With South Africa currently in the middle of a 21-day government-enforced lockdown, home trainers have become the only way to train – for those that have them; and a significantly envied piece of hardware – for those that don’t. Garmin South Africa managed to get its first shipment of Tacx trainers into stores towards the end of March, much to the delight of many.
“The Tacx South Africa relaunch under the Garmin South African infrastructure was most certainly a success. March 2020 was our scheduled launch month and our Cape Town Cycle Tour and retail store activations as well media presence ensured great awareness of the Tacx indoor training products,” said Angie Crew, Garmin Marcomms Manager Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We were fortunate that our first shipment of Tacx stock arrived just after mid-March, which allowed us to get product to our selected retailers in good time. We have more Tacx stock on back order and that we expect will start arriving in the second half of April, should the shipping restrictions related to the national lockdown be lifted,” added Crew.
In February 2019, Garmin announced that it had bought Tacx. The announcement shook the cycling world, partly because it was a bit of a surprise to most and partly because it revealed that Garmin’s intentions on cycling market dominance have no bounds. For March 2020, the first Tacx trainers via Garmin South Africa have been available. What does this mean to the South African indoor trainer market?
When you talk about huge brands in cycling, Garmin is one of them. It changed cycling and the way cyclists train when it launched its early Edge models in 2003/4. It created a new cycling market segment which is now also occupied by several other smaller brands. Smart GPS devices are pretty much a non-negotiable for committed cyclists. They’d rather buy cheap bibshorts than forego having a Smart GPS device that measures their ride or race data.
It’s this performance-orientated data-hungry mindset and the generally ambitious nature of committed cyclists that have combined to give Smart indoor trainers similar appeal. Convenience, safety, weather protection and virtual competition are cornerstones of Smart indoor trainers. Little wonder then that Garmin was motivated to purchase the 48-year-old market-leading Dutch brand.
Tacx started out as a bike shop in the Netherlands, founded by Koos Tacx in 1957. In 1972 the family-run business started manufacturing rollers, which became the foundation for the company’s indoor-trainer direction. Almost everything Tacx produces is designed and manufactured in-house in the Netherlands, which goes against the grain of most indoor trainer brands – and cycling brands for that matter – that are manufactured in the East.
Acquisitions is a key part of Garmin’s strategy as it seeks to strengthen its presence in various sub-categories. In 2015 Garmin acquired iKubu Ltd, a South African company that developed a motor vehicle radar warning system for cyclists, now known as the Garmin Varia, which is incorporated into a Smart rear cycling light that warns of vehicles approaching from behind (from up to 140 metres away) and which is unique to Garmin.
Garmin also develops it’s own supplementary performance cycling products, such as the Vector 3 pedals , a slim Smart road pedal that measures the rider’s per-leg power; and you can be sure that Garmin already finding ways to fine-tune the bouquet of highly rated Tacx products. It’s an exciting time to be cyclist…
From March 2020, South African cyclists can expect to be able to purchase the following Tacx Smart Trainers: Neo 2T Smart Trainer, Flux 2 Smart Trainer, Flux S Smart Trainer, Flow Smart Trainer, and the Satori Smart Trainer. More detail on these trainers here.
The following mechanical (non-Smart) trainers will also be available: Booster Bike Trainer, Blue Matic Bike Trainer, Blue Twist Bike Trainer and of course Tacx’s famous blue rollers, the Galaxia and the Antares. More detail on these trainers here.
There will also be Tacx trainer accessories, including brackets for tablets, trainer mats, sweat covers, trainer tyres and quick releases with adapter sets, to name a few. The revolutionary Neo Smart Bike, which Tacx launched at the end of 2019 will also be available in the near future.
“We have selected 10 cycling destinations as part of our Tacx launch strategy. In Gauteng, it’s Mellow Velo and Cycle Lab Fourways in Johannesburg North, Finish Line Cycles and Cycle Lab Boksburg in Johannesburg East and Hot Spot Cycles and Cycle Lab Lynnwood in Pretoria,” said Crew.
“In Cape Town we have Freewheel Cycology, in Durbanville we have Chris Willemse Cycles and in Stellenbosch we have Specialized Stellenbosch, while in Durban, Cycle Lab Cornubia is our chosen retail outlet for Tacx,” added Crew.
“Each of these stores will have an interactive Garmin/Tacx test stand where customers can try the Tacx Smart Trainer as well as the Garmin Connected Bike experience, which integrates all our cycling products in one space. We will also have a significant Tacx presence at the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour expo, where Garmin is an official partner of the event,” explained Crew.
“At Garmin South Africa, we are very excited to enter the indoor trainer market and offer our significant infrastructure and world-leading electronic-goods support to the Tacx brand. It’s also a great way for us to complete the Garmin Connected Bike story at a time when safety, real-feel virtual riding and accurate bio-feedback are more in demand that ever before,” said Crew.
While Tacx is new to Garmin, it’s not new to South Africa. All existing Tacx product owners will be pleased to know that Garmin is handling all Tacx product warranty and repair support via the Garmin Support Process.