Fisher Outdoor Leisure's Expo 09 was the perfect opportunity for dealers to hook up with the latest tasty cycling gear. Jonathon Harker joined the throngs at Edgbaston to reel in the latest product and slinky-looking kit...


Lambretta was one of the headline draws at the show this year, following the signing announced back last September.

Fisher representatives stressed that the models on show were very much in development, and added that dealer feedback from the show would be key in forming the fully-fledged bikes, currently slated for a June release date.

And the presence of the fully branded Lambretta cycles at Expo 09 was one of the first opportunities for the trade to feast its eyes on the new bikes, with the range including two ladies and three gents models, all aimed at the urban market and some set to retail around the £699 mark. The distributor holds the global licence for the brand, so expect to see a lot more from Lambretta and Fisher.

Bspoke marks a brand new clothing category for Fisher Outdoors. The versatile collection doesn’t look like standard cycling gear, with a leaning towards standard day and even work wear.

Highlights from the collection include the Holborn and Angel, jackets for men and women respectively. These waterproof, windproof and breathable items provide another commuter-friendly feature – specially designed pockets to stow MP3 players. As with the rest of the range (including the Holland and Richmond casual trousers), the Holborn and Angel boast discreet reflective features, upping safety for commuters.

Crucially, the bspoke line-up has the backing of TfL – just the kind of partnership that will surely put pound signs in the eyes of retailers. POS was also on offer for dealers.

Santini’s range was split into its fashion offering and the 365 collection. Fisher told BikeBiz that it has measures in place that will take the pains and tribulations of stock replenishment of 365 off the shoulders of dealers – meaning, amongst other things, that dealers don’t have to order lots of stock all in one go. And with the 365 line-up boasting hypoallergenic materials and UV protection amongst many other properties, the range is set to be an essential line for retailers.

Meanwhile, the fashion range from Santini offers up something special with co-ordinated offerings using the very latest fabrics, not least of all with the striking Windstopper. The anatomically cut line-up includes a gilet and technical fleece, with the former featuring an iPod sleeve and handy giant pocket on the rear. The line is also representative of the firm’s increasing reach into the cross-country sector.

The Expo even gave dealers the chance to see the Autumn/Winter collection hot off the machines in Italy, plus replica team kits from the firm.

Basil’s line of bags, baskets and accessories appeal across the spectrum of biking consumers.

Dutch design was unleashed on the family-centric Rosa collection, including the Jasmin Rosa Shopper, Basket, Saddle Cover and even Umbrella. For juniors, the Jasmin brought buckets of appeal for girls, while the Basil boy’s range is built from strong materials, with clever magnetic fasteners. Basil also unveiled new lines of saddlebags for ladies and men.

While the Hamax Plus system has actually been on the market for two years, the firm told BikeBiz that it is one of the most popular – and one that it is pushing for 2009. This ‘complete transportation system’ is easy to fit and attaches to most bikes on the market. The device makes fixing child seats, baskets and bags a snap, and the unit is also easy to take on and off and garnered great feedback from the attending dealers.

Dahon’s latest line-up included the Curve SL (RRP £849.99), the Mu Uno (RRP £469.99), the Vitesse P18 (RRP £749.99), the Mu Ex (RRP £1999.99) and finally the Cadenza Solo (RRP £549.99).

The Curve SL is one of the firm’s top-of-the-line, super-light commuter machines. Folding in seconds, the bike is actually small enough to fit into a shopping bag.

BikeBiz took the chance to quiz Dahon’s Mark Bickerton on how business was for the firm: “Dahon is up on last year in terms of sales, but everyone is more conservative in ordering. However, all the indicators are that demand will be getting bigger and bigger,” he confidently concluded.

Norco unashamedly told BikeBiz it was the biggest brand of its type in Canada and proclaimed that it had similar designs to be amongst the biggest and best in the UK within the next few years.

The presence of the Fisher-exclusive brand was the first time that dealers could see the full range of cutting edge cool product in the flesh. At this early stage of Norco’s grand plan, the products on show included 20 models for the UK – a necessarily scaled down version of the 150 models on offer in Canada.

Norco told us that it was planning to build up a tight dealer base and grow it as part of an involved sales plan.

International sales manager Chris Hennessey told BikeBiz that the key models from the range had been well received at the Expo, including the DH Series with 8 – 9” travel. The VPS Team DH is priced at RRP £4,499, with the A-Line at RRP £2,249 and the Atomlink at RRP £1,999.

The brand’s rich heritage was very much in evidence at the Fisher Expo – with an elaborate set-up including pictures from the Troy Lee family itself. On the product side, the Ace glove is set to be a key line from the firm. This modestly priced glove (£19.99 RRP) boasts many of the features of the popular XE.

Logos from the past were much in evidence too, especially in the new line of eye-catching t-shirts. Troy Lee’s latest helmets were on display too, including the D2 (both carbon and composite versions). Touted as the most technically advanced helmets of their kind, the D2s feature hi-flow ventilation, colour matched visors and removable roost guards.

Clarks told BikeBiz that Expo feedback had been very positive and that some brands were increasing by 60 per cent.

The hydraulic and future development hydraulic breaks gathered much of the good feedback, while Clarks revealed it will launch a competitively priced new super lightweight two piston hydraulic. The Expo saw a new hydraulic components kit that supports all major brands in the market offering the stainless steel braded hydraulic hose as an upgrade. Clarks also revealed that it would be giving its range a huge marketing push over the next 12 months to support sales.

Sram told BikeBiz that its 2009 range was all about the crucial one per cent – meaning tweaks and subtle improvements were the order of the day, rather than the creation of massively different products. But new for 2009 was the SRAM Rival – now boasting hollow construction for a lighter, stiffer product.

One of the main draws at the SRAM stand was its brand new carbon wheel range with three SKUs – S40, S60 and S80 – all low weight and designed for speed. Meanwhile SRAM had noticeably upped the design and graphics stakes on a number of appropriate products, including bash rims.

Elsewhere, SRAM brand RockShox was a key attraction at Expo 09. The show saw the launch of the BoXXer, a lighter, more precise downhill fork that promises to be faster than ever.

Incorporating the latest Mission Control DH damper, the head-turning BoXXer also features dual flow adjust compression.

BLOC came to the Expo with some impressive cycle-specific product. The robust nylon frames of the Leopard features interchangeable lenses. The Predator, meanwhile boasts large lenses, big temple areas, and clever adjustable nose pads, accommodating all sizes of hooters.

MET showed its 2009 range of helmets. WTB launched its tyres, saddles and grips with Fisher for the first time, while Muc-Off sported a fresh new range of cleaning brushes, and Maxim revealed new flavours and new handy tablets for hydration packs.

On the Tacx stand, dealers got a first look at the new Bushido ergotrainer, and the demo of Fortius Google Earth. Keen cyclists also got the chance to face-off against each other on speed trials for prizes. Masterlock showed its new Gold Sold Secure D-Lock, while VDO showcased its new X-Series.

Tyre specialist Schwalbe showcased its new Ultremo R, Rocket Ron, Fat Albert Front and Rear, and the Marathon Plus/Extreme products; while Fisher Outdoor’s own Push line-up was also on display for dealers at Expo 09.

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