Bicycle Retailer

Bicycle Retailer Latest News and Information

17 October 2019

  • Updated tariff timeline: How we got here
    UPDATED Sept. 11, 2019

    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Tariff news is piling up on the industry, making heads swirl from Washington to Long Beach to Boulder.

    To help you, and us, keep track, we have prepared a timeline, below. We'll have to keep updating the timeline as things develop. If you have a question, shoot it over to BRAIN’s Steve Frothingham at Sfrothingham@bicycleretailer.com or leave a comment.

    Pre-existing tariffs

    During the Kennedy administration the import duty on bikes was 30%. But in recent years most complete bikes have been subject to an 11% tariff; the rate for most road bikes is half that. Before the new Section 301 tariff imposed last year (see below), e-bikes had no tariff.

    Parts and accessories are generally subject to tariffs between 0-10%. The tariff on pedals, for example, is 8%, while that on pumps is 3.7%. 

    All the new and proposed tariffs in the news in the last year are in addition to the pre-existing tariffs. So for example the new 25% tariff on Chinese bikes, made official this month, is on top of the 11% tariff most bikes already are subject to, for a total of 36%.

    Many missed the news in September 2018, but there was a tariff reduction that month. President Donald Trump signed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018, which reduced some of these underlying tariffs (in imports from all countries, not just China) without affecting the new Section 301 or Section 232 tariffs. For example, the bill lowered the rate on disc brakes from 10% to 7.5%, and the rate for unicycles went from 3.7% to 0%. It also slightly reduced the tariffs on some cycling shoes. There's more on the MTB on the PeopleForBikes website.

    New and proposed tariffs, in chronological order:


    The U.S. tariff on steel and aluminum

    Applies to: U.S. imports of raw steel and aluminum from most countries
    Rate: 25% on steel, 10% aluminum
    Date proposed: March 8, 2018
    Date applied: March 23, 2018
    Type of tariff: Section 232, related to national security. (There's more on Section 232 tariffs on the Department of Commerce site)

    Annual import value of products, 2018: $40 billion
    Notable exclusions: Steel from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and South Korea (Argentina, Brazil and South Korea are limited by import quotas); aluminum from Argentina and Australia (Argentina limited by quota). Under NAFTA, Canadian and Mexican materials were exempt until May 31, 2018.
    Impact on our industry: Many U.S. manufacturers tell BRAIN that material costs — even for U.S. made steel and aluminum - have increased significantly. This put them at a disadvantage relative to foreign manufacturers, because only the materials, not completed products, are subject to this tariff. Some U.S. manufacturers favored an increase in tariffs on completed products because it helped reduce that disparity. 
    Status: Mexico and Canada continue to negotiate new trade agreements in hopes of eliminating the tariffs; with a Canada/US deal announced on May 17. The EU and the U.S. also continue to negotiate on this and other trade issues.
    Retaliation: Canada, Mexico, and the European Union each enacted retaliatory measures.

    Section 301, List 1 (GPS and bearings)

    Applies to: U.S. imports of a wide array of Chinese products, including GPS bike computers and ball bearings
    Rate: 25%
    Previous tariffs: GPS: 0%; Bearings: 4-10% depending on type.
    Date proposed: April 6, 2018
    Date enacted: July 6, 2018
    Type of tariff: Section 301 (More on Section 301 on the USTR website)
    Annual import value of all List 1 products, 2018: List 1 represented $34 billion in imports, out of an original proposal of $50 billion. List 2 (below) made up the $16 billion difference.

    Impact on our industry: Caused some GPS makers to move production out of China, usually to Taiwan. Raised costs of U.S.-made components that include Chinese-made bearings, and replacement bearings. Caused some bearing suppliers to move production or assembly out of China.
    Retaliation: China announced its own list of U.S. goods subject to new tariffs.
    Status: Still in place.

