Feature Article - September/October 2013

One for All, And All for Fun

A Look at Recreation & Sporting Goods Incentives

By Emily Tipping

Wheels and Water

Biking is a highly popular sport, and as Weaver said, the people who love to bike are using their bikes more often. Here, there are many options, from bikes made just to get around town to touring bikes designed for a long trek.

"In bikes, road bikes are still a very big business," Weaver said, but added that this was more relevant for retail than the incentive market due to the high price point--$4,000 to $5,000—of such items.

"A couple of categories that are doing well include dual sport bikes, which are picking up steam," Weaver said. "This is for the person who walks in the shop and says they mostly ride on the road, but they also ride on a trail sometimes. They want a bike to use in both places. It has a smooth ridge on the center of the tire for the road, and pretty decent knobby and wider-profile tire for off-road. It's not great on either one—not the best of either category. But people find it appealing because it answers the need for those two modes."

Another category doing well, Weaver said, is "29ers, in mountain bikes. The standard mountain bike wheel is 26 inches, so the 29-inch is a much bigger wheel. It's really caught on like wildfire."

The bigger tires provide a nice ride—and a new experience for avid mountain bikers. "It rolls better on off-road surfaces," Weaver said. "If there's a gully in the path, rocks, tree limbs—it rolls over those things much better. It takes a little longer to wind up, but once you're going you're cooking. It's also a refresher—29ers have breathed new life into that category. For the guys always wanting to ride off-road, it gives them something different about that trail that they ride every day."

For an easy ride, check out the Trek DS 8.1, available through Zane's. You'll be amazed at the places you can go. It sports a lightweight Gold Series aluminum frame, with multi-surface Bontrager tires wrapped around big, 700c wheels, so any route you want to take is yours. And hills are no worries with 21-speed Shimano drivetrain and safe, responsive brakes at your disposal. If you can only have one bike, the Trek DS 8.1 fits the bill.

Cruiser bicycles are also seeing more use, Knollenberg said. "Huffy is one of America's preferred brands for bicycles, providing fun, reliable quality and lasting memories," she said. "Cruiser bicycles are currently trending—piquing the interest of teens, adults and recreational riders. Huffy holds 43 percent of the Cruiser market, and their Cruiser sales now make up approximately 30 percent of all adult bike sales."

Water sports are also popular, and Weaver said kayaks and stand-up paddleboards have been popular over the past year. "You see a lot more people on the waterways doing kayaking," he said.

The OldTown Heron 9 Kayak, available through Zane's is part of the new Heron series—a result of many decades of building recreational kayaks. With a compact, sporty design, the Heron is an easy-to-paddle kayak that can track well, yet maneuver with ease. It's perfect for beginning paddlers who are seeking a stable, lightweight kayak that was designed for having fun on the water.

For fishing enthusiasts, the American Angler Delta Series 6-piece fillet knife kit, available from Jan Foreman, will be a great choice. Included in the kit are a 9-inch medium flex fillet knife, a 6-inch curved fillet knife, a 4-inch heavy-duty bait knife/line cutter, a vinyl-coated fillet glove, and a knife and hook sharpener.