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    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (BRAIN) — Village Bike & Fitness, a four-store chain in the greater Grand Rapids area, has announced that 25-year veteran employee Cory Bultman has purchased the company from owners Dale Phelps and Pam Kruse. 

    Bultman began working for Village Bike Shop on Kalamazoo Avenue and 44th Street in 1993 at the age of 15. "He was just a young high school kid who loved bikes, so we put him to work sweeping the floor and taking out the trash," said Phelps. He added, "When the time was right to open a fourth location on the north side of town in 2001, there was no question that Cory should be the manager. That store has seen consistent growth. In 2003 Cory and I attended our first of eight science-based bike fitting schools and began offering our customers the ability ride farther and faster with more comfort and less injury. For the past several years Cory has been training new store managers and gradually taking over more of the general operations of the company."

    "When I started Village in 1974 I didn't have much of a strategic plan but was blessed with many special connections and opportunities over the past four decades. Cory on the other hand, not only has a plan, but consistently takes decisive action to implement winning ideas. He's a very ambitious and talented young man."

    Bultman said, "I'm thrilled to be taking leadership of such a great company, working alongside a very dedicated and service-oriented group of people.

    VBF's stores are in Jenison, Kentwood, Cascade, and Plainfield, Michigan. All four stores will remain open year round and retain all full-time staff members. VBF sells bicycles from Specialized, Giant, and Raleigh Electric as well as fitness equipment from Life Fitness, Lifespan and Endurance.


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    BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (BRAIN) — Unior USA has announced that its Bicycle Mechanics Handbook, Volume 1, is now in stock. The handbook was written by Denise Belzil, owner of and instructor at Techno Cycle in Montreal. Volume 1 is 274 pages with detailed instructions on the maintenance of hubs, bottom brackets, and headsets. 

    Volume 2, covering gear systems and brakes, should be available later this year.

    The book has a spiral binding so it lays flat on a workbench and laminated paper stocks to minimize the impact of grease smudges and oil stains.

    MSRP is $54.99. It is available direct from Unior USA at uniorusa.com. Retailers are welcomed to open dealer accounts for wholesale purchasing.

     


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    LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Bicycle Retailer & Industry News' former longtime publisher Marc Sani is returning to the helm of the magazine. Sani, who co-founded the magazine with Bill Tanler, had stepped down from the publisher role in 2013 and was recently recruited to return as interim publisher by the National Bicycle Dealers Association board.

    Megan Tompkins, who rejoined Bicycle Retailer in April 2013 as associate publisher and then publisher, has left to pursue other opportunities. Over the last five years Tompkins spearheaded the magazine's expansion into digital publishing, working with staff to launch weekly e-newsletters, adding video, bolstering the magazine's social media presence, and developing new editorial projects including BRAIN's Retail Remodel, e-bike market reports, and a triathlon-focused supplement.

    In recent months, Tompkins helped navigate the magazine through a challenging industry and publishing environment as the publication has weathered declines in print and digital advertising, prompting cost-cutting measures.

    Before rejoining the magazine five years ago, Tompkins led the editorial team at the magazine for seven years. She then left and worked in sales and marketing roles within the industry.

    "Megan is an incredibly passionate, hardworking and driven person," said Brandee Lepak, chair of the NBDA. "Anyone who has her on their side should consider themselves fortunate. Her dedication to this magazine was apparent every single day. We wish Megan well on her next adventure and know that she will continue to do extraordinary things with her life.

    "We are grateful Marc Sani has been willing to see us through this transition and difficult time," Lepak added. "Marc has seen the magazine through similar times in the past and we are confident that he will once again see BRAIN through these challenging circumstances."

    "I am proud of the work accomplished by the team at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News over my many years as both editor and publisher," said Tompkins. "The staff's dedication to providing a reliable platform for industry information was inspiring, and I am honored to have worked so closely with these amazing colleagues and friends. Now I am looking forward to writing my next chapter in the industry."

    Bicycle Retailer & Industry News is owned by Emerald Expositions, which also owns Interbike. Since 2003, the NBDA has published Bicycle Retailer & Industry News under license from Emerald Expo.


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    ALLENTOWN, Pa. (BRAIN) — Former world champion cyclist Marty Nothstein said investigations for sexual misconduct stem from an anonymous "smear" that was sent to authorities soon after he announced he was running for U.S. Congress. 

    Nothstein is the GOP nominee to fill the newly redistricted open 7th House district in Pennsylvania. He faces Democrat Susan Wild in the general election.

    Last week, the Allentown Morning Call reported that the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, where Nothstein is executive director, placed him on leave as authorities investigated a sexual misconduct allegation. The allegation alleged that the misconduct took place about 18 years ago, the year Nothstein won an Olympic gold medal.

    Nothstein said he was informed on Feb. 9 that SafeSport, a U.S. Olympic Committee organization that investigates misconduct allegations against athletes, had received an anonymous tip about the alleged misconduct. 

    Nothstein said days after he learned of the SafeSport investigation, an anonymous person contacted Upper Macungie Township Police and made the same allegation, giving the same details.

    "An anonymous tipster planted a clearly false allegation in hopes of triggering an investigation," he said in a release. "Tipsters then turned around and planted a story with the media that I was under investigation. These days, that's all it takes to smear someone."

