BikeBiz interviews Madison CEO Dominic Langan ahead of iceBike* 2014 later this month

Madison grows 23% in 2013

From Madison and Sportline’s perspective, how has the market performed over the past 12 months?
Madison performed well in 2013 and overall grew by 23 per cent. GoPro more than doubled in turnover in 2013 but we also saw 34 per cent growth of Pearl Izumi, Genesis bikes were up 26 per cent and Saracen was up 21 per cent in a difficult year for bikes generally in the UK. There were great performances from Garmin, Continental, Park Tool and of course Shimano, to name just a few success stories. However, there is no doubt that market conditions were tough in 2013, the weather was challenging in the early part of the year which is never great. We have also undergone some considerable changes in our brand offering during the year which in the medium to long-term will be for the better, without doubt, but nevertheless were cause of distraction during the year.

Some product categories are weak at the moment, whilst others are strong and certainly within the specialist retailers there are definitely those who are finding the market tough right now for various reasons and those who are flying. The focus at Madison is to continue to source the best brands possible, make sure we are at the forefront of innovation within our core channels in terms of the products and services we offer and to continue to build market share.

Many of our readers will be familiar with iceBike*, but for any new readers or bike shops out there, can you outline why the show is a must-attend event?
Madison invests a huge amount of money and resources into creating iceBike* each year. It is the best way to see everything Madison does in one place and we do everything we can to make it informative, educational, social and enjoyable. We invite the owners of all the brands we represent to work their own booths so you can talk to the horse’s mouth. We have all the latest products on display, we run seminars on products but also on visual merchandising and other subjects which we believe will help the specialist retailer run a better business in an every more challenging environment. We also run some amazing show exclusive offers to help spring board your business for the imminent season ahead.

iceBike* creates the opportunity for us to meet our customers and for our customers to meet us. There is a huge social element to the event because Madison is a business with a long-term outlook and relationship is very important to us.

Nothing beats some time away from the business enjoying some food and drink and above all some quality time to talk.

Now that the business has split between Madison (P&A) and Sportline (bikes) will that impact on iceBike* at all? Or will it be business as usual at the show?
In a nutshell, there will be no bikes at iceBike*. This means that we will not only have more space for our existing brands but additional space for the new brands we will be announcing during January and February.
However, we do not want to inconvenience our customers so Sportline are running a parallel event in Milton Keynes at the hotel where all iceBike* attendees will be staying and there will be frequent complementary shuttle buses running the ten minute journey throughout the day to and from iceBike*. If you are staying over for iceBike* then you can see the bike brands after breakfast or over drink in the evening. Sportline will be showing Ridgeback, Genesis, Saracen, Ridley, Adventure and some other new stuff to keep it exciting!

For many, iceBike* will be the first opportunity to see Recon Instruments – what has the reaction been like to the innovative brand so far?
Recon is creating a huge amount of interest on and off line and the potential for this brand is huge, but it is a new technology and so may take a little time for people to get used to the idea. We are really excited and know that wearable tech is where things are moving.

It’ll also be the first time Lazer and Ridley will be seen at iceBike* – is there a buzz around those? What can we expect to see?
Obviously, Ridley will be at the Sportline show but it will be the first iceBike* for Lazer and for many customers it will be the first real opportunity to see the brand fully and meet the Lazer team and understand all the innovations they are pushing forward. There is a huge buzz around this brand and we have been working exceptionally hard to build the Lazer brand recognition in the UK and the results are exceeding expectations. Look out for the new flagship Z1 helmet.

Can you tell us more about the seminars? Who will be speaking this year?
We are still confirming the schedule at the moment, but there will be a lot for our dealers to get excited about. We are changing up the format slightly, insofar that we’ll be concentrating on educational seminars from a number of our key brands. This will include technical and educational discussions from the likes of Garmin, Lazer and Bikefitting, as well as a special chance for our dealers to find out more about our Shopatron scheme. Shopatron is proving to be a great way for the independent retailer to reap the rewards of our online presence and we plan to further expand our Shopatron offering in 2014 to include some of our most in-demand brands.
On the Thursday (27th) at iceBike* we will also see the official team launch of the 2014 Madison Genesis team. With a number of new signings, including Pete Hawkins, Tom Scully and Mike Northey, the coming season is set to be a really exciting one. The launch will also see the unveiling of the new-look team bike, the Genesis Volare, as well as a revamped version of our in-demand team kit from Madison Clothing.

On the same day, the Pearl Izumi Tour Series National Launch will take place in the iceBike* seminar room! The venues and teams will all be publicly announced on this date.

Any other news to share with dealers?
We’ve decided to change how our evening entertainment works. After many years of the somewhat legendary iceBike* on-site evening parties, this year we have instead taken over a host of great restaurants located within the vibrant and central Hub within central Milton Keynes and right next door to the hotel where our guests will be staying. There will be more than enough options to please even the fussiest of palates and we look forward to welcoming our dealers to a vibrant and relaxed evening after a day spent on their feet at iceBike*!
iceBike* will taking place from the 25th –27th of February at the Madison Distribution Centre, located at 74 Alston Drive, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK13 9HA.

The Sportline show will incorporate the bike side of the event with Genesis, Saracen, Ridley, Adventure and Ridgeback, will be located at the Jurys Inn hotel, which is where all of our guests will be staying. The hotel is the Jurys Inn and is located on Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 2HP.

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