    Section 301, List 2 (Chinese e-bikes and motors)

    Applies to: An array of Chinese products, including e-bikes and e-bike motors.
    Tariff rate: 25%
    Previous tariff on e-bikes: 0%
    Type of tariff: Section 301
    Annual import value of all List 2 products, 2018: $16 billion
    Date proposed: June 20, 2018
    Date applied: Aug. 23, 2018

    Impact on our industry: Several manufacturers, including Trek and Pedego, testified against the proposal in Washington. The tariff had more effect on lower-priced e-bikes sold online and other channels. Sales statistics show the e-bike remained the fastest growing segment in the industry, despite the tariffs.
    Retaliation: China announced a second round of U.S. goods subject to retaliatory tariffs.
    Status: Still in place. Bike trade groups and brands requested exemptions, but the USTR denied those requests in January.

    Section 301, List 3 (Chinese bikes, parts and accessories)

    Applies to: Wide array of Chinese products, including most complete bikes and bike parts and accessories, plus other items the bike industry uses and sells, like tools and water bottles. 
    Notable exceptions: Helmets and lights were exempted for safety reasons. Cycling apparel and shoes also are not included. A variety of bike parts and accessories that are not elsewhere specified or included in the HTS import codes (NESOI, in importer jargon) fall under the 8714.99.8000 code. That code was NOT included in this round, but items under that code are subject to a pre-existing 10% duty. This includes about 40 types of products, including pump clips, bike radios and horns, kickstands, wide-angle reflectors, seatposts, toe clips, spoke reflectors and more. HTS 8714.99.8000 is included in List 4 (see below).
    Tariff rate: 10% starting September 2018, was set to increase to 25% on Jan. 1, 2019, but the increase was delayed. Now set to increase to 25% on imports that arrive after June 1.
    Previous tariffs: The 10% and 25% tariffs are in addition to existing tariffs on bike products, discussed above.
    Type of tariff: Section 301
    Annual import value of all products on List 3, 2018: $200 billion.
    Date proposed: July 17, 2018
    Date applied: 10% took effect Sept. 24, 2018. It increased to 25% on May 10, 2019, applying to imports that arrive after June 1.

    Despite the notable exceptions, this is a big, wide ranging list of bike stuff.

    Impact on our industry: Despite the notable exceptions mentioned above, this is a big, wide ranging list of bike stuff. Evidence: In 2018 the bike industry imported at least $1.1 billion in products on this list from China, representing half the industry’s imports. Since September, the 10% tariff has led to wholesale price increases of around 5% on these products, retailers said. Suppliers tell us efforts to re-source products and the uncertainty has been costly. The increase to 25% is expected to cause significant wholesale and retail price increases.
    Retaliation: China is running out of U.S. imports to hit with new tariffs in response. After the U.S.’s 10% increase in September, China announced new tariffs of 5-10% on $60 billion in U.S. exports to the country, including agriculture products and natural gas. After the announced increase to 25% in May, China said it would increase tariffs on $60 billion in other U.S. imports on June 1.
    Status: Negotiations continue.

    Section 301, List 4 — (Almost everything else from China)

    Applies to: U.S. imports of Chinese goods, including most or all of the bike products not included in List 2 or List 3.
    Tariff rate: up to 25%
    Type of tariff: Section 301
    Annual import value of all products on List 4, 2018: $300 billion.
    Date proposed: May 13, 2019
    Date to be enacted: Any time after June 24 in any amount up to 25%, on top of the regular rate of duty.

    Impact on our industry: Adds in most or all bike-related items that were not in List 3, including lights, helmets, unspecified parts and accessories, apparel and footwear. The industry is planning to submit requests to exclude bicycle products from this round of tariffs.

