Continental on filling brand portfolio gaps and using dandelion as a rubber substitute

Amidst a wave of additions to the Continental portfolio, Hayley Everett gets the latest from Cambrian’s Bicycle Tyre Divison Sales Manager Rob Scullion on new products, recent developments and how Dandelions could hold the key to a more sustainable future for tyre manufacturing…

Over the past year, the Continental team has been busy filling gaps in the brand’s portfolio, including sizes, tread patterns and price points. Cambrian Tyres has been the official importer of Continental Bicycle Tyres into the UK for more than 30 years and over that time the brand has developed one of the most rounded product ranges on the market, believes Rob Scullion, Sales Manager (North) of Cambrian’s Bicycle Tyre Division.

“It’s been a strong year, all things considered,” he says. “The market is tough at the moment, but the additions we’ve had in the range recently are exactly what we need for dealers.”

The additions Scullion refers to include the landing of the new Terra gravel tyres and getting the first Plus Shieldwall lines in stock; a mid-price tubeless MTB range which will keep dealers happy at 2.6 and 2.8 for under £40 RRP. The new Contact Urban tyre is also due to land any day now, including the first Brompton-sized option which has already racked up pre-orders from dealers. The tyre was soft launched at August’s Ride-London event where interest was deemed strong, offering a similar level of protection to its main rival at Schwalbe.

“I’ve been really taken aback by the interest in this tyre from retailers and consumers,” adds Scullion. “I’m looking forward to getting people riding on them.”

The whole range is e-Bike ready, reflecting the increasing interest in, and demand for, e-Bikes across all sectors. However, while there are always more developments in technology ongoing at Continental, says Scullion, there isn’t anything further the brand can divulge at this moment.

“Road is, and always has been, our strong suit,” he offers instead. “This is part of the business we always want to keep steady. Our big push right now is on City tyres and MTB. These two sectors have come on leaps and bounds since we opened the Hefei plant in China. The quality has gone through the roof on entry and mid-price point product without pushing the RRPs up. People are always amazed at how good the product is for the money once they ride it.”

Cambrian works closely with its wholesaler partners for Continental to provide IBD-specific orders and targeting certain lines that work particularly well in workshops. POS materials can also be easily and conveniently accessed through the wholesalers or technical reps.

“Tyres like the Double Fighter and Ride Tour aren’t the most glamorous of our tyres but really hit the nail on the head for workshops,” continues Scullion. “The bread and butter side of the brand hasn’t always had the focus it deserves, but it’s getting a strong push with updated materials and price points.”

Furthermore, it’s the brand’s history of hand-making tyres in its Korbach facility in Europe which makes Continental unique in the bicycle market, Scullion believes: “The staff who stitch the tubulars for the Pro Tour teams are the same staff who stitch the tubulars you buy for your own bike. The quality of production is second to none.”

Being well-known as a leading tyre brand in the automotive industry has also benefited the bicycle division by providing access to cutting-edge technology and additional production facilities in Continental’s own factories in Asia. Continental will be ramping up its presence throughout the year, making appearances at the IronMan UK and IronMan Wales, Fort William UCI World Cup and RideLondon events.

Continental will also return as the title sponsor of Sea Otter Europe 2020 which set to take place between 29-31 May in Girona. During the event, the brand will be presenting a wide range of products across its road and off-road sectors in the demo bike area.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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