BikeBiz catches up with Netherlands-based distributor Oneway

‘The traditional customer is here to stay’ – Distributor focus with Oneway Bike

Based in the Netherlands, Oneway is UK and Ireland distributor for a number of recognised brands, including Cube bikes. Alex Ballinger hears more about the latest developments 

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

Cube is a common sight on the roads and trails of the UK cycle scene, but the brand’s UK distributor may not be so familiar.
Oneway is a cycle distributor based in Rotterdam, Netherlands that looks after a number of leading brands in the UK and Ireland markets, including Cube. 

Recently the distributor has been supporting its brands through a number of significant product launches, and has also stepped up its focus on sustainability, supported by its new 10,500 square metre warehouse.  

Bart Van Den Biggelaar, Oneway commercial director

I recently caught up with Oneway commercial director Bart Van Den Biggelaar, to hear about how the distributor has been thriving in a challenging climate.

“The past 12 months have been great for Oneway. We finally got some bike stock back under the roof of our new warehouse and we are able to service and supply our dealers better.

“We are used to having a higher inventory of accessories in-house. In this way, we can supply our dealers faster. We have a lot of different products in our portfolio from different brands in the likes of Cube, Lezyne, SQlab, and Ere Research.” 

Challenges remain 

While the UK market has been challenging for many distributors, Oneway has the benefit of serving true cycling heartlands like the Netherlands, where cycling is far more a part of day-to-day life than in the UK.  

But there are still challenges, Van Den Biggelaar said, particularly around stock: “The biggest challenge, as always, is to have the right bike/product available for all dealers at all times during the year. Opportunities: We are looking to further expand our dealer base, and dealers start to realise more and more that Oneway Bike is a reliable partner for bikes and accessories in all price ranges. We offer good margins and fast delivery. Expansion of our presence at dealers with new (cargo) product lines such as the new Cube Trike that we’re bringing to the market as we speak. We give our dealers marketing support and point-of-sales material if needed. 

“Dealers have shown mixed reactions [to the current market]. The dealers that have a limited amount of brands and concentrate on Cube product lines are reaping the benefits. Dealers that have been panic buying unknown brands during the pandemic have a difficult time due to the very low sell-through rate of this specific product. Our account management team puts a lot of time and effort into making sure we work with our dealers to get the best results for both parties.”

Changing market 

Award-winning bike brand Cube, based in Germany, is a major focus for Oneway. The distributor has recently opened two Cube stores in the UK to sit alongside existing premium Cube dealers. In the Netherlands, the seventh Cube store is soon to open its doors. 

But of course there are some significant differences between the UK markets and the Netherlands. 

On the biggest contrasts, Van Den Biggelaar said: “Bike usage would be the obvious answer. An average Dutch person owns 1.3 bikes. Due to the Dutch cycling culture, consumers tend to stick with what they know and are not very sensitive to clothing trends as you see more often in the UK market. The UK market has adopted the e-MTB categories faster than the Dutch people did due to the variety in terrain. Although cargo bikes are a more common way of transport in the Netherlands, we see things are changing for UK too. We see cargo bike sales growing there.”

Change is predicted in the UK, as e-bikes continue to take up a greater share of bike sales in the UK, while more Government spending on infrastructure, increasing traffic, and the ever-rising cost of owning a car may benefit the bike trade. 

Van Den Biggelaar said: “We see a trend towards electrification of the [UK] market. More dealers start to be specialists in this area such as our dealer The Electric Bike Shop. We hope that the UK Government will start spending more on cycle infrastructure so more Brits will be tempted to ride bikes. For bike shops it is important not to overlook the customer that they have always serviced and make sure that entry level product is available on the shop floor. The ‘traditional’ customer is here to stay: families that go to trail centres altogether, and people who are using their entry-level bikes for commuting as well as their trail riding.”

The products 

On the product side, Oneway has been promoting new products from cycle accessory brand Acid (designed and developed at Cube headquarters in Germany) like its Husk multitool and new bikepacking range, as well as e-mobility machines from Cube, including the new Cube Trike. 

Cube also recently launched a new kids’ bike trailer that lets riders take two children along for the ride. 

On plans for the future, Van Den Biggelaar said: “We go all-in when it comes to support, partnership and service. We have launched a completely new B2B system and we are looking to host a dealer event later in the year in our new HQ in Rotterdam. We keep working on more sustainable packaging such as our bike boxes and reducing plastic packaging. Next to that, our marketing team puts a lot of effort into supporting dealers by collecting reviews with bigger online media platforms to create more brand awareness.” 

Environmental focus 

Sustainability is a key focus for Oneway, with its new warehouse facility being highly rated for its energy efficiency and its power surplus of renewables. 

Van Den Biggelaar said: “At Oneway, we take sustainability very seriously and are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact. We are working on more sustainable packaging solutions, such as our bike boxes that are made from recycled materials and are fully recyclable. We also aim to reduce plastic packaging wherever possible and use eco-friendly materials in our accessories packaging. 

“Additionally, we are exploring ways to make our products more eco-friendly and are committed to working with our suppliers to improve sustainability throughout the supply chain.”

Cube’s bikes are also shipped in 100% recycled boxes (80% for e-bike boxes), and use cardboard tape and filling material. 

Read more: Performance-driven: BikeBiz meets Hampshire-based bike brand Handsling

Van Den Biggelaar added: “In conclusion, Oneway has had a successful year despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, and is poised for further growth and expansion in the coming years. The company is committed to sustainability and working closely with its dealers to ensure the best possible outcomes for both parties. With its focus on quality products and reliable service, Oneway is well positioned to continue to thrive in the competitive cycling industry.”

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