Ribble shop- Cribbs Causeway

Craig the cyclist

Über Member
Has anyone been in there? It was quite the weirdest place. Nothing on sale to buy in the shop, basically just a showroom for a dozen bikes, then you have to sit with the bloke at a computer and order it and build it online, just like from home.

Very peculiar! Nice bikes mind.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
Same as the one in Bluewater. Apart from the bikes, it's nothing like a bike shop!
 
Good morning,

The one in Birmingham is the same.

I think that the purpose of these showrooms is to reassure people who have never heard of Ribble, which will be a large percentage of their current target market, that they are safe coughing up their £2k-£4k. Look we have premises we are not a dodgy on-line retailer who will take your money and run.

If you look at True Capital's other brands https://true.global/investment/portfolio/ you may conclude that they are not really interested in being a bike shop and doing tedious day to day bike maintenance for their customers, that's a bit too common for them.:smile:

Hence the recent TV adverts that said nothing about the bikes, just nice clips of fun cycling, whether they can make this work is an interesting question. For me the brand has now lost the good-will associated with the old shop/warehouse/business model and will the new customers accept being told sorry we don't do maintenance please go and find an LBS.

At the moment Ribble seem to me to be in a sort of honeymoon period, there are still long term customers who will buy the bikes because they are good value, albeit a lot less good value than they used to be, and customisation seems to be greatly reduced and they have had the COVID boom.

Can they use this base to become Canyon etc or will everyone go back to Halfords, LBS and established brands, If you buy a Canyon you know that you aren't going to have access to a shop and this for me is the big risk with Ribble's showrooms. Customers may expect them to act as shops especially during the settling in period, I bought this bike last month and the gears no longer work, just go on to ebay and look for a video on adjusting gears may not go down too well.

Bye

Ian
 
The impressive showroom helps to get customer's commitment without having stock in the first place.

Collect the order, get deposit or full payment and then order the parts and assemble. In the commercial world the money received is the "float' where they earn interest without they handing over the product first. The model is banking on order volumes.

The other benefit for them is the ability to use parts that are readily available as customer are easily convinced to a switch to a component B rather than component A.

It does work in the consumer world. Clever marketing.

My advice is to pay a visit, ask all the questions and then go back home and decide, You can still order from home or find an another bike store or another brand that meets your needs.
 
So what if you order a complete bike and there's a problem with it , who does the warranty repair ?
If it comes faulty then it probably goes back or Ribble will state take it to a local LBS and they will refund you. Ultimately though you have chosen an internet bike and it will have reduced support. You won't get the free 6 week service and tune up that you get at Halfords or likely your LBS and there will be a lack of support. Ribble offer some amazing pricing compared to the more established big brands at LBS's but that pricing comes with reduced support. If you do your own maintenance then its no big deal at all but if you rely on someone else to do all servicing and repairs then it seems like a short-sighted decision. Surely it would make more sense to go the LBS route maybe end of season sales or brands that are actual manufacturers like Giant and Merida who can offer improved value over the factory-less big brands.
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
It’s nothing like a bike shop because bikes are now a commodity like washing machines or baked beans. True Capital are interested in shifting metal and making 💰 it’s as simple as that. A brave new world for cycle shops. I suspect we’re going to see more as time goes on and as long as they can provide a good service and value for money cyclists will continue to patronise them.
 
Good morning,
It’s nothing like a bike shop because bikes are now a commodity like washing machines or baked beans. True Capital are interested in shifting metal and making 💰 it’s as simple as that. A brave new world for cycle shops. I suspect we’re going to see more as time goes on and as long as they can provide a good service and value for money cyclists will continue to patronise them.
Have you seen a Ribble showroom, they are literally showrooms? :smile: The one in Brum had one person, no stock of bikes or parts available to buy and nothing like an option to book a service/repair.

I don't think that bikes are now a commodity, they always have been, it's just that more people are willing to spend a lot on them.

When I was a lad my first few bikes came from a toy and bike shop which worked on the basis of this is what we have in stock you can buy this and walk out with it, or you can just walk out. No ordering and come back in 7/14 days. The other half of the shop had Scalextric, Hornby, Airfix, Barbie/Cindy etc.