    "The accusation is false. There are no accusers in this case. The women identified to investigators deny that any misconduct occurred," he said. 

    According to Nothstein, the tipster named women who, the tipster said, had been victims of the misconduct. Nothstein said the women named have denied the allegations in signed affidavits. 

    "This anonymous smear was designed to destroy my livelihood, my candidacy, and my reputation. I'm not going to allow this to happen. It has affected my livelihood. Disrupted my campaign. And caused pain and worry in my family." he said. 

    "I want to say to the voters of this district: these are false accusations, planted just days after I began my candidacy. The presumed 'victims' themselves deny such a thing happened. It's time to end this sort of politics. We should be talking about policy, not false rumors."

    Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin's office released a statement last week saying, "An investigation into an allegation pertaining to Mr. Nothstein was conducted by the Upper Macungie Township Police Department and reviewed by this office. The allegation was found to be meritless, and the matter was closed."Martin endorsed Nothstein last year in a primary race in the PA-15 district. Nothstein eventually found himself running in the 7th district after a court-ordered redistricting in Pennsylvania. It's not clear whether Martin has endorsed Nothstein in the new district. 

    The Morning Call hosted a video of Nothstein's Friday news conference on its Facebook page. 


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    Trump administration's protectionist actions come "20 years too late," Bill Smith plans to tell the USTR. He also plans to speak out in defense of IBDs.

    DAYTON, Ohio (BRAIN) — If the Trump administration is imposing tariffs on Chinese bikes in an effort to protect domestic bike manufacturing, Huffy's CEO says that ship has sailed.

    "The assumption the proposed 25 percent tariff provides competitive relief to a domestic industry is 20 years too late," Bill Smith plans to tell the U.S. Trade Representive and other members of the Section 301 Committee later this week, according to planned remarks he submitted to the USTR on Aug. 10. 

    Smith pointed out that Huffy and fellow domestic bike markers Roadmaster and Murray had petitioned the USTR 20 years ago for relief from aggressive pricing from Chinese importers.

    "Our request was denied on the grounds that the administration was not going to interfere in developing economic relations with China due to problems with the bicycle industry. The failure to support our request subsequently resulted in Huffy closing three domestic bicycle plants and the termination of over 2,000 employees. Roadmaster and Murray suffered the same fate; factories closed, employees were laid off. And bicycle production in the U.S. largely ceased. Today over 95% of all bicycles sold in the U.S. are imported," Smith said.

    "This proposed tariff is too little too late. The tariff solves no problems. It only creates problems. Huffy imports over 4 million bicycles a year from China. There is no other country in Asia or Europe that can provide the volume Huffy requires as China is the largest bicycle producer in the world. There is no domestic parts infrastructure to protect as most bicycle components are also produced in China," he said.

    Smith also plans to argue that the bike industry is not in need of protection from intellectual property theft in China. "The bicycle industry, and in particular the mass market segment in which Huffy competes, is a low technology, high volume, high value segment. There are very few patents and very few if any Intellectual Property issues between American bicycle brands and China bicycle producers. There are none at all to my knowledge. The imposition of a 25% tariff under the guise of Intellectual Property protection or punishment is a fallacy as no such issue is present in the bicycle industry."

    Smith plans to say the proposed tariffs are a significant threat to Huffy and the rest of the bike industry.

    "The proposed tariff will have a devastating impact on bicycle sales as consumer demand will plummet. MORE IMPORTANTLY, it will devastate the American bicycle industry across all segments disproportionately impacting 4,000 independent bicycle dealers whose very livelihood depends on the sale of bicycles," he wrote in his prepared remarks. 

    Smith will speak at public hearings on Thursday. He will be in the same group as Arnold Kamler, the CEO and chairman of Kent International; Patrick Seidler, the president of Wilderness Trail Bikes; and Bob Burns of Trek Bicycle. 

    Other industry members spoke Monday morning in Washington as part of a testifying group before the committee. The proposed tariffs would add a 25 percent duty on complete bikes, frames, wheels, and other parts and accessories from China, including helmets, bike racks, and other items. The new tariffs would be on top of existing tariffs on some items, including tariffs of up to 11 percent on some complete bikes. 


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    WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The subject was supposed to be the 25 percent tariffs the Trump administration wants to impose on virtually all bicycle products coming out of China.

    But at a hearing in Washington Monday before the Section 301 Committee, Patrick Cunnane went in a slightly different direction and proposed a solution to unfair competition from China: lowering the minimum value of imports that triggers U.S. Customs to impose duties.

    Cunnane is CEO of Advanced Sports Enterprises, the parent company of the Performance Bicycle retail chain and e-commerce business and owner the Fuji, Kestrel, Breezer and SE bike brands.

    Cunnane told the multiagency committee that the current $800 minimum, commonly called the de minimus, allows offshore sellers to ship many bike products into the States without the collection of duties. Even before the new duties that the Trump administration has enacted or proposed, many bike products are subject to duties of 11 percent or more. In addition, Cunnane pointed out, the overseas sellers don't collect state taxes.

    Cunnane proposed lowering the minimum to $50. "The minimum tariff could be $50 for orders between $50 and $200, and 20 percent for sales between $200 and $1,000, and normal duty above $1,000," he told the committee, according to his prepared notes he shared with BRAIN on Monday.

    "This action would eliminate the unfair advantage that non-U.S. retailers have," he said.

