Quality Bicycle Products is piloting a new initiative focused on supplying bike dealers with freeride components, accessories and apparel for skilled mountain biking.
QBP, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest parts and accessories distributor in the bicycle industry serving more than 5,000 dealers and handling more than 250,000 calls a year.
The company’s new freeride category includes downhill, slopestyle, dirt jumping, and street riding. Initially, the lineup will feature a wider variety of cranks, wheels, bars, stems, tires and other components. Brands newly featured in the freeride initiative include Atomlab, Spank, Sunline, POC, Straitline and Nema. By mid-year 2010, QBP anticipates adding freeride frames to its product line.
“We see a real opportunity in this segment and believe the growing interest in freeride will stimulate sales of all mountain bikes,” said Joshua Abrahamson, QBP’s freeride/downhill category sales manager. “We’ve got an exciting line of brands backed by account executives and customer service agents who are passionate about the sport and extremely knowledgeable about the products.”
Although the traditional mountain-biking segment has been soft in recent years, freeride and related styles that incorporate speed, technical skill and gravity-defying jumps and stunts are capturing the popular imagination. Venues like Crankworx at Whistler Mountain Park in British Columbia, Canada are drawing thousands to nine days of freeride events. Major manufacturers are rushing freeride models to market, and Web sites are building a thriving business providing hard-core mountain bikers news, advice and videos.
“The freeride initiative is very much in line with our mission to expand the bike industry by serving niches with high potential,” said Steve Flagg, president of QBP. “In addition to an excellent suite of downhill-related products, we provide dealers with the programs and services they need to support their businesses and thrive.”