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    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — Retailer Bruce McGrew recently opened a second Pro Cycling store on Colorado Springs' east side. Located in a high-traffic retail development, the new store serves a growing part of the city, which is home to about 450,000 residents. The shop opened its doors mid-June.

    McGrew, who opened the first Pro Cycling store near downtown Colorado Springs' in 2003, said he had thought about expanding for some time, and finally the right opportunity came about when he bumped into the owner of the retail development at a party.

    "He told me he would like to have a bike shop out there on that side of town, and he gave me a favorable rate in a high-profile location," McGrew said. "We're coming in at the right time I think. The east side was underserved, and the shops out in that area are more performance oriented and don't cater to family-style bikes. Since it's the growth part of the city, we felt that kind of store would do well."

    The new store focuses on lower to mid-priced mountain, road, fitness and kids' bikes and e-bikes. The original Pro Cycling store caters to enthusiasts and racers with a broader selection of higher-end models, particularly in the mountain bike category, where McGrew said sales have grown steadily over the past few years.

    "It's more of a mountain town than a road bike town, even though we've got a very active cycling community, with USA Cycling and the Olympic training center here," he said. "But we've seen a distinct reduction in our road sales, with about 80 percent of our overall sales going to mountain. It wasn't that long ago when we were 60/40 mountain-road. But a lot of our customers who I pegged as dyed in the wool roadies have started mountain biking. They perceive, and probably correctly, that it's safer."

    But gravel sales have replaced some of those lost road sales and Pro Cycling's overall unit sales are up — just in a different category. McGrew said he hopes the new store will complement Pro Cycling West.

    Pro Cycling worked with Specialized to design the new 5,500 square-foot store.

    "I appreciate the efforts of the Specialized crew that assisted us. They came down and designed every fixture location and came up with great ideas, like using the faux barn wood and planning traffic flow — ideas I wouldn't have thought of," McGrew said. "They really know what they are doing and were very helpful."

    The shop has a full-service repair department and a dedicated section highlighting the Turbo e-bike line, with 15-20 models in stock. McGrew said Pro Cycling was an early e-bike adopter, having stocked Turbo models since they first came available. He's optimistic the new store's location is ideal for selling pedal-assist models.

    "We've only been open a few days and have sold one e-bike with a deposit on another one," he said. "The neighborhood is conducive to it, and now we've got e-bikes we can sell for $2,500, where not that long ago, they were more than $5,000. It opens up the category to more prospective buyers. I'm excited about it."

    Brian Stratton, who is also a partner in Pro Cycling, oversees both stores and runs the day-to-day business. The new store employs eight people, and 10 employees work at the west side location, which is around 5,000 square feet with a 2,000 square-foot warehouse. Both stores carry bikes from Specialized, Santa Cruz, Juliana and Yeti.

     


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    AURORA, Ontario (BRAIN) — Three companies have purchased parts of BionX Canada following a three-month search for a buyer. According to court documents, Crescent Commercial, Amego Electric Vehicles and NumberCo purchased some of BionX Canada’s assets, including some tooling, machinery, inventory and other equipment. The sales were approved mid-June.

    According to court documents, Amego Electric Vehicles purchased 81 complete BionX kits. NumberCo purchased a parcel of motors, batteries and other parts, and Crescent Commercial, which is an auction house and liquidator, bought assembly line and machine shop equipment and other manufacturing tools. Other miscellaneous parts, inventory, hardware, accessories and components remain and are still up for sale, as are BionX’s patents, trademarks, domains and subsidiary shares.

    Sister e-bike company Elby continues to operate out of BionX’s Aurora facility following the sale.

    BionX Canada, which has manufactured retrofit e-bike conversion kits since 2003, entered into receivership at the end of February. All business activity was suspended as business and advisory firm Grant Thornton reviewed assets, marketed the company to prospective buyers and completed the sale.

    The company employed 80 people full time, who were let go when BionX was placed into receivership. According to court documents, 19 terminated employees were hired as contractors to assist Grant Thornton with limited product assembly and the sale of assets. The assembly of 44 units to satisfy current customer orders used inventory on hand, and all sales were completed on an “as is, where is” basis with no warranties or after-sales services offered. 

    According to court documents, before the receivership, BionX completed a significant preseason order with numerous retailers totaling nearly 612,000 Canadian dollars ($460,000). This balance was payable in three monthly installments beginning April 1 and ending on June 1. Some dealers were unwilling to pay outstanding debts, saying BionX products were no longer salable because of a lack of warranty. The court documents state that Grant Thornton is still trying to collect from these debtors, and as of early June, just over CA$195,000 had been collected.

    BionX Canada operated out of a 58,000 square-foot industrial facility. It was formerly a part of Magna International, a Canadian automotive supplier, but was eventually wholly owned by BionX International Corporation. BionX Canada operated four subsidiaries: BionX America, Inc., was based in Delaware and engaged four contract sales people and has ceased operations. BionX Europe GmbH is incorporated in Austria and has shut down. BionX GmbH is incorporated in Germany and continues to operate.