    "Under the current de minimus of $800, businesses like mine lose business to foreign retailers. The current de minimus is death by a thousand cuts."

    The Section 301 Committee is a multiagency group that is hearing public and industry comments regarding the latest round of tariffs proposed by the U.S. Trade Representative. The USTR will decide in the coming weeks whether to impose some or all of them. The bike industry has already been affected this year by new tariffs on steel, aluminum, ball bearings and GPS bike computers. A tariff on e-bikes and e-bike motors takes effect Thursday.

    Cunnane told BRAIN that though his solution was not specifically responding to the merits of the proposed tariffs, members of the committee seemed responsive and questioned him about it after his presentation.

    In comments submitted online to the USTR, at least two bike retailers have also raised the issue of the $800 minimum. Mike Jacoubowsky, a partner in California's Chain Reaction Bicycles; and Jeff Selzer, general manager of Palo Alto Bicycles, each support lowering the minimum.

    "Why is U.S. policy so consistently lining up against the local brick & mortar retailer?" Jacoubowsky asked in his comment to the USTR. "Offering a consumer a savings of 25 percent on a direct purchase, when made online and purchased from China, could be the final nail in the coffin for many of us."

    The minimum was raised from $200 to $800 during the Obama administration. The rationale at the time was that the higher minimum frees officials to focus on inspecting imports for security risks.

    Earlier in his remarks, Cunnane spoke specifically about the proposed tariffs. He said ASE employs 2,000 Americans and sells to more than 1,500 specialty bike retailers in the U.S., as well as in more than 80 other countries. Performance has 104 stores. He said the company's annual revenues exceed $250 million.

    "Simply put: We anticipate a serious and harmful effect to our industry if these tariffs are approved. Our industry will see the tariffs increase by more than $250 million if a 25 percent tariff is approved, which will lead to fewer sales and less secure jobs."

    Cunnane was part of a testifying group that included Jen Harned of Bell Sports, Bob Margevicius of Specialized, and Matt Moore of QBP, along with representatives from other industries. Each panel member was allowed 5 minutes to speak and then took questions from committee members.

    Several other bike industry members will testify before the committee on Thursday.

    Related:


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    Photo courtesy WTB by Abner Kingman.

    MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Wilderness Trail Bikes plans to reshore some wheelbuilding next year to supply U.S. original equipment and aftermarket customers.

    The company plans to build wheels at its Novato, California, warehouse, using U.S.-made hubs and spokes and rims made in China. 

    WTB's president, Patrick Seidler, told BRAIN the company will invest in automated wheel building machinery and expects to hire two new employees for the wheel building project. He said it will likely start producing wheels in the second quarter next year. 

    He indicated the move was at least partly in response to proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made bike products. WTB currently has many of its high-end tires made in China, as well as some saddles, grips and rims, all of which would be subject to a 25 percent tariff under a proposal being considered by the U.S. Trade Representative. Seidler will speak at a public hearing about the proposal on Thursday in Washington. 


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    The Maya 2.0.

    MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) — Kali Protectives has released its new Maya 2.0 enduro helmet and Alpine full face helmet, both of which feature the brand's Low Density Layer (LDL) padding system.

    The Maya has been in the Kali lineup since 2015 but is updated with the LDL. The Alpine is a new model name based on the Avatar full face model. 

    The company says it uses the softest density EPS foam possible while still passing safety tests. The LDL padding system puts soft viscoelastic gel pads inside the helmet to protect riders from rotational and low-g linear impact forces.

    Today, Kali Protectives is proud to announce the release of two new helmets born from this obsession with putting soft stuff next to your head - the LDL equipped Maya 2.0 enduro half-shell and Alpine full face helmets.

    Besides the LDL, Kali promotes that its helmets have very round profiles for improved safety. "As soon as you add edges to the helmet shell design, you introduce potential catch points and the increased risk of rotational impact forces," the company said.

    Kali also said it upgraded the pad sets, improved the quality of the shell graphics and finish, and developed new more attractive packaging.

    The Alpine.All Kali bicycle helmets, including the Maya 2.0 and Alpine, are covered by the brand's limited Lifetime Crash Replacement Policy. If a helmets is damaged in a crash, the rider can file an LCR claim, and Kali will replace the helmet with one of equal or similar value for the cost of shipping.s

    The Alpine is said to be one of the lightest full face helmets on the market, at 900 grands. It's available in youth sizes as well as XS through XL.  ALPINE

    Combining LDL and Composite Fusion™ Plus technology, the Alpine is one of the lightest, strongest, featured packed full face helmets on the market today. It meets STM F1952, ASTM 2032, EN 1078, CPSC Bicycle, Az/Nz 2063-2008.

    Retail is $300, or $250 for youth sizes. More information at bike.kaliprotectives.com/helmets/full-face/alpine.

    The Maya 2.0 comes in three sizes and retails for $100. More information at bike.kaliprotectives.com/helmets/enduro/maya-2-0.

     


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    Maserati Trofeo e-road bike, with Bafang's motor, was a Eurobike hit.
    Lighter, discrete drive units are tuned for sporty road use. "You just maybe use (the motor) for 20 minutes."

    FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — It was a hard-to-miss trend at Eurobike this year. Electric drive systems are now appearing on the holiest of holy bikes: the high-end performance road bike.

