Show round up: Fisher Outdoor's Expo 2013

Starring Eastway, Kansi, PowerBar, Masterlock, Vittoria, DC, SRAM and more; Plus pics from the Expo charity ride
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See our Fisher Expo gallery here.

Back at Sopwell House for the third time, Fisher’s house show had seminars to help retailers grow sales and product and brand debuts, from the likes of PowerBar and DC, as well as a charity ride for long-term charity chums Stay Strong. So without further ado, Expo visitors were treated to a number of previews, not least Kansi’s 2014 bikes.

No mere update here, but a complete refresh of the range, resulting in a set of bikes looking noticeably different to previous iterations, including chunkier robust feeling frames. This time Fisher has designed a lot of the folder componentry in-house, giving it greater control over the design of the bikes. The central hinge is key example of this, again looking significantly different to previous, coming more styled and turned into a feature, housing a hidden trigger and a rigid male/female connection. The design team has gone to lengths to ensure riders can tweak and customise their Kansi too.

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The revamped range has a multitude of offerings, including a new version of its best-selling 3-speed version. At the top end there will be 10 and 11-speed offerings aimed at enthusiasts, which have upgraded forks and integrated seatpost lights (Knight Rider style) while there’ll also be some folders that don’t look like folders, essentially for transporting in a car boot, in two 700c and one MTB version.

As of February 1st, PowerBar is available through Fisher Outdoor Leisure. The brand used Expo as an introduction to the brand for Fisher customers, with regular seminars held to drive home PowerBar’s “you’re faster than you think” message. Speaking of which, PowerBar is keen to impress that it has a host of official tie-ins this season, not least with Omega Pharma Quick-Step, Ironman’s European (and UK) series, and even with the Tour de France in its 100th year. Exciting stuff. With offerings for high-level performance and natural energy bars for the likes of touring, the range has something for everyone. There is a POS unit available to dealers with interchangeable header cards.

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Fisher stalwart Masterlock had a couple of new lines at Expo in a new high-end range. First up is a lightweight D-lock, featuring hardened steel. The lock uses an octagonal shackle in a first for Masterlock, crucial because if an thief manages to cut through one side of the shackle, they won’t be able to twist the remaining piece in the lock due to the octagonal shape – leaving them with no option but to break through both pieces or, ideally, to give up.

In mocked up packaging at the show, the new D-lock was joined by its chain lock equivalent, also pitched at the high-end of the lock market, with casing to prevent frame scratches. Both are set to be available from mid-spring and are just the start of a larger premium line-up that is currently in Masterlock’s development programme and designed to complement the rest of its lower priced line-up.

Another new addition to the Fisher portfolio is Vittoria, to which it is sharing distribution responsibilities. While it is strong on road, Vittoria stressed it has a much wider range stretching into city trekking, MTB (in 26, 29, 26.5, etc, and in DH, XC and gravity), BMX and more. It’s that breadth of range that Vittoria was keen to impress on show attendees, from high-end road offerings popular with pro teams, to the city range which now all (bar one) feature a reflective trim to further boost all-round visibility and safety. Side wall protection has been a focus for the brand which is, it told BikeBiz, only one of an exclusive few tyre manufacturers focused solely on cycling. Why’s that important? Because of the vast differences between tyre manufacture in the different sectors, the brand spokesperson explained, an example of which being that for most bikes, tyres act as suspension which obviously isn’t the case in car tyre manufacture, to name just one. Vittoria offers accessories too, including the Pit Stop latex foam sealant.

Speaking of new-to-Fisher brands, Expo was a first chance to see DC in its new home. The distributor will be bringing DC’s BMX shoe lines to the market exclusively, one segment of the well-known brand. Keen to support the grass roots of the core BMX market, DC backs local events and UK BMX teams. The range with Fisher includes some logo-driven designs and lightweight shoe options, like the canvas Flash TX Low Top (RRP £39.99) to the likes of the Inbound High Top (£69.99).

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Eastway was undoubtedly one of the busiest stands on the day of BikeBiz’s Expo visit. Shown off last year in prototype form, the brand has been compiling plenty of consumer and retailer feedback to create the finished articles, which is what was on show this year. Eastway is aiming for the urban riding market and plotting to do what its rivals don’t, BikeBiz heard, for many big brands the kind of bike Eastway produces would be the product of technology once aimed at high end bikes trickled down, but Eastway has designed the 13 bike range from the ground up at the commuter market, with price tags to match – £599 to £1,999.

The range has carbon and alloy road bikes, road and touring models in steel and two CX bikes, again one in carbon and the other alloy. Some of the carbon offerings are electric groupset ready and there might be a few models with Di2 already included in future, so watch that space. Mavic has been used for the carbon road bike wheelsets for a balance of price and performance, BikeBiz heard. As shown off last year, the Eastway range includes road bikes with disc brakes. Fisher flew welders from the Welding Institute (TWI) in Cambridge to the Far Easy to train workers on the ground. Demand has been far better than solid, with half the stock sold in the initial selling wave, according to Fisher.

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Meanwhile, in the SRAM lobby, sales representatives told BikeBiz about a significant set of price reductions for many of its cassettes – speak to your Fisher sales representative for more on that. A key draw in the SRAM stable was the Zipp 60 carbon/alloy clinchers. Pitched as precision, high performance carbon wheels at a mid-range price point, the 60 clinchers are joined by the more modest 30 alloy iterations.

Quarq, one of SRAM’s more recently acquired brands, was on show too. One of the recent innovations for the power meters include the simple yet effective LED indicator to show when ANT+ is working. The power meter market is growing, we were told, and Quarq is buoyed by the fact it is compatible with a wide range of devices, from Garmins to iPhones.

Other Expo highlights that we’ll mention before we run out of space include DZR’s waterproof H2O shoes, Santini’s Paul Smith-designed Giro d’Italia shirts (pictured on these pages), own brand U34 showed off its spring/summer 2013 range, including bags and clothing alike, and new brands Box and Promax BMX parts and components were exhibited, the latter led by MTB racing legend and pioneer Toby Henderson.

For more on any of those contact Fisher on 01727 798345.

Every Expo kicks off with an increasingly popular charity ride...

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 There's more pics from the charity ride here.

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