    BionX Canada owed Stronach Consulting Corporation CA$22 million; the company incurred a net loss of approximately CA$48.6 million last year. On December 31, the book value of BionX’s liabilities exceeded the book value of its assets by approximately CA$54.7 million. At that time, the company held $230,514 in cash, and at the beginning of the receivership, company records reported an inventory balance of CA$4,541,983.

    In late April, General Motors, one of BionX’s primary customers, and Grant Thornton agreed on the terms of a settlement for $975,000 after GM terminated its contract with BionX in February. BionX had entered into an agreement with GM to design and manufacture a mid-drive system for a folding e-bike. GM paid BionX for the design and engineering of the system and batteries and agreed to purchase 8,000 units in 2018 at approximately $1,000 each.

    But BionX defaulted on the purchase contract and did not complete its obligations after projecting that unit cost for production would be $1,400 per unit. Earlier this year, BionX informed GM that it would not be able to start building the kits without significant funding assistance from GM, which the company declined to provide. At the end of April, Grant Thornton agreed to release 38 drive units in exchange for a payment of $279,110, and in May, representatives from GM facilitated the removal of production tooling it owned from BionX’s headquarters in Aurora. In June, GM removed the remaining production parts and assets, and made a payment of CA$445,855 to Grant Thornton.


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    The show's Open Air District offers a fresh air experience during the show

    SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike has announced the addition of a new featured area of the expo located just outside the door of the Reno Sparks Convention Center.

    The New Open Air District will incorporate brand booths, The Circuit test track, ePowered by BOSCH, food and beverage options, shaded seating and more. The Open Air District will launch with a number of brands already committed, including 100%, Bafang Electric Motor Co. LTD, Cycle Force Group (Ridley, Eddy Merckx and other brands), myStromer USA, Raleigh Electric, Tern Bicycles and more.

    "The mid-September weather in Reno has historically been very comfortable, ranging from daytime highs in the low 80s, to evening lows in the 50s," said Justin Gottlieb, the interim show director for Interbike. "This makes for a prime opportunity to mix up the expo experience by spending time both indoors and outdoors, adding a different dimension to the show. It's likely to be the preferred lunch spot for Interbike attendees who will also be able to interact with key exhibitors in the Open Air District infield, relax in a shaded area and of course, test a variety of bikes on The Circuit test track."

    Gottlieb said the test track will offer rides from brands in the Open Air District, including e-bikes and standard pedal bikes. The fully-enclosed 1,600 linear foot track will feature a 12-foot wide loop, s-curves, a power ramp, long straightaways, a terrain lane and more. The track will also be managed by Electric Bike Events, LLC, who will track usage for participating brands using RFID technology.

    Interbike's sales director, Andria Klinger, said that while the Open Air District is a new option for exhibitors, the space is limited. "A few brands like 100% approached us seeking to offer a nontraditional, outdoor booth experience to attendees. We took their feedback and were able to expand the space next to The Circuit for brands to exhibit with pop-up tents or Sprinter vans."

    The Open Air District will feature a grilling station with several lunch options, and will serve coffee and other beverages all day. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, Interbike will celebrate the new area with a hosted happy hour from 5-6 p.m., where free beer will be served.

    A limited number of booth and sponsorship opportunities are available for purchase through the Interbike sales team. Interested brands should contact their Interbike sales executive or Klinger at 949-226-5745. 

     


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    Chinese-made bearings of many varieties will be hit with a 25 percent tariff starting July 6, increasing pressure on component makers to raise prices.

    LOUISVILLE, Colo. (BRAIN) — When you buy 5,000 pounds of aluminum every day, you notice quickly when the cost per pound goes up 20 percent — or more — in a matter of months.

    Dave Batka, owner of Wheels Manufacturing, is noticing. Since the start of the year, he's seen aluminum prices skyrocket, in part because of the tariffs the U.S. imposed on most imported steel and aluminum, and also because of rising material costs generally, stemming from a strong economy and other factors.

    Batka is bracing for another price hike next month when a new 25 percent tariff on Chinese bearings kicks in. Along with Chinese GPS units, bearings of many varieties were included in the list of Chinese products subject to the new tariff starting July 6.

    "No one makes bearings here, and bikes have a lot of bearings," Batka told BRAIN this week.

    Other U.S. component makers tell BRAIN they are experiencing similar cost increases this year, even before the bearing tariff.

    "All our metal is U.S.-sourced but all ships rise with the tide, and that tide has risen nearly 20 percent," said Paul Price, founder and owner of Paul Components.

    "We put a margin in our pricing structure for 'normal' price fluctuations but we've blown past that so there is some teeth gnashing and hand wringing. At this point we won't raise prices but it will affect the bottom line, R&D spending and possibly compensation in the form of end-of-year bonuses," he said.

    Price said he expects to be able to hold prices steady through the end of the year. "I hate to raise prices midyear," he said.

    A listing of bearings and their HTS codes subject to the new 25% tariff on Chinese goods.

    Enduro Bearings, which supplies bearings to Paul, Wheels, and most other domestic component makers and many full suspension bike makers, plans to raise bearing prices 15 percent next month.