    Several brands, including classic road bike brands like Pinarello, Wilier Triestina, Bianchi and Focus, have launched new e-road bike models, and other brands are queuing up their own offerings.

    Many of these bikes are coming to the U.S. market — but not as quickly as their brands would prefer. That's because the hot drive system of the moment, the compact Evation unit made by Munich startup Fazua, has not yet received U.S. regulatory approval. Fazua officials expect to receive the green light in the first half of 2019.

    Focus, for example, is champing at the bit to begin selling its Paralane Squared e-road bikes in the U.S. The bikes are now hitting European markets.

    The delay "affects us on a daily basis. We get requests, definitely on a weekly basis, from end consumers or retailers about this bike," said Andreas Krajewski, marketing manager for North America. "We actually see the consumer pull that every brand wants to have. That's great, but it's not great when you can't deliver the bike. We could sell them today, that's for sure."

    Fit for the road

    The unique demands of road bikes have created an opening for new drive system suppliers like Fazua and Spanish company Ebikemotion. The drive suppliers that now dominate the premium electric bike market, including Bosch, Brose and Shimano, are for now excluded from the market because their mid-drive motor systems are too bulky and heavy.

    "You don't use the battery for two hours or three hours. You just maybe use it for 20 minutes."

    Bafang, the giant Chinese drive supplier, launched a new system for e-road bikes, the M800, and should pick up spec in future months. The Italian car brand Maserati showed a Bafang-equipped road bike at Eurobike. The bike was developed with Diavelo, an Accell Group-owned brand. Bafang's 200-watt motor is paired with a small 200 Watt-hour battery, keeping the total system weight down to under 10 pounds.

    Bafang says the motor "has been tuned to perform optimally when starting off and accelerating, as well as on short sprints and steep climbs." When the motor's maximum assist speed is reached, the drivetrain unit runs almost resistance free, the company claims.

    While Fazua and Bafang put the motor in the bottom bracket, the Ebikemotion X35 drive relies on a compact 250-watt rear hub motor.

    The Bianchi Aria E-Road uses the Ebikemotion hub motor.

    By using the Ebikemotion system, Orbea and Bianchi have sidestepped the Fazua delay. Their new e-road bikes, the Orbea Gain and Bianchi Aria E-Road, will be available at U.S. retailers in the fall.

    Jim Stevenson, vice president of sales and marketing for Bianchi in the U.S., said about the e-road bike market here remained "undiscovered."

    "We don't know the size of the market. We'll bring it in and we're going to go out and put it out there and let people try it," Stevenson said.

    With a price tag of around $6,000 to $6,500, the Bianchi Aria is intended for serious road cyclists, not for riders who just want a transportation bike. (Bianchi released another e-road bike, the Impulso E-Road, last fall that uses a mid-drive system from Italian company Polini. But Stevenson said Bianchi doesn't plan to offer the Impulso E-Road in the U.S.)

    Stevenson expects the Aria to appeal to longtime cyclists who want to ride centuries but don't have the time or stamina to train. Bike tourists are another target customer, especially couples where one is a stronger cyclist than the other.

    "Regardless of how big the market is right now, it's a market that will be there and will grow over the next 10 years," Stevenson said.

    The Orbea Gain Carbon.

    The Ebikemotion system weighs 3.5 kg, or under 8 pounds, which allows for complete carbon road bikes that weigh less than 26.5 pounds.

    Jordan Hukee, Orbea's creative director, said the U.S. will focus on Orbea's second-generation version of the Gain with a carbon frame. Orbea originally launched the bike in Europe with an aluminum frame.

    That's because the Gain Carbon, which Orbea says is the lightest e-road bike now on the market, is aimed at cyclists who are already accomplished road bikers, so they are used to bikes that are light and sleek. "Everyone's just been dying over the carbon one," Hukee said. Orbea will also offer a gravel version of the Gain with a 1x SRAM drivetrain and 40c tires, and a flat-bar version for the urban market.

    Orbea announced the Gain in July and U.S. journalists were able to test it out at the Impact Sun Valley media event. In a review this week, Outside Online called the Gain "the most cutting-edge concept in e-bikes right now: it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a single bike that can be ridden enjoyably with or without electric assist."

    While road cyclists can be traditionalists, some in the market believe e-road bikes will have an easier chance of market acceptance than e-mountain bikes simply because they are less controversial.

    "The harshest blowback in the U.S. market to e-bikes has been related to trail access, which of course is a non-issue for road bikes," said Julie Kelly, a spokeswoman for Focus. "Our expectation is that out of the gate, there's going to be an easier threshold for an e-road bike to overcome for that reason."

    Newcomer Fazua makes waves

    Electrified road bikes are not new. The most notorious drive system is one made by Vivax, an Austrian company. The system, which fits inside a typical downtube, was linked to incidents of cheating by professional racers — only adding to the system's reputation.

    But days before Eurobike, Vivax abruptly pulled out of the demo and the main show, citing "restructuring in the company."

    Instead, Fazua seems to be riding the e-road bike wave. The young company recently received an $8 million infusion of investment capital and has been growing its workforce quickly. From its founding in a small room in Munich, Fazua now employs 50 people and has moved to a three-story building in the Munich suburbs.

    Fazua co-founder Fabian Reuter said Eurobike 2017 was when everything "exploded a little bit" for the company, as high profile brands like Focus highlighted the drive in concept bikes.

