Canyon Bicycles, Germany’s consumer-direct powerhouse, recently announced that it will be launching in Australia and New Zealand. Exciting times, given the esteem in which BikeRadar holds many of Canyon's products, but plenty of questions remain unanswered as to how exactly it's going to happen.
While at a Canyon media launch in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, we sat down with Melbourne-based Darryl Moliere, Canyon Bicycles’ Market Manager Australia and New Zealand, and Ward Grootjans, Head of Business Development and Business Intelligence / Leadership Team of Canyon Bicycles.
A few more specific questions – such as the exact models being brought in and finalised pricing – remain to be answered, but read on for what we do know for sure.
Please note that Canyon’s Australian and New Zealand website is not yet live, its launch date is expected early December. Once that happens, bikes will be available for purchase.
BikeRadar: For those new to Canyon brand, can you provide a little detail about the business?
Canyon's Darryl and Ward: "Canyon Bicycles was founded 30 years ago and remains 100% privately owned. As a performance brand, racing plays a big part in our product development, and such is seen with Movistar and Katusha on Canyon. In 2009, Cadel Evans was on a Canyon when he became the World Champion – so there’s a history of Australia and Canyon.
"We’re now a company of 700 plus employees, with subsidiaries in Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, UK and now Australia/New Zealand. We then have sale partners in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, France, Slovakia, Portugal, South Korea and Czech Republic. North America is now the only place we don’t ship to (for now). Over 60% of our sales are now outside of Germany.
Canyon were perhaps the first in cycling with the consumer-direct business model
"Our direct-to-consumer business model provides a competitive advantage in price, but we pride ourselves on having a world-leading product. For example, we’re the first business in the bike industry to have a CT scanner, which is used for R&D and quality control.
"Currently all bikes sold go through our German factory for final quality control, assembly and packaging, and this scanner is used on every single carbon-fibre fork and Canyon component – this way we can be sure that our performance product is not as only good as it can be, but as safe too. It’s an expensive exercise, and so it’s not something done by other brands."
Where are the bikes shipping from?
"To start with, we’ll be shipping all bikes out from our German factory and air freighting them direct to your door. In Koblenz, Germany, we produce to stock and so available bikes are ready to go. Our website is very transparent in this regard and you’ll know exactly what is available, and if not, how far away your desired bike is.
"With this model, it’ll be quite interesting as Australia’s and New Zealand’s riding season is far earlier in the year than what we have in Europe and so it’s highly likely those in the Southern Hemisphere will order the first delivery of new bikes. Europe’s peak season and when we tend to sell out of stock is really during the winter of Australia.
"In the future we’ll warehouse key models within Australia, but in the short-term we’ll be assessing demand in the market. Shipping bikes direct from the Australian warehouse will allow for shorter delivery time. It’s not so much about costs."
How is price calculated?
"We work with a certain margin, and we want to protect that small margin. Even if we see a bike with comparable quality and components is much more expensive, we’re not going to bump our price up just to make more money.
"There are lots of factors affecting prices. The Australian retail prices will be close to if you do a straight currency conversion from Europe and add GST – although it’s not that simple.
"We’re certainly aware of the market and where our bikes sit in price. Our global aim as a company is to make performance bikes accessible.
"We want to be very competitive, but there’s so much fluctuation in the Australian dollar versus the Euro that we must be careful. We’ll be using fixed pricing for the season, and so prices won’t change day to day like other online stores that use a basic currency conversion.
What about GST for Australians?
"Our advertised prices will include GST. Once you purchase the bike, this GST will be charged at the same time and the paper work will be handled for you. You won’t be hearing from customs or asked to pay anything more. The bike will just arrive at your door."
How does shipping work?
"We’re set up with UPS shipping currently, and so far we’re seeing delivery times of five to seven days from order – assuming the product ordered is in stock.
