Grand designs: Saddleback’s house show returns

Last month saw the return of Saddleback’s in-house show for the trade, featuring pizza, tacos, and some exciting new products on display. PR and events executive with Saddleback, Josh Lambert, talks BikeBiz through the latest developments at the distributor

This piece first appeared in the October edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Can you tell us a bit more about the Saddleback house show?
The Saddleback House Show is an event we host at our HQ just outside of Bristol and is a place we can bring our dealers and brands together, to chat with sponsored athletes, reminisce over retro MTB bikes, and have a little fun.

It had been a staple of our business for many years prior to Covid and this year it seemed right to bring it back with a vengeance. We show off upcoming products, run presentations and workshops and we can’t fail to mention the excellent pizza, taco and coffee trucks!

Why have you opted to go for a house show? What does it offer retailers?
The House Show gives us the space to really showcase our brands to their fullest and we give the opportunity for dealers to stay over, giving them time at the event, to not feel rushed and to really enjoy the show.

The trade shows in the UK are truly excellent, but at those events we typically can’t showcase all the models of bikes we hold from Pivot Cycles, Moots and Enve for example. The Saddleback House Show allows us to not only show off every model range, be it clothing, bikes or headsets, but we can also mix in unique spaces like the Enve Melee experience room or host a Chris King workshop event.

This allows the dealer to interact with the product in a way they might not have done previously and with us offering to host the dealers in local hotels, it gives the dealers the time with the product and our staff that they would not get at other events where they might want to see dozens of distributors in a single day.

What highlights were on display?
We are very lucky that our brands produce some of the most interesting and lust-worthy products available, so it is very hard to pick only a few! The Enve Melee bike is a real showstopper this year and has been displayed as complete bikes and in its component parts.

We were showcasing the upcoming Troy Lee Designs 2023 collection – which we can’t show unfortunately but is not far off now. Wolf Tooth was here showing off some very cool tech – more of that to come in October! And one of the show favourites was the Pivot Cycles model line-up on display, including Jenna Hastings’s Phoenix 29 World Champs winning bike.

The Pivot riders were at the show, so dealers were able to get first-hand accounts of how the bikes perform straight from Bernard Kerr and Jenna Hastings which was pretty incredible!

How has 2022 been for Saddleback so far?
One of transformation, fraught with the same troubles that have plagued our industry but ultimately an exciting year, punctuated with highlight events like our House Show, the partnership with Pivot Cycles and major upgrades at our HQ. We have invested in staff and upgraded the facilities here at the HQ so we can continue to bring quality products to the market so that we keep ahead of the swelling demand of the market.

What developments can we expect from Saddleback in the near future?
We are up at the Thrive Festival towards the end of September, so keep an eye out for our showcase of your favourite MTB brands; Pivot Cycles, Enve, Push Suspension, Wolf Tooth, TLD and Chris King! There are a few very exciting product releases happening in October, so we are very excited to bring those to light shortly.

We relaunched our in-house magazine, InCycle, at the House Show and we will be sending out copies to dealers who were unable to attend the show. InCycle covers what is going on at our HQ, follows the brands, showcases dealers in our Retailer Focus (this issue is MB Cyclery), dives into weird and wonderful world of retro bikes and highlights the media coverage of our brands and product in the UK press, from 5/5 star reviews of the Castelli Free Aero RC bibs to Chris King GRD23 preview articles.

What portfolio changes have you made recently?
The big addition has been our partnership with Pivot Cycles. Pivot aligns perfectly with our existing portfolio, adding to the curated collection of brands. It brings premium performance MTB to another level, pushing the envelope of suspension design, handling control and an attention to detail that is borderline psychotic!

This precision of engineering and obsessive commitment to perfecting their bicycles has been wholly justified by the likes of Bernard Kerr, Jenna Hastings, Ed Masters and the many owners of Pivot Cycles, for whom, one Pivot just simply isn’t enough!

We are hosting demo days, taking them to events like Thrive and are actively seeking more dealers to support the UK market.

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