Taking coals to Newcastle
Orange bikes are now available Stateside thanks to former Scottish IBD, Gregor Buchanan, who sold his Glasgow bike shop to pursue a life in America with his New Jersey wife, Jill.
A new company Buchanan Bike Works has been set up to import Orange bikes (and Radius recumbents) and was launched at Interbike. The deal to import Orange into the States was struck in July on a visit to the Orange HQ. Buchanan says: The bikes were delivered very late on the Thursday night which was a relief as it was getting really tight and at one point we thought we wouldn't have anything to show [on the Friday].
Lester Noble of Orange joined Buchanan at the show and both were pleased by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the brand from Americans. Noble says: Orange already has a bit of a reputation in the States, we have more presence over here than in some parts of Europe. American consumers have been reading the British cycling mags and then asking us for models which they've read about. We havent been able to supply them until now.
Buchanan Bike Works wants to keep the Orange brand exclusive: Our aim is to appoint around 20 high end dealers within a year. We dont really want to grow it too much more than that.
Orange currently have 100 UK retailers.
How longs a piece of string?
Despite chain-and-cogs being pretty damn efficient and with chainguard attached, not necessarily messy theres a perennial search for a better drivetrain system. A variety of rubber drivetrain systems are on the market and used by such manufacturers as Strida and EX-P. Now two Hungarian inventors have developed what they call the String Bike. This was previewed at Interbike and uses string (actually, its more like a piece of nylon washing line) instead of a chain. They believe this to be the bike propulsion system of the future with people preferring the clean, non-greasy string instead of a chain. Their press material says: Brand new, exciting driving system, may well be very fashionable. They are currently looking for a manufacturer to take on the invention.
Specialized are famed for their trade show concept bikes. This years effort (it definitely wont be going into production) is hot pink and has flower shaped pedals. Imagine the kind of bike Barbie would ride and youve got the idea. Theres a little box built into the handle bars to store make-up, and another storage area under the seat which houses two Martini glasses, a cocktail shaker and lime. Fab!