Monday, February 29th, 2016
“Getting to know you….”
We are really proud to have a great selection of retailers around the world. We will be running this feature through the year with a series of retailer partners from all around the world, to help give you an insight to what makes them worth a visit.
Next on the Nukeproof “getting to know” dealer tour we meet up with Rob from Bike Active
Who are Bike Active?
I’m Rob, my brothers Nick. We both own Bikeactive. We have now owned and run the shop for the past 9 years. We’re not salesman and do not come from a sales background. We are simple mountain bikers who love bikes and riding them. I come from an office background and Nick was/is an electrician. A friend of ours started Bikeactive in a small unit selling one or two brands. We bought the shop and turned it into a multi brand destination shop. We cater for real enthusiasts. As we’re so into bikes we have pretty much ridden every bike we sell so we can give good honest advice. We only sell the brands we like and know ride well. If it doesn’t, you won’t find it in the shop.
Where did the story begin?
Like most kids we had bikes when we were young but only really got into mountain biking properly about 15 years ago when we found this cool little shop called Bikeactive. The owner was really enthusiastic about biking and got us hooked. The owner then became a friend and we joined in the Bikeactive club rides. We soon found ourselves in Les Gets riding down mountains on hardtails. 5 years later Keith wanted to sell and move onto doing something different. We bought the shop and haven’t looked back since. We added more brands and expanded the shop to 3 times the original size. Then a few years later we moved the hop to its current location. We now sell all the top MTB brands, have a big online presence, a bit social media following and a big club riding group. We do a couple of trips abroad every year and try and get a Wales trip in every couple of months. Our goal is to continue growing every year and become THE destination shop in the south east.
What has evolved in the shop in the past few years?
Having an online presence is really important nowadays. If you’re not online your audience is really small. Plus that small audience will have the internet! Bikeactive has always had a website since it began. We changed it a few years ago to keep it up to date. It’s not the most sophisticated website in the world but it does well on search engines and it’s to the point and clear. Social media is also very important. Everyone has Facebook. We have over 8k followers. We sell a lot of bikes so we try and take photos of all of them before they leave and get them on our Facebook page. This gives potential customers confidence that we know what we’re doing and doing things right if all these people have purchased from us. The bike industry is very hard now. Yes biking is booming but because of that more and more shops have opened and now you have direct sale brands like Canyon and YT to try and compete against. Are shop isn’t fancy like these new-fangled road shops/cafes’. Yes we have a coffee machine but the only fancy thing in here is the bikes we sell. That’s the important thing. Not what smoothies you have.
Tell us about the local mountain bike scene to you?
Our local riding scene is healthy. We’re not blessed with amazing hill in the Herts/Essex area but we make up for it in enthusiasm. We run two different riding groups. On Saturday morning Nick takes a group up to our most local riding spot, Broxbourne woods. A short ride up the hill and you’re there. This group is aimed at beginners to intermediate riders looking to get more into it. Broxbourne has a lot of decent singletrack and good trails. On Sundays, if we’re staying local we head to Epping Forest. We have been riding here for years and it’s where Nick and I learnt to ride properly. Even after all these years we still don’t get bored of riding there. Sundays ride can be quite fast which is why we started the Saturday ride. Epping has some really good singletrack and some good rooty tech descents. The descent are only short, 30 seconds max but they are good fun and we take them in during our 3 hour loops. On a dry day we usually have between 10 and 15 riders on Sundays but everyone is welcome.
What are the key trends and the must haves for 2016?
The new Nukeproof Mega 275 and 290 are must haves and are selling out before they have even arrived. Dropper posts and 1×11 are now essential and I see most people running these options.
What makes Nukeproof such an important brand for you?
Nukeproof are a no nonsense brand. Riders know they can be ridden straight out the box with no need to change bars and stems. Nukeproof are known for making their own finish kit so there no unknown, unbranded component anywhere. The bike are also very strong and they are priced within a budget which is reachable to most riders. Also who doesn’t want to ride like Sam Hill.
What Nukeproof products are you looking forward to stocking in 2016?
The new Mega’s for sure. The Mega has always ridden well but now it’s lighter and looks better. I also like the toned down branding on the bars stems and saddles. Can’t wait for the new carbon wheels to be released either.
Wheel size has been a big debate recently- what are your customers and staffpreferring?
Nick and myself ride both 27.5 and 29. Round here the bigger wheels help you go faster and keep momentum up. The new breed of 29ers like the Mega 290 are much more fun to ride then the original xc oriented 29ers. Despite this I still prefer the 27.5 wheels on gnarlier trails. I find that I can turn a bit quicker and generate more speed out of rough sections on the smaller wheel. Im a shorter r rider so I find it harder to get both wheels weighted in drifty turns on the bigger wheels. I can’t get all over the bike like a taller rider can. Our riding group is probably 70/30 in favour of the smaller wheel.
Staff rides- what bike are you riding at the moment?
I have 3 bikes. An Orange Five, an Ibis Ripley LS and a Banshee legend for downhill duties. This will be swapped out for the new Pulse before the summer. Nick rides an Orbea Occam, a Transition Smuggler and an Orange 322. Nathan the mechanic is on a Mondraker Foxy. Nick and myself change our bikes fairly regularly so we can try all the bikes we sell. I plan to ride a Mega once they have arrived.
What’s the staff choice of brew?
Strangely none of us are tea drinkers. We stick to the coffee. It helps with the late night bike building and fettling.
Thanks to Rob and the Bike Active team.
8 High Street