This new business-to-consumer dotcom will be aiming to grab market share from St John Cycles of Somerset which currently sells 900+ tandems a year out of a UK total of 1800+.
St John Street Cycles is famed for selling quality tandems and triplets and a whole load besides at brilliant prices. But its largely a one-brand business, Tandemania.com is hoping to score because of its multi-brand offering.
Pete Bird is well known in the small, close knit world of tandeming and has secured the UK distribution of CoMotion tandems from the US. Tandemania.com will also be selling Burley, Swallow and Dawes tandems.
As well as consumer mag ads (which have started already) this is going to be an in the flesh dotcom with plenty of live appearances. As well as launching at BIKE2000 Tandemania.com is going to Open Roads Encyclopaedia Try-out weekend (York, May 27-28), the Millennium Festival of Cycling (York, June 23-25), the Mildenhall Rally (August 25-27) and various Bike Events mass rides.
Its a pure play retailer yet with servicing support from key IBDs. Those linked in so far include Ben Hayward Cycles of Cambridge, Edinburgh Bike Co-op, Warlands of Oxford, Covent Garden Cycles, Dave Mellor Cycles of Shrewsbury and Bob Jackson Cycles of Leeds. The latest IBD-cum-framebuilder to sign up is said to be George Longstaff, the legendary tandem and tricycle maker of Staffs.
IBDs dont make a cut of the sale (unless the customer insists on collecting the bike PDIed by a bike shop in which case theres a 17 percent cut) but they are sent the new customers details by Tandemania.com and, says Bird, the IBD should then pull out all the stops to offer a servicing contract and sell add-on accessories.
The IBD carries a limited amount of stock on six month credit terms and is listed as a try-out centre.
These bikes are demo versions only. The website allows visitors to create bespoke machines from a variety of frame and groupset combinations.
Dave Mellor of the bike shop of the same name is going to give Tandemania.com a trial. He was the buyer of all the Swallow stock from the receiver and wants to develop the tandem and road side to his business (hes extending into premises next door to do so).
Were often asked for tandems and theres no point in missing out on business.
Robin Thorn of St John Street Cycles isnt overly worried about Tandemania.com:
I welcome the competition. We do a lot of business from our website but its not because of the internet its because weve got the product and advertise lots. Im amused by [Tandemania] and remain to be impressed.
Dave Mellor Cycles secured their first internet bike sale today: an £800 machine to be shipped to...the United Arab Emirates!