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Goodyear launches premium bicycle tire line

Published April 8, 2018
Goodyear introduced its bike tires at its air ship facility in California.

CARSON, Calif. (BRAIN) —In its 120 years of existence, Goodyear has manufactured tires for everything from Henry Ford’s Model T to Formula 1 racecars and NASA’s Mars rover. But the company’s very first product was a bicycle tire back in 1898.

Goodyear returns to those roots now with a new line of performance bicycle tires developed over the past two years with Rubber Kinetics LLC, a company led by industry veteran Luke Musselman with a team based at Goodyear’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio. 

“The inventions and technologies that have come out of Goodyear allow us to bring a premium line of bicycle tires to market,” Musselman said during a recent media launch at the Southern California facility housing Goodyear’s iconic blimp.

(Goodyear also continues to license its name for a separate line of tires and tubes designed by Kent International for the mass market.)

All of the rubber compounds for the new performance line are developed in-house — no other tire brand has them. And the compounds are made specifically for each tread pattern. 

The Transit Speed 700c urban tire comes in widths of 35, 40 and 50 millimeters and is approved for use on speed pedelecs in Europe.

“We can design a great-looking tread pattern, but if the compound doesn’t work with the knob size and doesn’t interact with the ground the way it’s supposed to, that  tread pattern will not work,” said Musselman, Rubber Kinetics’ president. 

The line launches with more than 100 SKUs spanning four categories: road, transit, all-terrain/gravel and mountain, plus Goodyear’s own tubes and tubeless sealant. Musselman said he expects the line to grow to three times that size in the next 18 to 24 months.

In the U.S. and Canada, the Goodyear line is being distributed exclusively by Hawley-Lambert. Goodyear will also sell direct to consumers online at full MSRP starting later this year at GoodyearBike.com.

“For us, this was a big opportunity,” said Pat McGinnis, Hawley’s vice president of commercial. “What’s really cool is you have an iconic worldwide brand that’s made the decision to be part of our industry, which I think is really important in how it can bring recognition to other people in the industry. The second thing is that with the exclusive arrangement, it’s a really good opportunity for us to provide an important category that can truly be profitable for our dealers. It can be a tough category to have good margins and good profit. So those two things tie it together.”

Retailers and consumers will get to see the full line this month at Sea Otter, where Hawley representatives will be manning Goodyear’s booth. That will be followed by a major program push in May, Hawley’s McGinnis said.

“We’ll offer a Goodyear program and some opportunities in and around POP, and we’ll give dealers some discount and dating incentives to buy in to the brand,” he added.

For more details about Goodyear’s new performance tire line, see the April 15 print edition of Bicycle Retailer.

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