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    CHICAGO (BRAIN) — SRAM has announced a new mountain bike brake system, the Guide T, a trail and enduro brake that features a lightweight four-piston caliper.

    The brakeset is MatchMaker compatible and SRAM's Bleeding Edge bleed port and Heat Shield features. It has an ambidextrous lever mount. Weight is 280 grams for a Direct Mount caliper with 800 millimeter hose and lever. It's available at retail this month.

    The brake retails for $105. 

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    The cash register at Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene this week.

    EUGENE, Ore. (BRAIN) — The word you hear most often when you ask Oregon retailers about the state's new bike tax is "hope."

    But not "hope" in a very ... hopeful way. Hope in a somewhat dubious way, like when you say, "I hope it doesn't rain on our ride" as you are stuffing a shell into your jersey pocket.

    Retailers hope that proceeds from the $15 per bike tax — which they began collecting this week — will be used to improve bike infrastructure as required by the law that created it. Even though almost all retailers BRAIN spoke with this week said they opposed the tax as unfair and misguided, most said if it leads to better bike riding conditions they will feel better about collecting it. 

    The tax applies to sales of new bikes with 26-inch or larger wheels and a retail price of $200 or more, and is expected to raise about $1.2 million in its first year. Oregon has no regular sales tax, so many bike retailers are unaccustomed to collecting one. 

    Sprucing up the paths

    "I hope it will get used to spruce up the bike paths," said Al Snell, owner of Oregon City Classic Bikes.

    When BRAIN spoke with Snell on Wednesday, he had yet to make a bike sale this month, so he wasn't sure how consumers will react. He said he opposed the tax when he heard about it last year and he contacted his state representative to complain.

    "Here we are, trying to promote the safest, greenest, easiest way to get around, and you are going to tax us for it?" he asked.

    A burden on retailers?

    Retailers BRAIN spoke with this week have been more concerned about the fairness of the law, rather than the actual burden or potential effect on sales. But the burden is not inconsequential.

    At Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene, managing partner Matt Ritzow estimated that each bike sale in the first two working days of 2018 included an extra 5 minutes of chatter about the new tax. "About half (of the bike buyers) asked if we would just cover it," he said.

    He's had to explain that the store can't afford to cover the cost, especially on lower priced bikes. "We've tried to explain that on an average $600 bike sale, by the time we pay rent and salaries and other costs, we make maybe 10 percent. So we end up with $60 and they want us to give away $15 of that. Most people get it once I explain that," Ritzow said.

    While the store isn't going to eat the bike tax cost, Ritzow is running an ad in the local weekly paper with a $15 coupon that can be applied to taxable bikes bought this month. "Maybe that will bring some people in," he said.

    Ritzow said his POS system requires cashiers to add the tax as an additional line item, a process that would be easy for staff to forget. So he's covered the cash register with sticky notes reminding cashiers of the tax. He's also planning to make a laminated sign to put on the counter to remind customers of the tax.

    Like Snell, Ritzow is opposed to the tax because it penalizes an activity that is beneficial — "It's not like we are selling cigarettes, this is something that could actually save money (for the government)," he said — and worries that it could be increased in coming years.

    "At some point if the tax gets larger, it will start to have a meaningful impact on bike sales. It's not like we need to give people another reason to buy from Competitive Cyclist or Canyon."

    Western Bike Works, which operates brick-and-mortar locations in Portland in addition to an e-commerce business, is paying the tax for its customers. 

    "We've decided to eat the tax ourselves," said the retailer's Gary Wallesen in an email to BRAIN. "I believe most shops are doing this in Portland. We talked about this tax with our elected officials and told them that shops will use it as a competitive advantage. I just hope the money really goes to helping make the roads safer."

    'Pretty wacky'

    Bill Larson, the owner of Cycle Path in Portland, said the $15 tax will have little impact on sales at his shop, where the average bike sale is over $6,000. But Larson still opposes the tax.

    "The whole premise is pretty wacky," he said. "The $200 minimum is crappy because it takes Walmart out of the mix, so it's not doing the small businesses any favors in that sense. It's just stupid and messed up from the beginning," he said.

    Larson is dubious — but hopeful — about the promised infrastructure improvements. "Hopefully after they pay the expenses of putting this into affect, there will be a little left over to actually do something, not just penalize us."

