This month, BikeBiz sits down with Marius Schiller, Abus area sales and marketing manager
Can you give us a little background on Abus?
I know many people have already heard of us, especially seen as we’ve been around for almost a hundred years now. Abus started as a family-run business in Germany in 1924, primarily making locks which is still a massive focus for us today.
These days we’ve branched out much wider into home and business security solutions, as well as creating a full range of bicycle helmets for every level of rider, whether they’re racing in the Tour de France or just starting out on their very first bike.
What area of the market does Abus target?
As we’re such a big company, our reach is very broad, but for the mobile security segment, we’re focused on the whole cycling community – the need for mobile security, whether that be a lock, chain, or even a helmet, stretches across all price points and market segments.
Although our reach is broad, we focus on fully understanding the requirements of each sub-segment within cycling. For example, the requirements of a daily commuter who needs a lightweight and easily transportable lock is very different to someone who rides an e-MTB and is looking for the strongest possible home-security setup.
What makes Abus unique – what does it offer that its competitors perhaps do not?
Abus has extensive research and development facilities located in Germany which allows us to be extremely reactive to changing market needs. We also have very versatile manufacturing and testing facilities here too which means we can bring those new ideas to market quicker than a lot of our competitors and ensure that our products not only meet but exceed many of the existing standards.
In a rather bizarre twist of fate, COVID-19 has provided a significant boost to the cycling industry. What impact has it had on Abus?
Like many people, we’ve seen a significant increase in sales across all categories in line with the increased consumer interest in cycling. However, we’ve seen helmet sales grow more than the lock market which suggests that though many consumers understand the necessity for a helmet, many still aren’t considering security at home.
There has been a rise in thefts from home during the past couple of years, with many high value bikes being taken from what people believe to be secure storage – usually a locked garage or shed. We really want to reinforce the message that every cyclist should have some sort of ground anchor or suitable home security setup to not only deter would-be thieves but ensure that the requirements of their home insurance is also met should the worst happen.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
We’ve seen the massive rise in popularity with e-bikes which has increased access for a lot of people into cycling. We supply several manufacturers including Cube, Riese & Müller and Cannondale with our lock system for their e-bike batteries.
With our One Key system, customers can now purchase locks from their local Abus dealer that is matched to the barrel on their e-bike battery compartment, meaning they can just use the same key for both. It’s one less thing to worry about and people can create a secure system that’s also extremely convenient, which applies to e-commuters who want a transportable lock, as much as it does e-MTB bikes locked up at home.
We’ve also pioneered the Smart locks such as our Bordo 6500 SmartX and 770a SmartX D-lock. With the almost unanimous use of smart phones, we have been able to utilise their connections to be able to lock and unlock a bike using an app, locate the bike, and even remotely unlock a bike if required. This is in addition to the 100db alarm and Sold Secure Gold level mechanical protection also.
What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
It may sound a little contrived, but each year is always exciting at Abus as we’re constantly developing and innovating, and 2021 has been no exception. We recently showcased our new range of mountain bike helmets which are going to be a major focus for 2022.
We’ve been working on these for quite a while now, and brought in some big names including Cedric Gracia and Gabriel Wibmer, Micayla Gatto and Steffi Marth to help develop the new range. The new helmets really widen the reach of Abus in the mountain bike sector, catering to everyone from XC and trail, all the way to elite level Enduro and downhill!
We’re also going to be identifying a small number of dealers to start our Premier Partner programme. Very broadly, this is where dealers will receive an unprecedented amount of support, with access to a huge resource of training materials and even a trip to Abus HQ when times allows.
This is all in the works at the minute but we’re very excited to start rolling this out – we really value the infrastructure of IBDs and want to try and work with them as closely as possible to really cement this relationship between Abus and our dealers.