SOURCE: Bell Sports

May 10, 2005 08:00 ET

America's Biggest Beef With Bike Gear Is Sore Rears, Says Bell Sports Survey

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 10, 2005 -- Americans are looking for a reason to get back on their bicycles, according to a new survey released by Bell Sports. While three-quarters of the 1,062 respondents ride less often now than in the past 10 years, 79 percent said they would ride more often if their key concerns about bike riding were resolved.

In the category of bicycling gear, the No. 1 complaint was hard seats. Fifty-seven percent said they would prefer bike seats with extra padding for added comfort. Flat tires were the second most cited complaint, with 36 percent of riders saying they wish they had tires that could immediately seal themselves after a puncture.

The survey, conducted by Greenfield Online, also discovered a somewhat surprising motivation of America's active cyclists -- more recreational riders bike to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family (60 percent), than specifically for exercise (25 percent).

Questions regarding safety yielded surprising, and often counterintuitive, responses:

--  Few Act on Desire to Protect Head: While 71 percent of adults said
    that the body part they are most concerned about injuring in a bike
    accident is the head, only 27 percent always wear a helmet.  Forty-three
    percent of adults said they never wear a helmet.  Furthermore, 60 percent
    said they don't know what constitutes a properly fitting helmet.
    
--  Safer Places to Ride:  Most bike accidents occur within one mile of a
    cyclist's home.  Still, 77 percent of adults view residential streets as
    safe places to ride.  Respondents ranked "safe places to ride" as their
    biggest concern about bike riding.
    
--  In the Dark on Nighttime Biking:  Seventy-six percent of those
    surveyed either don't know or don't believe there is a law requiring
    headlights when biking after dusk or before dawn.  In fact, the law in
    every state requires bicyclists to use headlights when riding after dark.
    Some states also require a taillight.
    
"What this survey clearly indicates is that people enjoy biking as a family and social activity, and that they would like to ride more often," said Alex McKinnon, vice president, mass marketing at Bell Sports. "To address riders' concerns, Bell literally went back to the drawing board and developed products with proprietary new compounds, technologies, shapes and colors that make the ride more enjoyable."

Science and Style Behind Bell's New Gear

Bell Sports, the market leader in helmets and accessories for cycling and other active sports, is rolling out products for spring 2005 that improve the riding experience with a combination of new technology and styling based on the latest consumer trends. Sample products include:

Tires that Instantly, Automatically Seal Punctures

   -- FlatBlocker™ and FlatBlocker MAX Inner Tubes with new AirTight™
      Technology
        -- Exclusive AirTight Technology provides a 50 percent improvement
           in air retention over the leading bicycle inner tubes
        -- Slime® sealant inside tubes instantly fills puncture holes
           up to 1/8 of an inch in diameter to prevent air loss
        -- Variable tube thickness, making the tires extra thick on the
           outer rim, where most punctures occur

Seats with Three Layers of Comfort

   -- GelTech™ Ultimate Comfort Seat
        -- GelFusion+™ soft pockets provide comfort under the pressure
           points of the sit bones
        -- SoftShox™ elastomer spring technology provides a smoother ride
           than standard spring coils
        -- Ergonomic seat shape relieves pressure
        -- Three inches of super soft foam atop a wider sitting surface

Headlights that Won't Leave You in the Dark

   -- Night Charger™ Complete Rechargeable Headlight System
        -- Recharger plugs into power outlet eliminating the need to
           replace batteries and light stays on the bike while recharging
        -- Exclusive Take Me Home™ feature monitors battery power;
           when power drops, light shifts to LED mode, maintaining safe
           light for up to 200 hours
        -- No tools required to install or remove batteries
        -- Portable and lightweight for use while walking or jogging
Get your bike roadworthy in no time with this 20-minute bike check-up. http://media.marketwire.com/attachments/200505/209980_20MinuteBikeCheckup.pdf

Bell helmets and accessories are available at mass retailers such as Wal*Mart, Toys ‘R Us and Kmart, among other retailers.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by Greenfield Online in March 2005. The firm collected data from 1,062 respondents equally representing the West, South, Northeast and Midwest. Greenfield is based in Wilton, Conn.

About Bell Sports

Bell Sports is the world's leading designer and marketer of helmets and accessories in the auto racing, motorcycle, cycling and action sports categories. The company markets helmets and accessories under the Bell, Giro®, Blackburn®, CoPilot™, X Games, West Coast Choppers, Batman, Barbie™, Hot Wheels™ and Fisher Price™ brands. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the company has operations in Santa Cruz, Calif.; Rantoul, Ill.; York, Penn.; Limerick, Ireland; and Hong Kong. Bell Sports distributes its products in 45 countries. More information about Bell bike helmets and accessories is available at www.bellbikestuff.com.

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