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Signa plans to include IBDs in North American expansion plans

Published August 25, 2022

A version of this article ran in the August issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

FRANKFURT (BRAIN) — Stateside brick-and-mortar retailers don't get the warm and fuzzies at the mention of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, two UK-based e-commerce sites that were once notorious for selling discounted components into the U.S. market.

Although the two sites have backed off on low-priced sales in recent years, U.S. IBDs have been concerned at the news that their new owner, Germany's Signa Sports United, plans to expand its business into the U.S., building out from its sites' current strengths in western Europe and the UK.

However, Signa's CEO tells BRAIN that discounting is not part of his U.S. expansion strategy. What's more, Signa expects to work with dealers in a hybrid model.

"I can't comment on the time before the acquisition, but it's certainly not our strategy to come into the U.S. as a discounter ... that's not a proposition for our success," CEO Stephan Zoll told BRAIN. "We will do campaigns of course, but we don't want to lead by discounting."

Signa has hired Hap Seliga, a co-founder of, to head up its North American entry. Seliga, who lives in Park City, Utah, is setting up a warehouse in the Salt Lake City area. This year, the company will begin U.S. sales of two of its house-brand bike lines, Vitus and Nukeproof. Vitus will be sold online exclusively in North America, while Nukeproof will be sold online and through dealers.

Participating dealers will provide assembly and service for bikes bought online, as well as selling the bikes from the showroom, Zoll said. The company has had a similar program in the U.K. for more than two years.

"There are some independent bike shops that are suspicious of us, but they are very much in the minority. The vast majority of IBDs are relatively open to the program. The way we approach it is that we are bringing together the best of both worlds: We can have a wider depth of selection online, that's the advantage there. But the big advantage of the IBD is the personal service. If you combine them the right way, the riders can benefit. We are trying to learn how to translate what we are doing to the U.S. market, and fine-tune it so it works for everyone," he said.

Vitus and Nukeproof have been available in the U.S. in recent years to consumers who order them from the Wiggle and ChainReaction U.K.-based websites.

"Both brands have done quite well in U.S. even without marketing," Seliga told BRAIN. "The bikes keep finding their way to the U.S. somehow."

Seliga said he plans to begin more marketing efforts around both brands, including support of cycling community events and athletes.

"We want to be involved," he said. "I'm an entrepreneur at heart, I enjoy building companies."

While Vitus is known to many industry veterans (at least this one) for the bonded aluminum road frames ridden by Sean Kelly and others, the brand now has a full line of bikes, from kids bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes (and Kelly remains a brand ambassador, by the way).

Nukeproof started in Michigan in the 1980s doing high-end mountain bike components and hardtail frames. Nowadays, the Nukeproof product line is focused on gravity riding with enduro, downhill, trail and hardtails models. There is also an array of Nukeproof components and accessories, including wheels, pedals, cockpit, bottom brackets, and more.

Signa also plans to launch a U.S. e-commerce site for house brands and third-party products, probably in 2023. The site is unlikely to use the Wiggle or Chain Reaction Cycles names, company officials indicated.

Interested retailers can inquire at

Topics associated with this article: From the Magazine

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