    Enduro owner Matt Harvey said he expects to raise prices for the 2019 season by 20-25 percent because of the material price hikes. Enduro's aluminum costs are up 18.5 percent so far this year, he said. Some European steel costs have increased even more.

    The cost of ceramic balls, made in Japan, also has increased significantly in recent years because Tesla is gobbling up much of the ball manufacturer's capacity for bearings in its electric cars.

    As for the tariffs, Harvey said Enduro doesn't get all its bearings from China. Some cartridge bearings have balls from Japan and seals from Taiwan, and are assembled in Singapore. Others are assembled in the U.S., with races made of steel from France.

    Enduro's Max bearings, used in many full suspension frame pivots from brands including Santa Cruz and Specialized, are from China and will be subject to the full 25 percent tariff.

    Harvey said currently, bearings from China are subject to duties ranging from 4-9 percent.

    "No one makes bearings here, and bikes have a lot of bearings"— Dave Batka

    "That's not that big of a deal. But when you put a 25 percent tariff on top of that, now you are talking about a significant amount of money. That's your margin, right there, more or less. So you can't just absorb that and stay in business."

    Harvey said he is exploring expanding Enduro's bearing assembly operation in Singapore, to move more assembly from China to Singapore. He's also looking into drop shipping more products from China to customers in Europe and Asia, to avoid bringing them into the U.S.

    White Industries also has seen greatly increased material costs this year, said Lynette Toepfer, the component brand's general manager.

    "We purchase all USA-made material," Toepfer said. "While the USA-made material is not subjected to the tariff, the moment the tariff was mentioned, our material costs jumped by about 15-20 percent. Our costs are now higher and we are trying to compete with overseas componentry that is not subjected to any additional duties or costs. It is a problem as you can imagine and not helping U.S. manufacturing, at least in our little world."

    Back at Wheels, Batka said a bottom bracket is kind of a worst-case example of the material cost increases.

    "What is a bottom bracket? It's just aluminum and two bearings, really," he said.

    Batka reckons the bearing tariff will add about $5 to the retail cost of an entry level Wheels bottom bracket, raising it from about $40 to $45 in the store. Higher-end bottom brackets, with pricier bearings, would see larger price increases.

    Batka has bearing inventory on hand and does not expect to raise prices immediately after the tariff takes effect. And so far he has absorbed the increased material costs, but he can't do that indefinitely.

    "We haven't passed-on the material costs yet, even though it's costing us $100,000 a month," he said.

    Batka said not all the bearings Wheels buys are for resale: he recently bought a pair of $5,000 China-made bearings for one of his shop's machines. He has to replace bearings like that about once a year. "Next year, those will be $6,000 if this tariff continues," he said.


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    TORONTO (BRAIN) — 3T is now offering its frames in a ready-to-paint finish for those who want to use the custom painter of their choice.

    The first ever RTP 3T frame was an Exploro model, painted by the legendary Italian bike designer, manufacturer, and painter Dario Pegoretti.

    Since then, these RTP frames have proven popular for individual consumers and with retailers who want to do a small run of special frames to offer to their best customers.

    3T is featuring some of the most interesting designs on the 3T blog under the "Get Creative Series" section. Shown here is the custom Exploro painted for Aqua Blue Sports rider and US National Champion Larry Warbasse. It was made in collaboration with Toby Stanton at hottubes.com.

     


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    LONG BEACH, Calif. (BRAIN) — Zwift, the indoor cycling and running platform, has acquired the commercial rights to manufacture and distribute footpods previously manufactured under the Milestone Sports brand.

    As part of the deal, Zwift have secured the core team responsible for the design and engineering of the legacy Milestone product, including ex-Milestone CEO Jason Kaplan, chief technical officer Meir Machlin and vice presiden of business development Tzach Goren. Zwift said it intends to start producing new pods "imminently."

    By clipping a footpod to their shoes, runners can communicate speed and cadence to the Zwift platform. The footpods also provide outdoor runners with metrics such as foot strike and rate of impact along with run distance and duration.

    "This is an important step for us as we move into the running space," said Eric Min, Zwift's co-founder and CEO. "We at Zwift aim to help more people to exercise more often than they may have done before, by bringing more entertainment and social connectivity to the convenience of indoor training. We are determined, as much as ever before, to continue work with existing footpod and treadmill manufacturers to help us achieve this goal by providing customers the best possible experiences to suit their individual training needs."

    Zwift officially launched running on Zwift in February as a free-access product.


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    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Rich Cook, the former development director for IMBA, has joined the Davis Phinney Foundation as its new director of development.

    Founded by retired pro cyclist Davis Phinney, the foundation provides essential information, practical tools and inspiration to help people living with Parkinson's live well today.

    "We're thrilled to have Rich join the team at the Davis Phinney Foundation. Not only does he have an extensive background in the cycling and outdoor sports world from his time with IMBA, but he brings great perspectives as executive director of a therapeutic recreation, experiential education and adaptive sports center," said Polly Dawkins, the executive director of the foundation.