    Status: A public hearing was held June 17 at which the bicycle industry was represented. On June 29, at the G20 summit in Japan, Trump said he and Chinese President Xi had agreed to a truce and that the U.S. would not impose the new tariff on List 4. On August 1, Trump said Xi had not followed through in promises made in June and said List 4 would be hit with a 10% tariff on Sept. 1

    Status update Aug. 13, 2019: Trump announced that some products on List 4 will get a holiday shopping season reprieve and not get hit with the new tariff until Dec. 15. That included cell phones, laptops — and balance bikes. However, all other bike products on List 4 were set to still receive the 10% tariff on Sept. 1. That included helmets and lights, which were exempt from previous rounds for safety reasons. 

    Status update Aug. 30, 2019: The USTR announced the new tariff on List 4 would be 15%, not 10%, after China announced retaliatory measures. The 15% would be imposed on List 4a on Sept. 1 and List 4b on Dec. 15. The USTR also said the 25% tariff on Lists 1,2, and 3 would increase to 30% on Oct. 1, 2019.

    Status update Sept. 11, 2019: Trump tweeted that the increase on Oct. 1 would be delayed until Oct. 15 as a good will gesture.  

    Section 301, EU list

    Applies to: U.S. imports of products from the European Union, including some bike products.
    Tariff rate: Up to 100%
    Type of tariff: Section 301
    Annual import value of all products, 2018: $11.5 billion
    Date proposed: April 8, 2019
    Public hearing: May 15-16, 2019

    Impact on our industry: Applies to imports of EU parts, including sprockets and hubs.
    Retaliation: The EU has proposed retaliation that would include some sprockets and hubs from the U.S.
    Status: Matt Moore, representing the BPSA, was scheduled to speak at a public hearing about this proposal on Thursday, May 16. Comments were being accepted until May 28 at regulations.gov/docket?D=USTR-2019-0003.

    Editor's note: We've corrected our reference to the import duty on bikes during the Kennedy administration. The correct figure is 30%, not 50% as we had said. Thanks to James Longhurst, Ph.D., an associate professor in the history department at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse for nicely pointing out our mistake. 

     

  • RAGBRAI event staff resigns in dispute with Des Moines Register
    The staff, including director TJ Juskiewicz, disagreed with the newspaper's stance on fundraiser Carson King, who made racially insensitive comments when he was 16. The staff said it will launch its own event next year.

    DES MOINES, Iowa (BRAIN) — The staff that produces The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa has resigned over a decision by the event's owner — Gannet-owned daily Des Moines Register — to prevent event staff from speaking their minds about the paper's handling of the story. The staff members, including director TJ Juskiewicz, say they will launch a new event, Iowa's Ride. Iowa's Ride is scheduled for the same week as RAGBRAI next summer.

    RAGBRAI is said to be the world's largest bike tour event, with about 10,000 participants each of its seven days. 

    Last month, during a national TV broadcast of the Iowa-Iowa State football game, King raised a sign asking for beer money, a stunt that led to raising more than $1 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

    Anheuser-Busch’s and Venmo offered to match the donations, bringing the total raised to $3 million. But the beer company later cut its ties with the campaign after a Register reporter unearthed tweets King had published eight years ago, when he was 16, that were racially insensitive. The paper was accused of "journo-terrorism" for exposing the old tweets and the reporter left the paper after his own unsavory old tweets were uncovered

    RAGBRAI's owners announced the event was going to donate $50,000 to King’s efforts, which generated a backlash toward the event. The donation was announced with a Sept. 27 statement on the RAGBRAI website, over Juskiewicz's name. 

    But in a statement this week, Juskiewicz explained that he was offended by the paper's attempt to stop him from communicating with event participants, who he called "RAGBRAI Nation."

    "RAGBRAI’s parent companies (Des Moines Register & Gannett/USA Today) claim 'we will uphold First Amendment principles,' but they refused to offer me that same opportunity to openly speak to the RAGBRAI Nation and answer the hundreds of passionate questions asked about the future of RAGBRAI following the Des Moines Register’s handling of the Carson King story," Juskiewicz said in the statement.