    A reminder for staff at Sellwood Cycles. Photo by Erik Tonkin.

    At Sellwood Cycle in Portland, owner Erik Tonkin said he was not opposed to a bike tax, but thinks this tax could have been implemented better.

    Tonkin also said the tax hasn't been a burden in the first few days of the year.

    "We have sold a few bikes. In general, people seem to be aware of it and — if not — take it in stride. One buyer was very happy about the tax. She was excited to contribute money for programs specifically earmarked for bike infrastructure," Tonkin said.

    Unlike other retailers BRAIN spoke with, Tonkin said his store's POS system (from AimSi) dealt with the tax seamlessly.

    "Every new bike SKU that falls under the tax protocol now has an automated pop-up attached that adds the tax to the sales invoice. It works well. In fact, it even allows for an 'opt-out' function in case the buyer is tax-exempt."

    Tonkin did point out that the retailer will bear the burden of the credit and debit card fee for the extra $15 purchase.

    "That adds up when my shop is selling 1,000 bikes per year with an extra $15 attached to each — that $15,000 generates a lot more in fees," he said. In that scenario, a shop would pay $375 a year to process the tax under a typical 2.5 percent card fee.

    The new tax was included in a $5.3 billion state transportation bill that passed the Democratic controlled legislature last year and was signed by Gov. Kate Brown, also a Democrat. 

    Oregon has a short legislative session in 2018 and is unlikely to adjust the law, noted Alex Logemann, the director of state & local policy for PeopleForBikes. He said he had heard of no serious efforts to modify the bike tax in the coming session. So far, other state lawmakers have not taken inspiration from Oregon's tax, said Logemann. A Colorado lawmaker raised the issue on social media last year, but quickly dropped it.


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    LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — The industry's source for contact information for manufacturers, distributors, events, nonprofits, service providers, and other bike companies and brands is now available as a digital flipbook.

    Bicycle Retailer has previously included the Industry Directory as a printed publication, mailed with the January 1 issue. But times are changing, and retailers will now be able to download the listings and print, view and search them online.

    The 2018 Industry Directory also includes an index that shows each listing with its category and subcategory assignment. This should increase the overall usability of the directory, because in each listing readers can get a sense of what the company does more specifically. For example, a company such as RockyMounts was previously categorized as an accessories manufacturer, but this year readers will be able to discern that they make vehicle racks.

    Each company listed will now be found under its single, best-known product or service. This categorization is not intended to be the complete representation of a company's goods and services (following the RockyMounts example, they also make locks, and that is not reflected in our current categorization system), however, given constraints of time and space, it's how we have approached the categorization/indexing process.

    The 2018 Industry Directory contains listings for 150 bike-related distributors, more than 2,000 bike-specific manufacturers, and over 450 industry affiliates (events, media, nonprofits, POS providers and other service providers).

    Manufacturers include accessories, apparel, bicycles, components, fitness, nutritional, raw materials, retail equipment providers, skateboards and scooters.

    This year's listing saw more listings in bike subcategories including custom bikes, electric bikes and full-line suppliers.

    Companies who would like to be added to the directory or wish to update a listing for 2019's directory, should email Julie Kelly and JJ Trout.

    The Industry Directory is an annual supplement produced by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in collaboration with PeopleForBikes.

    More information: 2018 Industry Directory download.

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    Photo courtesy of Niner.
    An investor group has made a stalking horse offer and will acquire the company from bankruptcy unless it's outbid.

    DENVER (BRAIN) — If all goes to plan, a Colorado investor group will acquire Niner, Inc.'s assets and bring the company out of bankruptcy before the end of the month

    But first, other potential buyers will be given a chance to bid for the company at an auction next Thursday.

    The auction will be held only if additional qualified bidders appear by next Wednesday, the deadline for bid submissions. If no bidders turn up, the investor group's "stalking horse" purchase agreement will be accepted and the deal will be closed on Jan. 17.

    Niner petitioned for Chapter 11 protection on Nov. 27 in Denver's bankruptcy court, listing assets of $9.8 million and liabilities of $7.9 million. A few days prior to the filing, Niner had announced that it would be acquired by an investor group later identified as Columbia Basin Partners.

    At the time, company co-founder, CEO and president Chris Sugai told BRAIN that the bankruptcy filing was done in anticipation of the sale.

