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Enjoyment and adventure are essential for Stuart Voysey and his team at SCV Imports.
They’ve long been driving forces for how SCV does business – and how they spend time on their bikes – and now the mass cycling market is starting to follow them down that path.
Since the company’s early days in the 1990s, Stuart has chosen to work with brands and retailers he enjoys dealing with and, by a mix of planning and good fortune, that often led to relationships with the leaders in touring, gravel and adventure riding.
SCV distributes several of the world’s most desirable brands for touring and adventure riders – including SOMA, Surly, Salsa and Bombtrack – as well as many of the most trusted P&A brands from Japan and the US.
Amid the current international boom in bike sales, Stuart and his clients are noticing much greater demand from riders who simply want to enjoy their rides – opting more for adventure and pleasure rather than speed.
After the boom of mountain bikes and MTB events over the past two decades, Stuart said an ever-increasing number of people just want to escape and have fun – whether it’s epic tours in exotic locations or simply hitting the local trails and back roads.
“The fun ride is really where the interest is and that continues to be a source of growth,” he said.
“We’re finding shops are often contacting us saying ‘we have been quite race-focused but I’d really like to head into gravel and adventure’.
“We are the guys to talk to because we have been there for a long time and we’ve got the brands adventure and touring riders love to own.
“These people are particularly passionate, they’re often bike collectors and they’re often looking for bikes that will last them a lifetime, so SOMA and Surly’s chromoly frames are in high demand.”
With a background in road riding, Stuart launched SCV with a race focus, as the distributor for US titanium bike manufacturer Dean.
SCV later became a specialist P&A importer, first with FSA when the Taiwanese company was still in its infancy, and later adding Thomson to its resume.
Focus on Quality
Attracted by the quality of US manufacturing, SCV also become the distributor for Enduro bearings, Wolf Tooth components and Colorado company Wheels Manufacturing.
“I have tried to build the P&A range as a medium to high-end product range, which means we no longer need to have a full-time staff member on warranty and service,” Stuart said.
“Whenever we went with medium to low-end ranges, we found we had to supply a lot more support for warranty and services.
“With brands such as Chris King, Thomson, Wheels Manufacturing and Wolf Tooth you just sell it and forget it, which offers peace of mind for us and the retailers.”
“Take Thomson for example. Most of their business is making products for Boeing, so their quality control is amazing.
“And with headsets, hubs and bottom brackets, I don’t think there’s anything that comes close to the quality of the bearings used by Chris King.”
SCV’s journey into adventure and commuting bikes really began which it became the distributor for San Francisco company SOMA, which specialises in Tange Prestige butted chromoly steel frames.
“Doing that brand, I noticed there was quite a lot of businesses in the adventure and touring scene and I liked doing business with these retailers,” he said.
“These people were really passionate about cycling and more community focused. My belief was they would be successful in bringing more consumers into the industry.
“Through our relationship with SOMA, we became associated with Japanese companies such as Izumi chains, MKS pedals and NITTO.
“We saw those companies – as well as Tange and, more recently, Panaracer – as Japanese equivalents of the US brands we were dealing with.”
SCV’s reputation and success as a SOMA distributor led to an approach from by a leading distributor in the US, Quality Bicycle Products (QBP).
It was keen for SCV to be its Australian distributor for Surly, one of QBP’s largest home brands.
“When we started kicking goals with Surly, QBP began working with us with their other brands, including Salsa and All-City,” Stuart said.
“It was a pretty organic process that took us down the path of adventure and gravel bikes.”
Stuart said he is often “a little envious of a lot of my customers – seeing and hearing about their cycling adventures”.
“One thing that blows my mind is the people going on cycling adventures for two weeks, taking incredible photos and putting them on Instagram,” he said.
“The money people drop on touring bikes is incredible, to tackle the ride they have been dreaming of doing all their lives.”
He said the camaraderie and passion displayed by people in the adventure bike industry sat well with the SCV approach to business.
“We are very approachable and we don’t like to dictate the terms with retailers,” he said.
“We are all about working cooperatively with retailers, rather than just shifting units. Shops don’t like being loaded up with stock just because you are trying to hit numbers.”
SOMA’s approach to frames is driven by four principles – practical, durable, comfortable and affordable. Its frames are designed and constructed for people who ride daily, or almost every day, for commuting, for work, errands, fitness, or just for the joy of riding. They need stuff that is versatile, tough, long-lasting, priced reasonably and makes their lifestyle a little better.
Since 2007, SOMA has been exclusively using Tange Prestige butted CrMo steel to construct its strongest frames ever, but still at a fair price. The heat-treated steel provides a ride that is lively and smooth.
SOMA also offers the opportunity for customisation of its frames – for performance or just personal expression.
Salsa Cycles are pioneers in the adventure scene, building mountain, adventure, gravel and road bikes with a focus on strength and weight.
Add speed to that equation and you have the Salsa Cutthroat, which has dominated events such as the Tour Divide for many years.
Salsa’s components also sit high on the wish lists of adventure and gravel enthusiasts.
Surly makes serious steel bikes for people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Convinced that steel is the best material for the kinds of bikes it produces, Surly’s ‘Natch!’ tubesets are designed by the company’s engineers to match the intended use and loading characteristics of each individual model. It uses size-specific tubesets, custom butting profiles and proprietary forks to offer comfort and compliance.
Surly prides itself on accommodating riders of all shapes and sizes.
Bombtrack is the adventure and touring brand for German company We Make Things, but was born from BMX roots.
It evolved from simple fixed gear and urban bikes in the brand’s early days and now incorporates gravel, adventure, cyclocross and mountain bikes.
From its origins in Cologne, it has earned an international reputation for simple, elegant and durable bikes.
All-City is on a mission to “bring beauty back to production bicycles”. From classically inspired frames with hand-built touches to the latest advancements in equipment and technology, All-City aims to produce elegant machines that move their riders literally and figuratively.
Its emphasis is on elegant design and flawless performance.
Halo is SCV’s most recent brand.
A home brand for UK distributor Ison, Halo started by producing wheels for the dirt jump scene and has since moved into cross country, road, adventure and touring.
“We didn’t have a wheel line,” Stuart said, “and when we were introduced to Halo we saw they were a really good price point, offering wheels in the medium to high-end range.”
Call Stuart on (02) 4353 2533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to tap into his wealth of knowledge and discuss SCV’s range of brands and products.
SCV Imports can be found in the online YearBook bicycle trade directory.
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