    "I have always been totally transparent with the RAGBRAI Nation and have earned their trust since my first day in 2003. In these past few weeks, my efforts to communicate with our loyal riders has been consistently blocked as it did not mesh with the company’s PR narrative to spin the Carson King embarrassment. There are hundreds of questions that have been left unanswered in an attempt to save face for the Register, without regard to how it affects RAGBRAI."

    Juskiewicz's statement was briefly posted on the RAGBRAI website before being taken down. It was repeated on a Facebook group page

    The staff is planning to hold Iowa's Ride July 19-25, 2020. It will benefit a children's hospital in Iowa City. A Register spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the paper still planned to hold RAGBRAI that same week.

    More information: iowasride.com.

  • SmartEtailing expands Buy Local Now to include consumer website

    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — For years, Buy Local Now has allowed brands to push consumers from their brand website to nearby bike shops that stock a particular product (or can get it from a wholesaler's warehouse). Now SmartEtailing, which launched the program in 2012, is taking it another step: The new BuyLocalNow.com site lets consumers browse an array of products that are available from nearby shops, which appear as shopping options on the site.

    "We are doing everything we can to help the IBD channel compete," said SmartEtailing president Ryan Atkinson. "Most bike shops invest the majority of their marketing budget into their website itself and do not allocate resources to drive traffic to the website. Buy Local Now is a way for us to take an active role in driving qualified buyers to our clients."

    SmartEtailing will invest in marketing the site so that it appears near the top of search results for specific products, something most brick-and-mortar retailers are unable to achieve through their own websites. SmartEtailing will allocate 1% of its website subscription revenue to the campaigns. 

    "This gives us a single web property to advertise and generate traffic," said Atkinson. "Once a shopper has found the product they want, we seamlessly refer them to a local bike shop to buy."

    The site content also will include new product announcements, like those that are posted on many consumer media sites, but, unlike those articles, which often appear near the top of search results, the announcements on Buylocalnow.com will include links to local shops that stock the item. 

    The SmartEtailing Buy Local Now database is populated with over 500,000 cycling items with inventory status from more than 2,000 bike shops and more than 40 supplier warehouses. 

    Any qualifying local bike shop with a compatible point of sale system can join the Buy Local Now network for free. While not required, retailers sites built by SmartEtailing are optimized for the program.

    Cycling suppliers who provide product content with UPC numbers to SmartEtailing are automatically enrolled to display products and refer buyers to local bike shops. SmartEtailing is also encouraging suppliers to connect their warehouses to the data network and utilize the consumer reviews service Powerreviews, which syndicates review content to the SmartEtailing and Buy Local Now network.

    SmartEtailing also plans to use buylocalnow.com as a test platform to add new features and refine functionality of its retail websites.

    More information: SmartEtailing press release.

  • Electric share bike startup Wheels raises $50 million

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (BRAIN) — Wheels, a startup electric bike share company, has raised $50 millionin an investment round led by DBL Partners. DBL's founder, Ira Ehrenpreis, was an early investor in Tesla and is on the electric car company's board.

    Wheels was founded by Jonathan and Joshua Viner, who previously founded Wag, promoted as "the Uber for dog walkers." Wheels raised about $37 million in a funding round earlier this year.

    Wheels operates in six markets: San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Scottsdale, Ariz. The company plans to expand to more U.S. and international markets and may sells its bikes direct to consumers, as well. 

  • Investment group buys Beeline from Accell North America

    LOS GATOS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Beeline Bikes, which provides software that helps bike retailers schedule service work and fulfill online bike sales, has been acquired by an investment group that includes technology and bike industry veterans.

    Beeline began as a mobile service franchise business in 2013; five years later it transformed to become a software as a service (SaaS) provider. Accell North America acquired the company from its founders in early 2018, after having held a minority investment for several years. 

    ANA is now largely shut down since its parent, Netherlands-based Accell Group, sold most of its assets to a California investment group, Regent, in August. Regent, which renamed the business Alta Cycling Group, and which also recently acquired Mavic, did not acquire Beeline. 

