Ridley is synonymous with success on cycling’s world stage. Australian customers are about to see a considerable increase in activity from the Belgian brand thanks to the appointment of a new distributor which now has the authority to customise the bikes on site. This equates to short lead times, quality work, and effective communication when materialising the desired products for the paying customer.
It seems we are on the cusp of something big for an innovative distribution model for Ridley bikes in Australia.
– By Jack Lynch
Ridley’s news is sure to evoke gleeful cheers across Australia. Customers’ plans to have a uniquely painted bike are often stifled by concerns about a company’s ability to deliver exactly what is desired. Custom painting has the potential to be particularly rewarding or, conversely, expensive, lengthy and ultimately disappointing process.
A local distributor with the title ‘Finishing Partner’ gives complete confidence in the final product and alleviates concerns of blown-out time frames, excessive costs, or a misunderstood creative brief.
Ridley has recently appointed Brisbane-based FE Sports as the distributor to paint and deliver its bikes to excited cyclists.
FE Sports is the agent in Australia that is responsible for the successful distribution of brands like Wahoo, Scratch Labs, and Stages Power, amongst a raft of others.
It calls upon the expertise of Paint My Bike to paint Ridley’s carbon bikes when they are ordered.
Customers can choose three colour options for their Ridley bike:
1. Stock paint scheme
2. Choice of two colours (decals and frame) for a very small up-charge
3. Completely custom design to be priced by Paint My Bike
Choosing the bike’s colours for a very small up-charge is a phenomenal service that breaks new ground. Ridley calls it Pure Line and FE Sports is the only distributor worldwide permitted to paint Ridley bikes outside of the company’s Belgian home.
Perhaps more amazing is that FE Sports say these custom Ridley frames will only take 5-7 days from order to delivery which is significantly faster than any other custom program.
Vice president of FE Sports, Danny Brkic said that his company needed Ridley to have a point of difference saying, “we wanted to provide the discerning Australian cyclist the same level of customisation and personalisation available from the factory in Belgium.”
This is no mean feat. When Ridley was founded in the 1990s, it was solely as a frame painter. It took several years until the brand started to design and manufacture cutting edge bikes that have been towards the front of international races ever since.
CEO of Ridley Bikes, Jochim Aerts has complete faith in FE Sports’ ability to uphold his company’s reputation saying that, “after working with the FE Sports staff at our facilities in Belgium, we are confident that they can provide the same quality as we do”.
Ridley’s company motto is: ‘What you want, how you want it’. This rings true with FE Sports’ distribution model.
It is a large undertaking but Ridley and FE Sports believe their partnership can deliver Australian and New Zealand bike riders with top end, custom bikes with short lead times at a good price.
“We had never anticipated distributing bikes in Australia,” said FE Sports’ Danny Brkic, “but we realised that with a different style of business model we could actually add a lot of value to the industry, the retailer, and the consumer.”
It’s part of an initiative that allows customers to select their own paint scheme and have it added to a Ridley frame and, within a matter of days, have it ready to ride.
Ridley has a good reputation for building quality bikes that not only ride well but look great. The finishing is done in Belgium but the new deal with the Australian agent means the paint work will be done locally for Australian customers.
“The reason why this was so appealing to Ridley is that they actually see it as a business model which gives customers and retailers a product how they want it and when they want it,” said Brkic.
“This is actually how the owner of Ridley started his business – he started as a frame builder and a painter – so this new project is very near and dear to his heart.”
Ridley Bikes will be available in Australia and New Zealand in October 2016.