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    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Time is getting short to take part in the National Bicycle Dealers Association's sixth annual "America's Best Bike Shops" program. Applications to participate in the annual listing must be received by April 6.

    Brandee Lepak, the association's board chair, said the web-based application process is easier than ever. "Our program asks dealers to answer a series of rigorous questions about their store, customer service and staff among others. Those dealers selected as among America's Best truly deserve the title," she said. The list of America's Best will be released at Interbike.

    A new feature that further improves the process and boosts the program's stature is a requirement that applicants pay $125 for a Secret Shopper Report.

    "It's no longer optional as in the past," Lepak said, noting that the NBDA's board of directors approved the change.

    For most applicants, the Mystery Shopper is the most valuable tool they can use. A mystery shopper visits all applicants' stores — and applicants will then have access to the report.

    "It's truly a bargain compared with hiring a secret shopper service directly," Lepak added.

    The online application features an easy-to-use format. Dealers can answer questions, pause to do other things, and return to the site to complete it later. "This feature just makes it easier for dealers to take their time, research the questions, and answer them fully," Lepak said.

    Dealers can click on a link, create a password, log-in, and fill out the application.

    "We've continued to make the questions more relevant each year; there are fewer subjective questions and more objectivity, which helps improve the process. That ensures that those who qualify are among the industry's best," she added.

    Application topics include:
    • Customer service
    • Knowledgeable staff
    • Operational excellence
    • Marketing excellence
    • Community involvement
    • Local bicycle advocacy
    • National bicycle advocacy
    • Shop appearance
    • Mystery Shopper visit

    The program's goal is to help educate retailers and raise the level of professionalism among IBDs.

    For more information and to fill out the application visit: app.reviewr.com/site/NBDA-ABBS-2018.


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    Ibis' new Ripmo 29er gets 160 millimeters of front and 145 millimeters of rear travel.

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Ibis Cycles founder Scot Nicol has heard a chorus of pleas from the brand's devotees for a while now: "Please make a longer-travel Ripley!"

    The 120-millimeter-travel Ripley 29er now gets a big brother with the new Ripmo, boasting 160 millimeters of front travel and 145 millimeters of rear DW-Link squish and rolling on 29-inch wheels. Ibis calls it "the love child of a Ripley and the Mojo HD4," the Santa Cruz, California-based brand's 27.5-inch-wheeled enduro bike.

    "It borrows from the Ripley in that it's got 29-inch wheels, and we've always been super impressed with the performance of that bike. It rides bigger than it is," Nicol said. "The Mojo part of it is it being bigger and more capable, and linkages as well. A lot of people are expecting it to have eccentrics like the Ripley, but we're at the limit of what its travel can be. We had to move to conventional linkages, but they're not conventional linkages in that there are bushings in the lower links now instead of bearings." Ibis backs the bushings with free lifetime replacement.

    Other features include new internal cable tunnels for easier routing, 2.6-inch tire clearance, and a steep 76-degree seat angle paired with a long reach and short 44-millimeter custom fork offset.

    "As you increase that front-center length, you need to mitigate the wheel growth if you can, and the fork offset is how we mitigated that. You're going to run into problems if you get the front too long," Nicol said.

    The Ripmo retails for $4,099 to $9,399 complete, or $2,999 for frame only with a Fox DPX2 shock. Ibis will have the bike on display next month at the Sea Otter Classic in Booth 589.


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    GOLDEN, Colo. (BRAIN) — Andorran consumer direct mountain bike brand Commencal is moving its U.S. office to Colorado, after three years in Carlsbad, California.

    "Our original Carlsbad base was instrumental in getting the ball rolling in the U.S. as we started our direct sales journey on a whole new continent," the company said. "When we came to the U.S., we knew we needed to be international and California supported our vision and mentality."

    Regarding Golden, the company said, "The gateway to the Rockies offers world-class riding and a very passionate MTB culture with small town friendliness where we hope to get involved in the community and laid back lifestyle."

    The company said the new location offers a more central shipping location and they are hoping a showroom in Golden will lead to increased local sales, as well.

