The biggest news coming out of Giant Bicycles’ annual retailer meeting known as The Link was confirmation of its plans to open a $60 million factory in Kunshan, China.
Giant president and CEO Tony Lo made the announcement of its ninth factory to nearly 200 Giant retailers. “It will produce both aluminum and composite bikes,” he said of the new factory that will be up and running by May 2011.
Jeff Milbauer, owner of Valley Bike & Ski in Apple Valley, Minnesota, was among the retailers at The Link who were happy with the news. “I’m glad that Giant is preparing for the future and expanding their position as the industry leader,” he said.
Kevin Chudy, owner of four BikeNHike stores around Portland, Oregon, agreed. “The key thing that sets Giant apart from its competitors is the ability to control its destiny by being a global manufacturer and distributor,” Chudy said. “We need great product and a reliable supply that is timely.”
The Link took place over three days at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, last week. Meetings to preview Giant’s complete 2011 bicycle line were interspersed with near-perfect conditions for demo rides in the shadow of nearby Bald Mountain.
Among the brand new Giant bikes eagerly received by retailers were “the TCR Composite, Defy Advanced 4, and Anthem X 29er—in that order,” said Jimmy Marbut, owner of Sunshine Cycles in Athens and Watkinsville, Georgia. “There isn't a road customer on earth that doesn't want a full carbon bike, period. However, carbon bike price tags have prevented a large portion of them from being able to afford the model they really want. The TCR Composite ($1,870) and Defy Advanced 4 ($1,650) just gave that customer that bike.”
Giant’s all-new Anthem X 29er full Maestro suspension mountain bike series is also a welcome addition to retailer showrooms. “This bike is going to continue to push the 29-inch platform to new heights,” Marbut said. “It just makes sense for an XC bike that handles and responds quick and nimble, gives enough travel for any XC-style trail, rolls smooth and fast on rough terrain, but is still all Anthem. This is my next bike.”