Michelin: A 125-year obsession

Nick Bull, Michelin’s commercial market product manager for the UK, ROI and Nordics, provides some insight into the brand’s plans for 2020 and beyond…

Can you provide us with a brief background on Michelin?
The Michelin Group is a global company headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Founded in 1889, the Michelin Group provides tyres to over 170 countries and are leaders in innovation and sustainable development. Michelin was also responsible for the first detachable bicycle tyre in 1891.

What’s new for 2020?
It is an exciting time at Michelin and 2020 brings new ranges for both downhill and the eagerly anticipated road tubeless ranges.

Michelin is an iconic brand, but there is an increasing number of start-ups and small companies offering specifically-designed products in every niche. How does such a large brand stay ahead of the curve?
Michelin tyre performance is the result of our 125-year obsession, we take our findings from our global research centre and elite athletes then apply it to our everyday tyres. Working closely with MotoGP also gives us unrivalled knowledge of rubber compounds and tyre performance which transfers in a cycling range and in turn inspires confidence, peace of mind and allows you to simply enjoy the ride.

Tubeless has long been considered the next chapter for the bicycle tyre. Do you agree with that concept, and do you believe 2020 could be the year it really starts to take hold?
There was a great deal of “talk” within the industry regarding the emergence of Gravel Bikes and Road Disc Bikes, both of which are now here to stay! We believe the same will happen with road tubeless tyres. The benefits that they bring with regards to durability, rolling efficiency and comfort are unsurpassed and really do improve the riders overall experience.

Are there any other significant trends you’re currently seeing in your sector?
Initial interest and sales of the new downhill tyres have been incredible. With people riding even longer travel bikes and the increase of uplift days, riders’ requirements have changed and the need for tougher tyres has increased dramatically. Couple this with the improved technologies and materials used has made this range ideal for aggressive Enduro riding.

Distribution partnerships have, for the most part, evolved beyond a straightforward agreement to move product. What is the relationship between Michelin and Silverfish, and how do they work together to both promote the brand and help IBDs?
We made the decision to partner exclusively with Silverfish in January 2019 and have not looked back. Silverfish is very much committed to Michelin and are extremely active when it comes to communicating to the end-user. The team is fantastic to work with and they offer a very professional manner in line with Michelin’s values. Our relationship is very much two-way with regular communication and discussions on how we can simplify our proposition to the industry whilst installing confidence to the dealers to partner with us.

Silverfish is very active in supporting their existing dealer network and in developing new business which where we see great potential, especially in the Protek City and new Power Road lines.

What are your plans beyond 2020?
Michelin in the UK is now being very proactive and you can expect to see a lot more of us, especially at events both on and off-road. We have some really exciting new products coming over the next 24 months to suit a wide range of riders, but that’s as much as I can divulge right now!

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