REI Co-op makes major investments in cycling this year, including new premium partnerships
Co-op brings premium cycling brands Bontrager and Cannondale to customers nationwide, extends Co-op Cycles offerings to full-suspension mountain bikes, expands adventure programs and cycle rentals
Feb 28, 2019
REI Co-op is launching a major expansion of its cycling business in 2019. This year, the co-op will offer Bontrager premium accessories and apparel, and has expanded on its long-standing relationship with Cannondale to make the brand available at all REI locations. The co-op also adds full-suspension mountain bikes to its in-house Co-op Cycles line and additional bicycle services and experiences for customers through an expanded bike rental program and pilot trade-in program.
“I genuinely believe in the transformative power of the bicycle and am inspired by the meaningful ways the co-op is investing to grow participation and the market,” says Ben Johns, REI’s general merchandising manager. “We owe it to our members to connect them with the best places to ride, the best cycling brands, and be a complete support resource. We’ve made great progress stepping up our shops, assortments and services to create a unique specialty experience, and the changes we have planned for 2019 will be another big step forward as we work to infuse cycling more prominently into the co-op’s DNA.”
Offering new premium brands and easier accessibility
This spring, REI will offer Bontrager brand cycling apparel and accessories including, helmets, shoes, lighting and other components and accessories to its stores and REI.com.
“We’ve long appreciated the Bontrager brand for its innovative products and for being a true specialty brand in cycling,” said Johns. “We’re excited to partner with Bontrager to bring this line of apparel, components, and accessories to our members across the country.”
Over the past few years, the co-op has expanded access to several premium brands nationwide, including Cannondale, Ghost, Salsa, Co-op Cycles and now Bontrager, among others.
New full-suspension Co-op Cycles bikes
Co-op Cycles, REI’s in-house bike line, is designed with help from REI’s most passionate cyclists to deliver versatile, capable bikes that can be used for mixed-terrain adventures, both on and off pavement. This year the co-op adds the DRT 3.1 ($2,199) and 3.2 ($2,799) full-suspension mountain bike to its collection.
“Our members love Co-op Cycles and continue to ask for more options to progress their riding within the brand.” Says Paul Calandrella, REI Co-op Brands general manager. “We’re thrilled to bring them our first full-suspension bikes, which are an excellent build upon our very well-received plus hardtail mountain bikes.”
The bikes, both 6061 aluminum trail bikes, offer a full complement of components in a playful, yet capable, mid-travel platform. The higher-end DRT 3.2 specs include: Air-sprung RockShox Revelation RC front suspension and RockShox Monarch R Solo Air rear with external rebound, SRAM NX Eagle 1x 12 drivetrain, X-Fusion Manic dropper seat post, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless ready 40mm wide wheels with 26 x 2.8 tires on sizes extra-small, small, and 27.5 x 2.8 for medium through extra-large.
The co-op will expand its rentals program to include bikes in key markets later this spring, as well as piloting a bike trade-in program to allow REI customers to exchange a qualifying bike for store credit that can be used toward the purchase of a new bike.
This year REI will offer more than 20 new multiday cycling trips, doubling its current number, for more than 40 total cycling itineraries worldwide. Cyclists explore the world during these domestic and international trips with both lodge-based and camping itineraries.
There will be a trip for every type of cyclist with varying fitness levels – road riding, mountain biking, and gravel riding, heading off the beaten (bike) path in small groups with the expertise of local guides. New trips will be offered in Chile, Colombia, Scotland, Spain, across the U.S. and Canada, and more.
For day programming, cycling is one of REI’s most popular categories. For riders looking to connect with fellow cyclists, in many areas REI offers a local spin followed by a post-ride beverage. Additionally, How to Ride a Bike is a top bike program with over 550 sessions offered throughout the country this year and, for those looking to start mountain biking, there’s over 100 Introduction to Mountain Biking options.
Supporting cycling nonprofits
Through continued partnerships with national nonprofit partners like PeopleForBikes and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), REI has invested close to $1.5 million over the last 10 years to build awareness of bike safety and help develop safer bike infrastructure in cities and increased miles of trails around the nation. The co-op also works with local nonprofits helping to create access and get more people out enjoying adventures on two wheels.
“As an industry we are fortunate to have strong nonprofit leadership and advocacy. We are especially proud to support efforts to connect more people with great cycling experiences and knowledge of where to ride,” says Johns.