More specialist shops were the same as above but we can order you a Team Replica and that will take n days, but no you can't swap the clinchers for sprints and tubs on that model.

Then there was the real specialist who probably only had bits which he expected to bolt onto a locally built custom frame.

I'm going to put my foot in it and suggest that Ribble may not be the right investment for True Capital, if you look at their other businesses they are all premium products rather than commodity ones and many are intellectual property based, for example
  • Zwift we all know and some love,
  • Founded in 2004, Frugi is the UK’s leading ethical and organic children’s clothing brand.
  • Hoxton Analytics applies AI to footfall and demographic tracking.
  • Wellness in the workplace increases engagement and productivity. Unmind is a proactive business-to-business mental health platform,
  • All Shades Covered is the beauty destination for women of colour. Premium hair extensions, premium hair care products
A few months ago Sky news ran a brief article suggesting that Ribble may be up for sale, I was doubtful about that as the true level of sales isn't really clear. Sure the last year's filed accounts said sales revenue had doubled, but they are abbreviated accounts you don't really learn anything from them, did they shift a few £5k CF/Di2 bikes instead of the loads of old blue Winter/Audax with Sora ones? How much difference does COVID make?

Bye

Ian
 
OP
C

Craig the cyclist

Über Member
I think I was surprised because bikes, whether we like it or not, are the new golf clubs. The demographic of bikes is either utilitarian and functional, buy one, keep it for years and treat it like Triggers broom. The other demographic is where Ribble are going, slightly more affluent, dare I say a little more mature, mostly male and into new trends.

But instead of being like the Golf Warehouse type set-up, with lots of knowledgeable staff attending to your need and everything you could see ready to be boxed and sold to you, there was a chap at a computer with a huge screen and one bloke asking if you wanted to speak to the bloke sat down. It reminded me more of a Romanian department store I went in to in 1991, one of everything in tip-top condition, but no stock to walk out with.

It is sad that Bristol has lost several good independent bike shops over the last few years, and now has this, but it is surely down to the type of customer isn't it?
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
Good morning,

Have you seen a Ribble showroom, they are literally showrooms? :smile: The one in Brum had one person, no stock of bikes or parts available to buy and nothing like an option to book a service/repair.

I don't think that bikes are now a commodity, they always have been, it's just that more people are willing to spend a lot on them.

When I was a lad my first few bikes came from a toy and bike shop which worked on the basis of this is what we have in stock you can buy this and walk out with it, or you can just walk out. No ordering and come back in 7/14 days. The other half of the shop had Scalextric, Hornby, Airfix, Barbie/Cindy etc.

More specialist shops were the same as above but we can order you a Team Replica and that will take n days, but no you can't swap the clinchers for sprints and tubs on that model.

Then there was the real specialist who probably only had bits which he expected to bolt onto a locally built custom frame.

I'm going to put my foot in it and suggest that Ribble may not be the right investment for True Capital, if you look at their other businesses they are all premium products rather than commodity ones and many are intellectual property based, for example
  • Zwift we all know and some love,
  • Founded in 2004, Frugi is the UK’s leading ethical and organic children’s clothing brand.
  • Hoxton Analytics applies AI to footfall and demographic tracking.
  • Wellness in the workplace increases engagement and productivity. Unmind is a proactive business-to-business mental health platform,
  • All Shades Covered is the beauty destination for women of colour. Premium hair extensions, premium hair care products
A few months ago Sky news ran a brief article suggesting that Ribble may be up for sale, I was doubtful about that as the true level of sales isn't really clear. Sure the last year's filed accounts said sales revenue had doubled, but they are abbreviated accounts you don't really learn anything from them, did they shift a few £5k CF/Di2 bikes instead of the loads of old blue Winter/Audax with Sora ones? How much difference does COVID make?

Bye

Ian
Why should they have bike parts and other bits and pieces for sale? There’s no money in it for them.

