Duro parent invests in $18 million R&D facility as brand ramps up cycle market presence

Hwa Fong Rubber, the parent of Duro, is to invest $18 million in a new research and development facility employing 100 in Taichung, Taiwan.

“We’re breaking ground on the new facility in Q4,” newly appointed US director of business development Luke Musselman told CyclingIndustry.News. “If all goes well, it’ll be operational by fiscal year 2018, neighbouring our existing Taichung campus and will be driving innovation across the entire portfolio, both within and beyond cycling goods.”

Musselman maintains a role with the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association’s Statistics Committee, as well as Bicycle Leadership Conference Planning Committee.

An OEM supplier for a number of industry labels, Duro’s eight global factories are doing increasing business within the cycle market, with growth in both contract production, as well as plans to take the Duro label further.

“Myself and Chris (Clinton) were brought in to grow and develop the brand here in the States,” explains Musselman. “We’re going to be fine tuning the catalogue going forwards and looking at ramping up our trade here. At present there is no dealer facing program, but our appointments will help shape a fresh strategy, with the 110,000 square foot aftermarket centre in Georgia becoming a focal point for our business.”

With such vast manufacturing strength, Duro is to present new lines, including an expansion of the Evolve catalogue at Eurobike, alongside brand ambassador Hans Rey.

“I think how we define performance has shifted drastically,” says Musselman. “There are markets emerging that have differing requirements from a tyre. The electric bike segment is one we’ve looked closely at developing and the customer’s definition of performance here relates largely around all weather traction with minimum flats. We envisage the market’s growth largely coming from the urban market, so Duro isn’t looking to grow simply by rising prices, but by enticing more customers back into the market. For many people, their bikes have gone to waste in the shed for a long time, meaning they’re not cycling. We want to offer longevity in our lines to ensure that happens less.”