    "This was the cleanest and fastest way to do it," Sugai told BRAIN on Nov. 28. He said Niner had been looking for an investor or buyer who could help it grow and compete with better funded rivals in the bike market. Court filings indicated Niner was over leveraged and lacked resources to invest in product development and marketing.

    "We will be a stronger company when we come out of this," Sugai told BRAIN. "(The partners) are not buying the company to strangle it; they like the company and they want to grow it."

    Business as usual

    This week, Sugai declined to comment to BRAIN on the proceedings, saying the company's attorney had advised him to remain quiet until after the auction.

    Sugai said Niner was continuing to operate as usual and there had been no layoffs, and he said, "All warranties past and future will be honored," a promise he has also made in comments under articles on several consumer websites.

    The court approved Niner's debtor in possession interim financing plan in mid-December.

    In court documents, the stalking horse bidder is called Niner Acquisition LLC, whose managing partners are Brady Dolsen, Steve Foreman, and Kevin Burns, who are the principals in Columbia Basin Partners.

    Niner Acquisition has agreed to pay cash to pay off Niner, Inc.'s obligations owed to PMC Financial Services Group, with which Niner had a credit line with a $2.75 million balance at the time of the Chapter 11 filing. Niner Acquisition also will pay an additional $100,000 in cash and assume the company's other liabilities.

    Niner Acquisition would be awarded a "break-up fee" of at least $100,000 plus reimbursement of expenses of up to $50,000 if it is not the successful bidder. Break-up fees are a common feature of stalking horse bid agreements.

    In addition to Niner's assets, the buyer would assume the company's leases and contracts, including contracts with pro cyclists Kirt Voreis and Rebecca Rusch, and leases for Niner offices in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and Taiwan.

    Assets and liabilities

    Niner's listed assets include $4.1 million in inventory, $2.8 million in machinery and vehicles, $1.5 million in accounts receivable, $378,000 in prepayments, $362,000 in office equipment, $260,000 in research and development, and $146,000 in intellectual property.

    Unsecured debts owed to bike industry suppliers include $316,000 owed to SRAM; $274,000 to Very Impressive Product, a Vietnam bike builder; $267,000 to Willing Industry Co., of Taichung, Taiwan; and $105,000 to Astro Engineering, a Taiwan builder. Niner owes smaller amounts to Enve and Fox and a handful of other bike suppliers, in addition to unsecured debts with non-industry suppliers.

    Secured debts include the credit line with PMC Financial and a $3.1 million loan from West Town Bank & Trust of North Carolina.

    If qualified bidders appear and there is an auction, it will be held at the Denver office of Niner's attorney, Markus Williams Young & Zimmerman LLC on Jan. 11 at 1 p.m.

    Related stories

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    RIDGEFIELD, Wash. (BRAIN) — SR Suntour North America said it has seen "tremendous growth" in the last two years and is moving into a larger facilty as a result.

    For us to continue in this positive trajectory we have decided that our inventory levels would need to increase by around 50-65 percent and stock a larger selection for our customers. This will be for service parts as well as suspension forks, seat post and crank parts. SR Suntour North America is more than doubling our current square footage and are looking to expand possibly more down the road if there is a demand," the company said in a statement this week. 

    The company said aftermarket sales of its higher end products have exceeded expectations in the last year. The company has pushed aftermarket sales with its Demo To Your Door campaign, where customers and dealers can test products for free on their own bikes and local trails.

    SR Suntour North America also is increasing its service staff and redefining current staff's positions and responsibilities. The company also is expanding its dealer reach by offering more training and services through several new channels it will announce in early spring. Currently, dealer service can be reached via email, phone or online chat services on the company's B2B website

    The new location's address is:

    7509 S. 5th St., Ste 124
    Ridgefield WA 98642
    Phone: 855-205-BIKE
    More information:

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    LETHBRIDGE, Alberta (BRAIN) — Reid Cycles has entered the Canadian market, with sales through Step 4 Distributing in Alberta. 

    Reid's international account manager, Troy Kniveton, said, "Canada has been on our radar as a prime market for us to enter for a little while. This is due to the huge potential it has for a brand such as Reid and also based on the success of the Reid brand in the U.S. This is even more apparent with the fact that we have already been getting lots of online enquiries and high web traffic from Canada despite previously not being available there. Reid has come a long way in recent years and this is even more apparent when we are able to get well-established distributors such as Step 4 Distributing Inc looking to partner with us. This is the first time that Step 4 Distributing Inc have looked to expand into the adult bike market and that is even more rewarding that they saw the value in Reid."

