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We studied in great depth some of the key industry challenges such as the shift of sales from bike shops to consumer online direct, the deeper understanding that a triathlete is not a cyclist and the very little development that has taken place in triathlon bikes over the past two decades.
Brick-and-mortar retail sales continue to decline in favour of online direct sales channels. Half of all bike shops world-wide have closed their doors over the past 10 years. Bike brands are struggling to re-position themselves from a traditional distribution model (i.e. country distributors or sales reps and retail stores) to an online direct sales model. The traditional value chain experiences major margin compression due to the impact of online direct sales model.
The road bike forms by far the largest segment of the competitive bike market. The long association with road racing and the iconic Grand Tours are the focus of the bike industry marketing strategy and product development funding. Sponsored teams require bikes specifically to race the TT stages. Sales of triathlon bikes represent less than 0.5% of the total global bike market with actual sales estimated at around 250,000 new bikes a year. Triathlon bikes have in many cases therefore become derivatives of time trial bikes.
Since October 1996 and the publication of the Lugano Charter (by cycling’s governing body the UCI) TT bike design has been ruled by strict regulations. Triathlon bikes are not subject to these rule restrictions and recently more radical designs have emerged. Radical design however should not be confused with innovation that improves
performance. Many of the designs currently emerging are purely a rehash of pre-Lugano Charter concepts, the performance benefits of these designs are questionable.
The majority of bike fits performed today are a post purchase service. During the fit, the contact points (saddle, handlebar and pedals of the athlete) are adjusted within the limitation of the current bike geometry. We believe a new trend is evolving where the bike fitter should first establish the rider position independent of the bike. The bike-fit has now become a pre-purchase service.
In a fully athlete centric approach a bike would match the contact points of a correctly fitted athlete where the bike fitter is balancing the biomechanics and performance benefits such as aerodynamics, bike handling and performance stability. If the bike fitter could establish the position of the rider independently of
the bike, then the fitter could raise the athlete performance to a whole new level.
Once a rider specific frameset development and production process is adopted, a built to order business model must be adopted as well. This demands a production approach where products are not built until a confirmed customer order for a bike frame is received. The consumer in partnership with their bike fitter determine the exact sizing of the bike, which is the starting point for the bike manufacturing company.
Product personalisation or product customisation is a process of delivering customised goods and services to the customers as per their needs and desire. Customers can approach their bike fitter to determine the correct bike contacts points and the bike company can then build and personalise their bike, exactly the way the customer wants.
Early 2019 an engineer and a businessman came together and exchanged thoughts about key bike industry challenges and opportunities.
An innovative bike frame design inspired by Formula 1 racing technology with proven performance benefits was available. This design concept also provided an intelligent system to produce rider specific frames. This system however demanded a built to order process.
Once the built to order process was defined, personalisation of each customer frame became available, a new industry feature with amazing potential.
Customers are professionally measured through a network of Kú authorised fitters before the bike is purchased or built.
Based on the bike fitter prescription, Kú Cycle tailors the frame to the unique customer’s established position.
Kú Cycle will inspire a new knowledge-based eco-system in the bike industry involving many parties to improve athlete performance for you.
To deliver significant athlete performance improvements, we need a different ride, a different production process and a completely different sales model.
We develop bikes and performance solutions that will change the sport forever, just check out our Kú TF1 with the introduction of a bunch of industry-first technical features. Our bikes are built-to-order for each and every individual customer, delivering a rider specific geometry completed with a personalised paint scheme. An amazing opportunity also for teams who want to showcase a unique team design!
Introducing a disruptive and patented new design of triathlon bike, the Kú TF1.
A complete new design of the front of the bike that will provide a reduction of system drag including the revolutionary Fork Air Stream Technology (FAST), the Formula 1 inspired Steerer Pivot Box (SPB) and Hydraulic Advanced Systems (HAS).
Kú Cycle delivers so much more than a new bike to the market, we deliver a platform for future aero development where new technical upgrades can be made in a matter of weeks and not years.
Based on the fitters prescription, Kú Cycle will tailor the frame to the customer’s established position. We deliver a rider-ability specific geometry that will be optimised for aerodynamics, performance stability and bike handling.
We introduce a unique and disruptive built-to-order business model, enabling us to build rider specific frames (i.e. not custom) based on a kit based modular construction, a new concept invented by our technical director Richard McAinsh.
We provide complete paint scheme personalisation of your frameset across 3 paint scheme levels.
Customers will be professionally measured through a world-wide network of authorised bike fitters.
All these fitters are trained and qualified to establish a rider-ability specific geometry for you.
In the process the fitters will ensure you and your bike will be optimized for aerodynamics, performance stability and bike handling.
Kú Cycle will deliver the perfect fit of body and machine.
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Kú Cycle introduced a disruptive and patented new design of the triathlon bike to the market, the Kú TF1.
A unique design of the front of the bike providing reduction of system drag through the Formula 1 inspired Fork Air Stream Technology (FAST) and the revolutionary Steerer Pivot Box (SPB).
