Articles on this Page
- 07/24/18--09:54: _Louis Garneau injur...
- 07/24/18--11:22: _The NPD Group offer...
- 07/24/18--14:36: _Retailers: Is every...
- 07/24/18--15:06: _Ultracycle Presta A...
- 07/25/18--10:36: _Gecik forms demo ma...
- 07/25/18--11:17: _Crankbrothers launc...
- 07/26/18--08:03: _Amer's cycling divi...
- 07/26/18--08:16: _Yeti Cycles hires K...
- 07/26/18--09:17: _Portland's Velo Cul...
- 07/26/18--10:24: _USAC names Jeff Pie...
- 07/26/18--11:15: _Trek recalling abou...
- 07/26/18--11:44: _Hexlox offers modul...
- 07/26/18--12:16: _PeopleForBikes plan...
- 07/26/18--15:41: _E-bike industry tes...
- 07/27/18--07:46: _Interbike opens reg...
- 07/27/18--08:23: _Portland Design Wor...
- 07/27/18--08:45: _Norwest Equity Part...
- 07/30/18--09:00: _Shimano first half ...
- 07/30/18--09:10: _Troy Lee Designs CE...
- 07/30/18--09:52: _Opinion from PBMA's...
- 07/24/18--11:22: The NPD Group offers retailers free custom reports at Interbike
- 07/24/18--15:06: Ultracycle Presta Adapter 2.0 also removes valve cores
- 07/25/18--10:36: Gecik forms demo management company
- 07/25/18--11:17: Crankbrothers launches e-MTB wheelset
- 07/26/18--08:03: Amer's cycling division sales down 13% in first half
- 07/26/18--08:16: Yeti Cycles hires Kristi Jackson as marketing director
- 07/26/18--09:17: Portland's Velo Cult closing store, will focus on online retail
- 07/26/18--11:15: Trek recalling about 10,000 Bontrager flat pedals
- 07/26/18--11:44: Hexlox offers modular thru axle that fits most bikes
- A front 15mm diameter with reversible M15x1.5/M14x1.5 threads. Width adjustable from 125-160mm.
- A front 12mm diameter that works with M12x1,M12x1.5, or M12x1.75 threads. Width adjustable from 115-156mm.
- A rear 12mm diameter that works with M12x1, M12x1.5, or M12x1.75 threads. Width adjustable from 152-200mm.
- 07/26/18--12:16: PeopleForBikes plans Friday webinar on proposed tariffs
- 07/26/18--15:41: E-bike industry testifies against proposed tariffs
- 07/27/18--07:46: Interbike opens registration for 2018 Mechanics Challenge
- 07/27/18--08:23: Portland Design Works hires RoseMary Sindt as marketing manager
- 07/27/18--08:45: Norwest Equity Partners makes investment in Wahoo Fitness
- 07/30/18--09:00: Shimano first half bike-related sales up 7 percent
- 07/30/18--09:52: Opinion from PBMA's James Stanfill: Value our time
QUÉBEC (BRAIN) — Louis Garneau crashed during a group ride on Saturday and wound up in the hospital with a concussion and punctured lung. The 59-year-old is a former Canadian national team member on the road and track.
Garneau was released from Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus on Sunday morning.
According to Radio Canada, Garneau bumped wheels with another rider in the group.
On his Facebook page Saturday, Garneau wrote "bad crash this morning but l'm ok... wear your helmet," with a photo of himself heavily bandaged and with a oxygen mask. In a later post, he also appeared to be in a hospital bed but was smiling and giving the victory sign.
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (BRAIN) — The NPD Group will offer two free product category sales report to retailers attending Interbike.
The service will provide reports of nationwide sales trends for the retailers' choice of product categories, including a list of the top-performing brands and items being exhibited at Interbike. Retailers may select two of the 17 product categories available for analysis, and each report may be customized based on a store's brand mix and other factors. The custom reports will be available for retailers at NPD's booth on the Interbike show floor.
For retailers currently part of NPD's retail panel or who join at no cost before the show, NPD will provide access and customized reports for any or all of the 17 categories. NPD will also provide analysis of key price points to NPD retailer partners.
"NPD's exclusive offering is geared toward helping retailers focus their time and be more efficient at Interbike. Equipped with the latest sales data and insights, retailers will be able to hit the show floor and see the exhibition through a different lens, to not only get the most out of the show but also have the benefit of making fact-based buying decisions," said Jim Kelley, president of sports at The NPD Group.
Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry adviser for NPD's sports practice, will present the latest retail and consumer trends during his Interbike session, "Shopping Trends of the Cycling Consumer," on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 8 a.m.
RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Ultracycle's Presta Adapter 2.0 is a lightweight aluminum valve adapter with a built-in tool to remove valve cores. It is available exclusively from KHS Bicycles.
The Presta Adapter 2.0 comes in six different colors — black, blue, red, gold, orange and purple — and the grip area is fluted to resemble a cable adjuster. The adapters come in POP display jars of 100 pieces.
For more information, contact KHS Bicycles at 800-347-7854.
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Brendan Gecik, formerly North American sales manager at Highway Two, has launched his own venture called DemoWorx, a multibrand bicycle and equipment demo management company based in California.
"I learned a lot from my time as an outside rep and even more during my tenure as national sales manager for some of the largest accessory brands in the industry. One of the common hurdles for brands is simply getting their product in front of consumers when they're ready to buy. Our mission is to make those moments more common and more impactful. We bring the products to the people," said Gecik.
DemoWorx will give consumers the opportunity to see and ride bikes rarely found on showroom floors and help facilitate sales through retailers or the brands. DemoWorx reduces the cost of operating demos through a combined effort. "We can substantially increase the number of demos at a fraction of the cost brands typically face when doing it on their own," said Gecik. "And by concentrating our efforts in California first, we can ensure those dollars are invested in a vitally important market."
DemoWorx will begin with demos throughout California starting in September and then expand to other key markets in the future.
"By targeting bike brands looking for an increased footprint in the marketplace and adding in curated, relevant accessory lines, we can create a content-rich experience for consumers," said Gecik. "It's pretty simple, we're connecting consumers with bikes and products they would likely otherwise only see on the internet."
Brendan Gecik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (BRAIN) — Crankbrothers' new E-MTB-specific Lithium wheelset features twin-pair spoke technology with stronger 2.0 straight-gauge spokes, a "robust" steel freehub, and wide reinforced rim profile.
The wheel is designed for electric mountain bikes up to 350 watts maximum.
The freehub is 3-pawl, 11-speed HG mountain-style cassette compatible. An XD driver is available separately for $99 retail. The front axle is 15x110 Boost, rear axle is 148x112 Boost. The rim has a shot-peen black anodized finish. It has an internal width of 35 millimeters, 40 millimeters outer.
Weight is 2,085 grams. Retail price is $779.
More information: crankbrothers.com/products/lithium-wheelset.
HELSINKI (BRAIN) — Amer Sports, owner of Enve and Mavic, reported Thursday that sales in its cycling division were down 13 percent in the first half of 2018, to 60 million euros ($70 million). In the second quarter, sales in the division were down 11 percent.
"Cycling continued to be adversely impacted by lower OEM orders and low demand in wholesale channel," the company said.
Across all its divisions, Amer's first half sales were up 2 percent, to 1.1 billion euros. Second quarter sales also were up 2 percent.
Amer's president and CEO, Heikki Takala, said, "Q2 is our smallest quarter, during which we prepare for the significantly bigger H2."
"Our initiative pipeline is robust, and we expect strong growth in Arc'teryx, winter sports equipment, sports instruments, and fitness."
Amer will hold an investor conference call later Thursday.
The company's brands include Salomon, Arc'teryx, Peak Performance, Atomic, Mavic, Suunto, Wilson and Precor. Amer Sports shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange (AMEAS).
GOLDEN, Colo. (BRAIN) — Yeti Cycles has hired Kristi Jackson as the director of marketing. Jackson will lead all marketing initiatives at Yeti.
Jackson joins Yeti with 10 years of marketing experience. Most recently, she served as the director of digital media and commerce for Nike's North America business. During her time at Nike, Jackson led media strategy and executed a wide variety of marketing acquisition and engagement programs. A Colorado native, Jackson has also spent time on the agency-side working at two boutique agencies.
Yeti's president, Chris Conroy, said, "Kristi's experience leading strategic marketing programs will be vital as we look to the future of Yeti. Her passion for creating consumer-led marketing programs and ability to manage multifaceted campaigns to support business priorities uniquely position her for success with Yeti."
"We employ the best in the industry and Kristi covers an area where we had opportunities for further growth. She adds horsepower to an already strong marketing team."
Jackson said this new position with Yeti combines her passion for the outdoors with her professional experience. "This opportunity is a dream come true. I am excited to take on the challenge of applying my marketing expertise to the mountain bike industry and explore new opportunities to drive growth for Yeti," said Jackson.
PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Velo Cult, the Portland retailer and popular gathering place for the local cycling community, is closing to focus on online sales of its own branded products and soft goods.
Owner Sky Boyer opened Velo Cult in San Diego in 2006. In 2012, he moved the business to a 10,000-square-foot location in Portland that served as a retail and service shop, bar and event space. Velo Cult sells its own hand-built frame, soft goods and other branded products in addition to carrying such brands as Surly, Linus, Marin and Masi.
In a release this week, Velo Cult stated that it was "opting to sidestep the difficulty of traditional brick and mortar in favor of focusing on online sales and brand building."
Boyer said, "We've hosted weddings, funerals, concerts, poetry slams, musical jam sessions, parties to celebrate all occasions, and even got recognition on CNN, Travel Channel, and in numerous magazines. With this big space we ran into problems with the bar in regards to the city. In the end, the requirements from the city to keep the bar going are too great for a business like ours to take on. We don't own the building, so the expense for upgrades and the change to the layout does not make sense."
Velo Cult will throw a goodbye party on Saturday, July 28, starting at 6 p.m., and will begin liquidating merchandise, displays and other store items on Aug. 1.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — USA Cycling has named Jeff Pierce director of elite athletics, road and track — overseeing road and track cycling programs from the development level through the USAC National Team.
A professional road racer for 22 years, Pierce returns to USAC after spending recent years in corporate marketing and sales. He previously served as USA Cycling's vice president, athletics.
"We are extremely honored and excited to have Jeff's leadership and experience back at USA Cycling," said Scott Schnitzspahn, USAC's vice president of elite athletics.
"In addition to his amazing career as a professional cyclist, pioneering the way for today's professional riders, Jeff has led our elite athletics program in the past, served for many years on our volunteer selection committee, coached some of our top riders, and has been an integral part of our recent talent identification camps. He also had a very successful corporate management career. We are well positioned for a successful run at the medals in Tokyo with Jeff at the helm of our road and track programs."
During his professional road racing career, Pierce became the third American to win a stage at the Tour de France, in 1987. He competed in seven grand tours and collected several wins in road races around the United States. Pierce was a member of the U.S. national team, and he was the No. 1-ranked rider in the country in 1985.
WATERLOO, Wis. (BRAIN) — Trek Bicycle is recalling about 10,000 Bontrager Lin Pro flat pedal because the pedal spindles can break.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Trek has received five reports from consumers of broken spindles. No injuries have been reported.
The recall involves all Bontrager Line Pro flat bicycle pedals. They are aluminum-body pedals that come in orange or black. "Line Pro" and "Bontrager" are printed on the body of the pedal.
Trek is recalling about 9,630 pairs in the U.S. and about 600 pairs in Canada.
Consumers can contact Trek at 800-373-4594 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at www.trekbikes.com.
Consumers can take the pedals to a Trek retailer for a free repair. According to Trek, Trek retailers have been notified and replacement spindles are available immediately. In addition to free replacement spindles, all customers who return a pair of Bontrager Line Pro flat pedals for repair will be issued an in-store credit of $20 good towards any Trek or Bontrager merchandise. The credit is valid through December 31, 2018 and has no cash value.
The pedals were sold from April 2016 through June 2018 for about $100. According to a Trek recall notice, "A limited number of these pedals were made with hydrogen embrittlement in the spindle of the pedal, which could cause one or both of the pedals to fail. If the spindle fails, the pedal body could separate from the spindle. If this happens while riding the bicycle, you could be involved in a serious accident."
The recall was conducted, voluntarily by the company, under CPSC's Fast Track Recall process. Fast Track recalls are initiated by firms, who commit to work with CPSC to quickly announce the recall and remedy to protect consumers.
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Hexlox has introduced a modular thru axle that allows retailers to reduce inventory by stocking three models that should fit most thru axle bikes, including standard, Boost and fat bike frames and forks.
The HexThru axles have a reversible thread section that allows fit with the most popular thread variations on frames and forks. The axle lengths adjusts to fit various fork and frame dimensions, including standard and Boost. Once the length is adjusted on first use, the axle works like any other, allowing quick installation and removal with a 6 millimeter hex key.
Hexlox said the HexThru axle offers the additional advantage of ensuring that the unthreaded part of the axle is bearing the weight of the bike. The main parts of the axle are aluminum, but the 6 mm hex bolt end is steel, allowing torque up to 16 Nm. It comes with a plastic cap for a weather seal over the bolt head. The axle is compatible with the locking Hexlox security system, which is optional.
