TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Hearing from dealers that Chain Reaction or Wiggle is offering products below wholesale is not a phone call any supplier wants to field. So when Stan’s OE sales manager Mark Hillam started with the company, one of the first things on his agenda was controlling the flow of OE product into Stan’s markets around the world.
Hillam is doing this two ways. Every OE order placed with him is required to disclose the bike manufacturer who has spec’d the product. And Stan’s rims are all coming with a unique serial number that will allow the company to trace them.
“I’ve already shut down three of our customers here in Taiwan because they cannot tell me who their end customers are,” Hillam said. “We don’t want these OE-priced products finding their way into the aftermarket. It not only hurts aftermarket sales for dealers, but it hurts the brand's value for OE.”
Stan’s is pushing its OE wheel line called Rapid at Bike Week, to compete with tubeless-ready wheels from DT and WTB. Rapid rims are eyeleted and sleeved rims and come in slightly heavier and cheaper than the company's Crest, Arch and Flow aftermarket rims. The eyelets ease machine building.
“Eyelets require a larger spoke hole to be drilled into the rim, and the eyelets have to be crimped just right or the rim can crack at the spoke hole under load,” said Mike Bush, Stan’s director of sales and engineering. “The larger spoke hole means we have to add material to the rim to reinforce the hole, which is why Rapids are heavier.”
Rapids come in three versions: 25, 28 and 30. The numbers refer to the outside rim width; Bush said subtract four to find the internal bead width. Outside of the eyelets and sleaved construction, Rapid retains Stan’s unique bead socket for secure tubeless use.
While there was OE interest in the company’s 52 millimeter wide “plus” size rim targeting 26- and 29er three-inch wide tires, it’s final spec has not been finalized. The company said some big suppliers will be offering bikes built around the three-inch-wide tires. The company hopes to show production rims at Frostbike.