Officially announced at the beginning of December, Intense Cycles is now selling direct to consumer in the UK. Intense bikes will still be stocked, sold, and shipped from Saddleback’s warehouse in Yate (just outside Bristol), but rather than being distributed through a traditional Independent Bicycle Dealer network, consumers now have the ability to purchase their new bike online, and have it shipped directly to their door.
While the shifting retail landscape is cause for fiery discussion inside and outside of the bike industry, for Intense Cycles, this new direct to consumer model comes with some benefits. Most notably, lower pricing. And when the new Intense UK website was first launched last year, those revised price tags caught plenty of attention.
For 2018 however, Intense UK has dropped prices on framesets and complete bikes. Again.
After recently getting a 2018 Intense model in for testing, we noticed that the pricing on the Intense Cycles UK website had lowered from the figures originally listed on the website when it was launched back in December. Combined with the original drop, the list price has now come down by around 30% compared to the RRP from just a couple of months ago.
As an example, the entry-level Foundation spec bikes that originally sold in shops for £3900, were listed in December at £3000, and are now listed at £2799. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the top-level Factory spec bikes (like the Carbine we tested last year) that retailed for £9999, were first dropped to £8000, and are now £6799 under the new pricing structure.
That isn’t just a small price adjustment – that is a huge difference, and one that signals a shifting of the goalposts for a brand that was previously playing in a very premium price bracket.
So why the (second) price drop? Well, taking one link out of the chain by selling direct to consumer is surely still the biggest part of it. But is that it? Here’s the official word from Intense UK;
“In an ever-changing market, there is increased pressure to offer the customer maximum value. The world is changing fast and brands need to adapt to survive.Thankfully, as a small brand, Intense is able to do that more easily than some of the larger brands. We found that as bike shops came under more and more pressure, very few were able to carry our bikes on the showroom floor and therefore it was hard for riders to see and feel the beauty of our product. This, plus pressure to be more competitive on price, meant the right direction for the brand was clear: we want to offer the world’s best bikes at a price that’s as attainable as possible.
At the same time, we really wanted to ensure that customers in the UK choosing the new rider direct model can still get the sales support they need, both before and after clicking the buy button. We think riders spending their hard-earned cash on an exclusive product such as an Intense bike deserve a special level of service, that’s why we’re offering our 14-day ride or return programme, have expert UK-based sales staff on hand for any queries and ensure the best build quality every time including custom suspension tuning. At the end of the day, it’s all great news for riders.“
Based on that statement, it would appear that the pricing restructure is simply a case of increasing the brand’s competitiveness in the UK market, which is increasingly moving to e-tailing. For further comment from Intense UK about the original decision to go consumer direct, check out the full statement in the original news article here.
While that’s all good stuff for new potential buyers, it’s likely to be less welcome news for those who have perhaps purchased a new Intense bike last year at previous, much higher prices. The knock-on effect that the new pricing will have on the second hand market could also cause some frustration amongst existing Intense owners.
That aside, it does seem that 2018 could well be shaping up as the year that brands ‘go direct’, with other brands including Felt Bicycles and Cotic having recently announced their move out of local bike stores. Bigger brands such as Scott have also announced that they’ll be selling bikes online, albeit with collection through a local Scott dealer, and this seems like a viable option for those larger and older brands that have established global dealer networks. But with pressure mounting from the likes of pure-direct brands including Canyon, YT and Vitus, will there be more announcements like this to come in the near future?
If you want to check out some of the other trends we think are coming this year, check out our 2018 Predictions article here.
And for those wondering, here’s the full price list from Intense for 2018 and beyond;
Intense Trail & Enduro Bikes
- Factory Spec Complete Bike: £6,799
- Elite Spec Complete Bike: £5,000
- Pro Spec Complete Bike: £4,299
- Expert Spec Complete Bike: £3,299
- Foundation Spec Complete Bike: £2,699
- Frame Only: £2,299
M16 Downhill Bike
- Pro Spec Complete Bike: £5,899
- Expert Spec Complete Bike: £3,500
- Frame: £2,700
In another Intense Cycles-related piece of news, Jeff Steber (founder and former owner of Intense Cycles) has announced that he will return to running the company. Andrew Herrick (preciously of Crank Brothers) is stepping aside as the CEO of Intense Cycles. Herrick took up the helm at Intense just after the first Carbine was launched, which at the time, was the first carbon bike from Intense. Herrick is the person considered responsible for the significant growth in both the brand’s awareness, and its range of carbon bikes that cover everything from XC and trail, through to a 29in downhill bike.
Where Intense will go from here with Steber back in charge? Only time will tell.