A U.S. industry veteran has launched Bike-tube.net, a specialist online inner tube retailer and one that has been met with mixed reactions by independent retailers.
Thought up by ex-Cannondale, Dahon and CrankBrothers man Steve Cuomo, the direct to consumer inner tube site offers rubber from $4.29, with free delivery on orders of more than three units.
Speaking to BRaIN, Cuomo said he was attracted to such a business while researching with a mobile mechanic friend.
“I’ve been consulting for 16 years, and all along I’ve wanted to do something that was my own baby. This opportunity presented itself and e-commerce seemed very interesting to me,” Cuomo told BRaIN. “I saw the size of market and I thought, ‘there’s got to be room for me to import tubes and sell them at a reasonable price and have fun at this.”
Some bike shops have congratulated Cuomo on seizing the opportunity, while others have labeled the move as a phasing out of a bread and butter part of their business. The Pro Bicycle Mechanics Association has met the news with mixed reactions too. In posting to his organisation’s Facebook page, James Stanfill a PBMA director, said: “Good thing they will still need a mechanic to install them!”
Such a platform already exists in the UK, with InnerTubeShop.com retailing tubes from around £2.49 upwards for a single unit. In batches of five or ten that price drops further.