Raleigh’s UK Resurgence Powered by E-Bikes
NOTTINGHAM, UK – Recent upgrades to Accell-owned Raleigh’s HQ in Notttingham, UK see them well-positioned to make strides in the UK’s thriving e-bike market. Once one of the UK’s great manufacturing names, making up to 1 million bikes a year at its Midlands base in years past, Raleigh has recently revamped it’s headquarters and expanded it’s e-bike range and the distribution space allotted to it.
Accell bought Raleigh UK in 2012 for more than GBP 60 million (71 million euro), according to Accell ex-head René Takens to facilitate geographical expansion into Raleigh’s traditional markets such as America, Canada and Britain.
Expanded Raleigh e-bike range
Raleigh has extended its own brand e-bike portfolio, “In 2014, Raleigh had 6 e-bikes in the range, it’s now up to 21 and is constantly expanding to meet demand” Raleigh told Bike Europe. The current range are powered by motor systems from Sparta, Tranz-X, Shimano and Bosch. 2017 has seen them include an e-folder in the range as well as a more hub gear, step-thru style models.
Raleigh also distribute Accell brands Haibike and Diamondback, both of which include e-bikes and they own several accessory brands. 2017 will also see Raleigh UK roll out distribution of Lapierre bikes.
Moves at HQ
Raleigh says expansion and revamping plans finished in 2017 mean it is looking to expand its wheelbuilding facility. Raleigh told Bike Europe that currently their wheels are “Mainly made for Raleigh’s bikes, but following a GBP 250,000 (295,000 euro) investment in new manufacturing equipment in 2017, Raleigh now make a wider range of wheels including fat bike wheels and high spec carbon wheels.” The company builds approximately 100,000 wheels a year at the site.
It is much more than extra production and warehouse capacity however, as a slick new showroom will include electric and non-electric bikes and an experience centre that hosts a bike café will be used as a central meeting point for hundreds of national bike dealers. There is also an onsite Velopark next to the site to allow for full test rides. Other developments include the ability to build prototype bikes onsite and a new voice picking system for the warehouse.
Future is electric
Perhaps most significant of all though is the fact that the site has seen a 250% expansion in storage space for e-bike stock. “Raleigh is seeing a huge shift in both market and business trends towards e-bikes and envisage this number will only continue to increase” commented Pippa Wibberley, Raleigh Sales & Marketing Director. “2017 is going to be a key year for us as a business” she added.
And, this might not be a surprise, Raleigh suggests other assumptions about selling e-bikes in the UK might be: whilst omni-channel may be the current buzzword Raleigh are stressing the importance of bricks and mortar establishments in the UK e-bike scene. “We’re a long way off still when it comes to masses of educated buyers in this market,” Richard Dobney, Raleigh UK’s brand manager for Haibike said. “As a result e-bikes are remaining a great shop floor sale for those dealers committed to making it work.”
US echoes UK
Bike Europe spoke to Larry Pizzi, President of Raleigh Electric in the US (founded by Accell in late 2016) who commented: “Raleigh Bicycles is a brand that Boomers and many Gen X’ers grew up with in the US and held in very high regard through the 70’s and 80’s as the bicycle boom of the era hit the shores of America. Known for sport, club riding and just plain fun, this generation of Americans cherished their Raleighs. This translates very well for us as the population ages and continues to desire an outdoor and recreational lifestyle for fun and fitness.”
Pizzi also reinforced the importance of bricks and mortar outlets:
“In Q4 last year, Raleigh Electric topped the sell through statistical charts for the largest number of units sold by brand in the US independent retailers, some of which are existing Raleigh bicycle dealers stockists and quite a few have opened as e-bike only dealers. We find that e-bikes absolutely require a service-savvy provider in the field, and the IBD is most definitely the best overall customer experience.”