A year into a new distribution agreement and changes at the top, we catch up with crankbrothers

Crankbrothers: ‘UK MTB market is different to the rest of the world’

Extra UK took on crankbrothers distribution duties at the start of last year. Brand specialist Hannah Wilson reveals how the firm is working closely with the brand to expand its share. BikeBiz reports…

How’s business for Crankbrothers and Extra?
Crankbrothers is a great brand showing encouraging growth. We are happy with things so far and our first year of working together has been great. The brand has great market share in downhill with the Mallet DH as our hero product, but we are definitely looking for growth across other disciplines. We have seen increasing dealer presence and working with retailers is essential to developing the brand.

I work partly for Extra UK and partly for crankbrothers themselves, providing regular feedback to the US product team and it’s really helping to drive the brand forward, working in close partnership. Feedback gives the brand an understanding of international requirements for products and marketing. Product testing outside California is also a key strategy before products come to market. Crankbrothers remains a US brand but it’s a global company and the products reflect this.

What product developments are on the way to market?
Crankbrothers has always been design-focused with a strong desire to innovate so new product ideas are constantly being developed. I’ve just got back from HQ in Laguna Beach, California and can confirm there are lots of exciting new things in the pipeline but you’ll have to wait and see!

There have been some changes to personnel over the past 12 months with Gaspare Licata leading the team. He has come from fi’zi:k and is possibly one of the most dedicated, dynamic and driven people I’ve ever met. He is a huge asset to the company and under his leadership I see great things ahead. The product development team has also benefited with input from people with experience with other technical products from within and outside of the bike industry.

The brand is a keen event supporter. Any highlights so far?
Attending international, national and regional races is an amazing opportunity; we get to meet riders of our products, talk to them about their riding and get feedback for future developments. Getting to speak to riders across all of the categories is a real highlight for me. 

Another highlight on a personal level is seeing the significant growth in the ladies’ categories. I hadn’t been to a DH race for several years and it’s great to see that there is really fierce competition. Hopefully the days of turning up as a female racer to an event and knowing before you start your run you can make podium due to lack of other entrants are behind us. We support many top women with pedals and working with these athletes is a real highlight for me.

The MTB market is difficult to gauge, some people I speak to suggest that sales have all shifted towards road, but key MTB events sell out rapidly, the trail centres I ride at are busy and there is a really positive feel out there. The UK MTB market is very different to anywhere else in the world, for instance the mallet range is our top performing pedal platform currently, elsewhere in the world candy and eggbeater are much more dominant.

Crankbrothers product is used by a number of big name riders…
We are in the really privileged position that many of the big name riders choose to use our pedals. We are really proud of this and it is something want to make the most of. Some of our riders, such as Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Hans Rey have been working with crankbrothers for years and are part of the family. You may have noticed some top riders wearing a crankbrothers logo transfer at races. When they do and post a picture on social media with the #cb4others a donation is made to their chosen charity.

And what about the future for crankbrothers in the UK?
I’m really excited about how things are progressing with the brand and it seems to be on a really positive trajectory. There has been a lot of change over at crankbrothers HQ and having spent some time with the team over in Laguna I am eager to see what they can do. It really is the right time to be working with the brand!

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