UK account manager Dan White tells Mark Sutton why he’s keen to embrace the demand for the manufacturer’s product in this country and why he thinks 2011’s potential for growth could far overshadow this year’s progress...
Tell us a little about Cube’s history:
Cube Bikes was founded in 1993 by student Marcus Pürner. He started sourcing frames from the Far-East and trading in Europe to fund his way through his university studies, and was working from just a corner of his parents’ furniture warehouse. Today, Cube Bikes are found in no fewer than 34 countries worldwide and is rapidly becoming a major player in the specialist bike market.
For the UK and Ireland, the brand is distributed by Cube Bikes UK in conjunction with One-Way Bike Industry BV, Cube’s distributor for Holland.
Where are Cube Bikes manufactured, built and tested?
We are proud to say all our bikes are developed and tested in and around the Bavarian Alps and the factory in Waldershof, Germany. This gives us some of the most demanding terrain on which to test our products; plenty of mud and lots of fast technical descents and climbs. I can’t think of a better place to test bikes for the UK and European markets. We have some of the world’s best terrain on which to decide if a new product makes the cut.
We build most of our frames in the Far East. We then ship them back to our Waldershof factory and have our guys do all the quality checks, reaming, facing and assembly. This way we can maintain total control of the finished product to ensure the highest quality standards are met while remaining strongly competitive.
How many bikes now feature in the Cube catalogue and into what categories are these split?
We currently have 171 models, including spec and colour options. On our website (Cube.eu), these are divided into six categories: full suspension, hardtail, road, tour, ‘Woman Like Series’ (WLS) and kids.
To complement this we also have a strong range of parts, clothing and accessories. With such a vast product portfolio, we firmly believe we have the perfect bike for anyone who walks into a dealership.
How can retailers interested in stocking Cube make contact?
Give the office a call on 0031 180 441 350 or send us a mail on info@Cube-bikes.co.uk. We will then arrange a meeting. For the UK, there are three account managers on the road and three sales support staff based in the Rotterdam office. We are already talking to a number of shops in new areas for 2011 – demand has meant that we have not been accepting new accounts for the 2010 range for some time, but we are already very excited about 2011.
Are there any criteria or stock commitments needed from new dealers?
Dealers must have retail premises open to the public. We run a pre-order system, but also permanently carry around 4,500 bikes of free stock. Our stock situation changes on a daily basis due to replenishment from the German factory. A bike could be built in Germany on the Monday, delivered to our Dutch warehouse on the Wednesday and delivered to our UK Cube dealer on the Friday. This flexibility allows us to react quickly to our dealers’ needs.
What payment options are available to retailers?
We have 30-day credit lines with settlement discounts.
Where are after-sales service and warranty issues handled?
After sales service is handled by our office-based support staff dedicated to the UK market. Jeroen, our warranty manager, takes care of the warranty issues. We maintain regular call- cycles to visit all our dealers and provide in-depth staff training. 2011 will see the introduction of
our new dealer programme, named the ‘Cube Academy’.
What kind of lead-time do you have shipping bikes from the Netherlands to the UK?
All orders are shipped on a premium 48-hour service with UPS and each has a full tracking facility. Orders placed before 4pm are shipped the same day.
Where are Cube’s bikes designed and tested, and does any proprietary technology feature within the catalogue?
All bikes are designed by our own engineers in the ‘Cube Innovation Centre’ (CIC) in Waldershof, Germany.
There are several design features unique to Cube and the recent media testing outlines much of this, for example our unique ‘Frame Save System’ (FSS). However, our current DIN Plus Quality and safety controls are really quite special. The Din Plus testing far exceeds other European safety standards. All products and components we use must meet this standard. We are one of very few brands that can claim all their products meet this high standard. Dealers can visit the Innovation Centre section of our website for more details.
Cube’s territory has expanded in recent years – how has this been made possible?
The growth of Cube across Europe has been overwhelming over the last ten years, but the last three have just been incredible. The quality of the product, product design and recent test results are directly related to our performance.
So many riders want to be riding a different bike from the next guy on the roads and trails. Quite simply, we have forward thinking products with premium specs, designed and tested in the Alps by time-served passionate cyclists and German engineers.
The UK market has been geared towards the US for too long in my opinion. I know many journalists were stunned when they tested the products. Recent reviews around the Super Litening are a fine example of this. For example, Cycling Plus recently said: “This is quite simply one of best handling road bikes we’ve ever tried.”
What marketing plans do you have in place for the brand going forwards?
We will continue to keep things simple. We will continue to produce great bikes at great prices, which we find to be more effective than any marketing plan – regardless of budget. We simply would not be able to offer the same value if we were to put a team on the Tour, for example. We prefer to market on a more local scale, such as the BikeBiz Industry Awards, and by supporting our dealers and supplying them with the material they need to sell bikes.
We will maintain our strong presence, both editorial and advertorial, in the major cycling press, and we will be at selected cycling events. 2011 will see improved dealer support and even better value on our bikes.
Can you assist dealers with point of sale and marketing material if needed?
We can provide dealers with POS from Cube catalogues and pens, through to Cube pop-up tents, clocks and posters. 2011 also sees the introduction of a new range of staff clothing.
The brand has performed well in consumer press tests – why do you think this is?
Firstly, we offer great products. We build bikes for the European markets, which means loads of mud clearance and geometries that suit the local terrain. Secondly, our ‘Din Plus’ testing ensures we only use the best components. Thirdly, our colour schemes are hugely popular. We use colours on many of our bikes that other brands simply do not attempt – for example our ‘Teamline’ colour scheme is extremely popular, as are our gloss metallic finishes with mirrored font. Finally, Cube offers fantastic value for money across the entire range of bikes.
Does Cube have any plans to expand?
Obviously, we want to stay on top of our current growth. Chris Astle (UK South East account manager) and Moniek Rotmensen (internal UK account manager) joined our team in the second quarter of 2010 and we will need further recruitment in the near future. Our German colleagues are working relentlessly to meet the increased demand across Europe and there’s always plans for growth in all areas of the business.
How involved does Cube get with design trends, or niche bicycle types?
Cube’s styling is yet to be matched by any other brand. As I said, we use colours and styles that others simply don’t dare. Our bikes are designed with performance in mind, and with performance comes endurance. Because our bikes are built to last, so must the styling, so there is little point in using niche products that are likely to go out of fashion next season.
We prefer to focus our attention on building great looking bikes at great looking prices and offering features that truly benefit the rider.