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Canyon postpones US market launch to third quarter

Published February 2, 2017

SAUSALITO, Calif. (BRAIN) — U.S. cyclists itching to swing a leg over a Canyon bike will need to wait a little longer. The German consumer-direct brand is now aiming for a third-quarter launch into the U.S. market.

Last spring, Canyon announced that it would begin selling online to U.S. consumers in spring 2017, and that investment firm TSG Consumer Partners had gained a minority stake in the company and would provide the capital needed to set up U.S. sales.

But Frank Aldorf, Canyon's chief brand officer, said in a recent call with Bicycle Retailer that the launch date would move to the third quarter of the year.

The company has secured a warehouse to service the U.S. market in Chino, California. Aldorf said Southern California represents the biggest year-round cycling market for Canyon, so locating a warehouse there is important to be close to its customers.

Canyon USA is also in the process of choosing a location for management of operations and dedicated U.S. customer service. Drew Medlock, former manager of the bike division at Backcountry.com, is helping set up U.S. operations and Richard Wheeler, who has worked at Trek and Specialized in quality control, is managing QC and assembly operations. Canyon U.S. is in the process of hiring other staff. It has also retained True Communications as a dedicated U.S. PR agency.

"We want to launch in the country with 2018 products," Aldorf said. "We want to be here with the latest products and we think it's better if we move it further out so we can offer the latest. We'll have a slight delay here, maybe a couple of months, but we'll offer model year 2018 product."

Aldorf said the company doesn't have a specific launch date set. And Canyon is still determining how many models it will bring to the U.S., but that the Canyon.com website will showcase the line later this year. Consumers will have a chance to interact with the brand "in a variety of ways before we go live in Q3 – everything from places-to-ride events to consumer events," he said.

Once Canyon.com opens for business in the U.S., the goal is to deliver a bike bought online to a buyer's home or office within two weeks of when the order is placed.

Aldorf said Canyon's website has received a lot of traffic from U.S. consumers, many whom have signed up for its newsletter, and that the company has noticed pent-up demand for its products.

Roman Arnold, a former retailer, started Canyon as a house brand for his retail and wholesale business, Radsport Arnold. He began selling bikes online in 2003. Canyon's German-engineered frames are produced in Taiwan and bikes are assembled as stock in Koblenz, Germany, where the company is based. Bypassing the wholesaler and retailer, Canyon claims to offer consumers high-quality at better prices than competitors.

Canyon sells consumer direct online in 20 countries, and since 2008 it has sold more bikes outside of its native Germany.

Canyon has been ramping up production, opening a new assembly facility in October 2015 and launching a new ERP system. Its R&D department has grown to 50 people. And, Aldorf noted, Canyon has been honored with awards by American cycling publications even without being available for sale. That, along with ProTour sponsorship, has helped create awareness and demand for Canyon stateside, Aldorf said.

There has been some speculation that Canyon will partner with a mobile bike service company, such as Velofix, for assembly in the U.S. Velofix CEO Chris Guillemet said that there is no deal, although Velofix has talked to Canyon and every other major bike brand about partnerships through its Velofix Direct program. "Canyon is coming and we think we would be a great delivery partner for them, but there is no agreement," said Guillemet.

 

Topics associated with this article: Omnichannel

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