We catch up with Damian Hackett, head of sales for the UK and Ireland who talks about the award winning Avant, the Overcome campaign and much more

Could Orbea open UK concept stores?

With so many variables brand to brand, it’s no simple task choosing which should be given pride of place in a showroom. BikeBiz talks to Damian Hackett, sales head for the UK and Ireland, who explains how Orbea is overcoming the concerns of the independent with a strictly exclusive structure…

Are you seeking dealers for any particular territories in the UK?
We are always open to discussing business with dealers all over the UK and Ireland. Our commitment to the IBD means that to grow sales we must have the better dealers in each territory working with us. We like to offer a territory where they can be secure that they will have the brand without another in the same town carrying it too. To be fair, we need this to be reciprocated by those selected dealers offering us a priority position within their own portfolio.

Why should a retailer consider stocking Orbea over competing brands?
Year-round delivery is one of our core strengths. When other brands are citing months for delivery of key models, or have sold out for the year by the middle of May, we are able to deliver in anything from three days to three weeks (depending on the model) all year round. If you can’t get the bike it doesn’t matter what margins you are earning, you’re not making the sale.

While on the topic of margins, dealers who commit to some very basic conditions can earn way better margins than many other brands. We can offer this without compromising quality by working factory-dealer direct.
The lifetime warranty we offer to back up the end-user also says a lot about our frames, each of which is made within our own proprietary molds with proprietary carbon layups.

Orbea will not rest until we have become the most valuable brand to our dealers that we can become. To do this we have to be top of the pile when it comes to; consumer demand; earnings potential for the dealer; ease of dealing with us; response to queries and warranties; quality of our product and balance of our model range.

You’ve recently scored a ‘bike of the year award’ – what’s special about the Avant?
The Avant is an excellent illustration of the Orbea philosophy of creating great frames using top materials, leading edge principals and industry best practice. The Avant was developed with all-day comfort central to the design philosophy. It is a bike that the rider immediately feels comfortable on, but its performance is Orbea through and through. It’s a difficult marriage of comfort and performance to get right, but our designers appear to have managed it rather well.

Do you anticipate disc clad road bikes being in big demand in the near future?
There are a number of obstacles to overcome before disc road bikes become the norm in the market, not least the adaption of disc wheels across the pro peloton. This will obviously take a change of rules within the UCI, but even then the issue of standards will be another obstacle to pro-team adaption. Such questions as; does a team carry disc and rim brake spare wheels? What about the potential for thru-axles, which will probably be appearing soon on road bikes?

The issue of rider safety with red hot, razor sharp discs flying about in a pile up will have to be addressed. When these issues are overcome and the UCI permits discs in the peloton (which will most likely eventually happen) then the same performance advantages which has seen rim brakes all but vanish from mountain biking will likely see disc brakes take over.

Do you have any UK-based warranty and servicing available to dealers?
Our warranty team is based in Spain, but we are developing a warranty section for the dealer B2B portal that will give a significantly faster and more traceable warranty process. We find the response from a central warranty team can be faster and more wide-ranging than by having satellite response centres. In saying that, we are currently undergoing a deep-level analysis of our systems, which may yield a number of changes, assuming these can add to our efficiency.

Overseas Orbea has opened a few own brand concept stores – is this something to be expanded in future?
As brands gain deeper market traction then such stores have been seen as a natural progression. We see it around the world with many of the more established brands, but unfortunately they can sometimes have a negative effect on the very building blocks of their success, which is the IBD.

Any Orbea concept stores that exist overseas are mainly operated in partnership with premium dealers who have been working with Orbea for many years and have shown their ability to run successful businesses. Any plans for future stores of this nature in the UK or Ireland would have to be considered on the same basis.

Tell us about the Orbea Overcome campaign:
Overcome was inspired by our relationship with Team Novo Nordisk, whose mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes and to show the world that cyclists with diabetes can compete at the same level as the rest of the peloton. What we realised through our association with them is that many people cycle in order to overcome something in their lives. The campaign was intended to affirm and encourage those who get on their bikes each day in spite of some form of restriction.

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