    Tom Leavitt, the president of Step 4 Distributing, said, "Reid makes great bikes that people love to ride and offers a complete range to suit every type of rider. We are looking forward to showcasing Reid at the Calgary Bike Show later this month and are excited to see the growth of this new brand in Canada."

    Step 4 Distributing will have Reid stock available within the next week. More information is available by emailing or visiting

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    American Classic's 35th anniversary logo
    The 35-year-old component brand cites challenging marketplace in decision to close.

    TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Amclassic Inc., the parent company of the American Classic wheel and component brand, has voluntarily closed its factory here and laid off about 40 employees in Taiwan and the U.S. The company is in negotiations to sell its trademarks and other intellectual property, while founder and co-owner Bill Shook said he is continuing his design work and is available for consulting.

    "We thank our AC customers and staff for their support over the years and sincerely regret the impact of these actions," said Shook.

    "This is a new beginning for the AC brand and our technology. The challenges of the bicycle marketplace led to this decision. We are fortunate to have our health and will go on in a new direction without the stress of the factory. This is the start of a new journey in the best sport in the world."

    Wheels and parts continue to be available in the U.S. through BTI and internationally through local distributors.

    Co-owner and general manager Ellen Kast told BRAIN that employees in both countries were paid severance. The factory, which was leased, shut down on Dec. 28.

    Kast said sales began declining for the brand during the 2016 season. The company began offering lower-priced OE wheels to adjust but was unable to resume growth. "It came down to a cash flow issue," she said.

    She said she was hopeful that the American Classic brand will continue on with new owners while she and Shook go on to new ventures.

    "Is it the end? Yes. Is it the end? No," she said. "It's how you look at things."

    Shook founded the company in 1982. He had begun racing at age 14 and began building bike products during his racing career, which included a stint on the U.S. National Team. After earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering, he lauched American Classic with a bottle cage and seatpost as its first products. 

    Related links


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    A mad snowman greets customers at 718 Cyclery.

    NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Bike retailers up and down the East Coast are closing this week as the so-called "bomb cyclone" weather phenomenon dumped more than a foot of snow on eight states and knocked power out for tens of thousands of residents. 

    In New York, retailers closed their doors as snow and wind pummeled the city. Brooklyn's 718 Cyclery, which historically closes only three days a year, didn't open for business on Thursday.

    "It was too dangerous for my employees to get to work. There is tons of snow and wind and it's very cold," owner Joe Nocella told BRAIN in an email Thursday. "Snow is fun, but sometimes conditions are just unsafe and no sales are worth risking the safety of anyone."

    While the shop was closed, 718 offered a 50 percent discount on selected items in its online store with the promo code "snowbomb." Nocella reopened his brick-and-mortar store on Friday.

    Seawater flooded the streets in some parts of Boston following a 3-foot tidal surge along the Massachusetts coast. Many retailers closed, including Landry's, which shuttered all of its seven Boston-area stores on Thursday. None of the Landry's stores were affected by the high tides, and all locations opened on Friday.

    "It stopped snowing midday yesterday (Thursday), so it was business as usual today. It's cold, about 15 degrees. It's supposed to get colder over the weekend," said Dan Fitzgibbons, who works as a bike fitter at Landry's Boston store.

    Conte's Bike Shop closed several of its nine Washington, D.C.-area stores Thursday. In a post on Facebook, the retailer told customers to "stay warm by hopping on the trainer!"

    "We are slowly opening our stores back up today, but with little foot traffic due to the fact that it is 28 degrees here today and not much is melting," owner David Conte told BRAIN in an email Friday.

    Some regions unaccustomed to dealing with severe winter weather, including Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida, were hit with snow and freezing temperatures. In Florida, iguanas frozen stiff (but still alive) fell from trees. It also snowed in the northern part of the state.

    But the inclement weather didn't put the freeze on shipments from Hawley's East Coast warehouses.

    "We've had no delays to date from either our Pennsylvania or South Carolina distribution facilities," Pat McGinnis, vice president of commercial for Hawley, told BRAIN in an email Friday. "We can report that phone and web store activity are very slow, even by January standards."