The axles are available in three sizes:
The HexThru axles are expected to be available in October. They will retail for 49 euros in the EU following a pre-order period, when they are being sold for 45 euros. A U.S. MSRP was not immediately available.
Hexlox is also launching a new standard thru axle for OEMs, available in any specification and designed to be ready for the Hexlox security system.
BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — PeopleForBikes will conduct a free half-hour webinar on proposed U.S. tariffs on Friday.
The Trump administration has proposed increasing the duty on most bicycles, components and accessories by 10 percent, and a 25 percent tariff has been proposed for electric bicycles and motors.
The webinar is at 10:30 a.m. PT. You can register to attend at: register.gotowebinar.com/register/5033574519913950723.
WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Two members of the U.S. e-bike industry testified Wednesday in opposition to the Trump adminstration's proposed 25 percent tariff on e-bikes from China.
The representatives argued that the tariff would harm U.S. businesses and consumers and would not protect any U.S. manufacturers, because there are none.
"While the proposed tariff has the potential to hurt the jobs that our industry supports in areas such as engineering, marketing and sales, it is also unlikely to have any positive effect on domestic manufacturing," Bob Burns testified. Burns is a vice president and general counsel for Trek Bicycle, and testified on behalf of PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. Burns is a board member at both organizations.
"Across the U.S. bicycle industry, virtually 100 percent of the electric-assist bicycles sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas," Burns said. "And, 100 percent of the motors used in these products are manufactured overseas. Simply put, there is no domestic manufacturing footprint protected by the proposed 25 percent tariff, which is the intended use of tariffs. The U.S. bicycle industry is investing in engineering, research and development, and marketing to continue to provide our customers with a better and more affordable product. A 25 percent tariff on the import of electric-assist bicycles will hinder this investment and result in the loss of these jobs. A 25 percent tariff on imported motors for electric bicycles will discourage the industry from efforts to assembly these products in the U.S."
E-bikes and e-bike motors were included on a list of 284 product categories that would be subject to the tariff, announced in June. The $16 billion in products on the list would be added to the goods that have been receiving the tariffs since July 6, reaching the total of $50 billion in Chinese imports that President Donald Trump said should be subject to the 25 percent tariff. Trump has since then proposed another list, of $200 billion in Chinese goods, that would be subject to a 10 percent duty. Many bike products are on that list.
A decision on the e-bike tariffs is expected in two to three months.
Besides Burns, Don DiConstanzo, the founder and CEO of Pedego, also testified. Daniel Harman, the vice president of the Bird electric scooter brand, testified too. Electric scooters are imported under the same tariff code as e-bikes.
DiConstanzo pointed out that U.S. e-bike companies have few options to source their bikes and motors.
"Pedego’s business is reliant on imports because no companies manufacture electric bicycles in the United States," he said.
"Pedego does not have the option to effectively build all of its electric bikes in the United States because virtually all of the components used on bicycles are unavailable or in short supply in our country. While there are a couple of other countries that can build electric bicycles, they would still have to source the components from China and the capacity is limited in the other countries. And whatever capacity is available, it (would) be swallowed up by the advent of a tariff of 189 percent proposed in Europe."
DiConstanzo, Burns and Harman were joined by 89 others who testified against the proposed tariffs at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The witnesses included manufacturers of semiconductors, vaping devices, tractors, medical equipment and more products on the list. Trade groups including the National Retail Federation, the Steel Manufacturers Association and the American Petroleum Institute also testified.
The prepared remarks from DiConstanzo and Burns are attached below.
PeopleForBikes is planning a half-hour webinar for Friday for industry members to educate themselves about the proposed tariffs.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike has opened registration for the third annual Mechanics Challenge presented by Park Tool.
The event will take place on the Interbike show floor with qualifying heats on Sept. 18-19 and the semi-final and final rounds held from 2-5 p.m. on Sept. 19.
"This event is a ton of fun! It's the mechanics' time trial," said nine-time Tour de France competitor and broadcast personality Frankie Andreu, who has emceed the event since its first year. "Mechanics are the heart and soul of every shop and the talent and speed that's on display at the Challenge is just phenomenal. People should come to see it – and any mechanic who's coming to the show should definitely register."