    "His experience in all facets of business development, including developing strategic partnerships with foundations, individuals and businesses, will help to advance our programs and research, serving the millions of people affected by Parkinson's in the U.S. and around the world."

    In his new role, Cook will lead the foundation's development team in individual, corporate, foundation and event engagement to advance its mission driven programs, research and
    impact.

    Cook said, "This is an amazing community doing important work and one I'm honored to represent. The Foundation's connection to the cycling world is strong and doing such good
    work in the Parkinson's community. The success stories and research outcomes are compelling, and we're seeing great therapeutic benefits from smart nutrition and regular exercise,
    especially cycling and increasingly e-bikes, which is extending people's ability to continue staying physically and socially active. I look forward to conversations with those in the cycling
    community interested in the Foundation's work."

     

    Over his career, Cook has worked for IMBA, Camber Outdoors, Outward Bound Schools and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.


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    U.S. consumers can often buy from non-U.S. sites without paying sales taxes or import duties. Sometimes that gives foreign retailers a head start of 20 percent or more.

    WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Brick-and-mortar retailers consistently rank competition from online vendors as one of the biggest challenges facing their businesses. Many cheered last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair allowing states to begin collecting sales tax from e-commerce companies, even if the online retailers don't have a physical presence in the state.

    But industry observers note that foreign e-commerce vendors still have several advantages over U.S. retailers, on and offline. The Supreme Court ruling, in fact, generally increases the advantage of offshore e-commerce companies over U.S.-based businesses.

    Between sales taxes and import duties, offshore e-commerce brands sometimes have a head start of as much as 21 percent over U.S. retailers.

    Currently, foreign companies only collect state sales taxes in states where the company has a "nexus"— generally defined as a physical presence, like an office or warehouse, or a payroll. It's too early to say how the Wayfair decision will be interpreted by the states or if Congress will pass legislation creating and regulating the state tax system, but currently it's likely that if a non-U. S. company has nexus in the U.S., it could be required to collect state taxes from customers in all states, the same as a U.S.-owned business.

    But most offshore vendors don't have a U.S. nexus. And exemption from state taxes isn't the only advantage they enjoy.

    In 2016, U.S. Customs stopped imposing duties on imports valued at less than $800. The so-called "de minimus" limit was previously $200. Retailers and consumers have noted that even on orders valued above $800, some offshore companies will mislabel packages and divide up orders to get around duty collection. Shipping wheels separately from the rest of a bike can bring the value of at least one of the packages below $800, for example. And wheels, parts and frames are subject to smaller duties than complete bikes, as well.

    Import duties on bikes, parts and related accessories and tools range from 0 to 11 percent (see attached pdf for some examples).

    The $800 minimum is particularly galling to some because it is the highest among major countries. Canada's de minimus is just 20 Canadian dollars ($15), for example. The United Kingdom's is 150 euros ($175).

    Now that the Supreme Court has (almost) resolved the state tax issue, the time might be right to push to lower the $800 minimum and to increase enforcement, said Alan Goldsmith, the former owner of Supergo, a Southern California retail chain and mail-order business. Goldsmith sold Supergo to Performance in 2002.

    "With the sales tax out of the way, maybe it will liberate people to start moving on this other issue," Goldsmith told BRAIN.

    Goldsmith, who is a lawyer, has discussed the situation with U.S.-based e-commerce companies for years. But so far none of them has been interested in challenging their foreign competition with a lawsuit or pushing their representatives for changes.

    "I am not aware of any major U.S. bike e-commerce operations that seriously lobbied their congressional representatives for relief," he said. "It's well established that the most persuasive impression comes from constituents that explain damage occurring in the congressman's own district.

    "This battle isn't over. Bike e-commerce companies such as Jenson, Competitive Cyclist, Performance, and others need to lobby their U.S. representatives to rectify two ongoing outrageous conditions that are ruining the U.S. pro shop business: First is the fairly new $800 duty-free cap on bike gear imports. Second is the dismal lack of enforcement by the USPS and other carriers to collect duty on imports that exceed $800."

    The current $800 de minimus results from the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, signed by President Obama in early 2016. President Trump could ask Congress to modify the law in the name of leveling the international playing field.

    "If anyone would do anything about it, it would be him, if someone could get it on his radar," Goldsmith said.

    The de minimus was increased in the name of freeing up Customs and Border Patrol to focus on larger shipments and security issues. It was also seen as a boon for consumers.

    If duties were collected on consumer orders, they would be calculated on a retail value of the product, while U.S. importers are currently paying duty on the wholesale import value. So collecting the duty on retail sales would go that much farther toward making U.S. wholesalers and retailers competitive with the foreign competition.

    Lowering the de minimus would give the industry another tool to battle counterfeiters, because shippers are not required to submit entry data through CBP’s automated portal when importing shipments of less than $800, noted Pat Cunnane, the CEO of ASE, the parent company of Performance and of ASI, which owns Fuji and other brands.

    "There is so much counterfeited goods coming through direct-to-consumer commerce that we are taking a double hit. This stuff ends up in the market and then it's very difficult to trace it," he said. 