    The new headquarters is at 400 Corporate Circle, Suite C, in Golden, in the same area as Yeti Cycles, Spot Brand and Feedback Sports. 


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    WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The $1.2 trillion omnibus spending package that President Donald Trump signed Friday contained some good news for bike advocates, despite their concerns that Trump's proposed budget would gut some of the programs. 

    The package includes $1.5 billion in funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program, which Trump's budget would have eliminated. TIGER funds multimodal transportation projects including programs that integrate bikes into the transportation system. 

    "PeopleForBikes has been advocating for TIGER funding for years, and we are thrilled to see these funds in the omnibus," said Jenn Dice, PeopleForBikes' vice president of business network. "TIGER funding has been a key focus of our industry fly-ins for the entirety of the program. After concerted effort, more members of Congress see the positive benefits TIGER has for all types of transportation, including bikes, back in their districts."

    PeopleForBikes brought more than 100 bike industry leaders to Congress to discuss the benefits of TIGER, and other bike infrastructure investments, as part of the organization's Executive Fly-Ins. 

    According to the organization, the omnibus also had several other victories for the bike community including $425 million for the Land Water and Conservation Fund which is $25 million above the current level of funding and $3.2 billion, for the National Park Service, which is $255 million above the current level.

    "We are thrilled more members of Congress are supporting these important tools for protecting public lands," said Dice. "This funding increase is crucial to park infrastructure to continue to give people access to safe and enjoyable spaces for people to recreate outside and to drive the tourism and recreation economies."

    Also last week, several bike retailers participated in a National Bike Retailers executive fly-in in Washington on March 20 and 21. The retail fly-in focused on advocating for bike projects to be included in the proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure package.

    Retail participants included Peter Henry of Landry's Bicycles in Massachusetts; Linda Black of Bike 123 in Maryland; Jim Carveth, of Nebraska's Bike Rack; Mike Jacobowsky, of California's Chain Reaction; Noel Kegel, of Wisconsin's Wheel & Sprocket; Todd Ketch of Pedego Old Town in Virginia; Anne Mader, of Virginia's The Bike Lane; and Stefan Meyer, from Kent Cycle in Ohio.

    “This was my first PeopleForBikes/NBDA fly-in, and it was a valuable experience for me,” said Henry. “Better places to ride are good for people on bikes and bike retailers, who contribute to local communities and economies. It was a privilege to join my fellow bike shop owners in D.C. to make our voices heard.”

     


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    SANTA MONICA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Spinlister, which launched as a peer-to-peer bike rental program (shorthanded as "Airbnb for bikes") and went on to offer a dockless bike share program and bike rental and demo management software for bike shops, is shutting down.

    CEO Marcelo Loureiro announced the shut down in a "farewell message" on the company's website. The company also emailed retailers last week to tell them of the planned shutdown. 

    "I don't have great news, after 5 years since we re-launched the Spinlister platform into the market, we will unfortunately be shutting down our services on April 22nd, 2018. We were not able to raise new funding, so our board of investors decided that the best option was to close shop," Loureiro wrote.

    Loureiro was an invester in Spinlister when it launched in 2012, and later invested further and became CEO after the company briefly shutdown. Besides bikes, Spinlister had programs to rent snowboards and surfboards.

    According to Crunchbase, Spinlister has raised $2.3 million in investment through three funding rounds; the most recent was $1.6 million raised in 2015. Spinlister also had acquired Cycleswap, a European bike share company, in 2016.

    According to the company's site, it will be shutting down over the next few weeks. Rentals that booked for after April 22 will be canceled and the money will be refunded to renters. In the email to retailers, the company said stores that had got an Ipad from Spinlister to manager bike rentals and demos could keep the device. 

    Related stories:


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    LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (BRAIN) — Yakima is expanding its retail training program, which includes hands-on training at clinics and events across the country, and online training through the Yakima Garage and Brandlive platforms.

