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D3O strengthening grip in mountain bike protection category

Published April 18, 2024

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Impact protection company D3O arrived at the Sea Otter Classic ready to tighten its grip on the mountain bike market with an expansion into contact points like grips and anti-vibration footwear.

"It's the first time that D3O has had a large-scale booth at Sea Otter, and we are excited to debut our newly refreshed brand, and we are confident it will be well-received," said Kevin Fleer, D3O head of product. "We hope to create some real excitement in the industry about this launch."

D3O worked with ODI on the anti-vibration Vanquish grips, with the technology trickling down to a range of insoles. D3O will expand that innovation to saddles later this year. It's all about reducing rider fatigue, Fleer said.

"Our new D3O Grip Grade being showcased in MTB grips and our new insole range do just that. Our materials remove vibration and shock otherwise known as 'buzz' from the riders hands and feet, which will improve focus and reduce rider fatigue."

As an ingredient brand, D3O provides materials to consumers through brand partners who integrate its technology into protective clothing. In addition to ODI, other cycling partner brands include Scott, Fox, Giro, and Troy Lee Designs. D3O was established in 2004 and initially formed partnerships with industries including the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and F1.

In fact, the vibration dampening material breakthrough that helps F1 teams improve car energy management systems was the basis of the dampening materials it is now utilizing in the mountain bike category.

"D3O is unique in that we work closely with our brand partners to bring innovative protection solutions to the products they are developing," Fleer said. "In some instances, that means long-term custom R&D projects where we work side by side with their development teams on bespoke solutions. And in others, our existing protective products like Viper Air (back inserts) or Ghost (limb protectors) suit their needs perfectly."

For example, Fleer said with Scott, D3O developed a range of protection solutions across its mountain bike and snow sports ranges, from custom back protectors to hip, shoulder, elbow, and knee protectors. Scott also uses D3O in its helmet liners and for back of hand protection in their gloves.

"By working closely with the Scott SR Suntour team and Remy Absalon, we're able to gain important insights that help inform our joint product development efforts," Fleer said.

Sea Otter also will provide the stage for D3O to display its latest impact protection products, including the evolution of its best-selling Viper Air Back Protector. "Sea Otter is a great opportunity to get our products into the hands of mountain bike fans, so they can interact with it and see how unique and effective D3O is," Fleer said.

The company is based in London and has a sales and marketing office in Huntington Beach, California. Its ballistic defense brand, Delta Three Oscar, is based in Virginia.

It also has a manufacturing facility in Asia.

Fleer said D3O is "heavily invested" in its existing cycling partners and not necessarily looking to add and is "only looking for additional partners that would add value through unique application or use case."

Sea Otter also provides D3O the chance to debut its brand refresh, Give it Orange, which includes a new logo. It's part of a significant increase in marketing investments this year, including additional hires. It also will display at Eurobike in July.

Like most suppliers in the cycling industry, D3O experienced an increase in demand during the pandemic followed by the current decline.

"We are lucky enough as a business where we are diversified and not reliant on just one business sector," Fleer said. "However, demand for the D3O brand and D3O protection is at an all-time high and is currently showing no signs of slowing."

 ODI Vanquish grips.
Topics associated with this article: Sea Otter Classic

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