    European-based vendors, in particular, have not been shy about promoting the $800 limit to their U.S. customers.

    Chain Reaction, one of the best-known U.K. e-commerce companies, currently is paying the duty on complete bikes it sells to U.S. consumers, but it warns U.S. customers that they are responsible for other products in orders totaling more than $800. On its website, the company also notes that U.S. customers do not have to pay state or local taxes on orders from the company. 

    Wiggle, which merged with Chain Reaction in 2016 and continues to operate its own e-commerce site, makes similar promises to its U.S. customers. Wiggle's site notes that "Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declarations are made available to state tax representatives that may claim state taxes from yourself."

    According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office, some states occasionally review these declarations and send letters to importers and travelers notifying them that they owe state taxes.

    Related:

    File Attachment: 

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    SANTA ROSA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Selene Yeager, better known as "the Fit Chick" from Bicycling magazine, has joined Patrick Brady of Red Kite Prayer as co-host of the Paceline Podcast. Now in its third year, the Paceline was originally launched by Brady with Elden Nelson of Fat Cyclist and Red Kite Prayer contributor Michael Hotten. Brady calls it "a deep dive into the cycling lifestyle."

    "I loved the chemistry of our show, but when the opportunity came to make a change I immediately contacted Selene," Brady said. "I'm a huge fan of hers and after all the noise I've made about how cycling needs to be more diverse and inclusive, I figured this was a chance to help demonstrate that by giving Selene yet another platform from which to share her experience and wisdom."

    Yeager said, "It was serendipity, really. I had been kicking around the idea of doing a podcast for the past year and had started researching the medium in earnest when Patrick came knocking. I've always enjoyed his work and feel like we're on the same wavelength and conversation flows naturally. I'm proud of the shows we've put together so far, especially the Dirty Kanza episodes. I'm excited to see where we can take the podcast moving forward."

    Brady has launched another podcast, called the Pull. The Pull focuses on one-on-one interviews about craft. "Think of it as Terry Gross for cyclists," he said. Six episodes in, interview subjects have included framebuilder Richard Sachs, CSG's Damon Rinard and Skratch Labs founder Allen Lim.

    You can find both podcasts on RideKitePrayer.com, iTunes and other outlets like Google Music.


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    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — Quality Bicycle Products is opening two 3PL warehouses in Canada and will stocking Salsa, Surly, All-City, Teravail tires, 45NRTH, Whisky Parts Co. products, and iSSi pedals there starting in February 2019.

    The warehouses are in Toronto and Vancouver. The company also will be hiring a Canadian sales team for the first time.

    The moves mean that the company will be taking over Canadian distribution of some its brands from their current distributors.

    NRG Enterprises/Lanctôt Ltee will continue to be the primary source for Surly bikes and frames in Canada through December this year. And Live to Play Sports will fulfill 2019 model year 45NRTH program orders and serve as the primary source for 45NRTH winter products in Canada through March 2019.

    "As a result of this shift, we're able to service our retailers directly," said QBP president Rich Tauer. "Focusing on our retailer network in Canada is an important next step to grow our brands and create a complete North American service and support strategy."

    Aaron James, QBP's regional sales manager for Canada, said, "NRG Enterprises/Lanctôt Ltee and Live to Play have been excellent business partners and we appreciate the support of these distributors as QBP makes the transition to owning its Canadian distribution." 

    NRG Enterprises/Lanctôt Ltee has distributed Surly product in Canada on behalf of QBP since 2001; Live to Play has distributed 45NRTH since 2013.

    Canadian dealers with questions can reach out to James or Neal Linder at QBP. James can be reached at extension 1575 or ajames@qbp.com. Linder can be reached at extension 1931 or nlinder@qbp.com. QBP's international sales group can be reached at internationalsales@qbp.com.


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    The testing found a range of safety performance within helmets that meet CPSC standards.

    BLACKSBURG, Va. (BRAIN) — Virginia Tech and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have collaborated on a bike helmet rating system based on its own laboratory testing.

    The program tested 30 adult helmets, looking at road-style models and urban style models and rating them from one star to five states. Four earned the highest rating of 5 stars, two earned 2 stars, and the rest were in the 3-4-star range. Of the four 5-star helmets in the initial test group, all are equipped with a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). This technology creates a low-friction layer inside the helmet.

    "Our goal with these ratings is to give cyclists an evidence-based tool for making informed decisions about how to reduce their risk of injury," said Steve Rowson, director of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics. "We also hope manufacturers will use the information to make improvements."

    All the helmets passed CPSC standards. The Virginia Tech and IIHS program said it developed its own "more realistic" testing protocol. The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab currently rates football and hockey helmets, as well as soccer headgear.

    "In cycling, we saw an opportunity to reach a broad cross section of the public and bring a new level of safety to an activity with a wide range of other benefits," Rowson says.

    The CPSC requires helmets to prevent head impact accelerations over 300 g, a level associated with skull fracture or severe brain injury. However the CPSC standard does not assess a helmet's performance at lower level impact forces that could still result in a concussion. The group also said CPSC testing doesn't evaluate the entirety of the helmet.

