So says Russell Merry of GT importer Hot Wheels. The decision not to go down the mass channel in 2002 was made last month by US-based Pacific Cycle LLC, a mass-market specialist.

GT’s US decision to steer clear of mass-market retailers bodes well for UK

In the US at least, the GT brand will also be sold in ‘sports speciality stores’ said a statement from Pacific.

“The GT brand is best suited for customers who understand and appreciate the features and specifications of a more technical product. Staying with the IBD will allow us to preserve the legacy of GT’s performance image, said Pacific CEO Chris Hornung.

"We feel sports specialty stores follow the IBD principles and will compliment that channel through professional merchandising and selection.

Pacific’s chief operating officer Byron Smith said:

“GT is a powerful brand, and it needs informed sales people to explain the advanced technology on these bikes. In order to take this important step to keep GT out of the mass market, we’ve decided to bolster sales by working with some sports specialty stores on a case-by-case basis. This is a strategic move to support the level of GT bicycles in specialty stores.”

However, Pacific is only making the no-mass commitment for the 2002 model year, the no-mass decision could be reversed for 2003 model year and beyond.

Pacific is one of the biggest players in the US bike market, producing bicycles under the GT, Schwinn, Mongoose Pro, Mongoose, Pacific, Roadmaster, and Murray names.

Keeping GT out of the mass means the brand will not be diluted, and the tech nature of GT will be retained. There had been fears in the US that the brand would be ‘milked’ and ‘sold out’. GT will keep a Californian office and will continue to employ some long-service GT designers.

Russell Merry told

"Pacific has made significant progress with the GT brand since the September 11 purchase. Pacific has fully evaluated the strengths of the GT brand and will maintain its independence and unique character. The decision to keep GT as a premium brand is great for us as it will mean a strong team of riders and product designers as well as fitting our business model as Hot Wheels will only be selling the bikes to IBDs."

GT is also stocked by Halfords in the UK but this business is not handled by Hot Wheels.

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