BikeBiz catches up with ‘the next generation’ of tyre sealant
Can you give us a little background on Orange Seal?
We started thinking about Orange Seal in 2008, on a group MTB ride with friends. We were doing our usual bike prep and one of the guys rode across the parking lot and picked up a shard of glass and was spewing sealant to no avail. We had to throw a tube in, and we had a couple of more issues that day with punctures and tubes. Our mad scientist Stephen said, I quote: ‘I’m going to make something that will cover all aspects of riding’. That started the passion of making a technically different sealant compared to the 26 sealants on the market at the time. We wanted to take the best and worst of all sealants and build a technical sealant.
We aim to develop technically advanced products for cyclists of all levels to enhance their riding experience. Our core philosophy is to serve the riding community and continue to innovate with products that keep us on our bikes and enable people to tackle all kinds of terrain.
What area of the cycling market does Orange Seal target?
Rather than trying to utilise one sealant across a broad spectrum of cyclists we felt it important to offer a variety of products for a variety of skills and riders. Our sealant and VersaValve products cover road, gravel, MTB, BMX, e-bikes, commuters, and pretty much anything with a pneumatic tyre. The 700c market is especially growing for us; I know that in the UK more and more road riders are making the switch to tubeless, particularly for the winter bike.
What makes Orange Seal unique? What does it offer that its competitors perhaps do not?
Sealant life, sealing quality and the ability of the liquid to remain as one solution that coats the tyre from bead to bead keeps us unique. Once sealed our product forms a permanent plug. It’s non-corrosive and we are also proud to be environmentally friendly.
What has the reaction to the product been like so far?
Amazing, people love options and products that are technically different and solve problems. Riders are riding trials they would have never ridden due to the advance in tyres, wheels, bikes and of course sealant. No one likes to change a flat. Our customers are also our fans, its very pleasing to get such positive feedback at events and to read the recommendations on web sites and social media, its quite flattering at times. I‘ve attended COREbike for the last few years and meeting dealers there is always great.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you now?
We are very excited about all the innovations coming to tyres and wheels. Not just in the MTB market, but across road, CX, E-Bike and especially Gravel. Tubeless tyres are more-a-less standard on MTBs now, but it’s taken longer for other bikes to go tubeless. Other cycling disciplines are now following suit to MTB and adopting tubeless for a safer and more comfortable ride. Our sealant works at high pressure and once it’s plugged you can keep on riding without fear of blowing the plug out.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
We can’t reveal too much right now, but we do have some exciting that products coming out in 2020 that plug even bigger holes and slices. We want to add innovation to the market rather than just add lame ‘me too’ product and for that reason, our product can take a little longer to design, test and bring to market. We want it right before release.
We will be increasing our footprint in professional road cycling, particularly the Israeli Cycling Academy team and Bora Hansgrohe who have used Orange Seal for over two years. Having our product used by pro-teams hopefully goes some way to convince customers that tubeless has a place within road riding, the classics etc.
For 2020, we are looking to add some consumer-facing events where we can meet our current users and explain to others the products USP. We’d also like to be more involved with some key events, perhaps in Gravel and CX to start with. We’d also like to be involved at a local level maybe around IBD organized events.
How long has Orange Seal worked with Extra?
We got together with Extra in 2016. Extra launched the brand into the UK and Ireland and have grown with us every year since. They have a strong relationship with their customers and are passionate about our product. It’s pleasing to see the Orange Seal community grow in both the UK and Ireland.
To what extent does the brand support and collaborate with IBDs?
Extra’s IBD share for Orange Seal is around 70% so the IBD is extremely important. The IBD and its staff are key influencers when people choose sealant. We try to work with the IBDs as much as possible as they are the heart of the cycling community. In the UK and Ireland, the IBD network was the prime focus for around the first two seasons, we didn’t want to put all the product down the obvious mail-order route.
It’s a good reason for IBDs to get behind the brand. We are increasingly the choice sealant of workshops, our 32oz workshop bottle sales are a testament to that. Having Orange Seal fitted as standard by IBDs leads to good aftersales for that same retailer, our product has great customer loyalty. Consumables are great business for the IBD, particularly when fitted.
Extra has developed some nice point of sale which is available free of charge to stockists and are looking to expand this offering for 2020 to include soft goods and other associated marketing items.