    The Fazua motor fits neatly into the downtube.

    "We decided to produce ten times more drive systems for [model year] 2019, which just started, than we had the year before," Reuter said. That led to a scramble for financing and employees. Reuter said production for MY2019 models began in May, and the company is delivering on time to customers.

    "Right now — right in the middle of starting and producing our MY2019 orders — we are also preparing the upcoming model years 2020 and 2021, and we have to predict how many drive systems we think we can sell," Reuter said. "For this prediction, the U.S. market is a big thing for us."

    But part of that depends on how quickly Fazua can receive approval from U.S. regulators for the drive system. The company also needs to find a U.S. partner to handle servicing for the Evation drive system. Reuter hopes to meet with potential service partners at Interbike, where it will have a booth.

    "It would be best to have a very big partner, and service wherever you need it, and maybe a partner that everybody trusts," Reuter said.

    One benefit for OEMs is that the Evation system mounts in minutes on an assembly line. The bottom bracket attaches with four screws, and there's only one cable that runs from the drive unit to the handlebar controller.

    Fazua sees an even bigger potential for "really cool" urban and transportation bikes, along with gravel road bikes. Lapierre is even using an Evation system on a new full-suspension e-MTB.

    The Pinarello Nytro raised eyebrows.

    Pinarello uses a Fazua Evation system on its $7,000 Nytro, launched last November in Europe. The launch was marred, at least in the U.S., by an advertising and social media campaign many perceived as sexist. Even repeating the company's marketing claims on our website earned BRAIN a raft of hate mail that editors won't soon forget. 

    E-road changes the game

    The emergence of e-road bikes also has the potential of changing the "spec wars" in e-bikes. Instead of going for ever-larger battery packs and higher-powered motors, an e-road bike is all about using as little as possible.

    "We dropped the weight and dropped the watt-hours, which is totally contrary to what e-bike manufacturers are marketing," Krajewski said. "They want to have bigger batteries, more power, whatever. But we flipped it around and said, we want to go with a battery that's just enough for one climb or two climbs, and that's it."

    He added, "You don't use the battery for two hours or three hours. You just maybe use it for 20 minutes."

    Another brand "feverishly" awaiting U.S. regulatory approval of the Evation system is Fantic, the Italian brand that is mostly known for its e-mountain bikes.

    "I really think the same pattern we've seen on the e-mountain bike side will happen on the e-road bike side, and actually even quicker, because these systems are smaller, sleeker and more integrated. They just don't scream as loudly, 'hey, we're an e-bike,'" said Rich Kelly, national sales manager for Fantic. The company is selling two e-road bikes in Europe. One is a gravel bike and the other more of a classic road bike.

    Bulls Bike, a big German brand with a small but growing U.S. presence, is also anticipating releasing its Fazua-equipped e-road bike in this market.

    "This is a segment we are taking very seriously. In fact, we are bringing a couple of e-road bikes with the Fazua system to this year's Interbike," said Fernando Endara of Bulls. "The American interest is definitely there, and I think Fazua is the obvious way to go."

    Bulls brought a drop-bar e-gravel bike, the Dail-E Grinder, to the U.S., which it equipped with a Bosch CX mid-drive motor. "That thing was sold out in less time than we expected," Endara said. "So, yes, this is a segment we've got our eyes on."

    The Giant Road-e+1Pro retails for $4,400.

    Giant has offered an e-road bike model for years, and is currently offering the second generation of its Road-E+ model in the U.S. It's a more traditional e-bike with a heavier mid-drive motor and a semi-integrated battery on the downtube.

    John Munhall, director of product management at Giant USA, said the bike has mostly appealed to older riders who seek a fitness bike that will let them keep up with their riding buddies. The Road-E+ also appeals to cyclists who don't equate a road bike ride with an act of endurance.

    "Traditionally as road cyclists and mountain bikers, we take pride in suffering," Munhall said. "But there is a faction of riders that want to enjoy the romantic beauty of road riding without that X-factor of punishing themselves in tough terrain."

    Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the August 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. 


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    REI's used cycling gear page.

    SEATTLE (BRAIN) — REI is all in on its used gear website, which it launched last year as trial, or beta, program. The co-op launched an updated website in March and announced Wednesday that the program is officially out of beta. While the beta site contained some cycling goods, the refreshed site gives cycling its own category page.

    The site offers mostly lightly used gear that was returned to REI under its guarantee program. Prices are often discounted up to 65 percent from the original.

    "We launched Used Gear Beta online last year with the belief that we could help get more people outside by finding new homes for pre-loved gear and apparel," said Peter Whitcomb, REI's director of strategy and leader of the co-op's used gear efforts.

    "In its first 10 months, the beta test has been successful beyond all expectation, which tells us there is an inherent appetite for high-quality, lightly used product at lower price points," he said.

    The coop announced that women's apparel is the most popular used product category and midweight down and synthetic jackets are the most popular products.

    The used gear store is part of REI product sustainability program. The sustainability program also includes a feature on the REI website that allows consumers to sort and filter selections based on whether they are Bluesign approved, fair trade certified or organically grown.


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    PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Chris King Precision Components will once again host an industry panel discussion at its open house at the company's headquarters in October. The weekend of events will also include a Builder Summit.

