How well do you know Reid Bikes? We talk past, present and future with managing director Rob Akam

The Five minutes with series presents 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 Reid Bikes managing director Rob Akam. 

Can you tell us the history of the company?

James Reid founded Reid Cycles in Australia in 2008. The concept was to import bikes factory direct and sell to the public. The company soon grew, and by 2014, we were selling 50,000 bikes per year in Australia.

I was the GM at that time, after joining January 2012. In May 2014 I moved back to the UK, and we set up the international sales office with the aim of getting international distributors to take on our brand in other markets. We are now in 17 countries, with most of our larger customers currently outside the EU, as well as being a supplier to several other brands where we help them to design and manufacture their own brand bikes. We now have over 600 shops stocking Reid around the world.

What are you ultimately trying to achieve?

We want to get as many people cycling as possible by making it fun and affordable. We see the easiest way to do this being to grow our distributor network, with companies that share this ethos. We are currently looking for a new UK distributor to help us achieve this here. We offer our distributors competitive FOB pricing to try and enable retailers to have a competitive offering.

What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?

We are big enough to get great prices from well-established assembly factories in Asia, but small enough to tailor our products, support and services to each individual market. We also sell at every level of the distribution chain in various markets, EG in Australia we have our own stores and site and sell directly to the public. In New Zealand, UAE, Switzerland, Germany and some other countries, we sell to a large retail chain that sells to the end customer, and in other markets such as USA, Canada, Chile, Spain and others, we sell through the traditional distribution method; selling to a distributor who then sells to retailers who sell to the end customer. By doing this, we understand the challenges as well as the opportunities at each stage, as they can differ considerably.

What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?

At our end of the market, we are not looking at huge innovations. We aim to bring the latest technologies, trends and improved functionality at more affordable levels. An example of this is in the US for example where our Granite 1.0 all road bike with discs undercuts all of its competitors by at least 15 per cent with an RRP of $599 whilst still having huge tyre clearance, great geometry (the same as our $1500 Granite 3.0), plenty of luggage mounting points and Shimano STI levers and gearing.

What does the future hold for the company?

We are working on significantly increasing our e-bike offering, with the focus on value. By value, we don’t just mean a cheap price, but a very competitive price for the specifications. We have three MTBs, and three more hybrids in development at the moment. Our range is constantly evolving to ensure it meets the needs of our current distributors, and moves in line or ahead of the market trends. We have just revamped our popular Urban X range, City range, Vice 27+ range and added more kids bikes to the range which will all be released to our distributors in the next couple of months, with orders being made now. We are also in ongoing conversations and providing samples to prospective distributors in six further countries at the moment, which is very exciting, and we hope to be in 25 countries before the end of the year. It is a very exciting time at Reid!

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