- Canyon is one of the world’s biggest bike brands
- But getting their bikes into South Africa has proved tricky for individual riders
- A new hybrid fulfilment model promises keep Canyon’s South African customers happy
Canyon has been one of the vanguard customer-direct bicycle brands.
This German company has built a significant business, attracting extensive investment, by supplying an array of models, everything from aero road to enduro mountain bikes, directly to riders.
The frictionless shipping that Canyon uses to make its global customer-direct model work, has been challenging in the South African context. Anyone who has ever tried to import a bicycle into the local market will know of the challenges.
A few weeks ago, Canyon decided to remove South Africa as a destination market within its global distribution. Despite the initial disappointment from loyal Canyonists in the local market, there is good news.
Keeping Canyon in reach
The brand’s point person in South Africa, Erik Kleinhans, will continue acting as an agent for those who want to ride the latest Canyon models.
"South African VAT and import duties, along with the intricacies of our import laws, made the Canyon direct to consumer model tricky here", Kleinhans reflected.
"There has always been a strong demand for the bikes, since we launched in 2018. But the realities of individuals importing bicycles into South Africa were always a challenge. Since December 2020, we have been trailing a system whereby Bicycle Garage and myself order on behalf of the customers."
This hybrid system has proved its merit, for local buyers and Canyon brand fans. "This removes the stress and admin, of having to calculate import duties and potentially even get clearance certificates from the South African Revenue Services," Kleinhans continued.
"It proved very effective, as we provided all the behind-the-scenes services; the customer just ordered the bike and we then shipped it to them, or the bicycle shop of their choice to be assembled. The simplicity is enhanced by the customer only having one, final, price to consider when making the purchase."
Navigating a changing bike market
Despite its scale, Canyon has not been immune to the global bicycle supply chain crunch. With shortages in certain models and build kits. This is an issue that has afflicted many other major cycling brands.
Kleinhans has partnered with the Bicycle Garage online platform to make the new Canyon South Africa business model work. "Each listing will be as detailed as possible, but South African cyclists are still more than welcome to browse the Canyon international website if they require more details."
Beyond the digital presence, there will also be a physical store element. Bicycle Garage’s Paarl and Stellenbosch stores will act as service points for Canyon bicycles. Upcountry riders can count on The Sprocket and Jack to help care for their Canyon in Johannesburg.