    "For instance, the helmet rim is excluded from CPSC testing, even though studies of bicycle crashes have found that a large number of cyclist head impacts are at the helmet rim, often at the sides or front of helmets. In addition, the CPSC testing requires helmets to be dropped perpendicular to the impact surface. In contrast, a bicyclist's head is more likely to strike the pavement at an angle during a crash. Finally, the speed at which the helmet hits the anvil in the CPSC testing represents an extremely severe impact that isn't typical of most bike crashes," the group said in a press statement Tuesday.

    Before developing their test protocol, the Virginia Tech researchers conducted two studies with IIHS support. In the first one, they used the CPSC rig to test a group of helmets at two locations — one at the side of the helmet, within the CPSC test area, and one at the front rim, which isn't subject to the required testing. They found that on certain models, the rim location was more vulnerable.

    The second study used a different test rig with a more realistic dummy head hitting a slanted anvil, covered with 80-grit sandpaper to approximate the roughness of asphalt. These tests were designed to replicate more accurately the angle at which a bicyclist's head is likely to strike the pavement in a crash.

    The rig with the slanted anvil and more realistic head did a better job teasing out differences among helmets, the researchers found. A slightly modified version of that rig is being used for the ratings.

    For the ratings, the lab tests each helmet at six commonly impacted locations, including two at the rim. Helmets are dropped on the anvil at two speeds taken from studies of real-world crashes — the median speed at which a rider's head is estimated to hit the ground and a higher speed equivalent to the 90th-percentile speed in the real-world crash studies.

    Sensors embedded in the headform measure linear acceleration and rotational velocity, and the risk of concussion is estimated from those measurements. The number of stars assigned to each helmet represents how effectively that model reduces overall injury risk.

    In general, the test found that road helmets tended to perform better on its test than urban helmets.

    The lab is continuing to test more adult helmets of different styles, including mountain bike and skate/BMX helmets, and will update its website as new ratings are released. Evaluations of youth helmets also are planned.

    More information: Ratings of the first 30 helmets tested.

     


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    GRENCHEN, Switzerland (BRAIN) — BMC's new Alpenchallenge AMP Cross is a lightweight e-bike built for off-pavement adventures.

    The model has a carbon frame with an integrated drive unit. The frame featires BMC's Micro Travel Technology, which adds 10 millimeters of damped suspension travel for comfort and traction. The bike has a mountain bike drivetrain.

    "Our Alpenchallenge AMP Cross is built for off-road adventures and is an incredibly versatile e-bike. Think of it as a touring bike with unlimited off-road capability. The well-thought-out specifications make it an ideal tool for daily rides, whether on local paths or unknown back-road terrain," said Mart Otten, BMC Switzerland's senior road product manager.

    The company said the bike's central battery position "creates a low, natural-feeling center of gravity that neutralizes the dynamic influence of the battery weight."

    The limited-edition models feature BMC's ICS cockpit with the cables routing through the stem. It also features BMC's D-Shape seatpost, said to provide compliance and lightweight.  

    Two models are available: the Alpenchallenge AMP Cross LTD and the Alpenchallenge AMP Cross ONE. They are available in sizes S, M and L.

    More information: bmc-switzerland.com/us-en/alpenchallenge-amp-cross.


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    SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Retailer education provider Mann University will return to Interbike with a two-part seminar titled "Inventory Planning for Bicycle Retailers." Each 90-minute Mann U Lunch & Learn session will occur from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Sept. 19, and will include a free lunch for the first 150 retailers that attend.

    "Inventory planning and control is such an important aspect of any retailer's success, yet I see many retailers in the bicycle industry struggle with it everyday," said Dan Mann, CEO and founder of The Mann Group. "Our 2-day seminar at Interbike will give attendees a thorough understanding of the process, including mistakes to avoid when they get back to their stores."

    Mann added that retailers who attend his session will be able to identify the unique challenges of assortment planning in the bike industry, including seasonality, apparel deliveries, model year and brand expectations. Attendees will leave with the tools to implement an effective assortment planning strategy including how to predict trends, accommodate for market slumps, arrange an in-season strategy, generate an effective retail planning cycle and craft a merchandising plan that works for their shops.

    "Dan has worked with so many brick and mortar retailers in various industries over the course of his career, and brings a unique perspective and solid understanding of how retail ticks," said Justin Gottlieb, the interim show director for Interbike. "This session is for new retailers, veterans interested in hearing Dan's perspective and anyone in between."

    More information: manngroup.net

     


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    WEST COVINA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Foldaway Solutions, which distributes Oyama Bicycles, Uniche and BTP Bar Tape, is working with BionX Canada's battery supplier to provide replacement batteries for its e-bike conversion kits following the company's bankruptcy and resulting sale of some of its assets earlier in June.

    Foldaway Solutions' founder and CEO Ken Fagut, who worked as national sales manager for BionX from 2013-2015, said he wanted to be able to service and support BionX OEMs and dealers after it went into receivership.