The Formula 1 experience Kú Cycle technical director Richard McAinsh gained over the many years at teams such as Ferrari and Benneton supporting champions like Michael Schumacher and Jos Verstappen became a huge inspiration of the Kú Cycle engineering culture.
Right from the get-go of our brand this can be noticed in every step of the engineering process we have adopted from the innovative and patented designs, the aerodynamics analysis to the application of the latest
biomechanical thinking of the fit between body and machine.
An athlete-first approach is noticeable in every Kú Cycle design and ingenuity is our company’s most important value and our best asset.
We push ourselves every day to rethink products and processes to create new ways to deliver performance gains to you.
The bike industry is secretive about its manufacturing and research partners, but as we seek to inspire a new knowledge-based ecosystem, we do the exact
opposite and proudly announce our partners along the way. Our philosophy is simple: why hide the very people that help us innovate and develop new products?
Our partners share our passion and commitment to athlete performance, which is simply infectious.
Our development iterations will be unconstrained by the bike industry standard annual product cycle. Simply put: we have adopted many of the Formula 1 best practices and transferred these into the bike industry delivering upgrades in cycles as short as a few weeks.
Kú Cycle uses the latest in Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software tools to develop highly engineered components. Lifted directly from Formula 1 and other
technology leading industries, Kú Cycle’s engineering capabilities stand at the cutting edge of engineering design.
Our experience gives us confidence that by applying modern CAE techniques early in the design process a “right first time” standardise the use of program and cost savings can be achieved in downstream processes such as tooling, prototyping and testing.
In our short company history Kú Cycle has already introduced a number of industry-first and patented features.
Each FAST is rider specific in length, an industry first, to deliver a rider specific geometry tuned for aero performance. This enables us to match the handling of the TF1 to the rider’s ability to inspire confident handling and improve run performance.
FORK AIR STREAM TECHNOLOGY – FAST
A Kú Cycle customer will take the place of the elite athlete and have a bike fit performed before the
customer bike is built. Based on the bike fitter’s prescription, Kú Cycle will be the enthusiastic frame builder.
Rider specific simply means: your personal frame size defined and built for you.
Over the past twenty years the bike fitting service has grown in popularity among competitive cyclists and triathletes. Bike fitters have professionalised through major theoretical and technology advancements.
A professional bike fitting service promises the adjustments of the client’s bike to:
– The client’s body proportions (anthropometrics)
– Athletic conditions (flexibility and strength)
– Subjective requirements (e.g. goals, injuries, experiences and limitations).
When bike fitters across the globe are asked what percentage of clients pay the fitter a visit before a new bike is purchased (and choice of frame size is made), the answer is no more than 10% to 20% of total fits performed.
So, as a customer you purchase your preferred bike (and frame size) to then go to a fitter to have your bike adapted to your body by modifying specific components; handlebars for width, stem for reach, saddle type and position etc.
Kú Cycle’s modular design allows us to build each customer bike to completely match the established fit co-ordinates defined by your fitter.
In this way we will return the fitter/rider relationship back to the foundations of bike fitting whereby high-class athletes and passionate frame builders join forces to adjust the bike geometry to each athlete.
During the bike leg of a long-distance triathlon event, the race performance is entirely driven by the rider and bike working flawlessly together for the 5 to 7
hours spent on the bike. By recognising the essential contribution of the correct fit Kú Cycle brings the fitter into the pre-purchase decision path.
More than 80% of all bike fits are still performed as a post-purchase process, which we believe is a real problem
The Kú authorised fitters will prescribe the rider specific fit coordinates while considering aerodynamics, biomechanics and bike handling and performance stability skills to determine frame geometry.
This athlete centric approach will then continue with Kú Cycle producing a frame that exactly matches the prescription of the bike fitter. This process of rethinking for a triathlete specific bike began by putting the rider position first, independent of a bike.
Kú Cycle has established an end-to-end process together with its authorised fitters to ensure a unique customer experience.
From the moment of the initial fit, until the bike is delivered to the customer.
We are committed to deliver you the perfect fit of body and machine
We all got used to custom apparel, but now it’s time to design your own bike
or your team bike with your favorite colors and special logos.
Individuality is cool and adds a very personal touch to a bike and Kú Cycle takes personalisation to a whole new level with first of all a rider specific frameset, secondly a personal paint scheme and to finish it off, even providing you the option to personalise the logo decals.
At the same time, due to our innovative built to order process, we make it even more affordable than ever before.
Let your imagination go wild and we are always there for a personal chat about your design or provide you some inspiration.
We offer 3 levels of personalisation in both glossy and matt finish.
This paint scheme is included in our retail price and allows you to work with 2 base colours for the frameset and a choice of 3 logo decal color schemes.
This is the ideal paint scheme for teams (at an additional fee) where we allow 3 to 4 base colours for your frameset and complete free choice of logo decals.
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By recognising the essential contribution of the correct bike fit we bring the fitter into the pre-purchase decision path.