    "We far exceeded our retail training goals in 2017, and we're excited to maintain that momentum and reach even more partners in 2018," said Matt Swainbank, events and training manager at Yakima. "Our goal is to provide all of our partners with unparalleled support, and we have created a diverse array of educational options. From our RoadWarrior team of brand and training representatives located across the country, to our industry-leading full-day RackDawg training events, to the ever-expanding online Yakima Garage training site and new for 2018, live video training in partnership with Brandlive."

    RoadWarriors is a traveling team of brand and training reps. In 2017, this team trained more than 4,000 retail employees through hundreds of clinics and 17 RackDawg events.

    RackDawg is a full-day training event for retailers that includes sales and product training, and hand-on technical installation. The 2018 RackDawg program kicked off in February in Austin, Texas, and will continue through the spring nationwide.

    The Yakima Garage has been expanded with more content, including a library of sales and installation videos, company news, and quarterly sales contests.

    The new live training sessions with Brandlive will be broadcast to Yakima's dealer network. The company said the live events will enable it to provide retail training as new technology is released. 

    Upcoming 2018 RackDawg events:

    • Thompson, Conn – 3/28/2018
    • Cincinnati, Ohio – 4/5/2018
    • Lansing, Mich. – 4/12/2018
    • Salt Lake City, Utah – 4/17/2018
    • Bay Area, Calif.  – 4/24/2018
    • Denver, Colo. – 4/24/2018
    • Tampa, Fla. – 10/24/2018

    For more information on RackDawg training, visit yakima.com/rackdawg. To register for an event, visit yakimagarage.com or contact Yakima at roadwarrior@yakima.com.

     


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    The Renovo Aerowood

    PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Al Spinks' investment in Renovo Bikes is helping the wooden frame maker double its production capacity and transition from custom to production frames. 

    Spinks is a Texas businessman who ordered a bike from Renovo, and later called to ask what he could do to get his bike more quickly. He talked to Renovo owner and president Ken Wheeler, who playfully answered, "bring money." The following week Sprinks flew to Portland to visit Renovo's shop.

    "As a longtime cyclist, I'd been following Renovo for several years and was blown away by the size of their operation, their technology, and of course, the performance of their bikes," Spinks said. "I immediately made the decision to invest upon seeing their state-of-the-art machines, tools and configurations in-process and watching their new designs come to fruition. And with this production-bike capability boost, our partnership becomes even more exciting and rewarding."

    The company has now invested in a state-of-the-art five axis CNC router, which it said dramatically increased production capabilities. Renovo is now building-to-inventory instead of building-to-order, meaning the time from ordering and shipping is reduced to just a few weeks.

    The company is stocking up inventory of gravel, road, mountain and urban models. More information at renovobikes.com.


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    OSAKA, Japan (BRAIN) — Shimano Inc. has issued a public apology after a fire at its factory in Sakai, Japan, on Monday.

    According to the company, the fire was in a surface treatment area and workers were evacuated.

    "We profusely apologize to our shareholders, customers and stakeholders for all the concerns and the inconveniences that we have caused by letting this regretful accident occur," the company said in a statement Tuesday. 

    "From now on, we are determined to make every effort for safe operation and work for the prevention of this kind of accident," the company continued.

    BRAIN has reached out to Shimano's U.S. officials for details on the incident.

    The British site, Cycling Weekly, quoted Japanese news reports saying 200 workers were evacuated and 20 fire trucks responded to the fire. The Asahi news site posted a helicopter video of the fire. 


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    TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)  —Giant Manufacturing, closing its books on 2017, posted revenue for the year of $1.9 billion, a 3.5 percent decline from 2016.

    Referring to its 2017 revenue, Giant said that if it were to exclude the foreign exchange impact from an appreciating Taiwan dollar, its results for the year would have been essentially flat.

    After-tax income were also down year-to-year by 33 percent to $70.3 million; that loss in after-tax income is partially due to foreign exchange losses. Earnings per share were about 19 cents.

    Giant, a bellwether company within the industry's manufacturing sector, is taking a conservative approach as it projects growth for 2018.

    "The outlook for 2018 — Giant projects single-digit sales growth for the group," a Giant spokesman said in a press release Tuesday. "E-bikes will continue to drive growth in the European region and Giant will continue expanding into other cycling experiences like (traditional) bikes, accessories and components that are (being) driven by consumer demands," the spokesman said. Those demands will support Giant's brand as it grows sales in the global market, he added.

