Did you know? Cane Creek has four different sales channels: retail dealers, OEMs, distributors, and eCommerce. Our retail dealers and eCommerce channels are only open within North America, which means we rely heavily on our distributor network to represent the brand globally. Extra UK Ltd. is a long-standing partner who has exclusive distribution rights of Cane Creek products to the UK and Ireland. It’s no small task, but Extra knocks it out of the park.
We caught up with Michael Braybrook, Extra’s Marketing and Events Manager, to discuss Extra’s UK presence as well as their first impressions of the HELM Works Series 130 suspension fork. But first, some background:
Extra UK Ltd. was founded in 1995 by Brian Stewart and John Phillips who still own the business today. The company is a B2B distributor supplying to over 750 bike shops, outdoor and sport retailers in the UK and Ireland. Extra’s partnership with Cane Creek began back in 2001. “As the exclusive UK distributor of Cane Creek, we carry pretty much the entire product range including spares which amounts to almost 700 SKUs! eeWings have been a big hit with UK riders, both for MTB and Road/Gravel use. However, our best-selling product over the last year or so is the DB Coil IL shock, as UK riders look to improve the suspension performance of their bike.”
Today, they also support seven appointed Certified Cane Creek Suspension Service Centres located around the country to help customers with everything from sales to set-up to servicing and spares. These Service Centres, like J-TECH Suspension and Sprung Suspension Workshop, are experts in Cane Creek suspension and are guaranteed to help you get the very best from your Cane Creek products. Cane Creek insists that riders only service their Cane Creek suspension through certified service centers. “Our suspension isn’t like ‘everyone else’s’… for the best performance and best service, you need to have your products serviced by people we’ve trained. They use specialized tools and required equipment, like a vacuum-fill machine, to ensure that your fork or shock is leaving the facility as though it is brand new,” explains Brian Williams, Distributor Sales Coordinator for Cane Creek.
As a distributor, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the end-user, as there are several parties in between. However, Extra has made a point of being highly engaged within their community, showing up at major events throughout their region to connect directly with riders, shop owners, and service technicians. This allows them to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry from the rider’s perspective, something that has undoubtedly contributed to the success of their business. They are able to find out what products rider’s want, not just what products manufacturer’s want to sell. As a result, Extra is able to share this information with our sales and product teams in order to make sure that Cane Creek, and thus Extra, is able to work to stay ahead of the curve.
Extra recently showcased Cane Creek products at both the 2019 COREbike show and the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill series in Fort William, Scotland. One thing they know for sure, Michael explains,
“I think UK riders appreciate the quality and durability of Cane Creek products as well as the adjustability and performance enhancing features of many products. [As for us,] Cane Creek are great people to deal with, both on a personal and professional level. The products are well thought out, wonderfully engineered and genuinely unique which is really refreshing in an age of lots of me-too product coming from the same vendors with just a different brand name.”
Extra UK Ltd. received one of the very first HELM Works Series 130 suspension forks on the market and took it to the Fort William World Cup. Michael gushes, “The [HELM] WS130 offers the control and stiffness of a long travel Enduro fork in a shorter travel and lighter package which makes it perfect for most UK trail riders. The initial suppleness of the fork right out the box feels identical to the longer travel HELM Coil fork, and it took no time at all to dial in the settings for our preferred style of riding which is fairly typical in the UK.”
While Cane Creek is headquartered in Fletcher, North Carolina, USA, we have a wide global reach thanks to our distributors and industry original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). As a brand, we are particular with the firms we choose to do business with. It’s essential each of our partners has a mission closely resembling our own, as they are, in essence, our most tangible presence within their regions. Extra UK Ltd. is the exclusive Cane Creek distributor for the United Kingdom and Ireland, and we couldn’t be more honored by our 18 year partnership with this highly motivated team.