    While businesses and residents dig out, power is restored and the East Coast braces for an even colder weekend, some intrepid souls are still riding their bikes.

    "Bike commuters are out riding today and even some of our staff rode to work today. Commuters and everyday riders are still coming into the store," said Landry's Fitzgibbons. "But it's been this cold for a couple of weeks, so you just start getting used to it."


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    The Alchemy Oros.

    DENVER (BRAIN) — Alchemy Bicycles has expanded production capacity at its factory, added 20 new dealers, three new international distributors and two new independent sales reps. The company also will begin shipping complete bikes for the first time.

    Industry veteran Joe Stanish joined the company as COO last August and has focused on improving Alchemy's manufacturing efficiencies to meet increased demand. The company produces road and mountain bike frames made of carbon, stainless steel and titanium at the factory. 

    "Alchemy is one of the few companies controlling its entire manufacturing process in one location, from making the tooling, to cutting our own titanium tubes, to painting and finishing carbon frames," Stanish said. "As a result, we can take a top to bottom approach to improvements. After only two months, we delivered all of our orders on time and are building stock of frames for peak season sales."

    Stanish's focus initially was on the paint facility, which is run under the Ethic brand name but is housed within the same building as Alchemy and primarily does Alchemy frame painting. "We invested both time and money into the paint facility and immediately began seeing an almost 100 percent increase in painting capacity with a significant increase in quality," said Stanish.

    "With the improvements in capacity and quality, we are now in a position to stock frames and complete bikes," said Stanish. "This means we can provide immediate delivery to our dealers."

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    EAST BURKE, Vt. (BRAIN) — Following a search process that began in August, the Kingdom Trails Association announced Friday that it has hired Abigail Long as the organization's new executive director.

    Tim Tierney, who served as the association's executive director for more than a decade, resigned last May.

    Currently the executive director of the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation, Long was one of nearly 100 applicants for the position and one of three finalists who participated in community forums organized by the Kingdom Trails Association in December. She will join the KTA staff in February.

    "We are absolutely thrilled that Abby has accepted our offer to join the KTA team," said Matt Langlais, president of the association's board of directors. "She brings a wealth of translatable experience and fresh perspective from her tenure with the Leadville Race Series and Legacy Foundation as well as her community work in Lake County. Her career commitment to service and outdoor recreation will serve KTA and the community as a whole well and we look forward to working with her."

    Long, a native New Englander, said, "It's an honor and thrill to join such a solid staff, board of directors and welcoming community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this amazing organization. I thank them for their confidence in me and look forward to making a home and career in the Burke area, committing to the future of Kingdom Trails and the communities it serves."

    Established in 1994, the Kingdom Trails Association is a charitable nonprofit organization encouraging ecologically responsible recreational use in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. As part of that mission, KTA builds and maintains 100-plus miles of mountain bike trails spanning more than 60 member landowners' properties.

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    OGDEN, Utah (BRAIN) — Aaron Walker has left Mavic North America, where he was commercial manager to pursue new opportunities, the company announced Friday. Walker had been with the company 16 years.

    Walker was hired to manage Mavic's MTB Service Course in 2001 and later became a factory sales rep for the brand in the Midwest. He moved out of his sales role in 2014 to become product manager for North America. He was named commercial manager for North America in March 2016.

    "We wish Aaron nothing but tailwinds and success for his future and 'thank you' doesn't say enough to show our appreciation for his 16 years as a member of our team," Mavic said in a press release.

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    BREDBURY, England (BRAIN) — Renthal has launched an Ultra Tacky version for its Push-On grip in response to demand from the company's World Cup DH and Enduro World Series riders, who include Danny Hart and Cecile Ravanel.

    Renthal's exclusive Ultra Tacky compound constantly produces and renews a sticky surface coating, the company says. The resulting adhesive grip surface increases control and reduces fatigue. If the grip loses its stickiness, simply wash with clean water and allow the grips to air dry to reactivate.

    The sticky surface remains active in wet or dry conditions and works with or without gloves. The dual stage pattern of the 135-millimeter-long Push-On grip offers maximum grip, performance and durability while retaining rider feel. Each pair comes with secure expander end plugs.

