ARGENBUEHL, Germany (BRAIN)—This is Kurt Person’s first visit to Eurobike and as the new general manager and vice president of the Hayes Bicycle Group he will get a firsthand look at Europe’s biggest bicycle show.
Person, who joined Hayes earlier this year, oversees the bicycle group’s multiple product lines—Hayes disc brakes, Manitou suspension forks, Sun Ringlé wheels, rims and hubs, Wheelsmith spokes and
Answer handlebars, stems, shoes and other accessories.
Person had been vice president of new business development at Northern Star Industries Inc, a leading truck equipment and electrical power equipment manufacturer in Iron Mountain, Michigan, before assuming the top job at the company’s bicycle group. Hayes also makes equipment for the motorcycle, ATV and snowmobile market.
Prior to that Person spent 16 years at Robert Bosch Corp. in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where he was vice president of product development and project management of brake, chassis, and vehicle stability control systems and components.
Len Cabalterra, Hayes’ senior OEM sales manager, said Person is a good fit for the company and, because of his time with Bosch, speaks German. The German market, Cabalterra said, offers the U.S. manufacturer a strong opportunity for further growth.
“What we see is more opportunity,” he said, while standing in the shade at the Hayes booth at Eurobike Demo Day.
As Hayes grows in the European market, Cabalterra said the company’s engineers have had to take into consideration the differing demands that European consumers place on its products. For example, European mountain bikers often have much longer descents than is typical in the United States. That required its engineers to beef up their braking systems.
The same is true for Manitou forks. “Almost every fork here requires a lockout. And Europeans tend to prefer forks with 4-inch travel while in the U.S. consumers want 5 or 6 inches of travel,” he said. For 2009, look for Manitou forks on lines like Merida, Focus, Canyon, FRW, Author and others.