The qualifying heats of the Mechanics Challenge feature an all-new series of four timed stations that test the mechanics' ability to complete standard bicycle repair and assembly tasks quickly and accurately. The four competitors with the best times face off to complete a different set of four timed tasks in the semi-final round. For the final, two mechanics go head-to-head on five tasks, in a race to finish first. Andreu provides live commentary for spectators, who can enjoy the action from grandstand seating adjacent to the workspace.
"Last year, we dialed in to a terrific format for the Mechanics Challenge," said Eric Hawkins, the president of Park Tool. "There are challenge tasks for every round, different from the previous year's, which are judged solely on time and accuracy. The mechanics' skills take center stage. Park Tool will be there to cheer on all the mechanics, and we're proud to award the first and second place finishers with some of our newest offerings."
The prize packages furnished by Park Tool, Shimano, and Interbike include the soon-to-be-released Park Tool BX-3 Rolling Big Blue Box, a new, impact-resistant traveling tool case valued at $515, and hotel accommodations at Interbike 2019 for the overall winner. The second place finisher will receive the reconfigured Park Tool BX 2.2 Blue Box Tool Case. Additionally, both winners will take home Shimano products and a limited edition Park Tool Kuhl Brand ambassador jacket valued at $120.
In addition to its presenting sponsor Park Tool, returning Mechanics Challenge sponsors include Gemini Timing, Project Bike Tech, and the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association , whose volunteers act as officials and oversee the challenge stations. Eric Lepping, a team mechanic and race management veteran for more than 30 years, also has returned to direct the event.
One thing that will definitely change in 2018, however, is the name of the winner, as defending two-time past champion Win Allen, of Win's Wheels in Westlake Village, California, has joined the board of PBMA, and announced that he will not compete this year to avoid any conflict of interest. Allen will cheer from the sidelines of an event he describes as one of his best Interbike memories.
PBMA's president, James Stanfill, said, "The Mechanics Challenge is the perfect platform to have a little fun, as well as show off just how efficient of a mechanic you can be. We are excited to be back promoting professional mechanics at a great event like Interbike!"
Registration for the Mechanics Challenge is free, and available exclusively online at Active.com. All competitors and spectators must be registered Interbike show attendees. Additional information about the Mechanics Challenge and other show events can be found on the Interbike website.
Related: A win for Win at the Mechanics Challenge— Sept. 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Portland Design Works has hired RoseMary Sindt as marketing manager, developing and managing PDW's marketing, event and sponsorship initiatives. She started in the position July 1.
"RoseMary has an infectious enthusiasm about bikes and I think she's going to inspire more people to ride," said Erik Olson, PDW's general manager. "We're very happy to have her as part of the crew, and representing PDW out there in the world."
Sindt brings more than five years of marketing and sales experience at both East and West Coast brands. Most recently she worked as brand and sales manager at Tokyobike in Los Angeles.
"I am super excited to have recently relocated to Portland. It is such a beautiful and inviting city. It's truly a cyclist's dream here," Sindt said. "Even more exciting than relocating is my new position with PDW. I've long been an advocate for everyday cycling, and I couldn't dream of a more perfect company to work for."
MINNEAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Norwest Equity Partners, a middle market investment firm founded in 1961, has made an investment in Atlanta-based Wahoo Fitness. The transaction closed on June 30; financial terms were not disclosed, but NEP said the investment was "significant."
Tim DeVries, NEP's managing partner, said, "Wahoo represents a highly reputable brand in the evolving fitness technology space through its ecosystem of category-leading products. Chip Hawkins and his team have generated impressive growth during Wahoo's short history, and their work has positioned the Company for continued growth not only within its current offerings but also through additional products and channels in the near future. NEP is fortunate to partner with the Wahoo team, and we view this opportunity as a great fit with our active lifestyle investment platform."
NEP's investment marks the first time Wahoo has partnered with an institutional investor. "We are excited to work with an investment partner like NEP," said Hawkins, Wahoo's founder and CEO. "Our partnership with NEP is a direct reflection of the success we have built to date, and we are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead with their team by our side. We are confident our partnership with NEP will help us achieve our next phase of growth."
NEP has previously made investments in active lifestyle brands including Life Time Fitness, Movati Athletic, The Edge Fitness, Christy Sports, and Bowtech.
OSAKA, Japan (BRAIN) — Robust European e-bike sales and an average year for bike sales in North America led to a 6.8 percent sales increase in Shimano's bike division in the first half of 2018, the company said Monday.
Bike-related sales were 137.9 billion yen ($1.24 billion) in the half. Operating income in the half year was up 9.0 percent to 29,506 million yen.