The majority of bike fits today are still performed after the customer has already purchased their new bike, we call this a post purchase fitting service. During a traditional bike fit the contact points (saddle, handlebar and pedals of the athlete) are adjusted within the limitation of the current bike geometry.
Some 95% of all bikes sales world-wide are sold through a traditional sales model whereby the manufacturer sells their products through country distributors and within each country through retailers or bike shops. Examples of brands within the triathlon segment selling their product on this basis are Trek, Scott, Specialized, Cervelo etc.
Over the past 5 to 10 years new brands such as Canyon and Ventum are exclusively using the online-direct sales model and are therefore bypassing
country distributors and retailers.
At Kú Cycle we believe that in the mid to high-end segment, both these sales models miss one key point: a very experienced bike fitter should first establish the rider position independent of the bike.
So we have created an entire new sales model where our bikes will not be sold through bike shops, not through the internet and not through sales agents, sales reps or country distributors. We will work exclusively with the one and only partner where we believe our bikes should be sold: the Kú authorised bike fitter!
Bike fitting has to become a pre-purchase service.
Kú Cycle will establish an entire new sales model by exclusively partnering with a very select numbers of Kú authorised fitters in countries all over the world. These are the best of the best bike fitters we trust and partner with.
Let’s take a look at how bike fitting takes place today. We invite you to step into our “common-sense corner” for just a minute…
Bike fitting today
Modern bike fits are about adjusting the contact points such as the saddle, handlebar and pedals of the athlete, but within the significant limitation of the
current bike geometry. The bike fitter simply can’t change the frame size or geometry of a bike.
At Kú Cycle we believe it’s time for a drastic change!
Bike fitting tomorrow
In a fully athlete centric approach the bike fitter is balancing the rider’s biomechanics and performance benefits such as aerodynamics, bike handling and performance stability, without any limitation of a bike frame or certain geometry. In other words; an optimal fitted athlete will deliver a set of contact points in space.
In space? Yes, if a bike fitter could establish the position of a rider independently of the bike, then the fitter could raise the athlete performance to a whole new level. The critical performance parameter will be the interface between the rider and the bike and hence the rider position should be established first and then the bike selection or frame build can be completed.
This has nothing to do with Kú Cycle or any other bike brand for that matter, this is about the simple principle of positioning the rider independently of the bike.
Kú Cycle fit
Customers will be professionally measured through a world-wide network of Kú Cycle authorised fitters. These fitters will establish a perfect balance between the rider’s biomechanics, aerodynamics, bike handling and performance stability. The fitter will measure and prescribe requirements such as:
– Arm rest stack and reach
– Saddle rail height
– Customer’s body measurements
– Wheelbase length
This fitter prescription will be sent to Kú Cycle where we will build the rider specific frame. Upon completion, the fitter will receive this frame and make some final component adjustments and performance optimisation.
The result is a perfect fit of body and machine delivering proven athlete performance improvements to you.
Independent of the bike, the rider position will be established first by a Kú authorised bike fitter. The fitter’s prescription will balance the rider’s biomechanics, aero performance, weight distribution, bike handling skills and performance stability.
The Kú TF1 frame is then cut and bonded to the exact established fitter’s prescription. Bikes are built to order and then assembled for each individual customer. This process is a first in the triathlon industry.
We said it’s time for a drastic change and Kú Cycle does exactly that! Together with the Kú fitters, the limitation of the current bike geometry has been completely eliminated and in return a perfect fit between rider and machine is provided. The result: improved athlete performance delivered to you.
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Kú Cycle provides great responsibility to its authorised fitters which can be described as a mutually dependent collaboration between a manufacturer and a market service provider. Likewise, the bike fitter places great trust in Kú Cycle to build a quality product for each and every customer.
Kú Cycle therefore spends a lot of time connecting, researching, selecting, qualifying and authorising new Kú fitters. The quantity of fitters we work with is way less important than the quality of the fitters we do partner with. We decline a rather high percentage of fitters applying at Kú Cycle as the demands placed on the fitter’s experience is high.
In return to our high expectations of fitters, we guarantee each fitter a long-term collaboration and very few fitters appointed in one country. Fitters will experience an increased reputation and will be part of a Kú inspired knowledge-based ecosystem. Top of the list however is to simply become a better fitter and have more satisfied customers.
Our mission together with our Kú authorised fitters is to design bikes and performance solutions that will change the sport forever.
Kú Cycle has positioned the bike fitter as a critical service before the bike is purchased. The bike fitter is therefore a legitimate service and sales channel.
Together with authorised bike fitters, Kú Cycle will inspire a new knowledge-based ecosystem in the triathlon industry.
Parties that normally tend to compete and not co-operate will be invited to participate in joint product development, performance testing and education with a shared vision:
Improved athlete performance for you!
The ultimate benefit of this ecosystem will be the consumer, who reaps the performance gains from the cooperation of the players in this new knowledge-based ecosystem.
You may say we are a dreamer, but we are not the only one. So watch this space to learn how we help improve athlete performance for triathletes of all levels.
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