Cycle Show opens in Taipei
MAARSSEN, Netherlands (March 11th) The Taipei International Cycle Show opened yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Centre Exhibition Hall, with a theme of "Think Bicycle, Think Taiwan." The four-day show is the largest of its kind in Asia, with as many as 1,828 booths. It is sponsored by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association. The sponsors said that the show is the largest ever, with the largest-ever number of foreign exhibitors, including Shimano, Cat Eye, Accell, and Michelin. Local manufacturers such as Giant and Merida are also displaying their wares, including tandem, folding, mountain and electric bicycles. source: Taiwan Times
NOKIAN changes importers in Holland
MAARSSEN, Netherlands (March 11th) - Nokian, the Finnish tyre manufacturer has changed their importers. Koch-Kleeberg, the Dutch company that were their importers until recently have been traded-in for the firm of T.Kokke. This the latest in a string of importer changes at Koch Kleeberg. (MH)
RockShox leaks, News that is !
AMERSFOORT, Netherlands (March 11th) - SRAM has decided to "give the people what they want" by pre-releasing vital information about the exciting new '05 RockShox front suspension platforms - Reba and Pike. SRAM Special Agent Greg 'HB' Herbold commented, "We've kept it quiet long enough, and with all the testing and excitement generated at the OE ride camp, it was almost impossible to keep the excitement out of the public." If you would like to read the full technical data on the new forks: the March issue of Bike Europe contains the full illustrated story. (MH)
Rocketing Raw Material Prices
TAIPEI, Taiwan (March 11th) - Rocketing prices of raw materials are the reason for the rising bike & part prices. In the whole of Asia materials like steel and alloys are fetching more, almost by the day. This causes an upturn in prices of all products made from these materials. One of the quoted reasons is the frantic expansion of the infrastructure in China - demand for all materials has risen enormously due to this. With the gigantic expansion of the Chinese car-fleet it is logical that the infrastructure has to be adapted in haste. For the bike industry quotes of 20% increases have already been heard for certain parts and products.(MH)
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (March 10) - Using sitting ducks as decoys for hunting purposes is nothing new - applying this to bikes is something else. The Amsterdam police force is using 'sitting-bikes' to lure thieves. The bikes are equipped with state-of-the-art GPS tracking systems, so that the bike once stolen can be found. The purpose is to find out who buys the stolen bikes - the ordinary punter who wants to save on transportation costs or if organised crime is involved…With 100.000 bikes stolen each year in the city (500.000 bikes total, on 750.000 inhabitants) it is indeed necessary to take some action… (MH)
How do you take your Coffee?
MAARSSEN, Netherlands (March 10) - In this case the answer could be : with a bike, please! German Coffee merchant Tchibo has joined the traditional German Spring bike-sale. Last week we reported a low-price but high-spec (well, at first glance!) bike on offer at Aldi - and now the others follow suit. Tchibo is offering quite a range, including a FS, partly Shimano equipped MTB with even a disc brake thrown in for good measure for the princely sum of €349,- Spring sales in Germany will be hotted-up by the look of things…(MH)
Money no Object
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (March 5th) - Bike sales in Holland have slightly dropped compared to '02: still, total sales were 1.2 million bicycles in '03. According to market research the Dutch consumer is still looking for quality and service: the average price of a bike sold through IBD channels is €596. The majority of bikes is still sold in specialist bike shops, 85% of them to be precise. One in ten bikes sold even managed a price level of more than €1300. But cheap bikes are on the rise: some 12% , bringing the market share of bikes under €300 up to 34%.(MH)
US Bike Market Drop
WASHINGTON, USA March 5th) - While 1.2 million bikes sold in Holland may seem a lot: it is the same number of bikes that were sold less in the US. Selling 19,550,411 units in '02 the is has dropped to 18,397,123 units in '03. But on the bright side, '03 is still the third best year in the last ten for US bicycle consumption. Figures are influenced by the fact that a big number of bikes were sold from stock - especially at mass merchant outlets. Sales trends indicate that the 700c road bike is gaining ground fast: 20.7% of all bikes sold are of that persuasion. Consequently, MTB's are loosing more ground. Also the trekking and comfort bikes are not delivering as hoped for. The division of sales channel still favours the mass merchants: 74% of all bikes are sold there, while just 16% are sold trough IBD's…(MH)
EU Countermeasures Against US Taxation
STRASSBOURG, France (March 5th) - The EU countermeasures on several US products in the long-standing WTO dispute on the US Foreign Sales Corporations entered into force. Countermeasures consist of an additional customs duty of 5% to be enforced as from 1st March 2004, followed by automatic, monthly increases by 1% up to a ceiling of 17% to be reached on 1 March 2005, if compliance has not happened in-between. The WTO found that the tax treatment of foreign sales corporations (FSC) by the United States of America constituted an illegal export subsidy under the WTO Agreement. The following bicycle accessories fall under the scope of the Regulation: CN codes: 83061000 (bells), 84142091 (pumps) and 85121000 (lighting equipment). The countermeasures will be lifted the day the FSC is repealed. (Reference: Council Regulation 2193/2003 (OJ L 328), including a detailed list of products on which countermeasures are applied). Source: COLIPED
Cycleurope Distributing Renault Bikes
PARIS, France (March 5th) - French car manufacturer Renault is venturing out into the bike - mobility business. Striking a deal with Cycleurope they will market bicycles under the Renault name. Cycleurope will not only manufacture the bikes, but will also take care of distribution trough it's affiliated dealers. In the offing are also motorised modes of transport, like a three-wheeled 'scooter'which offers (some) weather protection. The idea is that the future customer can shop at one single brand for all his mobility needs. (MH)
PARIS, France (February 19th) - Renault Sport Technologies and Cycleurope recently signed an exclusive license for utilization of the Renault and Renault Sport brands in the manufacture and marketing of a range of bicycles. With the alliance between the two companies Renault wishes to strengthen its presence on the bicycle market.
Already in 1999 Renault decided to market a range of bicycles consistent with its brand identity for which the car maker entered into a cooperation with Giant. After an initial phase in which it sold directly through its subsidiary Renault Sport Technologies, the French car maker is now focusing more on the bike sector. Renault Sport Technologies will be involved in defining and positioning the future range under licence to Cycleurope by bringing its expertise in design and technological innovation to the project. The ten-year licensing agreement will have international scope, but excludes North America.
The alliance between the two companies is a major victory for Tony Grimaldi, CEO of Cycleurope. After the biggest bike maker in France lost the Peugeot brand two years ago, Grimaldi struggled with Cycleurope's brand strategy and (re-)introduced several names like Monark or Puch. Cycleurope currently generates revenues of about € 300 million and sells about 1.5 million bikes a year in 47 countries under the Bianchi, Gitane, Micmo, Raleigh, Crescent, Monark, Kildemoes, Puch, Legnano, DBS, and Everton brands. (JO)