    The company will review its outlook for the remainder of the year at its annual board meeting set for June 22.

    In terms of global performance, sales in Europe and the U.S. outperformed other regions, posting double-digit sales when tracked in local currencies. While the overall U.S. market was flat last year, Giant outperformed the market in both unit sales and dollars, the spokesman said. As for Europe, Giant's growth there is directly tied to the continued demand for e-bikes.

    Giant — like other manufacturers with factories based in China or those brands trying to sell through conventional retail stores — said China's fascination with shared-bike programs has cut deeply into sales. Giant noted that such traditional bike sales in China "remained sluggish" throughout the year.

    "China's domestic market remains challenging, but the decline will narrow," the company predicted.


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    SANDY, Utah (BRAIN) — Reynolds Cycling is offering a new line of carbon-rim mountain bike wheels that retail for $1,299. 

    The new TR line of wheels features the same rim design as the company's TR S family and have a lifetime warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee. 

    "When we set out to design the TR wheels, we knew customers wanted lower price carbon wheels with the same performance and durability they've come to expect from Reynolds. At $1,299, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck," the company said.

    The TR wheels all have Reyolds' TR3 Mountain hub, which is available with Boost or non-Boost (12x142 rear) spacing and Shimano freehub or SRAM XD driver and Centerlock rotor mounting. The rims have an asymetrical profile for even spoke tension, and a hookless tubeless-ready profile. Spoke count is 28 front and rear. 

    The wheels are available in 27.5 or 29-inch diameters, with three options for internal rim width: 24, 30 or 36 mm, all retailing for $1,299.99.

    More information: reynoldscycling.com/collections/tr-mountain-wheels.


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    ANA was the largest investor in the mobile service franchiser; now it is full owner.

    KENT, Wash. (BRAIN) — Accell North America has acquired Beeline Bikes, the mobile service franchiser. ANA has been an investor in the company for several years.

    "We launched Beeline five years ago to address the huge opportunity in the market to provide a friendly, professional and convenient service experience to all types of cyclists," Pete Buhl, the co-founder and CEO of Beeline Bikes, said in a statement. "ANA has the same vision and can invest to further it. I couldn't be more excited about our future."

    ANA said it will be focused on growing the Beeline Bikes footprint in North America.

    "ANA is 100 percent focused on empowering IBDs to remarkably serve cyclists the way they research and buy today — across multiple channels," said John Short, the CEO of ANA. "The acquisition of Beeline Bikes enables us to offer expansion to our IBD partners; it brings convenience, high-touch service and an experiential and data-driven solution that rapidly expands our consumer reach while bolstering value to our growing franchise and IBD network."

    ANA is the North American parent company of the Diamondback, Haibike, iZip, Raleigh and Redline bicycle brands.

    "Our objective is to cover all the major metro markets in the U.S. and Canada," said Larry Pizzi, VP of North America sales for ANA. "We have a tremendous group of IBD affiliate and independent franchisees in the Beeline network already and we look forward to supporting the success of our franchisees with new revenue streams and innovative customer acquisition tools."

    Under the new ownership, Beeline franchisees will have direct access to the brands and resources of ANA, the company said.

    "To win locally in the North American market our strategy will focus on the needs and wishes of consumers and a true omnichannel approach, said Ton Anbeek, the CEO of Accell Group, the parent company of ANA. "We have been partnering with Beeline Bikes for quite a while and have found that the Beeline mobile model and technology platform offer highly attractive synergies with the traditional brick-and-mortar channels. This acquisition is a clear case of 1+1=3."

    File Attachment: 

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    WILTON, Conn. (BRAIN) — QBP will now be distributing some products from Fabric, a brand owned by Dorel's Cycling Sports Group.

    QBP will distribute some Fabric saddles, lights, and inflation products. 

