Editor's note: The following article appeared in the January 2013 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
OLNEY, IL (BRAIN) —Magura picked up so much new disc brake spec for 2013 it topped up the diesel in two Sprinter vans sending them out to support dealer clinics around the country.
“Getting this much OE spec all at once is a big thing for us, and since brakes are such a big touch point on a bike, we want to give dealers all the support they need as the bikes start hitting their shops,” said Jeff Enlow, Magura USA’s general manager.
The company hired a new service tech, Mike Mantione, to do dealer clinics in California, and sent veteran service manager Jude Monica on the road in Texas. The pair hopes to cover most regions by summer.
It’s not only Magura gaining spec. Hayes is back on some Trek models and a host of European brands after keeping a low profile the past few years.
“We picked up a ton of spec. I was originally uncertain as I set out to sell, but product managers thought our quality and performance were competitive,” said Adam Micklin, Hayes’ director of global sales.
Micklin acknowledges Hayes had quality issues to overcome and its OE spec had all but disappeared. But over the past two years the company put its head down to revamp product and quality.
“Shimano is a victim of the performance of its new brakes: Everyone wants them and delivery times are stretching. Much of the spec we picked up are on models that brands want to get on the market. They don’t want to wait for brakes,” Micklin said.
“That Hayes’ performance is seen as comparable to Shimano tells me our brakes compete at the top level,” he added.
Magura disc brakes are coming on dozens of 2013 Cannondale, Focus, Pivot and Specialized models. The company appears to be picking up most spec at the expense of Avid.
“Anytime a product manager replaces spec, especially something as sensitive as brakes, they really have to have a good reason to do so,” Enlow said.
“And the last thing they want to do is make a switch to something that doesn’t make dealers happy, so we are honored we got the spec to fix their brake issues,” he added.
Magura’s 2013 brakes will come from its expanded factory in Hengen, Germany. For model year 2014, Magura will supply its brakes for the U.S. market from its Taiwanese factory.
Enlow and Micklin note Shimano and SRAM’s ability to provide a complete group to product managers makes it hard for Magura and Hayes to get spec. But anytime these component suppliers misstep, other players get a window of opportunity. Both Hayes and Magura report gaining even more brake spec for model year 2014, as well as new fork spec (Hayes owns Manitou).
An unrelated but quickly growing market for Hayes and Magura is high-speed off-road e-bikes in Europe. Their motorcycle heritage gives them a big advantage, both in brake lever switches to control brake lights and e-bike controllers, and larger brake designs. And they expect the category to grow stateside.
“Most e-bikes go 10 to 15 miles per hour off road, but these fast e-bikes can easily go twice that. These high speeds require beefier brakes — not really a stronger bike brake, more an adapted motorcycle brake,” Enlow said.