    Suggested retail: $15.95

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    SAN FRANCISCO (BRAIN) — A U.S. District Court judge in California on Monday ordered that Fox Factory's patent infringement case, filed here in February 2016, be dismissed and moved to a Colorado court. The new location is roughly equidistant between SRAM's headquarters in Chicago and Fox's in California. SRAM also has facilities in Colorado Springs and both companies have told the court they are amenable to moving the case to the state. 

    Fox is charging that SRAM, in its RockShox products, has infringed on several suspension-related patents, including at least one patent that Fox acquired when it purchased the assets of Marzocchi. SRAM has also sued Fox, in an Illinois court, alleging that Fox, in its Race Face products, infringes on SRAM's patents for its X-Sync chainring chain retention features. SRAM has reached licensing agreements or other settlements with several other component makers over the same issue. There have been no court filings in that case since Fox requested a U.S. Patent Office ruling on validity of the relevant patent in early 2016.

    In the case filed by Fox, SRAM has asked the court twice to move the case out of California, arguing that it was an improper venue because it does not have headquarters there. U.S. District Judge William Orrick had denied SRAM's motions; in the latest he said that although current case law supported SRAM's position, the company waited too long to request the change. But he said a late 2017 federal circuit decision in the case In re Micron Technology supported SRAM's position. 

    "Neither party is at fault for the current situation," Orrick wrote in his order. "Fox had a good-faith belief that bringing the cases in this venue was proper, and SRAM challenged that contention as soon as it became clear that Fox's belief was wrong. In this scenario, transferring these cases to a location mutually agreeable to the parties would minimize the prejudice to all."

    A trial is currently scheduled for November. 

    Related stories: 


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    SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike says it wants to "lead early OEM conversations" with a new hall dedicated to original equipment manufacturers at its September show in Reno, Nevada. The show also will produce a dedicated OEM directory for the show. The OEM area will be called "Source."

    "Our sales team has heard from both domestic and international manufacturers since our last show, and the consistent request is that Interbike 2018 take the lead on sourcing conversations that have traditionally started at Eurobike," said Pat Hus, the vice president of Interbike. "Interbike has always provided a platform that reflects what the industry needs and wants. Suppliers from around the world have always been part of our platform in some way shape or form. Source provides the much-needed opportunity to formalize and expand on that opportunity."

    Manufacturers and suppliers that are specifically focused on securing OEM spec or international distribution will be featured in the new Source hall. Those companies with current North American retail distribution will still be permitted to exhibit in the main halls. The sourcing directory will highlight these manufacturing companies, their products and their capabilities. Limited private meeting room space will also be available for those companies wanting to show new products not quite ready to be seen by media and the public.

    Hus also noted that several companies, such as Fox, had already decided to return to Interbike before this announcement, in part because of Eurobike's shift to a July date this year.

    "Eurobike has traditionally been very important to us in terms of our OEM meetings from a timing standpoint," said Wes Allinger, vice president and general manager of Fox, in a statement provided by Interbike. "With that event now shifting to early July, Interbike's dates are more in-line to start meaningful OEM discussions, and have them conclude at the Asian shows shortly thereafter. This will provide us an excellent opportunity to meet with North American product managers and others, and will help us to move the process along for 2020."

    For more details including pricing and availability for Source and conference rooms, contact Interbike's Andria Klinger at 949-226-5745 or Interbike Marketweek will take place in the Reno-Tahoe region beginning with a new consumer demo and festival in North Lake Tahoe, California, on Sept. 15-16, followed by the OutDoor Demo on Sept. 16-17 and closing with the Interbike Expo from Sept. 18-20.

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    LODI, Calif. (BRAIN) — Williams Cycling is now offering its System wheelsets in 45/60 and 60/90 pairings, with a shallower wheel profile in the front combined with a deeper section in the rear to balance weight, aerodynamics and handling.

    "The 45/60 and 60/90 wheelsets evolved from customer demand," said company president Keith Williams. "Customers want to optimize their equipment to match their riding style or a specific type of terrain. Oftentime they are looking for a set of wheels that perform in a wide range of conditions. The System line is unique in that we designed the rims to be fast with three depth options to cover almost every discipline."

    Both sets of wheels include full-carbon rims mated to Williams Cycling Virgo hubs and Sapim CX Ray spokes. The Virgo hubs feature sealed cartridge bearings with an interchangeable cassette body for use with either SRAM/Shimano or Campagnolo cassettes. They are available with either rim- or disc-brake hubs. The disc hubs come standard with 12-millimeter quick release and 15-millimeter thru-axle (front) along with 12 x 135 quick release and 12 x 142 thru-axle (rear) end caps.