    "We've been keeping tabs on Fabric for a few years now. The brand has a great look and uniquely featured products but availability at retail has been somewhat limited," said Tim Gallant, VP of product at QBP. "Consumer interest in Fabric continues to grow, and by bringing Fabric to QBP we're providing much greater access to the brand so that more retailers can capture that demand on the sales floor."

    CSG said the move was inspired by "dealer insight about the need to grow awareness" of the Fabric brand.

    "We're extremely motivated by this new partnership with QBP and are confident that their experience and robust network of IBDs will provide Fabric the opportunity for continued growth," said Nick Hage, the general manager of CSG North America. "Fabric is a unique brand and one that we will continue to invest in. This new channel allows more riders to learn about its benefits."

     


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    MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) — Specialized will increase wholesale and suggested retail prices on select 2018 model year bikes starting on April 15. The company announced the change in a recent letter emailed to its dealers.

    The increases range from 1 to 12 percent. Models affected include fitness, youth, e-bike, mountain and road categories, as well as various price points.

    Specialized pointed to a devaluation of the U.S. dollar against Asian currencies over the past 12 months, which has inflated costs for its products. And it can no longer continue to absorb the costs entirely, the company said.

    "To be precise, the dollar has weakened by 8 percent against the Japanese Yen, the New Taiwan Dollar, and the Chinese Renminbi since January 2017 and is forecasted to weaken further. Our teams have worked very hard to defer the negative impact on U.S. market pricing, and up till now, Specialized has absorbed the entire impact of these higher costs," the letter said.

    Specialized pointed to exchange rate fluctuation to explain the price bump.

    "However, from next month forward, we will begin to pass on part of the increased costs by increasing both wholesale and retail prices on bikes. We will minimize the impact by including only select 2018 models of bikes and by only passing on a part of the increased price to you and the rider now."

    The company said it expects the dollar to continue to weaken through 2018, and that inflation will result in higher prices for model year 2019 bikes across the industry.

    In a call with BRAIN, Jeff McGuane, who heads the U.S. business for Specialized and emailed the dealer letter, said models that will see the price increase were carefully selected. They are bikes with a longer life cycle and that will carry over into 2019. He said the assortment is limited and represents less than 20 percent of Specialized's total range.

    "On average it's a 6 percent increase so not a major lift," he said. "And many of these bikes, a lot of them carry forward. It's always an inconvenience to change prices in season. We apologize for the inconvenience. But up to this point we've really taken the cost increase, which has been significant."

    McGuane anticipated that other bike brands may need to address the dollar's impact on their pricing soon.

    "Everyone sources from different countries and currencies change. How individual businesses deal with that and whether they pass it on or not, that's at the discretion of each brand," he added. "But it's economics. Prices are going to have to go up."

    McGuane said that margins and MAP pricing will go up accordingly, so Specialized retailers' margin structure should not be affected negatively.

    "If anything they should be extending their margin with inventory purchased at a lower price," he said.


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    SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike announced Wednesday that the Stetina's Sierra Prospect gran fondo will take place during the Northstar Free-Ride Festival, the consumer event that precedes Interbike's trade expo in the Reno-Tahoe areas this September.

    SSP is now in its second year and is a weekend affair consisting of road rides, dinners and more, leading up to the main event on Sunday where participants roll along Lake Tahoe and into the Sierra Nevada. The event will be produced and managed by Bike Monkey, the organization that produces numerous cycling events including Levi Leipheimer's Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa, California.

    The SSP will start on the evening of Friday, Sept. 14 with a meet-and-greet with pro rider Peter Stetina at Revision Brewing Company in Sparks, Nevada.

    Saturday morning's activities include the Segafredo Coffee ride to the event's official nonprofit partner, the High Fives Foundation. Saturday evening will feature a special dinner prepared by some of the best-known food and wine professionals in the industry. Participants will take a moonlit gondola ride to the top of the Northstar Resort for the meal in support of High Fives Foundation.

    On Sunday the road rally main event will start from the Northstar Resort at 8 a.m., with riders choosing between a 44- mile and 78-mile course, both of which will have a series of timed segments, finishing on the summit of Mt Rose at 8,911 feet elevation.