    "I am thrilled to help. After the bankruptcy I had a flood of calls for help, but was already in the process of seeking solutions. I started seeking ways to help all the past BionX dealers, and realized the number one issue would be batteries," Fagut said. "We couldn't do it right away because of the receivership, but recently I was able to buy several thousand pieces from the supplier. Most of the inventory is for the D-series 500-watt system. I have DV-1, DV, DX, RL and RX batteries. All inventory is fresh and guaranteed."

    Fagut said that although he hasn't made many calls yet, he had sold around 800 units.

    "I'm encouraging OEs and dealers not to wait, interest is exceedingly high. It's a first-come, first-served basis, and there are no terms," he said. "I'd say buy as many as you can now. They may make more, but if they do, there will be a delay."

    To contact Foldaway Solutions about buying replacement batteries for BionX systems, contact Fagut at 315-882-2808 or ken@foldawaysolutions.com, or Ken DeCesari at 858-663-2515 or ken.decesari@foldawaysolutions.com.

     


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    SAUSALITO, Calif. (BRAIN) — True Communications has hired Andrew Bernstein, a former gear editor, senior marketing manager and sales account manager at Bicycling magazine.

    "Someone with Andrew's breadth of skill and experience is incredibly difficult to find. We are all super glad to have him join our team," said True Communication's founder and CEO, Mark Riedy. "Andrew will be instrumental in helping brands develop strategies that leverage all of the communications channels that are available. His years of experience working in — and helping to shape — the ever-changing media landscape will be invaluable to the companies we partner with."

    Bernstein will be relocating to Colorado in September. "Andrew's knowledge of the active outdoor business will allow us to better serve one of our core missions: helping clients connect with their existing and potential customers in more meaningful ways through communicating authentic, meaningful communications," said Riedy.


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    CYPRESS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, has hired two new field marketing and sales representatives to support its Power Assist Bicycle product line rollout and help develop its network of traditional bicycle dealers and specialty e-bike shops.

    Kyle Ireton will serve Yamaha's Western states retailers, while Cody Forbes will represent Yamaha with dealers in the East. Both started their new positions with the Yamaha Power Assist Bicycle group in May.

    Yamaha is shipping its first-ever U.S. Power Assist Bicycles to retailers across the country this summer. 

    "Yamaha is committed to providing Power Assist Bicycle consumers with the best possible experience — the type of experience they expect from Yamaha — from the product itself, to the buying experience, and through the ownership experience with continued quality service and support," said Drew Engelmann, Yamaha's Power Assist Bicycle sales and marketing manager. "It's important that we work with the right retail partners, and that those retailers know they have Yamaha's full support to ensure the success of this historic product rollout as we continue building excitement around our bicycles in the retail market."

    Ireton is a bicycle industry veteran, having most recently served as manager of the River City Bicycles' Belmont, Oregon, location. He has a variety of previous experience at bike shops in Southern California and was captain of the San Diego Bicycle Club's mountain bike team and president of the Cal State-San Marcos Cycling team.

    Forbes has been with Yamaha for almost two years and comes to the group from powersports service, sales and business development, including 13 years of experience in motor sports retail with a strong focus on customer service and retail operations. A strong cycling enthusiast, his professional experience also includes managing a startup motor sports franchise and serving as a professional motor sports race team mechanic.

    "Everyone on the Yamaha Power Assist Bicycle team is extremely excited to have Kyle and Cody join our sales and marketing efforts, and both their personal and professional experiences will help them develop lasting relationships with retailers," said Rob Trester, the division manager of Yamaha Power Assist Bicycles. "We're equally excited about the retail relationships that we're developing as we launch our all-new line of bikes. This is just the beginning for Yamaha bicycles in the U.S. market, and we look forward to adding high quality retailers throughout this year and beyond."

    Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. (YMC) launched its first electrically power assisted bicycle in 1993 and has since produced more than 4 million drive units and sold more than 2 million Yamaha power assist bicycles. YMC also supplies e-bike systems to OEM customers worldwide.

    More information: YamahaBicycles.com


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    TREVISO, Italy (BRAIN) — The Sidi Company is warning consumers to beware of websites masquerading as "official Sidi websites."

    "We have received numerous warnings these last several days about websites that are advertising Sidi products for sale on line at a deep discount. The Sidi Company is cautioning all consumers to look out for suspicious offers like these, which actually amount to nothing less than online fraud," the company said.

    According to Sidi, the sites include www sidi store, www sidieur com and others. Both sites represent themselves as "official" Sidi stores and outlets and offer shoes at up to 80 percent discount. The sites feature photos and graphics borrowed from the real Sidi site. 

    According to the WHOIS directory, www sidi store is registered by Jiang Jia Zhi in Zhejiang, China, and was created 44 days ago. Sidieur com is registered to Zhang Ying of FuZhouShi, China and was created 26 days ago. 

    "The company declares that it was completely unaware of these sites, which are in no way authorized to use the Sidi name or brand, much less sell Sidi products. These sites are harmful to Sidi's image and reputation; therefore the company will use the law to its full extent to prosecute these damaging violations in order to protect the rights of consumers.

