German Invasion: Magura USA Adds Uvex And Vaude

  • By velonewsadmin
  • Published May. 21, 2009
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM EDT

Magura 2010: Magura USA sales manager Tony Ballantine cleans a rock ledge in Sedona.

By Zack Vestal

Magura USA and the upscale red rock town of Sedona, Arizona, played host to the brand’s annual press camp during the week of May 18, 2009. The company used the event to announce two new additions to Magura USA’s distribution portfolio: UVEX helmets and sunglasses, and Vaude bags, packs, and clothing. The two new brands add to the company’s existing distributorship of Syntace, creating a significant beachhead for German brands in the United States.

The event was informal, headquartered in a spacious vacation rental house near Sedona. The area’s warm, dry weather and extensive trail network proved to be a perfect setting for the mountain bike product introductions. Daily, guided trail rides combined with product presentations and home-cooked meals offered a casual environment in which to try out the line of German products.

Magura USA general manager Jeff Enlow described the benefit of adding UVEX and Vaude to his company’s distribution.

“It really adds to our story as far as a focus on German brands, and it gives us some diversity in the product line,” he said.

Magura USA’s distribution of UVEX begins June 1. The existing sales and rep’ force from the former UVEX USA will be merged with Magura USA.

The German UVEX company was represented in Sedona by Mario Kummer, a former road racer, director sportif and coach. He has a long history with the company, having worked with product developers during his days as a sponsored rider.

UVEX is considered a leader in Europe, and hopes to gradually build presence in the American marketplace. The company makes jobsite safety products (including helmets, workwear, and protective eyewear) in addition to the sporting goods line and two other eyewear brands. Ninety percent of the cycling helmets are made in Germany, a number that comes out to around 800,000 helmets per year.
Magura 2010: UVEX helmets will be distributed by Magura USA starting this year, including this Boss Race helmet in FdJ colors.
Magura 2010: UVEX helmets will be distributed by Magura USA starting this year, including this Boss Race helmet in FdJ colors.

The current flagship racing helmet is called the FP 1, and is worn by the Columbia-Highroad team. In current form, the helmet weighs slightly more than 200 grams, making it one of the lightest available. However, it currently meets only European EN safety standards (not the U.S. CPSC standard). Kummer showed a prototype FP 3 helmet that is in development to meet CPSC standards.

Magura USA will bring in more than 20 helmet models and around 14 sunglass models for 2010.

Look for product reviews on UVEX helmets and glasses over the next few months.

Also making the trip from Germany, Vaude product manager Gernot Moser attended the Magura press camp to present the brand’s story and product line. Magura USA will take preseason orders through the summer and fall, and will begin shipping in January of 2010.

Like UVEX, Vaude is a well known in Europe but lags in the United States. The company started in 1992 with mountaineering products, and has expanded to include a cycling line. Vaude has a reputation as a “green,” eco- and family-friendly company.

Product availability in the U.S. will start with Vaude panniers, hydration packs and cold weather clothing.
Magura 2010: Hydration packs in the Vaude “Classic” line include those fit specifically for women, with shorter torso lengths.
Magura 2010: Hydration packs in the Vaude “Classic” line include those fit specifically for women, with shorter torso lengths.

The hydration pack line includes three different categories: Race, Classic, and All-Mountain. Race packs are smaller and lighter, whereas the Classic line is built with more features in a wide range of sizes, including women’s specific. The All-Mountain line is currently limited to just one model, which is built to be more robust and includes a lightweight metal internal frame which can be molded to the wearer’s back.

Every pack in the Classic and Race lines is available with two different harness systems. The Aeroflex harness offers a mesh back panel and an arched frame such that breathability is enhanced. The alternative Vent-tex back panel is lighter and achieves breathability through channels between flexible padding. In both systems, placement of the shoulder straps can be adjusted up or down on the harness to best fit the rider’s form.

Vaude also produces a line of panniers, spanning a range from fully waterproof, seamless bags to lighter-duty, commuter-grade canvas bags. All the panniers have a quick release mounting system.

The Magura line does not change significantly for 2010, as the company is working internally to improve manufacturing and streamline delivery. Company rep’ Stefan Pahl from Germany used the camp to review currently available 2009 product.

The flagship Magura brakeset is the Marta SL Magnesium, which uses forged magnesium in the lever body, carbon fiber in the lever blades, and aluminum calipers to achieve a claimed weight of 313 grams per wheel, with rotors. With three different rotor size options (160, 180, and 203 mm), the brakes are adaptable to XC, trail, and even all-mountain use.

In forks, for 2010 few changes will be seen externally, other than newly available tapered steerer options in the Durin Marathon and Race forks. Internally, some revisions to the damping will be made.

Generally, Magura forks are notable for their Dual Arch Design lower legs, which add lateral and torsional stiffness. The top end forks have air springs with relatively linear spring rates, which permit full use of travel at correct sag and offer a “bottomless,” plush feel on the trail. So-called “Albert Select +” damping includes a lockout knob with adjustable blow-off threshold.

Syntace is probably the smallest of the four German brands hosted by Magura USA, and no company rep was on hand. But Magura USA sales manager Tony Ballantine pointed out the unique aspects of the lightweight component maker.

Every Syntace product comes with a 10-year guarantee, impressive given the typically light
Magura 2010: Syntace Stratos CX carbon base bar is claimed to weigh just 190 grams.
Magura 2010: Syntace Stratos CX carbon base bar is claimed to weigh just 190 grams.

weights of Syntace parts. Made in Taiwan, every batch of components is shipped to Germany for testing and certification before being sent on for sale. Rigorous standards in manufacturing and testing give the parts a high strength to weight ratio.

A few points in the product line include:

  • The Vector 31.8 carbon mountain bike handlebar, tested to downhill standards but with a cross-country weight and 12-degrees of backsweep;
  • The Race Light carbon road bar, with 6-degrees of backsweep on the bar top, and at less than 200 grams, the lightest clip-on approved road bar available;
  • The F119 aluminum stem with 200 degrees of wrap-around at the handlebar interface, for greater distribution of clamping force;
  • The Stratos CX carbon bullhorn bar, at 190 grams the lightest bullhorn base bar available.

All Syntace handlebars have titanium mesh in the stem clamp area for strength, and are textured to reduce slippage.

The company says a new road stem is in the works to complement the lightweight F99. The new F109 will have a 31.8 mm stem clamp, as opposed to the existing F99 which is only available in 26.0 size.

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