    The company held an industry panel discussion last year for the first time. This year the panel will be titled "The State of the IBD in an Evolving Retail Landscape." Panel members will include retailers and industry/supplier representatives.

    "The theme of the discussion will again be the health of the industry and the IBD with a focus on ensuring that product development / progression is creating excitement at the consumer level and driving business within the IBD channel. As opposed to, creating confusion and fatigue at the consumer level and sell through issues within IBD's," the company said. 

    The panel discussion is Oct. 11. The Builder Summit is Oct. 12. The open house, which is open to the public, is at the CKPC factory on Oct. 13 from 12 to 4 p.m.

    Space at the panel discussion is limited so RSVP is mandatory. Please RSVP to marketing@chrisking.com. Brands that would like to book a breakout session with the builder group can email the same address for information.

     


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    Recent bike category trends continue: BMX and e-bikes are growing, along with full-suspension mountain bikes and gravel bikes.

    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Bike shipments to dealers were off 5.6 percent through July, or 77,329 bikes fewer than the same period last year. But there was good news: dollar business was up $43.4 million to $667.5 million year to date.

    The higher price of e-bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, and drop-bar gravel road bikes — all of which were up in unit shipments — help explain the growth in dollar business.

    Through the first six months, shipments were off only 73,795 bikes. July on July comparisons show a nearly 2 percent drop off in bike shipments.

    Shipments in July were off in many categories, including lifestyle/leisure (down 9.8 percent), mountain bike (down 3.8 percent), road (down 3.7 percent) and transit fitness (down 12.5 percent).

    Still, suppliers shipped more BMX (up 118.7 percent), "other" (up 107.5 percent) and youth bikes (up 2.7 percent). The "other" category was bolstered significantly by e-bikes, which were up 147.8 percent in units and 149.1 percent in dollars for July.

    While mountain bike shipments, in general, declined, suppliers sold more front- and full-suspension 29ers to dealers this July than last year. The increases just weren't enough to offset declines in all other mountain categories. 29er unit shipments were up 3,000 units for the month while 29er dollars were up $2.8 million. 

    In the last year, the 29-inch wheel has made a comeback, especially when it comes to the more expensive bikes. While 27.5-inch bikes sold significantly more in dollars and units last July, this year the categories were nearly identical in dollar value, but the average price of 29ers was higher than the 27.5-inch bikes.  

    Even with declines in shipments, the mountain bike category accounts for the lion's share of the dollar business for suppliers, representing $223,902,026 million year to date and $32.3 million for the monthly of July.

    Gravel/adventure bikes are the other success story. These bikes are categorized under cyclocross and "road other," which were up both in dollars and units year to date, though 'cross shipments and dollars were down for July.

    "Road other" shipments were up 48.2 percent in July, or about 2,000 bikes. All other road categories were down. 


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    Virginia-based Conte's Bicycle Group, LLC is pleased to announce that Chris Duffy has joined the Company as National Road Product Manager and National Director of Fitting Services. Chris will work out of the Company's Virginia Beach headquarters and travel extensively to the Company's Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Florida stores.

    Chris has an extensive history in the cycling industry. His passion for the sport brought him to Europe where he raced for teams Tre Colli U23 (Italy), Brico Iberico Fib U23 (Spain) and Café-Max Marin (Spain). However, he found his calling in sales while working the floor of some of Southern California's most renown bicycle retailers. During college, cycling informed the direction of his educational pursuits; at the University of Southern California Chris authored senior theses in both cycling performance ('The Effect of crank-length on pedaling dynamics, power production, and oxygen consumption in trained cyclists") and retail culture ("Selling Gender: Bike Shop Culture and the Performance of Masculinity"). He holds an MS in Kinesiology from USC as well as an MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University. Chris also holds the distinction of being just one of twenty-five Retul Certified Fitters (formerly Retul Certified Master Fitter) in the United States.

    Most recently, Chris served as the Road Product Manager and Director of Fitting Services for a multi-store bicycle retailer in the Boston area. In those roles, he relied on his passion for riding, his affinity for great product design and componentry, and thoughtful data analysis to make buying decisions that fostered road segment profitability. As the Director of Fitting Services, he developed and integrated innovative, evidence-based, and data-driven fit protocols into the sales process to provide not only excellent fit outcomes but also build client loyalty and drive high dollar sales. While in Boston, Chris also had a hand in building the company's rental program, developing an annual"Science of Cycling" winter seminar series where invited experts in performance cardiology, physical therapy, nutrition, and bicycle design gave lectures in their areas of expertise, teaching an annual Training with Power 101 winter class, founding / coaching the company's Gran Fondo Club, and leading a weekly all-levels group ride.

    In his spare time, Chris privately coaches cyclists of all abilities and is a co-owner and tour leader at Cycling Umbria. Cycling Umbria provides cycling, language and cultural guide experiences throughout Italy to cyclists from all over the world.

    "We are thrilled to have such a proven industry professional join us at Conte's. Chris' passion for cycling is contagious, and his decision to join our team illustrates our continuing commitment to excellence and best-in-class personnel and service", said David Conte, co-owner of Conte's Bike Shop.


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    LUGANO, Switzerland (BRAIN) — Assos new UMA GT Half Tights are lightweight, highly breathable summer tighs to provide more protection against the sun on hot days and as an option for chilly summer morning rides.