    The group that bought Beeline is led by Ken Crafford of Los Gatos, California, who is the CEO and founding partner of the StrataFusion Group.

    The company said Beeline's staff of about 15 people remains intact, with Peter Small serving as president and Pete Buhl serving as co-founder and active director.

    "As a team, we are extremely excited to regain our independence and operate with a startup mindset as we focus on growing the business and our platform's features," said Small. "We've been fortunate to rapidly grow the Beeline network to include over 400 leading retailers since the launch of Powered by Beeline in January. We look forward to further enhancing our solutions to empower retailers to profitably grow their business and enable bike and e-commerce brands to offer an unmatched buying experience."

    Crafford has more than three decades of experience building successful technology companies. "We have been following Beeline's evolution into a SaaS platform that helps IBDs navigate and capitalize on the ever-changing consumer behaviors and retail dynamics," said Crafford. "We see the future success of the bicycle industry and IBDs contingent on broadening the customer base. Beeline embraces the modern consumer and has built the best-in-class solution to help the bicycle industry thrive."

    Beeline's retail network currently fulfills online orders from 11 brands, including the Alta Cycling Group brands, Pure Cycles, Cleary Bikes, and the suspension brand Trust. Buhl said Beeline expects to "quickly add" more brands. 

    "I'm thrilled with how our business has evolved, and I'm excited to continue supporting our team and future vision," Buhl said.

    Beeline has completely exited the mobile service franchise business. Buhl said about 30 former Beeline mobile service vans have been re-branded with the logos of the brick-and-mortar stores that now own and operate them.

    More information: beelinebikes.com.

  • Boulder Valley Velodrome likely to cease operations

    By Steve Maxwell

    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — The Boulder Valley Velodrome, built by a partnership that includes Boulder retailer Doug Emerson, is likely to close by the end of the year. 

    The high-altitude, 250-meter venue was built by Emerson — the owner of University Bikes — and Frank Banta. They announced two years ago that they were hoping to sell the business for $4.7 million; the current asking price is "a fraction" of that, the owners said.

    The Velodrome suffered a number of natural disasters in the course of its construction, including a 500-year flood and a tornado, creating unexpected financial burdens on the owners from the very beginning. Although the facility has been up and running successfully now for several years, the financial strains created during the construction period forced the owners to put the facility up for sale. And despite several interested lookers, no one stepped up to acquire and maintain the velodrome, they said.

    The popular facility has supported local track enthusiasts and provided a training home for several world champion track racers and numerous national track teams, including the Dutch, Canadian and Australians Olympic teams.

    But Emerson said the velodrome site in Erie, Colorado, has gone under a sales contract with a buyer that will close in January. The potential buyer, whose identity remains undisclosed, has said that they will tear down the velodrome to use the 4-acre property for other purposes.

    Emerson said he was hopeful that once the cycling community is aware that the velodrome is about to close a new buyer or group will step up to preserve it. Emerson was able to negotiate what he called a "hail Mary" clause in the sale agreement, which allows the facility to be sold, and retained as a velodrome, until Dec. 15. If no new buyers commit by that time, it appears that the velodrome will be lost.

    "Almost every metropolitan area in the country has looked at trying to build a velodrome — ours is done, we're riding it every day. We followed our passion, we persevered through some pretty epic setbacks, but we got the ball across the goal line," Emerson said.

    The velodrome facility consists of a fully operational velodrome, ample parking, exterior lighting for evening events, a 5,050 square-foot bicycle storage unit, infield restrooms and changing rooms for cyclists. It is bordered on two sides by 10 acres of open space. The velodrome is zoned and permitted for a future clubhouse and spectator stands.

    Interested parties can contact Eric Rutherford at Wright Kingdom Real Estate Co. 303-541-1908.