I should have qualified my remark about bikes being a commodity. It’s a lifestyle commodity now, like golf as @Craig the cyclist says.
I can assure you that True Capital would have researched the purchase of Ribble very thoroughly before going ahead. Most venture capitalists are highly diverse. They would have looked at the market and what other retailers were doing, particularly the big brand names. Where once you bought your top end bike from a specialist shop from a bloke in oily overall you now buy it from a bloke smartly dressed in front of a computer. The oily rag model is slowly in the descendant.

Im sure True Capital will always be open to offers for Ribble if they can make a good return on their investment.
 
Some people have more time than money (me) and others have more money than time. For those with high disposable incomes; convenience, marketing and brand becomes more important. I guess its more about the overall experience even if more expensive.

I'm not so interested in brands but overall value for what I am getting. Most bikes are coming out of Asian factories and some brands require huge margins like many Italian marques and others have low margins like bulk sellers like Halfords.

Canyon, Ribble and many other brands don't have factories themselves they are buying from factories in Asia. I think Canyon used to use Giant a lot but they became too expensive and now the CF frames are coming out of Quest Composites a factory which at best would be described as lower quality than Giant. Halfords themselves keep changing factories all the time to get the best deal and keep competitive price wise.

I just don't think brand necessarily represents actual quality only perceived quality. I have no idea which factories or factory Ribble buys its frames and forks from and it may have changed from last year anyway.

If Ribble can offer the best deal on specification for a bike and offer a decent warranty etc then I'm interested but many brands seem to focus on pointless innovations with proprietary components that are expensive to buy and expensive and sometimes impossible to keep on the road as support for such proprietary components dwindles.

To me Ribble seems like they are moving from a good value bike option, not the best value but decent value to more of a lifestyle brand choice with higher prices and slicker marketing. If such a move can find a willing audience to pay the higher prices then obviously its a good choice as a company.

When I was waiting in line for my flu jab the other day, right under the railing I was next to was a Ribble bike and realised it was the first time I'd ever seen a Ribble bike locally or can at least remember seeing a Ribble bike and I tend to always look at the brands of bikes either parked up or passing by on the road. I'm down in the south west of England. It feels like a brand with a very small market share in the UK. The bike looked years old too, perhaps 10 years old or more. To be honest I don't think I've seen a Canyon either however seen plenty of Giants, Specializeds, Treks etc but mainly see bikes like Carrera's. I should add I'm just a casual cyclist who doesn't go for group rides or races etc where perhaps I would be more exposed to higher end bikes. There is probably high regional variation on what brands sell best.

I'd be interested to see the breakdown of brands and marketshare in the UK but that doesn't seem to be freely available but anyway I feel Ribble is a very niche brand that often feels bigger than it actually is due to marketing. There has been quite a lot of bicycle shop closures in my area and it feels like if anything more of the newer models I see are Carreras, Apollos, Voodoos and Boardmans because they are the only fair priced bike options in my area with backup. There are no Decathlon stores in the south west at all. I keep thinking there has to be one in either Plymouth, Exeter or Bristol but nothing at all yet.

You wonder if running a store in Cribbs Causeway is economically viable. I sort of think just a display stand somewhere with a beautiful Ribble bike and their website address wouldn't be as effective or maybe a poster campaign.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
I've had one complete bike from Ribble and bought their classic blue winter frameset from them. Very pleased with both of them. It used to be on my top three of sites I bought things from. However, they have lost my business, as you say, they are only seem interested in selling complete bikes to the rich set. Our local Ribble shop displays bikes and ebikes fit for a pro cyclist and expecting the general public to buy them.

One shop down your way - SJS Cycles has a good reputation for service and would be a good place to seek advice on bike options.

good luck
 

DRM

Guru
Location
West Yorks
They had a shop in Leeds, just a load of bikes on display and you had to order it and wait for it to be delivered, the only thing was that if you had one on your shortlist you could sit on it see if it was ok, but it was definitely aimed at what would be known up here as the more money then sense brigade, where as you used to see lots of the blue audax frames out once the weather turned, as a sensible winter bike, Ribble seem to have washed their hands of these customers, the problem being they’re not an exotic Italian frame that maybe are what a lot of people aspire to.
 
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