PAAL-BERINGEN, Belgium (BRAIN) — Quality Bicycle Products and Ridley Bicycles are ending their distribution agreement Feb. 1. QBP had distributed Ridley’s road and cyclocross bikes in the U.S. market since 2009.
QBP will continue to support dealers and promote the Ridley brand until then, handling customer service and warranty through the end of the current cyclocross season.
“We’ve had a strong partnership with Ridley over the past five seasons,” said Rich Tauer, vice president of QBP, in a press release. “We’ve had a lot of success building the brand in the U.S., especially in ’cross. Ridley has reached the point where more direct control over their U.S. presence makes sense for them.”
Richard Wittenberg, vice president of international operations for Ridley, said there will be some readjustment to MSRP, MAP and dealer pricing for product as a result of the change. But in the immediate future, Ridley is looking to improve on its level of customer service and the breadth of product available to U.S. dealers.
“We have a distinct direction for the brand going forward and we want to be more active in marketing and promotion,” said Wittenberg, who joined the Belgian bike brand in March.
QBP carried a select range of Ridley’s road and ‘cross bikes. Dana Carson, Ridley’s U.S. brand manager at QBP, said as a distributor it was difficult to take on a broader range, including Ridley’s triathlon or mountain bike models. “Our focus was on high-end road and cyclocross, but it didn’t necessarily meet their strategy globally,” Carson said. “But as a distributor, to take on a wider breadth of line becomes hard to do.”
Carson and Todd Schmidt, national sales manager for Ridley, will transition into other roles in house at QBP. Maria Benson, who was product manager and buyer for Ridley, recently left.
Ridley is working out the details of how it will set up its U.S. business. But whether it means establishing a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary or partnering with an existing U.S. distributor, “we’re clearly going to stock product here and set up customer service here,” Wittenberg said.
Ridley currently sells through nearly 100 U.S. dealers and a couple dozen shops in Canada. Wittenberg said the company hopes to grow that number to 200 to 300 doors in North America. Aside from offering dealers access to Ridley’s complete lineup, from mid to high end, the Belgian brand also wants to further grow its custom business with dealers, allowing them to provide consumers with custom frame dimensions, paint and spec.
Retailers can contact Ridley directly at Ridley.USA@ridley-bikes.com or (877) 283-7545.