     

  • Bar fight: Handlebar makers unbending in IP dispute

    By Michael Gamstetter

    ADELAIDE, Australia (BRAIN) — Rarely does a company take to social media and website comments to claim another supplier violated its intellectual property rights. But that's been the approach of Zidaz Izaz, owner of the Australian handlebar brand Eyropro.

    On Instagram and in comments below a consumer website review, Izaz has publicly called out Coefficient Cycling Company and its Wave handlebar, charging that the Wave infringes on his patented design.

    Both handlebars are constructed of carbon fiber and consist of sections that curve up, down, forward and backward in order to provide the rider with greater comfort while riding. Although not identical, the drop-bar designs do look similar.

    The dispute entered new territory last month when Don Sheff, the owner of Coefficient, received a patent covering the Wave bar. Sheff's is a utility patent, while Izaz's patent — granted this spring — is a design patent.

    Rick Sutton, Coefficient's chief operating officer, began promoting the Wave bar this spring, and the bar soon received a positive review in CyclingTips. Around the same time, Izaz began attacking Coefficient on Instagram, saying the Wave bar is a "rip off of my USA-issued design."

    "The Eyropro handlebar was released in Adelaide, South Australia in January 2017. Our site was active April 2017. I have a strong belief Don Sheff saw my bar in Adelaide in January 2017 when it was released and has copied it," Izaz said.

    Sheff denies ever having been to Australia.

     
     
     
    View this post on Instagram

    #eyroprohandlebars

    A post shared by Eyropro Handlebars (@eyroprohandlebars) on Jun 30, 2019 at 9:51pm PDT

    Izaz has used Instagram to call out Sutton, as well as several of the Wave bar's brand ambassadors and others using the bars, saying they should "be ashamed."

    Sutton's take

    Sutton said he is confident that his company's bars do not infringe on Izaz's design patent, despite the similar appearance.

    "We hired an additional patent attorney to verify that the advice of our retained attorney is accurate. They agreed there is no infringement. And that's even without our patent," Sutton said.

    But not only is Izaz adamant that the Wave bar infringes on his patent, he also contends that Sheff's patent doesn't cover his own handlebar.

    "If Coefficient is going to say they have rights over me because of an earlier priority date, then the bar they are talking about is the old Wave bar. Coefficient cannot use it to protect the new Wave bar as it is not the same," Izaz said.

    Sutton said Coefficient is prepared to defend its intellectual property and protect its reputation.

    "We (received) a cease and desist, by which point in time Izaz had slandered the company and me personally. And some of my friends were targets of his where he sent messages through social media. Our patent attorney says we have done nothing wrong. But I wanted to double check so we consulted two other attorneys. They looked at the patents and both came back with the same opinion as our attorney.

    "One firm has also done patent litigation work. I hired them to reply with a letter outlining the reasons Eyropro is wrong. One of the firms we consulted is a corporate law firm and they sculpted the second half of the letter including a cease and desist in Australia and the U.S., citing Izaz's defamatory comments," Sutton said.

    Sutton said he doesn't relish the idea of fighting in the courts with Izaz, nor does he want it to escalate, but he feels he has no choice.

    "We made an early decision not to try to shut Eyropro down. We're not willing to spend the money to shut him down in court. We asked him to stop saying the things he was saying in public because it's wrong, not just ethically, but legally," he said.

    Sutton tried to make nice with Izaz publicly, when he posted a message on Eyropro's Instagram page. "Hey Daz [sic], Coefficient has a patent that predates everything you've filed. Maybe focus on selling your bar.

    There's plenty of room in the market for both companies and we have no intention of saying or doing anything to discourage your success."

    But Izaz said he has no intention of sharing the market with Wave. "Sutton is playing games as he knows Coefficient ripped me off. He can forget about having a free ride off the back of my work and financial outlay," he said.

    Izaz said he conceived of his ergonomic bar design in 1999 and filed for intellectual property rights in Australia. The design, however, was not registered, nor was it examined, he said. He applied for a U.S. design patent in June 2018, which was granted in April 2019.

