Editor's note: The following article appears in the January issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News (Subscribe!). Part 2 will be published here on Thursday.
The stories that made industry headlines in 2011
• Booming bike markets in Singapore, Indonesia and other Pacific Rim countries mean longer lead times and tight supply of bikes and components to European and North American dealers.
• Haro lays off seven employees, including longtime adult brand manager Jill Hamilton, due to the economy. The company plans to focus more on BMX/freestyle bikes, simplifying its mountain bike range.
• Yakima acquires rooftop car rack manufacturer Hubco, the fastest-growing rack brand in Australia and New Zealand.
• Shimano American cuts margins for high-end aftermarket components to even the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar retailers and to fight the slumping dollar.
• The UCI details new mandatory certification program for frames and forks, but suppliers balk at timelines and the high cost.
• Peloton publisher Move Press debuts 3/GO triathlon magazine.
• The battle between online and brick-and-mortar bike retailers reaches a fever pitch as a group of Spanish dealers asks industry suppliers to cut ties with online behemoth Chain Reaction Cycles.
• Bike suppliers raise prices on high-end 2011 bikes 3 to 5 percent due to escalating material and manufacturing costs and the slumping dollar.
• UCI lowers cost of its frame and fork certification program in response to complaints. Suppliers remain concerned over UCI’s capacity to test frames.
• QBP announces plans to open third warehouse in Pennsylvania on the heels of its second warehouse in Utah.
• Tire makers plan adjustment to pricing as cost of rubber goes up.
• Bankers take over Race Face, closing operations and letting go of employees at its Canadian and Taiwan factories. Its receiver plans to auction the company.
• Cassette prices increase 10 percent to offset a new import tax levied by U.S. Customs.
• Online retailer Competitive Cyclist acquires Merlin Metalworks from American Bicycle Group. ABG retains rights to manufacture and sell Merlin’s U.S.-made titanium frames to buyers in Asia through 2012.
• The Taipei Cycle Show grows as cycling booms in Pacific Rim and Asian markets. The trade show attracts record number of Chinese distributors and retailers. Exhibitors point to growth in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam.
• Nonprofits weather the economic downturn as many post record revenues during the 18-month recession.
• Investment group Top Five buys Pacenti Cycle and forms NuWave to offer competitively priced composite components to OEMs.
• Select models of Santa Cruz bikes begin showing up in Sport Chalet, a West Coast regional sporting goods chain.
• Dutch behemoth Accell Group acquires a minority stake in Derby Cycle, Germany’s largest manufacturer, three months after Derby goes public.
• SRAM enters the power meter segment with the acquisition of South Dakota-based Quarq. The deal is expected to grow the size of the overall market, estimated at $50 million in annual sales in the U.S.
• China’s rising middle class fuels recreational bike use and sales, drawing the interest of premium brands looking for sales outside of mature markets in the U.S. and Europe.
• SRAM announces plans to list an IPO on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Prior to going public, the company would buy back a 40 percent stake from private equity group Trilantic Partners. SRAM later delayed its IPO until at least mid-2012 citing volatility on Wall Street.
• Performance Bicycle CEO Jim Thompson leaves the 100-store retailer when the board reportedly felt Internet sales weren’t growing quickly enough. Thompson was later replaced by internal hire David Pruitt.
• A group of private equity investors scoops up bankrupt Race Face and brings the iconic Canadian brand back to market. Many former employees are rehired to quicken its recovery.
• Retailers can’t stock enough 29-inch bikes, citing strong sales of high-end carbon hardtails and entry-level models. Suppliers struggle to meet higher demand.
July through December will be published Thursday!