    Participants will also have access to all of the activities taking place in the Village as part of the Northstar Free-Ride Festival.

    "I'm honored to join forces with Interbike," said Stetina. "As a Tahoe resident, this ride is my labor of love, an all-inclusive weekend filled with the aspects I love most in cycling: camaraderie, scenery, pushing boundaries, and of course celebratory beers! I hope we can provide a special experience for all those road riders who want to blend Interbike's renowned hospitality with a little adventure. See you in September!"

    "Our team is really excited to work with Bike Monkey and Peter Stetina, and to bring a first-class road event for both the general public and Interbike attendees to participate in," said Pat Hus, the vice president of Interbike. "The two different course options are both challenging and spectacular to the eye, and I love the fact that it benefits a very worthy local nonprofit that is known to help athletes after suffering horrific injuries."

    The main ride costs $165, with rates set to increase July 1; other elements of the SSP are priced separately. Registration is now open at sierraprospect.com


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    PLAISTOW, N.H. (BRAIN) — Members of the Independent Mobile Bicycle Professionals group have decided not to form a trade association, but instead to explore ways to work with the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association, an association formed in 2016. The mobile group will continue its closed Facebook group, which now has about 170 members, with about 50 applicants pending. 

    The IMBP began as a way for mobile service operators to share tips and to present a unified front to industry suppliers and other entities. In the past, some wholesalers would refuse to sell to mobile-only businesses, although that's become less of a problem recently. The National Bicycle Dealers Association still does not accept dealer members who run mobile-only businesses.

    Members of the IMBP were exploring formally registering as a trade association, but after meeting with PBMA leaders at a recent mechanics workshop in Virginia, decided to work with that group, instead.

    "We agreed that they had already invented the wheel and there was no reason to re-invent it," said David Ricker, who owns and operates a mobile service business in New Hampshire, Pedalin' Fools. 

    The PBMA already welcomes mechanic members who work for mobile businesses, whether they are owner/operators or work for a mobile franchise or brick-and-mortar store. Ricker said the IMBP group would look for ways for the PBMA to offer more programs that serve mobile. The IMBP leaders were looking for ways to offer group purchase discounts on mobile-specific equipment and Ricker is hoping that can be accomplished through the PBMA.  

    Ricker indicated that the mobile operators are particularly interested in PBMA's mechanic certification programs. Certification would make it easier for independent mobile businesses to provide bike assembly and delivery for consumer direct bike brands, something that the franchise mobile service companies, Beeline and Velofix, are already doing. 

    "Those (consumer-direct) companies are looking for standardization and professionalism for that last-mile fulfillment, that's why they are attracted to Velofix. So we are looking to the PBMA to come up with standards to make sure the people providing fulfillment are certified," he said. 

    James Stanfill, the president of the PBMA, said after reading a BRAIN article about the mobile group, he invited IMBP members to the Virginia workshop in February to discuss ways the groups could work together. 

    "Some of our board members were there as well so it was convenient," Stanfill told BRAIN. "We discussed their goals and frustrations and we decided there is some stuff we can work on together. We have a lot of stuff in place already and I think they saw the benefits in working with us."


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    VENTURA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Zeitbike is now the exclusive U.S. and Canada distributor of Freetown Gear & Gravel bike helmets. The distributor said the moderately priced helmet line allows retailers to make high margins on a product with quality comparable to the big brands. 

    "Our goal was to not bring a helmet line to market unless we can seriously beat the largest competitors and brands in the market on three points: pricing & margins, quality, and design. After three years, we are finally proud to say that we made it happen," said Fritz Bohl, the founder of Zeitbike. "The helmets are not a revolution in technology, but in pricing and value, and therefore, a big deal for dealers."

    Freetown, named for a neighborhood of Lafayette, Louisiana, offer eight helmet models, ranging in retail price from $40-$60, with models for kids, commuters, gravel riders and mountain bikers. Retail pricing is maintained with a minimum advertised price policy.

    The helmets feature "Uni-Mold" construction, an easy-fit ratchet system, "two-sizes-fit-all-customers" sizing, matte colors, and a German-made magnetic buckle system by FIDLOC. All helmets are CPSC certified.