    "I tried for a utility patent for my design in 2017. I was showed prior art that would prevent it being successful, so I registered the design instead," he said.

    Sutton said Sheff's ergonomic handlebar design dates to 2010 or 2011, when he began prototyping the handlebars in aluminum. Sheff applied for and later abandoned a U.S. Non-Provisional Patent (15/097,374) in April 2016. He received Non-Provisional Patent status (16/024,508) on a handlebar in June 2018. His utility patent was approved Aug. 27.

    Meanwhile, there are at least 62 comments under the CyclingTips review, where Sutton and Izaz have weighed in themselves, along with a cadre of self-appointed patent law experts.

    But unless the two companies can come to an agreement, it looks like the dispute will eventually get decided by a court of law, not public opinion.

  • Outerbike still growing after 10 years

    MOAB, Utah (BRAIN) — With a cheeky event title that played off Interbike's largely indoor setting, Outerbike has now lasted 10 years — officially into the post-Interbike era as of last month.  

    In 2009, Ashley Korenblat, Outerbike founder, wanted to give consumers a chance to demo bikes on Moab's iconic trails. It started in Moab with Korenblat trying to convince brands to bring their fleets eastward after attending Interbike in September.

    With Emerald Expositions canceling the 2019 Interbike last year, Outerbike has only continued to grow, becoming a destination all its own.

    Korenblat said a record 70 exhibitors attended the three-day show that concluded Sunday. About 800-900 consumers visited, "about max," she said, with the main draw being mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes from the big companies. Giant, Scott, Cannondale, Pivot and Ibis among others had long-travel and short-travel bikes for the taking to sample some of the country's most picturesque trails nearby. Shuttles to nearby trails ran continuously and drew long lines of riders eagerly waiting to demo bikes of their choice or bringing their own. 

    "The demo concept is still fairly new to many consumers, as the word gets out that you can ride real bikes on real trails at Outerbike, we expect more folks will want to attend both in Moab and around the country," she said.

    Outerbike also produces long-weekend demos at Sun Valley in Ketchum, Idaho, Crested Butte, Colorado, and Bentonville, Arkansas. It traditionally holds the event in Moab in spring and fall. 

    While the buzz around the tents centers on the demo fleets, plenty of component manufacturers attend. For example, Trust Performance, founded by suspension guru Dave Weagle, was there for the first time with its Shout (178mm) and Message (130mm) forks on bikes ready to be test-ridden. Skullcandy featured its newest earbuds, ready to be demoed as well.

    Korenblat said Outerbike also appeals to non-bike outdoor products and noted the Version 2.0 Skydio drone was debuting at this year's show.

    Professional rider Jeff Lenosky of REEB Cycles was back, leading no-drop group rides each day at a different iconic trail system. Lenosky said he usually attends the Moab Outerbike stop and gets as much from the rides as he imparts when stopping frequently to session technical trail features.

    "My whole career has been about technical riding, and you get to the point where you want to give that knowledge back to other riders, and this is a fun and interactive way to do that," Lenosky said, enjoying a beer late Saturday afternoon after riding the Magnificent 7 trails with 12 other riders. "It’s a natural extension of what I've done for 20 years. I would do trials demos, and this is a chance to do a rolling demo and get out and have fun with people, teach them some skills. It’s also an extension of my YouTube channel. Half inspirational, but instructional, too." 

    Despite its success after 10 years, Korenblat said there is still room to grow. "Stay tuned," she said. "We are nailing down the plans for 2020 as we speak."

  • Bike products escape new EU tariffs imposed in aircraft dispute
    Hubs and cassettes were on the original list, but testimony from industry apparently led to their removal.

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — The industry escaped another potential tariff threat — this time on European hubs and cassettes — likely thanks to testimony in Washington from Matt Moore, QBP's counsel and chair of the legal and legislative committee for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association.

