BikeBiz catches up with the brand alongside exclusive UK distributor Bob Elliot
Can you give us a little background on Controltech?
Starting with just a pair of lightweight bar ends, Controltech USA produced its first bike product in 1989. It quickly developed a reputation for expertise with aluminium and became famous for light, strong and cleverly-designed bicycle parts and components using a range of high-spec alloys.
After an extended hiatus from the European market, it returned in 2005 with all-new MTB and road lines and has continued to develop its product range as well as expanding into new materials including scandium, titanium and carbon fibre. Controltech has long been strong OE suppliers to some of the biggest bike brands, including Giant Contact components and has recently added Merida as well as Whyte’s Gravel range to its ever-growing list.
What is your vision for the brand?
Obviously, for Bob Elliot, it was its increasingly strong range of aftermarket products that led us to add Controltech to our portfolio in September 2018. Its philosophy of ‘Reliability, Ingenuity, Quality and Value’ means that we can offer a ‘family’ of excellent finishing kit components at all levels across road, gravel, TT and MTB.
From the entry-level, budget-friendly ONE products, through the Falcon Aero range and the CLS Gravel options, to the Carbon EXL MTB selection. The vast majority of bike builds and bike fitting requirements can be met with the range of Controltech products, with the assurance of excellent value and quality no matter the level.
What is your distribution model, and why does this suit you?
As the exclusive UK distributor, we are keen to build good relationships with IBDs who can use Controltech as their ‘go-to’ brand for bars, stems, seat posts etc. Knowing that they will always be buying trusted products from an easy to select from range, with good margins for the dealers as standard.
Although it has a long history in the industry and many people do recognise the brand and are aware of its reputation for quality, it does need to have an online presence to help this continue. However, having it as an exclusive means we are able to work closely with UK online dealers, ensuring that Controltech products are looked after in the marketplace to encourage long-term growth for all stockists.
What is your relationship with IBDs, and to what extent are you aiding them?
Bob Elliot has become especially strong in workshop and high turnover consumables segments of the industry and we have successfully introduced a number of brand partnership programmes to offer on-going improved margins where possible.
With the increase in bike fitting and customisation of both new and existing customers bikes, Controltech is steadily becoming part of the consumables segment and we will look to reflect that with improved pricing for those dealers that are also seeing increased demand in this area.
What are some of the more recent developments?
Since the brand was introduced last year we have continued to expand the range. Recent additions have included well-priced dropper posts with both internal and external cable options and fully serviceable. A TT handlebar-mounted hydration system, that allows the rider to refuel without taking their hands from the aero position.
A neat selection of lightweight performance saddles was added to complement the seat post range as well as some very well received bar tape in a multitude of colour options and material types.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
Controltech continues to develop new products and technologies all the time, it is currently working on a new design of one-piece carbon road bar and stem!
As tempting as it may be to bring in everything it produces, part of our job as distributor is to identify those products that have a place in the UK market and ensure that the ones we bring in are consistently kept in stock and at the right price.