    More information at or contact the company at

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    MASSA MARITTIMA, Italy (BRAIN) — A new company, Bike Connection Agency, will hold a cycling media event next month in Italy.

    The Bike Connection Winter event will be held Feb. 5-8 in Massa Marittima. It will focus on mountain bikes and e-MTBs, and organizers said more than 15 media titles will be represented. 

    With a format similar to PressCamp, the event will bring editors through a schedule of prearranged meetings with brands, along with riding opportunities. 

    "We're very proud to launch our platform with such a strong attendance," co-founders Giulio Neri and Simon Cittati said in a news release. "We are happy of the enthusiastic response and appreciation we've received. From the media side editors are glad to be able to see lots of new products and produce several stories in a single trip, while the attending brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to engage journalists in a quality and focused environment but without the huge burden and commitment of a dedicated product launch."

    Neri is the former promotions manager of the cycling division of Alpinestars, while Cittati, a former journalist, was most recently brand communications manager for RockShox at the brand's Colorado Springs office.

    They said Massa Marittima offers meeting and social spaces and terrain that fits all riding styles, from cross-country to enduro and e-MTB. A final list of attending companies and media will be published on Bike Connection Agency's website soon and the firm is already working on further iterations of its platform including a Bike Connection Summer event in June 2018.

    More information available by emailing

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    Ford's display at CES 2018. Photo courtesy of Ford.
    Ford is launching a cellular-vehicle-to-everything — C-V2X — system that includes bikes.

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. (BRAIN) — Trek Bicycle and Tome Software are showing a new artificial intelligence-driven bicycle-to-vehicle communication system at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week. 

    Trek announced in September that it was working with Tome on a B2V system. At the show on Tuesday, Ford announced a system that uses cellular communications to allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, bikes, and roadside infrastructure including traffic signs and construction zones. Ford is working with Qualcomm on that system, called C-V2X. C-V2X also provides opportunities for direct bicycle electronics integration, as well as mobile phone app integration for cyclists.

    In a release Tuesday, Trek said that Ford is supporting the work it's doing with Tome to evaluate the technical opportunities and the best user experiences for cyclists on roadways.

    "Ford has been supportive of our mission to make cycling safer since day one and we all understand how important it is that B2V technology is open and shared," said Tome founder and CEO Jake Sigal.

    Trek electronics product manager Scott Kasin said, "The future for us is moving from a more passive approach to cycling safety and focusing our development on active safety measures.

    "We want to ensure that while cyclists have the tools and knowledge to do what they can to create a safer experience, they will now have the enhanced ability to communicate their presence directly to vehicles."

    For B2V, Trek said it will focus on the rider's user experience and the electronics available to them that will alert drivers to their presence in potentially-dangerous roadway areas. Unlike its existing visibility products, Trek B2V-enabled equipment will focus on giving driver alerts directly to approaching vehicles. The software technology will be licensed to cycling and automotive companies as an industry standard. While the technology will initially appear in Trek and Bontrager products, the company intends to publish the results of its development.


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    At CES in Las Vegas this week, Ford is showcasing a system that puts cars in touch with everything on the road, including bikes. Trek is working with the company on the bike part.
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    SANTA ROSA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Joan Rojas, the founder of the Buff headwear brand, died Sunday at 71.

    Rojas, born in Barcelona, Spain, was raised in the family textile business. He developed the headwear as protection against the sun, wind and cold while motorcycle touring in Catalonia, and founded Buff in 1992. He made the first samples at his family's knitting factory.

    Within three years of bringing his idea to life, Buff products were being distributed and sold in Germany, France, Switzerland and other parts of Europe. The company is now one of the largest headwear companies in the world, sold in more than 70 countries, and now works with fabric technologies such as Coolmax, Polygeine, Polartec and Merino wool.

    Shirley Choi Brunetti, the GM and vice president of Buff USA, said, "Joan remained as passionate about product design as ever, and continued to support the Buff culture of innovation and growth. We are proud and humbled to carry on the spirit and the legacy of Joan Rojas. He has been a part of the Buff family, and a close friend to many more."

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