    The Trump administration on Wednesday released a final list of EU products subject to a 25% tariff related to a long-running dispute over government support for commercial aircraft makers. A preliminary list of products released in April included aluminum hubs, three-speed hubs, and cassettes. But the bike products were not on the list released this week.

    Moore testified against the tariff at Section 301 Committee hearing in May. He testified that products from Campagnolo and DT Swiss would be among those affected if the tariff were imposed. He testified that the tariffs would be ineffective in achieving the Section 301 goals because the bike products are made in countries that, while in the EU, are not involved in the aircraft dispute. 

    Moore also testified that if imposed the tariffs would serve to shift U.S. sales of the effected products to e-commerce businesses such as the Wiggle, which is based in the U.K., a country that is involved in the dispute.

    "The online seller Wiggle has grown to be a $500 million company, and its primaryemphasis is selling components direct to consumers online, consumers in the United States," Moore told the committee, which includes representatives from the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Treasury, State Department, Agriculture Department, Commerce Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Small Business Administration. 

     

    "These consumers and Wiggle pay no duty, no state or local  sales taxes, no income taxes, because most of their sales are under $800, the de minimis amount that has been set by the United States government.

    "If it's more expensive for importers to import through traditional channels in quantity and pay amount of additional duty, those sales will drop off, and their sales will again go precisely to the place that we're trying to sanction, the  United Kingdom. 

    "In addition, the sales will impact 43 jobs at DT Swiss in Colorado, where they make those hubs into bicycle wheels. We have 17 wheel builders in Minnesota that use hubs to create bicycle wheels, over 100,000 wheels last year.

    "In summary, we cannot survive another round of tariffs. In the alternative, if you must  impose a tariff on Chapter 8714, make it a  reasonable one of no more than 10 percent," Moore concluded.

  • Preemptive strike against Trump tariffs benefits Light & Motion

    MARINA, Calif. (BRAIN) — When Light & Motion saw rising tariffs on the horizon in the U.S.-China trade war, it was as clear as day what had to be done.

    With some parts of its lights assembled in China, Light & Motion moved that production segment to the Philippines about nine months ago.

    "We're not being impacted about what's going on with the tariffs, but we know our retailers are," said Tom Brady, vice president of marketing for Light & Motion.

    Most bicycle lights were subjected to a 10% tariff after Sept. 1.

    In addition, the company that began 30 years ago as a dive-light manufacturer said it has improved retailer margins by 5-10%, depending on their order volume. "We're trying to do what we can to support the dealer," Brady said. "The great thing about our company is that we are diversified. Bikes are a percentage of our business; dive is a percentage of our business; camera lights are a percentage of our business. We have the ability to weather that (tariff)."

    Light & Motion has more than 2,000 dealers in North America, not including those buying from QBP, which is its exclusive distributor. Brady said the company has made an increased effort to keep online pricing consistent by activating an online MAP monitoring service.

    Brady, who joined Light & Motion about six months ago, said the company is increasing digital media support and public relations to better promote its bike lights and drive more consumer demand. "It's something we haven't done a lot of as a company," he said.

    Along those lines, Light & Motion recently partnered with ultra-endurance professional bike racer Rebecca Rush and her causes, including the gravel race Rebecca's Private Idaho. Equally important, Brady said, Light & Motion benefits from her increased input into product development.

    "She's the benchmark," Brady said. "If we can make stuff work for Rebecca, it can work for anyone. We were an informal supplier of lights for her, and now we're making it official and getting more involved in her programs. We're going to partner with her more instead of just providing her lights."

    Brady said future Light & Motion product development will focus on extending light power for multiple nights, "either with our power or augmenting it with portable battery power. We want to stretch what people can do on their bikes. People are pushing the envelope on unsupported rides and bikepacking where they are out literally in the middle of nowhere for days on end. They have no access to charging capabilities, and they need their lights charged. But they also have a phone; they have a Garmin that needs to be charged. It all gets back to Rebecca and what she's doing."