    The helmets ship in batches of four; orders of eight helmets qualify the dealer for free shipping in the U.S. Orders over $99 also qualify for free shipping and generate "ZEITBIKE" reward points that are redeemable for a rebate in addition to further tier discounts.

    For information contact fritz@zeitbike.com or 877-612-2212 or visit zeitbike.com/wholesale.


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    SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — Competitive Cyclist has hired TRUE Communications as its official press representative.

    Competitive Cyclist started in 1998 in Little Rock, Arkansas, in a 1,100 square foot bike shop. In 2005, they switched exclusively to e-commerce, and in 2011, the brand was purchased by Backcountry.com and moved to Salt Lake City.

    Today, Competitive Cyclist says it sells and ships more than 10,000 bikes a year, and offers brands including Assos, Castelli, ENVE, SRAM, Shimano, Fox, Wahoo, Pinarello, Santa Cruz and others. Competitive Cyclist also sponsors an elite U23 mountain bike team, Summit Bike Club.

    "TRUE is proud to partner with Competitive Cyclist, and looks forward to facilitating news around the company, major events and exclusive product launches," the company said. 

     


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    KENT, Wash. (BRAIN) — Under its new parent, Accell Group, Beeline Bikes is mapping out aggressive growth plans both domestically and internationally. In a call with Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, Accell North America CEO John Short said the goal is for Beeline to operate in 30 U.S. cities by end of year and 60 by end of 2019. It currently has 84 mobile vans across 15 cities, with new mobile shops added monthly.

    Beeline has also started looking at Canada and identifying IBD partners there, with visits to Vancouver last week. Vancouver would be an easy first step as it's close to Accell North America's U.S. headquarters in Kent, Washington, just south of Seattle. Accell is also investigating how to expand into Europe.

    Accell Group announced the acquisition of Beeline Bikes Wednesday. Neither the purchase price nor annual revenue of Beeline was disclosed. But Accell did say that it owned 30 percent of the shares of Beeline before Wednesday's news. Investors into the mobile shop business, which launched in 2013, have included Backcountry.com and a handful of private angel investors. Now Accell owns 100 percent of the Beeline shares.

    Beeline remains a stand-alone division within Accell with CEO Peter Buhl still leading the charge and the team will stay intact in its corporate offices in San Carlos, California.

    "Accell made a number of investments over the course of the past couple of years into Beeline," Short said, on the call from Germany. "The initial thought was Beeline would be a great fit for the group. But progressively, over time, the relationship continued to build. The other thing that happened is that the evolution of the industry made it even more interesting and more appropriate to go ahead and complete the acquisition for the balance of the company and to bring it fully into Accell Group, initially into ANA.

    "Tom (Anbeek, Accell Group's global CEO) and I are convinced that there's tremendous opportunity to use Beeline and its capabilities as a bridge between online and traditional IBDs," he added. "We see that a lot of traditional IBDs aren't doing so well. As a result, you have to step back and question that strategy. We feel like partnering with progressive retail partners who share our belief that omnichannel is here and here to stay because it's what the consumer demands. It really creates an opportunity to be the glue that sticks it all together."

    Buhl said Accell's investment allows his company to "innovate better."

    "We could be more creative together in terms of how we deliver new revenue streams," he said. "Thinking about the margins, how margins get split among a variety of players, it's much easier to put together a super compelling offering when you're in the same boat rowing together."

    Buhl said that Beeline will continue to support all brands, not just Accell's, from both a service and fulfillment perspective. From a brand perspective, Beeline is agnostic, he emphasized.

    Beeline currently delivers and assembles bikes sold online from all of Accell's brands, as well as Amazon and Competitive Cyclist.

    "We have several other brands we're in discussions with about doing fulfillment," Buhl said. "The great thing about Accell is they understand the Beeline platform. They know that's for the benefit of franchisees/IBDs and the best way to optimize the success of the business. That means servicing all bikes and fulfilling all bikes we can."