    "Therefore, Sidi advises all our clients to exercise extreme caution when considering offers that may appear on websites and social media, and to carefully verify the validity of the source before proceeding with a purchase."

    Sidi's official website is www.sidi.com. The brand's U.S. distributor is ciclista-america.com.


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    LAKEWOOD, Fla. (BRAIN) — On July 1, the Look Cycle Group will begin direct distribution to U.S. dealers from a facility in Bradenton, Florida.

    Hawley-Lambert, which has been the exclusive Look distributor in the U.S., will continue selling Look pedals alongside Look USA. However Hawley will stop selling Look bikes in the U.S. In Canada, Lambert will continue selling Look bikes and pedals.

    Corima will continue to be distributed by ARG Sports Inc., out of Montreal; the new U.S. operation will not be selling into Canada with either brand.

    Look Cycle International bought a majority interest in Corima in 2016

    "Look and Corima both have a rich history of innovation and design expertise; I'm thrilled to help accelerate these pioneering brands in the United States," said Mike Gann, the vice president of sales and marketing for Look and Corima USA. The Bradenton facility will be the U.S. sales, service, and distribution headquarters for the brands.

    Look & Corima USA have enlisted the services of six sales agencies in the U.S., totaling 39 independent sales representatives to represent the two brands, selling into independent bicycle dealers, Gann said.

    "We are dedicated to supporting successful IBDs with the highest quality products and improving customer service/aftersales service and support," he said.

    He said the company is committed to "pull-based" sales programming, while eliminating pre-seasons and pre-booking commitments.

    Look and Corima marketing in the U.S. includes supporting over 100 events in 2018 through a title sponsorship of NRS, the event support and activation program created by Butch Balzano.

    Federico Musi, Look Cycle Group's CEO, added, "We are proud to kick off our direct presence in the U.S., a strategic additional milestone in the execution of the development plan for our group. North American IBDs will benefit from an efficient direct distribution model; the product offerings — with the new MTB pedals, the future aero and gravel bikes, along with the implementation of MAP policy — represent solid business opportunities for our retailers."


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    LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BRAIN) — BikeExchange, which claims to be the world's largest online marketplace for bike products, will launch this month in Canada, its tenth global market. 

    BikeExchange, which opened U.S. operations in 2015, offers retailers custom e-commerce shops and an advertising channel.

    The company said there has already been interest in Canada, with retailers signing up to the BikeExchange Canada platform before the official launch.

    Founded in Australia 11 years ago, the BikeExchange Group receives over 30 million visits to its global sites annually. It operates in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Colombia and now Canada.

    The site is owned by the same company that owns CyclingTips.com

    Mark Watkin, the global CEO of BikeExchange, said, "Canada is an exciting market for BikeExchange. Our model is already proven in nine countries, where we help retailers and brands achieve success in enquiries and sales by reaching an engaged cycling audience."

    North American CEO Matt Gordin, who is leading the Canadian launch said, "We are very positive about our launch in Canada. We will initially concentrate our efforts in British Columbia and particularly Vancouver where there is a high concentration of bike stores and more of an all-year round cycling climate. We want to be ready for the summer season and are looking forward to helping boost retailer sales through a focused online presence."

    On BikeExchange, retailers have options to simply classify their advertisements, offer click-and-collect, or (brand permitting) they can enable e-commerce. Retailers can also enable a fully e-commerce-enabled website skinned for their store and brand.

    BikeExchange provides full integration into Canada's two largest point of sale software providers, Lightspeed and Ascend.

    More information at bikeexchange.ca.

     

     


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    OLNEY, Ill. (BRAIN) — Dahon said its newly restructured management team is committed to strengthening operations and continuing growth.

    Founder and CEO Dr. David Hon remains the chairman and CEO of the Dahon Group. Also, Tadahiro Kodama, the former president of Bridgestone Cycles Sales Company, who joined the Dahon Group in 2014, will continue to serve as the deputy chairman.

    Rick Hartwell, the product planning adviser to the Dahon Group for the last several years, will become Dahon new chief marketing product officer. Hartwell has over 35 years of experience in the bicycle industry, working for companies including BMC Switzerland and Ritchey Design, and was a former member of the DAHON team from 2003-2006.

    New to the company is Dr. Peter Lee, who is acting general manager. Lee has had extensive operational experience while serving as the Far East regional head of several multinational companies, including over 13 years with the Coca-Cola Company, as senior vice president of Coca-Cola Pacific. He also was the first president of Coca-Cola China.

    A new 6-member executive committee will guide the Dahon Group operationally and strategically. The committee will consist of four divisional directors: Dr. Hon heads up Tech & Innovation, with Tad Kodama and Rick Hartwell overseeing Marketing & Sales. Finance & Admin is under Winn Du, and Manufacturing will be lead by Will Tu, together with the Dr. Lee.

    The company said the restructuring comes as Dahon is developing a "customer-friendly dealer-market-oriented omnichannel strategy."


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