DEER VALLEY, UT (BRAIN)—Some 30 editors from a variety of magazines had the chance to look at a host of new products at the first day of PressCamp—2012 products most retailers will see at Interbike if not sooner.
While it’s much too early to discern any particular trend—whether in color palettes or innovative technology—what is clear is the industry continues to refine what consumers buy at retail.
Here are some examples from Tuesday’s visit with five companies:
NuVinci’s N360 internal hub is slowly gaining spec on a wide variety of commuter bikes and folders. Look for the smooth shifting system on the Dahon Mu N360 and the Bike Friday Infinity Tikit. Jamis will offer a commuter version dubbed the Commuter4. Breezer will mate the system with a belt drive for 2012 on a 700c bike for its European customers. And REI will offer a NuVinci system on a Novara Gotham. European manufacturers, however, have adopted the system in far greater numbers, in part because they understand the value of internal geared hubs and Europeans are more willing to pay for the technology, said Geoff Petrangelo, director of sales and business development. The system competes primarily with Shimano’s Alfine 8- and 11-speed hubs.
Gore Bike Wear will soon take a global approach with its new strategy of positioning cycling apparel as part of a system. As Kevin King, Gore Bike Wear’s strategic marketing director, explained, the company has created four key categories: Road Performance, Road Ambitious, Mountain Bike Ambitious and Mountain Bike Performance. And within each category are two subsets—think racers and enthusiasts. Gore will offer a specific set of bike wear for each subset. For example, road race apparel will be cut tight while apparel for enthusiasts will enjoy a more generous cut. Nonetheless, all categories will feature Gore’s unique fabrics and waterproof/breathable membranes. Part of the approach will include new merchandising programs for dealers as well as a broad media campaign, King said.
There isn’t a bike on a showroom floor anywhere in the U.S. that isn’t sporting rims made by Alex Global Technology, a major OE supplier for many well-known brand names. But Hillary Kirkman (pictured), the company’s new U.S. rep, said she hopes to better position the company with its own, branded A Class rims ranging from full carbon fiber tubular deep dish rims to lightweight 29er hoops. Look for tubeless rims for road and mountain as well. “We’ve had our own brand for quite awhile, but the company is very proud of its products and it’s nice to get them out there,” she said. A full line of mid- to high-end price point wheels are slated for delivery through select distributors in 2012. U.S. retailers will see the line at Interbike, part of the company’s global rollout.
CatEye’s Bill Peck may have the freshest product at Deer Valley with some of the Japanese company’s latest lighting innovations arriving Monday night. Among them is a new computer, the Urban Wireless, that will calculate the amount of CO2 riders save when they pedal instead of drive—about $55 at retail. “It lets you get your ‘green’ on,’” he quipped. Another nifty item is a $250 GPS-enabled video cam that easily attaches to a helmet with Velcro straps. Called the INOU, users can upload their ride to INOUAtlas.com and pull out a variety of ride statistics as well as video. Another new light, so new that it has yet to get an official name, has an optical and motion sensor that shuts the power off a few moments after the rider stops pedaling. It saves battery life, Peck said. Also new are two major full-on lighting systems the Sumo II and the Sumo III. Peck admits that it’s a tough category at retail. And these units, while pushing out plenty of light, will retail for $450 and $550 each. CatEye also will add several new lights to better compete with Planet Bike, Knogg and others. “I think we will really do well with them,” Peck said.