A growing alliance between urban cycle commuting and sustainability will be on display when TMO Sports showcases its Continental tyre and Deuter bag ranges at the inaugural Micromobility Conference & Expo in November.
The Sydney-based distributor will use the expo, being held at Royal Randwick Racecourse on 25th and 26th November, to highlight both brands’ growing selections of urban and commuting products, invariably with an emphasis on sustainable production.
TMO director Manfred Otto said the company’s exhibit would also show how the emerging commuter segment is accelerating the cycling industry’s uptake of sustainability principles, materials and manufacturing processes.
“We are also involved in the outdoor industry and, in my estimation, they are about 10 years ahead of the bicycle industry in terms of its focus on the environment and sustainability. It has been more at the forefront for outdoor companies,” Manfred said.
“With bikes, the focus has largely been on performance, particularly high-end road bikes and mountain bikes.
“However, that is changing with the rise of the urban bike segment. Environmentalism is a stronger aspect to many commuters than it has been traditionally with road cyclists or mountain bikers.”
Recycled Rubber Gaining Momentum
Like many bike industry manufacturers, Continental is continuing to work on increasing the proportion of recycled rubber being used in its tyres, to reduce demand for additional natural rubber and the impact on the word’s tropical rain forests where rubber plants primarily grow.
Manfred was this was an objective across Continental’s range but the emphasis on sustainability as particularly strong in its urban tyres.
In addition, in 2011 Continental started researching and developing the use of dandelion roots as a substitute for natural rubber. It launched the world’s first mass-produced dandelion rubber tyre, the Urban Taraxagam, on the market in 2019 and won a number of sustainability awards.
Manfred said in the case of commuter-specific tyres, the pursuit of performance was also being overtaken by an emphasis on reliability.
“Comfort and protection against punctures are higher priorities performance,” he said.
“You rely on it to get to and from work, school, whatever the destination. Getting a flat is also particularly undesirable with an e-bike or cargo bike because they’re heavier and more likely to have internal gears, which can be a hassle when changing a flat.
“Plus, commuters are potentially less experienced with dealing with mechanical issues.”
He said there is also a greater emphasis on more voluminous tyres to improve ride comfort and offer better load ratings for cargo bikes.
“It’s definitely a core focus for us to increase the urban commuter segment but in terms of sales we are not quite there yet,” he said.
“Corona has thrown us a massive curveball for that part of the range. We simply haven’t been able to get stock for an extended period of time.”
Manfred said in keeping with the commuter theme, the TMO display would also shine a spotlight on Deuter’s growing range of waterproof pannier bags.
“Deuter is another German brand increasing its use of recycled and PFC-free (poly-fluorinated chemicals) materials.”
Manfred said TMO Sports could also be using the expo to launch two new brands in Australia if they’re available in time for the event.