Bike Industry Links at Disability Expo

We recently attended the ATSA Expo in Melbourne where we met several exhibitors with direct bicycle industry links and others with strong overlaps.

ATSA stands for Assistive Technologies Suppliers Australia – it’s the trade association for an industry whose mobility equipment stores segment alone is estimated to have a turnover in excess of $669 million for 2021, according to market researcher IBIS World.

Specifically, we’re referring to mobility scooters, wheelchairs both ‘manual’ and powered, tricycles and any other form of mobility assistance device for people with a disability or elderly.

This is a market that many bike shops only have minor interaction with, such as perhaps fixing a puncture or replacing a tyre for a wheelchair user.

But there are already stronger links in the wholesale sector with tyres, tubes, spokes, hubs, rims, chains and other components being common to both regular bikes and much of this sector.

In business terms, this sector is growing, not just because of our aging population, but also because of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). This major federal government funding scheme has significantly increased the amount of money available for those who qualify to purchase mobility equipment.

In this article we’ll focus upon just two of the 150 exhibitors at the ATSA Expo which was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds from 18th -19th  May.

Bair Bikes Looking For Dealers

Bair Bikes is a new business unit of Pride Mobility which is one of the major players in the Australian mobility sector.

Sales Product Specialist David Tripp has been responsible for creating the brand, sourcing and importing their range of bikes and selling them via a small group of bicycle retailers.

David said that he’s only interested in selling via dealers. He has not gone down the paths of either consumer direct sales or via mass merchants and said he has no intention to do so in future.

He named the Bair brand after his dog. Their best-selling model, the Roadknight beach cruiser style bike is named after the famous surf break in his home town of Anglesea, Victoria.

David said that the brand has already been four years in development and evolution so far since they first started considering entering the bicycle market and travelling overseas to research potential suppliers.

Their strategy is to pitch at a higher quality level and higher price point than some of their competitors.

So far there are four models. In addition to the Roadnight there’s the Carbon Black, a carbon fibre framed full suspension MTB trail bike, the Esperance, a step through framed urban/leisure bike and the Ceduna, similar to the Esperance but in a men’s frame design.

Like most bicycle brands, Bair could not keep up with demand during covid and sold out of stock. But David said that there’s more stock on the water. Having been encouraged by their sales so far, he said they’re looking to expand both their model range and dealership base. He said that the parent company has the scale and resources to invest, plus the advantage of already having large warehouses and logistical efficiencies.

Designer Ryan Tilley (left) and Keith Klein with their brand new Rove carbon / titanium frame.

Rove Chairs Share Technology with High-End Bikes

When you start talking about a carbon fibre frame with 3D printed titanium connectors and fittings, it sounds like you might be talking about a high end road bike.

But Rove is a brand new ‘day chair’ wheelchair that was launched at the ATSA expo. The titanium fittings were designed and manufactured by Melbourne based Bastion, a prominent local manufacturer of very-high end road bikes.

Designer Ryan Tilley and CEO Keith Klein both have interests in cycling, which show through in their new design. The price is also similar to a high end road bike. This chair retails for $14,000.

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