Just after Christmas, consumer press reports said Raleigh was radically pruning its race team. Long time team members were dropped. However, now that the smoke has cleared, Dave Edwards, Raleighs marketing manager, is able to say that the teams raison detre had been altered due to market changes and thats why changes were made.
We now taking a portfolio approach. Diamondback is the edgy, dangerous, break the rules brand. Raleigh will always have a top end range because it needs its credibility but at its core its got to be kids and families, leisure/pleasure, weekend cycling, Center Parcs kind of thing. We now have a clear blueprint of what we do with the brands and what you dont do.
The RSP range is still made in the factory and says to people we can make very, very nice top end product. The race team will focus on sports enthusiasts in general instead of the wacky sort of stuff you often see on the racing circuit. There will be no posing for posings sake, thats not where were at.
The team will become more grass roots level, trying to put something back into the industry. They need to be seen as professional cyclists but also need to be encouraging new people into cycling and helping out local cycling clubs. And instead of being icons of racing, its more than that, doing it but also getting more people to do it. In addition to the column inches we try and generate we want the team to get more involved on a local level.
Raleigh Factory Racing Team manager Gary Coltman has been given the brief to see through this broadening of approach.
We want to get non cyclists interested in cycling. The team can help that. Trials demonstrations are a good way of bringing cycling to town centres. Dealers could get involved so their shops were promoted too. We could send [trials rider] Ian Cooper to to promote a dealer and a race event at the same time. A Shropshire race could be promoted by a dealer in Shrewsbury town centre a week before the race.
Raleigh dealers should see us for their open days. Dave Quinn of the Bike Factory [in Chester] has done this to good effect for the past two years. We get the team truck up there along with the riders. Its a good spectacle.
Coltman would also like IBDs to send their staff along to races to witness the Raleigh team behind the scenes:
The shop staff selling the bikes, the opinionated guys in the stores, mechanics, they should be incentivised to come along and watch how we operate. I know plenty of staff would love to get this close to the action.
The Raleigh Factory Team would also be made available for IBD-organised master classes, from beginner classes through to high-end trials lessons. Or team members could come along and form a backdrop for an IBDs maintenance classes.
At the end of the day, says Coltman, its up to IBDs to come up with the ideas, the team is at the beck and call of stockists. Or two teams because theres the Diamondback team too.
There's a sliding scale of fees for the race teams, with IBDs having to cover the subsistence and travel costs of team members, and the mileage costs for the team truck.
Raleigh Factory Team members
Barrie Clarke XC
Elliot Baxter XC
Matt Farmer DH
Ian Cooper Trials
Diamondback Team members
Nick Craig XC
Martin Murray BMX (ps this is a new signing and has yet to be officially announced to the consumer cycle press).