"We will subsidise shipping costs, however, just like in Europe, all bikes will have a shipping cost. This is AU$199 for anywhere in Australia, and NZ$249 for shipping anywhere in New Zealand."
How will the bike arrive?
"Before the bikes ship, they are built to a ‘perfect’ state. By this, the bikes are assembled on our German-based assembly line with a final test ride and sign off before being packaged. As a consumer-direct brand, this is such a crucial component of the sale and so we’ve invested more time into our assembly and packaging processes than any other bike brand.
The bikes are extremely close to rideable out of the box. Five minutes, no mess and you're away.
"From here, the bike is packed into our patented ‘BikeGuard’ box that makes it absolutely simple for you to unpack your bike. Everything is tuned, and all you need to do is attach the front wheel, handlebar and seat post. With all bikes we include detailed assembly instructions, a torque wrench, and mountain bikes come with a shock pump.
"Every piece of the BikeGuard is recyclable except for the Velcro wheel straps. However, we really encourage customers to keep the box and packing for future travel, or if a return does need to happen. The box will flat pack, and you won’t find a lighter, easier-to-pack solution."
Can people see the bikes in person before purchase?
"We will be appearing at select events within Australia, however, our key point of difference is that we will continue to offer our 30-day money back guarantee on all bikes.
"Our policy allows you to ride the bike, and if it’s really not right for you then we will arrange a return."
Can you explain that return policy a little more?
"To send the bike back, we’ll provide you a label to print and stick to the box. We'll arrange a collection directly from you. Depending on the model, it may go straight back to Germany, or it may go to our Melbourne offices – to start with this will be chosen on a case-by-case basis.
"Here the BikeGuard design shows another strength, with simple re-packing of the bike if needed."
So you just take back a used bike? What is done with them?
"These used bikes are then checked over by a mechanic, key wear items are replaced (such as chains) and then will be available for re-sale on our online outlet store. We will have an Australian/NZ version of the online outlet. This outlet describes and pictures visible signs of wear."
What about a model you’re not stocking?
"If it’s not on the Australian or NZ website, it’s not available. We’re working to optimise the range with set pricing for the local market and we need to be able to supply product and support for this.
"Certainly we’ll be actively listening to our customers of where the demand is, and while we believe we’ll have the most popular models available, it’s possible we’ll introduce additional models if demand is clear.
"That said, to start with the more entry-level options from Canyon won’t make financial sense to bring in given we absorb shipping costs.
"Our current portfolio is based on what we’ve seen demanded on forums and social media, but predominately it’s based on known demand from the UK and suspected demand from the US too."
What models are being brought in?
"We’ll answer this once our local website goes live early December."
Will framesets be available too?
"Certain frame models will be available for sale. Although these are relatively expensive as they fall under ‘anti-dumping’ laws. It’s certainly better value to buy a complete bike, and that applies to any brand these days."
How will warranties be handled?
"We have a fully functioning technical service in Melbourne, so any issues can be handled quickly. We’ll keep stock of higher rotational pieces. If it’s something rare, we’ll ship it from Germany.
"Perhaps you receive the bike and find a brake or similar is faulty. We’re not going to ask you to box and return the bike for that – we don’t want you off your bike for any period of time. In cases like this, we’ll likely work with nearby stores to get you rolling as soon as possible and without cost to you."
What is the warranty period?
"It’s six years on the frame, and two years on all the parts from manufacture defect."
Are you carrying any stock in Australia to start with?
"Yes. We’ll have stock of common small parts, such as derailleur hangers."
Is Australia a test market for the US?
"It’s not. Of course there is some overlap in the markets, but Australia/NZ is an important market to Canyon and we’re investing in it for that reason, no other. Of course, North America now remains the only place we won’t ship to and that will happen with time – that said, it’s a German company and they’ll take their time in doing it right to be sure it’s 100% right."
If you haven’t already, be sure to enter our competition to win a Canyon Bicycle up to the value of AU$5000.