REI Repositions Cycling Business, Launches Co-op Cycles
Cycling strategy combines new product line with premier brands to offer members a comprehensive destination to fuel their riding adventures
Sep 21, 2016
SEATTLE – REI, the nation’s largest outdoor co-op, today announced a rebuilt strategy for its bike brand built around riders who enjoy trail, mixed surface and longer touring adventures. The co-op unveiled Co-op Cycles, a new brand of bikes built from the ground-up with input from the co-op’s most passionate member cyclists.
INTRODUCING CO-OP CYCLES
“We are committed to making bikes and gear for those who love the fun and freedom that comes with exploring the world on two wheels. We started this complete overhaul of our bike brand by engaging with our most passionate co-op designers and members who ride together to guide development of the Co-op Cycles line. Through our cooperative design process, they’ve guided this entire project,” says Paul Calandrella, REI director of cycle strategy.
Co-op Cycles replaces the Novara line, and is the foundation of the co-op’s ‘trail-first’ approach. Co-op Cycles DRT (mountain) and ARD (all-road) bikes are completely new, purpose-built for off-road riding. The ADV (adventure), CTY (pavement) and REV (youth) lines inherit DNA from Novara’s most successful models such as the Randonee, Safari, Mazama and Buzz, while updated designs are underway for future seasons.
“When you combine REI’s cycling expertise with its camping and broad outdoor equipment line-up, the co-op is able to offer members a single destination for any adventure riding needs, including bikes, apparel, nutrition and adventure-ready camping gear,” Calandrella adds. “This approach is unique to REI, and we’re proud to launch a co-op brand that we believe will stoke the adventure spirit of our members who ride.”
The Co-op Cycles line includes adventure, mountain, city and youth bicycles, plus a core apparel line. Notable products within the new line are:
- DRT 2.1 This 27.5 x 2.8 inch, plus, tubeless-ready tires give this alloy hardtail mounds of traction and just enough plush to be the go-anywhere, do-anything trail explorer. Want something faster? Swap in boost-compatible 29er wheels and up to a 2.25 inch tire. Or, add an internally routed dropper for your favorite bomber descent. Shimano SLX 1x11 + X-Fusion McQueen 120mm Fork | $1,599.
- DRT 1.3 A distillation of so many of the good things that have happened to mountain bikes in recent years. Long top-tube, short and wide cockpit, through-axle fork with remote lockout, and upgrade potential with internal dropper post routing and tubeless compatible rims. The DRT 1 series is your trail-capable starting point to progression. Shimano 2x10 Deore + Suntour Raidon 120mm Fork | $1,099.
- ARD 1.4 The adventure-minded rider’s road bike. This light, fast carbon bike is ready to go from the end of pavement, onto the trail. Spec’d with 28c road tires, frame and fork clearance allows for up to a 35c tubeless knobby to make the transformation for gravel roads and light-duty trail adventures. Front and rear thru-axles and dual-piston hydraulic discs keep things under control when conditions get technical. ARD is upgrade-proof, with internal or external mechanical and electronic drivetrain compatibility, plus integrated fender mounts. Shimano 105 2x11 | $2,299.
- ARD 1.2 A mirror image of our pinnacle all road bike – but with an alloy frame and rack mounts for the price-conscious adventurer. Shimano 105 2x11 | $1,299.
PARTNERING WITH PROGRESSIVE BRANDS, BUILDING IN-SHOP EXPERTISE
Co-op Cycles joins Salsa, Cannondale, Ghost and Diamondback to offer riders regionally focused assortments tailored to their local terrain.
“We’re taking a holistic approach to bike at REI,” says Ben Johns, general merchandising manager for REI’s cycling business. “We’re listening to our members and systematically addressing the ‘brutal truths’ for our cycling business. We’re working across the co-op to invest in bike staff expertise and deepen our community impact through both educational and experiential riding events, as well as partnerships with local non-profits.”
Last year, REI’s Barnett-certified technicians serviced 180,000 bikes and REI Outdoor School instructors educated nearly 37,000 people through a range of beginner to advanced cycling classes. Of all of Outdoor School’s offerings, bike maintenance continues to be the co-op’s most popular class.
SUPPORTING LOCAL CYCLING COMMUNITIES
REI continues to partner with nonprofits in local communities across the country to help build cycling infrastructure, improve trails and increase access to areas that are important to its member riders and the riding community at large.
REI has supported the Hill Country Conservancy since 2012 to help fund the Violet Crown trail. When completed, the trail will connect multiple cities, counties, neighborhoods, businesses, schools, libraries, parks and communities. Mountain bikers, trail runners and walkers, and outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy 30 miles of trail with a variety of entry points and first-time access to preserved, otherwise inaccessible lands in the Texas Hill Country.
REI also supports national nonprofit partners like PeopleForBikes and IMBA, and has provided more than $1.5 million over the last 10 years to support their efforts. These national partners build awareness of bicycle safety and create miles of connected cycle trails across the country.