Lyon Equipment: “What makes us tick is the more adventurous side of cycling”

Fast establishing itself as a one-stop-shop for adventure cycling, Lyon’s Nils Amelinckx tells CI.N how the outdoor specialist’s cycle division has been developing its own identity in the market…

Armed with a mission to help people “Venture Further”, Lyon Equipment has rapidly expanded its offering to the bike market over the last couple of years in a bid to fulfil the wants and needs of adventure cyclists up and down the UK.

Lyon’s Cycle division previously operated under its Outdoor branch but has now distinguished itself as a separate entity within the business, after growing its portfolio with the addition of Salsa Cycles and Teravail Tyres.

“Whilst we put these changes into place some time ago, we still communicated ourselves as Lyon Outdoor to the trade whilst internally we were operating from a distinct Cycle division,” explains Amelinckx. “With our portfolio
seeing significant expansion we felt it made sense to change our name to reflect what was happening within our business.”

Bringing the new brands on board has strengthened Lyon’s offering to the bike market, taking it closer to achieving its goal of becoming a one-stop-shop for adventure cycling. “Looking at the bike side, what makes us tick is the more adventurous side of the sport. We aim to supply dealers so they can enable more people to explore, roam, broaden horizons and push their limits on two wheels,” says Amelinckx. “We took on Salsa and Teravail because they fit perfectly within this sphere, and both brands have some exciting products in the pipeline that will build on this further.”

The distribution agreement came around after a visit to QBP, the parent company of Salsa and Teravail, at its base in Minneapolis. Salsa is well known for its adventure-orientated portfolio of bikes, while Teravail is a relatively new, forward-thinking gravel and trail tyre brand. According to Amelinckx, the brands have already piqued the interest of the UK’s adventure bike scene.

“With the rise of independent time trials such as the Tour Divide and Silk Road Mountain Race, it is difficult to ignore Salsa’s Cutthroat,” he enthuses. “With its full carbon construction, it has built on the reputation of the iconic Fargo to create a lightweight, race ready drop-bar mountain bike that can haul kit and go the distance.

“To add to this, Salsa’s Anything Cage has become a household name within the cargo cage segment and the brand was one of the first to use triple cage mounts on forks. There are a number of mid-season launches on the horizon too, for products which will definitely be key lines going forward.”

In addition to boosting Lyon’s cycle portfolio, Amelinckx alludes to the benefits of taking on Salsa and Teravail to bike shops: “For IBDs, having fewer suppliers means fewer invoices, less rep visits and less shows to attend with more time to sell to the consumer,” he explains.

“Broadening our portfolio therefore made a lot of sense and has already helped to open new doors with our existing brands. The turnover gained from the additional brands will free up marketing and staffing budgets, which in turn helps to increase our portfolio’s exposure in the media and at events and drives more people to the point of purchase.”

So what’s spurred this recent uptake of so-called ‘adventure cycling’, and what does it actually entail?

“There is no denying that ‘adventure’ is a buzz phrase within the indus-try at the moment, fuelled by social media and brands jumping on the adventure bandwagon,” Amelinckx offers. “That said, adventure cycling probably just coins a phrase to describe the way that most people actually ride their bikes; using two wheels to escape the everyday grind to explore the area around them.”

“In addition to this, adventure bikes are proving to be highly versatile and perhaps even ideal for most people who are not looking to race a specific discipline but still want a bike that can go the distance comfortably,” Amelinckx continues. “The capability of these bikes, combined with an increasing lust for escapism, exploration and the  relative ease of entry to this side of the sport, is probably what’s helping to fuel its growth and will probably be the reason the adventure segment will stay strong, even when the industry moves on to a different buzz phrase in the future.”

Lyon is also looking to expand its reach and influence throughout the market and is soon to be represented by a number of “venture further” ambassadors. “Whether they are doing a number of ITTs or planning an expedition into unchartered territories, we will look to them to help us inspire an even broader audience,” says Amelinckx. The distributor made its debut appearance at COREbike in January, where Amelinckx and the team met with industry players from all corners of the cycle market.

KEY LINES FOR 2019

In addition to the new offerings from Salsa and Teravail, Lyon’s other brands have a number of key contributions lined up for the adventure cycling market in the pipeline this year:

Bombtrack is seeing huge demand for its Hook EXT, Hook EXT-C and Audax models. The move to a T47 bottom bracket shell on the steel bikes has been received well and the carbon version of the Hoot EXT remains value for money, says Lyon.

The reputation of Ortlieb’s bikepacking range is now firmly established in terms of waterproofness and durability, in line with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. It also has a mid-season launch on the horizon which will shake up conventional design within the category.

www.lyon.co.uk

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