Santa Cruz MTBs To Be Made in Germany
SANTA CRUZ, USA – Owner Pon Bike Group is increasing the availability and shortens leadtimes in Europe of its US Santa Cruz ultra high-end mountain bikes. For that an operational shift in fulfillment will take place next July. According to company CEO Joe Graney the Europe-destined Santa Cruz MTBs will be assembled in Cloppenburg, Germany; supervised by Santa Cruz, in a similar ‘one-mechanic-one-bike’ production process as used in their US facility.
Bike Europe met with Santa Cruz at its ‘birthplace’ in the US; the Californian town that carries the same name. This introduction made it clear that Santa Cruz is unlike many other mountain bike brands. In particular this is a company that leaves nothing to chance when it comes to being different; to stand out from the competition.
‘Mindset on engineering’
That distinctiveness will be required within a highly competitive European market with lots of MTB brands. However, many of them are, as Graney claims, ‘me-too’ brands sourced and designed in Asia. Santa Cruz does things differently especially when it comes to prototyping. For that the company has its in-house carbon fibre R&D for the design of customized parts and frames. It has its own carbon fibre cutting machine for preparing the layup sheets. As well, further prototype processing up to the complete product including the under high pressure and temperature moulding is done in-house. Here also the production of some parts like handlebars is taking place. In-house prototyping is also done for the Santa Cruz aluminium frames. What all that brings typifies Graney as, “A mindset on engineering brought together in a product of the highest quality that performance-wise is superior to what the competition offers.”
‘Built to order’
That ultra high-end character is also seen in how Santa Cruz company markets and produces its mountain bikes. There’s a straight forward, no hassle line-up of 13 models or ‘platforms’ (including one cyclocross model) offered with 27.5 or 29-inch wheels. There are 6 choices in suspension travel while the company’s website, www.santacruzbicycles.com smartly shows all the colour options to customize the bike in detail according to the customer’s demands. This customization level is one of the vital USP’s of the brand, according to Graney.
“Customers can configure their own bike. We offer an individual set-up. With that online service we present consumer pull to the retailers.”
Potential customers can test ride the Santa Cruz MTB of choice at the brand’s dealership that has showroom-models the company delivers. Customers are served by a limited dealer network with about 200 locations across the USA and Canada. Once the customer has made all choices for a bike that ultimately meets all his wishes it’s built to order at the Californian Santa Cruz facility. As said, assembly takes place at a ‘one-mechanic-one-bike’ manner. Next the bike is, in many cases, shipped within 24 to 48 hours to the dealer that does the final fine-tuning upon delivery to the customer.
Santa Cruz also offers a special line-up for women. These smaller sized bikes with somewhat different specs and customization options, but with different suspension tuning come under the Juliana brand name.
Santa Cruz will host its US, Canada and European dealers at the company’s dealer-event in Morzine, France which is scheduled for next June. In several EU countries, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain, Santa Cruz is represented by third party distributors that will also have access to European assembled bicycles for their local markets in 2017 – reducing leadtimes for dealers and riders. Dealers in the German speaking countries as well as in the Benelux will be frequently visited by a special Santa Cruz – Cervélo sales team. As the two brands are positioned as ultra high-end products, Pon.Bike’s performance sales staff is used to communicate the advantages of such highly engineered products to their dealers and end-users.
The same broad and customizable line-up that is offered in the US and Canada is also offered to Santa Cruz Bicycles dealers for sale in Germany, Austria and Benelux countries. And as said, assembly will take place under Santa Cruz supervision in at the Pon Bike facility in Cloppenburg, Germany.
On the opportunities for Santa Cruz in the European market, Graney says, “What we offer are superior-to-the-competition mountain bikes that stem from the MTB birthplace. To my knowledge there’s no such pure mountain bike brand like Santa Cruz yet available in the European marketplace.”
That purist mountain bike image and positioning of the brand rules out that there will be e-MTBs included in the Santa Cruz range. Graney sees them as a no-fit next to the fact that electric mountain bikes have to tackle a lot of issues in the US like MTB trail accessibility. “And that’s not an easy problem to solve. So no e-MTBs in the 2017 line-up of Santa Cruz.”