...but ramp up support for IBDs and consumers. Robert Priest, SRAMs UK marketing manager, emailed BikeBiz with his take on the seismic moves that SRAM and other race-supporters are having to take as it becomes clear MTB racing isnt what it used to be.

SRAM scale down race sponsorship…

Over the past five years SRAMs UK division has had a heavy involvement in racing and team sponsorship, and indeed we where one of the originators of the race support concept. Today we find that despite the sport becoming more professional and the team trucks getting larger, the spectators continue to fall. This is not a positive direction for the sport nor the industry to take.

As we move into the new Millennium SRAM will focus more towards direct consumer contact and increased support towards the retailers. It therefore makes sense to reduce our commitments to sponsorship & race programs.

Our UK Race Support team will change their priorities from Race Support to Retail support. Of course this doesnt mean that we will not be present at the major races, it just means less of a priority towards racing. We will, of course, continue our success on the race circuit with our own SRAM Factory team.

Over the last six months we have been investing heavily in ourselves and made some structural changes in the team to become more business and retailer focussed. We believe that we can offer the industry more value then just being a sponsor. We have gained extensive technical knowledge and experience, we intend to apply this same level of commitment to supporting the industry and retailers more directly.

The cycle industry (and its retailers) face challenges ahead to become more modern in its approach, and to improve the consumers shopping experience if it is going to compete with other consumer goods. Running a me too business or offering a me too product will not bring the rewards the industry so desperately needs, it will only result in continued price pressure and less profitability, both of which will stagnate the industry.

Two years ago SRAM launched an internal innovation program with this environment in mind, the first stage of this innovation was to strengthen our engineering experience: ie the purchase of Sachs Bicycle components Division. The second was to bring the companies together as a single entity, and offer unequaled innovation.

Our 2000 range is just the tip of the iceberg, the next few yearswill witness innovations that not only offer your customers choice but also reinforce our commitment to making your business stronger.

The tools SRAM has invested in will not only benefit itself internally but will also help to strengthen your business, modern communications, SAP systems for global processing and logistics, real time market research, and regional based experience go hand in hand with our innovative products.

The SRAM UK team is part of this evolving business, and is committed to helping the industry.

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