    "The economics make sense for a brand," Buhl continued. "I think as more and more brands go direct to consumer, you're going to want a world-class last-mile solution. If the only option is to pick up in shop, you're going to miss a bunch of customers. If you can offer pick up in shop or deliver to door, over time, that will be what customers demand — convenience."

    Beeline currently operates franchisees in Phoenix; Irvine, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Silicon Valley, Calif.; Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins, Colo.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Detroit; Austin and San Antonio, Texas.; and Arlington, Va.

    Short said that Beeline's model differs from Velofix and others in that the company is partnering with IBDs to reach customers who don't otherwise come into their stores, not to directly compete with them. Multi-store retailers who have recently signed on include Wheel & Sprocket with stores in Wisconsin and Illinois and American Cycle & Fitness in Detroit.

    "There's little overlap between Beeline users and those who take bikes to a shop to get tuned and repaired," Short said. "So Beeline creates the ability to create new customers for bike shops."

    Short also said that the mobile business allows retailers to grow and expand their sales territory without investing in more brick and mortar locations, which could be quite expensive.

    "On a city-by-city basis, we're targeting where the bike community and bike culture is important," Short added. "We've mapped out a growth strategy on that basis.

    "What Pete has built is very unique and very special, which was one of the key reasons it's of interest to us. But it really creates the opportunity to put together all of the pieces of an omnichannel business — online, brick and mortar and customer service," Short said.

    For more on how the deal will work, make sure to turn to the April 15 print issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

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  • 03/29/18--14:02: Vista Outdoor hires new CFO
  • FARMINGTON, Utah (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor Inc. has named Miguel "Mick" Lopez as the company's senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer, effective April 16. Lopez has over 30 years of experience in finance, operations and strategy. His background includes corporate finance, treasury, financial planning and analysis, tax, investor relations, strategic planning and risk management.

    "I look forward to Mick joining the Vista Outdoor team, where he will undoubtedly make a significant impact," said Vista's CEO, Chris Metz. "Mick's experience and capabilities will benefit Vista Outdoor as we transform the business. His leadership is essential to help ensure we improve profitability and continue to strengthen our cash position, preparing for future success and long-term shareholder returns."

    Lopez said, "I am thrilled to join Vista Outdoor. This is a pivotal time for the company, and Chris has a clear vision and has commenced valuable initiatives to strengthen Vista Outdoor's iconic brands and businesses. I am excited to be a part of these efforts and look forward to supporting the strategy."

    Lopez most recently served as the CFO of Veritas Technologies, an international data management company, from 2016 to 2017. Before joining Veritas Technologies, he was the CFO for Harris Corporation. He is also the former CFO for Aricent Group/KKR Private Equity, and has worked at companies including Cisco Systems, Tyco International, IBM and KPMG.

    Lopez earned a double major in Finance and Accounting from Georgetown University, and an MBA, specializing in Finance, from the University of Chicago. 


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    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Gazelle Bicycles has added five new independent sales organizations in the Western U.S: Axis Sports Group and Norcal Sports Group in Southern and Northern California; Brad Barber in Colorado; and Dean Kuzara and Aaron Malone dividing the Pacific Northwest.

    Earlier this year the company announced it had hired GPM Sports Group, Tifosi Sales, and The Mansfield Group in the eastern United States. Gazelle Bicycles now has 35 independent sales agencies representing the brand in the U.S., with additional expansion goals set for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Montana.

    In addition, Gazelle Bicycles has contracted Benny Cruickshank of Be Courteous Communications to support marketing strategy and deployment. Cruickshank will be developing key brand stories and communications, directing digital marketing efforts, managing copywriting, and spearheading PR and media communications.

    "This is an extremely exciting and rewarding time for Gazelle Bicycles," said Ewoud van Leeuwen, the manager of Gazelle North America. "We've established a solid team that has built the strategic groundwork to have a successful 2018 and beyond. We're in a tremendous position to serve our retail partners and customers in the best possible way."

    The Dutch brand is 125 years old. It is owned by Pon Holdings, the parent of Cervélo, Focus and Santa Cruz. Pon's e-bike brands include Gazelle, Faraday, Focus and Kalkhoff.


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