Part three of BikeBiz's guided tour to Europe's largest show, new product and services

Eurobike round up: Mavic, Weldtite, Merida, SKS,Tactic Clothing and Osprey

Causing one of the bigger product launch buzzes at the show, Mavic introduced helmet product, spanning three models in eight colours.
Basing the helmet design around a survey of over 25,000 head shapes, graphically demonstrated in the company’s marketing material, the helmet line “prioritises comfort and fit over weight,” according to Mavic PR manager Michel Lethernet.
Having spent an extraordinary amount of time on aspects as detailed as the single piece inner foam, Mavic admittedly borrowed ideas and experience of Amer Sports Group’s Salomon brand, which itself manufactures safety headgear for other markets.
“The ideas are tailored to cycling,” said Lethernet. “The dealers visiting this week have been very impressed with some of the unique ideas that have gone into the designs, including well thought out aerodynamics and ventilation, as well as a lowered rear for comprehensive protection.”
At the very top-end the Plasma SLR offers carbon reinforcement, while throughout the range you’ll find detail such as soft-compound rubber coated dials for adjustment with wet hands.
Furthermore, the one-piece, multi-density inner foam is treated and antimicrobial to prevent odour and maintain cleanliness. The foam is even pre-shaped to accommodate the straps, as opposed to pressing them against the wearer’s head.
Fresh footwear was also on display, with the Huez shoe flagged up as a likely big-seller for the road market, much thanks to its claim to be the lightest model in the world. Perhaps more useful to the UK will be the Frost and Drift shoes, complete with Gore Tex sock inner, though this model isn’t anticipated to hit the market until Winter 2013.

Where do we start with Weldtite? There’s a new line of eco-friendly lubes, degreasers, cleaners and liquids designed to keep bikes in pristine condition. Then there’s an exciting development on the workshop front, albeit a bit of a no-brainer.
First up, the Pure off-shoot brand lands in September and will be seen in Halfords stores as well as independents interested in carrying the eco-credential savvy brand. There’s a full line of liquids spanning wet and dry lubes, cleaners, degreasers and protection solutions.
Perhaps more exciting for retailers with a big workshop business is the firm’s new workshop stand, which is yet to be named. Neglecting the traditional screw down clamp the versatile head clamps down on tubing via an extremely simple quick release style clamp that takes no more than a second to secure or release. A silicone wrap keeps frames scuff free and stock is expected with Weldtite in spring.
Chris Jenkinson of Weldtite told BikeBiz: “It’s the head of this system that’s the key and it’s a wonder no one has developed such a simple clamp as this before now. What’s more, if you’re a mechanic on the move, the head is detachable from the main stand product and, with a little held from some extras to be stocked at Weldtite, can be mounted onto things as diverse as tow ball mounts on the rear of cars, making it ideal for mechanics visiting races.”

Merida is and has been seeking a greater presence in the UK for some time now, gradually upping its game with a presence each year at January’s Core Bike. But general manager Chris Carter says he wants to see a greater acceleration of Merida’s presence in bike shops in the coming year and is calling on dealers curious about the brand to get in touch.
“Normally when retailers see our margins and compare with their current supplier and competitors of ours it becomes a no-brainer to look at a link up with Merida,” said Carter.
“We now sell the brand across 62 countries, but the UK is still under-represented. We’ve expanding our Cycle To Work offering this year and value for money is key to the next model year, as in prior catalogues. What’s more, we’re now offering Birzman tools, Alpina helmets and are about to begin selling aftermarket Procraft and PRC components.”
Merida has four mainland UK representatives on the road, as well as one in Ireland.

Cycling clubs rejoice, SKS has solved the problem of coating your fellow cyclists in a shower of grime.
The Race Blade Long, debuted at Eurobike, took on board feedback from British cyclists who move in tightly packed formation and found that while protecting the rider is a problem solved, the rider following behind still suffers from spray from those travelling in front.
Available here from January, the guards will set customers back £44.99 and come with a flexy 15cm rubber tip for further protection and impact resistance. A cyclocross inspired XL version of the Raceblade will also be available with a further improved covering.
Also hard to miss on the SKS stand was the promotion of the new Spaero pump, coming in both aluminium and plastic at £34.99 and £29.99, respectively. Featuring a pull out hose, compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves, the Spaero is designed exclusively with MTB use in mind, reaching just 73 PSI. Expect these to land with distributors in March.

Tactic Clothing
BikeBiz briefly grabbed a moment with techy clothing manufacturer Tactic, who informed us of their search for a distributor in the UK.
Revolving largely around three SKUs at present – from Basic through what the manufacturer describes as ‘super high-end’ – a partner is sought to carry the entire line. It’s not bad looking gear either, with a spokesman for the firm telling us that unique to his brand comes a design code printed on the inside neck. This, he said, has worked very well on home turf for those wanting custom prints utilising his base jerseys – “a reference point, tucked within,” he explained.
“Tactic is all about the top-end of cycling clothing, with even our basic line carrying features associated with the very finest garments. The thickness of the fabric is perhaps one of the only alterations through the SKUs. Each garment is entirely seamless and carries underarm meshing for breathability.”

Another brand with firm heritage and experience drawn from markets with perhaps more diverse requirements than cycling, Osprey has been manufacturing backpack goods since 1924 and has only broken into the bike industry in recent years.
It does, however, intend to make an impact here and has got off to a strong start with sterling reviews from Singletrack, among others. With product tailored for commuting, downhill, and freeride, among other segments, more or less every inch of the majority of packs in Ospreys line carries some form of innovation.
Despite this, European marketing co-ordinator Elizabeth Edwards told BikeBiz: “We’re more about fit, comfort and weight than anything else. At present we’ve around 200 cycle-related stores carrying Osprey in the UK, but we’re always open to fresh custom. We think that retailers who try Osprey kit will soon see that we’ve solved some pretty inherent problems associated with the hydration backpack sector, perhaps most notably the bulge that filling a bladder can often cause in a backpack.”
This problem has been solved with the help of a custom-designed, stiffened anatomical bladder that doesn’t barrel when filled. Further to this you’ll find a magnetic clip that holds the bite valve still while in the saddle, as opposed to allowing the hose to dangle free and get in the way. There’s a handy and unique-to-Osprey helmet clip, dubbed ‘Lid Lock’ too, featured on most packs.
Osprey’s stand was filled to the brim with product – from high-density, resistant Nylon packs for freeriders, right down to backpacks easily converted into stylish suitcase style bags for the businessman on a bike. Reflective piping is found as standard on commuter goods and plenty of back up spares, such as Osprey’s custom bladder are also available from the manufacturer, which sells direct to retail.

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