As bike culture grows around the globe, especially in urban areas, licensing in the bicycle category is expanding outside of its historical boundaries.
The U.K. market over the last year or so has served as the epicenter for several deals illustrating how bike-related licensing can stretch beyond conventional bike-licensing boundaries. For instance:
- Bike-culture brands are developing design-driven collaborations. Brooks England, a high-end maker of bike saddles, saddle bags, lights, and other accessories, is collaborating with a variety of manufacturers around the world for copper-themed bike collections, each in a different style (from touring to terrain), to mark its 150th anniversary. Brompton will produce a folding bike in one of the first launches; other companies on board include Canyon Bicycles, Tokyo Bike, and Salsa, among many others.
- Designers known for distinctive patterns or color palettes have lent their names and designs to women’s bikes, as Orla Kiely has done with Halford’s under her Olive and Orange label and Cath Kidston has done with Kingston Bicycles.
- Trendy urban cycling brands are launching outbound lifestyle licensing efforts. Brick Lane Bikes London has retained agent Foundry Brands to extend its IP, with licensee Heritage Apparel on board for a line of casual wear.
- Marketers of performance cycling gear are acquiring rights to character properties to create fun but functional biking apparel and accessories for adults. One example: MTB Cyclewear is tying in with Popeye and Olive Oyl, licensed by Allsorts Licensing in the U.K., for a line of jerseys suitable for all manner of biking, from touring and commuting to training and racing.
Of course, bicycles and related products continue to be part of more traditional licensing deals globally. Examples include sporting goods, automotive, and other related brand extension (e.g., Goodyear-branded bike tires from Kent International and Ford-branded bikes from Dahon); kids’ character products (Monster Trucks accessories from Tomax and Skylanders bikes and scooters from Pacific Cycle); and athletes’ signature products (Sir Bradley Wiggins with Halford’s).