Orange Bikes has a rich history of producing high quality aluminum and steel mountain bike frames in the UK. For years however, those of us across the pond could only dream of owning one of these bikes as they were not available in the states.
Luckily, that wait is now over. Orange Bikes is partnering with Carl Martens, the owner of Aventuron distribution, to bring their range of twenty six bikes to the states. In addition to handling distribution and sales, Aventuron will also be handling warranty service and demos. To learn more about their plans for developing the Orange brand, read on.
Mtbr: Who are you and what do you do?
Carl Martens, 34 years old, owner Aventuron. I oversee the development of the Orange brand in the United States working closely with Orange HQ to ensure the brand’s image and message is consistent across continents.
Mtbr: How long has Orange Bike’s been around? Have they ever been available in the United states before? If not, why?
Orange Mountain Bikes was founded in 1988, it is a privately owned company with headquarters in Halifax, United Kingdom. As of October 1st 2015, Orange changed ownership from founding partners Lester Noble and Steve Wade to new managing director Ashley Ball.
Orange was originally imported into the United States back in the early nineties. It was run through a one man band alongside his day job. The guy was a real fan of the brand and was full of enthusiasm and even setup his own race team out in California. There came a point when it was decision time; security of the full time job or continue with the side job/hobby of Orange. Security won and Orange just fizzled out and they never found the right people to work with until now.
Mtbr: Were there any specific challenges you had to overcome in order to bring the brand stateside?
The one notable challenge has been forecasting orders so that we have the supply to meet demand. We were a bit late to the game this year as most dealers had already made arrangements as to what brands they’d stock. As such, sales have mostly been direct to consumer with a lot of interest from dealers, but those dealers already had commitments in place. This means that inventory of Orange bikes in North America wasn’t dispersed throughout a dealer network and solely relied on what we had in inventory. As a result there have been some stocking issues, specifically with certain sizes for the Crush and P7, two bikes that have been very well received with very high demand.
Outside of that, it’s just been the typical importer type of activities; HS codes, freight forwarders, express shippers, establishing a US price list factoring in exchange rates, import duties, freight, etc.
With any new brand there is always a “getting to know each other” phase in addition to gaining familiarity with the brand. Our people mesh well with Orange’s, so it’s really been a great relationship in regards to how we both conduct business and communicate.
Mtbr: Did you undergo any special training in order to become a distributor?
With my experience of importing other brands into the country and my knowledge and passion for the Orange brand, we both agreed that myself and company Aventuron were right for the job.
Mtbr: Will your company be handling warranty calls and repairs?
Yes, we will handle warranties directly. To date, we’ve only had two issues thus far, one with a shock’s lower having damage received during transit to Venezuela and the other was an issue related to the manufacturer regarding brakes. In both cases we facilitated the claims, but both the shipper and manufacture paid out on the claims. There have been no issues or warranty claims specific to any Orange frames.
Mtbr: Where is your service center located and will you have spare parts on hand?
Our service center is located west of Chicago in Saint Charles, Illinois. We will have spare parts such as derailleur hangers specific to the model as well as components needed in the event of damage or a component manufacturer’s failure.
Mtbr: Since we’re on the subject, what is Orange’s warranty policy?
Orange offers a no-nonsense 5 year warranty. No ‘limited lifetime’ or ‘lifetime of product’. 5 years.
Mtbr: What models will be available and when will they start shipping?
All models, builds, and color options and even specific upgrades are available and ready to ship.
Mtbr: Will US and CAD MSRP be similar to European pricing?
Yes, although it will be slightly higher than the pound to account for entrance fees such as duties and FOB from England.
The list advertised pricing of Orange will be consistent with pricing in Europe.
Mtbr: How does a consumer get their hands on a bike? Is Orange going consumer direct, exclusively through IBDs, or will they use a hybrid of the two models?
We know that Orange is a fantastic brand in Europe and other markets but has had a “sleepy” presence to our North American riders…with awareness gained via social networks, and those that follow the European circuit. Orange styles cover multiple ranges of riding. In each range there are options of design. We are not a brand that comes out with new model years…we have time tested styles. There is “tweaking” that incorporates new knowledge into our frames and components used, but this happens on an on-going basis. An Orange bike does not go out of date because it was “such and such” year model. Our web-based information catalog presents all the specifics for the mechanically experienced consumer to interpret and zero-in on their bike. Our philosophy in a sales transaction is that the transaction needs to be “relational”. We want to engage the rider and understand their desires. As a company, we want to steer sales to the field for one-on-one, face-to-face interactions between rider and the rider’s “home-based” bike shop. We encourage and strive to build relationships. Opportunity to purchase Orange is available through our Aventuron website and will be increasingly available through regional bike shop dealers who love the brand and know how it delivers what their folks desire. Sales growth built on referral recommendations are foundational. Our primary focus is to get bikes under riders…it is they who will build our brand awareness. We want dealers and riders to experience the ride.
Mtbr: Are there any plans for a US demo tour? How can you test ride a bike?
We will be doing a US demo tour for 2017. Currently a customer may test ride a bike by contacting Aventuron and we will coordinate within our IBD network to make such a request possible.
In addition, watch for Orange on social media as well as on websites and magazines as we intend to have several press releases in the upcoming months as well as reviews provided by US based media outlets.