A flat tyre is always an unwelcome condundrum. This month, Laura Laker talk to the man trying to make flats a thing of the past, Mr Ran Grodecki – co-CEO of Joe’s No Flats.
Tell us about Joe’s No-Flats. What’s the story behind the concept?
Joe’s No Flats began modestly 13 years ago with our high-quality sealant line. We’ve since grown into a one-stop-shop brand for flat prevention and bike care products. Today we are a trusted and loved brand among our customers in 60 countries around the world.
We are able to harness advanced scientific methods for our products thanks to our parent company, Adhestick Innovations, which is an advanced industrial adhesives developer and manufacturer with deep knowledge in polymer engineering and chemistry. Located in Israel, we enjoy a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and encourage innovation within our team.
What kind of buyer are you trying to attract, and why do you think shops should stock your products?
Our products are designed first and foremost to be of the highest quality. World Cup riders, Olympic medal winners and national teams regularly use Joe’s No Flats products. We target all segments of the riding world, including MTB, road, commute, e-bike, and kids’ bikes. We tailor our products to different riders’ needs, with affordable pricing.
We also develop products to suit the needs of the shop owner and mechanic. For example, many of our consumer products come in larger packages, to offer best value for money and comfortable use in the workshop. Our logistics packages are also branded, and counter-ready. Today we are a one-stop-shop for sealants and bike care products - shops that choose us benefit from one unified logistics process and brand for those products.
The challenge is to develop environmentally- friendly products that maintain or improve functionality
What was the aim of the recent rebrand, and what has changed about the product and its marketing?
Our brand is famous for its sealant line, but as we introduced more product categories over the years we lost some visual consistency. We wanted a visible and clear product line for our customers and trade partners, with a simple colour code, while modernising and personalising the look and feel of the brand.
Why a bear you ask? Well, we wanted to associate the brand with nature, and with a strong and surviving animal, that feels at home in the remote outdoors – just as our anti-flat and bike care products should assist and protect our riders so they feel at home outdoors. The bear can also be very cute, cuddly, family-oriented animal – just like all of us, so we hope all our customers will strongly relate to our bear! We received great feedback about the branding from our distributors and customers, which gives us a lot of satisfaction.
How were you using your time at Eurobike this year?
We launched our rebrand at Eurobike. We believe in the tubeless revolution and our sealants attracted a lot of interest from existing and potential customers all around the world. The combination required a larger booth and team on the ground, and we were positively surprised by the number and quality of meetings we had at the show. Becoming a mainstream, global brand creates the responsibility to continue and develop great products, but we keep our young spirit – so cheers to good business and great fun going forward!
What trends are you seeing in the industry at the moment, and how are you reacting to those?
From a product perspective, the tubeless revolution continues with MTBs, and is expected to gain momentum with road bikes. As far as we know we are the only brand that developed a road-specific sealant, designed to cope with the higher PSI of road tyres. We also see a growing demand for easy-to-use and install products. We developed a Universal Conversion Kit: a single kit to convert any MTB with any rim width to tubeless. The shops love it, as they can carry one SKU instead of many, and avoid confusion.
From a marketing perspective, the end consumer is key and we must find modern ways to communicate directly with them. We developed a very active Facebook page, and recently launched a new website as part of a conscious effort to remain relevant for the younger generation – and remain young-at-heart ourselves. We invite our customers to seek professional advice from us, share our posts and send us ideas for new products.
A lot of companies claim to be green and eco-friendly, but often the ingredients tell a different story. How eco are Joe’s No-Flats eco products?
The challenge is to develop environmentally friendly products that maintain or improve functionality. Most of the sealants in the market are latex-based and many use ammonia to control pH level. Our R&D guys developed the Eurobike award-winning ECO sealant, which is completely latex-free and ammonia-free, and considered to be one of the best in the market for flat prevention functionality.
You wanted to tell us about your self-sealing tubes...what’s the story there?
Although the tubeless revolution is gaining momentum, many riders still use inner tubes but want the advantage of flat prevention. We now provide a wide line of self-sealing inner tubes, with our sealant pre-injected to the tube, thereby improving flat protection. This Eurobike we launched a new line of self-sealing inner tubes for the growing market of e-bikes – due to the force and weight of the engine, we added heavy duty tubes with our sealant as an excellent flat protection solution.
You’re based in Israel. Is the country seeing the boom in leisure cycling too, and if so what does that look like? It’s obviously a very different climate to Europe!
Israel is an amazing bicycle destination – an advanced, high-tech, western society, great beaches, food and fun, combined with fascinating historical places. As for cycling, it’s very popular and growing both with MTB, road and triathlon, as well as simple city commuters. The climate allows 365 days out on the bike, so that’s great. We also have very different terrains – forests, mountains, deserts – so every day can be a totally different experience.
Do you expect Brexit to affect your dealings with UK businesses, and if so, how?
Not really; I mean, people will continue to ride after the Brexit as well, right? So we will continue to support our customers in the UK. The UK market has adopted tubeless before many others and it is very important for us.