develop lights and computers that offer the best features for this growing sector.
What does the future hold for the company?
The Bicycle electronics market is always changing with advancements in technologies. I visit Japan multiples times per year and see the many different technologies being tested in our R&D labs – the challenge is determining the ones that will be most beneficial to today consumer demands and needs. I believe if we continue to stay on top of the technologies and continually determine the best way to utilise these technologies and bring to market, then our future is bright!