MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—Mike Sinyard, founder and president of Specialized Bicycles, prompted a round of resounding applause when he reminded attendees at the Bicycle Leadership Conference that the industry—whether manufacturing products, supporting racing or selling products at retail—requires passion if it’s to succeed.
Sinyard, who punctuated his comments with several four-letter words, tried to remind people why they became involved with cycling in the first place. “I think the inspiration side of this business is something we all miss. Does this store have inspiration or is it just selling shit?” Sinyard asked as an example.
“We need to inspire people, whether it’s through Lance Armstrong or Ned Overend. We’ve got a lot of great women coming up that we’re supporting, too. Inspiration is huge,” Sinyard added.
His comments came during a panel on the economy when asked whether major companies that invest millions in racing should put some of that money toward bringing in new cyclists.
Sinyard pointed out that racing is what drives Specialized, but more importantly it inspires consumers to push themselves to become cyclists.
Sinyard’s comments set the tone for the remainder of the day as panelists discussed the buy-sell cycle and how that impacts sales at the consumer level. Another panel discussed the pros and cons of consolidation, whether among suppliers or retailers.
In general, panelists agreed that the current buy-sell cycle does impact some retailers when new bikes are brought in before retailers can sell through what they have on the floor. Skip Swain, vice president of sales for Norco, suggested that suppliers could look at bikes under a $500 price point and agree to continuously supply them without an introduction cycle.
The panelists also examined the timing for Interbike, the industry’s key trade show. Interbike’s show director, Andy Tompkins, said he is studying whether to move the show into the first or second week of August. But Swain and Todd Grant, Pearl Izumi’s national sales manager, said that at the moment it wouldn’t make much difference to change the show’s timing in how they currently bring their products to market.
As for consolidation, panelists offered mixed views on the topic. Steve Meineke, president of Raleigh America, takes a dim view of consolidation saying what makes the bicycle industry unique is its very diversity. Scott Montgomery, general manager of Scott USA, pointed out that a recent VeloNews consumer survey listed 111 different bicycle brands—a number that shows plenty of variety.