The only way is upwards for Tiger Cycles. This year customers of the Moffat distributor can expect to see improving spec on bikes from the budget friendly, right through the newly launched Atom line. Mark Sutton talks to Tony Few about the firm’s new direction…
Can you tell us a bit about Tiger Cycles and its origins in the trade?
We are a family business that set up in the cycle trade when our local bike shop closed and presented us with an opening to meet demand in our home town of Moffat.
We added the bike business to our other retail outlets and from the outset received requests for supply due to our superior buying power. The distribution business grew rapidly until the late 1990s when the brands we were distributing went bankrupt and left us with a large customer base, but no product to supply.
Again, in response to a gap in the market, we designed a new range ourselves and branded them as Tiger. This proved to be the correct strategy and, with over 230 dealers nationwide, the business continues to grow and develop. Last year we invested more than £1million in our own warehouse and distribution complex in Lockerbie.
You’re gradually adding higher-spec product to the catalogue, is this in response to a demand from customers?
We are now diversifying our range and also improving existing models. With the high level of competition in today’s market we wanted to distance ourselves from the low quality bikes sold by supermarkets.
To this end we have eliminated all cheap Chinese parts and now only use full Shimano gear sets on all bikes. We have also upgraded all new 2011 cycles to include sealed cartridge bottom brackets even on entry-level models. These changes are already paying dividends, with a 90 per cent reduction in warranty requests over two years.
Tiger is to launch own branded components and accessories this month, what can we expect to see from the line?
We are initially introducing a basic range of parts to keep the workshop running, including tyres, tubes, brake levers, blocks, pedals, cables and Prowheel chainsets. Also, a range of accessories will be available to add value and complement any sale, from bottles and holders, mudguards, gel saddles, pumps, locks and dusties, all of which come pre-packed with Tiger hangable header cards.
We will also be offering a limited range of Shimano parts.
What point of sale material will you be able to offer with this line?
We have a new 32-page brochure which shows the full range of Atom and Tiger Cycles, parts and accessories and have just received our new two-metre banners to promote the Tiger Cycles and Atom brands in showrooms. We also have flyers for Tiger Cycle Assist and over the next few months there will be a range of posters produced for all products.
How do you plan to market the new line, as well as the 2011/12 bikes?
Marketing has always been a problem for manufacturers and importers due to the costs of national press and radio, therefore we have to rely on the grace of publications and our greatest marketing tool, word of mouth from not only happy dealers, but also from satisfied end users. There is a lot of buzz about Facebook and we look forward to raising our profile there.
Tell us about ‘Atom’ bikes and the work that has gone into producing the line:
Tiger has become known over the years for producing low cost bikes. For us to establish a brand in the higher end market, it was immediately apparent that we needed a new name which was catchy and looks good on bikes, hence Atom was born.
In partnership with our factory in Taiwan, who already make bikes for some of the biggest brands in Europe, and a number of IBDs that already stock the Tiger range, we have developed a range of bikes. The Atom range boasts better specification than other bikes of a similar price band. This, combined with a number of key features such as full Shimano gearing, disc ready hubs and frames on all bikes makes Atom more versatile than many in the market.
If any, what challenges are importers such as yourselves facing at present?
Ever increasing costs from suppliers continues to make purchasing a challenge, but this year part of these increases has been offset by a reducing US Dollar value and lower shipping costs, which has enabled us to maintain our competitive pricing structure.
What price points does the Atom line cover and do you foresee much cycle to work business here?
As this sector continues to grow Atom has been designed with cycle to work in mind, hence our endeavours to have the best specification at the best price from a fully Altus equipped bike at £349, through to a fully Deore equipped hydraulic double disc model costing £599 and all offering excellent retailer margins.
How can trade accounts get in touch?
Telephone 01683 220837, email firstname.lastname@example.org and for further details, visit www.tigercycles.com.