Claud Butler started seriously dipping into the parts and accessories sector around three years ago and now, at the start of 2015, P&A has become big business for the firm.
With that in mind it was no surprise to see an expanding own-brand P&A line-up at its product launch road show, as well as the arrival of a couple of labels to the portfolio – Weldtite’s Pure range and DP Brakes.
Having said that, the firm is keen to emphasise it is choosy about the brands it is taking on, “we don’t want to offer everything from everyone”. You’re not about to find competing product within the Claud Butler portfolio, which now includes OGNS luggage and KED helmets, among a number of others.
Weldtite distribution was taken on by Claud Butler last year, with the arrival of the eco-friendly Pure range brand new for the show. For those not in the know, three-year old sub-brand Pure is a 100 per cent biodegradable range of waxes and lubes. Helpfully, Weldtite hasn’t used this as an excuse to slap a big price tag on the range, with similar price points to Weldtite’s better known chemical-based products ranges.
Shops can replenish specific items that are most popular for them, rather than taking on the whole lot lock, stock and barrel. There’s new packaging in the works and a new launch in the shape of the Disc Rotor Wipes which retail for a mere £1.99 for six sachets.
Sticking with Weldtite, the Cyclo Tools line-up is now with Claud Butler from the end of last year and while you may already be familiar with the range there are a couple of additions on the way. First up is a revamped Crank Extractor, replacing the two models in the range as it is dual use. There’s also a new rubber mallet joining the Cyclo family.
Claud Butler’s other new P&A signing is DP Brakes. A stalwart of the motorbike trade – it is best known for its Harley Davidson replacement parts, we’re told – the Nuneaton-based business uses the same tech for cycling as it does for motorbikes.
Established 30 years ago, DP uses sintered friction materials in the range that features both brake pads and rotors. A high temperature vacuum furnace is used with an automated hydraulic press that boasts a 250 tonne capacity, all to keep consistency levels high. Force is used to bond the pads instead of glue. Slight changes in the powders and combinations used affect the performance of the pad, which can be tailored for conditions and uses.
The burgeoning disc brake rotor range is available in two iterations at the moment (the BMR 1 and BMR 2 Series) but an interesting tit-bit BikeBiz heard at the show is that by cryogenically freezing the discs the braking performance is substantially improved, resulting in increased wear time and a more stable material with fewer inherent stress points.
Although we’ve dedicated the lion’s share of this article to P&A, the show was also about Claud Butler’s extensive bike range. Hitting the mid price point from around £200 to £1,000, the line-up is now decidedly more colourful than previous years.
With Urban Mover in the portfolio, the range now stretches from e-bikes to singlespeeds, MTB, classic style, tourers, tandems and even cyclocross.
That road range has been redesigned, with the Torino SR30 a particular standout, featuring low key aesthetics, matt frame, carbon forks, internal rear brake routing and all for a £745 price tag. Elsewhere the Mistral Supreme neatly hits the heritage style bike genre, with a £399 price point, retro light set, rattan basket, ‘Ding Dong’ bell and Sturmey Archer three-speed hub gear.
Summing up, Claud Butler’s own Dave Drury hailed the five-leg product launch as the perfect place to get feedback from dealers – which can then be fed straight into next year’s ranges which are designed within a few weeks, incidentally.
There’s more at Claudbutler.co.uk
See the gallery from the show on the BikeBiz Facebook pages.
This article first appeared in the February edition of BikeBiz.