    Designed to provide comfort without compromising freedom of movement, the technical fabrics provide equal parts compression and comfort, along with increased breathability. At the core of these tights is Assos' UMA insert with a slightly narrower cut at the front for comfort on long rides. 

    MSRP: $179.

    More information: assos.com/UMA-GT-half-tights-summer-s7.


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    As e-bike tariffs take effect and low-level negotiations resume, more bike industry executives speak in Washington.

    WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — On Thursday, U.S. Customs began assessing a 25 percent tariff on e-bikes, e-bike motors and other Chinese imports totaling $16 billion. Also on Thursday, China announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, and low-level trade negotiations continued between U.S. and Chinese officials. 

    And, Thursday afternoon at about 3 p.m. local time, four members of the U.S. bike industry will testify before the multi-agency 301 Committee at the International Trade Commission offices in Washington. The four are expected to testify in opposition to the proposed 25 percent tariffs on a wide range of bicycle goods from China. 

    Trek's Bob Burns is expected to testify that the proposed tariffs would result in Trek paying an additional $30 million each year.

    "If the price of complete bicycles and related products goes up, we expect to see diminished demand for these downstream goods and services that will risk the profitability of bicycle retailers."—Trek's Roger Gierhart

    Burns is stepping in for Trek's Roger Gierhart, who was originally set to speak at the hearing. Gierhart mentioned the $30 million figure in his prepared remarks (pdf attached) submitted to the committee. 

    "Trek will be forced to pass these costs on to the consumer, raising prices on adult bicycles, kid's bicycles, components, and key bicycle safety equipment like helmets," Gierhart wrote. 

    "The bike industry depends heavily on Chinese manufacturing to supply goods for the global bicycle market. Approximately 93 percent of complete bicycles are sourced from China. At least 40 percent of imported bicycle components are sourced from China. Trek is no different, and our company manufactures significant portions of its products in China. For example, all of our company's helmets, kid's bikes, and our most popular models (Marlins, FX hybrids, Dual Sports, Verves) are exclusively produced in China for the U.S. market," Gierhart wrote. 

    "One of our biggest concerns is the effect that these tariffs will have on the small business owners and their employees that sell Trek products. Sales of complete bicycles ultimately drive the purchase of other goods and services from these local bike shops. Tires and tubes wear out and must be replaced. Drivetrains needs adjustment and maintenance. Customers need comfortable and visible apparel while biking. Riders, and particularly children, need helmets to stay safe in the event of an accident. All of these needs drive demand for parts and accessories, as well as for the repair work that shop mechanics provide. If the price of complete bicycles and related products goes up, we expect to see diminished demand for these downstream goods and services that will risk the profitability of bicycle retailers."

    Kamler, Seidler and Smith also to speak

    Besides Burns, Arnold Kamler of Kent International, Patrick Seidler of Wilderness Trail Bikes and Bill Smith of Huffy Corporation are set to speak as part of a panel with executives from other industries affected by the proposed tariffs. Each will be allowed five minutes to speak and then will accept questions from the committee, which includes representatives from the State Department, Commerce Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor and the ITC.

    Kamler planned to speak on behalf of Kent and a new group called the "Reshoring Bicycle Production Team," which he described as "an organization that is devoted to reshoring bicycles to the USA." In an interview with BRAIN last week, Kamler said he planned to tell the committee that the tariffs would be harmful to all parts of the U.S. bike industry and would serve to discourage U.S. brands from manufacturing or assembling bikes in the U.S. (a pdf of Kamler's request to testify is attached).

    Seidler also planned to say the tariffs will harm his company and others. Seidler also planned to argue that the proposed tariffs on bike products are not in line with the Trump administration's stated goals. 

    In his prepared remarks and in an interview with BRAIN this weekend, Seidler noted that the bike industry, from his perspective, has not suffered from intellectual property theft in China that the USTR has cited as justification for the tariffs.

    "We have proprietary tires made in China and we keep them made there for a reason," Seidler told BRAIN. "We have a good relationship with our factory there. We’ve made huge investments overseas because that’s where the business is and we can’t move out of China in the timeframe that we are talking about. And if we don’t move, we will lose market share to competitors, many of them non-U.S. companies, who make tires in Taiwan, Indonesia and other countries other than China. So then we have the U.S. Trade Representative picking winners, and they are picking foreign companies, not U.S. companies."

    Seidler also noted that bicycles are not part of China’s “2025 Plan” — China’s strategy to increase production of advanced products, and another source of concern for the Trump administration.

    And Seidler said he has seen no evidence China subsidizes its bicycle tire industry, another administration concern.

    “WTB has firsthand knowledge that, other than labor rates or dated equipment, there is not a material price difference in tires produced in different countries. Specifically, the prices WTB has seen from Chinese tire and inner tube producers cannot be attributed to any state support,” he wrote in his request to testify (pdf attached).

    Huffy's Smith plans to testify that the tariffs will not bring bike production back to the U.S.; Smith argued that the U.S. missed its chance to shut the door to Chinese bikes more than 20 years ago. 

    "The proposed tariff will have a devastating impact on bicycle sales as consumer demand will plummet. MORE IMPORTANTLY, it will devastate the American bicycle industry across all segments disproportionately impacting 4,000 independent bicycle dealers whose very livelihood depends on the sale of bicycles," Smith wrote.