"In Europe, driven by the stable weather after April and retail sales of completed bicycles of e-bike that have been robust, distributor inventories of bicycles remained at an appropriate level," the company said. "In North America, retail sales of completed bicycles were on par with an average year, and distributor inventories remained at an appropriate level."
The company said sales of completed bicycles showed no signs of recovery in China, where retail sales of low-end and middle-range bicycles continued to be sluggish. "On the other hand, bike sharing that spread widely in urban areas (of China) last year is facing a period of realignment," the company said.
Shimano also said Southeast Asia "lacked vigor," and South American consumption showed signs of slowdown due to the effects of currency depreciation in Brazil and Argentina. Distributor inventories were at an appropriate level both in Southeast Asia and South America.
It said Japanese bike sales have remained sluggish but showed signs of improvement after April.
Net sales across all divisions was up 7.1 percent, to 175 billion yen. Operating incomes across all divisions was up 11.9 percent.
Shimano's fishing business was up 8.4 percent in the half, and operating income in fishing was up 32 percent. Fishing sales were 37 billion yen for the half.
Shimano held to its previous forecast of 350 billion yen in sales for the year, but revised down its nonoperating income forecast due to the strong U.S. dollar and the costs of a factory fire in the second quarter. Previously Shimano had forecast ordinary income for the full year at 70.9 billion yen. Now it forecasting 65.6 billion yen.
The company said the fire costs totaled 1.6 billion yen. The March fire was at a surface treatment facility at Shimano's factory in Sakae, Japan.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (BRAIN) — Dave Bertram, who became CEO of Troy Lee Designs in late 2016, has resigned for personal reasons, the company announced.
Company founder Troy Lee and general manager Bill Keefe will handle the CEO responsibilities while the company searches for a replacement.
"Dave made a lot of great operational contributions to our business that we will benefit from in the years to come and I am more excited about our products and the direction of the company than I have ever been," Troy Lee said.
By James Stanfill
Editor's note: James Stanfill is the president of the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association.
I had this thought in regards to a question someone posted on Facebook. They asked the group the following:
"Customer just called. He has a 4-5k budget on a mountain bike. Wants to pick my brain for advice. Talked for 20 minutes already. Considering a Stumpy or even a Canyon. I told him about a Yeti I am borrowing. At some point, I should charge him for my time ... How to hand this professionally and make it profitable?"
This got me thinking about some questions which this person should ask of themselves, such as: "What is the value of this customer to me? Do they have a history of business with me? I know the retail dollars on the bike aren't going to put food on my table. Are they good bike owners (i.e. they bring their trusty machines for regular service from their favorite mechanic)?"
So, to address the idea of charging for "consulting" time, we should consider the following: a consulting fee is relevant and fair but should also be disclosed up front. "We can help you choose just the right bike, including x y z," but it should absolutely be on your menu at the get-go. Otherwise we just look greedy for specifying after the fact. Each and every store out there bases their labor on some matrix of value, or we should hope. Why not simply post it ... consulting fee, we don't care if you buy here but if you're going to value our opinion (which takes time) this is what it costs.
Why be afraid of that? Time is money after all. If this is a customer, their long term value is greater than the retail profits offered by the slim margin you receive. Think about that. Perhaps the consultation fee is a percentage of your actual hourly charge but it should be there.
Not being able or willing to put it out there up front creates just the situation this question from Facebook poses ... how to go back and handle asking for money for your time and still look professional? If it was on your pricing board to begin with, neither you nor your customer would question the subject at all.
Why are we as an industry so afraid to value the skills involved in knowing what we know? This case in particular is a mobile operator who clearly has a client base or they would not have called and asked for his valued opinion. We seem to openly value the time of engineers, product managers, marketing departments and sales reps, but what about owners, mechanics and sales people? After all these are the people who work directly with the customer to convey your true marketing message.
It doesn't really matter where the customer ends up purchasing their product, it seems we are steering people to our online stores more every day. What happens where there are no educated mechanics, sales people or owners to answer those questions the product description cannot?
Value your time ... as an owner it's up to you to make sure this is happening especially in the internet age. As professionals working within an industry, we have the knowledge that others seek. They are coming to us because the internet can't solve these problems, it can't help them with a true bike fit or genuine knowledge. Opinions matter and consumers will gladly pay for professional knowledge when it comes to decorating their houses, seeking therapy, or so many other professional services ... so why not their $5,000 bike too?
Those are my thoughts on the subject. And perhaps the more who think this way, the better off we'd all be!