    Four other bike industry members testified before the 301 Committee on Monday: ASE's Pat Cunnane, QBP's Matt Moore, Jen Harned of Bell Sports, and Bob Margevicius of Specialized. In an interview with BRAIN, Cunnane said he told the committee that lowering the minimum value of imports that triggers duty collection would go far toward curbing unfair Chinese competition.


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    PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Echos Communications has hired Caitlin Giddings, a former staff writer and associate editor for Bicycling magazine, to manage copywriting for the company's cycling clients. Giddings also previously worked at Runner's World magazine.

    "We're all excited to have someone with Cait's skill and varied experience join our team," said Billy Sinkford, senior partner at Echos. "Cait brings with her not only a strong media background but also a love for all types of cycling that aligns with the diversity and passion of our clients."

    Giddings said: "Echos is partnered with so many brands doing cool, innovative things in the industry right now. I'm excited to join a team that's helping to authentically reflect everything wonderful and addictive about bikes."
    Echos' bicycle industry clients include Castelli, Dainese, Silca, Floyd's of Leadville, Muc-Off, Mission Workshop, Riese & Müller and State Bicycle Co.


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    COLOGNE, Germany (BRAIN) — Bombtrack's new Hook ADV bike model was inspired by 1990s-era cross-country mountain bikes, but with gravel bike handling, a 40-millimeter travel suspension fork and a dropper post. 

    The company said it will offer the Hook ADV in limited quantities this fall. 

    The bike is designed for 27.5-inch wheels. The frame is made of Columbus double-butted chromoly tubing with thru-axle dropouts, replaceable derailleur hanger and rack and fender mounts. 

    The fork is an MRP Baxter with a tapered steerer. 

    It is spec'd with Ritchey WCS Venturemax handlebars, SRAM Rival 1x11 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, FSA Gossamer crank, Bombtrack hubs with WTB rims, Brooks Cambium saddle and KS E301 dropper post. Tires are WTB Ranger TCS Light, in 2.25-inch front, 2.0-inch rear. 

    Retail is $3,389.99 in the U.S. 

    Bombtrack's U.S. distributor is NA Cycles, which can be reached at info@nacycles.com.


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    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Charlie Cooper has left PeopleForBikes, where he had been vice president of membership and development since 2014.

    Cooper had been president of Leisure Trends Group (now part of The NPD Group) before joining the nonprofit

    "He helped us in a variety of important ways, particularly the crafting of better messaging to describe our work and establishing crucial partnerships outside the bike industry," PeopleForBikes' president, Tim Blumenthal, told BRAIN. 

    "We are carefully evaluating our fundraising, membership and management needs and we will soon begin a broad search to fill this important position," Blumenthal said.  


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    CANTON, Ga. (BRAIN) — Brian Drebber, a longtime announcer for bicycle races and other events, died Thursday after colliding with a deer while riding a motorcycle here.

    Drebber, 67, was best known in recent years for announcing at motorcycle races. For years he was also an announcer at cycling events including the Coors Classic. He also was the race announcer in the American Flyers film. 

    Wayne Rainey, the president of MotoAmerica, announced his death, saying, “The entire MotoAmerica family is saddened today by the loss of Brian.

    “Brian had a passion for our sport that was evident in his announcing. He was a big part of our paddock and he will be missed.”

    According to MotoAmerica, Drebber was a professional cyclist in the 1970s and that’s where he got his start in announcing. He began announcing and commentating on motorcycle racing in the late 1970s and has been the lead track announcer for MotoAmerica since it took over the AMA Superbike Series in 2015.

    He also did television commentary at cycling races including the professional road world championships, the Olympic road race and track events. 

    Tim Blumenthal, the president of PeopleForBikes, said he worked with Drebber at "40 or 50" ESPN cycling shows and at a couple of Olympic Games. "Brian had a very big, unforgettable voice. You could hear it and feel it to the core from blocks away as you walked towards the finish line of a big bike race," Blumenthal said. 

    Drebber is survived by his fiancee, Mara Yetter, daughter, Robin von Drebber, and granddaughter, Kylie von Drebber.

     

     


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    Photo courtesy of Gita.

    CALDONAZZO, Italy (BRAIN) — An Italian cycling site, cyclinside.it, is reporting that famed framebuilder Dario Pegoretti died Thursday following a heart attack.

    Pegoretti's U.S. distributor, Gita, confirmed his passing.

    “Dario was my best friend," said Giorgio Andretta, the founder and CEO of Gita. "He was family to all of us at Gita and a brother to me. I am shocked and saddened by his passing. Please keep his family in your prayers.”

    Pegoretti was 62. He was known for his craftsmanship and his custom paint jobs and built frames for champion racers as well as collectors. He was one of the first upscale custom builders to use TIG welding regularly. He was named"Framebuilder of the Year" at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. 

    After receiving the NAHBS award, Pegoretti said, “It is an extreme honor to be recognized in this way. It is my hope that the frames I make are used on the roads and not hung as art on the wall.”

    Last year, Silca produced a line of custom Pegoretti-painted Super Pista pumps.   

    "Aside from his mastery of framebuilding, Dario is a remarkable artist and often hand paints his frames using custom designs that he creates himself. He's built and painted bikes for some of the sport's greatest athletes and his frames and anything he paints are sought after by collectors around the world," the company said. 


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